EPHRATH (Heb. אֶפְרָת), an additional name for bethlehem of Judah: "Ephrath – the same is Bethlehem" (Gen. 35:19; 48:7; LXX, Josh. 15:59b; cf. Micah 5:1). In the genealogical tables in the Bible, which provide information on the distribution of the clans and the places occupied by them, Ephrath appears as the wife of Caleb and the mother of "Hur the first-born of Ephrath, the father of Bethlehem" (I Chron. 2:19, 50; 4:4). The various biblical references apparently indicate that in addition to the Calebite clans, originating from the south, the Ephrathites, who possibly were of a different origin, also penetrated into the Bethlehem district, and their influence there was so great that the chief city of the district was named for them. Jesse, David's father, was called "Ephrathite" (I Sam. 17:12) and so were Naomi's sons (Ruth 1:2). (Moshe Kochavi)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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