We can only imagine Joseph’s dismay at finding no room in Bethlehem. Having to sleep in the stable, and with a baby on the way! But it wasn’t because the famous innkeeper, anonymous and long maligned, was inhospitable. But because every home and inn was already full.
Even before the times of the kings, carriage roads existed in Israel, including the king’s highway, a toll road for public use, (Numbers 20:17). All roads leading to the cities of refuge, according to the Hebrew Talmud,¹ had to be well-maintained, 48 feet wide, and equipped with bridges and signposts marking the way.