But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2
What’s in a Name?
York is a place with a rich history of names. The city itself has morphed from Eboracum to Jorvik to York, and its gates are streets, and its bars are gates. Where else could you find the curiously named Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate? Yet, these names carry stories of the city’s long history – some of which may have been lost in the annals of time. In this passage, the prophet Micah refers to Bethlehem by its ancient name ‘Ephrathah’ – ‘fruitful’ – because this small village also carried a rich history. Literally translated ‘House of Bread’, it is here at its gate that we find the tomb of Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin and here Ruth meets her future husband Boaz. It is Bethlehem where their great-grandson, David is born and later anointed as King over all of Israel, and it is from this small village and ancient lineage that another King is born – except this one is God Himself born as a fragile baby. Bethlehem – small village – big punch.