December 06, 2022 – Tuesday
Watchtowers over the Birthplace of Jesus
Micah 4:8 NIV
8 As for you, watchtower of the flock, stronghold of Daughter Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to Daughter Jerusalem.”
Many versions begin with O tower of the flock, but watchtower seems much more in keeping with looking at this verse as part of the prophecy of the birth of Jesus as in the video link given yesterday “Why Bethlehem?” Whether you use tower or watchtower, its purpose was to provide a vantage point for protecting a flock of sheep. Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible says, This expression comes from the custom of erecting a tower from which a shepherd could watch over his flock.
According to the video given yesterday, Bethlehem Ephrathah was the birthplace of Jesus. And what does Luke say about the birth of Jesus? Luke 2:8-15, 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 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.” The shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks and as this was nighttime, some likely were using watchtowers.
If you look at a large number of commentaries, few have anything agreeing with the premises of the video, but a few do so. Let me give you two examples. First, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says about the tower/watchtower, that which is interpreted ‘tower of the flock,’ about 1000 paces (a mile) from Bethlehem,” says Jerome who lived there, “and foresignifying (in its very name) by a sort of prophecy the shepherds at the Birth of the Lord.” He then added, There Jacob fed his sheep (Genesis 35;21), and there (since it was hard by Bethlehem) the shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night, saw and heard the Angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” He concluded with, The Jews inferred from this place that the Messiah should be revealed there.
Next, we look at Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible where he writes, And thou, O tower of the flock,…. The words “Migdal Eder” are left by some untranslated, and think that place to be intended so called, which was near to Bethlehem, Genesis 35;19; and perhaps is the same which Jerom calls the tower of Ader, about a mile from Bethlehem: this is supposed to be the place where the shepherds were watching over their flocks at the time of Christ’s birth, the tidings of which were first brought to them here.
Then there is the Pulpit Commentary which says, And thou, O tower of the flock. There was a village with a tower so called near Bethlehem, and it is thought that Micah refers to it as the home of David and as destined to be the birthplace of Messiah. However, he then rejects this thesis with a different idea followed by many other commentaries that he believes it is really about Jerusalem. As for me, I believe the introductory notes by Barnes and Gill along with Luke 2 provide ample reason to think it refers to the birth of Jesus near Bethlehem proper.
Bottom Line: Micah 4:8 with 5:2 and Luke 2 provide good reason to believe that is where the shepherds were when Jesus was born.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for more evidence that Jesus was not only born in Bethlehem, but Bethlehem Ephrathah. Whether we are right or wrong about this, it is something we can think and pray about knowing it is not a salvation issue. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton