As we have eluded many times before on this site, Bethlehem of the Bible is in the country now called South Africa. Accept that, then you can accept many other things that is very wrong with history today. The place of Bethlehem is described just as in the Bible, with flowing real Mountains and plenty of lush and food producing meadows, intertwined with the purest water coming from Great mountain streams and vast rivers. Land of Milk and Honey !
In ancient Hebrew (southern Sotho) Bethlehem would have sounded something like, House of Bread (in Koine Greek: Βηθλεέμ). For those that know and for those that don't, the area around Bethlehem is where 60% of South Africa's wheat is produced, and the biggest grower and exporter of roses. House of Bread indeed. The soil is good, even different that side the locals claim... Now the earliest known historical mention of Bethlehem is in one of six letters sent to Pharaoh of Egypt (Amara correspondence), there was an Egyptian governor then, by the name of Abdi-Heba, he wanted aid in retaking Bit-Lahmi or Bethlehem, which was caused by a disturbance of mercenaries:
"Now even a town near Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi by name, a village which once belonged to the king, has fallen to the enemy... Let the king hear the words of your servant Abdi-Heba, and send archers to restore the imperial lands of the king!"
Quotes like these (From the Amara Correspondence) are so old they could have a certain degree of truth to them. However most of the contemporary sources we have are just reinterpreting the wrong facts that they have long assumed and stated the severely inaccurate location for the Promised Land. And as a consequence all the historical cities in these areas will also then be wrong. We see here that Bethlehem was close to Jerusalem, so when piecing things together, this needs to be taken into account. Because Jerusalem, was by no means a small place but a vast city with several gates.
Now we know Bethlehem was a city in the Kingdom of Juda, more precise the Hill Country of Judah - The Biblical Ephrath or Fertile ! This is a reference to Book of Mica 5,2. If we read I Samuel 17,12, we see Beth Lehem in The Kingdom of Juda, also described as The City of David. Now the first mentions we see in the Scriptures is as the place where Rachel died and was buried (Genesis 48,7) Now Rachel's Tomb is said to in these parts of the now called Free State. If we read the Book of Ruth we see that in the Valley yo the East is where Ruth of Moab worked the fields and would return to town with Naomi. Furthermore in Bethlehem we see that it was the home of Jesse father of King David, the city is also where Samuel anointed David to be King. There is supposedly now an overgrown or well hidden well in these parts, which is where David got his water when he was hiding in the nearby caves.
Bethlehem has gone through many changes, and during Rehoboams time he made it a fortified city, which would be hard to see remnants of today. Emperor Hadrian did actually destroy the city, on all accounts. but most people know this story, Bethlehem was the birthplace of Immanuel.
According to the Gospel of Matthew 1,18-23 and Luke 2,1-39, Immanuel was born in Bethlehem. The Gospel of Mark however does not mention uMsindisi (Immanuel) being born in Bethlehem, but does state he was from Nazareth or the fact that he was called a Nazaren. Now there is a Nazareth just inside the borders of Lesotho, you can access easy through the Pass of Monantsa you could even walk the distance with ease if you had a couple of days.
Now the tradition of having Immanuel being born i Bethlehem, or in the caves of Bethlehem, means you can check that and actually go there and have a look see for themselves. This very cave is mentioned in The Gospel of James (interesting work but may have been added to) and then furthermore by the church historian Eusebius. Now some of these sources may have been tainted and you see that easily when the location has been subsequently moved to the Middle East. So use caution with reading into these sources.
Jerome, writer of the Latin Vulgate Bible, wrote some strange things in a letter:
"Bethlehem... belonging now to us... was overshadowed by a grove of Tammuz, that is to say, Adonis, and in the cave where once the infant Christ cried, the lover of Venus was lamented."
Jerome seems to imply that were Immanuel was born, there was now a shrine to Tammuz or who the Greeks called Adonis. Eusebius mentions nothing of this, which is interesting as Jerome certainly had been commissioned by Roma to write his Latin Vulgate, a translation full of admissions and omissions of Scriptures and a great step in the moving from the original Bantu language. Could the location had been moved as early as in the time of Jerome? We dont know, but it surely did happen at some point in time.
Now Bethlehem has the main draw of being Immanuel's birthplace, given in numerous prophecies in the Old Testament that uMsindisi was going to be born in Bethlehem, we have the words of the prophet Mica 5,2:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times".
Bethlehem was not an important or strategic place by any accounts at the time of Immanuels birth, King Davids glory had been forgotten, and this city wold have been close to the area or city of Nazareth. And we remember one of the disciples even went as far as to say, can anything good come from Nazareth? Our Saviour/uMsindisi was born there (Luke 2,4-20) while Herod was King over Bethlehem (Matthew 2,1), but Herod was cruel hey. And with the news of the Magai (could be Masaai or further Persians) wise men from the East coming to worship the newly born Saviour, this made Herod feel threatened and scared. He then ordered all male babies under the age of two to be killed in the city (Matthew 2,16-18).
Mary, Joseph and Immanuel fled into Egypt (going up from Bethlehem) after and Angel warned them. They stayed in Egypt until Herod died (Matthew 2,15). this was to fulfil the words of the Prophet Hosea 11,1:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son”
SoNiNi called His Son out of Egypt to return to Bethlehem, the rightful city of the King. Now as we said before Bethlehem means house of Bread, how fitting then that Immanuel says He is the Bread of Life (John 6,35):
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”.
Bread was what they ate back in the day, with dips and sauces. And they did not have glyphosate littered in all of their fields, so their grain was still blessed with rich amounts of vitamin E, particularly healing and helpful against inflammation. Such is not the case today, overgrazing and commercial farming is destroying the crops and peoples digestions. The price of greed and laziness is such a fruit that is poisons everyone that comes after it, unless we start organic and sustainable farming the fields will remain dead and toxic.
Now Bread was staple back then, people would eat bread as their daily meals, and it was also a very central staple or custom in Temple worship. Now Immanuel shows so many things in the person that he was, he came from the House of Bread and said himself, "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6,32-40):
32 Immanuel said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Immanuel declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”