Ephrathah (Ephrath)

Ephrathah, or Ephrath, is the ancient name for the town of Bethlehem, in Judah, in the southern part of the land of Israel.

It was called Ephrath during ancient times, as recorded in the following Old Testament verses:

• Genesis 35:16 (NIV): Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty.

• Genesis 35:19 (NIV): So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

• Genesis 48:7 (NIV): As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath" (that is, Bethlehem).

When the prophet Micah prophesizes in Micah 5:2 that the town of Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah, he refers to the town as "Bethlehem Ephrathah," to distinguish it from another town named Bethlehem in the northern part of Israel.


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