The infant Jesus was laid in a manger and was seen there by shepherds, to whom the angelic announcement of his birth was made. (Luke 2:7, 12, 16) The Greek word for “manger” in this case is phatʹne, meaning “feeding place.” (Compare Luke 13:15.) Phatʹne may also possibly apply to the stall in which animals are kept. The Hebrew term ʼe·vusʹ is generally understood to mean “manger” and was rendered phatʹne in the Greek Septuagint Version, as were two other Hebrew words that have been translated “stalls” (2 Chron. 32:28) and “enclosures.”—Hab. 3:17.
In Palestine archaeologists have found large troughs cut out of single pieces of limestone and measuring about three feet (.9 meter) in length, eighteen inches (.46 meter) in width and two feet (.6 meter) 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 eaves that were used for sheltering animals.