5:2 (5:1) As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 1
seemingly insignificant 2 among the clans of Judah –
from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, 3
one whose origins 4 are in the distant past. 5
5:3 So the Lord 6 will hand the people of Israel 7 over to their enemies 8
until the time when the woman in labor 9 gives birth. 10
Then the rest of the king’s 11 countrymen will return
to be reunited with the people of Israel. 12
5:4 He will assume his post 13 and shepherd the people 14 by the Lord’s strength,
by the sovereign authority of the Lord his God. 15
They will live securely, 16 for at that time he will be honored 17
even in the distant regions of 18 the earth.
1 sn Ephrathah is either an alternate name for Bethlehem or the name of the district in which Bethlehem was located. See Ruth 4:11.
map For location of Bethlehem see Map5-B1; Map7-E2; Map8-E2; Map10-B4.
2 tn Heb “being small.” Some omit לִהְיוֹת (lihyot, “being”) because it fits awkwardly and appears again in the next line.
3 tn Heb “from you for me one will go out to be a ruler over Israel.”
4 tn Heb “his goings out.” The term may refer to the ruler’s origins (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) or to his activities.
5 tn Heb “from the past, from the days of antiquity.” Elsewhere both phrases refer to the early periods in the history of the world or of the nation of Israel. For מִקֶּדֶם (miqqedem, “from the past”) see Neh 12:46; Pss 74:12; 77:11; Isa 45:21; 46:10. For מִימֵי עוֹלָם (mimey ’olam, “from the days of antiquity”) see Isa 63:9, 11; Amos 9:11; Mic 7:14; Mal 3:4. In Neh 12:46 and Amos 9:11 the Davidic era is in view.
sn In riddle-like fashion this verse alludes to David, as the references to Bethlehem and to his ancient origins/activities indicate. The passage anticipates the second coming of the great king to usher in a new era of national glory for Israel. Other prophets are more direct and name this coming ideal ruler “David” (Jer 30:9; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hos 3:5). Of course, this prophecy of “David’s” second coming is actually fulfilled through his descendant, the Messiah, who will rule in the spirit and power of his famous ancestor and bring to realization the Davidic royal ideal in an even greater way than the historical David (see Isa 11:1, 10; Jer 33:15).
6 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the
7 tn Heb “them”; the referent (the people of Israel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 tn The words “to their enemies” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
9 sn The woman in labor. Personified, suffering Jerusalem is the referent. See 4:9-10.
10 sn Gives birth. The point of the figurative language is that Jerusalem finally finds relief from her suffering. See 4:10.
11 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
12 tn Heb “to the sons of Israel.” The words “be reunited with” are supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn The rest of the king’s brothers are the coming king’s fellow Judahites, while the sons of Israel are the northern tribes. The verse pictures the reunification of the nation under the Davidic king. See Isa 11:12-13; Jer 31:2-6, 15-20; Ezek 37; Hos 1:11; 3:5.
13 tn Heb “stand up”; NAB “stand firm”; NASB “will arise.”
14 tn The words “the people” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
15 tn Heb “by the majesty of the name of the
16 tn The words “in peace” are supplied in the translation for clarification. Perhaps וְיָשָׁבוּ (vÿyashavu, “and they will live”) should be emended to וְשָׁבוּ (vÿshavu, “and they will return”).
17 tn Heb “be great.”
18 tn Or “to the ends of.”