What was Bethlehem in the Bible?

The name of two villages mentioned in the Bible

Hebrew name: בֵּית לֶחֶם (beth lechem)

Name meaning: “Place of food”

Bethlehem of Judah, the birthplace of Jesus (Genesis 35:19; Ruth 1; 1 Samuel 20:6; Matthew 2:1)

Bethlehem of Judah is located about five miles south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is most famously known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, though it also had a place of prominence in the Old Testament as well.

According to Genesis 35:19, it is the place where Rachel, the wife of Jacob, died and was buried. It is also a key location in the book of Ruth. As far as the Old Testament, however, it was most notable as the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 20:6). Micah 5:2 contains a famous prophetic prediction that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and this is indeed where Jesus Christ was born (Matthew 2:1) during the reign of King Herod (~ 4 B.C.).

Bethlehem of Zebulun (Joshua 16:15)

Not to be confused with Bethlehem of Judah, a town called Bethlehem was allotted to the tribe of Zebulun after the Canaanite conquest (~14th century B.C.) according to Joshua 16:15.


Where was Bethlehem in the Bible?

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