“And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.”
Micah 4:8 ESV
Many of us are familiar with Micah 5:2, which names Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”
Micah 5:2 ESV
But we sometimes skip over Micah 4:8, which says that “kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem” would come to “the tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion.”
“Tower of the flock” in Hebrew is Migdal Eder. It was an actual tower in the fields just outside of Bethlehem, and it served two purposes. One, it provided an elevated vantage point for shepherds to keep watch over their flocks.
But even more importantly, it provided a birthing place for the unblemished lambs that would be used in temple sacrifices. I’ve read that shepherds would wrap perfect lambs in swaddling clothes to ensure that they wouldn’t injure themselves before they were pronounced fit for sacrifice.
So, the tower of the flock could have been the place where shepherds were “abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” And it could have provided an ideal place for Jesus to be born. A place that would have had swaddling clothes on hand in which Mary could wrap Jesus.
Jesus, the spotless lamb of God. Who takes away the sin of the world.
Fit for sacrifice.
Full disclosure, scholars are not in agreement on these details. I’m linking to a couple of articles that argue both sides of this below.
- Migdal Eder and the Birth of Christ
- Was Jesus Born Away in a Manger at Migdal Eder?
- Debunking Popular Christmastime Myths