Where the Messiah would be born.
But as for you Bethlehem, Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from You one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from everlasting. (Micah 5:1 in the Hebrew Scriptures; in most English translations it is Micah 5:2)
Over 4,500 subjects and proper names are defined and analyzed with corresponding Scripture references. 'Smith's Bible Dictionary' has been used by students of the Bible since its introduction in the 1860's. A trustworthy classic that is more than just a dictionary defining thousands of Biblical words. More than 300 Messianic prophecies like this were made in the Old Testament and then fulfilled through Jesus' life, death and resurrection. The chances of one person fulfilling a mere eight of these prophecies are one-in-100,000,000,000,000,000.
This passage, written around 700 B.C., has been recognized by traditional Jewish sources to indicate that the Messiah would be from Bethlehem. See the references below:
It is interesting to note that the Soncino Press commentary goes on to suggest, 'Not that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but that his origin of old, through David, would be Bethlehem.' However, it begs the question: if the prophet meant ancestry and not geography, why would such a statement be necessary? Nevertheless, Jesus fulfilled this Messianic prophecy both in terms of his lineage (Luke 3:23-38) as well as his birthplace:
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)
Critics have said that Mary and Joseph arranged to have Jesus born there to fulfill the prophecy, but the historical events of that day refute that. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but had to return to Bethlehem to meet the requirements of the census. Joseph (as well as Mary) was from the lineage of King David (Matthew 1:1-17) and that place of family origin is where the count needed to be taken. Interestingly, a petition for tax relief from the Jewish people to Caesar postponed the taking of the census for a period of time, which 'allowed' Mary to come to full term and give birth to Jesus while still in Bethlehem. These were not circumstances she could have planned herself.
REJECTED SCRIPTURES: OVER 200 APOCRYPHAL TEXTS! Introduction Contents APOCRYPHAL TEXT OF THE MONTH The Second Book of Ezekiel the Prophet The Prophecies of Hadar and Melech THE VISION OF ENOCH TRANSCRIBED BY JOSEPH SMITH Septuagint Apocrypha I Septuagint Apocrypha II THE OLD GREEK BOOK OF BEL AND THE DRAGON: WHICH IS ALSO CALLED THE PROPHECY OF. We know, however, how the theocratic prophecies gradually enlarge. The meaning of this obscure Revelation, clothed as it was in the genuine form of prophecy, and which so greatly calmed her, she saw in a certain measure explained in the relations that had existed between Isaac and Ishmael. Genesis 25:24-28. The birth of the twins.
1. As cited in Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Hendrickson edition, 1993) p. 143, who says that 'in an imaginary conversation between an Arab and a Jew, Bethlehem is authoritatively named as Messiah's birthplace.'