Bethlehem of Galilee

In studying the book of Judges, brief mention is made of Ibzan of Bethlehem. The text notes that he had 30 sons and 30 daughters, and states that he judged Israel for seven years (Jud. 12:8-10). Very likely this is the Bethlehem of Galilee, not the Bethlehem of Judah, the latter being remembered of course as the birthplace of Jesus (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:1). There were two biblical cities named Bethlehem. This is why the Bible is very specific in clarifying that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah in these texts.

Joshua 19 describes the inheritance of Zebulun (of Galilee) and Bethlehem is included in the list: “Included also were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages” (v.15). Note the location of the map here:

Bethlehem of Galilee. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Bethlehem of Galilee. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Here is a shot of the city sign upon entering from the south.

Bethlehem of the Galilee sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Bethlehem of the Galilee sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The earlier presence of the Templars may still be seen.

Bethlehem Templar Folk House. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Bethlehem Templar Folk House. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Today Bethlehem of the Galilee is a moshav, a cooperative agricultural community of individual farms.

Pasture in Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pasture in Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Cattle at Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Cattle at Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

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3 Responses to Bethlehem of Galilee

  1. Thank you! Fine pictures! I’ve learned about the existence of this town sometimes ago, but I’ve never found out WHY it is likely that this Bethlehem ist Ibzan’s hometown. Which arguments support this assumption?

  2. […] our previous post (click here) on Bethlehem of Galilee we referenced Ibzan (of Judges 12:8-10) of Bethlehem and observed: […]

  3. Leon Mauldin says:

    Hello Ulrich, Thanks for writing. I’ve responded to your question in my post of September 2. Hope this helps.

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