Ephrath or Ephratah is the name of a Biblical
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...


The first mention of Ephrath occurs in Genesis, in reference to where Rachel
Rachel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is a prophet and the favorite wife of Jacob, one of the three Biblical Patriarchs, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife...

 dies giving birth to Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

 and is buried on the road from Bethel
Bethel was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim...

. A very old tradition is that Ephrath refers to Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, and thus that she died on the way there, reflected by the ancient Tomb of Rachel
Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb , also known as the Dome of Rachel, , is an ancient structure believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel. It is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a Palestinian city just south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank...

 at the city's entrance.

However, some modern scholars have placed this location closer to Bethel
Bethel was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim...

, in the vicinity of Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

, based on verses in Samuel I
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 and Jeremiah
Book of Jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve....

. A prime candidate according to this view is a site known in Arabic as "kubur beni israil" ("burial of the Children of Israel"), and is adjacent to the "Farah" wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

, whose name recalls "Ephrath".http://amudanan.co.il/?lon=35.2717&lat=31.8423

Throughout much of the Bible, Ephrath is a description for members of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim
Ephraim ; was, according to the Book of Genesis, the second son of Joseph and Asenath. Asenath was an Egyptian woman whom Pharaoh gave to Joseph as wife, and the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of On. Ephraim was born in Egypt before the arrival of the children of Israel from Canaan...

, as well as for the possible founders of Bethlehem.

The birth of Jesus in nearby Bethlehem in the territory of or "towards Ephrata" (Bethlehem Ephrata) has always been accounted by Christians a fulfillment of the prophecy in Micah
Book of Micah
The Book of Micah is one of fifteen prophetic books in the Hebrew bible/Old Testament, and the sixth of the twelve minor prophets. It records the sayings of Mikayahu, meaning "Who is like Yahweh?", an 8th century prophet from the village of Moresheth in Judah...

 (5:2) [5:1 by Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

's count]:
"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." (King James Version).

Ephrath was the wife of Caleb
Caleb is a male given name. A character called Caleb is named in both the Bible and Quran.-Caleb:When the Hebrews came to the outskirts of Canaan, the land that had been promised to them by God, after having fled slavery in Egypt, Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan to report on what was...

 (son of Hezron) and mother of Hur (I Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 ii. 19 and 50; iv. 4). According to Jewish tradition this was another name for Miriam.

Geographic Names

Some modern places are named after Ephrath:

The Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 of Efrat, near Bethlehem

The town of Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Ephrata, Pennsylvania
Ephrata is a borough in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States, south east of Harrisburg and about west by north of Philadelphia. It is named after Ephrath, a biblical town in what is now Israel. Ephrata's sister city is Eberbach, Germany, the city where its founders originated. In its...

The town of Ephratah, New York
Ephratah, New York
Ephratah is a town in Fulton County, New York, United States. The population was 1,693 at the 2000 census. The name is from the Bible and means "fruitful."...

The town of Ephrata, Washington
Ephrata, Washington
Ephrata is a city in Grant County, Washington, United States. The population was 6,808 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Grant County.-History:...

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