You know, I am a little disappointed at how often I learn that something I learned in school, or in church, or just in “life” is actually not true. It’s AMAZING the number of things that are taught as fact that are either almost entirely made up, or are so far removed from their original truths that it’s hard to recognize them.
Case in point: Jesus birth.
Mary and Joseph couldn’t find any room in the inn (a quaint term for motel) so they found a barn to sleep in.
Everyone knows that.
Except it’s not true.
The word translated as “inn” in Luke’s story actually just refers to part of a house reserved for guests. Not a hotel. (katalyma is used in the nativity story, vs pandocheion later in Luke in the story of the Good Samaritan.)
From this article:
“A simple village home in the time of King David, up until the Second World War, in the Holy Land, had two rooms—one for guests, one for the family. The family room had an area, usually about four feet lower, for the family donkey, the family cow, and two or three sheep. They are brought in last thing at night and taken out and tied up in the courtyard first thing in the morning.
“Out of the stone floor of the living room, close to family animals, you dig mangers or make a small one out of wood for sheep. Jesus is clearly welcomed into a family home.”
“Rabbis saw shepherds as unclean and low status. So the shepherds were afraid of more than angel choirs. “From their point of view, if the child was truly the Messiah, the parents would reject the shepherds if they tried to visit him!” Bailey writes. Hearing that the babe was lying in a manger reassured them that he was in a humble home. This was their sign, a sign for lowly shepherds.”
I have to say, I often wish my dad were still around. He knew ancient Bible languages. Perhaps I need to follow Glenn Beck’s advice and find myself a good rabbi.