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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

 

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Inn
        

Hebrew lin. A lodging place for the night. Khans or caravanserais, the halting places of caravans or traveling companies, are places where men and cattle have room to rest, but, no food is provided in them. In the times of the Pentateuch they were not buildings but resting places where tents might be spread near water and pasture (Exodus 4:24; Genesis 42:27). The caravanserai, a square building enclosing an open court, with arcades around and a terrace over them, is alluded to in Jeremiah 9:2. Though lonely and often filthy, the terrace is tolerably clean, but the court and stabling littered with chopped straw and dirt. The prophet would prefer even it to the comforts of Jerusalem, so as to be away from its pollutions. Christian hospitals (from whence came hostel, hotel) were originally halting places built for pilgrims. Paula, Jerome's friend, built several on the way to Bethlehem; the Scotch and Irish built some for pilgrims of their nation going to Rome.
        The "manger" in Luke 2:7 was a crib in a stable attached to a khan (kataluma, having cells or apartments above for travelers as well as stalls below for the cattle) where there was no host. The inn (pandokeion) in Luke 10:34-35 had a "host," and so resembled our "inn" with its "innkeeper"; the women connected with such lodging places were often of a loose character (Joshua 2:1). However, Justin Martyr (Tryph. 78, A.D. 103), who was born only 40 miles off, says Jesus was born in a cave near Bethlehem, one of the caverns in the narrow long grey hill on which it stands, for caves in rocky countries are often used as stables; in the manger in it Jesus was laid. "The habitation of Chimham by Bethlehem" (gerut Chimham) (Jeremiah 41:17) was a halting place or station in or at the patrimony of David, made over to Barzillai's son Chimham for his father's loyalty (2 Samuel 19:34-40).


Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'Inn' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Fausset's; 1878.

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