Was Yeshua born in a manger or a sukkah?

Luke 2:7, Manger. (Gr. phatne) The Greek word phatne literally means “feeding trough” and according to the word’s etymology and lexicology as stated in The TDNT, there is no indication that this manger is anything but a standard feeding trough or manger.

Nevertheless, this manger may have been a sukkah or tabernacle, which is the flimsy little hut that Israelites build during the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (Heb. Chag Sukkot) as commanded in the Torah (Lev 23:33–43).

We see the connection between a manger and a sukkah in Genesis 33:17 where Jacob built booths (or tabernacles; Heb. succot or sukkot is the plural form of sukkah) for his livestock showing us that the Hebrew word sukkah (pl. sukkot) can also mean “livestock barn or manger” as well as a temporary habitation where Israelites dwell during the biblically commanded festival of Sukkot.

This raises the possibility that Yeshua was actually born in a festival sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot and not just in an animal barn as Christian folklore would have us believe. The LXX Greek word for sukkah in Gen 33:17 is skenas meaning “habitation, dwelling or tabernacle” and is the same word used in John 1:14 and Rev 21:1–3 in reference to Yeshua tabernacling with his people. Putting all the pieces together, Yeshua may have been born in a sukkah-manger prior to or during the Feast of Tabernacles with a human sukkah (or body, of which the physical sukkah during Sukkot is a metaphorical picture) in order to redeem man from sin, so that Yeshua might tabernacle with redeemed men forever in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:3).


14 thoughts on “Was Yeshua born in a manger or a sukkah?

  1. Shabbat Shalom Natan! First…I am not one to get hung up on things that are not weighty, so am not wanting to beat this to death, but am merely curious if youve watched Jonathon Cahn’s interview in which he uses the Tanach to go forward and Dead Sea Scrolls to go backward to pinpont a spring birth…? Interesting. At least we can all agree its not Dec 25th!!

    • I agree that Jonathan Cahn does have some interesting reasons to believe that Yeshua could have been born on Aviv 1.
      [link edited out]

      The rules of this blog don’t allow links to other websites to be listed unless pre-approved by the moderator, which is me. There are many reasons for this, which I’ve explained before. —Natan

  2. It seems simple enough to me that He would tabernacle among =us and not manger among us-that being said, Natan I appreciate your pointing out that the Word made flesh was also a “tabernacle.” that is so “cool.” ShABBAt Shalom 🙂

    • so what if we consider …..if the spring moedim are about His first coming and the fall moedim are about His second coming, then He could and will tabernacle among us at His second coming…associated with fall moedim……?

  3. Interesting that phonetically, “Skenas” has the same letters as “Shekinah”. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Yeshua was born in a Sukkah. Actually, it would surprise me if he wasn’t!

    • Actually, even though the word shekinah is a Hebrew word, it’s not found anywhere in the Scriptures. Instead, the Hebrew word kavod (meaning “heavy, glory, weighty, dignity, etc.) is the word that Scripture uses for the manifest and glorious presence of Elohim. Whether the Greek word skenoo (verb) or skenos (a noun and the root word) are related to shekinah or not I don’t know. A search of the LXX to see if those translators used skenos or any of its cognates when translating the OT would interesting to know. On another point——the Hebrew word mishkan meaning “dwelling place or tabernacle” (as in Tabernacle of Moses) comes from shakan which has the same three letter consonantal root as both skenos and shekinah (sh-k-n). Shakan and mishkan are cognates, and probably shekinah as well (tho I can’t prove it from a biblical lexicon, since it’s not in the Bible), but, again, not sure about skenos, though my guess is that, since all language go back originally to Hebrew (probably to the tower of Babel), skenos and shakan are etymologically related.

      • According to wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekhinah#Etymology), the word shekhinah does derive from shakan (Strong’s H#7932) meaning “to settle, inhabit, or dwell.” Though shekhinah isn’t found in the Bible, it does occur in Jewish intertestamental literature (e..g the Targums), as well as in the common era Talmud and Jewish prayers.

        By the way, I just checked my LXX. In Lev 23:42 where the Feast of Tabernacles is discussed. The word for booth (as in “you shall dwell in booths for seven days”) is skenais (pl. n.) (the root of which is skenos [sing. n.]). In Hebrew it’s succot the plural for sukkah. This is a fun and interesting linguistic connection, which, in my mind, strengthens the possibility that Yeshua was born in a sukkah (skenos) on Sukkot (skenais). For sure, he was the manifest presence (shekinah) of Elohim who dwelt (skenoo) in a human body.

  4. Well there we go! 🙂 Thank you Natan for going the extra mile with this! Great to know and to connect with you and the rest of us here all of the dots and the pieces to this marvelous puzzle!

  5. Natan,

    On a related issue, can you clear up Genesis – Chapter 30 for me (the separation of Jacob’s flock from Labans’) ??

    It is confusing to me whether: 1) Jacob’s original flock was all white and “wages” were future OR 2) Jacob’s original flock included speckled, spotted and dark.

    Can you shed some light on this please ? Thanks.

    • I may know a lot about the Bible, but I don’t know everything. In fact, the longer I study Scripture (now daily for 50 years), the more I realize I don’t know. All that to say that I don’t have the answer to your question. This has been a head scratcher for me as well, and this is from someone who was raised on a sheep farm and was responsible for caring for them for 15 years! Jacob was involved in some form of selective breeding, and some animal husbandry technology that was revealed to him by YHVH that makes no sense to me. I’m sure some sheep and breeding expert may have the answer to what was going on here, but I don’t, and I haven’t read an answer to the question anywhere either.

      If someone reading this can shed some light, please speak up.

    • If one examines that particular Torah portion, you will notice that right before the episode of the ‘animal procreation’ is a whole chapter about the procreation of the lion’s share of the Tribes of Israel. The rivalry of Leah and Rachel is discussed which culminates in Rachel giving birth to Joseph because “the Creator had rewarded her for giving her hand maiden to her husband” (paraphrasing) This was an obvious “surrendering of her selfish motives for the greater Good”, or to the Creator’s Will. Rueben’s mandrakes are also strategically inserted in there by the Holy Spirit. If we remember, Rueben was conceived while Jacob was making love to Leah while thinking of Rachael, (because he thought it was in fact Rachael) For this, some rabbinical commentators say, was the underlying reason that Rueban lost his “1st born status “. Though he did not in fact lose his tribal status because it was in no way his own fault for this mix up in his father’s intention of consciousness. It was not even Jacob’s fault, for he was deceived.. The proceeding episode shows that even animals when procreating and seeing certain things or being exposed to things such as “the inner white stripes of almond trees” (Aaron’s staff representation?) can affect the outcome. The seed is the thoughts that we plant and the fruits are the outcome. Everything is Consciousness. If animals are effected by consciousness, how much more are people, who have Souls which were created in the Creator’s Image. Jacob’s engineering of that little breeding demonstration probably has many meanings on many different levels. From the order of events described, I believe that what I have just discussed is one of the lessons for us. Everything is Consciousness and intention. “What so a man thinks, such he becomes” (proverbs)?

      • What you say may be true, and I’m not denying it, but I’d still like to understand this at peshat level of biblical understanding. We can talk drash and sod levels all day long, but, unless this was totally a divine miracle thing, it has to have some basis in science or the peshat level.

      • I get what you are saying. Though in the Kingdom, the Science of Miracles is an everyday, natural occurrence which probably has earthly explanations that most are not ready yet to comprehend. Though, in truth, no explanation is actually needed except that if a child of the Father and the Father are at agreement, anything is possible at any time. “Greater things shall you do than what I have done, for I ascend to my Father”… So I guess we have to be on earth to activate miracles with the Father.? (on earth as in Heaven)

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