The little town of Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means “house of bread”, has many biblical associations reflecting a tranquil, pastoral existence. As its name signifies, in antiquity the district was known for its fertility and for the cultivation of its fields and terraces.
In the Old Testament, Bethlehem is often referred to as Ephrat, which means fruitfulness. Here, nearly four thousand years ago, Jacob buried his young wife Rachel; here was the home of Naomi and her family; here Ruth gleaned in the fields and fell in love with her kinsman Boaz; here their great-grandson David was born and here Samuel “anointed him in the midst of his brethren’ (1 Samuel 16:13).
But the event that took place here and transformed the course of history was that ”Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:1) Today, this town, surrounded by a beautiful hilly landscape, is the home of Christian and Muslim Arabs, many of whom are skilled artisans and craftsmen.