Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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inn Summary and Overview

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inn in Easton's Bible Dictionary

in the modern sense, unknown in the East. The khans or caravanserais, which correspond to the European inn, are not alluded to in the Old Testament. The "inn" mentioned in Ex. 4:24 was just the halting-place of the caravan. In later times khans were erected for the accommodation of travellers. In Luke 2:7 the word there so rendered denotes a place for loosing the beasts of their burdens. It is rendered "guest-chamber" in Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11. In Luke 10:34 the word so rendered is different. That inn had an "inn-keeper," who attended to the wants of travellers.

inn in Smith's Bible Dictionary

The Hebrew word (malon) thus rendered literally signified "a lodging-place for the night." Inns, in our sense of the term were, as they still are, unknown in the East, where hospitality is religiously practiced. The khans or caravanserais are the representatives of European inns, and these were established but gradually. The halting-place of a caravan was selected originally on account of its proximity to water or pasture, by which the travellers pitched their tents and passed the night. Such was undoubtedly the "inn" at which occurred the Incident in the life of Moses narrated in #Ex 4:24| comp. Gene 42:27 On the more frequented routes, remote from towns, #Jer 9:2| caravanserais were in course of time erected, often at the expense of the wealthy. "A caravanserai is a large and substantial square building... Passing through strong gateway, the guest enters a large court, in the centre of which is a spacious raised platform, used for sleeping upon at night or for the devotions of the faithful during the day. Around this court are arranged the rooms of the building."

inn in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

INN . In the Bible the "inn" was not a hotel in our sense. The word so translated means either a "lodging-place for the night" -- not necessarily a covered place, but a mere station of caravans, where water could be obtained:such was the "inn" at which Joseph's brethren stopped, and where Moses was met by the Lord, Gen 42:27; Ex 4:24-- or else a khan or caravanserai, which was, and is, a large square building enclosing an open court, in whose centre is a fountain; the building contains a number of rooms. There is no provision for meals or feed for the animals; the travellers carry such necessaries with them. These caravanserais are often built by benevolent persons. Jer 9:2. Inn. Another kind of "inn" is that mentioned in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:34. This had a host, who was probably paid to attend to the wants of travellers. And it was in one of the stables of a mere caravanserai provided for the horses of travellers that our Lord was born. In modern Syria, in villages where there is no khan, there is a house for the entertainment of travellers, with a man appointed to look after it; for its accommodations, meagre as they are, payment is exacted, and the keeper likewise gets a fee.

inn in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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).