Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The New Testament records that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. In fact, this was a fulfillment of prophecy, as Matthew records:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:1-6 ESV

So, what is the significance of Bethlehem and why did God choose this city, and not any of the other cities in Israel, for the birthplace of the Messiah? It seems that it should be something more than just a random selection.

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is prophesied by Micah 5:2.

Perhaps you're wondering why Micah would prophesy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in the first place.

Well, "Bethlehem" is from the Hebrew בית לחם (beit-lechem), which literally means "House of Bread." The Messiah is the "bread of life" (John 6:35). I say, what better city for him to be born?

And Yeshu'a said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst."

share|improve this answer
+1 for providing the translation. That and the explicit mention of Jesus being laid in a manger (food trough) are significant to the [Catholic and/or Orthodox] Eucharistic dogma. –  svidgen Dec 18 '12 at 20:11
It seems that "David's Heir" would also be born in "David's City". –  Narnian Jan 9 '14 at 0:01


The Hebrew Bible identifies Bethlehem as the city David was from and the location where he was crowned as the king of Israel.

It never occurred to me before, but given that Bethlehem was pivotal in David's history, one could say that any great descendant of his came "from" Bethlehem. It seems awfully literal to place Jesus' physical birth there.

Edit: Another quote from the Wikipedia article above:

Early Christians interpreted a verse in the Book of Micah as a prophecy of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. Some modern scholars question whether Jesus was born in Bethlehem, seeing the biblical stories not as historical accounts but as symbolic narratives invented to present the birth of Jesus as fulfillment of prophecy and imply a connection to the lineage of King David. The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John do not include a nativity narrative, but refer to him only as being from Nazareth.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.