Artifact Confirms Ancient Bethlehem

Ancient Bethlehem

A small clay seal

by Brian Thomas, Ph.D.

The city of Bethlehem has a very long and storied history, and its great antiquity was just confirmed by the discovery of a small clay seal called a “bulla.” According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, Bethlehemites used the bulla to seal an ancient shipment of a tax payment to Jerusalem during the First Temple period of the kings. Thus, it is the oldest indication of Bethlehem among archaeological artifacts.

First mentioned in Genesis, Bethlehem was the home of one of Israel’s judges before the period of its kings even began. About 400 years before it was fulfilled in exact detail, the prophet Micah wrote, “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; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” …

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image credit: “Entry of the Pilgrims into the village Bethlehem”, engraving by Karl Oenike wikimedia commons