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EPHRATAH, EPHRATH, EPHRATHAH (ĕf'răth-a, Heb. ’ephrāth, fruitful land)

The place where Rachel was buried (Gen.35.16).Second wife of Caleb, son of Hezron. She was the mother of Hur (1Chr.2.19-1Chr.2.20).The ancient name of Bethlehem or the district around it. This name is attached to that of Bethlehem in the great prophecy of the place of the birth of Christ (Mic.5.2).

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).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The name either of Bethlehem itself or of a district in which Bethlehem was situated. A man of this place was called an Ephrathite (Ru 1:2; 1Sa 17:12). It is held by many authorities that the Ephrath where Rachel was buried (Ge 35:16; 48:7) was a different place, the words "the same is Bethlehem" being a gloss. The reading in Ps 132:6 is doubtful; the Revised Version, margin has "Ephraim."