No Room in the Inn?

Articles Leave a Comment

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.

Premium Members
If you are not a Premium Member, please consider becoming one starting at $10/month (paid monthly) or only $5/month (paid annually):

One Time Purchase Rather Than Membership
Rather than a membership, you may also purchase access to this entire page for $1.99 USD. (If you do not have an account select "Register & Purchase.")

Login & Purchase

Leave a Reply

  • Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

    Shmuel Safrai [1919-2003]

    Professor and Rabbi Shmuel Safrai died on July 16, 2003. He was buried the following day in a section of Jerusalem's Har ha-Menuhot Cemetery reserved for faculty of the Hebrew University. His grave is only a few feet from the grave of his close friend…
    [Read more about author]

  • Online Hebrew Course

    Do you want to learn Hebrew? Check out our online Hebrew course Aleph-Bet: Hebrew Reading and Writing for Christians in 17 Easy Lessons.