The old Hebrew name bêth lehem, meaning “house of bread”, has survived till the present day. In its Arabic form, however, bêt lahm,it means “house of meat”. Several scholars (Smith, Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land, 1906, 318. n. 2) hold that the name is connected with Lakhmu, one of the divinities in the Babylonian Creation myth and that Bethlehem was a sacred shrine of that god in ancient times. This is possible, but there is no actual evidence in favor of the conjecture. Two cities of the name are known from Sacred Scripture: Bethlehem and Bethlehem of Judea.
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