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Was there really no room at the Inn?

Categories New Testament

396867587_023d5d686d We are accustom to Christmas plays and TV specials which feature Joseph and Mary being told “there is no room at the inn” by a burly looking innkeeper who seems insensitive to their situation. As the birth of Jesus comes closer, they make the best of it and hunker down in a stable.

But were there really inns in Bethlehem at all?

The ‘inn’ (katalyma) was probably not an ancient hotel with an innkeeper,  since a small village like Bethlehem would not have had such accommodations. Luke uses a different Greek word in Luke 10:34 for a roadside inn (pandocheion). 

The word katalyma normally means either a guest room in a private residence or a caravansary, an informal public shelter where travelers would gather for the night.

The most likely scenario is that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives or friends and, because of crowded conditions, were forced to a place reserved for animals.”

From “Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels” by Mark L. Strauss


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