1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2“Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born. 5They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is written through the prophet,

6‘You Bethlehem, land of Judah,

are in no way least among the princes of Judah;

for out of you shall come a governor

who shall shepherd my people, Israel.’”

7Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him.”

9They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way.

13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.”

14He arose and took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt, 15and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men. 17Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,

18“A voice was heard in Ramah,

lamentation, weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children;

she wouldn’t be comforted,

because they are no more.”

19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20“Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child’s life are dead.”

21He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee, 23and came and lived in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets that he will be called a Nazarene.

Where was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? (Matt 2:11)

Site study | Matt 2:1 | Hershel Wayne House | Bethlehem


Concerning the birth of Jesus, Luke says that Mary was forced to give birth to Jesus in a manger, “because there was no room for them in the inn.” Early Christian tradition placed this manger in a cave, (or grotto). In A. D. 135, after he established a military post at Bethlehem during the Bar Kokhbah Revolt, Hadrian is said to have planted trees around (or above) a grotto “in which Jesus was born,” and erected statues of Tammuz (Adonis). Scholars theorize this was an effort to thwart Christian use of the grotto. Justin Martyr, an early second-century native of Shechem (modern Nablus), wrote “But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger.” A little later (early third century) Origen wrote, “…in conformity with the narrative in the Gospel regarding His birth, there is shown at Bethlehem the cave where He was born, and the manger in the cave where He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes. And this sight is greatly talked of in surrounding places, even among the enemies of the faith, it being said that in this cave was born that Jesus who is worshipped and reverenced by the Christians.”

The modern Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is almost universally accepted as being built over this grotto. The current church, while having been greatly modified and expanded, is largely the church built by Justinian in the sixth-century, having avoided destruction during the Persian invasion unlike the majority of churches of that period. Excavations carried out inside the church confirm historical records of an octagonal Constantine-era basilica underneath the current church. Mosaics floors have been found, containing the well-known ΙΧΘΥΣ (IXTHUS) symbol, as well as columns inscribed with crosses by later Crusader-era pilgrims.

See also Manger

Bibliography. ASB 1668, “Cultural and Historical Notes: The Birthplace of Jesus”.Bagatti, Bellarmino, “Gli antichi sacri de Betlemme in seguito agli scavi e restauri praticati dalla Custodia di Terra Santi” in Publications of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Vol. 9, (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1952).Cornfield, Gaalyah, Archaeology of the Bible: Book by Book, David Noel Freedman, ed., (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 279-280.Finegan, Jack, The Archaeology of the New Testament: The Life of Jesus and the Beginning of the Early Church, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 29-30.Gonzalo Baez-Camargo, Archaeological Commentary on the Bible, (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1984), 219. Gutman, S. and A. Berman, “Communication” Revue Biblique, 77, (1970), 583-585.Sharon, Moshe, Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae, Vol. 2 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1999), 180.Against Celsus, 1.51, (ANF 4.418). Dialogue With Trypho, 78, (ANF 1.237).

[1]As opposed to the other Bethlehem, which is in Galilee. See Joshua 19:15.

[2]Jews continue to venerate the traditional site of Rachel’s tomb, near the entrance to the modern city. Although considered the third holiest site in Judaism, and has a very ancient tradition, the modern tomb is almost certainly not the original tomb of Rachel, since the current site is five miles south of the southern border of the territory of Benjamin, where Rachel’s tomb is said to have been (1 Sam 10:2).

[HAC1]Need Bible translation if other than NIV