December 05, 2022 – Monday
Birthplace of Jesus
Micah 5:2 NIV
2 “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.”
Micah 5:2 KJV
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Micah 5:2 NASB
2 But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”
Much has been written about the prophecy of Christ’s death on the cross in Isaiah 53, especially verses 5-6, 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
There was incredible ignorance by the Pharisees of Jesus’ day as they did not know (or pretended not to know) where He was born. This was demonstrated in John 7 when the Pharisees were speaking against Jesus. It was then Nicodemus, a Pharisee, spoke up saying, 51 Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing? He was immediately shut down by the Pharisees who were doing their best to condemn Jesus saying, 52 Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee. While Jesus was raised in Galilee, Nazareth, He was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah as our verse above prophecies.
So while the Pharisees were correct at a superficial level, they were wrong on the basic fact of Jesus’ place of birth. Because Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to meet the requirements of the census ordered by Rome, they ended up in Bethlehem where the Messiah was to be born and that is where Jesus was born.
When King Herod sought information on the birthplace of the future king of the Jews our verse was quoted partially to him along with part of verse four by the Pharisees in Matthew 2:6, 6 But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Herod in his jealously for his power and his paranoia tried to have Jesus killed as a child, but His parents escaped to Egypt and missed the carnage of the killing of infant boys. They returned to Nazareth only after Herod died.
Notice the Pharisees only told Herod the King of the Jews was to be born in Bethlehem and not Bethlehem Ephrathah as in Micah 5:2. But the prophecy clearly states Bethlehem Ephrathah. Only one commentary, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges points to the answer given by modern day Messianic Jews. It says of the meaning of Ephrathah, its meaning (‘fruitful’) suggests that it originally belonged to the valley which leads up to Bethlehem, and which is still richly adorned with vines and olive-trees. This video (7:39) gives a much more complete explanation of why Micah declared not Bethlehem, but Bethlehem Ephrathah. Not everyone agrees with this and you will have to decide for yourself.
Bottom Line: It is important to know where Jesus was born and why – Micah’s prophecy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You that someone would step forward and provide an explicit answer of why Bethlehem Ephrathah for us. Grant us the wisdom to discern the truth of this explanation. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton