“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,Micah 5:2
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Coming off the tails of the prophecy candle, it’s worth noting that Bethlehem was also a part of the Messianic prophecy. Like we read in today’s verse, it was predicted approximately 700 years before Jesus was born that the rule over Israel would come out of Bethlehem. This prophecy came a couple hundred years after David’s reign.
David was anointed by Samuel to be king in Bethlehem. It’s where King David was born. It was the place that Jesus spent the first months if not year or more of his life.
What’s so special about Bethlehem? To be honest, apart from the connection to King David, I don’t know. But, there are some interesting connections we can make.
First, the name Bethlehem Means “House of Bread.” The word is actually two words: “beit-lechem”. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus would be born in a town with bread in the name? In his adult years, during his ministry Jesus would actually say this about himself.
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.John 6:32-35
Jesus called himself the bread of life, the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. So, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus was born in the city named house of bread. This city itself was the place where the bread that came down from heaven first lived.
Something else to think about. The name Ephrathah means: ash heap: place of fruitfulness and comes from the word Parah which means to bear fruit. Now, I don’t have any Biblical support for this, but could it also be that Jesus was born into the ash heap of all failed practices of the Old Covenant? And could it be that fruitfulness would come from Bethlehem because of Jesus?
It certainly did. The promise that God made to Abraham about his descendants being more numerous than the stars is being fulfilled by the children God has adopted into His kingdom. Billions of Christians. The fruit of Christ is abundant.
House of Bread. Place of fruitfulness. Sounds like a pretty good place for Jesus to be born to me. What do you think?