But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
History doesn't repeat itself, said Mark Twain, but it sure does rhyme. Here is a classic bit of rhyming history. David was the runt of Jesse's litter, but it was to him that God gave the kingdom and promised that one of his sons would always be on the throne of Israel. When Israel went to pieces, the nation was promised that an heir of David–the Son of David or Anointed One or Messiah–would fulfill the promises to the House of David. This coming rule was to come from "the city of David": Bethlehem, as David had. He too had humble origins. He too was exalted to kingship by God, not by Might Makes Right. And his origins were indeed "from of old". Humanly speaking, he was from the House of David: a line extending back a thousand years. But he was, in his other nature, even older than that. As he himself said: "Abraham rejoiced to see my day." But as his apostle John said even more profoundly: Jesus "was with God in the beginning."