O Little Town of Bethlehem
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
~ Psalm 2:10-12
Sometimes Bible prophecies are general in nature, making it hard to pin down exact times and places. In fact, some prophecies are so obscure that they would likely go unrecognized altogether if not specifically noted by the New Testament writers (see Matt. 2:17-18). Nevertheless, a few prophecies are so precise and detailed that scholars have been tempted to think they were written after the events they were supposed to prophecy. This passage in Micah is one such. Here the prophet speaks explicitly of Bethlehem being the birthplace of the Messiah some 700 years before the event. Fortunately, the evidence for the date of Micah’s prophecy is so strong that unbelieving scholars have not been able to explain it away. Notice what else this passage does. It promotes Jesus (again) as a shepherd King. (See Micah 5:4) and Lord over this world (Micah 5:2). And once again the theme of peace toward men is emphasized. It is also worth remembering that this is King David’s hometown (I Sam. 16:1). Parting Thought: Since many Bible prophecies are extremely specific, and proven accurate, should we have any trouble believing the Bible when it identifies the fulfillment of more ambiguous prophecies?