Jesus the Messiah, the Son of David, was born in Bethlehem.

…Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king…Matthew 2: 1

The Messiah was foretold to be born in Bethlehem, by the prophet Micah. 

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.  They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet…”  Matthew 2: 3 – 5

In order for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, his parents needed to travel from their residence in Nazareth to Bethlehem.  But why would they travel while pregnant?  To partake in the census decreed by Caesar Augustus.

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  Luke 2: 1

The reason Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to partake in the census was because they were descendants of David, and Bethlehem was the city of David.

And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  Luke 2: 3 – 6

The reason Bethlehem was known as David’s city was because he was born there and because of his role in the history of Israel, as king and as ancestor of the Messiah to come.  The events leading up to how David came to be born in Bethlehem are detailed in the book of Ruth.

So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab.  And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.  Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.  Ruth 1: 22 – 2: 1

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her.  And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  Ruth 4: 13

Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse.  The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!”  So they named him Obed.  He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.  Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.  Ruth 4: 16 – 21

Many may be inclined to read the book of Ruth and marvel at the morality of Ruth and of Boaz or at the beauty of their love story.  But the story behind the story – the greater story – is how the events detailed in Ruth prepared the way for the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, a birth and a birthplace that fulfilled prophecy.


One comment

  1. Love love love this…It is sometimes difficult to pull away from the “romance” story on the surface…but under the surface is the forshadow of Christ – what a great picture…thank you for writing!

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