So Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered together with Mary, who was legally promised in marriage to him and was pregnant. And it happened that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
What was the inn?
The inn was a guest room in the house. This southern residence in Bethlehem belonged to Joseph and likely belonged to his father before him. Joseph was living and working up north in Nazareth in Galilee.[a]Some teachers believe that Joseph was a craftsman working on the city of Sepphoris (which Herod the Great was rebuilding) and staying nearby in Nazareth. Bethlehem is in Judea in the south, 70 miles south of Nazareth. The winding mountainous roads would make the trip something like 100 miles. If they travelled 20 miles per day, the trip would take five days.
When Joseph arrived to his Bethlehem home, it was not empty. Wise Joseph did not leave the family home abandoned and unmanaged. Other family members were already staying there or living there while Joseph was away.
Who was the Pandocheus?
However, if the Bethlehem house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. This host person is the equivalent of an innkeeper/πανδοχεύς, one who receives all.
So, deduced from Scripture, there was an “innkeeper/host” necessary because of Joseph’s absence when he was in Nazareth.
|↑a||Some teachers believe that Joseph was a craftsman working on the city of Sepphoris (which Herod the Great was rebuilding) and staying nearby in Nazareth.|