Chimham’s Inn: Christmas Series Part 3

Luke 2:1-7
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THEM IN THE INN.”
(No room in THE Inn.)
Taxes.  Nobody likes taxes.  Yet amazingly, God used them to orchestrate events so that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.
King Herod.
Herod was king over Israel back then, though he was not the true King.  In fact, he wasn’t even Jewish.  He was an Edomite, a usurper, and an evil King at that, though he actually was a great builder.
On the other hand, Joseph and Mary BOTH were direct descendants of King David. They were the rightful heirs to the throne; a bonafide royal couple.  Through their lineage, Jesus had a double claim to the throne of his father, David.  Though Joseph provided no seed, Jesus being born into his household is considered his heir.
Genealogies.
Though there are four Gospels, only two list Jesus’ lineage.  Matthew chapter 1 records Joseph’s line all the way back to King David, which came through King Solomon. Mary’s genealogy is recorded in Luke 3.  Her ancestor was Nathan, another of King David’s sons, for he had many.  Interesting that his name means, “Gift,” isn’t it? Her lineage is traced all the way back to Adam.
The lineage in Matthew only goes as far back as David, the son of Abraham, not Adam.  Why?  Because the Gospel of Matthew is all about Jesus as the King of Israel.  Luke’s gospel, on the other hand, portrays Jesus as “The perfect Man.”  That is why the genealogy recorded there traces all the way back to Adam, proving Jesus was fully man.  He did not take over the human body He lived in like invasion of the body snatchers or something.
(For more on that topic, follow the link below.  You’ll also discover why we have four gospels in the first place and many other cool things:
Joseph And Mary’s Itinerary.
In the opening passage, it says, “The days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” By that phrase, you can tell she wasn’t just pregnant; she was very, VERY PREGNANT…..and not too far from her due date.  How’d you like to make a trip like that, ladies? Nine months pregnant on the back of a donkey over rough terrain? Yikes!
There were two possible routes they could have taken. {See map above}  One was more direct and not usually traveled by devout Jews. The other turned East, ran along the Jordan River toward Jericho, then turned West, toward Jerusalem.  Both were approximately 70-75 miles in distance, give or take.  Either route would have taken about four or five days if one walked about 20 miles a day.
The Jordan route would have been the most likely for two reasons.   First, it would have been flatter terrain and easier traveling.  Being lower in elevation, it would also have been more moderate in temperature.
The other route, which most Jews avoided, demonstrates the fact that Jewish people did not like to go through Samaria.  They always tried to give that region a wide berth, lest they be soiled by contact with the ignorant (in their eyes) and barbaric Gentiles. Either way, it was a long and difficult journey from Nazareth. Mary, being great with child, would have found it particularly difficult.
Why Did Mary Accompany Joseph?
Under normal circumstances, Mary would never have come along with Joseph on this journey, especially considering she was with child.  You see, back then, only men were taxed.  But because she was so far along in a pregnancy no one could reasonably or adequately explain, she would have been in grave danger had she remained in Nazareth. Why?
Because Mary was not yet legally married to Joseph, simply betrothed.  So, when she was found to be with child, naturally most everyone assumed she had broken the Law of Moses. They might actually have stoned her to death had she stayed behind! Joseph realized that which is why he took her with him.
THE Inn.
Now, about that inn…..and who in the world is Chimham? (pronounced “Kím-ham)   Well folks, there is a very long and rather interesting history to tell about this fellow.
Located in greater Bethlehem, this inn was a well-known place for travelers to stop along their journey.  There were many such lodging places all throughout the Middle East along the what was known as ” The Silk Road.”  These oases, called “Caravanserai,” offered travel-weary folk lodging for the night as well as food and water for their transportation, kinda like our Modern-day hotels.
Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, and especially along the aforementioned Silk Road.  The oldest of these still in existence is in present-day Turkey.  It is almost 800 years old!

History Of THE Inn.
As you know, Mary and Joseph’s ancestor, David, was a Bethlehem boy from way back. He lived in town until he became king and moved into the palace, which at that time was located in Hebron.

The home in Bethlehem where he grew up was passed down to him by his father, Jesse, who inherited it from his father, Obed.  I’m sure Obed’s Mom and Dad are quite familiar to most of you.  They are none other than Boaz and Ruth, the Moabitess.

Boaz, the wealthiest and most eligible bachelor in all of Bethlehem. had fallen madly in love with Ruth, the widow of Naomi’s son.  As you can imagine, his home was not too shabby; more like a grand estate.

His parents were Salmon and Rahab.  Remember her?  She is the reformed prostitute from Jericho who helped the two Hebrew spies.  Salmon’s father, Nahshon, had been captain of the tribe of Judah and the one who lead the Israelites through both the Red Sea and the Jordan.

As you can see, it’s a long, amazing, and illustrious lineage of the Bible’s “Who’s Who!”

Barzillai The Gileadite.
Back when David was King, his son, Absolom, who was extremely handsome and charismatic, wanted the throne for himself.  In his efforts to secure it, he stole the hearts of the people away from his father.  But instead of fighting his son, David chose to walk away, not wanting to kill him. As he wandered here and there with his mighty men evading his son’s reach, several people helped him.
Let’s follow the story in 2 Samuel 17:27-29.
“Now it happened, when David had come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the people of Ammon, Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, brought beds and basins, earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans, lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat. For they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
Barzillai was very old, somewhere around 80 years of age.  Two chapters later when Absolom was killed, David prepared to cross back over the Jordan and return home to the palace.  Gilead, which is in present-day Jordan, is where he had sought refuge.  He had wanted to reward Barzillai for his many kindnesses, but the man declined.  Let’s follow the story.
Chimham.
2 Samuel 19:37-40
“Please let your servant turn back again, that I may die in my own city, near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant, Chimham; let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good to you.” And the king answered, “Chimham shall cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good to you. Now whatever you request of me, I will do for you.”
Then all the people went over the Jordan. And when the king had crossed over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own place.
Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah escorted the king, and also half the people of Israel.”
Sons Of Barzillai.
Later on, when King David was on his deathbed, he had had many instructions for his son and successor, Solomon.  By this time, he had become angry and bitter and didn’t have much of anything good to say about anyone.  He told his son,  “Kill this person, get rid of that guy,” and so on.  The only exception was The sons of Barzillai.  
I Kings 2:7
“But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.”
We don’t even know Barzillai’s real name, only that he was the “Son: bar,” of “Zillai.”  His sons were accorded forever the privilege of eating at David’s table in his own house; you know, the beautiful home of Boaz in greater Bethlehem. Years later, this house would come to belong to Chimham and his descendants, as you’ll see in the scripture below.
Chimham’s Inheritance.
Jeremiah 41:16-17
“Then Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, took from Mizpah all the rest of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah after he had murdered Gedaliah the son of Ahikam—the mighty men of war and the women and the children and the eunuchs, whom he had brought back from Gibeon. And they departed and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, as they went on their way to Egypt,”
This great home became THE Inn which had formerly been the property of the royal family of the house and lineage of David.  But by the time Jesus came along, it had changed hands and turned into a purely money-making operation.  I mean, come on; a VERY PREGNANT lady comes to your door seeking refuge and the innkeeper can’t even ask anyone to give up their room for her?  Oh, yeah, I’d say the guy was all about money.
But Joseph, to his credit, didn’t kick up a fuss, pull rank on him and say, “Don’t you know who I am?  I’m the rightful king of Israel.  I’M A DIRECT DESCENDANT OF KING DAVID HIMSELF, the one who used to own this place!”  Nope.  None of that.  He left it in God’s hands to work all things out for good…..And so He did.  God was about to show to His people a sign; a sign to the shepherds.
So where was Mary forced to have her baby?  In a dusty, dirty, lowly stable where the animals were kept, the modern day equivalent of the “THE CAR PORT.”
The Manger.
Baby Jesus was placed in a very particular manger, most likely the one at the foot of the Tower of Eder, Eder Migdol, or the Tower of the Flock.
In part 4, we’ll be discussing more about this tower and just how it was that the shepherds knew exactly where to look for the baby Jesus, even though given very sketchy information.
Original Owner Of The House.
You learned that grand home once belonged to Boaz, whose great, great grandfather was Nahshon, the captain of Judah.  But there was someone long before him; the man who actually built that house years before.  He was its first occupant:  Jacob.
You see, his beloved wife, Rachel, had died along the way to Bethlehem while giving birth to the youngest of his sons, Benjamin.  He had buried her just outside the town and erected a monument over her grave.  It is there to this day.
Genesis 35:19-21
“So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.  Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.”
(Rachel’s Tomb.)
Spiritual Truth.
Notice the name change from Jacob to Israel?  That means there is a spiritual truth hidden here.
Jacob was his given name, but Israel was the name given to him by the LORD.  It says he “pitched his tent just beyond the Tower of Eder,” where the flocks of the temple sacrifices were kept.  Being his most beloved wife, he wanted to be close to her.  So, he built his house nearby the monument that he erected.
Years later when the young shepherd boy, David, came along, he most likely shepherded those very sheep that would be used in temple sacrifices.  No wonder he fought so fiercely against wild beasts for these sheep.   They were set apart for the LORD, basically born to die to cover the sins of Israel.
Centuries later, the original family owners, THE ROYAL COUPLE, the parents of David’s great, great, great, great……grandson, THE KING OF ALL KINGS, came looking for lodging and safe haven so that His mother, Mary, could have her baby. How incredibly ironic that there was no room for Him in the very house of which He was rightful owner!
And that’s the amazing story of THE INN where no room was found for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords known as Chimham’s Inn.
So, how did the shepherds know EXACTLY where to find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, based on the sketchy information they got from the angels?  It doesn’t seem very specific, does it?  How in the world did they find Jesus?  Follow the link below to part 3.  We’ll be studying that very topic:

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