Historical Xmas Question

In the Charlie Brown Christmas special: When Linus, I believe, explains the meaning of Christmas, he says something about Christ coming from (or going to) the City of David? Is that another name for Bethlehem or Nazareth? Or, is it just wrong?

It presumably refers to Bethlehem, where David was supposedly born.

The name “City of David” can also refer to a part of Jerusalem, too. In the nativity context I imagine it’s the former, though.

Well, according to Wiki, these days it refers to a region of Jerusalem, but I have always understood the reference in the Xmas story was to Bethlehem. Wasn’t the issue that Joseph was a descendant of David, and thus, for the census, although he actually lived in Nazareth, he had to go, with wife, to the town his ancestors came from?

I think the real issue was that the prophecies said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, whereas Jesus was actually from Nazareth.

Again according to Wiki, David did come from Bethlehem.

Darn, you go get the cites and get pipped at the post. :mad:

While I’ve been told the trek to Bethlehem was for the (Roman) census, it’s hard to believe one would have to get to the town of their ancestors. How far back on the family tree were they expected to go? And, wouldn’t that create even more of a census nightmare? Didn’t the Romans want to know how many were residing in which towns?

The notion that anyone was expected to return to ancestral homes is more likely a plot point in Luke’s narrative than an historical event.
From Dex’s staff report on the census:

(Challenges to the report are acceptable, but do not post them in this thread. Start a new thread in either Great Debates or in Comments on Staff Reports and then link to the new thread from a post in this thread. This is not the forum for debate.)

I read a fictional book about Jesus that said his parents had to go to Bethlehem because Joseph was left land in the town by a relative who died. Makes as much since as anything.

After the Exodus, the two spies sent to reconnoiter Canaan were apparently granted land in Judah. Caleb son of Jephunneh is the one most often discussed, but the other one, Salmon son of Nahshon, is key to our story. He settled in Bethlehem, along with his wife Rahab, formerly a businesswoman of Jericho, as did his kinsman Elimelech. When Salmon died is not given, but Elimelech was alive when a famine hit, and he removed to Moab with his wife Naomi and their sons Mahlon and Chilion, who married Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. Ten years after Elimelech died, both their sons died as well, and Naomi chose to return to her home town. Orpah stayed in Moab, Ruth chose to go with Naomi. When they got back there, Salmon had died, and his son Boaz was the major landowner. Ruth set her sights on him, and with Naomi’s coaching landed him. They had a son named Obed, whose son Jesse was Davids father. Both Jesse and David were fertile sorts, and the family spread far and wide (helped, of coruse, by David’s being anointed king). Luke is the one who points out that Boaz was the son of Salmon and Rahab; one wonders if it was his mother’s influence that made him so willing to marry a young widow from Moab.

After tbe Exile, Jewish people (i.e., members of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi) settled Galilee, from which most of the leading families had been taken into an earlier exile under the Assyrians from which they never returned (cf. 10 Lost Tribes). We get a few notes that not all the so-called 10 Lost Tribes were taken away, e.g., Luke mentions the prophetess Anna son of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. But bottom line, Galilee was sparsely populated. The area in between, though, formerly belonging to the Joseph tribes, was populated by half-Jewish half-Gentile descendants of surviving Ephraimites and Manassehites intermarried with people resettled there. This was Samaria.

The whole bit about going to Bethlehem seems to have been, either a totally weird idea of the Romans, or more probably, made up to get someone clearly from Nazareth to have been born in Bethlehem. Since it was basically a census for taxation purposes, consdier how lucky you are to only have to file a 1040, not take it to where your earliest ancestors settled.

City of David, is David the former king.

Like Chicago is “The City of Oprah” :slight_smile: except in the bible Oprah is spelled Orpah

Linus quotes from the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 2:

Bolding mine; the part recited by Linus in italics.