Concordia Theological Monthly

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Homiletical Help


bethlehem, micah, judah, prophecy, israel, ephratah, messiah

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Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


“And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, smaller than to be among the thousands of Judah." The Prophet addresses Bethlehem, and in order to distinguish it from a Bethlehem in Zebulon (Joshua 19:15), its ancient name Ephratah, the fruitful, is added. This is the only time that Bethlehem is construed as a masculine, perhaps because the term is not merely to be the name of a city (cities, as a rule, are feminine) but is also to convey the significant meaning of this name, “the house of bread." “House," bet, is masculine in Hebrew. Here He was born who is indeed the “Bread of Life" (John 6:48). For this reason also the ancient name Ephratah, “fertile," may have been added, symbolical of the fruitfulness of the Messiah. (Cp. Ps. 22: 26-32; 72: 15-17; Is. 53: 10-12.)


Practical Theology

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Micah 5:2-8; Joshua 19:15; John 6:48; Psalm 22:26-32; Psalm 72:15-17; Isaiah 53:10-12; Genesis 35:19; Genesis 35:16; Ruth 2:1; 2 Samuel 23:14; 2 Chronicles 11:6; Joshua 15:21-63; Ezra 2:3-5; John 7:42;

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Laity; Ministers; Scholars