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Micah 5

(5:2) "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."

The gospel of Matthew (2:5-6) claims that Jesus' birth in Bethlehem fulfils this prophecy. But this is unlikely since

  1. "Bethlehem Ephratah" in Micah 5:2 refers not to a town, but to a clan: the clan of Bethlehem, who was the son of Caleb's second wife, Ephrathah (1 Chr.2:18, 2:50-52, 4:4).

  2. The prophecy (if that is what it is) does not refer to the Messiah, but rather to a military leader, as can be seen from verse 5:6. This leader is supposed to defeat the Assyrians, which, of course, Jesus never did.
It should also be noted that Matthew altered the text of Micah 5:2 by saying: "And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda" rather than "Bethlehem Ephratah" as is said in Micah 5:2. He did this, intentionally no doubt, to make the verse appear to refer to the town of Bethlehem rather than the family clan.
5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
5:2 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.
5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
5:4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
5:6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders. (5:6-14)
(5:6) "They shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword."
5:7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
5:8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (5:8) "The remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion ... among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces."
Like a young lion "the remnant of Jacob" will tear the Gentiles to pieces.
5:9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (5:9) "Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off."
5:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: (5:10) "I will cut off thy horses."
5:11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: (5:11-12) "I will cut off the cities of thy land ... And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers."
God will "cut off" the witches and soothsayers.
5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
5:13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. (5:13) "Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands."
5:14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. (5:14-15) "So will I destroy thy cities ... And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard."
God will destroy entire cities, and "execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen such as they have not heard."
Does God get furious?
5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

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Dwindling in Unbelief
Richard Dawkins: The God of the Old Testament (Micah 5:15)