“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
At the time of this prophecy, Bethlehem’s population was about 200 or so. When Jesus was born, there was no room at an inn. The town of under 500 would not expect so many people visiting all at once. This overpopulation was due to Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1) demanding a decree for all his subjects to be numbered in a Roman census.
The decree forced people to go to their ancestral towns to get counted. Not because the emperor was concerned about his subjects, but because he wanted to ensure the empire was taxing its subjects correctly.
So right around 4-6 B.C., a future family of three traveled about 80-90 miles from Nazareth (Luke 2:4). They were tired, and poor Mary had been putting up with the bumps and bruises of sitting on a donkey through steep mountainsides to get to their ancestral town.
So the “no room at the inn” scenario is highly possible.
Now imagine all of them tired and dirty from travel. Baby starts moving more, and Mary is feeling all of it. Men, we don’t have a clue about this, but the women who have gone through the process of giving birth definitely know what comes next!
Joseph! I don’t care if there’s no room at the inn! This baby is coming out whether we have reservations or not!
Joseph, trying his best to protect and care for his family, does the next best thing to a reserved room at the inn—He saves money, and the little family gets comfortable in a manger (Luke 2:7).
Now you may be thinking that these mangers are filthy. Yes, they were. Anywhere animals are kept will be dirty, but remember that most animals’ living spaces were at the bottom of the dwelling where their owners lived. They had to bring them in for safety reasons—one was to keep them warm, and the other was to keep them from being stolen.
All this to get to the House of Bread or Beyth-lechem, where Jesus’ lineage was. Both Mary and Jesus’ step-dad were from the same tribe or clan or house. Except each came from different ancestors before ending with David.
The same David who slew the great Giant Goliath and the same one whom God promised one of his descendants would be the Messiah of Israel and the world.
The incredible prophetic utterance of Micah is astounding. The odds of two people from the same ancestor (David), getting together and having to travel just under a 100 miles through steep mountainous terrain, and Mary being with child. Then as soon as they get to their destination, she delivers, while extraterrestrial things are happening right outside of the little town, with a moving star leading Magi to the very spot where a baby king was being born, would be astronomical! Thats for a future post!
For now, just think of you and your spouse meeting and then getting married. Only to have to go to your ancestral cities for a world-wide census. What would be the odds of both of you coming from the same city or town? Let alone having a male baby being born in that town at the exact time you had to be there for the census?…
This was what Jesus did, fulfilling an 700-800 year old prophecy or prediction of the coming Prince of Peace whom the Jews called their Messiah…