Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus and therefore a holy site to Christians around the world. The city also is significant to Jews because it is the burial place of the matriarch Rachel and the birthplace of King David. Samuel anointed David king in Bethlehem (I Sam. 16:1-13) and David was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz, who were married in Bethlehem.
“Do not be afraid; I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” Luke 2,10-11.
- Angels appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks by night.
- Birthplace of Christ
- Its name means, “House of Bread”. Maybe because many wheat and barley fields were in this area.
- Also called, “The City of David”.
- Isaac’s wife, Rachel, died and was buried in Bethlehem.
- Naomi was from Bethlehem.
- Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem to live. Ruth marries Boaz who was from Bethlehem.
- King David was from Bethlehem.
- Was the prophesied birth place of Christ.
- King Herod had all the children 2 years and younger murdered here in his attempt to kill Christ.
Bethlehem - The site:
The West Bank city of Bethlehem, about 9km south of Jerusalem, is celebrated by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.
Here Mary gave birth in a cave used for animals. Here the local shepherds came to worship the baby, and here the Three Wise Men from the east came to pay homage and present their gifts.
Here too, 1000 years before Christ, Bethlehem was the birthplace of David, Israel’s second king. Here David was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel after being brought in from tending his father’s sheep.
The city of Bethlehem (in Hebrew its name means “house of bread”) perches on a hill at the edge of the Judaean desert. Bedouin from the desert rub shoulders with pilgrims and tourists among a mix of cultures in its town market and its narrow, ancient streets.
Sites in the Bethlehem area:
- Church of the Nativity
- Grotto of the Nativity
- St Jerome’s Cave
- Church of St Catherine of Alexandria
- Milk Grotto
- Shepherds’ Field
- Tomb of Rachel
- Field of Boaz
From the Bible:
- Luke 2:7 NIV – and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
- Micah 5:2 NIV – “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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”
- Matthew 2:1 NIV – After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.
- Genesis 35:19 NIV – So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).
- Ruth 1:1 NIV – In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
- 1 Samuel 16:1 NIV – The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
- 1 Samuel 17:12 NIV – Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was old and well advanced in years.
- Matthew 2:16 NIV – When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
- Luke 2:15 NIV – When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the LORD has told us about.”