The infant Jesus was laid in a manger and was seen there by shepherds, to whom the angelic announcement of his birth was made. (Lu 2:7, 12, 16) The Greek word for “manger” in this case is phatʹne, meaning “feeding place.” Phatʹne may also possibly apply to the stall in which animals are kept. (Compare Lu 13:15.) The Hebrew term ʼe·vusʹ is generally understood to mean “manger” and was rendered phatʹne in the Greek Septuagint, as were three other Hebrew words that have been translated “stalls” (2Ch 32:28), “enclosures” (Hab 3:17), and “fodder” (Job 6:5).
In Palestine, archaeologists have found large troughs cut out of single pieces of limestone and measuring about 0.9 m (3 ft) in length, 0.5 m (1.5 ft) in width, and 0.6 m (2 ft) in depth. These are thought to have served as mangers. It may also be that, as in more recent times, mangers were cut in the rock walls of caves that were used for sheltering animals.