According to Luke 2:1, a decree went out that "all" the world should be taxed. Joseph got the memo. Every production you have ever seen shows Joseph and Mary traveling alone with no luggage, food, or water. "Where were their families" is a fair question, is it not?
Joseph was a good man and this fact is indisputable. When the news of his fiancé being pregnant became known, he was willing to put her away privately without a big commotion. He loved her, is the obvious conclusion. As He always does, God stepped in. Joseph believed God.
According to Luke 2:4, Joseph went up to the city of David to be accounted for and be taxed. The next verse says that Mary went with him also to be taxed. They both were from the family of David according to Matthew’s and Luke’s lineages. No big deal? They went alone. Still no big deal? Where were her parents and siblings? Where were his family members?
Luke 2:1 says that “all the world” was to be taxed and accounted for. Joseph got the information, so he went. Why do we not hear from the families? We do a little later.
Word spread fast in their small town of Nazareth that Mary was with child. If it was hard for the family to believe her story, would it not be harder for non-family members to believe? Mary was shunned as well as her betrothed. They made the trip alone.
The Los Angeles Times did a story on the trip they would have taken. This 90-mile trip would have been grueling with a group, much less by themselves. The estimates were that they would have traveled about 10 miles a day due to her condition. Bringing enough food and water was something that would have been thought out and carried. Dangers? With the possibility of lions and bears, pirates and robbers, only divine providence saw them through.
While there is no way to know the population at the time they arrived, it is assumed that most in Bethlehem would have been related. In a very small town, very few families exist, and they are all extended. Word had spread, and those that arrived before Mary and Joseph had already let the proverbial “cat out of the bag” about her “condition”.
According to Luke 2:7, “there was no room for them in the inn”. What a strange thing. Let's take a closer look. The word for room is most often translated place throughout the New Testament. Strong’s definition is a spot; location. The word for inn is even more strange. The consensus was that there were no inns, or motels, in Bethlehem at that time. There would not have been enough traffic to support it financially. That being said, the word in Greek is katalyma. It is defined as a lodging place or guest-chamber; a guest room if you will. It would have been a guest room, as in a house, not an inn like a motel.
The word for an actual inn or motel is used in Luke 10:34. The good Samaritan brought the injured to “an inn”. This word is pandokheion in Greek and means a public house for reception; an inn. See the difference? Joseph was knocking on family homes in the desperation of his wife to give birth and like the world today, they rejected Jesus. Joseph would not have wanted his wife to have a baby in a public motel. Why would he go to a motel when all his family would have been in Bethlehem?
It is also pointed out in Luke 2:6 that “while they were there". While we do not know the time frame that they were there, it is not out of the question that they could have been there a few days. Where were they until that point? Why change rooms for baby delivery? Were the family that they were staying with feeling pressure from other family members and this is why the “no room at the inn” narrative?
In John 8:41, Jesus is reminded of what the town thought of His mother. “We be not born of fornication". In other words, your mother was a woman of ill-repute. Not convinced? Psalm 69 can be interpreted in many ways. After studying these words, I am convinced that this shows Jesus speaking in his childhood. The first clue is verse 4. If this were truly all about David, this would be incorrect. “They hate me without a cause”. David knew exactly who his enemies were and why they hated him. Verse 7 and 8 are clearly about the Messiah. Verse 9 is definitely used of the Messiah because of it being reiterated in John 2:17 about Jesus. Looking at verses 11 and 12; the word for proverb in the Greek is mashal. It is defined as an adage, poem, or discourse. Then it ties together with the drunkards that “sit in the gate” speaking against him; perhaps singing as drunks do. He was the subject of ridicule because of the reputation of His mother. If you have never experienced this, it is real. When the “elite” call you out on it 30 plus years later, it is, and was, still a very controversial point in that town. Imagine it when it was very fresh; especially among family members.
Joseph and Mary were unbelievably strong. This is the strength that is drawn from our Lord when He asks us to do something. If you are asked to do something, fear not; just go and do! What do you think?