Why Bethlehem? :: By Steven Pace

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” (Micah 5:2 NKJV).

It is not uncommon to ask a new acquaintance where they were born. Knowing where someone is born can often help you understand more about a person. Many historical figures have birthplaces that hold significance. For example, Vinci is the birthplace of the renowned Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci. His birthplace is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. The birthplace of Jesus is no different in its significance.

Birthplace of the King

In Matthew 2:6, we learn that Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in the land of Judah. The place of Jesus’ birth was significant for several reasons, one of which is the fulfillment of Micah 5:2. The prophet Micah told the specific location of the birth of the Messiah centuries beforehand (approximately 700 B.C.). The prophecy is so specific that he uses Bethlehem “Ephrathah” to distinguish between two “Bethlehems” that existed. Bethlehem Ephrathah was a very small town about five miles south of Jerusalem.

It is the place where we find the story of Ruth (Ruth 1:1, 4:11) as well as the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1, 4). It was certainly not a place we would think that God’s Son would be born.

“The most insignificant place would bring forth the most significant person.” [1]

It is interesting to note that the Messiah being born in Bethlehem of Ephrathah (Judea) was a common understanding in the days of Jesus. In John 7:42, we read that despite various opinions about Jesus, one thing that was agreed upon was that “the Christ comes from Bethlehem, the village of David.”

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:10-11 NKJV).

God’s Word – Fulfilled with Precision

Christmas is a good time to remember the many prophecies that were literally fulfilled related to the birth of Jesus. Such is the case with Micah 5:2. Just like other prophecies in the Bible, we can learn many important truths from studying them.

Jesus’ birthplace reminds us that He is the Son of David as well as the great King prophesied centuries beforehand. We can always trust God’s Word to be true and that it will be fulfilled with exact precision. Also, it reminds us that the Lord’s ways are much different than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Far away from the big city of Jerusalem, a small, insignificant place would bring forth the Savior of the world.

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14 NKJV).


Dr. Steven F. Pace
Senior Pastor
Decatur Bible Church


[1] Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible, Micah.