Ephrath

Ephrath or Ephrathah or Ephratah (Hebrew: אֶפְרָת \ אֶפְרָתָה‎) is the name of a biblical place and a personal name meaning "fruitful".[1]

Biblical placeEdit

The first mention of Ephrath occurs in Genesis,[2] in reference to the place where Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin and where she was buried on the road from Bethel. A very old tradition is that Ephrath refers to Bethlehem,[3] and thus that she died on the way there, reflected by the ancient Tomb of Rachel at the city's entrance.

Ephrath and Bethlehem are also connected to Messianic prophecy, as found in the book of the minor prophet Micah "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel."[4]

Some modern scholars have placed this location closer to Bethel, in the vicinity of Ramallah, based on verses in Samuel I[5] and Jeremiah.[6] A prime candidate according to this view is a site known in Arabic as "kubur beni israil" ("burial of the Children of Israel"), and is adjacent to the "Farah" wadi, whose name recalls "Ephrath".[7] Throughout much of the Bible, Ephrath is a description for members of the Israelite tribe of Judah, as well as for the possible founders of Bethlehem.[8]

Personal nameEdit

Caleb's second wife[9] was called Ephrath (or Ephrathah).

Locations named after EphrathEdit

Some modern places named after Ephrath include:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ephratah" in Holman Bible Dictionary (Holman: Tennessee, 2003), 500-501
  2. ^ Genesis.35:16-19;48:7
  3. ^ "Ephratah (Ephrath) (WebBible Encyclopedia)". ChristianAnswers.Net. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  4. ^ Micah 5:2
  5. ^ 1Samuel 10:2
  6. ^ Jeremiah 31:14
  7. ^ map?
  8. ^ 1Chronicles 4:4
  9. ^ 1Chronicles.2:19;2:50
  10. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 120.