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But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

5:2 Bethlehem-Ephratah. This remarkable prophecy of the birthplace of the coming Messiah was fully accepted as such by the Jewish scribes at the time of Christ (Matthew 2:4-6). Bethlehem, as indicated, was an insignificant village, hardly the place for a king to be born; there were numerous more likely cities in the land of Judah, especially Jerusalem. Yet the prophet foresaw, over five hundred years in advance, the unlikely village of Bethlehem as His birthplace.

5:2 from everlasting. The Messiah was to be brought forth as a baby in Bethlehem, but was also to have been “going forth” from eternity. Such an amazing prophecy sounds impossible, but was literally fulfilled when God became man, in divine incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ. The “goings-forth” of Deity also imply the perpetually outflowing energy which sustains the created universe, “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3).

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