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Luke 2: 1-7 1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 a This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to b the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, c because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, d his betrothed 1 wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And e she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a 2 manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
He was born in Bethlehem, a town 8 km south of Jerusalem-- a village about 6 miles (10 km) south of Jerusalem. Bethleem bayth-leh-em': of Hebrew origin; a place in Palestine:-Bethlehem. Beth-lehem = "house of bread (food)" is a city in Judah, birthplace of David. Bethlehem, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary means house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath. (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 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 (Gen. 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 Sam. 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 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" (Matt. 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 2 years old and under" (Matt. 2:16, 18; Jer. 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 ft 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 30 years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. BETHLEHEM A city S.W. of Jerusalem, Judg. 17:7; 19:18. Called Ephratah and Ephrath, Gen. 48:7; Psa. 132:6; Mic. 5:2. Birthplace of Jesus, Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2; Luke 2:4, 15. Herod slays the children of, Matt. 2:16-18. BETHLEHEM according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary means “house of bread.” 1. One of the oldest towns in Palestine, already in existence at the time of Jacob’s return to the country. Its earliest name was EPHRATAH, OR EPHRATH or EPHRATAH. See (Genesis 35:16,19; 48:7) After the conquest Bethlehem appears under its own name, BETHLEHEM-JUDAH. (Judges 17:7; Ruth 1:1,2) The book of Ruth is a page from the domestic history of Bethlehem. It was the home of Ruth, (Ruth 1:19) and of David. (1 Samuel 17:12) It was fortified by Rehoboam. (2 Chronicles 11:6) It was here that our Lord was born, (Matthew 2:1) and here that he was visited by the shepherds, (Luke 2:15-17) and the Magi. Matt 2. The modern town of Beit-lahm lies to the east of the main road from Jerusalem to Hebron, 6 miles from the former. It covers the east and northeast parts of the ridge of a long gray hill of Jura limestone, which stands nearly due east and west, and is about a mile in length. The hill has a deep valley on the north and another on the south. On the top lies the village in a kind of irregular triangle. The population is about 3000 souls, entirely Christians. In the New Testament Bethlehem is mentioned as the birthplace of the Messiah Jesus (Mt. 2:1,5; Lk 2:4,25) in consequence of which event occurred Herod's "massacre of the innocents" (Mt. 2:8,16). 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. I was there.
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