Lo, we heard of it at Ephrathah: we found it in the fields of the woods.
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Augustine of Hippo
5. "Lo, we heard of the same at Ephrata" (ver. 6). What? A place for the Lord. "We heard of it at Ephrata: and found it in the plains of the forests." Did he hear it where he found it? or did he hear it in one place, find it in another? Let us therefore enquire what Ephrata is, where he heard it; let us also enquire what mean the plains of the forests, where he found it. Ephrata, a Hebrew word, is rendered in Latin by Speculum, as the translators of Hebrew words in the Scriptures have handed down to us, that we might understand them. They have translated from Hebrew into Greek, and from Greek we have versions into Latin. For there have been who watched in the Scriptures. If therefore Ephrata meaneth a mirror, that house which was found in the woodland plains, was heard of in a mirror. A mirror hath an image: all prophecy is an image of things future. The future house of God, therefore, was declared in the image of prophecy. "We have found it in the plains of the forests." What are the "plains of the forests"? Saltus is not here used in its common sense, as a plot of ground of so many hundred acres; saltus properly signifies a spot as yet untilled and woody. For some copies read, in the plains of the wood. What then were the woodland plains, save nations yet untilled? what were they, save regions yet covered with the thorns of idolatry? Thus, though there were thorns of idolatry there, still we find a place for the Lord there, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. What was declared in the image to the Jews, was manifested in the faith of the Gentiles.