But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2
Bethlehem meant “house [beth] of bread [lechem].” It was one of two Bethlehems, the second being in the region of Galilee (Joshua 19:15). To avoid confusion, Jesus’ birthplace is referred to as “Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:1, 5). The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem also confirmed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, not Bethlehem in Galilee, quoting the prophet Micah (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6). Jesus was born in the predicted place!
But why was He born in the “city of bread”? Perhaps Bethlehem was given that name because it was a center for growing grain as illustrated in the book of Ruth where Bethlehem is mentioned six times. The climax of Ruth’s story centers around the grain harvest of Boaz. More prophetically, the One born in the “house of bread” eventually identified Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48).
Be comforted this Christmas by the prophecy and fulfillment that surrounds the birth of Jesus. God’s promises for you are as certain as His promises were for the birth of Jesus.
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Oh Little Town of Bethlehem – Matthew 2:1-9; Micah 5:2 – Skip Heitzig
It was the Methodist preacher Phillips Brooks who gave the world the Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He was visiting the Holy Land, on road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, when inspiration struck. Bethlehem was where King David was born and where his descendant Jesus Christ would be born. Because of Micah’s prediction made 700 years before Jesus’ birth, four details were anticipated.