Bethlehem is a famous place in the Bible. In fact, it is one of the most mentioned cities in the Bible. In the New International Version, it appears 51 times. But, do you know that if we study the Hebrew meaning of Bethlehem, we will discover that it will point us to the great redemption of God through Jesus Christ?
Bethlehem, The Famous Town
The city goes way back to the times of Rachel and Jacob. Genesis 35:19 says, “And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.” And since then, the place has been historically marked with significant events like Ruth meeting Boaz and the crowning of David as King of Israel.
On top of it, it is the birthplace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Micah prophesied it, saying, “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 the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
Bethlehem is a combination of two Hebrew words: Beth and Lehem. Beth means ‘house’ while lehem means ‘bread.’ So, Bethlehem can tell the “House of Bread.”
Hebrew Word Study
The Hebrew alphabets contain picture meanings with each letter. So, if we do a Hebrew word study on Bethlehem, it will display a deeper meaning.
Bethlehem is spelled in Hebrew:
Beyt has a picture of a house and means a house, son, or Son of God.
Yood is a picture of a hand and means to work or mighty deed.
Tav is a cross and means to seal or covenant.
Lamed pictures as a staff and means control or to have authority.
Chet is an inner room and has a picture meaning of separate, fence, or sanctuary.
Lastly, Mem pictures the waters and means liquid, massive, or chaos.
From their pictographs, Bethlehem translates as:
“The Son of God is going to do a Mighty Deed. This deed will seal a Covenant and be identified with the sign of a Cross. He will have the Authority to provide a Sanctuary of Safety where He will give those that have received Him, the Water of Eternal Life.”