|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
House of bread.
(1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath (Genesis 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Samuel 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke 2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of the city (Genesis 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:4-13); and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam (2 Samuel 23:13-17). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" (Matthew 2:6; Comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matthew 2:16, 18; Jeremiah 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the "stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (see VERSION.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Joshua 19:15. Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of Nazareth.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A hospital for lunatics; -- corrupted into bedlam.
2. (n.) In the Ethiopic church, a small building attached to a church edifice, in which the bread for the Eucharist is made.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
beth'-le-hem (bethlechem; Baithleem, or Bethleem, "house of David," or possibly "the house of Lakhmu," an Assyrian deity):
I. Bethlehem Judah:
Bethlehem Judah, or EPHRATH or EPHRATHAH (which see) is now Beit Lahm (Arabic = "house of meat"), a town of upward of 10,000 inhabitants, 5 miles South of Jerusalem and 2,350 ft. above sea level. It occupies an outstanding position upon a spur running East from the watershed with deep valleys to the Northeast and South It is just off the main road to Hebron and the south, but upon the highroad to Tekoa and En-gedi. The position is one of natural strength; it was occupied by a garrison of the Philistines in the days of David (2 Samuel 23:14 1 Chronicles 11:16) and was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:6). The surrounding country is fertile, cornfields, fig and olive yards and vineyards abound. Bethlehem is not naturally well supplied with water, the nearest spring is 800 yds. to the Southeast, but for many centuries the "low level aqueduct" from "Solomon's Pools" in the ArTas valley, which has here been tunneled through the hill, has been tapped by the inhabitants; there are also many rock-cut cisterns.
1. Early History:
In 1 Chronicles 2:51 Salma, the son of Caleb, is described as the "father of Bethlehem." In Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7 it is recorded that Rachel "was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Beth-lehem)." Tradition points out the site of Rachel's tomb near where the road to Bethlehem leaves the main road. The Levites of the events of Judges 17 Judges 19 were Bethlehemites. In the list of the towns of Judah the name Bethlehem occurs, in the Septuagint version only in Joshua 15:57.
2. David the Bethlehemite:
Ruth, famous chiefly as the ancestress of David, and of the Messiah, settled in Bethlehem with her second husband Boaz, and it is noticeable that from her new home she could view the mountains of Moab, her native land. David himself "was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse" (1 Samuel 17:12). To Bethlehem came Samuel to anoint a successor to unworthy Saul (1 Samuel 16:4): "David went to and fro from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem" (1 Samuel 17:15). David's "three mighty men" "brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David" (2 Samuel 23:14, 16). Tradition still points out the well. From this town came those famous "sons of Zeruiah," David's nephews, whose loyalty and whose ruthless cruelty became at once a protection and a menace to their royal relative: in 2 Samuel 2:32 it is mentioned that one of them, Asahel, was buried "in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem."
3. Later Bible History:
After the time of David, Bethlehem would appear to have sunk into insignificance. But its future fame is pointed at by Micah (Micah 5:2): "But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
In the return of the Jews captive Bethlehemites re-inhabited the place (Ezra 2:21 Nehemiah 7:26 "men"; 1 Esdras 5:17 "sons").
4. The Christian Era:
In the New Testament Bethlehem is mentioned as the birthplace of the Messiah Jesus (Matthew 2:1, 5 Luke 2:4, 25) in consequence of which event occurred Herod's "massacre of the innocents" (Matthew 2:8, 16). Inasmuch as Hadrian devastated Bethlehem and set up there a sacred grove to Adonis (Jerome, Ep. ad Paul, lviii.3) it is clear that veneration of this spot as the site of the Nativity must go back before 132 A.D. Constantine (circa 330) founded a basilica over the cave-stable which tradition pointed out as the scene of the birth, and his church, unchanged in general structure though enlarged by Justinian and frequently adorned, repaired and damaged, remains today the chief attraction of the town. During the Crusades, Bethlehem became of great importance and prosperity; it remained in Christian hands after the overthrow of the Latin kingdom, and at the present day it is in material things one of the most prosperous Christian centers in the Holy Land.
II. Bethlehem of Zebulun:
Bethlehem of Zebulun (Joshua 19:15) was probably the home of Ibzan (Judges 12:8) though Jewish tradition is in support of (1). See Josephus, Ant, V, vii, 13. This is now the small village of Beit Lahm, some 7 miles Northwest of Nazareth on the edge of the oak forest. Some antiquities have been found here recently, showing that in earlier days it was a place of some importance. It is now the site of a small German colony. See PEF, I, 270, Sh V.
E. W. G. Masterman
BETHLEHEM, STAR OF
See STAR OF THE MAGI.
STAR OF BETHLEHEM
See STAR OF THE MAGI.
Bethlehem (49 Occurrences)
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 2:5 They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written through the prophet, (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 2:6 'You Bethlehem, land of Judah, are in no way least among the princes of Judah: for out of you shall come forth a governor, who shall shepherd my people, Israel.'" (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him." (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 2:9 After hearing what the king said, they went to Bethlehem, while, strange to say, the star they had seen in the east led them on until it came and stood over the place where the babe was. (WEY)
Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 2:15 It happened, when the angels went away from them into the sky, that the shepherds said one to another, "Let's go to Bethlehem, now, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 7:42 Hasn't the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 35:19 Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem). (WEB KJV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 48:7 As for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath (the same is Bethlehem)." (WEB KJV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 19:15 Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah, and Bethlehem: twelve cities with their villages. (WEB KJV ASV NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 12:8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 12:10 Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 17:7 There was a young man out of Bethlehem Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he sojourned there. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 17:8 The man departed out of the city, out of Bethlehem Judah, to sojourn where he could find a place, and he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he traveled. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV)
Judges 17:9 Micah said to him, "Where did you come from?" He said to him, "I am a Levite of Bethlehem Judah, and I am looking for a place to live." (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 19:1 It happened in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehem Judah. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 19:2 His concubine played the prostitute against him, and went away from him to her father's house to Bethlehem Judah, and was there the space of four months. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 19:18 He said to him, "We are passing from Bethlehem Judah to the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim. I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem Judah. I am going to the house of Yahweh; and there is no man who takes me into his house. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 1:1 It happened in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land. A certain man of Bethlehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 1:2 The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah. They came into the country of Moab, and continued there. (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 1:19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. It happened, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?" (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 2:4 Behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, "Yahweh be with you." They answered him, "Yahweh bless you." (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 4:11 All the people who were in the gate, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May Yahweh make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, which two built the house of Israel; and treat you worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem. (WEB KJV ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 16:1 Yahweh said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided a king for myself among his sons." (Root in WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 16:4 Samuel did that which Yahweh spoke, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 16:18 Then one of the young men answered, and said, "Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a comely person; and Yahweh is with him." (Root in WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 17:12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among men. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 17:15 Now David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 17:58 Saul said to him, "Whose son are you, you young man?" David answered, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite." (Root in WEB KJV NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 20:6 If your father miss me at all, then say,'David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city; for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.' (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 20:28 Jonathan answered Saul, "David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 2:32 They took up Asahel, and buried him in the tomb of his father, which was in Bethlehem. Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke on them at Hebron. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 23:14 David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 23:15 David longed, and said, "Oh that one would give me water to drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 23:16 The three mighty men broke through the army of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but he would not drink of it, but poured it out to Yahweh. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 23:24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 2:51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Beth Gader. (WEB KJV DBY NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 2:54 The sons of Salma: Bethlehem, and the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 4:4 and Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:16 David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:17 David longed, and said, "Oh that one would give me water to drink of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!" (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:18 The three broke through the army of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to Yahweh, (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:26 Also the mighty men of the armies: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem, (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 11:6 He built Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:17 and they departed, and lived in Geruth Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt, (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, being small among the clans of Judah, out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (WEB KJV DBY NAS RSV NIV)