Jesus: Born In A Barn?


For most of my life I was led to believe that Jesus was born in a barn. But now I'm
not so sure because it appears to me that he wasn't. Here's how my mind was
conditioned to think:

"She delivered her baby in a stable because there was no vacancy at the inn."

In point of fact, we're not told where Mary delivered; we're only told where she
sheltered her baby.

"She laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."

What we're looking at there is a lack of adequate space for a new mom to tend her
baby. Inns in those days usually didn't offer private rooms. They often consisted of
a multiple occupancy space, i.e. something like a bunk house, but with no bunks.

Jesus' mom no doubt had brought along a bassinet because she was so close to
delivery, but conditions in the inn during the taxation likely provided little
opportunity for securing the infant's accouterments up off the floor. In other words:
Mary herself chose a stable for sheltering little Jesus because it was safer.

The feed box was crude but actually a very suitable crib. It not only protected little
Jesus from people stepping on him, but it's sturdy wood construction also
prevented someone from accidentally bumping him over in the dark.

It would seem that Mary was not only a conscientious mom, but also a very
practical girl.


"a manger," Luk 2:7, 12, 16, also denotes "a stall," 13:15. So in the Sept., the word denoted not only a "manger" but, by metonymy, the stall or crib (Pro 14:4) containing the "manger."-Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words via

Proverbs 14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

Luke 1:26–27 states that Mary originally lived in Nazareth at the time of the Annunciation, before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. In the 2nd century, Justin Martyr stated that Jesus had been born in a cave outside the town, while the Protoevangelium of James described a legendary birth in a cave nearby



There's an alternate scenario I think worth considering.

The Greek word translated "manger" also means "stall", for example:

Luke 13:15 . . Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey
from the stall, and lead him away to water?

A stall would've provided Jesus' mom a measure of privacy during delivery; and
instead of having Joseph pick Jesus up and put him in a feed box, Mary could've
just laid him down right beside her on some straw; which means of course that
Luke 2:12 could be legitimately translated like this:

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a

In this scenario, Jesus would've been born in a barn instead of born in the inn and
then later transferred to a barn.


A question I've yet to find explored on a forum is where were Joseph's parents
during the taxing? Didn't they have to go to Bethlehem too? And if they did, then
wouldn't Joseph's mom likely served as the midwife to assist with Mary's delivery?
To my knowledge, men didn't do those kinds of things back then.