2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth 1 and laid him in a manger, 2 because there was no place for them in the inn. 3
2:12 This 4 will be a sign 5 for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 6
2:16 So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. 7
1 sn The strips of cloth (traditionally, “swaddling cloths”) were strips of linen that would be wrapped around the arms and legs of an infant to keep the limbs protected.
2 tn Or “a feeding trough.”
3 tn The Greek word κατάλυμα is flexible, and usage in the LXX and NT refers to a variety of places for lodging (see BDAG 521 s.v.). Most likely Joseph and Mary sought lodging in the public accommodations in the city of Bethlehem (see J. Nolland, Luke [WBC], 1:105), which would have been crude shelters for people and animals. However, it has been suggested by various scholars that Joseph and Mary were staying with relatives in Bethlehem (e.g., C. S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 194; B. Witherington, “Birth of Jesus,” DJG, 69-70); if that were so the term would refer to the guest room in the relatives’ house, which would have been filled beyond capacity with all the other relatives who had to journey to Bethlehem for the census.
sn There was no place for them in the inn. There is no drama in how this is told. There is no search for a variety of places to stay or a heartless innkeeper. (Such items are later, nonbiblical embellishments.) Bethlehem was not large and there was simply no other place to stay. The humble surroundings of the birth are ironic in view of the birth’s significance.
4 tn Grk “And this.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
7 tn Or “a feeding trough.”