No Room in the Inn?

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What was an inn like at the time of Jesus' birth? Did it provide separate rooms, or was it like a dormitory with one big room?

Bethlehem is hardly mentioned in rabbinic literature. In the time of Jesus it was probably a small village of a few hundred residents, and consequently had only one inn.

The typical inn in such a small settlement had one room with no allowance made for separate quarters for men and women. However the boarders did not have to undress in mixed company, because they slept in their clothes. The men, for instance, removed their talit, or outer heavy woolen garment, and slept in their haluk, their lightweight, inner robe (see “The Hem of His Garment,” Jerusalem Perspective 1.7 [April 1988]: 2). Families slept together on simple mats thrown on the dirt floor. The innkeeper provided little more than space, but at least it was shelter and protection from marauders.

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Comments 1

  1. I purchased this thinking it would be a scholarly investigation of the topic at some length. Instead, after paying, I got a mere paragraph or two more than I could read for free. I thank you for your informative and interesting site, but that one puzzled me.

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