( Luke 2:7 Luke 2:12 Luke 2:16 ), the name (Gr. phatne, rendered "stall" in Luke 13:15 ) given to the place where the infant Redeemer was laid. It seems to have been a stall or crib for feeding cattle. Stables and mangers in our modern sense were in ancient times unknown in the East. The word here properly denotes "the ledge or projection in the end of the room used as a stall on which the hay or other food of the animals of travellers was placed." (See INN .)
This word occurs only in ( Luke 2:7 Luke 2:12 Luke 2:16 ) 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 the house.
Properly the place in a stall or stable where the food of cattle is placed (in the Old Testament "crib" (Job 39:9; Proverbs 14:4; Isaiah 1:3)); thus also, apparently, in the narrative of the nativity in Luke 2:7,12,16. In Septuagint, the Greek word, representing different Hebrew words, has also the extended meaning of "stall" (2 Chronicles 32:28; Habakkuk 3:17); thus also in Luke 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.
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