You are here:

Israel/Bethlehem and passover lamb


Just saw your question on a website requesting sourcing for the belief that the passover lambs were raised in Bethlehem.  Did anyone ever reply with good sourcing?  I've been trying to find where this saying comes from for weeks.  Anticipated thanks for any info you can provide.  One website says that its according to "Jewish historians..."

Bethlehem as a place for raising sheep appears once in the Bible (Old Testament)
ISam 16:17
And David departed from Saul and went to tend his father's sheep in Bethlehem.
This event takes place about 1000 years before the birth of Jesus. It's difficult to know what sort of town it was even then, but at least we have this verse.
There are other verses about Bethlehem from this early time, for example in the story where David asks his men to bring him water from the well which is under the control of the Philistines (2Sam 23:14 24) we get the idea that it was mostly a Philistine inhabited and controlled town at this time.
Other verses relating to this time refer to Bethlehem being the city of David. ISam 20:6, 28.
We have no mention of Bethlehem of the land of Judah from the time of Jesus, the 2nd Temple Period, about 1000 after the time of David in the above verses.
In the time of Jesus and later Jews live mostly in the Galillee. This is reflected in Jewish literature of the time of Jesus such as the books of the Macabees and books of the later period, the Mishna and the Talmud, about 100 700 years after the time of Jesus. At that time several towns called Bethlehem existed in the Galillee, not near Jerusalem as the town of Bethlehem of the time of David.
The town (mistakenly) famous as Jesus' birthplace is the town David came from but at the time of Jesus' birth it was mostly under Roman control and we have no idea howmany Jews lived there if at all.
Bethlehem of the Galilee was much more famous as a Jewish town in the time of Jesus than Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah, near Jerusalem.
Bethlehem - same name but different towns. Bethlehem where Jesus was born wasn't the same as Bethlehem where David came from. Once and for all this fact should be clarified.  More research is needed into Roman texts about the Roman control of Bethlehem near Jerusalem at the time of the birth of Jesus.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Leon Gork


I can answer questions on Jewish history and religion, especially the relationship between Judaism and other religions and questions about every aspect of Israel


I've been a tour guide for more than 25 years in Israel and I've taught Jewish History and Religion in various schools at high school level

Israel Tour guides association

BA in comparitive Semitic Languages and 5 years of university study in Jewish philosophy

©2017 All rights reserved.