The Bible

Bible Usage:


  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Easton's Bible Dictionary

House of bread.

1. A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath (Genesis 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), Beth-lehem-judah (1 Samuel 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 (Genesis 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 Samuel 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 Samuel 23:13-17). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" (Matthew 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 two years old and under" (Matthew 2:16, 18; Jeremiah 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 feet 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 thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (See VERSION.)

2. A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Joshua 19:15. Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of Nazareth.

Naves Topical Index

1. A city southwest of Jerusalem

General references
Judges 17:7; Judges 19:18

Called Ephratah

Called Ephrath
Genesis 48:7; Psalms 132:6; Micah 5:2

Called Bethlehem-Judah
Judges 17:7-9; Judges 19:1; Judges 19:18; Ruth 1:1; 1 Samuel 17:12

Rachel dies and is buried at
Genesis 35:16; Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7

The city of Boaz
Ruth 1:1; Ruth 1:19; Ruth 2:4; Ruth 8:4

Taken and held by the Philistines
2 Samuel 23:14-16

Jeroboam converts it into a military stronghold
2 Chronicles 11:6

The city of Joseph
Matthew 2:5-6; Luke 2:4

Birthplace of Jesus
Micah 5:2; Micah 40:2; Luke 2:4; Luke 2:15

Herod slays the children of
Matthew 2:16-18

2. A town of Zebulun

Six miles west of Nazareth
Joshua 19:15

Israel judged at
Judges 12:10

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(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; 1 Samuel 17:12; 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. Matthew 2. The modern town of Beit-lahm lies to the east of the main road from Jerusalem to Hebron, six 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. The Church of the Nativity, built by the empress Helena A.D. 330, is the oldest Christian church in existence. It is built over the grotto where Christ is supposed to have been born.
  2. A town in the portion of Zebulun, named nowhere but in (Joshua 19:15) Now known as Beit-lahm .

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

BETH'LEHEM, noun [Heb. the house of food or bread.]

1. A town or village in Judea, about six miles south-east of Jerusalem; famous for its being the place of Christ's nativity.

2. A hospital for lunatics; corrupted into bedlam.