Six Surprising Facts About the Lord's Birthplace
(that You Might Not Have Heard Before)
2. Bethlehem was not the insignificant isolated village that we often think it to be. The reason why "there was no room for them in the inn," was not only because of the tax registration, but very likely also because Bethlehem was an important stop-over and supply-city on the principal trade route from Jerusalem to Egypt.
3. Far from just spending the night, Bethlehem was where Joseph and Mary lived for more than a year before being warned to flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:13). It is almost certain that they would have taken the same Bethlehem to Egypt trade route being well provisioned by the gifts of the Magi.
4. Bethlehem was the location where the shepherds who "tending their flocks by night" received the glorious news of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:8-20). It has been theorized that these men were no ordinary shepherds. They were very likely employees of the Temple (only about 6 miles away) charged with tending the priest's sacrificial sheep and lambs. Interestingly this means that those who first learned of the birth of "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, ESV) were the very men whose flocks foretold His coming.
5. Bethlehem and Jerusalem which are about 6 miles apart both rise to approximately the same elevation above sea level (slightly less than 2,500 ft.). Thus, the place of Jesus' birth was/is in sight of the place of His death. Furthermore, the place of His ascension (the Mount of Olives), being somewhat higher than both, looks down on the place of His birth, and crucifixion.
6. Bethlehem is located within eyeshot (nearly three miles southeast) of the Herodian, the highest peak in the Judean Desert. The Herodian was/is a manmade mountain built by King Herod the Great to serve as his burial place. Herod the Great would be buried there only two years after ordering the "slaughter of the innocents" (Matthew 2:16). Interestingly the burial place of King Herod the Great was plainly visible from the birthplace of the infant King of Kings who Herod had attempted to murder.