BETHLEHEM HOUSE AND MANGER
The humble scene of the birthplace of the Baby JESUS is so often interpreted with Occidental instead of Oriental flavor that it would be well for Westerners to have the description of the kind of a Bethlehem house in which the Saviour was doubtless born, as given by John D. Whiting.40
Entering the door of this one-room Bethlehem dwelling one sees that two-thirds of the space is given over to a "raised masonry platform, some eight to ten feet above the ground and supported by low-domed arches."
This space that is raised is occupied by the members of the family, and the lower part of the house is for the cattle and flocks. Narrow stone steps lead up to where the family lives, and there are only two small windows in the room and these are high up from the ground. In winter weather the sheep and goats are kept inside the house, also a few work cattle, and perhaps a donkey. Primitive mangers for the cattle are to be seen around the walls, and these are built of rough slabs of stone placed on edge and plastered up with mortar."
The owner of the animals often sleeps on a small raised place, where he can keep watch over newly born lambs.
To know the heart of the land, to have learned the hospitality of its people, which is always offered, no matter how primitive or simple, makes it easy to picture Mary and Joseph returning from the inn, already filled with guests, and turning aside into a home such as we have described, the regular dwelling portion of which may have been none too large for the family which occupied it. It may have been crowded with other guests, but they find a welcome and a resting-place for the babe in a manger. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Mangers in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Luke 2:7, 12, 16), the name (Gr. phatne, rendered "stall" in
Luke 13:15) given to the place where the infant
laid. It seems to have been a stall or crib for
Stables and mangers in our modern sense were in
unknown in the East. The word here properly denotes
or projection in the end of the room used as a stall
the hay or other food of the animals of travellers was
Mangers in Naves Topical Bible
(A feeding box for cattle)
-Rendered "stall" in
Mangers in Smiths Bible Dictionary
This word occurs only in Lu 2:7,12,16 in connection with the
birth of Christ. It means a crib or feeding trough; but
according to Schleusner its real signification in the New
Testament is the open court-yard attached to the inn or khan,
in which the cattle would be shut at night, and where the
poorer travellers might unpack their animals and take up their
lodging, when they mere either by want of means excluded from
Mangers in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
man'-jer (phatne): Properly the place in a stall or stable
where the food of cattle is placed (in the Old Testament
"crib" (Job 39:9; Prov 14:4; Isa 1:3)); thus also, apparently,
in the narrative of the nativity in Lk 2:7,12,16. In
Septuagint, the Greek word, representing different Hebrew
words, has also the extended meaning of "stall" (2 Ch 32:28;
Hab 3:17); thus also in Lk 13:15, where the Revised Version
margin has "manger." Old tradition says that Jesus was born in
a cave in the neighborhood of Bethlehem; even so, a place for
food for cattle may have been cut in the side of the rock.
Mangers Scripture - Luke 2:12
And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Mangers Scripture - Luke 2:16
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the
babe lying in a manger.
Mangers Scripture - Luke 2:7
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in
swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was
no room for them in the inn.