Bethlehem is known by most to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, but many people don’t know much about the city itself, here are a few basic facts about this holy city.
Who lives in Bethlehem?
Bethlehem has been continually inhabited as far back as the Paleolithic era, and since the advent of Christianity, there have been Christians in Bethlehem. Today Bethlehem’s population is over 27,000; the residents are predominantly Muslim Arabs with approximately 40% Christian Arabs. Residents of Bethlehem hold Palestinian citizenship.
Where does the name “Bethlehem” come from?
Bethlehem has been known by many names in many languages. Scholars believe that Bethlehem was initially a city-state named after a fertility God (Lehem) during the Canaanite period in the 1300s BCE. Scholars also believe that later, Bethlehem was the early biblical city of Ephrath, which means “fertile” in Classical Hebrew. In the New Testament, Bethlehem is known as the “City of David,” the birthplace of Jesus. And in Arabic, Bethlehem means “House of Meat.” Despite its many names, Bethlehem remains an important historical and spiritual city that looms large in the minds and hearts of people all over the world.