Sunday, December 24, 2023

Jesus Wasn’t Born in a Stable

I found this article called Jesus Wasn't Born in a Stable by Ian Paul interesting, and seems his ideals seem to be very plausible. He says,

It would be unthinkable that Joseph, returning to his place of ancestral origins, would not have been received by family members, even if they were not close relatives.
Many, like Joseph and Mary, have travelled to Bethlehem, and the family guest room is already full, probably with other relatives who arrived earlier. So Joseph and Mary must stay with the family itself, in the main room of the house, and there Mary gives birth. The most natural place to lay the baby is in the hay-filled depressions at the lower end of the house where the animals are fed. The idea that they were in a stable, away from others, alone and outcast, is grammatically and culturally implausible.
Read the entire article to get the gist of what he is saying.

We cannot be certain about where Jesus was born, as there is no definitive documentary or archaeological evidence dating from that time. One thing is clear. The gospels do not mention a “stable”. Luke refers to a “manger” (phatne) which is a feeding trough for animals.

I presume that rich people would have had a separate room to keep their animals, but poorer people would not. Until recent times, it has always been common for people to keep their animals in the room where they lived for the warmth that they provided, and more important to ensure that they did not get stolen. Most would have only a few sheep, or a cow, or donkey, so they would fit in their home.

Luke 13:15 is interesting as Jesus said that it was normal for people to untie an ox or donkey on the Sabbath and take it out to water. He used the same word as in Luke 2:7. The common practice is to translate “phatne” as “stall” in Luke 13:15, but that is incorrect. Jesus was referring to a manger, which is a feeding trough.

Jesus said the animal was tied up. If an animal was in a separate room, it would not need to be tied up, but if it was in the family living room it would need to be tied up, so it did not tread on people who are sleeping on the floor. If it was in a separate room, it would be possible to provide a large water trough that did not need to be filled each day, so it could be left in the room on a cold Sabbath day. However, if the animal was tied up in the family living area, it would need to be taken out each day to get water, and to defecate. Thus, Jesus’ parable suggests that it was common for people to keep animals in their houses.

No comments: