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Ephrath or Ephrathah or Ephratah (Hebrew: אֶפְרָת \ אֶפְרָתָה) is a biblically referenced former name of Bethlehem,[1] meaning "fruitful".[2] It is also a personal name.[citation needed]

Biblical place[edit]

A very old tradition holds that Ephrath refers to Bethlehem,[1] as the first mention of Ephrath occurs in Genesis,[3] in reference to the place where Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin and was buried on the road from Bethel. Evidence that she died on the way there is reflected by the ancient Rachel's tomb at the city's entrance.

Throughout much of the Bible, Ephrath is a description for members of the Israelite tribe of Judah, as well as for possible founders of Bethlehem.[4]

Ephrath, or Bethlehem, is 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."[5]

Personal name[edit]

Caleb's second wife[6] was called Ephrath (or Ephrathah).

Locations named after Ephrath[edit]

Some modern places named after Ephrath include:


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