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Tuesday, December 19 2017

Hometowns: Bethlehem

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord"

Bethlehem is an ancient city takes its name from a Hebrew word that means house of bread. It is located about 8 kilometers / 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the hill country of Judea. Bethlehem is approximately 777 meters / 2,550 feet above sea level (about the same as Jerusalem) on the way to Hebron (see also Hometowns: Hebron).


The first major Biblical point of reference for Bethlehem occurred when Rachel (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel) died there while giving birth to Benjamin - the only Israelite patriarch to actually be born in the land of Israel. The others were born in Syria (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah and The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah and The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Zilpah) and Egypt (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Asenath).

Rachel's tomb remains as a local landmark - that itself had later prophetic application (see The Rachel Prophecies).

"35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 35:20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day." (Genesis 35:16-20 KJV)

While Jerusalem later became known as "the city of David" when he became king over all of the tribes of Israel ("5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 5:7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David" 2 Samuel 5:6-7 KJV; see also Hometowns: Salem and Biblical Eras: The City Of David - When Jerusalem Became An Israelite City), David's birthplace and original home town (see also The Marriage Of Boaz and Ruth and Jesse The Bethlehemite), Bethlehem, was known as "the city of David" in prophecy.


"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)

The shepherds of Bethlehem were given to be the first witnesses of the Messiah's birth (although often incorrectly portrayed as such, the Magi, or "Wise men," did not arrive until months later due to the great distance of their journey; see Why Did The Magi Come?). The shepherds themselves were prophesied, by the Bethlehem shepherd who became King David, centuries earlier (see The Bethlehem Shepherds Prophecy).

"2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2:8-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: What were the circumstances of the Messiah's Birth in the "city of David"?
See Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate? and A Biography Of Jesus Christ: How Long In Bethlehem?; also Did Mary Really Ride A Donkey Into Bethlehem? and The King Who Was Born In A Barn

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This Day In History, December 19

211: Publius Septimius Geta, then co-emperor of Rome, was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard (see The Roman Emperors: Julius Caesar and The Roman Emperors: Domitian).


1154: Henry II was crowned king of England.

1490: Anne, the Duchess of Brittany, was married to Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) Maximilian I by proxy.

1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots (French Protestants) and the Catholics began at the Battle of Dreux.


1606: Three ships, the Susan Constant (or Sarah Constant), the Godspeed and the Discovery sailed from England to establish English colonies for the King and the Virginia Company of London.


1741: Vitus Bering, Danish navigator and explorer, died at age 60. The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea (located between Russia and Alaska - Alaska was then Russian territory are named after him.



1793: French forces recaptured Toulon from the British.

1915: German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer died at age 51 of rheumatic fever and kidney failure brought on by a common cold or influenza infection. "Alzheimer's disease" was named after Alzheimer, from his professional studies of "presenile dementia" (i.e. dementia with onset before the age of 65).

1917: The first National Hockey League game was played on artificial ice, in Toronto.

1932: The BBC World Service began broadcasting overseas as the BBC Empire Service.

1941: Adolf Hitler (whose military experience consisted of his having been a corporal in the German Army during the First World War) became Supreme Commander-in-chief of the German Army (see The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator and Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?; also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1941: During the Second World War (1939-1945), Japanese forces (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?) invaded British-held Hong Kong.

1946: War broke out in Indochina when Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh attacked French colonial forces in Hanoi. The French left in the 1960s (after dividing Vietnam into North and South, which resulted in the Vietnam civil war) and were replaced by the U.S. who remained until the 1970s.


1972: Apollo 17, the last U.S. manned lunar flight returned to Earth.

1986: Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, considered the father of the Soviet atomic bomb (see Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?), was released from exile. He had been seized in January 1980 and sent to the closed city of Gorky, 400 kilometers east of Moscow where he was kept in isolation.

1998: During the Lewinsky scandal, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached ("Charge with a crime or misdemeanor") President Bill Clinton on 2 counts - perjury and obstruction of justice.

2001: A record-high barometric pressure occurred at Tosontsengel, Khovsgol, Mongolia.


Copyright © Wayne Blank