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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
We find this word no where in the Bible but when made use of in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke the evangelist tells us, that "when the days with Mary were accomplished that she should be delivered, she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn," (Luke 2:6-7) An English reader, unacquainted with the manners and customs of the East, from this relation, would be led to conclude, that from the fulness of the inn, and the poverty of the Virgin Mary, there was no other accommodation to be obtained for her. But travellers accustomed to the journies in Palestine, explain the circumstances connected with inns different to this nation. Every traveller takes with him, of some sort or other, accommodations for the way. There are, here and there, caravansaries, or inns, built for the accommodation of travellers, to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather; but sad must be the case of all travellers who carry nothing with them for their own comfort, when they take shelter in those hovels. It is to be hoped, that in Bethlehem, whose very name means the land of bread, there was sufficient provision of this kind for, the Lord of life and glory. But what other accommodations Mary had, we are left to conjecture. The humble circumstances in which Jesus appeared, in his first open manifestation in our nature, had a beautiful correspondence to the whole of his mission. The strongest expression we meet with in the word of God respecting the humiliation of Christ, is his emptying himself, or, as the apostle expresses it, making himself of "no reputation." (Philippians 2:7) The great object for which the Son of God became man, was to restore the divine glory, which, sin had obscured; so that it was not enough for the Lord Jesus Christ to give all glory to God in a way of obedience and death, but he will give away, for a time, his own glory, to make the satisfaction to God more abundant. An inn, therefore, without accommodation, a manger, not a sopha, became exactly suited for this humble Saviour to make his appearance in. And when we find the Son of God so debased, whose essential glory was, and is, equal to the Father, we behold an equivalent given for the debasement of God, the Father's glory by reason of man's sin. Hence, therefore, the Lord Jesus, in his coming to redeem our nature, will, from the manger to the cross, debase, humble, and empty himself, and make himself of no reputation, yea, become "sin and a curse for us, when he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." It is very blessed thus to behold Jesus when entering our world, and to discover the causes wherefore there was no room for him in the inn!
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Manger'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/pmd/m/manger.html. London. 1828.