Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Was There Really "No Room at the Inn"?
Good News Magazine ^ | Dec 2012 | Tom Robinson,Mario Siegle

Posted on 12/20/2013 2:45:07 PM PST by DouglasKC

Most have taken for granted Jesus' nativity story as commonly related - that when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem there was no room in an inn so Mary ended up giving birth to Jesus in a stable. But is this the true account in Scripture? See for yourself!

A typical translation of Luke 2:7 says about Mary giving birth to Jesus, "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (New King James Version).

We've grown up hearing the account that the "inn" in Bethlehem was full, with no "room" available, so Joseph and Mary ended up in a stable, with Jesus Christ born and laid in a manger there. This image has been used to promote the typical Christmas nativity scene for generations. Yet a careful analysis of the biblical text reveals quite a different story!

Not an inn but a guest room

The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Greek word translated "inn" here is kataluma. It means a place of rest, usually a guest room. In fact, the same writer Luke uses this very word later where it clearly refers to a guest room and not an inn. Notice Luke 22:11, where Jesus said to His disciples, "Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "'Where is the guest room [ kataluma ] where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"'" (emphasis added throughout).

Furthermore, Luke elsewhere in his Gospel uses a different Greek word when he writes about an actual inn— not the word kataluma. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus mentions that the injured man in the story was taken to an inn—and here Luke translates using the Greek word pandokheion, the normal word for an inn. We read this in Luke 10:34, where the kind Samaritan set the injured man "on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him."

Interestingly, the Arabic and Syriac versions of the New Testament, which reflect more of a Middle Eastern context, have never translated kataluma as meaning an inn, but instead as a guest room. As Kenneth Bailey, a Middle Eastern and New Testament scholar points out, "This translation [of the word as 'inn'] is a product of our Western heritage" ("The Manger and the Inn: The Cultural Background of Luke 2:7," Bible and Spade, Fall 2007, p. 103).

In addition, Young's Literal Translation uses the term "guest-chamber" instead of an inn. It says: "And she brought forth her son—the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber ."

Note also the word here translated "place" or "room." In the context of "inn," most assume this is referring to an individual room ("no room in the inn"), yet even inns of that time did not often have individual rooms. The reference is simply to space. What Luke is telling us is that there was not enough room, or enough space, for them in the guest room.

The linguistic evidence shows that Luke used the term kataluma to mean not an inn, but the guest room— indeed, "the" guest room (the definite article is used) of a particular house.

Historical factors

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, after pointing out that the word kataluma is used elsewhere in the Gospels for the guest chamber of a private home, comments: "Was the 'inn' at Bethlehem, where Joseph and Mary sought a night's lodging, an upper guest room in a private home or some kind of public place for travelers? The question cannot be answered with certainty. It is thought by some that it may have been a guest chamber provided by the community. We know that visitors to the annual feasts in Jerusalem were entertained in the guest rooms of private homes" (1982, Vol. 2, "Inn," p. 826). Another factor that powerfully argues against this term meaning an inn is that these places were not appropriate to giving birth to a child. Inns at that time were far from anything like typical motels or hotels we might think of today. "Generally speaking, inns had a bad reputation . . . This ill repute of public inns, together with the Semitic spirit of hospitality, led the Jews and the early Christians to recommend the keeping of an open house for the benefit of strangers" (ibid.).

Besides, for commercial reasons inns were usually found along the major roads. Yet Bethlehem was a small town in the upper mountains of Judea, and no major Roman road is known to have passed through it. Since it seems to have been an insignificant village at the time, it's doubtful that an inn even existed there then.

This gives yet more reason to realize that what Luke really wrote is that there was no room in the guest chamber. Certainly, due to the Roman census being taken at the time and the huge number of people traveling to their birthplaces, available space in the guest quarters was scarce.

So the question then becomes: Does that mean Joseph and Mary aimed to stay in someone's home but, since the guest room was full, were turned out into the night to a stable? When Mary was in labor? That might seem worse than being turned away from an inn. Of course, both scenarios seem rather terrible—certainly downright inhospitable, which is far out of line from the way things were at that time.

A culture of hospitality and honoring kinship

In Christ's day, hospitality to visitors among the Jews was essential, based on biblical example and law. In Deuteronomy 10:19, God told the Israelites to "love the stranger." And Leviticus 19:33 stated, "If a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him." Denial of hospitality was shown throughout Scripture to be an outrage. Hospitality toward visitors is still important throughout the Middle East.

Moreover, since Bethlehem was Joseph's ancestral home, he probably had relatives there. And being a descendant of King David, whose hometown this was, he would have been highly respected upon his arrival. Think of a descendant of George Washington coming to his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, after a long lapse of time. The townspeople would've shown him respect.

As Bailey explains: "[My] thirty-year experience with villagers in the Middle East is that the intensity of honor shown to the passing guest is still very much in force, especially when it is a returning son of the village who is seeking shelter. We have observed cases where a complete village has turned out in a great celebration to greet a young man who has suddenly arrived unannounced in the village, which his grandfather had left many years before" (p. 103).

It should also be pointed out that childbirth was a major event at that time. In a small village like Bethlehem, many neighboring women would have come to help in the birth. Bailey states: "In the case of a birth, the men will sit apart with the neighbors, but the room will be full of women assisting the midwife. A private home would have bedding, facilities for heating water and all that is required for any peasant birth" (p. 102).

What this all means is that it would have been unthinkable and an unimaginable insult and affront to societal decency for Joseph, a returning village son, and his laboring wife to need to seek shelter in an unsavory inn to have a baby of Davidic descent—and then, even worse, to be sent out to have the birth in a stable. This simply cannot be what happened. Nor can it be that they were sent out into the night from a private home.

So what actually happened?

Reading the text carefully

Regrettably, the birth of Christ is later overlaid with so much tradition and legend about Christmas that it's hard to let the biblical text speak for itself.

The common assumption is that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem and, being hastened by her labor pains, rushed to an inn only to find it full with no vacancies, so they ended up in a stable where she gave birth.

However, a careful reading of the text shows us they had already been in Bethlehem for some days when she went into labor. Notice carefully Luke 2:4-6:

"Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered."

Consequently, they must have already been lodging somewhere in Bethlehem when her birth pangs began—and this was surely not a stable for a period of days. Could not Joseph have found a more suitable lodging place for his pregnant wife in that amount of time? Of course.

In fact, we should realize that not far from here dwelt Mary's cousin Elizabeth, whom Mary had lived with for a while during her pregnancy (Luke 1:39-40). If they were seeking a place to stay for days, why didn't they go to Elizabeth's house? The answer is simple. They found a house in which to stay in Bethlehem—probably that of Joseph's relatives.

And being in these accommodations already, it makes no sense for them to suddenly be out seeking a room in an inn or anywhere else at the time of Mary's labor. Yet we might still be asking: So why were they sent out to a stable? The answer is, they weren't.

Birth in a house, not a stable

The Archaeological Study Bible offers some helpful background: "The 'manger' was the feeding trough of the animals. This is the only indication that Jesus was born in a stable. Very early tradition suggests that his birthplace was a cave, perhaps being used as a stable. " Justin Martyr in the second century A.D. stated that Jesus' birth took place in a cave close to the village. Over this traditional manger site the emperor Constantine (A.D. 330) and his mother, Helena, constructed the Church of the Nativity" (2005, p. 1669).

Note that it is only the manger, an animal food or water trough, that gives any indication of a stable. And indeed a manger might well have been found in a stable. But it's important to realize that they were also to be found within first-century homes!

A typical Judean house of that day consisted of an area near the door, often with a dirt floor, where the family's animals were kept at night—so they wouldn't be stolen or preyed upon and so their body heat could help warm the home on cool nights. The family lived and slept in a raised part of the same room set back from the door. There was also usually a guest room either upstairs on a second floor or adjoining the family common room on the lower floor. Typically the lower area near the door had a manger for food and/or water for the animals.

Eric F.F. Bishop, an expert in Middle East culture, noted that the birth of Christ probably took place in "one of the Bethlehem houses with the lower section provided for the animals, with mangers 'hollowed in stone,' the dais [or raised area] being reserved for the family. Such a manger being immovable, filled with crushed straw, would do duty for a cradle. An infant might even be left in safety, especially if swaddled, when the mother was absent on temporary business" ( Jesus of Palestine, 1955, p. 42).

Yet another authority on Middle Eastern life, Gustaf Dalmann, stated: "In the East today the dwelling-place of man and beast is often in one and the same room. It is quite the usual thing among the peasants for the family to live, eat, and sleep on a kind of raised terrace . . . in the one room of the house, while the cattle, particularly donkeys and oxen, have their place below on the actual floor . . . near the door; this part sometimes is continued along under the terrace as a kind of low vault. On this floor the mangers are fixed, either to the floor, or to the wall, or at the edge of the terrace" ( Sacred Sites and Ways, 1935, p. 41).

This scene of an ox or donkey in the house at night might go against our Western sensibilities. Yet, as Bailey comments: "It is we in the West who have decided that life with these great gentle beasts is culturally unacceptable. The raised terrace on which the family ate, slept and lived was unsoiled by the animals, which were taken out each day and during which time the lower level was cleaned. Their presence was in no way offensive" (p. 105). Of course, the animals could have been taken outside when the actual birth was occurring.

Consider that the medium of En Dor whom King Saul sinfully consulted with "had a fatted calf in the house," which she killed to prepare a meal for Saul and his men (1 Samuel 28:24). It was more often the wealthy who had stables for their animals apart from the house.

Thus, a more realistic view of what occurred with Christ's birth according to the customs of the time is that the manger was in a house and not in a stable. It should be stated that this could conceivably have involved a cave, but that's only because some houses were built over caves. Yet this was not the norm. And the cave imagery may come from pagan myth about the Persian sun-god Mithras, who was supposedly born in a cave—along with the belief of some that Christ's birth had to have been in seclusion, as we will see.

The pieces fall into place

What we've seen so far explains a great deal.

Some might object that Mary and Joseph being accommodated in the family common room of a house instead of the guest room is itself inhospitable. But as Bailey points out: "No unkindness or lack of hospitality is implied when the Holy Family is taken into the main family room of the home in which they are entertained. The guest room is full. The host is not expected to ask prior guests . . . to leave. Such would be quite unthinkable and, in any case, unnecessary. The large family room is more appropriate in any case" (p. 104).

Indeed, considering all the women that would be going in and out of the room during the birth, having Mary stay in the main room would probably have seemed the wisest choice to everyone concerned. In fact, it's possible that Luke's mention of there being no room or space meant that this particular guest room was too small for all the birth activity.

Bailey continues in regard to understanding kataluma as meaning the guest room: "This option admirably fulfills both the linguistic requirements of the text and the cultural requirements of the village scene. This translation gives new understanding to the story of Jesus' birth. Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem. They find shelter with a family whose separate guest room is full [or too small], and are accommodated among the family in acceptable village style. The birth takes place there on the raised terrace of the family home, and the baby is laid in a manger . . . "The (Palestinian) reader [of Luke's account] instinctively thinks, 'Manger—oh—they are in the main family room. Why not the guest room?' The author instinctively replies, 'Because there was no place for them in the guest room.' The reader concludes, 'Ah, yes—well, the family room is more appropriate anyway.' Thus, with the translation 'guest room,' all of the cultural, historical and linguistic pieces fall into place" (p. 104).

The reaction of the shepherds

Another element of the story that reinforces the picture here is that of the shepherds who received the announcement of the birth of the Savior, the Lord Messiah, and where to find Him that night from an angel (Luke 2:8-11). As men of the lower ranks of society, they may not have felt they would be received well in visiting a king, but the angel told them that as a sign they would find the child lying in a manger (verse 12).

"That is," says Bailey in an insightful book he has written, "they would find the Christ child in an ordinary peasant home such as theirs. He was not in a governor's mansion or a wealthy merchant's guest room but in a simple two-room home like theirs" ( Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, 2008, p. 35).

Luke's account further states that the shepherds "came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger" (verse 16). On arriving they made "widely known" what had been announced to them (verse 17)—showing that there were many people there. And when they left, they went out "praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen" (verse 20).

Bailey points out: "The word all obviously included the quality of the hospitality that they witnessed on arrival. Clearly, they found the holy family in perfectly adequate accommodations, not in a dirty stable. If, on arrival, they had found a smelly stable, a frightened young mother and a desperate Joseph, they would have said, 'This is outrageous! Come home with us! Our women will take care of you!'

"Within five minutes the shepherds would have moved the little family to their own homes. The honor of the entire village would rest on their shoulders and they would have sensed their responsibility to do their duty. The fact that they walked out, without moving the young family, means that the shepherds felt they could not offer better hospitality than what had already been extended to them" (pp. 35-36, emphasis in original).

Where does this leave us?

So what are the implications of upending the traditional view of the Christmas nativity scene?

We should first ask, given the facts we've seen, why has there been such an insistence since early centuries that the birth setting of Christ was a stable or cave with no one around—perhaps even outside the town, as some have even contended?

Bailey reveals: "After reading a number of Arabic and Syriac fathers' writings on the question, one has the distinct feeling there is an unspoken subjective pressure to understand the birth as having taken place without witnesses because of the sacred nature of the 'mother of God' giving birth to the 'Son of God.' "Even as the sacraments are consecrated in utter seclusion behind an altar screen, so the eyes of even the faithful might not look on the holy event, even so Middle Eastern Christology, Mariology and piety seem to combine to insist that the birth took place where no eye beheld the divine mystery" ("The Manger and the Inn," p. 105). Yet this is a fiction straight out of ancient pagan mystery religion. The reality is quite different, as we've seen. While Jesus was conceived of God the Father through the Holy Spirit, His was nonetheless a typical birth for the common man of His day. Though begotten of God, He truly came as one of us.

As for the common tradition, Kenneth Bailey concludes: "We all face the enormous weight of church tradition which surrounds us with the 'no room at the inn' mythology. If our conclusions are valid, thousands of good Christmas sermons, plays, filmstrips, films, poems, songs and books will have to be discarded.

"But is the traditional myth of a lonely birth in a stable a help or a hindrance to the reality the text proclaims? Surely a more authentic cultural understanding enhances the meaning of the story, rather than diminishing it.

"Jesus was rejected at His birth by Herod, but the Bethlehem shepherds welcomed Him with great joy, as did the common people in later years. The city of David was true to its own, and the village community provided for Him. He was born among them, in the natural setting of the birth of any village boy, surrounded by helping hands and encouraging women's voices.

"For centuries Palestinian peasants have been born on the raised terraces of the one-room family homes. The birth of Jesus was no different. His incarnation was authentic. His birth most likely took place in the natural place for a peasant to be born—in a peasant home" (pp. 105-106). Let's be thankful that we can examine the biblical text without the hidden biases of religious tradition—and that we don't have to prop up a wrong meaning of a term in order to keep alive the religious myths of Christmas. The Bereans left us with a wonderful example on how we should base our faith. Luke commended them by saying in Acts 17:11, "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."

May we all do the same!


TOPICS: General Discusssion; History
KEYWORDS: blasphemy; inn; jesus; manger
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

1 posted on 12/20/2013 2:45:07 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC; All

Another article from the UCG cult on FR? A disclaimer is needed:

Founder: It was founded “by Bob Dick and David Hulme, in Arcadia, CA;”1 offshoot of Herbert W. Armstrong and was formed in May of 1995.

Headquarters: Milford, Ohio

Membership: unknown

Origins: The United Church of God is an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God. They claim to trace their origins back to the “Church that Jesus founded in the early first century.”2 How this is done is not explained.

Practices: Worship on Saturday

Analysis: The United Church of God is a non-Christian cult that denies the Trinity, the true divinity of Christ, and requires both baptism and obedience to the commandments to be saved. It teaches that there is a “God family” of which we can become members through keeping the Law. Jesus is one of two divine beings, the Father being the other. The Holy Spirit is a force, a power, and is not the 3rd person of the Trinity, and it is received only through the laying on of hands by their church members. It also teaches that their members are obligated to keep the Sabbath and must observe seven festivals. They cannot eat unclean meat. This is a false religious system that teaches a false God, false Christ, and false gospel. Stay away from it.

Other Teachings:

They teach that the wicked, or unsaved, are not alive in hell but are annihilated. Baptism is by immersion. The Bible is inspired and inerrant. They are pre-millennial and maintain that Satan is a fallen, evil angel. Christians are not to go to war and should refuse being drafted.

Quotes

God: God consists of two different beings, Father and Son, in a ‘family.’
“...the one God is a family, presently consisting of God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. And God is in the process of adding to the divine family multitudes of others - eventually all human beings who are willing and who faithfully choose to follow God’s way...the Father and Jesus Christ are both God...The real message in these pronouncements is that there is no other God apart from the true God’that is, outside the God family now consisting of two divine Beings, the Father and the Son. In short, the God family alone is God...the true God means the one God family to which others will yet be added.”3
Holy Spirit: The UCOG denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God’s divine power. “...the Holy Spirit is the very nature, presence and expression of God’s power actively working in His servants...the very essence and life force through which the Father begets human beings as His spiritual children...The Holy Spirit is spoken of in many ways that demonstrate that it is not a divine person.”4
The Holy Spirit is received by the laying on of hands, after being water baptized by immersion.5
Jesus
“Jesus is one of two divine beings”6
Jesus is sinless, the creator of all humanity, who was raised from the dead, (physical resurrection is not explained).
Jesus will return
Law: “The Ten Commandments are the 10 points of God’s law of love. We believe that breaking any one point of the law brings upon a person the penalty of sin. We believe that this fundamental spiritual law reveals the only way to true life and the only possible way of happiness, peace and joy.”7
Man
Man is fallen but can become “partakers of the divine nature.” This means that they can be added to the God Family.
After death, you cease to exist but are resurrected for judgment. “The soul ( nephesh ) is not immortal, because it dies...what happens to the spiritual essence that separates man from animal? Does it continue as a conscious, immortal soul independent of the physical body? Certainly not!”8
“We believe that at the return of Jesus Christ a resurrection to spirit life will take place for all who have been God’s faithful servants.”9
Sabbath: Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the proper day to worship God.
Salvation - Salvation is through Jesus only, but you must be baptized to be saved. Salvation can be lost.
You must acknowledge your sin, that your sin condemns you, and that you need forgiveness in Jesus. The person must repent and be baptized. You “...must forsake the sinful ways that brought the death penalty upon us and made Jesus’ sacrifice necessary in the first place. We must undergo a life-transforming change of heart and direction, a process the Bible calls repentance....When you are baptized, God forgives your past sins and clears your record...After our baptism, Christ’s ministers are to place their hands on us and pray for the gift of God’s Spirit for us. It is at this point that God gives His Spirit to a repentant, baptized person.”10
“After baptism and our receiving of God’s Spirit, we are justified. That is, we become righteous in God’s sight”11
“If we stumble and sin after baptism, we must ask God’s forgiveness and return to Him so that our state of forgiveness is not lost by our return to our old sinful way of life...If a Christian at some time during his life, after committing to serve God, turns away and renounces Jesus and God’s way in word or action, he will lose his salvation.”12

The saved don’t go to heaven but will live on earth with Jesus.

“God will offer salvation all who have lived, including those of non-Christian religions, in a time described in Revelation 22: 5, 11-13 . This is a period known as the Great White Throne Judgment when God will offer salvation, through Christ, to those denied such opportunity in their life.”13
“We believe God’s purpose for mankind is to prepare those whom He calls, and who elect through a life of overcoming sin, developing righteous character and growing in grace and knowledge, to possess God’s Kingdom and become kings and priests reigning with Christ at His return.”14
“Such individuals are justified, pardoned from the penalty of sin and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which literally abides within them and supplies the divine love that alone can fulfill the law and produce righteousness.”15

Footnotes at link:

http://carm.org/ucog


2 posted on 12/20/2013 2:54:11 PM PST by Greetings_Puny_Humans (I mostly come out at night... mostly.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Greetings_Puny_Humans

Thank you.


3 posted on 12/20/2013 2:58:51 PM PST by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males----the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization.))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC
"No room at the inn" is V65.0
4 posted on 12/20/2013 2:59:56 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

IF there was to have been guest room as the article states, maybe they were turned away because villagers and family members believed that Joseph and Mary had lived in sin and had created a child out of wedlock. It may explain rudeness and non-welcoming attitudes. Also, with the Romans staying in and occupying the village, customs may have had to change, albeit temporarily.

I’ve read, who knows where, that the inn was more like a hostel and the couple may not have wanted to have their child born in the open with people of all ages and sexes looking on.

I don’t hold much stock in anything Herbert W. Armstrong’s group says, though.


5 posted on 12/20/2013 3:18:48 PM PST by madison10
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

Don’t relly care in this instance whether it was a hotel room or a guest room, it has the same result.

It’s always nice to be as accurate as possible, but in my humble opinion, this distinction doen’t mean a whit.

He was born in a manger reflects His humble beginnings, regardless the reason for it to have happened that way.


6 posted on 12/20/2013 3:22:40 PM PST by SolidRedState (I used to think bizarro world was a fiction.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

And the point is ....................?


7 posted on 12/20/2013 3:26:37 PM PST by Elsiejay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

They didn't have any of these around back then

8 posted on 12/20/2013 3:31:25 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

Of course the inn was booked up. You know how hard it is to find a hotel room for Christmas?


9 posted on 12/20/2013 3:40:12 PM PST by Organic Panic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

10 posted on 12/20/2013 3:41:16 PM PST by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: madison10
IF there was to have been guest room as the article states, maybe they were turned away because villagers and family members believed that Joseph and Mary had lived in sin and had created a child out of wedlock.

Maybe...

It may explain rudeness and non-welcoming attitudes. Also, with the Romans staying in and occupying the village, customs may have had to change, albeit temporarily.

I'm not certain how they would have known the situation.

I don’t hold much stock in anything Herbert W. Armstrong’s group says, though.

What gph posts (and spams) is inaccurate at best and malicious at worst...

See: United Church of God

11 posted on 12/20/2013 3:45:44 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: BerryDingle

lol


12 posted on 12/20/2013 3:47:04 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: madison10
the couple may not have wanted to have their child born in the open with people of all ages and sexes looking on.

I've read that also, and it makes perfectly good sense.

I also read somewhere that Mary and Joseph settled in a sukkah or booth, Jesus being born during the Feast of Tabernacles. Apparently it was common for out-of-town guests to move into booths left purposely for them. And the manger could have been a "shelf" where food was left for the guests. What better fulfillment of the prophecy that God would one day tabernacle with His people than for Jesus to be born in a sukkah, and what better place for the Bread of Life to be placed than a "food shelf"?

13 posted on 12/20/2013 3:48:50 PM PST by Former Fetus (Saved by grace through faith)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

Great article! Thanks for sharing!


14 posted on 12/20/2013 3:51:02 PM PST by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Chode
No room at the inn" is V65.0

thanks

15 posted on 12/20/2013 3:51:46 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: SolidRedState
Don’t relly care in this instance whether it was a hotel room or a guest room, it has the same result. It’s always nice to be as accurate as possible, but in my humble opinion, this distinction doen’t mean a whit. He was born in a manger reflects His humble beginnings, regardless the reason for it to have happened that way.

I think that not accurately presenting biblical events can lead to a slippery slope of apostasy.

16 posted on 12/20/2013 3:54:25 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Greetings_Puny_Humans

Ooops. Didn’t know that. Thought it was a good read and said as much before checking any other comments. Again, oops.


17 posted on 12/20/2013 3:55:46 PM PST by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: piytar
Great article! Thanks for sharing!

thanks

18 posted on 12/20/2013 3:56:11 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC
it's a real code in the ICD-9 medical classification book for when a hospital has no available beds... many times they simply say it's Christmas Eve
19 posted on 12/20/2013 4:01:53 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: piytar
Ooops. Didn’t know that. Thought it was a good read and said as much before checking any other comments. Again, oops.

Well it was a good read. You should't have to say "oops" just because someone copies an uninformed opinion from a small website run by a guy named "Slick". :-)

20 posted on 12/20/2013 4:02:45 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Chode
it's a real code in the ICD-9 medical classification book for when a hospital has no available beds... many times they simply say it's Christmas Eve

I did not know that...

21 posted on 12/20/2013 4:03:24 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

Fair enough.


22 posted on 12/20/2013 4:09:15 PM PST by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Greetings_Puny_Humans

Actually this is correct ...Jesus was not born in a stable


23 posted on 12/20/2013 4:16:41 PM PST by RnMomof7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC
Thank you, Douglas. A very interesting article with some new information I've never considered.

I too......have always felt (since the birth was during Sukkot) that He was probably born in a sukkah and since the early translators were not too familiar with Hebrew terminology....they thought "food shelf" (all sukkahs have them) meant "manger". This would be more understandable to 16th century English readers than a sukkah "food shelf".

24 posted on 12/20/2013 4:18:36 PM PST by Diego1618 (Put "Ron" on the Rock!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC
Acts 17:11
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach

25 posted on 12/20/2013 4:23:39 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Diego1618
I too......have always felt (since the birth was during Sukkot) that He was probably born in a sukkah and since the early translators were not too familiar with Hebrew terminology....they thought "food shelf" (all sukkahs have them) meant "manger". This would be more understandable to 16th century English readers than a sukkah "food shelf".

I especially liked why they just didn't stay with Elizabeth since they lived relatively close.

26 posted on 12/20/2013 4:23:55 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

If the word actually means guest room instead of inn it makes sense.


27 posted on 12/20/2013 4:28:07 PM PST by ravenwolf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC; madison10; piytar; All

“What gph posts (and spams) is inaccurate at best and malicious at worst...”


The UCG is a known religious cult. The article is fully footnoted with sources from the church itself. All I was doing was providing a good disclaimer, that is all. If there is anything inaccurate about UCG’s teachings presented there, you’re free to dispute them. It cannot be done, however.

Freepers ought to be aware that they’re reading material from a church that teaches that they aren’t true Christians. Helps keep the site from getting hits.


28 posted on 12/20/2013 4:33:02 PM PST by Greetings_Puny_Humans (I mostly come out at night... mostly.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: ravenwolf; DouglasKC
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Had to have a look. :)

29 posted on 12/20/2013 4:37:02 PM PST by moose07 (the truth will out ,one day. This is not the post you are looking for ....move along now....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: madison10

Actually, word on the street is that Joseph was a cigarette smoker...which might explain the difficulty in obtaining accomodations.


30 posted on 12/20/2013 4:39:36 PM PST by ErnBatavia (The 0baMao Experiment: Abject Failure)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: ravenwolf

I had an old pastor (Very Conservative) that thought the same way as in the article (Joseph was a responsible man, would have made arrangements with family ahead of time, etc.) My pastor pointed out that in the winter one room of the house might be set up to have animals inside. Protect the animals and help heat the home. Maybe the manger was in that room. OR - perhaps the manger was brought in to the main room, kitchen or wherever the fire was. Raised up(?) off the floor to keep it warmer. Dump some hay in it for padding. Etc.

I’ reminded of an old photo of me as a baby. In some old motel room. I’m sleeping in the second drawer that is pulled 3/4 of the way out of the dresser, padded with blankets all the way around.

But as others have posted, not sure it matters a whole bunch. The idea of humble beginnings and that it was used as a sign for the shepherds is important.

Plus, it allowed the THREE wise men to place there gifts under the manger, which we symbolize by placing our gifts under the tree. !

(Hmm. Joking about both the “three” and the wise men being there around the time of birth. BUT - I just thought of my made-up, funny(?) comment about gifts under the tree. I wonder if that MIGHT be symbolic of “gifts under the manger”?)


31 posted on 12/20/2013 4:46:26 PM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: 21twelve
Plus, it allowed the THREE wise men to place there gifts under the manger, which we symbolize by placing our gifts under the tree. !

The Wise Men arrived years later.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
32 posted on 12/20/2013 5:04:04 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: moose07; ravenwolf
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Had to have a look. :)

This is a pretty good study. The word translated "guest rooom" here is:

kataluma
Thayer Definition:
1) an inn, lodging place
2) an eating room, dining room

But look at Luke 10:34 and the story of the good Samaritan:

Luk 10:34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

In this case the word translated "inn" is:

pandocheion
Thayer Definition:
1) an inn, a public house for the reception of strangers

So there's a difference between a private place for guests and public place for guests. I had always assumed that that the "Inn" that Mary and Joseph was turned out of was public.

It makes much more sense that they stayed in someone's home in the "animal" part and not outside in a barn as is often suggested.

33 posted on 12/20/2013 5:17:41 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

“2) an eating room, dining room”

Interesting, see my thoughts at post 31 that the manger (to be used as a cradle) was placed in a warm (warmest?) place in the home. Not sure how mangers were built back then though. If it was a half-ton of carved-out rock, it probably wasn’t drug into the dining room!


34 posted on 12/20/2013 5:23:04 PM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: UriĀ’el-2012; 21twelve
The Wise Men arrived years later.

I had to look this up but you're right.

Mat 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,

They came after Jesus was born.

Mat 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrr

He's in a house and is now a young child and not a babe...

Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

As much as two years old apparently.

35 posted on 12/20/2013 5:28:18 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: 21twelve
Interesting, see my thoughts at post 31 that the manger (to be used as a cradle) was placed in a warm (warmest?) place in the home. Not sure how mangers were built back then though. If it was a half-ton of carved-out rock, it probably wasn’t drug into the dining room!

Good point...

36 posted on 12/20/2013 5:29:12 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC
There’s so much wrong in that article one doesn’t know where to start. The author uses more speculation than evolutionists. Quibbling about whether it was a stable or a house then stating it was part of the house where the animals were kept. What does he think a stable is? Either way Jesus was born where the animals where normally kept and placed in a trough where animals ate.

A stupid article that adds nothing and quibbles over semantics.

37 posted on 12/20/2013 5:38:05 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 21twelve
(Hmm. Joking about both the “three” and the wise men being there around the time of birth. BUT - I just thought of my made-up, funny(?) comment about gifts under the tree. I wonder if that MIGHT be symbolic of “gifts under the manger”?)

Thank you for clarifying that you were making a joke.

38 posted on 12/20/2013 5:41:17 PM PST by verga (The devil is in the details)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: CynicalBear
There’s so much wrong in that article one doesn’t know where to start. The author uses more speculation than evolutionists. Quibbling about whether it was a stable or a house then stating it was part of the house where the animals were kept. What does he think a stable is? Either way Jesus was born where the animals where normally kept and placed in a trough where animals ate.

I think it did a good job making it's points based on scripture, word usage and middle eastern custom and traditions. If it were a case being built on circumstantial evidence it would be pretty strong. What the traditional view has going for it is that mostly it's a strong tradition.

A stupid article that adds nothing and quibbles over semantics.

I think it fleshes out the origins of Jesus and makes him more real but I see where you're coming from.

39 posted on 12/20/2013 5:47:09 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: UriĀ’el-2012; DouglasKC

I was trying to be funny with regards to the wise men. Around this time at my old church for Sunday school with the 5th graders and above we would read passages and then have a “quiz”.

How many wise men? (No number is given. We always think of three guys to go along with the three gifts. Probably had a huge caravan to support the wise men.)

Wise men came years later (like you wrote - Herod said to kill two years and younger.)

I forget the other things, but there were about 15 questions like that. It was a good way to separate out what the Bible states and what we have come up with over the years in songs, movies, traditions, etc.


40 posted on 12/20/2013 5:48:04 PM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

Joseph and Mary were probably not much poorer than anyone else in those days, because almost everyone was.


41 posted on 12/20/2013 5:48:39 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: GeronL
Joseph and Mary were probably not much poorer than anyone else in those days, because almost everyone was.

Good point. I started reading a book by Anne Rice (yes, that Anne Rice) that is a fictionalized story of the childhood of Jesus. It painted a pretty good picture of life back then. It didn't show them as dirt poor but because Joseph was a carpenter he had good skills to provide for his family.

42 posted on 12/20/2013 5:52:41 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC; ravenwolf
There was a program on the T.V. a number of years ago that suggested it was the ‘Downstairs livestock room’.
This would be warm and private.
Probably belonged to the inn keeper as part of his private lodgings.
We may never know for certain.
43 posted on 12/20/2013 5:53:15 PM PST by moose07 (the truth will out ,one day. This is not the post you are looking for ....move along now....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

I could add to the error in the article. The whole section “A culture of hospitality and honoring kinship” is really based on conjecture and extrapolation. Then in the next section he uses Luke 2:4-6 to somehow indicate they had been there “for days”. Again conjecture with no solid evidence. Not that it matters but the entire article is evidence for a slippery slide into error. While I do agree that tradition can slip in non biblical truth but this article doesn’t add anything.


44 posted on 12/20/2013 5:56:02 PM PST by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: CynicalBear
The whole section “A culture of hospitality and honoring kinship” is really based on conjecture and extrapolation.

And scripture. The article cited scripture to show that followers of the Lord were supposed to be loving toward strangers. And yes, there is some speculation but it's based on realistic ideas.

Then in the next section he uses Luke 2:4-6 to somehow indicate they had been there “for days”.

The point is to show that the traditional idea that they were traveling and then...ooops...sleep in a barn and have the baby is kind of a gross simplification. As far as a slippery slope I don't see it that way. As I said it takes it out the realm of fairy tale, which may stop many from becoming believers, and puts it into a realistic scenario.

I see it as strengthening faith.

45 posted on 12/20/2013 6:13:37 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Organic Panic
Of course the inn was booked up. You know how hard it is to find a hotel room for Christmas?

Yeah -- that's when all the Asians come to our cities for a week of jostling and crowding,(and groping) just like back home in Tokyo, because all the Americans are going over the river and through the woods.

46 posted on 12/20/2013 6:14:11 PM PST by Migraine (Diversity is great -- until it happens to YOU..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: 21twelve

I wonder if that MIGHT be symbolic of “gifts under the manger”?)


Possibly.

I used to listen to Herbert and Ted Armstrong quite a bit, i can,t remember much about it now but at the time i thought they made a little sense .

I can relate to the drawer, My folks used a big box or a trunk full of straw, the older kids made their own mattress,s out of straw.

A manger could have been just a box which they could have moved or it could have been built in, that would kind of depend on what kind and how many animals they were feeding.

At any rate i agree that Joseph would have made arrangements, i doubt if they were living with the cows and sheep.


47 posted on 12/20/2013 6:15:50 PM PST by ravenwolf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: DouglasKC

It makes much more sense that they stayed in someone’s home in the “animal” part and not outside in a barn as is often suggested.


And for that matter as 21twelve says they could have moved the manger into the main room.


48 posted on 12/20/2013 6:22:50 PM PST by ravenwolf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: moose07

Had to have a look. :)


Ok, i relent, the NIV must have some things right, ha, ha.


49 posted on 12/20/2013 6:26:36 PM PST by ravenwolf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: ravenwolf
I used to listen to Herbert and Ted Armstrong quite a bit, i can,t remember much about it now but at the time i thought they made a little sense .

I don't have much use for either. The organizations they headed were very autocratic and fostered authoritarianism. That being said they did a lot to publicize little know biblical doctrine and truth.

50 posted on 12/20/2013 6:29:23 PM PST by DouglasKC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson