The architecture of the family home both today and in antiquity made provision for the occasional guest. The most common dwelling was the courtyard home which was multi-leveled. A lower room or cellar was used as a storeroom. In the hilly areas like Bethlehem, a cave adjacent to the courtyard might often be adapted for this purpose. Here the family’s prized or more vulnerable animals could be fed and sheltered at night, protected from the cold, thieves and predators.
The main living area, partitioned into several sections, was on an upper level. It had a work and kitchen area, where the children often slept, and a separate bedroom for the parents. In a wealthier home, a third room would be added for guests and for entertaining.
Image source: The Nazareth Jesus Knew; Labels: Dr. Stephen Pfann