Ephrath, Ephrathah

EPHRATH, EPHRATHAH ĕf’ rəth, ĕf’ rə thə (אֶפְרָ֔ת, אֶפְרָ֑תָה; KJV EPHRATAH, ĕf’ rä tä). 1. A city or area in Judaea which is connected with Bethlehem. Possibly it was originally independent but was absorbed into Bethlehem at a later date. Elimelech and his family were “Ephrathites from Bethlehem” (Ruth 1:2; cf. 1 Sam 17:12). The two places are identified in the compound form (Mic 5:2) and as the burial place of Rachel (Gen 35:19; 48:7).

2. Since the burial place of Rachel is elsewhere set in the territory of Benjamin (1 Sam 10:2; Jer 31:15) and since Genesis 35:16 suggests a considerable distance between Bethlehem and Ephrath, the parenthetical references in Genesis 35:19 and 48:7 often have been regarded as inaccurate glosses. This would indicate a third Ephrath, on the northern border of Benjamin.

3. An area in Pal. (Ps 132:6) which appears to be connected with Kiriath-jearim (“Jaar”) from where the Ark was brought to Jerusalem (cf. the connection of Ephrathah, Bethlehem and Kiriath-jearim in 1 Chronicles 2:50-52).

4. The second wife of Caleb, the mother of Hur and Ashhur (1 Chron 2:19, 24, 50; 4:4).