In the New Testament

Nativity-Saint Catherine

The faith in the fulfillment of the prophetic announcement of the birth in Bethlehem of a descendant of David was well rooted in the Judaic tradition at the time of Jesus. Indeed, when Herod asked the high priests where the Messiah was to be born they replied without hesitation: “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet” (Matt 2:5).

Both Matthew and Luke refer to Jesus’ birth “in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod” (Matt 2:1) and in “the city of David that is called Bethlehem” (Luke 2:4).

Luke recounts in addition that Joseph, a member of the house of David, accompanied by Mary his betrothed who was with child, set out from Nazareth for Bethlehem, on account of the Roman census that obliged all Jews to be registered in their place of origin. Matthew’s account, on the other hand, seems to suggest that Mary and Joseph had always been residents of Bethlehem and only later moved to Nazareth.

Other events related to the birth of Jesus also took place in Bethlehem. Luke narrates the coming of the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20), while Matthew adds the story of the coming of the Magi from the East and their journey to Bethlehem (Matt 2:1-12) as well as that of the Massacre of the Innocents and the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt (Matt 2:13-23).

In the Old Testament 

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