As promised in Bethlehem
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
Too small to be listed among the cities of Judah--It was so small that in both Joshua 15 and Nehemiah 11 it is overlooked in the listing of cities in Judah.
Too small to produce a military leader—larger towns had their own commander, a town of Bethlehem’s size was lumped in under another city’s commander.
But it was the town of David—Israel’s greatest king, and Christ’s birth there emphasizes that he would be a great leader.
God’s selection of Bethlehem emphasizes that God’s way is often to pick those who seem insignificant and to provide help from unexpected places.
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times. "
Emphasizes both the lineage of David and the eternal nature of Christ. Jesus did not first appear in Bethlehem—he was eternal.
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth
and the rest of his brothers return
to join the Israelites.
I think there’s clearly a reference to the nativity here—the birth of Jesus as a king, but there is also a clear indication that the role of the promised one will be not to set Israel up to rule over the world , but to raise up from Israel a leader who would unite the world in His kingdom.
Jesus came to restore the brokenness of humanity in every way—restoring even the rifts between peoples and nations. He would not be a Jewish Messiah, but the savior of the World
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the LORD ,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
At the time of the prophecy, Judah had suffered under a series of very fallible kings—even the best of them demonstrated human weakness and failure. The lineage of David had been a major disappointment.
The promise was that in messiah, there would be a truly great king—a shepherd king in the tradition of David. Jesus calls himself the good shepherd and he cared about his flock before himself.
People will fail you. So often I’ve talked to people who have given up on their relationship with the Lord because they’ve had their eyes on people. I’ll fail you. I’ll forget your announcements, I’ll leave my mugs in the church’s kitchen sink. But you’re not here to worship me and I’m only here to point you to the one who never fails you.
5 And he will be their peace.
Peace here is Shalom. Not simply the absence of conflict. Messiah will set everything right