MANNERS AND

CUSTOMS OF
BIBLE LANDS
BY BISHOP DANILO O. BANTILAN.,THD
JULY 24, 2014
Introduction
Its har t! "# th$ !r%&%#a' ($a#%#& !) th$ t$*t +%th!,t th$ h$'-s !) th$
%.$r$#t a,th!rs +h! %#/$st$ th$%r t%($, $.!rts a# (!#$0 1,st t! &$t th$
!r%&%#a' ($a#%#& !) th$ t$*t %# th$ B%2'$,a2!,t th$%r 3,'t,r$s a# 3,st!(s !)
th$ !) 4! )r!( th$ O' a# T$sta($#t. Th$ -r%#3%-'$ !) $*$&$s%s %s t! &!
2a35 th$ !r%&%#a' a,%$#3$ ,r%#& th!s$ t%($ a# %t +as #!t ($#t%!# 3'$ar'0
%# th$ B%2'$. H!+$/$r, 2$3a,s$ !) ar3ha$!'!&%st th$0 % a &!! 1!2 !)
%s3!/$r%#& s!($ art%)a3ts !) th$ a#3%$#t t$*t %t h$'-s a '!t !# h!+ th$
,#$rsta# th$ -$!-'$ 2$)!r$ a# h!+ 2r%&$ th$ &a- t! th$ 21
st
C$#t,r0
'$ar#$rs.
THE BIBLE WRITTEN BY ORIENTALS.
It is easy for Occidentals to overlook the fact that the Scrit!res had their ori"in
in the East# and that each one of the $riters $as act!ally an Oriental. Since this is
so# in a very real sense the Bi%le &ay %e said to %e an Oriental Book. B!t &any
are '!ite at to read into the Scrit!res Western &anners and c!sto&s# instead of
interretin" the& fro& the Eastern oint of vie$. (no$in" Oriental )anners And
*!sto&s Necessary To +nderstand The Bi%le. )any assa"es of Scrit!re that are
hard for the Westerner to !nderstand# are readily e,lained %y a kno$led"e of the
c!sto&s and &anners of Bi%le lands. On the other hand# to i"nore this s!%-ect is to
derive one.s self of a thoro!"h &astery of the Bi%le# %oth Old and Ne$ Testa&ents.
A St!dy Of The )anners And *!sto&s Of Ara%s Of Bi%le Lands Inval!a%le.
/or &any years the Ara%s $ere the c!stodians of 0alestine. In the seventh cent!ry# an
ar&y of Ara%s %roke a$ay fro& Ara%ia and invaded the Near East. They %ro!"ht $ith
the& the ha%its of life inherited fro& co!ntless "enerations %efore the&. Since they
have lived in these lands ever since# they have lar"ely %eco&e the conservators of the
&anners and c!sto&s of Bi%le ti&es. 1!rin" The *ent!ries# Ara% *!sto&s Lar"ely
+nchan"ed. There are three classes of Ara%s in these lands. /irst# there is the No&ad
or Bedo!in Ara%# $ho is a sheherd and lives in tents. Second# there is the 0easant or
/ellahin Ara%# $ho is a far&er and !s!ally lives in a villa"e one2roo& ho!se.
3
Third#
there is the *ity or Belladin Ara%# $ho as a r!le en"a"es in %!siness in the lar"er cities.
The Belladin Ara% has co&e in contact $ith $estern civili4ation &ore than the other
classes# and therefore his &anner of life has !nder"one a certain a&o!nt of chan"e. On
the other hand# the 0easant Ara% has chan"ed his c!sto&s very little# and the No&ad
Ara% ractically none at all. Thro!"h the cent!ries the Ara%s have for the &ost art
considered it to %e &orally $ron" to chan"e their ancient c!sto&s. /or this reason the
&anners and c!sto&s of Bi%le2land Ara%s are very &!ch the sa&e as the 5e$s of Bi%le
ti&es. There are so&e e,cetions to this r!le# and &ost of those have to do $ith
3htt67789:.;;.8<8.33<7=%i%le7reference7&>c7&?c93.ht&l @3 of 8A B8:79C7899; 3363D68< .&.E
reli"io!s o%servances. So!rces Of )aterial A%o!t )anners And *!sto&s Of Bi%le land
Ara%s. /or infor&ation a%o!t the life2ha%its of the Ara%s of the Near East $e are
inde%ted to natives of Bi%le lands# lon" ti&e residents# &issionaries# scholars# and
travelers. What A%o!t The *!sto&s Of The 5e$s Who Have Ret!rned To The Ne
Nation Of IsraelFThe c!sto&s of the 5e$s $ho are no$ ret!rnin" fro& vario!s arts of
the $orld to the land of their fathers# $ill not %e of "reat val!e for this st!dy# %eca!se
they are lar"ely the c!sto&s of those lands fro& $hence they have co&e# and in &any
cases that &eans Western c!sto&s. There &ay %e a fe$ of the ret!rnin" Israelite
and so&e of those $ho have lived lon" in the land# $ho have the old2ti&e ha%its of life#
esecially reli"io!s o%servances# %!t those $ho do are very &!ch in the &inority. Other
So!rces Of Infor&ation A%o!t )anners And *!sto&s Of Bi%le Ti&es. Historians $ho
have $ritten a%o!t the ti&e of *hrist or of the Aostles have often "iven infor&ation
a%o!t the &anner of livin" of those days# and of even earlier days. Also the findin"s of
archaeolo"ists have %een a val!a%le so!rce of kno$led"e on this s!%-ect. Thin"s
!nearthed %y the sade# s!ch as ottery# vario!s articles of ho!sehold f!rnit!re#
re&ains of old ho!ses# inscritions# and the like# often reveal secrets of ho$ &en in the
lon" a"o lived and acted. Ancient )anners and *!sto&s of Bi%le Land civili4ations lost
to the $orld for cent!ries have %een revealed to &en %y the $ork of e,cavators in Bi%le
lands.
8
8 htt67789:.;;.8<8.33<7=%i%le7reference7&>c7&?c98.ht&l @3 of 8A B8:79C7899; 3363D68C .&.E
Chapter 1
Tent Dwelling
IN THE BIBLE# livin" in tents is of ancient ori"in. It "oes %ack %efore the days of A%raha&. The
first reference in the Scrit!res to tent life is concernin" the &an 5a%al# of $ho& it is said# G
he $as the father of s!ch as d$ell in tentsG @Henesis ;689A. /ollo$in" the /lood the Sacred
Record says# GHod shall enlar"e 5aheth# and he shall d$ell in the tents of She&
G @Henesis I68:A.
The atriarchs A%raha&# Isaac# and 5aco% lived &ost of their lives in tents# in and aro!nd the
land of *anaan. It $as said of A%raha& that he Gitched his tentG in the vicinity of Bethel
@Henesis 386JA# that Isaac Gitched his tent in the valley of HerarG @Henesis 8C63:A# and 5aco%
Gitched his tent %efore the city @of Sheche&AG @Henesis <<63JA.
The *hildren of Israel lived in tents d!rin" their forty years in the $ilderness. )oses said of
the&# G The children of Israel shall itch their tents# every &an %y his o$n ca&
G @N!&%ers 36D8A. And Balaa& Glifted ! his eyes# and he sa$ Israel a%idin" in his tents
accordin" to their tri%esG @N!&%ers 8;68A. /or &any years after the enterin" of the 0ro&ised
Land# Israel still lived in tents. In the days of 1avid it $as said to the kin"# G
The ark and Israel and 5!dah# a%ide in tentsG @II Sa&!el 33633A# indicatin" that &any of the
eole at that ti&e $ere tent2d$ellers. Even at the ti&e of the revolt of the ten tri%es !nder
5ero%oa& and their searation fro& 5!dah# the cry $ent forth# GTo
yo!r tents# O IsraelG @I (in"s 3863CA. When the tri%es "athered to"ether at s!ch s&all laces as
Hil"al# and Shiloh# they !ndo!%tedly %ro!"ht their tents $ith the&. And after the te&le $as
%!ilt at 5er!sale& the eole $o!ld &ake their il"ri&a"es there to cele%rate the f
easts of the LOR1# and &any tho!sands of the& $o!ld slee in tents on the &o!ntains
s!rro!ndin" the city.
<
Like the 5e$s of old# the No&ad or Bedo!in Ara%s of 0alestine# and
esecially those of Trans2 5ordan# have %een livin" in tents for cent!ries# and their &anner of life
is strikin"ly like !nto that of the early Bi%le characters. A st!dy# therefore# of these tent
str!ct!res of Bi%le lands of today $ill thro$ &!ch li"ht on ho$ the &en of early Bi%le ti&es
act!ally lived. By s!ch a st!dy one can %!ild the roer %ack"ro!nd for !nderstandin" the life
and contri%!tions of these &en of the lon" a"o.
;
TENT MATERIAL
The Bedo!in.s ho&e is his tent# $hich is &ade of %lack "oat.s hair
. He calls it %eit sha.ar i.e.#
Gho!se of hair.G It is &ade of coarse# heavy fa%ric# and serves to rotect the fa&ily in $inter fro&
the cold $indsK in the s!&&er the sides are !s!ally lifted# and the tent serves as a s!nshade.
D
This "oat.s hair cloth that is !sed in &akin" these tents is oro!s $hen it is dry# %!t %eco&es
$aterroof after the first rains have shr!nk it to"ether. The Son" of Solo&on refers to these
%lack "oat.s hair tents th!s6 G I a& %lack# %!t co&ely# O ye da!"hters of 5er!sale&# as the
tents of (edarG @Son" of Solo&on 36DA.
C
The &aterial that &akes ! the Bedo!in tent is the sa&e as the sackcloth of Bi%le days. It &!st
%e re&e&%ered that this Oriental sackcloth is not at all like the Occidental %!rla# %!t is rather a
&aterial &ade of rickly# coarse "oat.s hair.
:
The Aostle 5ohn co&ares darkness to this
sackcloth6 G The s!n %eca&e %lack like sackcloth
of hair G @Revelation C638A. In Bi%le ti&es sackcloth $as $orn as a si"n of sorro$
@Henesis <:6<;K II Sa&!el <6<3A# as a si"n of h!&ility
@I (in"s 8368:K II (in"s 3I63A# or as a si"n of reentance @1aniel I6<K 5onah <6DA.
TENT ENCAMPMENTS AND MANNER OF SETTING UP OF TENTS
If the Bedo!in Ara%s live to"ether as a tri%e or a clan# as they often do# or if &ore than one
fa&ily d$ell $ith each other# then their tents are not itched in a ro&isc!o!s cl!ster# %!t &ore
likely in a lar"e circle to &ake it ossi%le for at least so&e of their flocks to %e rotected inside
the circle. By the side of the sheik.s tent stands a lon" sear as an e&%le& of his a!thority @cf.
< W. ). Tho&son# The Land and the Book# Lol. I# . DC8.
;5ohn 1. Whitin"# GBedo!in Life in Bi%le LandsG The National Heo"rahic )a"a4ine# 5an!ary#
3I<:# . C;# CD. See also . CJ2CI for hoto"rahs of "oat.s hair tents.
D I%id.# . C;# CD.
C Heor"e H. Scherer# The Eastern *olor of the Bi%le# . D;# DD.
: Whitin"# o. cit.# . C:.
ractice of (in" Sa!l in I Sa&!el 8C6:A. His tent is "enerally lar"er than the others.
J
The Bi%le
says that so&e of the sons of Ish&ael lived in tent villa"es or enca&&ents @Henesis 8D63CA.
The n!&%er of tents that &ade ! the enca&&ent of A%raha& &!st have %een lar"e# for
in his $arfare a"ainst the confederacy of kin"s that took Lot cative# it is stated that he !sed a
%and of three h!ndred ei"hteen trained soldiers %orn in his ho!sehold @Henesis 3;63;A. The
arran"e&ent of his tents $as do!%tless &!ch like that of the $ealthier Bedo!in Ara%s of today.
The &ain overhead ortion of the Bedo!in.s tent is co&osed of one lar"e a$nin" $hich is held
! %y oles# and the ends of the tent cloth are dra$n o!t %y cords $hich are tied to e"s and
driven into the "ro!nd.
I
It $as one of these tent ins that 5ael !sed in killin" Sisera
@5!d"es;683A.
INSIDE ARRANGEMENT OF TENT
The Oriental tent is !s!ally o%lon" in shae# and is divided into t$o# and so&eti&es three
aart&ents %y "oat.s hair c!rtains. The entrance leads into the aart&ent for the &en# $hich
also serves as the recetion aart&ent. Beyond this is the aart&ent for the $o&en and
children. And so&eti&es there is a third aart&ent for servants or for cattle.
39
The $o&en in the
inner aart&ent are screened fro& the vie$ of those in the recetion roo&# %!t they can hear
$hat "oes on in that roo&.
33
Th!s Sarah in her aart&ent overheard $hat the an"el "!est said
in the recetion aart&ent of A%raha&.s tent @Henesis 3J63923DA. In so&e cases there is a
searate tent for the $o&en. It took several tents to care for the lar"e fa&ily of 5aco%.
Reference is &ade to 5aco%.s tent# to Leah.s tent# to Rachel.s tent# and to the tent of the t$o
&aidservants @Henesis <36<<A.
INSIDE FURNISHINGS OF TENTS
The sheherd.s tent is al$ays s!%-ect to eret!al re&ovals# as He4ekiah indicated in his son"
of thanks"ivin"# after his recovery fro& sickness @Isaiah <J638A. Therefore# the f!rnishin"s of
that tent &!st incl!de only the necessities. R!"s cover the "ro!nd# %!t at ni"ht the %eddin" is
%ro!"ht o!t# $hich is co&osed of &ats# or carets on $hich to sleeK and their o!ter "ar&ents
$orn %y day %eco&e their coverin"s %y ni"ht. Sacks of "rain are at to %e iled aro!nd the
&iddle tent osts. S!re to %e a%o!t the tent so&e lace are the hand&ill# and the &ortar# in
$hich the "rain is o!nded. And han"in" fro& the oles $ill %e the skin %a"s or %ottles# for
$ater and other li'!ids. Also there $ill %e a leathern %!cket $ith $hich to dra$ $ater fro& any
$ell that &ay %e availa%le# and an earthen itcher# !sed %y the $o&en to carry the $ater.
*ookin" !tensils $ill not %e &any# %!t $ill incl!de ots# kettles# and ans. Servin" dishes $ill
incl!de &ats# latters# or lar"er dishes# and there $ill %e c!s for drinkin". A ri&itive la&
J Selah )errill# East of the 5ordan# . ;CI# ;:9.
I Ed$in W. Rice# Orientalis&s in Bi%le Lands # . 8;3.
39 I%id.# . 8;3# 8;8.
33 Scherer# o. cit.# . D;# DD.
%!rnin" olive oil $ill ill!&inate the tent %y ni"ht @see Gla&#G in chaters 8 and CA. If the fa&ily is
fort!nate eno!"h to have a ca&el# then the ca&el f!rnit!re $ill %e !sed for sittin" !on inside
the tent# as Rachel $as doin" $hen her father searched the tents for the lost terahi& @Henesis
<36<; cf. *hater 3<A. Little else than these f!rnishin"s $o!ld %e needed for the si&le life of
the tent2d$ellers.
38
The hearth is of co!rse !on the "ro!nd. A hole is d!" in the earth $here
there is a fire kindled# and several stones are !t aro!nd it# and the cookin" !tensils are laced
on these an over the fire. One of these hearths is inside the tent# and another one is o!tdoors#
'!ite likely near to the $o&en.s '!arters. In the hot $eather the cookin" is done o!tside rather
than inside the tent.
3<
PATCHING A TENT AND ENLARGING THE QUARTERS
Ne$ tents are very seldo& &ade a&on" the Bedo!ins. A%o!t the only ti&e this haens is
$hen a yo!n" "roo& and %ride set ! ho!sekeein" for the&selves in a different location fro&
that of the "roo&.s arents# and this rarely haens. The !s!al roced!re is to acc!&!late the
"oat cliin"s of a year or so# and $ith these &ake a ne$ stri $ith $hich to reair the old tent.
The $o&en do this $ork. The section of the tent roof that is &ost $orn is ried o!t# and a ne$
iece of the cloth relaces it. The old iece is then !sed for a side c!rtain. Each year ne$ stris
of cloth relace old ones and the Gho!se of hairG is handed do$n fro& father to son $itho!t its
%ein" co&letely ne$ or co&letely old at any one ti&e.
3;
As the tent2d$eller.s fa&ily "ro$s
lar"er# or as he %eco&es richer and $ishes to enlar"e his tent# he does so %y si&ly addin"
another section to his old tent# very &!ch like the Occidental $o!ld
%!ild another roo& on to his ho!seK %!t there is this difference6 instead of %!ildin" a ne$ tent
they -!st contin!e atchin".
3D
3<
Isaiah had this rocess in &ind $hen he co&ared the rohetic roserity of Israel to a
Bedo!in tent. GEnlar"e the lace of thy tent# and let the& stretch forth the c!rtains of thine
ha%itations6 sare not# len"then thy cords# and stren"then.

THE CHARACTER OF TENT-LIFE
The Westerner does not %e"in to areciate the il"ri& character of the Oriental tent2d$eller.
One traveler a&on" these no&ads had this to say a%o!t the&6The Ara%.s tent is his ho&e6 yet
the $ord Gho&eG does not &ean to hi& $hat it &eans to !s. Of o!r idea of ho&e he has no
concetion . . . His ho&e is the little sot $here his tent is itched and his flocks are "athered at
38 Rice# o. cit.# . 8;D# 8;CK Scherer# o. cit.# . DD# DC.
3<Infor&ation received d!rin" ersonal intervie$ $ith )r. H. Eric )atson# hoto"raher# and
lon" ti&e resident of 0alestine.
3; Whitin"# o. cit.# . C:.
3D Bar%ara ). Bo$en# Thro!"h Bo$en )!se!& $ith Bi%le in Hand# . 3J. @Hrand Raids6
Willia& B. Eerd&ans 0!%lishin" *o.# 3I;C.A
ni"ht. His co!ntry 2 his fatherland 2 is the li&ited district over $hich he roa&s in s!&&er
3C
We
&!st al$ays re&e&%er that A%raha&# Isaac# and 5aco% $ere il"ri&s in the Land of
0ro&ise. GBy faith he so-o!rned in the land of ro&ise# as in a stran"e co!ntry# d$ellin" in
ta%ernacles $ith Isaac and 5aco%# the heirs $ith hi& of the sa&e ro&iseG @He%re$s 336IA.
And the $riter to the He%re$s "oes on to say of these atriarchs# GThese all died in faith# not
havin" received the ro&ises# %!t havin" seen the& afar off# and $ere ers!aded of the&#
and e&%raced the&# and confessed that they $ere stran"ers and il"ri&s on the earth
G @He%re$s 3363<A.
Tent2life $ith its si&licity# and so &!ch of the ti&e sent o!t2of2doors# has a real char& for
those $ho are !sed to it. )ost of the& $o!ld not live other$ise if they had the choice to do so.
And %eca!se the 5e$ish ancestors $ere tent2d$ellers# their descendants considered s!ch a life
in the sirit of tr!e di"nity.
3:
This e,lains the n!&ero!s references to tent2life in sacred oetry
and rohecy @cf. 0sal& J;632 39K Son" of Solo&on 36DK 5ere&iah ;689# etc.A.
3C )errill# o. cit.# . ;:9# ;:3.
3: Heor"e ). )ackie# Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s
# . JI# I9.
CHAPTER 2
Houses of One Room
Candles
Bi%lical !se of the $ord candle. The !se of the $ord Gcandle does not carry the &eanin"
of the $ord as $e $o!ld %e fa&iliar $ith it# %!t rather $ith la&s.
3J
Doos
1oors. The doors as $ell as $indo$s $ere ordinarily %!ilt of syca&ore $ood. It $as
only for orna&ental !roses of the $ealthy that cedar $ood $as !sed3C @cf. Isaiah
I639A. These doors t!rned on hin"es# as. the fa&iliar rover% a%o!t the sl!""ard &akes
&ention of the t!rnin" of a door !on its hin"es @0rover%s 8C63;A. If the doors $ere
fastened $hen sh!t# %ars $ere !s!ally !sed for this !rose @0rover%s 3J63IA. The door
of the easant.s one2roo& ho!se is oened %efore s!nrise in the &ornin"# and stays
oen all day lon" as an invitation to hositality. The Book of Revelation seaks th!s6
GBehold# I have set %efore thee an oen doorG @Revelation <6JA. /or s!ch a door to %e
sh!t $o!ld indicate the inha%itants had done that of $hich they $ere asha&ed @cf. 5ohn
<63IA. At s!nset the door is sh!t and re&ains sh!t d!rin" the ni"ht @cf. L!ke 336:A. The
r!le a%o!t the oen door for the si&le ho!se does not hold for the city ho!ses of &ore
than one roo&. The reference to the )aster knockin" at the door has to do $ith s!ch a
door @Revelation <689K cf. *hater <A. The distinction %et$een the ho!se of the villa"er
and of the city d$eller &!st al$ays %e &ade# in order to !nderstand the scrit!ral
references to ho!ses.
3I

Floos and !alls
/LOOR AN1 WALLS O/ THE HO+SE *oncernin" the nat!re of the floor of these
Oriental ho!ses# 1r. Heor"e A. Barton says6 GThe ho!ses "enerally had no floor e,cet
the earth# $hich $as s&oothed off and acked hard. So&eti&es this $as varied %y
&i,in" li&e $ith the &!d and lettin" it harden# and so&eti&es floors of co%%lestones or
stone chiin"s &i,ed $ith li&e $ere fo!nd. In the Ro&an eriod &osaic floors# &ade
%y e&%eddin" s&all s&oothly c!t s'!ares of stone in the earth# $ere introd!ced.G The
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$alls of the ho!ses $ere often &ade of %ricks# %!t these $ere not ordinarily %!rned# %!t
$ere co&osed of &!d dried in the s!n.: 5o% seaks of these kinds of d$ellin" as
Gho!ses of clayG @5o% ;63IA. They are si&ilar to the ado%e ho!ses so co&&on in )e,ico
today# and often seen in the so!th$estern states of A&erica# $here the Sanish
infl!ence of the ast is still felt. B!t so&eti&es the $alls $ere &ade of ro!"h
sandstones. so co&&on in the land. These $ere of varyin" si4es and $ere set in &!d.
The -oints %et$een the& $ere at to %e $ide and irre"!lar.J It $as only the alaces or
ho!ses of the $ealthy that $ere constr!cted of he$n stones# like the alaces of
Solo&on @I (in"s :6IA# and the rich of Isaiah.s day# $ho %oasted they $o!ld relace
fallen do$n %rick $alls $ith $alls of he$n stones @Isaiah I6J239A.
89
Fuel fo F"es
The f!el !sed. The easant often !ses dried d!n" as f!el for his fire. So&e of the
oorer classes !se this the&selves# and sell the sticks they find to those $ho can afford
to %!y the&.8J A reference in the rohecy of E4ekiel indicates this !se of f!el $as
co&&on in Bi%le ti&es @see E4ekiel ;63DA. In the Orient f!el is !s!ally so scarce that
dried "rass and $ithered flo$ers are at to %e caref!lly "athered into %!ndles and !sed
for &akin" a fire.8I There are Bi%le indications that this $as often done in those days of
old. 5ES+S said6 GThe "rass of the field# $hich today is# and to&orro$ is cast into the
ovenG @)atthe$ C6<9K L!ke 3868JA. Another o!lar f!el for fires in Israel is thorns.
There are &any kinds of thorny shr!%s that "ro$ there# and the eole "ather the& and
&ake "ood !se of the&. Bi%le assa"es indicatin" s!ch !se of the& are n!&ero!s @II
Sa&!el 8<6C# :K 0sal& 33J638K Ecclesiastes :6CK Isaiah I63JK Isaiah 3963:K Isaiah <<638K
Nah!& 3639A. The $ido$ of Oarehath $as "atherin" sticks to %!ild a fire @I (in"s
3:639A# %!t the fire %!ilt in the co!rtyard of the hi"h riest.s ho!se# $here Si&on 0eter
$ar&ed hi&self# $as %!ilt of charcoal @5ohn 3J63JA. 5ES+S cooked %reakfast for His
disciles on a charcoal fire @5ohn 836IA.
83
Fun"#ue
/+RNISHINHS O/ THE HO+SE The f!rnishin"s of a one2roo& 0alestinian ho!se $ere
and still are very si&le. )ats and c!shions are in !se to sit on %y day. and carets or
&ats are slet on at ni"ht. There $ill %e vessels of clay for ho!sehold needs# $ith
erhas so&e cookin" !tensils of &etal. There $ill %e a chest for storin" %eddin"# a
la& either laced on a la&stand or a %!shel# a %roo& for ho!se cleanin"# and a
hand&ill for "rindin" the "rain# and the "oatskin %ottles in $hich li'!ids are ket. The
89 htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7links.hF
catM<I>s!%M;98>cat?na&eM)annersN>s!%cat?na&eMHo!sesN2N*o&&on
83 htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7links.hF
catM<I>s!%M;98>cat?na&eM)annersN>s!%cat?na&eMHo!sesN2N*o&&on
firelace $o!ld %e on the floor often in the &iddle of the roo&. This "ives a "eneral
ict!re of the f!rnishin"s of the avera"e 0alestinian ho&e. )ore details re"ardin" so&e
of these ite&s $ill %e "iven as the st!dy roceeds.
House "n Eas#on$s %"&le D"'#"ona(
Till their so-o!rn in E"yt the He%re$s d$elt in tents. They then for the first ti&e
inha%ited cities @Hen. ;:6<K E,. 386:K He%. 336IA. /ro& the earliest ti&es the Assyrians
and the *anaanites $ere %!ilders of cities. The He%re$s after the *on'!est took
ossession of the cat!red cities# and see& to have follo$ed the &ethods of %!ildin"
that had %een !rs!ed %y the *anaanites. Reference is &ade to the stone @3 (in"s :6IK
Isa. I639A and &ar%le @3 *hr. 8I68A !sed in %!ildin"# and to the internal $ood2$ork of the
ho!ses @3 (in"s C63DK :68K 39633# 38K 8 *hr. <6DK 5er. 8863;A. G*eiled ho!sesG $ere s!ch
as had %ea&s inlaid in the $alls to $hich $ainscottin" $as fastened @E4ra C6;K 5er.
8863;K Ha". 36;A. GIvory ho!sesG had the !er arts of the $alls adorned $ith fi"!res in
st!cco $ith "old and ivory @3 (in"s 886<IK 8 *hr. <6CK 0s. ;D6JA. The roofs of the
d$ellin"2ho!ses $ere flat# and are often all!ded to in Scrit!re @8 Sa&. 3368K Isa. 8863K
)att. 8;63:A. So&eti&es tents or %ooths $ere erected on the& @8 Sa&. 3C688A. They
$ere rotected %y araets or lo$ $alls @1e!t. 886JA. On the ho!se2tos "rass
so&eti&es "re$ @0rov. 3I63<K 8:63DK 0s. 38I6C# :A. They $ere !sed# not only as laces
of recreation in the evenin"# %!t also so&eti&es as sleein"2laces at ni"ht @3 Sa&.
I68D# 8CK 8 Sa&. 3368K 3C688K 1an. ;68IK 5o% 8:63JK 0rov. 836IA# and as laces of
devotion @5er. <868IK 3I63<A.
88
House "n Fausse#$s %"&le D"'#"ona(
(no$n to &an as early at least as *ainK the tent not !ntil 5a%al# the fifth in descent fro&
*ain @Henesis ;6:K Henesis ;63:K Henesis ;689A. The r!de $i"$a& and the nat!ral
cave $ere the a%odes of those $ho# %ein" scattered a%road# s!%se'!ently de"enerated
fro& the ri&itive civili4ation i&lied in the ela%orate str!ct!re of Ba%el @Henesis 336<K
Henesis 336<3A. It $as fro& a land of ho!ses that A%ra&# at Hod.s call# %eca&e a
d$eller in tents @Henesis 3863K He%re$s 336IA. At ti&es he still lived in a ho!se @Henesis
3:68:AK so also Isaac @Henesis 8:63DA# and 5aco% @Henesis <<63DA. In E"yt the
Israelites res!&ed a fi,ed life in er&anent ho!ses# and &!st have learned
architect!ral skill in that land of stately edifices. After their $ilderness so-o!rn in tents
they entered into ossession of the *anaanite "oodly cities. The arts of the eastern
ho!se are6 @3A The orchK not referred to in the Old Testa&ent save in the te&le and
Solo&on.s alace @3 (in"s :6C2:K 8 *hronicles 3D6JK E4ekiel ;96:K E4ekiel ;963CAK in
E"yt @fro& $hence he derived itA often it consisted of a do!%le ro$ of illarsK in 5!d"es
88 htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7eastons7H7Ho!se7
<68< the He%re$ $ord @the front hallA is different. The orch of the hi"h riest.s alace
@)atthe$ 8C6:3K !loon# $hich is translated G"ateG in Acts 3963:K Acts 3863;K Acts 3;63<K
Revelation 83638A &eans si&ly Gthe "ate.G The five orches of Bethesda @5ohn D68A
$ere cloisters or a colonnade for the !se of the sick. @8A The co!rt is the chief feat!re of
every eastern ho!se. The assa"e into it is so contrived that the co!rt cannot %e seen
fro& the street o!tside. An a$nin" fro& one $all to the oosite shelters fro& the heatK
this is the i&a"e# 0sal& 39;68# G$ho stretchest o!t the heavens like a c!rtain.G At the
side of the co!rt oosite the entrance $as the6 @<A "!est cha&%er @L!ke 88633238A#
He%re$ lishkah# fro& laashak# Gto reclineGK $here Sa&!el received his "!ests @3
Sa&!el I688A. Often oen in front# and s!orted %y a illarK on the "ro!nd floor# %!t
raised a%ove the level. A lo$ divan "oes ro!nd it# !sed for sittin" or reclinin" %y day# and
for lacin" %eds on %y ni"ht. In the co!rt the al& and olive $ere lanted# fro& $hence
the sal&ist $rites# GI a& like a "reen olive tree in the ho!se of HodGK an olive tree in a
ho!se $o!ld %e a stran"e i&a"e to !s# %!t s!""estive to an eastern of a ho&e $ith
refreshin" shade and air. So 0sal& I863<# Gthose that %e lanted in the ho!se of the
Lord shall flo!rish in the co!rts of o!r Hod.G *ontrast the ict!re of Edo&.s desolation#
Gthorns in the alaces# nettles and %ra&%les in the fortresses ... a co!rt for o$lsG @Isaiah
<;63<A. @;A The stairs. O!tside the ho!se# so that Eh!d co!ld readily escae after
slayin" E"lon @5!d"es <68<A# and the %earers of the aralytic# !na%le to "et to the door#
co!ld easily &o!nt %y the o!tside stairs to the roof# and# %reakin" an oenin" in it# let
hi& do$n in the &idst of the roo& $here 5es!s $as @)ark 86;A. The Israelite catains
laced 5eh! !on their "ar&ents on the to of the stairs# as the &ost !%lic lace# and
fro& the& roclai&ed G5eh! is kin"G @8 (in"s I63<A. @DA The roof is often of a &aterial
$hich co!ld easily %e %roken !# as it $as %y the aralytic.s friends6 sticks# thorn %!shes
@%ellanA# $ith &ortar# and &arl or earth. A stone roller is ket on the to to harden the flat
roof that rain &ay not enter. A&!se&ent# %!siness# conversation.
8<
House "n Na)es To*"'al %"&le
B!ilt of Stone Le 3;6;92;DK Isa I639K A& D633 Brick He 336<K E, 363323;K Isa I639 Wood
So 363:K Isa I639 2B!ilt into city $alls 5os 863D 2+sed for $orshi Ac 363<#3;K 38638K
Ro 3C6DK 3*o 3C63IK *ol ;63DK 0h& 368 2GA &an.s castle#G 1e 8;639#33
2AR*HITE*T+RE O/ /o!ndations of stone 3(i D63:K :6IK E4r C6<K 5er D368C /i"!rative
0s J:63K Isa 8J63CK ;J63<K Ro 3D689K 3*o <633K Eh 8689K 3Ti C63IK He% C63K Re 8363;
*ornerstone 5o% <J6CK 0s 3;;638 /i"!rative 0s 33J688K Isa 8J63CK Eh 8689K 30e 86C
0orches 5!d <68<K 3(i :6C#: *o!rts Es 36D S!&&er aart&ent 5!d <689K $ith A& <63DK
3(i 3:63I Inner cha&%er 3(i 8868D *ha&%ers He ;<6<9K 8Sa 3J6<<K 8(i 368K ;639K Ac
363<K I6<:K 896J H!est cha&%er )r 3;63; 0illars 0r I63 With co!rts Ne J63C Lattice 5!d
D68J Windo$s 5!d D68JK 0r :6C *eiled and lastered 1a D6D Hin"es 0r 8C63; Roofs# flat
8< htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7fa!ssets7H7Ho!se7
5os 86CK 5!d 3C68:K 3Sa I68DK 8Sa 3368K 3C688K Isa 3D6<K 8863K )t 8;63:K L! 386<
Battle&ents re'!ired in )osaic la$ 1e 886J 0rayer on Ac 396I Altars on 8(i 8<638K 5er
3I63<K <868IK Oe 36D Booths on Ne J63C +sed as lace to slee 5os 86JK Ac 396I +sed
as d$ellin" lace 0r 836IK 8D68; 0ainted 5er 8863;K E4e J639#38 *hi&neys of Ho 3<6<
Te,ts of Scrit!re on doorosts of 1e C6I La$s re"ardin" sale of Le 8D68I2<<K Ne D6<
1edicated 1e 896DK 0s <9 2/IH+RATILE 8Sa :63JK 0s 8<6CK <C6JK 5oh 3;68K 8*o D63K
3Ti <63DK He% <68
8;
House "n Sm"#+s %"&le D"'#"ona(
The ho!ses of the r!ral oor in E"yt# as $ell as in &ost arts of Syria# Ara%ia and
0ersia# are "enerally &ere h!ts of &!d or s!n%!rnt %ricks. In so&e arts of Israel and
Ara%ia stone is !sed# and in certain districts caves in the rocks are !sed as d$ellin"s.
A& D633 The ho!ses are !s!ally of one story only# vi4.# the "ro!nd floor# and often
contain only one aart&ent. So&eti&es a s&all co!rt for the cattle is attachedK and in
so&e cases the cattle are ho!sed in the sa&e %!ildin"# or the live in a raised latfor&#
and# the cattle ro!nd the& on the "ro!nd. 3Sa 8J68; The $indo$s are s&all aert!res
hi"h ! in the $alls# so&eti&es "rated $ith $ood. The roofs are co&&only %!t not
al$ays flat# and are !s!ally for&ed of laster of &!d and stra$ laid !on %o!"hs or
raftersK and !on the flat roofs# tents or G%oothsG of %o!"hs or r!shes are often raised to
%e !sed as sleein"2 laces in s!&&er. The difference %et$een the oorest ho!ses and
those of the class ne,t a%ove the& is "reater than %et$een these and the ho!ses of the
first rank. The revailin" lan of eastern ho!ses of this class resents# as $as the case
in ancient E"yt# a front of $all# $hose %lank and &ean aearance is !s!ally relieved
only %y the door and a fe$ latticed and ro-ectin" $indo$s. Within this is a co!rt or
co!rts $ith aart&ents oenin" into the&. Over the door is a ro-ectin" $indo$ $ith a
lattice &ore or less ela%orately $ro!"ht# $hich# e,cet in ti&es of !%lic cele%rations is
!s!ally closed. 8(i I6<9 An a$nin" is so&eti&es dra$n over the co!rt# and the floor is
stre$ed $ith carets on festive occasions. The stairs to the !er aart&ents are in
Syria !s!ally in a corner of the co!rt. Aro!nd art# if not the $hole# of the co!rt is a
veranda# often nine or ten feet dee# over $hich# $hen there is &ore than one floor#
r!ns a second "allery of like deth# $ith a %al!strade. When there is no second floor#
%!t &ore than one co!rt# the $o&en.s aart&ents 22haree&s# hare& or hara& 22 are
!s!ally in the second co!rtK other$ise they for& a searate %!ildin" $ithin the "eneral
enclos!re# or are a%ove on the first floor. When there is an !er story# the ka.ah for&s
the &ost i&ortant aart&ent# and th!s ro%a%ly ans$ers to the G!er roo&#G $hich
$as often the "!est2 cha&%er. L! 88638K Ac 363<K I6<:K 896J The $indo$s of the !er
roo&s often ro-ect one or t$o feet# and for& a kiosk or latticed cha&%er. S!ch &ay
have %een Gthe cha&%er in the $all.G 8(i ;639#33 The Glattice#G thro!"h $hich Ahasiah
8; htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7naves7H7HO+SE7
fell# erhas %elon"ed to an !er cha&%er of this kind# 8(i 368 as also the Gthird loft#G
fro& $hich E!tych!s fell. Ac 896I co&. 5ere 8863< 0a!l reached in s!ch a roo& on
acco!nt of its s!erior rise and retired osition. The o!ter circle in an a!dience in s!ch a
roo& sat !on a dais# or !on c!shions elevated so as to %e as hi"h as the $indo$2sill.
/ro& s!ch a osition E!tych!s co!ld easily fall. There are !s!ally no secial %ed2roo&s
in eastern ho!ses. The o!ter doors are closed $ith a $ooden lock# %!t in so&e cases
the aart&ents are divided fro& each other %y c!rtains only. There are no chi&neys# %!t
fire is &ade $hen re'!ired $ith charcoal in a chafin"2dishK or a fire of $ood &i"ht %e
&ade in the oen co!rt of the ho!se L! 886CD So&e ho!ses in *airo have an aart&ent
oen in front to the co!rt $ith t$o or &ore arches and a railin"# and a illar to s!ort
the $all a%ove. It $as in a cha&%er of this si4e to %e fo!nd in a alace# that o!r Lord
$as %ein" arrai"ned %efore the hi"h riest at the ti&e $hen the denial of hi& %y St.
0eter took lace. He Gt!rned and lookedG on 0eter as he stood %y the fire in the co!rt#
L! 886DC#C3K 5oh 3J68; $hilst he hi&self $as in the Ghall of -!d"&ent.G In no oint do
Oriental do&estic ha%its differ &ore fro& E!roean than in the !se of the roof. Its flat
s!rface is &ade !sef!l for vario!s ho!sehold !roses# as dryin" corn# han"in" !
linen# and rearin" fi"s and raisins. The roofs are !sed as laces of recreation in the
evenin"# and often as sleein"2laces at ni"ht. 3Sa I68D#8CK 8Sa 3368K 3C688K 5o%
8:63JK 0r 836IK 1a ;68I They $ere also !sed as laces for devotion and even idolatro!s
$orshi. 8(i 8<638K 5er 3I63<K <868IK Oe 36CK Ac 396I At the ti&e of the feast of
ta%ernacles %ooths $ere erected %y the 5e$s on the to of their ho!ses. 0rotection of
the roof %y araets $as en-oined %y the la$. 1e 886J Secial aart&ents $ere devoted
in lar"er ho!ses to $inter and s!&&er !ses. 5er <C688K A& <63D The ivory ho!se of
Aha% $as ro%a%ly a alace lar"ely orna&ented $ith inlaid ivory. The circ!&stance of
Sa&son.s !llin" do$n the ho!se %y &eans of the illars &ay %e e,lained %y the fact
of the co&any %ein" asse&%led on tiers of %alconies a%ove each other# s!orted %y
central illars on the %ase&entK $hen these $ere !lled do$n the $hole of the !er
floors $o!ld fall also. 5!d 3C68C
8D
House "n #+e %"&le En'('lo*ed"a - IS%E
Ho!se @%ayithK oikos# in classical Hreek "enerally Gan estate#G oikia# oike&a @literally#
Gha%itationGA# in Acts 3863# GrisonGA6 I. *ALE 1WELLINHS II. STONE2B+ILT AN1
)+17BRI*(2B+ILT HO+SES 3. 1etails of 0lan and *onstr!ction @3A *orner2Stone @8A
/loor @<A H!tter @;A 1oor @DA Hin"e @CA Lock and (ey @:A Threshold @JA Hearth @IA
Windo$ @39A Roof 8. Ho!ses of )ore than One Story @3A +er *ha&%ers and Stairs
@8A 0alaces and *astles <. Internal Aearance III. OTHER )EANINHS LITERAT+RE I.
*ave 1$ellin"s. The earliest er&anent ha%itations of the rehistoric inha%itants of
Israel $ere the nat!ral caves $hich a%o!nd thro!"ho!t the co!ntry. As the eole
increased and "ro!ed the&selves into co&&!nities# these a%odes $ere s!le&ented
8Dhtt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7s&iths7H7Ho!se7
%y syste&s of artificial caves $hich# in so&e cases# develoed into e,tensive
%orro$in"s of &any ad-oinin" co&art&ents# havin" in each syste& several entrances.
These entrances $ere !s!ally c!t thro!"h the roof do$n a fe$ stes# or si&ly droed
to the floor fro& the rock s!rface. The sinkin" $as shallo$ and the headroo& lo$ %!t
s!fficient for the !ndersi4ed tro"lodites $ho $ere the occ!iers. II. Stone2%!ilt and
)!d7Brick2%!ilt Ho!ses. There are &any references to the !se of caves as d$ellin"s in
the Old Testa&ent. Lot d$elt $ith his t$o da!"hters in cave @Hen 3I6<9A. Eli-ah# fleein"
fro& 5e4e%el# lod"ed in a cave @3 (in" 3I6IA. The nat!ral s!ccessor to the cave $as the
stone2%!ilt h!t# and -!st as the loose field2%o$lders and the stones# '!arried fro& the
caves# served their first and &ost vital !ses in the %!ildin" of defense $alls# so did they
later %eco&e &aterial for the first h!t. *aves# d!rin" the rainy season# $ere fa!lty
d$ellin"s# as at the ti&e $hen rotection $as &ost needed# they $ere %ein" flooded
thro!"h the s!rface oenin"s $hich for&ed their entrances. The r!dest cell %!ilt of
ro!"h stones in &!d and covered a $ith roof of %r!sh$ood and &!d $as at first
s!fficient. )ore ela%orate lans of several aart&ents# enterin" fro& $hat &ay %e
called a livin"2roo&# follo$ed as a &atter of co!rse# and these# h!ddled to"ether#
constit!ted the ho&es of the eole. )!d2%rick %!ildin"s @5o% ;63IA of si&ilar lan
occ!r# and to rotect this fria%le &aterial fro& the $eather# the $alls $ere so&eti&es
covered $ith a casin" of stone sla%s# as at Lachish. @See Bliss# A )o!nd of )any
*ities.A Henerally seakin"# this r!de tye of %!ildin" revailed# altho!"h# in so&e of the
lar"er %!ildin"s# s'!are dressed and -ointed stones $ere !sed. There is little or no si"n
of i&rove&ent !ntil the eriod of the Hellenistic infl!ence# and even then the
i&rove&ent $as sli"ht# so far as the ho&es of the co&&on eole $ere concerned. 3.
1etails of 0lan and *onstr!ction6 One sho!ld o%serve an iso&etric sketch and lan
sho$in" constr!ction of a tyical s&all ho!se.
8C
Lam*s
*haracter of the la&. When the *hildren of Israel entered the 0ro&ised Land they
adoted the la& !sed %y the *anaanites# $hich $as an earthen$are sa!cer to hold
the olive oil# and a inched li to hold the $ick. A tho!sand years later a )esoota&ian
la& $as i&orted and !sed in so&e sections. This la& had a closed t!%e for the
$ick# and th!s co!ld %e carried a%o!t $itho!t sillin" the oil so readily. In the fifth
cent!ry B.*. Hreek la&s of a %ea!tif!l %lack "la4ed variety $ere i&orted and %eca&e
o!lar. By the third cent!ry B.*. the old sa!cer2tye la& had all %!t disaeared# %!t
in the second cent!ry# the )acca%eans revived the !se of that tye of la&# as %ein"
&ore in line $ith the old 5e$ish traditions. B!t $hen the Ro&an E&ire %e"an to
do&inate the land of Israel# the la&s in !se $ere either i&orted# or &ade !nder
forei"n &odels. The Lir"in.s La& in !se in the ti&e of *HRIST $as an i&rove&ent
8C htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7is%e7H7HO+SE7
over the old sa!cer tye# havin" s!fficient coverin" to kee the oil fro& sillin".
8:
Lam*s#and
The la& stand. In early Bi%le ti&es# la& stands $ere not in co&&on !se# and the
la&s $o!ld %e !t on a lace s!ch as a stone ro-ectin" fro& the $all. In the days of
*HRIST la& stands $ere in '!ite "eneral !se. They $ere tall and $ere !s!ally laced
on the "ro!nd. Archaeolo"ists have !nearthed so&e %ron4e la& stands fo!rteen
inches hi"h that had %een !sed in alaces. They $ere &ade for holdin" %o$ls or la&s.
The oor no do!%t had a less e,ensive tye. If the fa&ily had no searate la& stand#
the %!shel laced on the "ro!nd !side do$n $o!ld serve for a la& stand# as $ell as
a ta%le fro& $hich the &eal $o!ld %e served. The la& $as to %e !t on the %!shel and
not !nder it @)atthe$ D63DA.
8J
L",+# "n #+e House
The si"nificance of li"ht in a 0alestinian ho!se. A la& is considered to %e the
0alestinian easant.s one l!,!ry that is a necessity. When the s!n sets in the West# the
door of his ho!se is sh!t# and then the la& is lit. To slee $itho!t a li"ht is considered
%y &ost villa"ers to %e a si"n of e,tre&e overty. The Bi%le &akes synony&o!s s!ch
ter&s as la&# li"ht# and life. A late traveler looks to see a li"ht in a ho!se# and then he
kno$s there is life there. To $ish that a &an.s li"ht %e !t o!t $o!ld %e to $ish hi& a
terri%le c!rse.8C *oncernin" the $icked &an# Bildad in the Book of 5o% said6 GThe li"ht
shall %e dark in his ta%ernacle# and his candle Bla&E shall %e !t o!t $ith hi&G @5o%
3J6CA. B!t the sal&ist considered hi&self %lessed of the LOR1 $hen he said of hi&self
in relation to HO1# G/or tho! $ilt li"ht &y candle Bla&EG @0sal& 3J68JA. It $as to
Orientals $ho areciated the val!e of even a h!&%le earthen$are la& in the dark of
ni"ht# or even in the o%sc!rity of a darkso&e ho!se# that 5ES+S ori"inally said# GLet
yo!r li"ht so shine %efore &en# that they &ay see yo!r "ood $orks# and "lorify yo!r
/ather $hich is in heavenG @)atthe$ D63CA.
8I

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Man,es
BETHLEHE) HO+SE AN1 )ANHER
The h!&%le scene of the %irthlace of the Ba%y 5ES+S is so often interreted $ith
Occidental instead of Oriental flavor that it $o!ld %e $ell for Westerners to have the
descrition of the kind of a Bethlehe& ho!se in $hich the Savio!r $as do!%tless %orn#
as "iven %y 5ohn 1. Whitin".;9 Enterin" the door of this one2roo& Bethlehe& d$ellin"
one sees that t$o2thirds of the sace is "iven over to a Graised &asonry latfor&# so&e
ei"ht to ten feet a%ove the "ro!nd and s!orted %y lo$2do&ed arches.G This sace
that is raised is occ!ied %y the &e&%ers of the fa&ily# and the lo$er art of the ho!se
is for the cattle and flocks. Narro$ stone stes lead ! to $here the fa&ily lives# and
there are only t$o s&all $indo$s in the roo& and these are hi"h ! fro& the "ro!nd. In
$inter $eather the shee and "oats are ket inside the ho!se# also a fe$ $ork cattle#
and erhas a donkey. 0ri&itive &an"ers for the cattle are to %e seen aro!nd the $alls#
and these are %!ilt of ro!"h sla%s of stone laced on ed"e and lastered ! $ith
&ortar.G The o$ner of the ani&als often slees on a s&all raised lace# $here he can
kee $atch over ne$ly %orn la&%s. To kno$ the heart of the land# to have learned the
hositality of its eole# $hich is al$ays offered# no &atter ho$ ri&itive or si&le#
&akes it easy to ict!re )ary and 5oseh ret!rnin" fro& the inn# already filled $ith
"!ests# and t!rnin" aside into a ho&e s!ch as $e have descri%ed# the re"!lar d$ellin"
ortion of $hich &ay have %een none too lar"e for the fa&ily $hich occ!ied it. It &ay
have %een cro$ded $ith other "!ests# %!t they find a $elco&e and a restin"2lace for
the %a%e in a &an"er.
<9
Ne/l( %u"l# Homes
1E1I*ATION O/ A NEWLY B+ILT HO+SE THAT THERE WAS a "enerally acceted
c!sto& a&on" the 5e$s of dedicatin" a ne$ly constr!cted d$ellin" is indicated fro& the
$ords of the )osaic La$6 GWhat &an is there that hath %!ilt a ne$ ho!se and hath not
dedicated itG @1e!terono&y 896DA. No do!%t the social and also the devotional ele&ents
entered into the occasion. A si&ilar c!sto& $as in !se in other ancient and in so&e
&odern lands of the East. The title of the Thirtieth 0sal& reads# GA 0sal&K Son" at the
dedication of the ho!se of 1avid.G This $o!ld see& to reveal that 1avid cele%rated the
enterin" into his ho!se $ith a secial service or festivity of dedication. S!r"eon '!otes
Sa&!el *handler as sayin" concernin" this c!sto&6 It $as co&&on $hen any erson
had finished a ho!se and entered into it# to cele%rate it $ith "reat re-oicin"# and kee a
festival# to $hich his friends are invited# and to erfor& so&e reli"io!s cere&onies# to
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sec!re the rotection of Heaven.
<3
One Room House
Ho!ses of One Roo& A/TER ISRAEL had %een in the land of *anaan &any years and
had settled do$n fro& the no&adic life to the &ore sta%le a"ric!lt!ral !rs!its# ho!ses
%e"an to take the lace of tents as laces of a%ode. The avera"e ho&e of the co&&on
eole $as a one2roo& d$ellin" d$ellin".3 1r. Tho&son thinks that %eca!se the oor
$ido$ $ho entertained Eli-ah had an !er roo& in her ho!se# it indicates she $as not
of the oorer class %!t $as in straits only %eca!se of the terri%le fa&ine.8 @cf. I (in"s
3:6J23IA.
<8

Pu*oses of a House
0+R0OSES O/ THE HO+SE In Bi%le ti&es &en did not %!ild ho!ses $ith the idea in
&ind that &ost of their daily livin" $o!ld %e sent inside the&. Their first interest $as in
sendin" as &!ch ti&e as ossi%le in HO1.s o!t2of2doors. The ho!se served as a lace
of retire&ent. /or this reason the o!tside $alls of the h!&%le ho!se $ere not invitin".
There $as no effort to attract attention to this lace of retire&ent.< The !rose of these
d$ellin"s is %orne o!t %y the &eanin" of the He%re$ and Ara%ic $ords for Gho!se.G
A%raha& Rih%any# $ho $as %orn in Syria and sent his early life there# has &ade a
very ill!&inative state&ent a%o!t the &eanin" and !rose of the 0alestinian ho!se6
The He%re$ $ord %avith and the Ara%ic $ord %ait &ean ri&arily a Gshelter.G The
En"lish e'!ivalent is the $ord Gho!se.G The richer ter&# Gho&e#G has never %een
invented %y the son of Israel %eca!se he has al$ays considered hi&self Ga so-o!rner in
the earth.G His tent and his little ho!se# therefore# $ere s!fficient for a shelter for hi&
and his dear ones d!rin" the earthly il"ri&a"e. Beca!se the 0alestinians lived o!t2of2
doors so &!ch# the sacred $riters $ere fond of referrin" to HO1 as a GshelterG or as a
Gref!"e#G rather than as a Gho&e.G S!ch e,ressions in connection $ith 1eity are
n!&ero!s in the Book of 0sal& and also in the rohetic $ritin"sD @cf. 0sal& C36<K
Isaiah ;6CA.
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Roof Cons#u'#"on
*ONSTR+*TION O/ THE ROO/ The roof of these h!&%le 0alestinian ho!ses is &ade
%y layin" %ea&s across fro& $all to $all# then !ttin" on a &at of reeds# or erhas
thorn %!shes# and over it a coatin" of clay or earthK sand and e%%les are scattered
over this# and a stone roller is !sed to &ake it s&ooth and a%le to shed rain. This roller
is !s!ally left on the ho!se to and the roof is rolled a"ain several ti&es# esecially after
the first rain in order to kee it fro& leakin". A lo$ araet or $all# $ith saces to allo$
the rain $ater to flo$ off# $as e,ected to %e %!ilt on these ho!ses in Bi%le ti&es# in
order to revent eole fro& fallin" off. The fail!re to %!ild s!ch a $all in &odern ti&es
has often ca!sed accidents. The la$ of )oses $as very definite in co&&andin" the
erection of s!ch. Its re"!lation says6 GWhen tho! %!ildest a ne$ ho!se# then tho! shalt
&ake a %attle&ent for thy roof# that tho! %rin" not %lood !on thine ho!se# if any &an
fall fro& thenceG @1e!terono&y 886JA. The co&&on !se of the ho!se roof for so &any
!roses# as shall %e seen# &ade this la$ essential.
<;
Roof Po&lems
ITE)S O/ INTEREST HROWINH O+T O/ THE *HARA*TER O/ THE ROO/ AN1
WALLS Hrass on the ho!setos. With the roofs of the ho!ses &ade lar"ely of dirt or
clay# one can easily i&a"ine ho$ "rass co!ld "ro$ on the tos of the ho!ses as Bi%le
references indicate. GLet the& %e as the "rass !on the ho!setos# $hich $ithereth
afore it "ro$th !G @0sal& 38I6CK see also II (in"s 3I68C# and Isaiah <:68:A. E,a&les
of this in connection $ith si&ilarly %!ilt roofs in &odern ti&es have often %een seen.
One %ook !%lished in the latter art of the nineteenth cent!ry carries a ict!re of a
0alestinian roof all covered $ith "ro$in" "rass. The notation %eneath the ict!re says6
GThis is a "ood e,a&le of the aearance of ."rass !on the ho!setos.. After the
$inter rains# every flat and &!d2roofed %!ildin" is over"ro$n $ith "rass and $eeds#
$hich soon erish.G Leaky roofs. With a dirt roof it can %e !nderstood ho$ nat!ral it
$o!ld %e for a heavy rainfall to rod!ce a leak# $hich $o!ld &ake it '!ite inconvenient
for those inha%itin" the ho!se at the ti&e. Travelers $ho sto for the ni"ht at one of
these d$ellin"s# have so&eti&es had to chan"e their sleein" '!arters# %eca!se of the
driin" of the rain $ater. The Book of 0rover%s co&ares this droin" to a
contentio!s $o&an @0rover%s 3I63<K 8:63DA. 1i""in" thro!"h of thieves. Since the $alls
of the ho!ses are so often %!ilt of clay or dirt# or of stones $ith &!d %et$een the&# it
&akes it an easy task for a ro%%er to di" thro!"h and "et into the ho!se.3< 5o% referred
to this6 GIn the dark they di" thro!"h ho!sesG @5o% 8;63CA. 5ES+S also soke of the
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sa&e thin" in His "reat Ser&on on the )o!nt6 GLay not ! for yo!rselves treas!res
!on earth# $here &oth and r!st doth corr!t# and $here thieves %reak thro!"h and
stealG @)atthe$ C63IK cf. )atthe$ 8;6;<A. Snakes in ho!se $alls. Beca!se the $alls of
the stone ho!ses $ere %!ilt so that the -oints %et$een the stones $ere $ide and
irre"!lar# therefore a snake &i"ht readily cra$l into the crevices and !ne,ectedly co&e
in contact $ith an inha%itant.3; *oncernin" this kind of ho!se the rohet A&os said
that a &an Gleaned his hand on the $all# and a serent %it hi&G @A&os D63IA.
<D
Roof Pu*oses
+SES )A1E O/ THE ROO/ O/ THE HO+SE The roof of an Oriental ho!se is !sed
today for a "reat variety of !roses# &!ch like it $as !sed in the days of the rohets
and of the aostles. +sed as a lace to slee. The roof is a o!lar lace for the
Oriental to slee. /or a "reat art of the year the roof# or Gho!seto#.G is the &ost
a"reea%le lace a%o!t the ho!se# esecially in the &ornin" and evenin". There &any
slee d!rin" the s!&&er# %oth in the city and the co!ntry# and in all laces $here
&alaria does not render it dan"ero!s. The c!sto& is very ancient. An e,a&le in the
Bi%le of this ractice# is the incident of Sa&!el callin" Sa!l# $ho had slet on the ho!se2
to @I Sa&!el I68CA. +sed as a lace for stora"e. The flat Oriental roofs so e,osed to
the air and s!nshine are $ell s!ited for storin" "rain or fr!it to %e riened or dried. This
c!sto& is a co&&on one in the East.<; Raha% hid the sies $ith the stalks of fla, $hich
she had on her roof @5osh!a 86CA. +sed as a "atherin" lace in ti&es of e,cite&ent. In
Isaiah 8863 the rohet says6 GWhat aileth thee no$# that tho! art $holly "one ! to the
ho!setosFG Th!s is descri%ed a tyical Oriental city in the &idst of a ti&e of "reat
co&&otion. 5!st as the Westerner at s!ch a ti&e "athers in the streets# so the
Easterner "oes to the ho!setos# $here he can see do$n the streets# and discover
$hat is haenin". +sed as a lace for !%lic rocla&ations. In the days of 5ES+S as
$ell as in &odern ti&es the villa"es of the Holy Land have had to$n criers. The orders
of local "overnors are th!s roclai&ed fro& the to of the hi"hest ho!se availa%le. S!ch
a rocla&ation is !s!ally &ade in the evenin"# after the &en have ret!rned fro& their
$ork in the field. The lon" dra$n o!t call %eco&es fa&iliar to the residents# and they
learn to listen for $hat follo$s. The call of the to$n crier is said to rese&%le a distant#
rolon"ed railroad $histle. 5ES+S &!st have often heard the call of the to$n crier. To
his disciles he said6 G$hat ye hear in the ear# that reach ye !on the ho!setosG
@)atthe$ 3968:A. As a $arnin" a"ainst the i&ossi%ility of hidin" o!r sins in the day of
-!d"&ent# he said# GThat $hich ye have soken in the ear in closets shall %e roclai&ed
!on the ho!setosG @L!ke 386<A. +sed as a lace of $orshi and rayer. The
Scrit!res indicate that roofs of ho!ses $ere !sed for tr!e $orshi of HO1# and also for
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idolatro!s $orshi. The rohet Oehaniah seaks of Gthe& that $orshi the host of
heaven !on the ho!setosG @Oehaniah 36DA. And L!ke tells !s that 0eter at 5oa
G$ent ! !on the ho!seto to ray a%o!t the si,th ho!rG @Acts 396IA. It $o!ld %e
nat!ral for those $orshiin" the heavenly %odies to do so on the roof# and no do!%t
0eter retired to the ho!seto $here he co!ld %e alone $ith HO1. +sed as a $ay of
escae in ti&e of evil. In a day $hen escae fro& evil $as necessary# the inha%itants of
villa"es in *HRIST.s ti&e co!ld do so %y "oin" fro& roof to roof# %eca!se the ho!ses
$ere located so close to each other. 1r. Edershei& descri%es the sit!ation th!s6 /ro&
roof to roof there &i"ht %e re"!lar co&&!nication# called %y the Ra%%is Gthe road of the
roofs.G Th!s a erson co!ld &ake his escae# assin" fro& roof to roof# till at the last
ho!se he $o!ld descend the stairs that led do$n its o!tside# $itho!t havin" entered any
d$ellin". To this Groad of the roofsG o!r LOR1 no do!%t referred in His $arnin" to His
follo$ers @)atthe$ 8;63:K )ark 3<63DK L!ke 3:6<3A# intended to aly to the last sie"e
of 5er!sale&# GAnd let hi& that is on the ho!seto not "o do$n into the ho!se# neither
enter therein.G
<C

Slee*"n, and %eds
SLEE0INH ARRANHE)ENTS The 0ara%le of the I&ort!nate /riend $hich 5ES+S
told# if !nderstood in the li"ht of an Oriental one2roo& ho!se# $ill "ive infor&ation a%o!t
sleein" arran"e&ents. GAnd he said !nto the&# Which of yo! shall have a friend# and
shall "o !nto hi& at &idni"ht# and say !nto hi&# /riend# lend &e three loavesK for a
friend of &ine in his -o!rney is co&e to &e# and I have nothin" to set %efore hi&F and
he fro& $ithin shall ans$er and say. Tro!%le &e not6 the door is no$ sh!t# and &y
children are $ith &e in %edK I cannot rise and "ive thee @L!ke 336D2:A. A&on" the
co&&on folks of the Holy Land individ!al %eds in searate %edroo&s have %een
!nkno$n. Instead the arran"e&ents for sleein" in the ara%le# and today in Syria and
Israel a&on" the easants# have %een th!s descri%ed6 The c!shion2&attresses are
sread side %y side in the livin" roo&# in a line as lon" as the &e&%ers of the fa&ily#
sleein" close to"ether# re'!ire. The father slees at one end of the line# and the
&other at the other end# Gto kee the children fro& rollin" fro& !nder the cover.G So the
&an $as a%sol!tely tr!thf!l $hen he said %y $ay of e,c!se# G)y children are $ith &e in
%ed.G
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Smo1"n, Fla2
The rohet.s reference to s&okin" fla,. Isaiah.s rohecy concernin" the )essiah $as
that Gthe s&okin" fla, shall he not '!enchG @Isaiah ;86<A. 1r. Tho&son tells of seein"
ancient clay la&s in !se ill!stratin" this te,t. The $ick $as often &ade of a t$isted
strand of fla,# and this $as !t into the olive oil in the shallo$ c! of the la&. When the
oil $as al&ost !sed ! it $o!ld "ive forth an offensive s&oke. This $as an indication it
$as ti&e to relenish the s!ly of oil. The i&lication $as that the '!enchin" of the fire
$as so&eti&es done !rosely. If the $ick $as $ell $orn# the ho!se$ife $o!ld '!ench
the fire# and then !t a ne$ $ick in to take its lace. HO1.s servant $o!ld not th!s treat
the oor# $eak# and desairin" seci&ens of h!&anity. He $o!ld relenish the oil# tri&
the $ick# and &ake the di&ly %!rnin" fla&e to %!rn %ri"htly. What a ict!re this is of o!r
Savio!r.s desire to hel the helless and lift the fallen and save the lost.
<J
S#o)es and F"e*la'es The stove or firelace. Like the No&ads $ho live in tents# the
easants $ho live in one2roo& ho!ses# carry on as &!ch of their &eal2cookin" o!tside
as the $eather $ill er&it. These oerations are transferred inside only $hen the cold
$inter $eather &akes it desira%le. The Occidental $o!ld hardly call $hat they !se in
cookin" their &eals either a stove or a firelace# %!t it serves the !rose. Often the
lace for the fire is on the floor in the &iddle of the roo&. A s&all oen clay2%aked %o,#
or else a thick -ar $ith holes at the sides# is $hat !s!ally serves as a stove.
<I

T+e C+"mne(
The chi&ney. The /ella%in Ara%s have vario!s $ays of takin" care of s&oke fro& the
interior fires. So&eti&es they have an oenin" in the ceilin" that serves as a chi&ney#
or an aert!re in the side of the ho!se $ill serve the !rose. Often# $hen the firelace
is in the corner of the roo&# there is a hood over it $ith an o!tlet for the s&oke.
/re'!ently# charcoal fires are started in a %ra4ier o!tdoors# and $hen &ost of the
s&okin" is over# and the coals are red hot# then it is taken indoors.<9 The rohet
Hosea refers to Gs&oke o!t of the chi&neyG @Hosea 3<6<A. A hi"h latticed oenin" in the
$all of the ho!se $o!ld serve %oth as $indo$ and chi&ney in certain of the easant
ho&es. B!t no do!%t# &ost of the chi&ney arran"e&ents !sed %y the Ara%s as
&entioned a%ove# $ere also in !se in Bi%le ti&es. The 0sal&ist.s co&arison of hi&self
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$ith Ga %ottle in the s&okeG @0sal& 33I6J<A# co!ld %e an indoor fi"!reK other scrit!ral
references to s&oke# that are often soken of as %ein" indoors# co!ld -!st as $ell %e
o!tdoors @0rover%s 3968CK Isaiah CD6D# etc.A. It can safely %e ass!&ed that Bi%le ho!ses
$ere not al$ays as f!ll of s&oke as &any have ass!&ed to %e the case.
;9
T+e Toa+ "n An'"en# 3e/"s+ L"fe
THE BIBLE IN THE 5EWISH HO)E O/ *HRIST.S TI)E In the days $hen 5ES+S "re$
! as a %oy in his Na4areth ho&e# $hatever else of the He%re$ Scrit!res the yo!th
&ay have %een ac'!ainted $ith# they "re$ ! to hear recited a rayer called GThe
She&a.G This rayer $as in reality the '!otation of three assa"es fro& the 0entate!ch.
It $as reeated &ornin" and evenin" %y the &en. And 5e$ish %oys $hen they %eca&e
t$elve years of a"e had to %e a%le to reeat this rayer. The three Scrit!res that &ade
! the She&a $ere6 1e!terono&y C6;2IK 1e!terono&y 3363<283K and N!&%ers 3D6<:2
;3. It is '!ite likely that after 5ES+S ret!rned fro& that il"ri&a"e to 5er!sale&# He
$o!ld %orro$ the &an!scrit fro& the syna"o"!e of Na4areth @if He did not have a coy
of the Scrit!res in His o$n ho&eA and st!dy in it# esecially the %ooks of )oses and
the rohets. In His teachin"s He often referred to these $riters# and $as esecially
fond of Isaiah and 5ere&iah.J The $idesread !se of the She&a in *HRIST.s ti&e
%eca&e $ith &any a &ere for& $ith little or no &eanin". It $as ossi%le for this rayer
to %eco&e as vain as a heathen rayer. 1o!%tless *HRIST $as rotestin" s!ch !se of
it $hen He said# GB!t $hen ye ray# !se not vain reetitions# as the heathen BHentilesE
doG @)atthe$ C6:A. The ractice of the hylactery# $hich the 0harisees &ade s!ch $ide
!se of# $as %ased on so&e of the Scrit!re in the She&a# and as !sed %y the&# $as
conde&ned %y 5ES+S.
;3
!"ndo/s
Windo$s. The Oriental has fe$ $indo$s that oen on the street side of the ho!se# and
those that do are !s!ally hi"h. As a r!le the $indo$ has $ooden %ars servin" as a
rotection a"ainst ro%%ers# $hile the lo$er half of the $indo$ is screened %y a
fra&e$ork of lattice$ork. The Book of 0rover%s seaks of s!ch a $indo$6 G/or at the
$indo$ of &y ho!se I looked thro!"h &y case&ent BlatticeEG @0rover%s :6CA. Wooden
sh!tters close the $indo$s at ni"ht. When the $indo$ is oen# those inside &ay see
o!t $itho!t the&selves %ein" seen.
;8

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P<d>ta%idM8<8>&idM:C8

Illus#a#"on of a La,e House "n F"s# Cen#u( Isael
!eal#+( House
T+"s s1e#'+ 'on#a"ns +omes "n an'"en# Isael0 A'+aeolo,"s# e)eals #+a# #+ee
/as a ma4o d"ffeen'e &e#/een #+e "nne *a#"#"on /alls &e#/een ea'+ oom of
#+e +ouse5 and #+e moe "m*ess")e ou#s"de /alls0 Fo e2am*le "n 3e"'+o a
+ouse /as e2'a)a#ed /"#+ f")e ooms ,ou*ed aound #+e "nne 'ou# of #+e
+ouse0
There have also %een discoveries $ith ho!ses containin" 38 roo&s. Within these tyes
of ho!ses there $ere roo&s leadin" into the inner co!rt# and "alleries %!ilt on osts and
illars s!rro!ndin" the co!rt. /ollo$in" the stairs to the roof they $o!ld %e a s&all $all
aro!nd the roof si&ilar to the %attle&ents of the castle. There $o!ld also %e an
ela%orate !er roo& on the roof# inside the ho!se $ere latticed $indo$s# and the
str!ct!re $o!ld contain a %ea!tif!l orna&ented cornerstone dressed and set in lace.
B+IL1INH A HO+SE O/ TWO# THREE# OR )ORE ROO)S If a ho!se of t$o roo&s is
to %e %!ilt# the Oriental does not lace the& side %y side# as the Occidental %!ilder
$o!ld do. Rather the %readth of a roo& is left %et$een the t$o roo&s# and a $all is
constr!cted %et$een the ends# and as a res!lt of this arran"e&ent# the ho!se has an
oen co!rt. If the %!ilder e,ects to have three roo&s# then a roo& $o!ld %e s!%stit!ted
for the $all at the end of the co!rt# and there $o!ld %e three roo&s aro!nd a co!rtyard.
If there are to %e &ore than three roo&s in the ho!se# the additional roo&s are added to
those at the side# &akin" the co!rt of "reater len"th. B)anners And *!sto&s of Bi%le
LandsE
;8 htt677$$$.%i%le2history.co&7links.hF
catM<I>s!%M;98>cat?na&eM)annersN>s!%cat?na&eMHo!sesN2N*o&&on
THE A00EARAN*E AN1 ARRANHE)ENT O/ ROO)S There is a "reat difference
%et$een an Oriental and Occidental ho!se of &ore than one roo&. The e,terior of the
Occidental ho!se is &ade to %e as %ea!tif!l as ossi%le# and esecially the art that
fronts on the street. B!t the e,terior of the Oriental ho!se resents an aearance that
is &ean and %lank %y co&arison. The Oriental ho!se fronts in$ardly to$ard the co!rt#
rather than o!t$ardly to$ard the street# as does the Occidental ho!se. The "eneral lan
of the Oriental ho!se is a series of roo&s %!ilt aro!nd an oen co!rtyard. The reason
for this arran"e&ent is that secl!sion is the chief tho!"ht in &ind. B)anners And
*!sto&s of Bi%le LandsE
Ho!ses of )ore Than One Roo& A)ONH THE ARABS of Israel villa"es and to$ns#
ho!ses of &ore than one roo& are o$ned %y those $ho are &ore or less rosero!s.
The Ara%ic $ord &eanin" Gho!seG also &eans Ga roo&#G The sa&e thin" $as tr!e of the
ho!ses %elon"in" to the ancient He%re$s. As a r!le the ho!ses of one roo& $ere in the
villa"es# and those of &ore than one roo& $ere in the cities. B)anners And *!sto&s of
Bi%le LandsE
THE ORIENTAL COURT6ARD Oen to the sky. It is i&ortant for the Westerner to
reali4e that at the center of the Oriental ho!se of several roo&s is a co!rtyard that is
oen to the sky. The co!rtyard is an i&ortant art of the ho!se. A erson can %e in the
co!rt and th!s in the ho!se# and yet he $o!ld %e o!tdoors fro& the oint of vie$ of the
Westerner. As an e,a&le# )atthe$ 8C6CI says6 GNo$ 0eter sat $itho!t in the alace.G
No$ this si&ly &eans that 0eter $as o!tside the roo&s of the alace# and yet he $as
in the oen co!rtyard# located in the central ortion of the %!ildin". Altho!"h the co!rt is
oen to the air a%ove# at ti&es an a$nin" is dra$n over a ortion of it. And so&e
ho!ses have a "allery aro!nd the sides of the co!rt. Often lanted $ith trees# shr!%s# or
flo$ers. These Oriental co!rtyards are often &ade %ea!tif!l %y the resence of trees#
shr!%s# or vario!s flo$ers.: The 0sal&ist refers to s!ch a ractice $ith the fa&iliar
$ords6 GI a& like a "reen olive tree in the ho!se of HodG @0sal& D86JA. And a"ain he
said6 GThose that %e lanted in the ho!se of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our
God" (Psalm 92:13). He is illustrating divine truth ! referring to trees so often "lanted in
court!ards of houses. #ctuall! trees $ere never "lanted in the %em"le courts. &isterns often
uilt in courts. %he interesting stor! of t$o men in the da!s of 'avid $ho hid from #salom
is told in (( )amuel 1*:1+, 19. "-ut the! $ent oth of them a$a! .uic/l!, and came to a
man0s house in -ahurim, $hich had a $ell in his court1 $hither the! $ent do$n. #nd the
$oman too/ and s"read a covering over the $ell0s mouth, and s"read ground corn thereon:
and the thing $as not /no$n." %he "$ell" mentioned here $as actuall! a "cistern" $hich is
often dug in 2riental court!ards in order to catch the rain $ater. 3hen these cisterns are
dr!, the! ma/e good "laces for fugitives to hide. -ecause the mouth of these cisterns is at
the level of the ground, it ma/es it eas! to cover it over $ith some article, and then s"read
grain over that, and thus the "lace of hiding can e /e"t secret. 4ires often /indled in courts
in cold $eather. %his "ractice is illustrated in )imon Peter0s e5"erience of den!ing 6esus. #
fire $as uilt in the court!ard of the high "riest0s house $here 67)8) $as eing tried. 6ohn
1+:1+ sa!s: "#nd the servants and officers stood there, $ho had made a fire of coals1 for it
$as cold: and the! $armed themselves: and Peter stood $ith them, and $armed himself."
&ourt!ard as a athing9"lace. 3hen the )cri"ture sa!s that 'avid from his "alace roof sa$
the eautiful -athshea athing ((( )amuel 11:2), it needs to e understood, that she $as
in the court!ard on the inside of her house, not visile to ordinar! oservation, !et the /ing
from his "alace roof sa$ her and $as tem"ted to sin. :eals often eaten in the court!ard.
%oda!, as in the da!s of 67)8), meals are often eaten in the interior court of the 2riental
house. ;o dout 67)8) $as entertained at meals $hich $ere served in the o"en court of His
host0s house. <:anners #nd &ustoms of -ile Lands=
:2>7 7L#-2>#%7 48>;()H(;G) %he sim"le furnishings of a one9room house, $here the
common "eo"le lived, have alread! een descried. Houses of more than one room $ere
inhaited ! those in a etter situation. %he $ealth! usuall! had u""er rooms as $ell as
lo$er rooms, and of course, the furnishings $ere more elaorate. %he divan or raised seat
$as located around the orders of the room. %he rich adorned these and floored them. %he!
$ere used for seats during the da!time, and eds $ere "ut on them at night. #mos s"ea/s
of the lu5ur! of ivor! eds in his da! (#mos ?:@). %he ed customaril! in use $as a
mattress and "illo$ that could e "laced $here desired. (n $ealth! homes, car"ets,
curtains, and a$nings $ere "resent in aundance. %he 2riental custom $as to sit on the
divan $ith the lo$er lims of the od! crossed. <:anners #nd &ustoms of -ile Lands=
%he cornerstone is another im"ortant "art of the mason0s $or/ of $hich )cri"ture s"ea/s.
3hen the first la!er of olong stones is laid on the foundation, a road s.uare stone is
selected for each corner $here t$o $alls meet. # thinner s.uare loc/ is usuall! "ut at each
corner of the to" ro$s of stones $here the roof9eams are to rest. 3hen trimming the
olong stones forming the ul/ of the $alls, it is eas! for the mason to "ass ! the stone
suitale for the cornerstone ecause of its uninviting sha"e. %hus the Psalmist said: "%he
stone $hich the uilders refused is ecome the head stone of the corner" (Psalm 11+:22).
<:anners #nd &ustoms of -ile Lands=
House in Easton's Bible Dictionary
%ill their soAourn in 7g!"t the Here$s d$elt in tents. %he! then for the first time inhaited
cities (Gen. @*:31 75. 12:*1 He. 11:9). 4rom the earliest times the #ss!rians and the
&anaanites $ere uilders of cities. %he Here$s after the &on.uest too/ "ossession of the
ca"tured cities, and seem to have follo$ed the methods of uilding that had een "ursued
! the &anaanites. >eference is made to the stone (1 Bings *:91 (sa. 9:1C) and marle (1
&hr. 29:2) used in uilding, and to the internal $ood9$or/ of the houses (1 Bings ?:1D1 *:21
1C:11, 121 2 &hr. 3:D1 6er. 22:1@). "&eiled houses" $ere such as had eams inlaid in the
$alls to $hich $ainscotting $as fastened (7Era ?:@1 6er. 22:1@1 Hag. 1:@). "(vor! houses"
had the u""er "arts of the $alls adorned $ith figures in stucco $ith gold and ivor! (1 Bings
22:391 2 &hr. 3:?1 Ps. @D:+). %he roofs of the d$elling9houses $ere flat, and are often
alluded to in )cri"ture (2 )am. 11:21 (sa. 22:11 :att. 2@:1*). )ometimes tents or ooths
$ere erected on them (2 )am. 1?:22). %he! $ere "rotected ! "ara"ets or lo$ $alls ('eut.
22:+). 2n the house9to"s grass sometimes gre$ (Prov. 19:131 2*:1D1 Ps. 129:?, *). %he!
$ere used, not onl! as "laces of recreation in the evening, ut also sometimes as slee"ing9
"laces at night (1 )am. 9:2D, 2?1 2 )am. 11:21 1?:221 'an. @:291 6o 2*:1+1 Prov. 21:9),
and as "laces of devotion (6er. 32:291 19:13).
@3
House in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Bno$n to man as earl! at least as &ain1 the tent not until 6aal, the fifth in descent from
&ain (Genesis @:*1 Genesis @:1*1 Genesis @:2C). %he rude $ig$am and the natural cave
$ere the aodes of those $ho, eing scattered aroad, suse.uentl! degenerated from the
"rimitive civiliEation im"lied in the elaorate structure of -ael (Genesis 11:31 Genesis
11:31). (t $as from a land of houses that #ram, at God0s call, ecame a d$eller in tents
(Genesis 12:11 Here$s 11:9). #t times he still lived in a house (Genesis 1*:2*)1 so also
(saac (Genesis 2*:1D), and 6aco (Genesis 33:1D). (n 7g!"t the (sraelites resumed a fi5ed
life in "ermanent houses, and must have learned architectural s/ill in that land of statel!
edifices. #fter their $ilderness soAourn in tents the! entered into "ossession of the
&anaanite goodl! cities. %he "arts of the eastern house are: (1) %he "orch1 not referred to
in the 2ld %estament save in the tem"le and )olomon0s "alace (1 Bings *:?9*1 2 &hronicles
1D:+1 7Ee/iel @C:*1 7Ee/iel @C:1?)1 in 7g!"t (from $hence he derived it) often it consisted
of a doule ro$ of "illars1 in 6udges 3:23 the Here$ $ord (the front hall) is different. %he
"orch of the high "riest0s "alace (:atthe$ 2?:*11 "uloon, $hich is translated "gate" in #cts
1C:1*1 #cts 12:1@1 #cts 1@:131 >evelation 21:12) means sim"l! "the gate." %he five
"orches of -ethesda (6ohn D:2) $ere cloisters or a colonnade for the use of the sic/. (2) %he
court is the chief feature of ever! eastern house. %he "assage into it is so contrived that the
court cannot e seen from the street outside. #n a$ning from one $all to the o""osite
shelters from the heat1 this is the image, Psalm 1C@:2, "$ho stretchest out the heavens li/e
a curtain." #t the side of the court o""osite the entrance $as the: (3) guest chamer (Lu/e
22:11912), Here$ lish/ah, from laasha/, "to recline"1 $here )amuel received his guests (1
)amuel 9:22). 2ften o"en in front, and su""orted ! a "illar1 on the ground floor, ut raised
aove the level. # lo$ divan goes round it, used for sitting or reclining ! da!, and for
"lacing eds on ! night. (n the court the "alm and olive $ere "lanted, from $hence the
"salmist $rites, "( am li/e a green olive tree in the house of God"1 an olive tree in a house
$ould e a strange image to us, ut suggestive to an eastern of a home $ith refreshing
shade and air. )o Psalm 92:13, "those that e "lanted in the house of the Lord shall flourish
in the courts of our God." &ontrast the "icture of 7dom0s desolation, "thorns in the "alaces,
nettles and ramles in the fortresses ... a court for o$ls" ((saiah 3@:13). (@) %he stairs.
2utside the house, so that 7hud could readil! esca"e after sla!ing 7glon (6udges 3:23), and
the earers of the "aral!tic, unale to get to the door, could easil! mount ! the outside
stairs to the roof, and, rea/ing an o"ening in it, let him do$n in the midst of the room
$here 6esus $as (:ar/ 2:@). %he (sraelite ca"tains "laced 6ehu u"on their garments on the
to" of the stairs, as the most "ulic "lace, and from them "roclaimed "6ehu is /ing" (2 Bings
9:13). (D) %he roof is often of a material $hich could easil! e ro/en u", as it $as ! the
"aral!tic0s friends: stic/s, thorn ushes (ellan), $ith mortar, and marl or earth. # stone
roller is /e"t on the to" to harden the flat roof that rain ma! not enter. #musement,
usiness, conversation.
@@
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House in Naves Topical Bible
-uilt of )tone Le 1@:@C9@D1 (sa 9:1C1 #m D:11 -ric/ Ge 11:31 75 1:1191@1 (sa 9:1C 3ood
)o 1:1*1 (sa 9:1C 9-uilt into cit! $alls 6os 2:1D 98sed for $orshi" #c 1:13,1@1 12:121 >o
1?:D1 1&o 1?:191 &ol @:1D1 Phm 1:2 9"# man0s castle," 'e 2@:1C,11 9#>&H(%7&%8>7 24
4oundations of stone 1Bi D:1*1 *:91 7Er ?:31 6er D1:2? 4igurative Ps +*:11 (sa 2+:1?1
@+:131 >o 1D:2C1 1&o 3:111 7"h 2:2C1 1%i ?:191 He ?:11 >e 21:1@ &ornerstone 6o 3+:?1
Ps 1@@:12 4igurative Ps 11+:221 (sa 2+:1?1 7"h 2:2C1 1Pe 2:? Porches 6ud 3:231 1Bi *:?,*
&ourts 7s 1:D )ummer a"artment 6ud 3:2C1 $ith #m 3:1D1 1Bi 1*:19 (nner chamer 1Bi
22:2D &hamers Ge @3:3C1 2)a 1+:331 2Bi 1:21 @:1C1 #c 1:131 9:3*1 2C:+ Guest chamer
:r 1@:1@ Pillars Pr 9:1 3ith courts ;e +:1? Lattice 6ud D:2+ 3indo$s 6ud D:2+1 Pr *:?
&eiled and "lastered 'a D:D Hinges Pr 2?:1@ >oofs, flat 6os 2:?1 6ud 1?:2*1 1)a 9:2D1 2)a
11:21 1?:221 (sa 1D:31 22:11 :t 2@:1*1 Lu 12:3 -attlements re.uired in :osaic la$ 'e
22:+ Pra!er on #c 1C:9 #ltars on 2Bi 23:121 6er 19:131 32:291 Ge" 1:D -ooths on ;e +:1?
8sed as "lace to slee" 6os 2:+1 #c 1C:9 8sed as d$elling "lace Pr 21:91 2D:2@ Painted 6er
22:1@1 7Ee +:1C,12 &himne!s of Ho 13:3 %e5ts of )cri"ture on door"osts of 'e ?:9 La$s
regarding sale of Le 2D:299331 ;e D:3 'edicated 'e 2C:D1 Ps 3C 94(G8>#%(H7 2)a *:1+1 Ps
23:?1 3?:+1 6oh 1@:21 2&o D:11 1%i 3:1D1 He 3:2
@D
House in Smiths Bible Dictionary
%he houses of the rural "oor in 7g!"t, as $ell as in most "arts of )!ria, #raia and Persia,
are generall! mere huts of mud or sunurnt ric/s. (n some "arts of (srael and #raia stone
is used, and in certain districts caves in the roc/s are used as d$ellings. #m D:11 %he
houses are usuall! of one stor! onl!, viE., the ground floor, and often contain onl! one
a"artment. )ometimes a small court for the cattle is attached1 and in some cases the cattle
are housed in the same uilding, or the live in a raised "latform, and, the cattle round them
on the ground. 1)a 2+:2@ %he $indo$s are small a"ertures high u" in the $alls, sometimes
grated $ith $ood. %he roofs are commonl! ut not al$a!s flat, and are usuall! formed of
"laster of mud and stra$ laid u"on oughs or rafters1 and u"on the flat roofs, tents or
"ooths" of oughs or rushes are often raised to e used as slee"ing9 "laces in summer. %he
difference et$een the "oorest houses and those of the class ne5t aove them is greater
than et$een these and the houses of the first ran/. %he "revailing "lan of eastern houses
of this class "resents, as $as the case in ancient 7g!"t, a front of $all, $hose lan/ and
mean a""earance is usuall! relieved onl! ! the door and a fe$ latticed and "roAecting
$indo$s. 3ithin this is a court or courts $ith a"artments o"ening into them. 2ver the door
is a "roAecting $indo$ $ith a lattice more or less elaoratel! $rought, $hich, e5ce"t in
times of "ulic celerations is usuall! closed. 2Bi 9:3C #n a$ning is sometimes dra$n over
the court, and the floor is stre$ed $ith car"ets on festive occasions. %he stairs to the u""er
a"artments are in )!ria usuall! in a corner of the court. #round "art, if not the $hole, of the
court is a veranda, often nine or ten feet dee", over $hich, $hen there is more than one
@@ htt":FF$$$.ile9histor!.comFfaussetsFHFHouseF
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floor, runs a second galler! of li/e de"th, $ith a alustrade. 3hen there is no second floor,
ut more than one court, the $omen0s a"artments 99hareems, harem or haram 99 are
usuall! in the second court1 other$ise the! form a se"arate uilding $ithin the general
enclosure, or are aove on the first floor. 3hen there is an u""er stor!, the /a0ah forms the
most im"ortant a"artment, and thus "roal! ans$ers to the "u""er room," $hich $as
often the guest9 chamer. Lu 22:121 #c 1:131 9:3*1 2C:+ %he $indo$s of the u""er rooms
often "roAect one or t$o feet, and form a /ios/ or latticed chamer. )uch ma! have een
"the chamer in the $all." 2Bi @:1C,11 %he "lattice," through $hich #hasiah fell, "erha"s
elonged to an u""er chamer of this /ind, 2Bi 1:2 as also the "third loft," from $hich
7ut!chus fell. #c 2C:9 com". 6ere 22:13 Paul "reached in such a room on account of its
su"erior rise and retired "osition. %he outer circle in an audience in such a room sat u"on a
dais, or u"on cushions elevated so as to e as high as the $indo$9sill. 4rom such a "osition
7ut!chus could easil! fall. %here are usuall! no s"ecial ed9rooms in eastern houses. %he
outer doors are closed $ith a $ooden loc/, ut in some cases the a"artments are divided
from each other ! curtains onl!. %here are no chimne!s, ut fire is made $hen re.uired
$ith charcoal in a chafing9dish1 or a fire of $ood might e made in the o"en court of the
house Lu 22:?D )ome houses in &airo have an a"artment o"en in front to the court $ith
t$o or more arches and a railing, and a "illar to su""ort the $all aove. (t $as in a chamer
of this siEe to e found in a "alace, that our Lord $as eing arraigned efore the high "riest
at the time $hen the denial of him ! )t. Peter too/ "lace. He "turned and loo/ed" on Peter
as he stood ! the fire in the court, Lu 22:D?,?11 6ohn 1+:2@ $hilst he himself $as in the
"hall of Audgment." (n no "oint do 2riental domestic haits differ more from 7uro"ean than
in the use of the roof. (ts flat surface is made useful for various household "ur"oses, as
dr!ing corn, hanging u" linen, and "re"aring figs and raisins. %he roofs are used as "laces
of recreation in the evening, and often as slee"ing9"laces at night. 1)a 9:2D,2?1 2)a 11:21
1?:221 6o 2*:1+1 Pr 21:91 'aniel @:29 %he! $ere also used as "laces for devotion and
even idolatrous $orshi". 2Bi 23:121 6er 19:131 32:291 Ge"h 1:?1 #c 1C:9 #t the time of the
feast of taernacles ooths $ere erected ! the 6e$s on the to" of their houses. Protection
of the roof ! "ara"ets $as enAoined ! the la$. 'eut. 22:+ )"ecial a"artments $ere
devoted in larger houses to $inter and summer uses. 6er. 3?:221 #m 3:1D %he ivor! house
of #ha $as "roal! a "alace largel! ornamented $ith inlaid ivor!. %he circumstance of
)amson0s "ulling do$n the house ! means of the "illars ma! e e5"lained ! the fact of
the com"an! eing assemled on tiers of alconies aove each other, su""orted ! central
"illars on the asement1 $hen these $ere "ulled do$n the $hole of the u""er floors $ould
fall also. 6udges 1?:2?
@?
House in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
house (a!ith1 oi/os, in classical Gree/ generall! "an estate," oi/ia, oi/ema (literall!,
"haitation"), in #cts 12:1, ""rison"): (. &#H7 '37LL(;G) ((. )%2;79-8(L% #;'
:8'F->(&B9-8(L% H28)7) 1. 'etails of Plan and &onstruction (1) &orner9)tone (2) 4loor
(3) Gutter (@) 'oor (D) Hinge (?) Loc/ and Be! (*) %hreshold (+) Hearth (9) 3indo$ (1C)
>oof 2. Houses of :ore than 2ne )tor! (1) 8""er &hamers and )tairs (2) Palaces and
&astles 3. (nternal #""earance (((. 2%H7> :7#;(;G) L(%7>#%8>7 (. &ave '$ellings. %he
earliest "ermanent haitations of the "rehistoric inhaitants of (srael $ere the natural caves
@? htt":FF$$$.ile9histor!.comFsmithsFHFHouseF
$hich aound throughout the countr!. #s the "eo"le increased and grou"ed themselves into
communities, these aodes $ere su""lemented ! s!stems of artificial caves $hich, in some
cases, develo"ed into e5tensive orro$ings of man! adAoining com"artments, having in
each s!stem several entrances. %hese entrances $ere usuall! cut through the roof do$n a
fe$ ste"s, or sim"l! dro""ed to the floor from the roc/ surface. %he sin/ing $as shallo$ and
the headroom lo$ ut sufficient for the undersiEed troglodites $ho $ere the occu"iers. ((.
)tone9uilt and :udF-ric/9uilt Houses. %here are man! references to the use of caves as
d$ellings in the 2ld %estament. Lot d$elt $ith his t$o daughters in cave (Gen 19:3C).
7liAah, fleeing from 6eEeel, lodged in a cave (1 Bi 19:9). %he natural successor to the cave
$as the stone9uilt hut, and Aust as the loose field9o$lders and the stones, .uarried from
the caves, served their first and most vital uses in the uilding of defense $alls, so did the!
later ecome material for the first hut. &aves, during the rain! season, $ere fault!
d$ellings, as at the time $hen "rotection $as most needed, the! $ere eing flooded
through the surface o"enings $hich formed their entrances. %he rudest cell uilt of rough
stones in mud and covered a $ith roof of rush$ood and mud $as at first sufficient. :ore
elaorate "lans of several a"artments, entering from $hat ma! e called a living9room,
follo$ed as a matter of course, and these, huddled together, constituted the homes of the
"eo"le. :ud9ric/ uildings (6o @:19) of similar "lan occur, and to "rotect this friale
material from the $eather, the $alls $ere sometimes covered $ith a casing of stone slas,
as at Lachish. ()ee -liss, # :ound of :an! &ities.) Generall! s"ea/ing, this rude t!"e of
uilding "revailed, although, in some of the larger uildings, s.uare dressed and Aointed
stones $ere used. %here is little or no sign of im"rovement until the "eriod of the Hellenistic
influence, and even then the im"rovement $as slight, so far as the homes of the common
"eo"le $ere concerned. 1. 'etails of Plan and &onstruction: 2ne should oserve an
isometric s/etch and "lan sho$ing construction of a t!"ical small house.
@*
AFTER ISRAEL
Had %een in the land of *anaan &any years and had settled do$n fro& the
no&adic life to the &ore sta%le a"ric!lt!ral !rs!its# ho!ses %e"an to take the lace of
tents as laces of a%ode. The avera"e ho&e of the co&&on eole $as a one2roo&
d$ellin" d$ellin".
;J
1r. Tho&son thinks that %eca!se the oor $ido$ $ho entertained Eli-ah had an !er
roo& in her ho!se# it indicates she $as not of the oorer class %!t $as in straits only
%eca!se of the terri%le fa&ine.
;I
PURPOSES OF THE HOUSE
In Bi%le ti&es &en did not %!ild ho!ses $ith the idea in &ind that &ost of their daily
livin" $o!ld %e sent inside the&. Their first interest $as in sendin" as &!ch ti&e as
@* htt":FF$$$.ile9histor!.comFiseFHFH28)7F
;J . 8;<.
;I I%id.# . 8;3.
ossi%le in Hod.s o!t2of2doors. The ho!se served as a lace of retire&ent. /or this
reason the o!tside $alls of the h!&%le ho!se $ere not invitin". There $as no effort to
attract attention to this lace of retire&ent.
D9
The !rose of these d$ellin"s is %orne o!t
%y the &eanin" of the He%re$ and Ara%ic $ords for Gho!se.G A%raha& Rih%any# $ho
$as %orn in Syria and sent his early life there# has &ade a very ill!&inative state&ent
a%o!t the &eanin" and !rose of the 0alestinian ho!se6 The He%re$ $ord %avith and
the Ara%ic $ord %ait &ean ri&arily a Gshelter.G The En"lish e'!ivalent is the $ord
Gho!se.G The richer ter&# Gho&e#G has never %een invented %y the son of 0alestine
%eca!se he has al$ays considered hi&self Ga so-o!rner in the earth.G His tent and his
little ho!se# therefore# $ere s!fficient for a shelter for hi& and his dear ones d!rin" the
earthly il"ri&a"e.
D3
Beca!se the 0alestinians lived o!t2of2doors so &!ch# the sacred
$riters $ere fond of referrin" to HO1 as a GshelterG or as a Gref!"e#G rather than as a
Gho&e.G S!ch e,ressions in connection $ith 1eity are n!&ero!s in the Book of 0sal&
and also in the rohetic $ritin"s.
D8
@cf. 0sal& C36<K Isaiah ;6CA.
FLOOR AND !ALLS OF THE HOUSE
*oncernin" the nat!re of the floor of these Oriental ho!ses# 1r. Heor"e A. Barton says6
GThe ho!ses "enerally had no floor e,cet the earth# $hich $as s&oothed off and
acked hard. So&eti&es this $as varied %y &i,in" li&e $ith the &!d and lettin" it
harden# and so&eti&es floors of co%%lestones or stone chiin"s &i,ed $ith li&e $ere
fo!nd. In the Ro&an eriod &osaic floors# &ade %y e&%eddin" s&all s&oothly c!t
s'!ares of stone in the earth# $ere introd!ced.
D<
The $alls of the ho!ses $ere often
&ade of %ricks# %!t these $ere not ordinarily %!rned# %!t $ere co&osed of &!d dried
in the s!n 5o% seaks of these kinds of d$ellin" as Gho!ses of clayG @5o% ;63IA. They
are si&ilar to the ado%e ho!ses so co&&on in )e,ico today# and often seen in the
so!th$estern states of A&erica# $here the Sanish infl!ence of the ast is still felt.
B!t so&eti&es the $alls $ere &ade of ro!"h sandstones. so co&&on in the
land.These $ere of varyin" si4es and $ere set in &!d. The -oints %et$een the& $ere
at to %e $ide and irre"!lar.
D;
It $as only the alaces or ho!ses of the $ealthy that $ere
constr!cted of he$n stones# like the alaces of Solo&on @I (in"s :6IA# and the rich of
D9 Heor"e A. Barton# Archaeolo"ist and the Bi%le# . 38C.
D3Ho!se#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# *harles R. Barnes# ed.# . D9D.
D8 Barton# o. cit.# . 38C.
D< E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . <JI# also Ed$in W. Rice# Orientalis&s in Bi%le
Lands# . 8;I.
D; Heor"e ). )ackie# Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . I8.
Isaiah.s day# $ho %oasted they $o!ld relace fallen do$n %rick $alls $ith $alls of he$n
stones @Isaiah I6J239A.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE ROOF
The roof of these h!&%le 0alestinian ho!ses is &ade %y layin" %ea&s across fro& $all
to $all# then !ttin" on a &at of reeds# or erhas thorn %!shes# and over it a coatin" of
clay or earthK sand and e%%les are scattered over this# and a stone roller is !sed to
&ake it s&ooth and a%le to shed rain. This roller is !s!ally left on the ho!se to and the
roof is rolled a"ain several ti&es# esecially after the first rain in order to kee it fro&
leakin".
DD
A lo$ araet or $all# $ith saces to allo$ the rain $ater to flo$ off# $as
e,ected to %e %!ilt on these ho!ses in Bi%le ti&es# in order to revent eole fro&
fallin" off. The fail!re to %!ild s!ch a $all in &odern ti&es has often ca!sed accidents.
DC
The la$ of )oses $as very definite in co&&andin" the erection of s!ch. Its re"!lation
says6 GWhen tho! %!ildest a ne$ ho!se# then tho! shalt &ake a %attle&ent for thy roof#
that tho! %rin" not %lood !on thine ho!se# if any &an fall fro& thenceG @1e!terono&y
886JA. The co&&on !se of the ho!seroof for so &any !roses# as shall %e seen# &ade
this la$ essential.ITE)S O/ INTEREST HROWINH O+T O/ THE *HARA*TER O/
THE ROOF AND !ALLS
Hrass on the ho!setos. With the roofs of the ho!ses &ade lar"ely of dirt or clay# one
can easily i&a"ine ho$ "rass co!ld "ro$ on the tos of the ho!ses as Bi%le references
indicate. GLet the& %e as the "rass !on the ho!setos# $hich $ithereth afore it "ro$th
!G @0sal& 38I6CK see also II (in"s 3I68C# and Isaiah <:68:A.E,a&les of this in
connection $ith si&ilarly %!ilt roofs in &odern ti&es have often %een seen. One %ook
!%lished in the latter art of the nineteenth cent!ry carries a ict!re of a 0alestinian
roof all covered $ith "ro$in" "rass. The notation %eneath the ict!re says6 GThis is a
"ood e,a&le of the aearance of ."rass !on the ho!setos.. After the $inter rains#
every flat and &!d2roofed %!ildin" is over"ro$n $ith "rass and $eeds# $hich soon
erish.G
D:
Lea1( oofs
With a dirt roof it can %e !nderstood ho$ nat!ral it $o!ld %e for a heavy rainfall to
DD I%id.# . 838.
DC Barton# o. cit.#.# . 38C.
D: /ree&an# o. cit.# . 38<K also )ackie# o. dt.# . ID.
rod!ce a leak# $hich $o!ld &ake it '!ite inconvenient for those inha%itin" the ho!se at
the ti&e. Travelers $ho sto for the ni"ht at one of these d$ellin"s# have so&eti&es
had to chan"e their sleein" '!arters# %eca!se of the driin" of the rain $ater.
DJ
The Book of 0rover%s co&ares this droin" to a contentio!s $o&an @0rover%s 3I63<K
8:63DA.1i""in" thro!"h of thieves. Since the $alls of the ho!ses are so often %!ilt of
clay or dirt# or of stones $ith &!d %et$een the&# it &akes it an easy task for a ro%%er to
di" thro!"h and "et into the ho!se.
DI
5o% referred to this6 GIn the dark they di" thro!"h
ho!sesG @5o% 8;63CA. 5ES+S also soke of the sa&e thin" in His "reat Ser&on on the
)o!nt6 GLay not ! for yo!rselves treas!res !on earth# $here &oth and r!st doth
corr!t# and $here thieves %reak thro!"h and stealG @)atthe$ C63IK cf. )atthe$ 8;6;<A.
Snakes in ho!se $alls. Beca!se the $alls of the stone ho!ses $ere %!ilt so that the
-oints %et$een the stones $ere $ide and irre"!lar# therefore a snake &i"ht readily cra$l
into the crevices and !ne,ectedly co&e in contact $ith an inha%itant.
C9
*oncernin" this
kind of ho!se the rohet A&os said that a &an Gleaned his hand on the $all# and a
serent %it hi&G @A&os D63IA.
!INDO!S AND DOORS
Windo$s. The Oriental has fe$ $indo$s that oen on the street side of the ho!se# and
those that do are !s!ally hi"h. As a r!le the $indo$ has $ooden %ars servin" as a
rotection a"ainst ro%%ers# $hile the lo$er half of the $indo$ isscreened %y a
fra&e$ork of lattice$ork. The Book of 0rover%s seaks of s!ch a $indo$6 G/or at the
$indo$ of &y ho!se I looked thro!"h &y case&ent BlatticeEG @0rover%s :6CA. Wooden
sh!tters close the $indo$s at ni"ht. When the $indo$ is oen# those inside &ay see
o!t $itho!t the&selves %ein" seen.
C3
Doos
The doors as $ell as $indo$s $ere ordinarily %!ilt of syca&ore $ood. It $as only for
orna&ental !roses of the $ealthy that cedar $ood $as !sed
C8
@cf. Isaiah I639A. These
doors t!rned on hin"es# as. the fa&iliar rover% a%o!t the sl!""ard &akes &ention of
the t!rnin" of a door !on its hin"es @0rover%s 8C63;A. If the doors $ere fastened $hen
DJ*arl /. (eil# )an!al of Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# Lol. II# . 39C.
DI H. Ro%inson Lees# Lilla"e Life in 0alestine# . JI# I9.
C9Ed&ond Stafer# 0alestine in the Ti&e of *HRIST# . 3:I# 3J9K also 5a&es Neil#
C30ict!red 0alestine# . 38<.
C8 Rih%any# The Syrian *HRIST# . 83C.
sh!t# %ars $ere !s!ally !sed for this !rose @0rover%s 3J63IA.The door of the
easant.s one2roo& ho!se is oened %efore s!nrise in the &ornin"# and stays oen all
day lon" as an invitation to hositality. The Book of Revelation seaks th!s6 GBehold# I
have set %efore thee an oen doorG @Revelation <6JA. /or s!ch a door to %e sh!t $o!ld
indicate the inha%itants had done that of $hich they $ere asha&ed @cf. 5ohn <63IA. At
s!nset the door is sh!t and re&ains sh!t d!rin" the ni"ht @cf. L!ke 336:A. The r!le a%o!t
the oen door for the si&le ho!se does not hold for the city ho!ses of &ore than one
roo&. The reference to the )aster knockin" at the door has to do $ith s!ch a door
@Revelation <689K cf. *hater <A. The distinction %et$een the ho!se of the villa"er and of
the city d$eller &!st al$ays %e &ade# in order to !nderstand the scrit!ral references
to ho!ses.
C<
FURNISHINGS OF THE HOUSE
The f!rnishin"s of a one2roo& 0alestinian ho!se $ere and still are very si&le. )ats
and c!shions are in !se to sit on %y day. and carets or &ats are slet on at ni"ht.
There $ill %e vessels of clay for ho!sehold needs# $ith erhas so&e cookin" !tensils
of &etal. There $ill %e a chest for storin" %eddin"# a la& either laced on a la&stand
or a %!shel# a %roo& for ho!se cleanin"# and a hand&ill for "rindin" the "rain# and the
"oatskin %ottles in $hich li'!ids are ket. The firelace $o!ld %e on the floor often in the
&iddle of the roo&. This "ives a "eneral ict!re of the f!rnishin"s of the avera"e
0alestinian ho&e.
C;
)ore details re"ardin" so&e of these ite&s $ill %e "iven as the
st!dy roceeds.
SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS
The 0ara%le of the I&ort!nate /riend $hich 5ES+S told# if !nderstood in the li"ht of an
Oriental one2roo& ho!se# $ill "ive infor&ation a%o!t sleein" arran"e&ents. GAnd he
said !nto the&# Which of yo! shall have a friend# and shall "o !nto hi& at &idni"ht# and
say !nto hi&# /riend# lend &e three loavesK for a friend of &ine in his -o!rney is co&e to
&e# and I have nothin" to set %efore hi&F and he fro& $ithin shall ans$er and say.
Tro!%le &e not6 the door is no$ sh!t# and &y children are $ith &e in %edK I cannot rise
and "ive thee@L!ke 336D2:A.A&on" the co&&on folks of the Holy Land individ!al %eds in
searate %edroo&s have %een !nkno$n. Instead the arran"e&ents for sleein" in the
ara%le# and today in Syria and 0alestine a&on" the easants# have %een th!s
descri%ed6The c!shion2&attresses are sread side %y side in the livin" roo&# in a line
as lon" as the &e&%ers of the fa&ily# sleein" close to"ether# re'!ire. The father slees
C<See G*andle#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# . 3J<.83. H. E. Wri"ht# GLa&s# 0olitics# and the
5e$ish Reli"ion#G The Bi%lical Archaeolo"ist# )ay# 3I<I# . 8828;K also Elisa%eth /letcher# GArchaeolo"y
*o&es 1o$n to Earth#G *hristian Life# 1ece&%er# 3ID9# . 3;.
C;Heor"e A. Barton# Archaeolo"y and the Bi%le# . 3D3.
at one end of the line# and the &other at the other end# Gto kee the children fro& rollin"
fro& !nder the cover.G So the &an $as a%sol!tely tr!thf!l $hen he said %y $ay of
e,c!se# G)y children are $ith &e in %edQ
CD
LIGHTING OF THE HOUSE
Bi%lical !se of the $ord candle. The !se of the $ord Gcandle does not carry the &eanin"
of the $ord as $e $o!ld %e fa&iliar $ith it# %!t rather $ith la&s.
CC
*haracter of the
la&. When the *hildren of Israel entered the 0ro&ised Land they adoted the la&
!sed %y the *anaanites# $hich $as an earthen$are sa!cer to hold the olive oil# and a
inched li to hold the $ick. A tho!sand years later a )esoota&ian la& $as i&orted
and !sed in so&e sections. This la& had a closed t!%e for the $ick# and th!s co!ld %e
carried a%o!t $itho!t sillin" the oil so readily. In the fifth cent!ry B.*. Hreek la&s of a
%ea!tif!l %lack "la4ed variety $ere i&orted and %eca&e o!lar. By the third cent!ry
B.*. the old sa!cer2tye la& had all %!t disaeared# %!t in the second cent!ry# the
)acca%eans revived the !se of that tye of la&# as %ein" &ore in line $ith the old
5e$ish traditions. B!t $hen the Ro&an E&ire %e"an to do&inate the land of 0alestine#
the la&s in !se $ere either i&orted# or &ade !nder forei"n &odels. The Lir"in.s
La& in !se in the ti&e of *HRIST $as an i&rove&ent over the old sa!cer tye#
havin" s!fficient coverin" to kee the oil fro& sillin".
C:
T+e lam* s#and
In early Bi%le ti&es# la&stands $ere not in co&&on !se# and the la&s $o!ld
%e !t on a lace s!ch as a stone ro-ectin" fro& the $all. In the days of *HRIST
la&stands $ere in '!ite "eneral !se. They $ere tall and $ere !s!ally laced on the
"ro!nd. Archaeolo"ists have !nearthed so&e %ron4e la&stands fo!rteen inches hi"h
that had %een !sed in alaces. They $ere &ade for holdin" %o$ls or la&s. The oor
no do!%t had a less e,ensive tye.
CJ
If the fa&ily had no searate la&stand# the
%!shel laced on the "ro!nd !side do$n $o!ld serve for a la&stand# as $ell as a
ta%le fro& $hich the &eal $o!ld %e served. The la& $as to %e !t on the %!shel and
not !nder it @)atthe$ D63DA.
CI
The rohet.s reference to s&okin" fla,. Isaiah.s rohecy
concernin" the )essiah $as that Gthe s&okin" fla, shall he not '!enchG @Isaiah ;86<A.
CD Stafer# o. cit.# . 3J9.
CC Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . ;:8# ;:<.
C: Rih%any# o. cit.# . 3D<# 3D;.
CJ Lees# o. cit.# . JJ# JI.
CI I%id.# . 39<.
1r. Tho&son tells of seein" ancient clay la&s in !se ill!stratin" this te,t. The $ick $as
often &ade of a t$isted strand of fla,# and this $as !t into the olive oil in the shallo$
c! of the la&. When the oil $as al&ost !sed ! it $o!ld "ive forth an offensive
s&oke. This $as an indication it $as ti&e to relenish the s!ly of oil. The i&lication
$as that the '!enchin" of the fire $as so&eti&es done !rosely. If the $ick $as $ell
$orn# the ho!se$ife $o!ld '!ench the fire# and then !t a ne$ $ick in to take its lace.
Hod.s servant $o!ld not th!s treat the oor# $eak# and desairin" seci&ens of
h!&anity. He $o!ld relenish the oil# tri& the $ick# and &ake the di&ly %!rnin" fla&e to
%!rn %ri"htly. What a ict!re this is of o!r Savio!r.s desire to hel the helless and lift
the fallen and save the lost.
:9
Us"n, #+e lam* #o f"nd #+e los# 'o"n
The Savio!r.s 0ara%le of the Lost *oin @L!ke 3DA
needs to %e !nderstood fro& the Oriental oint of vie$. A%raha& Rih%any as a %oy
often held an Oriental earthen la& $hile his &other h!nted for a lost coin or so&e
other o%-ect of val!e. The ho!se had one door and one or t$o s&all $indo$s havin"
$ooden sh!tters. /or this reason the ho!se $as al$ays di&ly li"hted# and esecially so
in $inter. The &ats# c!shions# and sheeskins coverin" the floor $o!ld %e t!rned over#
and the floor s$et. When the lost coin $as fo!nd# the $o&en nei"h%ors and friends
$o!ld %e called in to re-oice $ith her# %eca!se the loss of a coin $o!ld %rin" do$n !on
the $o&an the $rath of her h!s%and# and her $o&en nei"h%ors and friends $o!ld have
a fello$ feelin" for her# and $o!ld kee $hat had haened as a secret fro&
the &en folks.
:3
@See also reference to the lost coin#G in chater I# The head"ear of
Bethlehe& $o&en.A The si"nificance of li"ht in a 0alestinian ho!se. A la& is
considered to %e the 0alestinian easant.s one l!,!ry that is a necessity. When the s!n
sets in the West# the door of his ho!se is sh!t# and then the la& is lit. To slee $itho!t
a li"ht is considered %y &ost villa"ers to %e a si"n of e,tre&e overty. The Bi%le &akes
synony&o!s s!ch ter&s as la&# li"ht# and life. A late traveler looks to see a li"ht in a
ho!se# and then he kno$s there is life there. To $ish that a &an.s li"ht %e !t o!t $o!ld
%e to $ish hi& a terri%le c!rse.
:8
.
*oncernin" the $icked &an# Bildad in the Book of 5o% said6 GThe li"ht shall %e dark in
his ta%ernacle# and his candleBla&E shall %e !t o!t $ith hi&G @5o% 3J6CA. B!t the
sal&ist considered hi&self %lessed of the LOR1 $hen he said of hi&self in relation to
HO1# G/or tho! $ilt li"ht &y candleBla&EG @0sal& 3J68JA. It $as to Orientals $ho
:9 Loc. cit.
:3 /ree&an# o. cit.# . <;3.
:8 Infor&ation received %y cons!ltation $ith 1r. H. /rederick O$en# and )r. H. Eric )atson# %oth of
$ho& have had rolon"ed residence in 0alestine.
areciated the val!e of even a h!&%le earthen$are la& in the dark of ni"ht# or even
in the o%sc!rity of a dark so&e ho!se# that 5ES+S ori"inally said# GLet yo!r li"ht so
shine %efore &en# that they &ay see yo!r "ood $orks# and "lorify yo!r /ather
$hich is in heavenG @)atthe$ D63CA.
COO7ING ARRANGEMENTS
The stove or firelace. Like the No&ads $ho live in tents# the easants $ho live in one2
roo& ho!ses# carry on as &!ch of their &eal2cookin" o!tside as the $eather $ill er&it.
These oerations are transferred inside only $hen the cold $inter $eather &akes it
desira%le. The Occidental $o!ld hardly call $hat they !se in cookin" their &eals either
a stove or a firelace# %!t it serves the !rose. Often the lace for the fire is on the
floor in the &iddle of the roo&. A s&all oen clay2%aked %o,# or else a thick -ar $ith
holes at the sides# is $hat !s!ally serves as a stove.
:<
T+e fuel used
The easant often !ses dried d!n" as f!el for his fire. So&e of the oorer classes
!se this the&selves# and sell the sticks they find to those $ho can afford to %!y the&.
:;
A reference in the rohecy of E4ekiel indicates this !se of f!el $as co&&on in Bi%le
ti&es @see E4ekiel ;63DA.In the Orient f!el is !s!ally so scarce that dried "rass and
$ithered flo$ers are at to %e caref!lly "athered into %!ndles and !sed for &akin" a
fire.
:D
There are Bi%le indications that this $as often done in those days of old. 5ES+S
said6 GThe "rass of the field# $hich today is# and to&orro$ is cast into the oven G
@)atthe$ C6<9K L!ke 3868JA.Another o!lar f!el for fires in 0alestine is thorns. There
are &any kinds of thorny shr!%s that "ro$ there# and the eole "ather the& and &ake
"ood !se of the&. Bi%le assa"es indicatin" s!ch !se of the& are n!&ero!s @II Sa&!el
8<6C# :K0sal& 33J638K Ecclesiastes :6CK Isaiah I63JK Isaiah 3963:K Isaiah <<638K Nah!&
3639A.The $ido$ of Oarehath $as "atherin" sticks to %!ild a fire @I (in"s 3:639A# %!t the
fire %!ilt in the co!rtyard of the hi"h riest.s ho!se# $here Si&on 0eter $ar&ed hi&self#
$as %!ilt of charcoal @5ohn 3J63JA. 5ES+S cooked %reakfast for His disciles on a
charcoal fire @5ohn 836IA.
T+e '+"mne(
The /ella%in Ara%s have vario!s $ays of takin" care of s&oke fro& the interior fires.
So&eti&es they have an oenin" in the ceilin" that serves as a chi&ney# or an aert!re
:< /ree&an# o. cit.# . 33J.
:; I%id.# . 8DB.
:D Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . DC.
in the side of the ho!se $ill serve the !rose. Often# $hen the firelace is in the corner
of the roo&# there is a hood over it $ith an o!tlet for the s&oke. /re'!ently# charcoal
fires are started in a %ra4ier o!tdoors# and $hen &ost of the s&okin" is over# and the
coals are red hot# then it is taken indoors.
:C
The rohet Hosea refers to Gs&oke o!t of
the chi&neyG @Hosea 3<6<A. A hi"h latticed oenin" in the $all of the ho!se $o!ld serve
%oth as $indo$ and chi&ney in certain of the easant ho&es. B!t no do!%t# &ost of the
chi&ney arran"e&ents !sed %y the Ara%s as &entioned a%ove# $ere also in !se in
Bi%le ti&es. The 0sal&ist.s co&arison of hi&self $ith Ga %ottle in the s&okeG @0sal&
33I6J<A# co!ld %e an indoor fi"!reK other scrit!ral references to s&oke# that are
often soken of as %ein" indoors# co!ld -!st as $ell %e o!tdoors @0rover%s 3968CK Isaiah
CD6D# etc.A. It can safely %e ass!&ed that Bi%le ho!ses $ere not al$ays as f!ll of s&oke
as &any have ass!&ed to %e the case. (indlin" a fla&e. The &ethod !sed in early Old
Testa&ent ti&es to rod!ce a fire $as to &ake sarks %y the strikin" of stone and flint#
or %y the friction of ieces of $ood# after $ards i"nitin" a %la4e. There are indications
that Israel in later ti&es rod!ced fire %y strikin" steel a"ainst flint.
::
In Isaiah D963l#
$here it seaks of kindlin" a fire# the He%re$ $ord .(indleG &eans Gto strike#G and
evidently refers to the strikin" of flint on steel.
:J
USES MADE OF THE ROOF OF THE HOUSE
The roof of an Oriental ho!se is !sed today for a "reat variety of !roses# &!ch like it
$as !sed in the days of the rohets and of the aostles. +sed as a lace to slee. The
roof is a o!lar lace for the Oriental to slee. /or a "reat art of the year the roof# or
Gho!seto#.G is the &ost a"reea%le lace a%o!t the ho!se# esecially in the &ornin" and
evenin". There &any slee d!rin" the s!&&er# %oth in the city and the co!ntry# and in
all laces $here &alaria does not render it dan"ero!s. The c!sto& is very ancient.
:I
An e,a&le in the Bi%le of this ractice# is the incident of Sa&!el callin" Sa!l# $ho had
slet on the ho!se2to @I Sa&!el I68CA.+sed as a lace for stora"e . The flat Oriental
roofs so e,osed to the air and s!nshine are $ell s!ited for storin" "rain or fr!it to %e
riened or dried. This c!sto& is a co&&on one in the East.
J9
Raha% hid the sies $ith
:C Rih%any# o. cit.# . 8:<# 8:;.
::Tho&son. o. cit.#.# Lol. III# . D:.
:J Alfred Edershei&# Sketches of 5e$ish Social Life in the 1ays of *HRIST# . I<. I;.
:I 5ohn 1. Whitin"# GLilla"e Life in the Holy Land#G The National Heo"rahic )a"a4ine# )arch# 3I3;# .
8;I28D<.
J9 *oncernin" early ractice# see Tho&as +ha&# 5ohn.s Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# . 3;:23;B. *oncernin"
later ractice# see II )acca%ees 396<.
the stalks of fla, $hich she had on her roof @5osh!a 86CA. +sed as a "atherin" lace in
ti&es of e,cite&ent. In Isaiah 8863 the rohet says6 G
What aileth thee no$# that tho! art $holly "one ! to the ho!setosFG Th!s is descri%ed
a tyical Oriental city in the &idst of a ti&e of "reat co&&otion. 5!st as the Westerner at
s!ch a ti&e "athers in the streets# so the Easterner "oes to the ho!setos# $here he
can see do$n the streets# and discover $hat is haenin".
J3
+sed as a lace for !%lic
rocla&ations. In the days of 5ES+S as $ell as in &odern ti&es the villa"es of the Holy
Land have had to$n criers. The orders of local "overnors are th!s roclai&ed fro& the
to of the hi"hest ho!se availa%le. S!ch a rocla&ation is !s!ally &ade in the evenin"#
after the &en have ret!rned fro& their $ork in the field. The lon" dra$n o!t call
%eco&es fa&iliar to the residents# and they learn to listen for $hat follo$s.
J8
The call of the to$n crier is said to rese&%le a distant# rolon"ed railroad $histle.
J<
5ES+S &!st have often heard the call of the to$n crier. To his disciles he said6 G
$hat ye hear in the ear# that reach ye !on the ho!setosG @)atthe$ 3968:A. As a
$arnin" a"ainst the i&ossi%ility of hidin" o!r sins in the day of -!d"&ent# he said# G
That $hich ye have soken in the ear in closets shall %e roclai&ed !on the ho!setos
G @L!ke 386<A.+sed as a lace of $orshi and rayer. The Scrit!res indicate that roofs
of ho!ses $ere !sed for tr!e $orshi of HO1# and also for idolatro!s $orshi. The
rohet Oehaniah seaks of Gthe& that $orshi the host of heaven !on the
ho!setosG @Oehaniah 36DA. And L!ke tells !s that
0eter at 5oa G$ent ! !on the ho!seto to ray a%o!t the si,th ho!rG @Acts 396IA. It
$o!ld %e nat!ral for those $orshiin" the heavenly %odies to do so on the roof# and no
do!%t 0eter retired to the ho!seto $here he co!ld %e alone $ith HO1.
J;
+sed as a $ay
of escae in ti&e of evil. In a day $hen escae fro& evil $as necessary# the inha%itants
of villa"es in *HRIST.s ti&e co!ld do so %y "oin" fro& roof to roof# %eca!se the ho!ses
$ere located so close to each other. 1r. Edershei& descri%es the sit!ation th!s6/ro&
roof to roof there &i"ht %e re"!lar co&&!nication# called %y the Ra%%is Gthe road of the
roofs.G Th!s a erson co!ld &ake his escae# assin" fro& roof to roof# till at the last
ho!se he $o!ld descend the stairs that led do$n its o!tside# $itho!t havin" entered any
d$ellin". To this Groad of the roofsG o!r LOR1 no do!%t referred in His $arnin" to His
follo$ers @)atthe$ 8;63:K )ark 3<63DK L!ke 3:6<3A# intended to aly to the last sie"e
of 5er!sale&# GAnd let hi& that is on the ho!seto not "o do$n into the ho!se# neither
enter therein.G
JD
J3 /ran4 1elit4sch# Bi%lical *o&&entary on the 0rohecy of Isaiah# Lol!&e II# . 8D:. @Edin%!r"h# T. > T.
*lark# 3JI9.A
J8 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . D;# DD.
J< I%id.# . 8D3. See also hoto"rah# . <39.
J; Loc. cit.
%ETHLEHEM HOUSE AND MANGER
The h!&%le scene of the %irthlace of the Ba%y 5ES+S is so often interreted $ith
Occidental instead of Oriental flavor that it $o!ld %e $ell for Westerners to have the
descrition of the kind of a Bethlehe& ho!se in $hich the Savio!r $as do!%tless %orn#
as "iven %y 5ohn 1. Whitin". Enterin" the door of this one2roo& Bethlehe& d$ellin"
one sees that t$o2thirds of the sace is "iven over to a Graised &asonry latfor&# so&e
ei"ht to ten feet a%ove the "ro!nd and s!orted %y lo$2do&ed arches.GThis sace that
is raised is occ!ied %y the &e&%ers of the fa&ily# and the lo$er art of the ho!se is for
the cattle and flocks. Narro$ stone stes lead ! to $here the fa&ily lives# and there
are only t$o s&all $indo$s in the roo& and these are hi"h ! fro& the "ro!nd. In
$inter $eather the shee and "oats are ket inside the ho!se# also a fe$ $ork cattle#
and erhas a donkey. 0ri&itive &an"ers for the cattle are to %e seen aro!nd the $alls#
and these are %!ilt of ro!"h sla%s of stone laced on ed"e and lastered ! $ith
&ortar.GThe o$ner of the ani&als often slees on a s&all raised lace# $here he can
kee $atch over ne$ly %orn la&%s.To kno$ the heart of the land# to have learned the
hositality of its eole# $hich is al$ays offered# no &atter ho$ ri&itive or si&le#
&akes it easy to ict!re )ary and 5oseh ret!rnin" fro& the inn# already filled $ith
"!ests# and t!rnin" aside into a ho&e s!ch as $e have descri%ed# the re"!lar d$ellin"
ortion of $hich &ay have %een none too lar"e for the fa&ily $hich occ!ied it. It &ay
have %een cro$ded $ith other "!ests# %!t they find a $elco&e and a restin"2lace for
the %a%e in a &an"er. The Syrian *HRIST
JD I%id.# . 8D<
CHAPTER 8
Houses of Moe T+an One Room
A)ONH THE ARABS of 0alestine villa"es and to$ns# ho!ses of &ore than one roo&
are o$ned %y those $ho are &ore or less rosero!s. The Ara%ic $ord &eanin"
Gho!seG also &eans Ga roo&#G The sa&e thin" $as tr!e of the ho!ses %elon"in" to the
ancient He%re$s. As a r!le the ho!ses of one roo& $ere in the villa"es# and those of
&ore than one roo& $ere in the cities.
JC
%UILDING A HOUSE OF T!O5 THREE5 OR MORE ROOMS
If a ho!se of t$o roo&s is to %e %!ilt# the Oriental does not lace the& side %y side# as
the Occidental %!ilder $o!ld do. Rather the %readth of a roo& is left %et$een the t$o
roo&s# and a $all is constr!cted %et$een the ends# and as a res!lt of this arran"e&ent#
the ho!se has an oen co!rt. If the %!ilder e,ects to have three roo&s# then a roo&
$o!ld %e s!%stit!ted for the $all at the end of the co!rt# and there $o!ld %e three roo&s
aro!nd a co!rtyard. If there are to %e &ore than three roo&s in the ho!se# the additional
roo&s are added to those at the side# &akin" the co!rt of "reater len"th.
J:
THE APPEARANCE AND ARRANGEMENT OF ROOMS
There is a "reat difference %et$een an Oriental and Occidental ho!se of &ore than one
roo&. The e,terior of the Occidental ho!se is &ade to %e as %ea!tif!l as ossi%le# and
esecially the art that fronts on the street. B!t the e,terior of the Oriental ho!se
resents an aearance that is &ean and %lank %y co&arison. The Oriental ho!se
fronts in$ardly to$ard the co!rt# rather than o!t$ardly to$ard the street# as does the
Occidental ho!se. The "eneral lan of the Oriental ho!se is a series of roo&s %!ilt
aro!nd an oen co!rtyard. The reason for this arran"e&ent is that secl!sion is the chief
tho!"ht in &ind.
JJ
THE ORIENTAL COURT6ARD
Oen to the sky. It is i&ortant for the Westerner to reali4e that at the center of the
Oriental ho!se of several roo&s is a co!rtyard that is oen to the sky. The co!rtyard is
an i&ortant art of the ho!se. A erson can %e in the co!rt and th!s in the ho!se# and
JC Heor"e ). )ackie# Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . I9
J: I%id.# . I9# I3.#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# *harles R. Barnes# ed.# . 339:.
JJ E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . <J;.
yet he $o!ld %e o!tdoors fro& the oint of vie$ of the Westerner. As an e,a&le#
)atthe$ 8C6CI says6 GNo$ 0eter sat
$itho!t in the alace.G No$ this si&ly &eans that 0eter $as o!tside the roo&s of the
alace# and yet he $as in the oen co!rtyard# located in the central ortion of the
%!ildin".
JI
Altho!"h the co!rt is oen to the air a%ove# at ti&es an a$nin" is dra$n over
a ortion of it.
I9
And so&e ho!ses have a "allery aro!nd the sides of the co!rt.
I3
Often
lanted $ith trees# shr!%s# or flo$ers. These Oriental co!rtyards are often &ade
%ea!tif!l %y the resence of trees# shr!%s# or vario!s flo$ers.
I8
The 0sal&ist refers to
s!ch a ractice $ith the fa&iliar $ords6 G I a& like a "reen olive tree in
the ho!se of HodG @0sal& D86JA. And a"ain he said6 G Those that %e lanted in the
ho!se of the Lord shall flo!rish in the co!rts of o!r Hod G @0sal& I863<A. He is
ill!stratin" divine tr!th %y referrin" to trees so often lanted in co!rtyards of ho!ses.
Act!ally trees $ere never lanted in the Te&le co!rts.
I<
*isterns often %!ilt in co!rts.
The interestin" story of t$o &en in the days of 1avid $ho hid fro& A%salo& is told in II
Sa&!el 3:63J# 3I. GB!t they $ent %oth of the& a$ay '!ickly# and ca&e to a &an.s
ho!se in Bah!ri&# $hich had a $ell in his co!rtK $hither they $ent do$n. And the
$o&an took and sread a coverin" over the $ell.s &o!th# and sread "ro!nd corn
thereon6 and the thin" $as not kno$n.G The G$ellG &entioned here $as act!ally a
GcisternG $hich is often d!" in Oriental co!rtyards in order to catch the rain $ater.
When these cisterns are dry# they &ake "ood laces for f!"itives to hide. Beca!se the
&o!th of these cisterns is at the level of the "ro!nd# it &akes it easy to cover it over $ith
so&e article# and then sread "rain over that# and th!s the lace of hidin" can %e ket
secret.
I;
/ires often kindled in co!rts in cold $eather. This ractice is ill!strated in
Si&on 0eter.s e,erience of denyin" 5es!s. A fire $as %!ilt in the co!rtyard of the hi"h
riest.s ho!se $here 5ES+S $as %ein" tried. 5ohn 3J63J says6 G
And the servants and officers stood there# $ho had &ade a fire of coalsK for it $as cold6
and they $ar&ed the&selves6 and 0eter stood $ith the&# and $ar&ed hi&self.G
*o!rtyard as a %athin"2lace. When the Scrit!re says that 1avid fro& his alace roof
sa$ the %ea!tif!l Bathshe%a %athin" @II Sa&!el 3368A# it needs to %e !nderstood# that
she $as in the co!rtyard on the inside of her ho!se# not visi%le to ordinary o%servation#
JI 5a&es ). /ree&an# Hand%ook of Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . <I9.
I9 Barro$s# o. cit.# . <JD.
I3/ree&an# o. cit.# . 3IJ.
I8 Loc. cit.
I< Barro$s# o. cit.# . <BC.
I; /ree&an# o. cit.# . 3;C.
yet the kin" fro& his alace roof sa$ her and $as te&ted to sin.
ID
)eals often eaten in
the co!rtyard. Today# as in the days of 5ES+S# &eals are often eaten in the
interior co!rt of the Oriental ho!se. No do!%t 5ES+S $as entertained at &eals $hich
$ere served in the oen co!rt of His host.s ho!se.
IC
THE DOOR AND THE PORCH
Location and aearance of the door. The door or "ate $as located in the &iddle of the
front side of the ho!se. This entrance $as !s!ally so arran"ed that no%ody co!ld see
into it fro& the street. So&eti&es a $all $as %!ilt in front of it to serve this !rose.
I:
Oriental "ates# or lar"e doors often have s&all doors like a anel $ithin the&. The s&all
door is in !se for ordinary occasions# and the lar"e "ate or door is oened only on
e,traordinary occasions.
IJ
Acts 3863< seaks of 0eter knockin" Gat the door of the "ate
#G $hich do!%tless &eans the s&aller door $ithin the lar"er "ate.The !se of keys. The
Oriental key of &odern ti&es is like the key of Isaiah.s days# and &ost certainly not like
the s&all occidental variety. Isaiah 88688 says6 GThe key of the ho!se of 1avid $ill I lay
!on his sho!lder.G 1r. Tho&son tells of seein" different keys in 0alestine that
$o!ld %e lar"e eno!"h to lay on the sho!lder of a &an. He sa$ one key a%o!t a foot
and a half in len"th. The keys $ere !s!ally &ade of $ood. The lock is laced on the
inside of the "ate or door# and to &ake it ossi%le for the o$ner of the ho!se to !nlock
it# a hole is c!t in the door# and he thr!sts his ar& thro!"h this hole# and then inserts the
key. In Son" of Solo&on D6;# the %ride says6 G)y %eloved !t in his hand %y the hole of
the door.G She sa$ hi& thr!st his hand thro!"h the hole# that he &i"ht !nlock the door
and then "o in.
II
T+e *o'+ and du#"es of #+e *o#e. The assa"e$ay inside the door and leadin" to
the co!rtyard itself is called the orch. It is &ost often f!rnished $ith so&e kind of seats
for the orter or for the servants.
399
It $as in this orch that one of 0eter.s denials# took
lace. GAnd $hen he $as "one o!t into the orch# another &aid sa$ hi&# and said !nto
the& that $ere there# This fello$ $as also $ith 5es!s of Na4arethG @)atthe$ 8C6:3K
IDI%id.# . 3;;.
IC Ed&ond Stafer#
I:0alestine in the Ti&e of *HRIST# . 3:J.
IJ Barro$s# o. cit.# . <J;# <JD.
IIEd$in W. Rice# Orientalis&s in Bi%le Lands# . 8D3.
100 W. ). Tho&son# The Land and the Book# Lol. III# . ;3<# ;3;.
)ark 3;6CJA.It is the d!ty of the orter @or servant or &e&%er of the fa&ily servin" in
that caacityA to arley $ith any visitor $ho knocks on the door desirin" ad&ission.
393
The !rose of this is to "ive oort!nity to reco"ni4e the voice of the visitor# and
identify hi& as a friend. So it is not e,ected that the door $ill %e oened as soon as the
knock is heard. The one inside $ill call o!t# GWhoFG And the o!tsider# instead of "ivin"
his na&e# $ill rather ans$er# GI.G Acts 3863<# 3; says6 GAnd as 0eter knocked at the door
of the "ate# a da&sel ca&e to hearken# na&ed Rhoda. And $hen she kne$
0eter.s voice# she oened not the "ate for "ladness.G When Rhoda had listened to
0eter.s voice then she reco"ni4ed $ho it $as o!tside the "ate. The fa&iliar $ords of
Revelation <689 resent the sa&e idea6 GBehold# I stand at the door and knock6 if any
&an hear &y voice# and oen the door# I $ill co&e into hi&#G @for additional li"ht on
Revelation <689# st!dy the relation %et$een host and "!est as "iven in *hater Seven
of this %ookA. We &!st reco"ni4e the voice of the Savio!r $ho is knockin". When
5ES+S ca&e $alkin" on the $ater to the fearf!l disciles in the stor&# He did not say6
GIt is 5es!s# %e not afraid#G %!t rather# GIt is IK %e not afraidG @)atthe$ 3;68:K )ark C6D9K
5ohn C689A. They heard His voice and reco"ni4ed that it $as the voice of 5es!s. The
Oriental is trained to listen to a voice and %e a%le to reco"ni4e a friend.
398
THE UPPER ROOM
The !er roo& or cha&%er is a $ell2kno$n art of &any Oriental ho!ses today# and is
fre'!ently referred to in the Bi%le @cf. II (in"s368K 8<638K Acts I6<:K 896J# etc.A. Those
$ho cannot afford s!ch a roo& are content $ith %ooths or ar%ors on the roof of their
ho!ses. B!t $hen it is ossi%le to do so they constr!ct a roo&. It rovides a lace of
coolness in the hot $eather# a lace of retreat# and a distin"!ished "!est is "iven
acco&&odations there. If &ore than one roo& is %!ilt on the roof# it is called a s!&&er
ho!se# in contrast $ith the $inter ho!se $hich is do$nstairs.
39<
.The &ost fa&o!s !er
roo& of Old Testa&ent ti&es $as the rohet.s cha&%er %!ilt for Elisha# that he &i"ht
have a lace of retire&ent s!ited to a &an of rayer. There $as do!%tless an o!tside
stair$ay leadin" to it# so that the rohet &i"ht co&e and "o $itho!t dist!r%in" the
eole in the ho!se. The f!rnishin"s of the roo& incl!ded a %ed# a ta%le# a stool and a
la&stand @candlestickA @II (in"s ;639A.In the Ne$ Testa&ent there are several nota%le
!ses of the !er roo&. 5ES+S sent t$o disciles to sec!re the !se of a "!est cha&%er
for the 0assover &eal. A lar"e !er roo& $as !t at their disosal. With tho!sands of
5e$s fro& all over 0alestine in 5er!sale& to cele%rate the feast# it $as e,ected that
393Barro$s# o. cit.# . <as.
102 Rice# o. cit.# . 8D3.
39< )ilton B. +nd%er"# A H!est in a 0alestinian Ho&e @a&hletA# . <#;.
any%ody havin" s!ch a roo& $o!ld "ladly let it %e !sed for that !rose.
39;
@See )ark
3;63823CK L!ke 886:23<A And then the rayer &eetin" that receded 0entecost $as
held in an !er roo& @Acts 363<A. 0erhas it $as the sa&e roo& $here 5ES+S had
cele%rated the 0assover $ith the&. At any rate# it had co&e to %e their fi,ed lace for
&eetin". +on the death of 1orcas# L!ke says her %ody $as $ashed and laced in an
!er cha&%er# accordin" to the c!sto& of those ti&es. The &iracle of her %ein" raised
fro& the dead follo$ed 0eter.s "oin" ! into that !er roo& @Acts I6<C2;3A.
LETTING THE SIC7 MAN THRO
UGH THE ROOF TO 3ESUS
A kno$led"e of the Oriental ho!se is necessary in order to !nderstand the story of the
alsied &an# $ho $as let do$n thro!"h a hole in the roof# in order to "et hi& to 5ES+S
to %e healed. )ark and L!ke %oth "ive this asect of the story. )ark says6 G
They !ncovered the roof $here he $as6 and $hen they had %roken it !# they let do$n
the %edG @)ark 86;A. L!ke !ts it this $ay6 GAnd let hi& do$n thro!"h the tilin" $ith his
co!ch into the &idst %efore 5es!sG @L!ke D63IA. These acco!nts resent so&e
diffic!lties# and several interretations have %een offered in solvin" the&. The t$o &ost
la!si%le ones $ill %e "iven here. The si&lest e,lanation is that advocated %y
1r. Tho&son. He s!""ests that the sticks# thorn2%!sh# &ortar# and earth of the roof $ere
%roken !# and thro$n aside s!fficiently# to let the sick &an do$n into the ho!se. He
says that this co!ld %e done and the lace co!ld %e reaired easily. Often this very thin"
is done in order to let "rain# or stra$ or other thin"s thro!"h. He testifies to havin" seen
it done hi&self. The one diffic!lty a%o!t s!ch a rocess# $ith the cro$d %elo$# $o!ld %e
the a&o!nt of d!st ca!sed. It $o!ld see& that L!ke.s acco!nt &entionin" the lettin"
do$n of the &an thro!"h the tilin" resents a diffic!lty to this interretation. B!t so&e
have considered Gthe tilin"G to %e a reference to the ordinarily constr!cted roof in the
Orient. The Hreek $ord for Gtilin"G &eans# Gottery $are#G and s!ch a $ord co!ld
descri%e a dirt roof $hen rolled and allo$ed to harden into clay.
39D
Other teachers of the
Word have a different idea of $hat $as done $ith the &an. Advocatin" this vie$# 1r.
Edershei& has this to say6It is scarcely ossi%le to i&a"ine that the %earers of the
aralytic $o!ld have atte&ted to di" thro!"h this into a roo& %elo$# not to seak of the
interr!tion and inconvenience ca!sed to those %elo$ s!ch an oeration. B!t no s!ch
o%-ection attaches if $e re"ard it not as the &ain roof of the ho!se# %!t as that of the
covered "allery !nder $hich $e are s!osin" the LOR1 to have stood . . . In s!ch
case it $o!ld have %een co&aratively easy to G!nroof. the coverin" of GtilesGK and then
Ghavin" d!" o!tG an oenin" thro!"h the li"hter fra&e$ork $hich s!orted the
104 )ackie# o. cit.# . I8# I<.
106 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. I# . DC8.
tiles# to let do$n their %!rden Ginto the &idst %efore 5es!s.G
39C
In this connection
Edershei& indicates that there $ere o!tside as $ell as inside stair$ays leadin"
! to the roof.
MORE ELA%ORATE FURNISHINGS
The si&le f!rnishin"s of a one2roo& ho!se# $here the co&&on eole lived# have
already %een descri%ed. Ho!ses of &ore than one roo& $ere inha%ited %y those in a
%etter sit!ation. The $ealthy !s!ally had !er roo&s as $ell as lo$er roo&s# and of
co!rse# the f!rnishin"s $ere &ore ela%orate. The divan or raised seat $as located
aro!nd the %orders of the roo&. The rich adorned these and floored the&. They $ere
!sed for seats d!rin" the dayti&e# and %eds $ere !t on the& at ni"ht. A&os seaks of
the l!,!ry of ivory %eds in his day @A&os C6;A. The %ed c!sto&arily in !se $as a
&attress and illo$ that co!ld %e laced $here desired. In $ealthy ho&es# carets#
c!rtains# and a$nin"s $ere resent in a%!ndance. The Oriental c!sto& $as to sit on
the divan $ith the lo$er li&%s of the %ody crossed.
39:
39C I%id.# Lol. II# . ;<<# ;<;. Alfred Edershei&# The Life and Ti&es of 5ES+S the )essiah# Lol. I# .
D9<.
39: Barro$s# o. cit.# . <I;
CHAPTER 9
Foods and T+e" Pe*aa#"on fo Ea#"n,
WHAT (IN1S O/ /OO1 did the ancient 5e$s eatF GThe ordinary food of the avera"e
He%re$ of Bi%le ti&es $as %read# olives# oil# %!tter&ilk and cheese fro& their flocksK
fr!its and ve"eta%les fro& their orchards and "ardensK and &eat on rare occasions.G
39J

Only a fe$ &ore varieties $o!ld have to %e added to &ake this a co&lete list of foods
eaten in those days.
THE USE OF RA! GRAIN AND PARCHED GRAIN
The eatin" of ra$ "rain is a &odern c!sto& in 0alestine that dates %ack to very ancient
days. @See also Geatin" "rain in the field.G *hater 3IA. The Ara%s today often l!ck the
ears of "rain and r!%%in" the& in their hands# eat the&. The )osaic La$ said6 GYe shall
eat neither %read# nor arched corn# nor "reen ears# !ntil the selfsa&e day that ye have
%ro!"ht an offerin" !nto yo!r HO1G @Levitic!s 8<63;K cf. 1e!terono&y 8<68DK II (in"s
;6;8A. The disciles of 5ES+S ate ra$ "rain in the fields. GHis disciles l!cked the ears
of corn# and did eat# r!%%in" the& in their handsG L!ke C63K cf. )atthe$ 3863# )ark
868<A. So it can %e readily seen that this c!sto& of eatin" ra$ "rain has revailed for
tho!sands of years.
39I
Another food co&&on in the Orient today and in !se in Bi%le ti&es is arched "rain.
This is reared fro& the "rains of $heat that are not f!lly rie. They are roasted in a
an or on an iron late. S!ch "rain is eaten either $ith or $itho!t %read. 5esse sent
so&e of it to his sons in the ar&y %y the hand of 1avid @I Sa&!el 3:63:A. A%i"ail
incl!ded so&e of it in her resent to 1avid @I Sa&!el 8D63JA. And 1avid received so&e
of it fro& friends at the ti&e he had fled fro& A%salo& @II Sa&!el 3:68JA. These
Scrit!res sho$ that arched "rain has %een in !se for cent!ries.
339
%READ
Bread the rincial food. In the Orient it has %een esti&ated that three2fo!rths of the
eole live entirely !on either %read or !on that $hich is &ade fro& $heat or %arley
flo!r. It is !n'!estiona%ly the rincial food of the East.
333
39J W. ). Tho&son# The Land and the Book# Lol. I# . IJ.
107 Ed$in W. Rice# Orientalis&s in Bi%le Lands# . I;.
110 5a&es /ree&an# Hand%ook of Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . 38J# 38I.
In the Bi%le s!ch an e,ression as Geatin" %readG is often !sed $hen Occidentals $o!ld
say6 Geatin" a &eal.G When the Bi%le says# GThe E"ytians &i"ht not eat %read $ith the
He%re$sG @Henesis ;<6<3# <8A# it &eans that they co!ld not eat a &eal $ith the& @See
also Henesis <:68DK E,od!s 8689K I Sa&!el 8J68828DA.Sacredness of %read. The
0alestinians are %ro!"ht ! to think of %read as havin" a &ystic sacred &eanin". In
so&e laces they have s!ch a reverence for %read that they $ill not arise to sal!te a
"!est# if they are in the &idst of %reakin" %read to"ether# %!t $ill $ait till they are
finished. S!ch is their attit!de to$ard %read.
338
It &ay %e said that this attit!de of the eole to$ard %read is essentially reli"io!s.
Everythin" a%o!t %read fro& the so$in" of the seed to the %akin" of the loaves is done
in the na&e of HO1. These Orientals sense the i&ortance of the etition in the
discile.s rayer6 GHive !s this day o!r daily %readG @)atthe$ C633A. It $as to &en $ho
really areciate the val!e of %read# that 5ES+S first said# GI a& the %read of lifeG @5ohn
C6<DA.
33<
Since there is this attit!de of sacredness in relation to Gthe staff of life#G there
"ro$s o!t of it the !niversal Eastern c!sto& of %reakin" %read and not c!ttin" it. One
$ho has lived in 0alestine says a%o!t the natives of the co!ntry6 GThey never !t a knife
to %read# holdin" it to %e a%sol!tely $icked to c!t it# %!t al$ays %reak it into ieces $ith
their fin"ers.G
33;
To c!t %read $o!ld %e tho!"ht of as c!ttin" life itself. This c!sto& of
%reakin" %read rather than
c!ttin" it# is fo!nd thro!"ho!t the Scrit!res. In La&entations ;6; $e read6 GThe yo!n"
children ask %read# and no &an %reaketh it !nto the&.G Th!s the e,ression G%reakin"
of
%readG ca&e to &ean the takin" of a &eal $hatever $as incl!ded in the &eal. Beca!se
*HRIST
%roke %read $hen He instit!ted the ordinance of the LOR1.s S!er# the e,ression
ca&e to
refer to that ordinance. )atthe$ 8C68C6 G5es!s took %read# and %lessed it# and %rake it#
and
"ave it to his disciles.G
Th!s $e read in Acts 896:6 GAnd !on the first day of the $eek# $hen the disciles ca&e
to"ether to %reak %read# 0a!l reached !nto the&.G
111 I%id.# . D9.
112 A%raha& Rih%any# The Syrian *HRIST# . 3I<# iI;.
118 I%id.# . 3IC23IJ.
114 5a&es Neil# 0ict!red 0alestine# . :JK cf. also Anis *. Haddad# 0alestine Seaks# . :3# :8.
(inds of %read !sed. T$o kinds of %read $ere in !se in the days $hen Bi%le events
$ere %ein" enacted6 $heat %read# and %arley %read. Both of these are in !se in
0alestine today. There is this distinction %et$een the&6 %arley %read is !sed %y the
oorer classes# $hereas if a fa&ily is a%le to have $heat %read# it is considered to have
arrived at a lace $ell ! in the co&fort scale.
33D
This sa&e distinction $as tr!e in the
Old Testa&ent days and also Ne$ Testa&ent ti&es. When the Gcake of %arley %read
t!&%led into the host of )idianG in the drea& of the )idianite soldier @5!d"es :63<A# it
$as an indication that the ene&y desised Israel# as a &ore favored eole eatin"
$heat %read $o!ld desise eaters of %arley %read# and yet HO1 $as to !se the
desised Israelites of Hideon.s ar&y to overo$er those ro!d )idianites.
33C
The lad $ho had his five %arley loaves and "ave the& to 5es!s# and sa$ Hi& &!ltily
the& to feed five tho!sand @5ohn C6IA# &!st have co&e fro& the oorer class# %!t his
h!&%le contri%!tion &ade ossi%le a "reat &iracle# and the cro$d $as satisfied $ith
that kind of %read. /or& of loaves. In the Holy Land $here the old c!sto&s revail#
%read takes three for&s6 /irst# there are the s&all loaves $hich so&e$hat rese&%le the
li"ht %read %isc!its of this co!ntry. It $as this kind the lad had and "ave to 5es!s.
Second# there are the lar"er loaves# nearly as heavy as the &odern loaves of the West#
%!t ro!nd instead of rectan"!lar. The ten loaves $hich 5esse sent %y 1avid to the ca&
of Israel $ere ro%a%ly of this for& @I Sa&!el 3:63:A.
Third# there are the flat loaves $hich are thin like aer. These are so&ethin" like
A&erican hot cakes only %i""er aro!nd and &!ch thinner. When served so&e of these#
one &an fro& the West tho!"ht they $ere nakins and started to !se the& as s!ch.
This kind of %read is !sed to take the lace of the knife# fork# or soon of the OccidentalK
Easterners Gc! it !G and !se it to di into the food sa!ces @see *hater CA. It is '!ite
lia%leK and the &en fold it ! and !t it in their scri# and take it $ith the&# so they can
eat it as needed.
33:
Bakin" of %read. The &ost ri&itive &ethod of %akin" %read $as the
layin" of cakes of do!"h on heated stones.
33J
A Scrit!ral e,a&le of this is fro& the e,erience of Eli-ah. @I (in"s 3I6CA6 GAnd he
looked# and# %ehold# there $as a cake %aken on the coals# and a cr!se of $ater at his
head.GAnother si&le &ethod of %akin" is the di""in" in the "ro!nd of a hole fo!r or five
feet dee# and three feet in dia&eter# and after this oven is heated# the do!"h is rolled
o!t !ntil it is no thicker than a erson.s fin"er# and then it is str!ck a"ainst the oven.s
116 Rice# o. cit.# . IC.
119 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. II# . 3J3# 3J8.
11: /ro& class notes in co!rse6 G)anners and *!sto&s of Bi%le Lands#G 0asadena *olle"e# 5!ne#
11; 3ID9# ta!"ht %y 1r. H. /rederick O$en.
sides $here it instantly %akes.
33I
So&eti&es a "reat stone itcher is !sed as an oven. In
the %otto& of it a fire is &ade a&on" s&all flints that retain the heat. The do!"h is
laced on these and is '!ickly %aked. So&eti&es the do!"h is rolled o!t '!ite thin and
is st!ck on the o!tside of the hot itcher $here it %akes. So&e have tho!"ht that it $as
this itcher2oven that $as &eant in Levitic!s 86;# $here t$o tyes of !nleavened %read
$ere to %e %akedAnother tye of si&le oven is a lar"e earthen$are -ar# into $hich the
f!el is laced# and $hen the -ar is hot eno!"h the thin cakes are laid on the o!tside to
cook.
389
When %read $as %aked individ!ally %y each fa&ily in Bi%le days# so&e s!ch
&ethod as has %een descri%ed $as ro%a%ly !sed %y the ordinary ho&es.
383
B!t often today# as in the days of Sacred Writ# %read $as and is %aked in either a
se&i!%lic oven# or in the oven of a !%lic %aker. So&eti&es each to$n &i"ht have
several of these ovens. One tye of s!ch an oven consists of a %i" earthen t!%e# so&e
three feet in dia&eter# and a%o!t five feet lon". It is s!nk in the "ro!nd inside a h!t. The
$o&en take their t!rn in %akin" their %read. The f!el is thro$n into the t!%e# and $hen
the fire "ets hot# and %illo$s of s&oke and ton"!es of fla&e co&e fro& the dee hole#
the h!t# $itho!t any chi&ney in it# %e"ins to rese&%le an active crater. )alachi &!st
have seen s!ch an oven $hen he $rote the $ords# G/or %ehold# the day co&eth# that
shall %!rn as an oven6 and all the ro!d# yea# and all that do $ickedly# shall %e st!%%leG
@)alachi ;63A.
388
Another tye of Oriental oven Gis a lon"# lo$# stone%!ilt va!lt# like half a
rail$ay2en"ine.s %oiler#$ith a stone ave&ent do$n the &iddle# and a lon" narro$ stri
at each side for the fire$ood.G
38<
Each ni"ht the ashes are taken o!t# and often the
children of oor fa&ilies $ill %rin" a iece of tin# or of a %roken $ater -ar# and carry ho&e
on this so&e of the e&%ers of the fire $ith $hich to start the fire at ho&e for the evenin"
&eal. Hosea &akes &ention of Gan oven heated %y the %akerG @Hosea :6;A. This $o!ld
indicate that
so&e of the eole %ro!"ht their %read to a %aker to do the %akin". The city of
5er!sale& had its
Baker.s Street in the ti&e of 5ere&iah @5ere&iah <:683A.
:EGETA%LES
117 Heor"e ). )ackie# Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . II.
120 /ree&an# o. cit.# . JI.
121 Loc. cit.
122 )ackie# c. cit.# . II.
128 Rih%any# o. cit.# . 899# 898.
The t$o &ost $idely !sed ve"eta%les in Bi%le ti&es $ere %eans and lentils. The
rohecy of E4ekiel &entions %oth of these in one verse @E4ekiel ;6IA. Beans are
incl!ded in the articles of food $hich 1avid.s friends %ro!"ht to hi& $hen he $as in
fli"ht fro& 5er!sale&# %eca!se of A%salo&.s re%ellion @II Sa&!el 3:68JA. The &ost
fa&o!s Bi%lical !se of lentils $as of co!rse# the sellin" of Esa!.s %irthri"ht for a &eal
incl!din" lentils $ith %read @Henesis 8D6<<# <;A.Tho&son tells of %ein" invited to a &eal
of lentils $hich he fo!nd to %e very savory $ith its Gaeti4in" fra"rance and s!%stantial
taste# that to a h!n"ry &an &!st have %een very te&tin". In eatin" this dish# he did as
his hosts did# do!%led Gso&e of their %read soon2fashion#G and then died it into the
sa!cean. He s!""ests that Esa! no do!%t !sed the sa&e kind of soon of %read in
eatin" the otta"e of lentils.
38;
The Israelite. E"ytian diet incl!ded the ve"eta%les6
leeks# onions# and "arlic @N!&%ers 336DA. )ost of these $ere ro%a%ly !sed so&eti&es
in 0alestine. The rohet Isaiah &entions a G"arden of c!c!&%ersG @Isaiah 36JA. Ho!rds
$ere also !sed# as s!""ested %y t$o Scrit!re assa"es @5onah ;6C239K II (in"s ;6<IA.
The G!lseG $hich 1aniel and his co&anions $anted as their diet# $hen they $ere
catives# $as ro%a%ly ve"eta%les @1aniel 3638A. The $ord &eans ri&arily# Gso&ethin"
so$n#G and therefore $o!ld incl!de edi%le seeds that are cooked# s!ch as lentils# %eans#
eas# etc. It $as a si&le ve"eta%le diet that $as $anted instead of the rich#
!n$holeso&e food of the kin".s ta%le.
38D
DAIR6 PRODUCTS
)ilk. )ilk in Bi%le ti&es $as considered# not si&ly as so&ethin" that $as added to
their food in cookin"# %!t $as re"arded as a s!%stantial food for all a"es. Ba%ies $ere
fed &other.s &ilk @Isaiah 8J6IA. The He%re$s not only !sed co$.s &ilk# %!t also shee.s
&ilk @1e!terono&y <863;A# "oat.s &ilk @0rover%s 8:68:A# and# no do!%t# ca&el.s &ilk
@Henesis <863DA. The 0ro&ised Land $as often called Ga land flo$in" $ith &ilk and
honeyG @E,od!s <6JK 3<6DK 5osh!a D6CK 5ere&iah 336DA. This $o!ld indicate that
0alestine.s %road ast!re lands $o!ld rod!ce an a%!ndance of &ilk.
38C
A for& of &ilk that is in co&&on !se a&on" the Ara%s today is called %y the& Gle%en#G
$hich &eans# G$hite.G It is like o!r so!r &ilk c!rds. In order to &ake it# they o!r &ilk in
a dish and then !t yeast in it# $hich starts it to $orkin". They cover it over $ith a $ar&
cloth# and after it sets for a%o!t a day it is ready to serve. The Ara%s are very fond of it.
They say of it# GIt &akes a sick &an $ell.G If they have &oney for only one dish# they
124 )ackie# o. cit.# . :8.
126 3:. Loc. *it.
129 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. I# . 8D8.
$o!ld !s!ally ask for le%en.
38:
It $as ro%a%ly this Gle%enG that A%raha& "ave to his
"!ests @Henesis 3J6JA# and also that 5ael "ave to Sisera @5!d"es ;63IK D68DA.
B!tter. It is "enerally a"reed a&on" Bi%le scholars# that in &ost of the cases $here the
$ord G%!tterG aears in o!r "enerally !sed translation# it does not &ean the kind of
%!tter kno$n %y the Westerner# %!t rather c!rdled &ilk or Gle%en.G There are t$o
assa"es that do refer to %!tter# %!t even that is in a different for& fro& that !sed %y
those eole $ho live o!tside the Orient.
38J
The first assa"e &entions G%!tter of kineG
@1e!terono&y <863;A# and the second refers to the rocess of &akin" %!tter# Gthe
ch!rnin" of &ilk %rin"eth forth %!tterG @0rover%s <96<<A. The Bi%le2ti&e &ethod of
&akin" %!tter $as do!%tless the sa&e as !sed %y the Ara% Bedo!ins of today.
Tho&son descri%es the rocess and the res!ltin" %!tter th!s6What are those $o&en
kneadin" and shakin" so 4ealo!sly in that lar"e %lack %a" s!sended fro& that triodF
That is a %ottle not a %a"# &ade %y striin" off the skin of a yo!n" %!ffalo. It is f!ll of
&ilk and that is their &ethod of ch!rnin". When the %!tter has co&e they take it o!t#
and %oil it# and then !t it in %ottles &ade of "oatskins. In $inter it rese&%les candied
honey# in s!&&er it is like oil. That is the only kind of %!tter they have in this co!ntry.
38I
*oncernin" the assa"e in 0rover%s @<96<<A# GS!rely the ch!rnin" of &ilk %rin"eth forth
%!tter# and the $rin"in" of the nose %rin"eth forth %lood#G Tho&son calls attention to the
fact# that the $ord ch!rnin"# and the $ord for $rin"in" are the sa&e $ord in the
He%re$. He says6It is the $rin"in" of &ilk that %rin"eth forth %!tter# -!st as these $o&en
are s'!ee4in" and $rin"in" the &ilk in that skin %ottle. There is no analo"y %et$een o!r
&ode of ch!rnin"# and !llin" a &an.s nose !ntil the %lood co&es# %!t in this native
oeration the co&arison is '!ite nat!ral and e&hatic.
3<9
B!tter&ilk is not itself &entioned in the Bi%le# %!t it $as $itho!t do!%t !sed# %eca!se
the rocess of ch!rnin"# as has already %een referred to# is &entioned. *heese. In
0alestine the Ara%s are fond of cheese. It is convenient for the& to take cheese alon"
$ith the&. Their cheese is so&e$hat like Western slices# only lar"er and thicker. They
are a%o!t as thick as a &an.s hand. They are fo!nd stacked ! in the &arkets.
3<3
12: G0!lse#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# *harles R. Barnes# ed.# . 33;I
12; G)ilk#G i%id.# . :8;.
127 /ro& class notes in co!rse6 G)anners and *!sto&s of Bi%le Lands#G 0asadena *olle"e# 5!ne#
3ID9# ta!"ht %y 1r. H. /rederick O$en.
180 /ro& class notes in co!rse6 G)anners and *!sto&s of Bi%le Lands#G 0asadena *olle"e# 5!ne# 3ID9#
ta!"ht %y 1r. H. /rederick O$en.
181 88. GB!tter#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# . 3CI.
1avid.s father "ave hi& ten cheeses to take to the ar&y catain @I Sa&!el 3:63JA. Also
Bar4illai %ro!"ht cheese to (in" 1avid @II Sa&!el 3:68IA.
MEAT
When &eat $as eaten and $hat kinds. As a r!le# Bi%le characters# like Orientals in
&odern ti&es# have not eaten &eat# e,cet on secial occasions. When a stran"er or
"!est $as entertained# or $hen a feast $as &ade# then &eat $o!ld %e served.
3<8
(in"s and other $ealthy &en had &eat often. The daily rovision of &eat for (in"
Solo&on.s co!rt is "iven in Scrit!re. /o!r kinds of &eat for the kin".s daily &en! are
&entioned6 %eef# &!tton. "a&e# and fo$l @I (in"s ;68<A. A%raha& served veal to his
"!ests @Henesis 3J6:A. Hideon.s "!est $as rovided $ith a kid @5!d"es C63IA. On the
shores of the Sea of Halilee# fish $as a co&&on article of food in the days of 5ES+S.
*HRIST referred to this $hen he soke of a son %e""in" his father for a fish @L!ke
33633A. This Scrit!re &i"ht i&ly that these d$ellers near the lake lived &ostly on fish.
3<<
Ho$ &eat $as cooked and served. The &ethod of rearin" &eat has th!s %een
descri%ed6Roastin" on a sit $as erhas the oldest $ay of cookin" flesh# %!t less
co&&on a&on" the Israelite than %oilin"# roast flesh %ein" !sed as a r!le only %y the
rich and %etter classes# as is still the case in the East.
3<;
The servants of Eli.s sons said
to those %rin"in" offerin"s# GHive flesh to roast for the riestK for he $ill not have sodden
flesh of thee# %!t ra$G @I Sa&!el 863DA. After the &eat $as cooked it $as divided ! into
s&all ieces# and a %roth $as reared to serve $ith it# and this $o!ld often have
ve"eta%les in it.
3<D
S!ch a %roth $as !sed in the days of Hideon and of Isaiah @5!d"es
C63I#89K Isaiah CD6;A.
EGGS
So&eti&e %et$een the days of Eli-ah and the ti&e of *HRIST the do&estic fo$l and the
everyday !se of e""s $as introd!ced into 0alestine.
3<C
182 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. II# . ;DC# ;D:.
188 Loc. cit.
184 /ro& class notes in co!rse6 G)anners and *!sto&s of Bi%le Lands#G 0asadena *olle"e# 5!ne#
3ID9# ta!"ht %y 1r. H. /rederick O$en.
186 Tho&as +ha&# 5ahn.s Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# . 3D3.
3<C Ed&ond Stafer# 0alestine in the Ti&e of *HRIST# . 3JD# 3JC.
There $o!ld see& to %e one early Old Testa&ent reference to $hat &i"ht %e the e"" of
a hen. It is 5o% C6C6 GIs there any taste in the $hite of an e""FG We kno$ that the !se of
e""s# a&on" the Halileans aro!nd the lake# $as co&&on in *hristRs ti&e# for 5ES+S
seaks of a son askin" for an e"" fro& his father @L!ke 33638A.
HONE6
HO1 had ro&ised Israel# Ga land flo$in" $ith &ilk and honeyG @E,od!s <6JK 3<6DK
5osh!a D6CK 5ere&iah 336DA. The n!&ero!s references to honey or honeyco&% in
HO1.s Word# are roof that 0alestine a%o!nded $ith the rod!ct of the %ees. Witho!t
do!%t# the 5e$s took care of %ees in order to rod!ce honey.
3<:
-ilical te5ts often mention "hone!" as the s$eetener of choice though some
historians elieve that the hone! referenced in the -ile $as actuall! a sort
of fruit "aste. >eal hone! $as, of course, availale ut much more difficult to
ac.uireI Hone! re"resented good living and $ealth. %he Land of (srael is
often called the land of "mil/ and hone!" in the -ile.
13+
Hone( Ca1e
)any 5e$ish ho!seholds &ake honey cakes on Rosh HaShanah as another $ay to
sy&%olically e,ress their $ishes for a S$eet Ne$ Year. Often eole $ill !se a recie
that has %een assed do$n thro!"h the "enerations. Honey cake can %e &ade $ith a
variety of sices# tho!"h a!t!&nal sices @cloves# cinna&on# allsiceA are esecially
o!lar. 1ifferent recies call for the !se of coffee# tea# oran"e -!ice or even r!& to add
an additional di&ension of flavor.
Ne/ Fu"#
On the second ni"ht of Rosh Hashanah# $e eat a Gne$ fr!itG S &eanin"# a fr!it that has
recently co&e into season %!t that $e have not yet had the oort!nity to eat. When $e
eat this ne$ fr!it# $e say the shehechiyan! %lessin" thankin" Hod for keein" !s alive
and %rin"in" !s to this season. This rit!al re&inds !s to areciate the fr!its of the earth
and %ein" alive to en-oy the&.
A o&e"ranate is often !sed as this ne$ fr!it. In the Bi%le# the Land of Israel is raised
for its o&e"ranates. It is also said that this fr!it contains C3< seeds -!st as there are
C3< &it4vot. Another reason "iven for %lessin" and eatin" o&e"ranate on Rosh
HaShanah is that $e $ish that o!r "ood deeds in the ens!in" year $ill %e as lentif!l as
the seeds of the o&e"ranate.
3<I
3<:G/ood# 0rearation of#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# . <:J2<J9.
18; htt-<==1,a%s(.a2!,t.3!(=!=h!'%a0s=a=R!sh>Hasha#ah>F!!>C,st!(s.ht(
3<I /aye Levy.s International 5e$ish *ook%ook# A Ti&e Warner *o&any# 3II3.
F"s+
Rosh HaShanah literally &eans Ghead of the yearG in He%re$. /or this reason in so&e
5e$ish co&&!nities it is traditional to eat the head of a fish d!rin" the Rosh HaShanah
holiday &eal. /ish is also eaten %eca!se it is an ancient sy&%ol of fertility and
a%!ndance.
Ho$ever# &any of the Scrit!ral citations indicate that $ild honey $as very co&&on.
The favorite ha!nts of the %ees $ere in the cavities of trees# $here 5onathan discovered
and ate so&e of the honey @I Sa&!el 3;68D28:AK in the holes of the rock# $here it $as
often e,tracted @0sal& J363CAK and so&eti&es the dried carcasses of ani&als# as $hen
Sa&son ate honey fro& the carcass of the lion he had slain @5!d"es 3;6J#IA.
The oetical %ooks of the He%re$ Bi%le a%o!nd $ith co&arisons to honey.The
-!d"&ents of HO1.s Word are co&ared to it @0sal& 3I639A. 0leasant $ords are
likened !nto it @0rover%s 3C68;A# (no$led"e and $isdo& to the so!l @0rover%s
8;63<#3;A.And the %ride and %ride"roo& of Solo&on.s Son" seak of honey @Son" of
Solo&on ;633K D63A.In Ne$ Testa&ent ti&es 5ohn the Batist lived on loc!sts and $ild
honey fro& the $ilderness @)atthe$ <6;A. And $hen 5ES+S $anted to rove to the
disciles that His res!rrection %ody $as a real %ody# He asked for food and $as "iven a
iece of %roiled fish $ith so&e honeyco&% @L!ke 8;6;32;<A.1r. Tho&son relates ho$ Gin
the clefts of a reciice overhan"in" Wady el (!rn s$ar&s of %ees &ade their ho&e.G A
&an $as let do$n over the rock %y roes# and %ein" rotected fro& assa!lt fro& the
%ees# he $as a%le to e,tract a lar"e '!antity of honey.
3;9
S!ch an incident is re&iniscent
of the e,ression of )oses in his fare$ell son"6 G.He &ade hi& to s!ck honey o!t of the
rockG @1e!terono&y <863<A.
FRUIT
Olives and olive oil. So&e !se is &ade of the ickled %erry of the olive# %!t the %!lk of
the fr!it is !sed to &ake oil. In the Orient# olive oil !s!ally takes the lace of %!tter# and
is lar"ely !sed in cookin" &eals. A s!rvey of several Scrit!res $ill indicate ho$
i&ortant a food olive oil $as considered to %e. The $ido$ $ho fed Eli-ah said to hi&6 GI
have not a cake# %!t an handf!l of &eal in a %arrel# and a little oil in a cr!seG @I (in"s
3:638A. She had %een deendin" lar"ely on %read and oil for her food# %!t the s!ly of
%oth $as a%o!t "one. The &iracle of Eli-ah $as the &!ltilication of that s!ly# GAnd
the %arrel of &eal $asted not# neither did the cr!se of oil fail# accordin" to the $ord of
the LOR1# $hich he sake %y Eli-ahG @I (in"s 3:63CA. The )eal Offerin" of the )osaic
la$ called for !nleavened fine flo!r &in"led $ith oil %aked in a an @Levitic!s 86DA. And
the rohet E4ekiel in recitin" to 5er!sale& all its ast %lessin"s fro& 5EHOLAH said of
140 +ha&# o. cit.# . 3D3.
her# GTho! didst eat fine flo!r# and honey# and oilG @E4ekiel 3C63<A. @See also section on
Golive tree#G *hater 83A./i"s. This fr!it $as often !sed in Old Testa&ent ti&es#
esecially dried fi"s. A%i"ail took t$o h!ndred cakes of fi"s to 1avid @I Sa&!el 8D63JA. A
cake of fi"s $as "iven the E"ytian to revive hi& @I Sa&!el <9638A# and cakes of fi"s
$ere %ro!"ht to 1avid at He%ron# at a ti&e of "reat re-oicin" @I *hronicles 386;9A. @See
also section on Gthe fi" tree#G *hater 83A.Hraes and raisins. 1!rin" the &onths of
Sete&%er and Octo%er# the fresh rie "raes are eaten alon" $ith %read as one of the
rincial foods.
3;3
*anaan &!st have %een a land of very fine "raes# for t$o of the
sies %ro!"ht %ack a "reat cl!ster of "raes on a %ranch carried on a staff %et$een
the&# and sec!red fro& the Lalley of Eshcol @N!&%ers 3<68<A. Raisins $ere $idely
!sed in the days $hen the 5e$s lived in 0alestine. A%i"ail "ave 1avid one h!ndred
cl!sters of raisins @I Sa&!el 8D63JA. Raisins $ere %ro!"ht to 1avid at He%ron @I
*hronicles 386;9A and a"ain# $hen he $as fleein" fro& A%salo&# he received a '!antity
of the& @II Sa&!el 3C63A. @See also section on G!se of "raes#G *hater
89A.0o&e"ranates. There are several varieties of s$eet and so!r o&e"ranates in the
land. The -!ice of the so!r variety is !sed in the a%sence of le&ons for the !roses of
that fr!it. The o&e"ranate $as "reatly estee&ed as a fr!it in early Bi%le ti&es# for it
$as &entioned %y )oses
as one of the e,cellencies of the 0ro&ised Land @1e!terono&y J6JA. The Son" of
Solo&on &akes &ention of the o&e"ranate fr!it# trees# and siced $ine fro& its
-!ice @Son" of Solo&on ;63<K C633K :638K J68A.
3;8
3;3 E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . <CC.
142 W. /. Al%ri"ht# The Archaeolo"y of 0alestine# . 83:.
CHAPTER ;
Cus#oms a# Meal#"me
EASTERN HABITS# connected $ith the eatin" of a &eal# are s!ch a decided contrast to
Western ha%its# that &!ch care sho!ld %e "iven to the st!dy of the&# if the &any
references in the Bi%le to eatin"# are to %e interreted acc!rately.
!ASHING OF HANDS %EFORE EATING
Orientals are caref!l to $ash their hands %efore a &eal# %!t they $o!ld think that the
Occidental $ay of $ashin" in the $ater already &ade dirty %y the hands# to %e very
!ntidy and dis"racef!l. The servant or $hoever takes his lace# o!rs $ater on the
hands to %e $ashed as they are held over a %asin. Often the %asin has a concave cover
$ith holes# so as to allo$ the dirty $ater to r!n thro!"h and th!s %e o!t of si"ht. The
&ethod of eatin" $itho!t knives# forks# or soons# &akes this $ashin" a necessity.
3;<
That this &ethod of $ashin" $as in vo"!e in the days of the rohets is seen %y the
$ay Elisha $as characteri4ed %y the kin".s servants6 GHere is Elisha the son of
Shahat# $hich o!red $ater on the hands of Eli-ahG @II (in"s <633A. Elisha had served
as Eli-ah.s servant# and o!rin" $ater# so that his &aster co!ld $ash his hands# $as an
i&ortant art of his d!ties. When the 0harisees co&lained a"ainst the disciles of
5ES+S# %eca!se they ate %read $itho!t $ashin" their hands @)atthe$ 3D63#8K )ark
:632DA# it $as concernin" a len"thy cere&onial $ashin" of hands that they soke. The
5e$ish hierarchy of that day had "iven forth a ositive in-!nction as to e,actly ho$ this
a%l!tion sho!ld %e done. It $as not a la$ of )oses %!t a tradition of the elders. 5ES+S
ref!sed to sanction it as a r!le that $as %indin". It $as not the c!sto& of $ashin" hands
%efore eatin" that 5ES+S o%-ected to# %!t the a!thority the ra%%is clai&ed to have in
tellin" the eole the e,act and detailed &anner in $hich it &!st %e done.
3;;
POSITION !HILE EATING
Accordin" to "eneral Ara%ic c!sto&# the see&ly ost!re $hile eatin" is Gto sit erect on
the floor at the lo$ ta%le# $ith the le"s either folded !nder the %ody# or thro$n %ack as
in# the act of kneelin"
3;D
Th!s in the desert tent of the Bedo!in# or in the si&le ho!se of
the /ellahin# this $o!ld %e the osition of those eatin" a &eal. And $e can %e s!re that
148 Ed$in W. Rice# Orientalis&s in Bi%le Lands# . 393.
144 Ed$in *. Bissell# Bi%lical Anti'!ities# . J3.
146 Bissell# o. cit.# . J9.
this $as the ost!re of the co&&on eole of Bi%le days in &ost cases. The e,cetion
to this r!le is the c!sto& of the $ealthy# or the ha%it of the eole on secial occasions
s!ch as s!ers or feastsK and this $ill %e dealt $ith in a later section. It is easy to
i&a"ine Elisha and the sons of the rohets eatin" in the !s!al Oriental osition# $hen
it says concernin" the&6 GAnd the sons of the rohets $ere sittin" %efore hi&6 and he
said !nto his servant# Set on the "reat otG @II (in"s ;6<JA.
USE OF TA%LE5 CHAIRS5 AND DISHES
Ta%le. In &any cases the Ara% c!sto& $o!ld see& to indicate to the Westerner that
they !se no ta%le at all $hen servin" a &eal. Act!ally# a &at sread !on the "ro!nd
serves the !rose of a ta%le. This is esecially tr!e of the tent Ara%.
3;C
This $as the early Se&itic ta%le of Old Testa&ent ti&es# for the He%re$ $ord GShool2
kha$n#G !s!ally translated Gta%le#G has as its root &eanin"# Ga skin or leather &at sread
on the "ro!nd.
3;:
With this sort of a ta%le in vie$# the 0sal&ist can %e !nderstood $hen he said
concernin" his ene&ies# GLet their ta%le %eco&e a snare %efore the&.G 1avid.s &eanin"
$o!ld %e# GLet their feet %eco&e entan"led in it# as it is sread on the "ro!nd.G
3;J
If the Ara%s !se &ore of a ta%le than this &at# then it is likely to %e a oly"on stool# no
hi"her than a%o!t fo!rteen inches# and those eatin" $o!ld sit on the floor aro!nd this
stool. *hairs. With s!ch an Oriental ta%le in "eneral !se# it $o!ld follo$ that Occidental
chairs $o!ld %e lar"ely &issin". In re"ard to &akin" !se of chairs in ancient Bi%le days
it has %een said6 GOn ordinary occasions they ro%a%ly sat or s'!atted on the floor
aro!nd a lo$ ta%le# $hile at &eals of &ore cere&ony they sat on chairs or stools. The
scrit!ral instances of chairs or stools !sed at &ealti&e# incl!de 5oseh.s %rothers
sittin" on seats at a %an'!et in E"yt @Henesis ;<6<<AK and 1avid.s havin" a seat at the
ta%le of (in" Sa!l @I Sa&!el 896D# 3JA. Both of these cases are connected $ith royalty
or hi"h osition. On ordinary occasions the GchairG !sed %y the vast &a-ority of Israelite
$as the "ro!nd or floor on $hich $o!ld %e sread a caret or a &at.
3;I
149 Rice# o. cit.# . 39<.
14: A%raha& Rih%any# The Syrian *HRIST# . 88D.
14; Selah )errill# East of the 5ordan# . ;J9# ;J3.
147 GTa%le#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# *harles R. Barnes# ed.# . 39:J.
1ishes. At an Oriental &eal the only dishes are those in $hich the food is laced on the
ta%leK there are no dishes "iven to each one havin" a art in the &eal. Often there is
only one dish for the food# and it is !s!ally a tray of %asket$ork# or a coer dish.
3D9
5ES+S soke of His %etrayer as Ghe that dieth his hand $ith &e in the dishG @)atthe$
8C68<K )ark 3;689A. In entertainin" his "!est# Hideon !t the &eat in a %asket# and the
%roth in a ot @5!d"es C63IA.
SA6ING GRACE AT MEALS
Before the Ara%s %e"in their &eal each erson reeats after the )aster of the ho!se
so&e s!ch a "race as# GIn the na&e of Hod#G or# G0raise Allah#G or# GHod %e raised.G
3D3
In the Old Testa&ent era the 5e$s $ere in the ha%it of sayin" "race at &eals# and if a
rohet $as to %e resent he $as e,ected to do it for the&. *oncernin" Sa&!el $hen
Sa!l $as to eat the sacrifice $ith hi&# it $as said# GHe doth %less the sacrifice6 and
after$ard they eat that %e %iddenG @I Sa&!el I63<A. In relatin" the &iracle of 5ES+S
feedin" the five tho!sand 5ohn says# GAnd 5es!s took the loaves and $hen he had
"iven thanks# he distri%!ted to the disciles . . .G @5ohn C633A. And concernin" the
feedin" of the fo!r tho!sand# )atthe$ is caref!l to incl!de the %lessin" in his
descrition6 GAnd he took the seven loaves and the fishes# and "ave thanksG @)atthe$
3D6<CA.1r. Edershei& s!""ests that *HRIST &ay have rayed an e,te&oraneo!s
rayer for "race# or He &ay have !sed the for&!la $idely !sed %y the 5e$s of His day
as a &ealti&e "race. Here is the for&!la6 GBlessed art Tho!# 5ehovah o!r HO1# (in" of
the $orld# $ho ca!ses to co&e forth %read fro& the earth.G
3D8
Also it $as c!sto&ary for
the 5e$s in those days to have a second rayer of thanks at the end of the &eal. Their
a!thority for this $as 1e!terono&y J6396 GWhen tho! hast eaten and art f!ll# then tho!
shalt %less the LOR1 thy Hod for the "ood land $hich he hath "iven thee.G In the sayin"
of these "races it $as c!sto&ary for one of the "!ests to "ive the thanks in a lo!d
voice# and for the rest to say A&en# or to reeat so&e of the $ords of the "race.
3D<
USE OF HAND INSTEAD OF 7NIFE5 FOR75 OR SPOON
160 W. ). Tho&son# The Land and the Book# Lol. III# . :D.
161 E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . ;3<.
162 Tho&as +ha&# 5ahn.s Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# . 3DC.
168 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . :D.
In "eneral it &ay %e said that the Ara%s in eatin" do not !se knives# lates# or nakins
$hich are considered so essential in the West. They say6 GWhat does a &an $ant of a
soon $hen HO1 has "iven hi& so &any fin"ersFG Sheets of %read# a%o!t as thick as
heavy flannelK take the lace of soons or forks to so&e e,tent. A iece fro& this %read
is %roken off and shaed so as to !t so&e of the food on it.
3D;
They !se this %read to scoo ! any artially li'!id dish# s!ch as so!s# sa!ces# or
"ravies. Each torn off iece of %read that th!s serves as a soon is eaten alon" $ith the
food it contains. )eat is !s!ally served in a sin"le lar"e dish and is eaten $ith the
fin"ers. Broth is served in a searate dish and it is !sed to &oisten the %read. This
&ethod of eatin" is act!ally not as !ntidy as &i"ht %e s!osed.
3DD
The invitation Boa4 "ave to R!th to eat $ith his $orkers# indicates that these sa&e
c!sto&s &!st have %een in oeration in those days6 GAnd Boa4 said !nto her# At
&ealti&e co&e tho! hither# and eat of the %read# and di thy &orsel in the vine"arG
@R!th 863;A. And at the last s!er 5ES+S said to His disciles# GHe that dieth his
hand $ith &e in the dish# the sa&e shall %etray &eG @)atthe$ 8C68<A. /!rther&ore# He
soke of diin" a choice ortion of the &eat called the so into the dish @5ohn 3<68CA.
)ore $ill %e said of this !nder the section dealin" $ith s!ers and %an'!ets. S!ffice it
to say# that &ost of the Oriental c!sto&s of today in re"ard to eatin" date %ack# not only
to the days of o!r Savior# %!t also to the Old Testa&ent era.
!ASHING AFTER THE MEAL
After a tyical Oriental &eal# $ashin" the hands a"ain is of co!rse essential. If there is
a servant# he is the one to %rin" in the itcher of $ater and %asin# and the $ater is
o!red over the hands of those $ho have eaten the &eal. A nakin is laced over the
sho!lder so that the hands &ay %e dried. They do this for each other if there is no
servant to do it for the&.
3DC
That this &ethod of o!rin" $ater to $ash hands $as !sed
in ancient ti&es has already %een seen concernin" the $ashin" of hands %efore eatin".
3D; Rice# o. cit.# . 398
166 Ed&ond Stafer# 0alestine in the Ti&e of *HRIST# . 3J;.
169 )errill# o. cit.# . ;J9# ;J3.
CHAPTER ;
Cus#oms a# Meal#"me
EASTERN HA%ITS5 connected $ith the eatin" of a &eal# are s!ch a decided contrast
to Western ha%its# that &!ch care sho!ld %e "iven to the st!dy of the&# if the &any
references in the Bi%le to eatin"# are to %e interreted acc!rately.
!ASHING OF HANDS %EFORE EATING
Orientals are caref!l to $ash their hands %efore a &eal# %!t they $o!ld think that the
Occidental $ay of $ashin" in the $ater already &ade dirty %y the hands# to %e very
!ntidy and dis"racef!l. The servant or $hoever takes his lace# o!rs $ater on the
hands to %e $ashed as they are held over a %asin. Often the %asin has a concave cover
$ith holes# so as to allo$ the dirty $ater to r!n thro!"h and th!s %e o!t of si"ht. The
&ethod of eatin" $itho!t knives# forks# or soons# &akes this $ashin" a
necessity.
3D:
That this &ethod of $ashin" $as in vo"!e in the days of the rohets is
seen %y the $ay Elisha $as characteri4ed %y the kin".s servants6 GHere is Elisha the
son of Shahat# $hich o!red $ater on the hands of Eli-ahG @II (in"s <633A. Elisha had
served as Eli-ah.s servant# and o!rin" $ater# so that his &aster co!ld $ash his hands#
$as an i&ortant art of his d!ties. When the 0harisees co&lained a"ainst the disci2
les of 5ES+S# %eca!se they ate %read $itho!t $ashin" their hands @)atthe$ 3D63#8K
)ark :632DA# it $as concernin" a len"thy cere&onial $ashin" of hands that they soke.
The 5e$ish hierarchy of that day had "iven forth a ositive in-!nction as to e,actly ho$
this a%l!tion sho!ld %e done. It $as not a la$ of )oses %!t a tradition of the elders.
5ES+S ref!sed to sanction it as a r!le that $as %indin". It $as not the c!sto& of
$ashin" hands %efore eatin" that 5ES+S o%-ected to# %!t the a!thority the ra%%is
clai&ed to have in tellin" the eole the e,act and detailed &anner in $hich it &!st %e
done.
3DJ
POSITION !HILE EATING
Accordin" to "eneral Ara%ic c!sto&# the see&ly ost!re $hile eatin" is Gto sit erect on
the floor at the lo$ ta%le# $ith the le"s either folded !nder the %ody# or thro$n %ack as
in# the act of kneelin".
3DI
Th!s in the desert tent of the Bedo!in# or in the si&le ho!se
of the /ellahin# this $o!ld %e the osition of those eatin" a &eal. And $e can %e s!re
that this $as the ost!re of the co&&on eole of Bi%le days in &ost cases. The
16: Edwin W. Rice, Orientalisms in Bible Lands, p. 101.
16; Edwin C. Bissell, Biblical Antiquities, p. 81.Testament, p. 100. !"ew #$r%& '$u()t$n*
+i,in C$mpan-1.0/0.
167 Abra)am Ri)ban-, T)e 1-rian C'R21T, p. 3.
e,cetion to this r!le is the c!sto& of the $ealthy# or the ha%it of the eole on secial
occasions s!ch as s!ers or feastsK and this $ill %e dealt $ith in a later section. It is
easy to i&a"ine Elisha and the sons of the rohets eatin" in the !s!al Oriental
osition# $hen it says concernin" the&6 G And the sons of the rohets $ere sittin"
%efore hi&6 and he said !nto his servant# Set on the "reat otG @II (in"s ;6<JA.
USE OF TA%LE5 CHAIRS5 AND DISHES
Ta%le. In &any cases the Ara% c!sto& $o!ld see& to indicate to the Westerner that
they !se no ta%le at all $hen servin" a &eal. Act!ally# a &at sread !on the "ro!nd
serves the !rose of a ta%le. This is esecially tr!e of the tent Ara%.
3C9
This $as the
early Se&itic ta%le of Old Testa&ent ti&es# for the He%re$ $ord GShool2kha$n#G !s!ally
translated Gta%le#G has as its root &eanin"# Ga skin or leather &at sread on the
"ro!nd.
3C3
With this sort of a ta%le in vie$# the 0sal&ist can %e !nderstood $hen he said
concernin" his ene&ies# GLet their ta%le %eco&e a snare %efore the&.G 1avid.s &eanin"
$o!ld %e# GLet their feet %eco&e entan"led in it# as it is sread on the "ro!nd.G
3C8
If the Ara%s !se &ore of a ta%le than this &at# then it is likely to %e a oly"on stool# no
hi"her than a%o!t fo!rteen inches# and those eatin" $o!ld sit on the floor aro!nd this
stool.
3C<
*hairs. With s!ch an Oriental ta%le in "eneral !se# it $o!ld follo$ that
Occidental chairs $o!ld %e lar"ely &issin". In re"ard to &akin" !se of chairs in ancient
Bi%le days it has %een said6 GOn ordinary occasions they ro%a%ly sat or s'!atted on the
floor aro!nd a lo$ ta%le# $hile at &eals of &ore cere&ony they sat on chairs or
stools.
3C;
The scrit!ral instances of chairs or stools !sed at &ealti&e# incl!de 5oseh.s
%rothers sittin" on seats at a %an'!et in E"yt @Henesis ;<6<<AK and 1avid.s havin" a
seat at the ta%le of (in" Sa!l @I Sa&!el 896D# 3JA. Both of these cases are connected
$ith royalty or hi"h osition. On ordinary occasions the GchairG !sed %y the vast &a-ority
of Israelites $as the "ro!nd or floor on $hich $o!ld %e sread a caret or a &at.
3CD
190 1ela) +errill, East $4 t)e 5$rdan, pp. 680, 681.
1/1 7rancis Br$wn, 1. R. 8ri9er, and C)arles A. Bri((s, A 'ebrew and En(lis) Le:ic$n $4
t)e Old
192 ;Table,; T)e <e$ple=s Bible Enc-cl$pedia, C)arles R. Barnes, ed., p. 10>8.
198 W. ). Tho&son# The Land and the Book# Lol. III# . :D.
194 E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . ;3<.
196 Tho&as +ha&# 5ahn.s Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# . 3DC.
1ishes. At an Oriental &eal the only dishes are those in $hich the food is laced on the
ta%leK there are no dishes "iven to each one havin" a art in the &eal. Often there is
only one dish for the food# and it is !s!ally a tray of %asket$ork# or a coer dish.
3CC
5ES+S soke of His %etrayer as Ghe that dieth his hand $ith &e in the dish
G @)atthe$ 8C68<K )ark 3;689A. In entertainin" his "!est# Hideon !t the &eat in a
%asket# and the %roth in a ot @5!d"es C63IA.
SA6ING GRACE AT MEALS
Before the Ara%s %e"in their &eal each erson reeats after the )aster of the ho!se
so&e s!ch a "race as# GIn the na&e of Hod#G or# G0raise Allah#G or# GHod %e raised.G
3C:
In the Old Testa&ent era the 5e$s $ere in the ha%it of sayin" "race at &eals# and if a
rohet $as to %e resent he $as e,ected to do it for the&. *oncernin" Sa&!el $hen
Sa!l $as to eat the sacrifice $ith hi&# it $as said# GHe doth %less the sacrifice6 and
after$ards they eat that %e %iddenG @I Sa&!el I63<A. In relatin" the &iracle of 5ES+S
feedin" the five tho!sand 5ohn says# GAnd 5es!s took the loaves and $hen he ha
d "iven thanks# he distri%!ted to the disciles . . .G @5ohn C633A. And concernin" the
feedin" ofthe fo!r tho!sand# )atthe$ is caref!l to incl!de the %lessin" in his descrition6
GAnd he took the seven loaves and the fishes# and "ave thanksG @)atthe$ 3D6<CA.1r.
Edershei& s!""ests that *HRIST &ay have rayed an e,te&oraneo!s rayer for
"race# or He &ay have !sed the for&!la $idely !sed %y the 5e$s of His day as a
&ealti&e "race. Here is the for&!la6 GBlessed art Tho!# 5ehovah o!r HO1# (in" of the
$orld# $ho ca!ses to co&e forth %read fro& the earth.G
3CJ
Also it $as c!sto&ary for the
5e$s in those days to have a second rayer of thanks at the end of the &eal. Their
a!thority for this $as 1e!terono&y J6396 GWhen tho! hast eaten and art f!ll# then tho!
shalt %less the LOR1 thy Hod for the "ood land $hich he hath "iven thee.G In the
sayin" of these "races it $as c!sto&ary for one of the "!ests to "ive the thanks in a
lo!d voice# and for the rest to say A&en# or to reeat so&e of the $ords of the "race.
3CI
199 Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . :D.
19: Rice# o. cit.# . 398.
19; Alfred Edershei&# The Life and Ti&es of 5ES+S the )essiah# Lol. I# . CJ;.
197 The Life and Ti&es of 5ES+S the )essiah# Lol. I# . CJ;.
USE OF HAND INSTEAD OF 7NIFE5 FOR75 OR SPOON
In "eneral it &ay %e said that the Ara%s in eatin" do not !se knives# lates
# or nakins $hich are considered so essential in the West.
3:9
They say6 GWhat does a
&an $ant of a soon $hen HO1 has "iven hi& so &any fin"ersFG Sheets of %read#
a%o!t as thick as heavy flannelK take the lace of soons or forks to so&e e,tent. A
iece fro& this %read is %roken off and shaed so as to !t so&e of the food on it.
They !se this %read to scoo ! any artially li'!id dish# s!ch as so!s# sa!ces# or
"ravies.
3:3
Each torn off iece of %read that th!s serves as a soon is eaten alon" $ith
the food it contains.
3:8
)eat is !s!ally served in a sin"le lar"e dish and is eaten $ith the
fin"ers. Broth is served in a searate dish and it is !sed to &oisten the %read. This
&ethod of eatin" is act!ally not as !ntidy as &i"ht %e s!osed.3JThe invitation Boa4
"ave to R!th to eat $ith his $orkers# indicates that these sa&e c!sto&s &!st have
%een in oeration in those days6 GAnd Boa4 said !nto her# At &ealti&e co&e tho!
hither# and eat of the %read# and di thy &orsel in the vine"arG @R!th 863;A. And at the
last s!er 5ES+S said to His disciles# GHe that dieth his hand $ith &e in the dish#
the sa&e shall %etray &eG @)atthe$ 8C68<A. /!rther&ore# He soke of diin" a choice
ortion of the &eat called the so into the dish @5ohn 3<68CA. )ore $ill %e said of this
!nder the section dealin" $ith s!ers and %an'!ets. S!ffice it to say# that &ost of the
Oriental c!sto&s of today in re"ard to eatin" date %ack# not only to the days of o!r
Savior# %!t also to the Old Testa&ent era.
3:<
!ASHING AFTER THE MEAL
After a tyical Oriental &eal# $ashin" the hands a"ain is of co!rse essential. If there is
a servant# he is the one to %rin" in the itcher of $ater and %asin# and the $ater is
o!red over the hands of those $ho have eaten the &eal. A nakin is laced over the
sho!lder so that the hands &ay %e dried. They do this for each other if there is no
servant to do it for the&.That this &ethod of o!rin" $ater to $ash hands $as !sed in
ancient ti&es has already %een seen concernin" the $ashin" of hands %efore eatin".
1:0 Ed&ond Stafer# 0alestine in the Ti&e of *HRIST # . 3J;.
1:1 )errill# o. cit.# . ;J9# ;J3.
1:2 Rice# o. cit.# . 39<.
3:< Tho&son# o. cit.# Lol. III# . :J
I) a -$rs!# ha 2$$# r$#$r$ %(-,r$ thr!,&h ha/%#& 3!($
%#t! 3!#ta3t, sa0, +%th a $a r!$#t, h$ 3!#ta(%#at$ sa3r$ )!! s,3h as th$ t%th$
&%/$# t! th$ -r%$sts, +h%3h (,st th$# #!t 2$ $at$#. Th$ +a0 %# +h%3h 3!#ta(%#at%!#
!) th%s 5%# 3!,' 2$ r$(!/$ +as thr!,&h %(($rs%!# %# a r%t,a' 2ath.
B,t th$ sa&$s %(-!s$ %# 3$rta%# 3%r3,(sta#3$s th$ (%#!r )!r( !) 3!#ta(%#at%!#
5#!+# as ?ha# 3!#ta(%#at%!#? %# +h%3h !#'0 th$ ha#s, #!t th$ +h!'$ 2!0, +as
3!#ta(%#at$ a# )!r th%s t! 2$ r$(!/$ t!ta' %(($rs%!# +as #!t r$@,%r$, !#'0 th$
r%t,a' +ash%#& !) th$ ha#s. S%#3$ th$r$ +as a &!! $a' !) -r%$stsA t%th$ %# a#3%$#t
Pa'$st%#$ +h%3h 3!,' $as%'0 3!($ %#t! 3!#ta3t +%th th$ ha#s, th$ sa&$s $/$#t,a''0
!ra%#$ that th$ ha#s !) $/$r0 J$+, #!t !#'0 th$ ha#s !) a -r%$st, (,st 2$
+ash$ r%t,a''0 2$)!r$ ($a's.
No# a Ma##e of H(,"ene
It has t! 2$ a--r$3%at$ that th%s r%t,a' +ash%#& !) th$ ha#s has #!th%#& t! ! +%th
-h0s%3a' 3'$a#'%#$ss. O# h0&%$#%3 &r!,#s, th$ ha#s ar$ !2/%!,s'0 t! 2$ 3'$a# !)
%rt 2$)!r$ )!! %s $at$#. E/$# +h$# th$ ha#s ar$ -h0s%3a''0 3'$a# th$0 ar$ st%''
r$@,%r$ t! 2$ r%t,a''0 +ash$.
A'th!,&h th$ !r%&%#a' r$as!# )!r +ash%#& th$ ha#s #! '!#&$r a--'%$s, s%#3$ th$r$ %s
#! sa3r$ )!! t! 2$ $at$#, th$ r%t,a' +as 3!#t%#,$ !# th$ &r!,#s that th$ %$a' !)
h!'%#$ss $(a#s a s-$3%a', r%t,a'%st%3 +ash%#& !) th$ ha#s. Th$ a3t !) +ash%#& th$
ha#s %# th%s s$#s$ %s s$$# as th$ %#tr!,3t%!# !) th$ h!'%#$ss %$a' %#t! th$
(,#a#$ '%)$ !) th$ J$+. Th%s r%t,a' +ash%#& %s !#'0 r$@,%r$ 2$)!r$ a ($a' at +h%3h
2r$a %s $at$#.
Procedure and Practice
Th$ -r!3$,r$ %s t! -!,r +at$r !,t )r!( a 3,- !r &'ass "rst t+%3$ !/$r th$ r%&ht
ha# a# th$# t+%3$ !/$r th$ '$)t ha#>>3ar$ 2$%#& ta5$# that th$ ,#+ash$ ha#s
! #!t t!,3h th$ +at$r ,s$ )!r th$ +ash%#&. Th$ ha#s ar$ th$# r%$ +%th a t!+$'
2$)!r$ -arta5%#& !) th$ ($a'. A 2$#$%3t%!# %s r$3%t$ !/$r th$ +ash%#& !) th$
ha#s< ?B'$ss$ art Th!,, O L!r !,r 4!, B%#& !) th$ ,#%/$rs$, +h! has sa#3t%"$
,s +%th Th0 3!((a#($#ts a# has 3!((a#$ ,s 3!#3$r#%#& th$ +ash%#& !) th$
ha#s.?
Th$ r$)$r$#3$ t! th$ 3!((a# has t! 2$ ,#$rst!! %# th$ 3!#t$*t that ra22%#%3
!r%#a#3$s ar$ a's! 3!((a#$ 20 4!. O2s$r/a#t J$+s ar$ /$r0 str%3t %# th%s
(att$r !) +ash%#& th$ ha#s 2$)!r$ ($a's.
Th$ Ta'(, a's! r$)$rs t! +ash%#& th$ ha#s a)t$r ($a's 2,t h$r$ th$ r$as!# &%/$#
%s that -$!-'$ ,s$ t! $at +%th th$%r ha#s a# a 3$rta%# sa't a$ t! )!! %# th!s$
a0s (%&ht 3a,s$ %#1,r0 t! th$ $0$s %) %t 3a($ %#t! 3!#ta3t +%th th$(. Th$ Fr$#3h
a,th!r%t%$s %# th$ M%'$ A&$s ar&,$ that th%s h0&%$#%3 r$as!# #! '!#&$r !2ta%#s,
s%#3$ th%s 5%# !) sa't %s #! '!#&$r ,s$.
1:4
CHAPTER <
S*e'"al Su**es and %an=ue#s
SIN*E THE 1AILY )EN+ of the ordinary Oriental &eal is and al$ays has %een very
si&le# so&ethin" needs to %e said a%o!t those secial occasions $hen a &ore
ela%orate and e,ensive &eal is served. The Scrit!res a%o!nd in acco!nts of these
for&al occasions# s!ch as $eddin"s# %irthdays# or other ti&es $hen secial "!ests are
invited and a s!&t!o!s &eal is served.
%ANQUET IN:ITATIONS
In so&e arts of the East a c!sto& of do!%le invitations to an entertain&ent has %een
o%served. So&e ti&e %efore the feast is to %e served# an invitation is sent forthK and
then# $hen the aointed ti&e dra$s near# a servant is sent a"ain# this ti&e to
anno!nce that everythin" is ready.
3:D
There are several e,a&les of this c!sto& in the
Bi%le. Ahas!er!s and Ha&an $ere invited %y Esther to a feast# and then $hen it $as
ready the kin".s cha&%erlains $ent to "et Ha&an @Esther D6JK C63;A. Another e,a&le is
in the 0ara%le of the Weddin" of the (in".s Son. GThe kin"do& of heaven is like !nto a
certain kin"# $hich &ade a &arria"e for his son# and sent forth his servants to call the&
that $ere %idden to the $eddin"G @)atthe$ 8868# <A. A"ain# the 0ara%le of the Hreat
S!er has this do!%le invitation in it6 GA certain &an &ade a "reat s!er# and %ade
&any6 and sent his servant at s!er ti&e to say to the& that $ere %idden# *o&eK for
all thin"s are no$ readyG @L!ke 3;63C#3:A.
>COMPELLING> GUESTS TO ATTEND
The follo$in" $ords of *HRIST.s ara%le need to %e !nderstood fro& an Oriental oint
of vie$6 GAnd the Lord said !nto the servant# Ho o!t into the hi"h$ays and hed"es# and
co&el the& to co&e in# that &y ho!se &ay %e filledG @L!ke 3;68<A. The !s!al %rief
1:4 htt-<==+++.(01$+%sh'$ar#%#&.3!(=-ra3t%3$s=R%t,a'=Pra0$r=B'$ss%#&s=Ha#CDash%#&.sht('
B0 Ra%%i 1r. Lo!is 5aco%s @3I892899CA $as a )asorti ra%%i# the first leader of )asorti 5!dais& @also
kno$n as *onservative 5!dais&A in the +nited (in"do&# and a leadin" $riter and thinker on 5!dais&
1:6 5a&es ). /ree&an# Hand%ook of Bi%le )anners and *!sto&s# . <C<.
invitation in A&erica# and the ready accetance of it $o!ld %e considered in the East
entirely !ndi"nified. In the East the one invited &!st not at first accet# %!t is e,ected
rather to re-ect the invitation. He &!st %e !r"ed to accet. Altho!"h all the ti&e he
e,ects to accet# he &!st allo$ the one invitin" hi& the rivile"e of Gco&ellin" hi&G to
accet.
3:C
It $as th!s that Lydia &!st have e,tended# and 0a!l and his co&anions &!st
have finally acceted hositality. GIf ye have -!d"ed &e to %e faithf!l to the Lord# co&e
into &y ho!se# and a%ide there. And she constrained !sG @Acts 3C63DA. When one of the
0harisees invited 5ES+S to a &eal# the Savio!r did not at first accet the invitation#
altho!"h He did "o finally6 GAnd one of the 0harisees desired hi& that he $o!ld eat $ith
hi&G @L!ke :6<CA.All of this $as in keein" $ith Oriental c!sto&s.
!H6 E?CLUSION FROM A FEAST !AS CONSIDERED TO %E SO TERRI%LE
Ancient %an'!ets $ere !s!ally held at ni"ht in roo&s $hich $ere %rilliantly li"hted# and
any%ody $ho $as e,cl!ded fro& the feast $as said to %e cast o!t of the li"hted roo&
into the Go!ter darknessG of the ni"ht.
3::
In the teachin"s of 5ES+S# s!ch e,cl!sion is
likened !nto the day of -!d"&ent. GThe children of the kin"do& shall %e cast o!t into
o!ter darknessG @)atthe$ J638A. GBind hi& hand and foot# and take hi& a$ay# and cast
hi& into o!ter darknessG @)atthe$ 8863<A. GAnd cast ye the !nrofita%le servant into
o!ter darkness6 there shall %e $eein" and "nashin" of teethG @)atthe$ 8D6<9A. This
e,ression Go!ter darknessG takes on ne$ &eanin"# $hen it is reali4ed $hat a dread the
Oriental has for the darkness of the ni"ht. In the East a la& is !s!ally ket %!rnin" all
ni"ht. To slee in the dark as the Westerner !s!ally does $o!ld %e a terri%le e,erience
to the Oriental. Beca!se of this fear of the darkness# the Savior co!ld have chosen no
&ore aroriate $ords than Go!ter darknessG to reresent the f!t!re !nish&ent of the
!nri"hteo!s.
3:J
POSTURE !HILE EATING AT FEASTS
It has already %een o%served that on ordinary occasions the eole of the Bi%le a"e
&ostly sat or s'!atted on the floor aro!nd a lo$ ta%le at &ealti&e. In the kin".s circle# or
at other ti&es of secial cere&ony# seats $ere so&eti&es rovided. The rohet A&os
is the first sacred $riter to refer to the c!sto& of GBstretchin"E the&selves !on their
co!chesG $hen eatin" @A&os C6;A.By the ti&e of 5ES+S# the Ro&an c!sto& of reclinin"
on co!ches at s!er had %een adoted in so&e 5e$ish circles. The Ro&an ta%le and
co!ches co&%ined $as called a triclini!&. There $ere three co!ches $hich $ere
3:C A%raha& Rih%any# The Syrian *HRIST# . 89J2839.
1:: E. 0. Barro$s# Sacred Heo"rahy and Anti'!ities# . ;3C.
1:; /ree&an# o. cit.# . 839# 833.
located on the three sides of a s'!are# the fo!rth side %ein" left oen# so that a servant
co!ld "et on the inside to assist in servin" the &eal. The "!est.s osition $as to recline
$ith the %ody.s !er art restin" on the left ar&# and the head raised# and a c!shion at
the %ack# and the lo$er art of the %ody stretched o!t. The head of the second "!est
$as oosite the %reast of the first "!est# so that if he $anted to seak to hi& in secret
he $o!ld lean !on his %reast.
3:I
This c!sto& at a %an'!et ta%le thro$s li"ht on several
assa"es fro& the fo!r "osels. The Aostle 5ohn asked 5ES+S a '!estion $hile in
this osition at s!er @5ohn 3<68<28DA. In the story of the Rich )an and La4ar!s# $hen
5ES+S said that Gthe %e""ar died# and $as carried %y the an"els into A%raha&.s %oso&
G @L!ke 3C688A# he do!%tless &eant to i&ly that he $as reclinin" at a heavenly ta%le
ne,t to A%raha& $here he co!ld lean !on his %reast. This is clear in the li"ht of
*HRIST.s descrition of that heavenly feast6 G)any shall co&e fro& the east and the
$estK and shall sit do$nBreclineE $ith A%raha&# and Isaac# and 5aco%# in the
kin"do& of heavenG @)atthe$ J633A. Also this osition of reclinin" at ta%le e,lains ho$
the $o&an co!ld co&e d!rin" a dinner and take her osition %ehind at the feet of
5ES+S and $ash the& @L!ke :6<JA.
PLACES OF HONOR AT THE TA%LE
When the 0harisees $ere invited to a %an'!et# they $ere very coveto!s of havin" the
hi"hest laces of distinction at the ta%le. 5ES+S conde&ned the& for this ro!d sirit.
He said concernin" the&6 They G. . . love the !tter&ost roo&s at feastsG @)atthe$ 8<6CA.
When 5ES+S $as "!est at a &eal in a 0harisee.s ho!se# He "ave the "!ests a ara%le#
$hen He noticed ho$ they so!"ht the chief laces at the ta%le. @L!ke 3;6J239A6GWhen
tho! art %idden of any &an to a $eddin"# sit not do$n in the hi"hest roo&K lest a &ore
honora%le &an than tho! %e %idden of hi&K And he that %ade thee and hi& co&e and
say !nto thee# Hive this &an laceK and tho! %e"in $ith sha&e to take the lo$est roo&.
B!t $hen tho! art %idden# "o and sit do$n in the lo$est roo&K that $hen he that %ade
thee co&eth# he &ay say !nto thee# /riend# "o ! hi"her6 then shalt tho! have $orshi
in the resence of the& that sit at &eat $ith thee.GIn &any native ho&es one roo& has
a hi"her floor# and in this roo& the "!ests of honor are assi"ned laces# and those of
less honor on the lo$er floor or level.
3J9
A lace of secial honor $o!ld %e on the ri"ht of
the host# and the ne,t hi"hest lace on his left. 5a&es and 5ohn asked for s!ch
ositions in *HRIST.s kin"do& @)ark 396<:A. B!t 5ES+S advised "!ests to take the last
lace. Where $as this lace locatedF It $as on the lo$er level and nearest the door.
3J3
1:7 Barro$s# o. cit.# . ;3<# ;3;.
3J9 Infor&ation received %y ersonal cons!ltation $ith 1r. H. /rederick O$en.
1;1 )ilton Lind%er"# A H!est in a 0alestinian Ho&e# a a&hlet# . C.
T+e ,ues#
$ho $o!ld take this h!&%le lace &i"ht %e invited %y the &aster of the ho!se to take a
lace on a hi"her lane and farther fro& the door.
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT AT %ANQUETS
The rohet A&os# altho!"h he deno!nced e,trava"ant l!,!ries and sinf!l e,cesses#
nevertheless has "iven !s a descrition of the eatin"# drinkin"# and other c!sto&s at an
Oriental %an'!et. This is the $ay he descri%es it6GAnd stretch the&selves !on their
co!ches# and eat the la&%s o!t of the flock# and the calves o!t of the &idst of the stallK
that chant to the so!nd of the viol# and invent to the&selves instr!&ents of &!sic# like
1avidKthat drink $ine in %o$ls# and anoint the&selves $ith the chief oint&ents
G @A&os C6;2CA.The &eat eaten at these s!ers incl!ded the %est la&%s fro& the flock
and calves that had %een stall2fed. The drinkin" of $ine at the feast $as considered an
i&ortant feat!re. 0layin" on strin"ed instr!&ents $as another activity and the "!ests
evidently vied $ith one another in anointin" their %odies $ith very costly oint&ents.
1ancin" $as often a art of the entertain&ent at these feasts. When the 0rodi"al Son
ret!rned ho&e# and his father cele%rated $ith a feast# there $as &!sic and dancin"
@L!ke 3D68;# 8DA. 1ancin" $as a social diversion of the He%re$ $o&en and "irls#
esecially $hen they &ade &erry. )en did so&eti&es en"a"e in it# as $hen 1avid
danced $hen the ark $as %ro!"ht to 5er!sale& @II Sa&!el C63;A. B!t &ore often# it $as
the activity of the fair se, @cf. 5ere&iah <36;A. B!t there is no Scrit!ral record that the
5e$ish &en danced $ith the $o&en# as is the &odern c!sto& of the West. Neither is
there indication that there $ere !%lic fe&ale dancers# as is tr!e in so&e Eastern
laces today. The dancin" of the da!"hter of Herodias @)atthe$ 3;6CA %efore
&en at a sens!al %an'!et $as the kind introd!ced a&on" the 5e$s %y corr!t Hreek
infl!ence.
3J8
DIPPING INTO THE DISH
AN1 HILINH THE SO0
Oriental c!sto&s of eatin" &!st %e ket in &ind in order to !nderstand the &eanin" of
the $ords and action of 5ES+S# in relation to 5!das Iscariot at the last s!er. )ark.s
acco!nt reads6G5es!s said# Lerily I say !nto yo!# One of yo! $hich eateth $ith &e shall
1;2 *arl /. (eil# )an!al of Bi%lical Archaeolo"y# Lol. II# . 8J8.
%etray &e. And they %e"an to %e sorro$f!l# and to say !nto hi& one %y one# Is it IF and
another said# Is it IF And he ans$ered and said !nto the&# It is one of the t$elve# that
dieth $ith &e in the dishG @)ark 3;63J289A.So&e have s!osed that 5!das $as in
the osition $here he $o!ld %e diin" at the sa&e ti&e $ith 5ES+S into the dish# and
that he $as th!s sin"led o!t as the %etrayer. B!t this co!ld hardly %e# since the other
disciles did not discover $ho the %etrayer $as fro& these $ords of 5ES+S. Since they
all had %een eatin" fro& the sa&e lar"e dish# these $ords of 5ES+S# he Gthat dieth
$ith &e in the dish#G did not identify anyone of the&. All of the&# as $ell as 5!das# had
%een diin" into the dish $ith 5es!s. 5ES+S $as si&ly infor&in" the& that one of
the& no$ eatin" $ith Hi& $o!ld %eco&e His %etrayer.
3J<
A"ain# *HRIST.s "ivin" of the GsoG to 5!das $as in accordance $ith certain Eastern
c!sto& still o%served in &odern ti&es. 5ohn reorts $hat $as done and said6GHe then
lyin" on 5es!s. %reast said !nto hi&#Lord# $ho is itF 5es!s ans$ered# He it is# to
$ho& I shall "ive a so# $hen I have died it. And $hen he had died the so# he
"ave it to 5!das IscariotG @5ohn 3<68D# 8CA.What is &eant %y the GsoGF It is the &ost
tasty &orsel of food %ein" served at the feast. It &ay %e served in the G%read soon#G
%!t is &ore often icked ! %y the host $ith his th!&% and fin"er# and handed directly to
one of the "!ests.
3J;
B!t $hy is a so "iven to one of the "!estsF A native and resident of Bi%le lands says
that certain villa"ers there have this c!sto& of "ivin" the so today# and he descri%es
the !rose of the act th!s6It is $ith the& a &ark of secial resect for the
&aster of the feast to hand to a "!est ortions of $hat is %efore hi&# or to insist on
!ttin" &orsels or sos into his &o!th $ith his o$n hand. I have had this done to &e
several ti&es# $hen the intention $as certainly to honor and &anifest "ood $ill.
3JD
The &eanin" of $hat *HRIST did then $as &ost certainly to e,tend love and friendshi
to the very one $ho $as "oin" to %etray Hi&. The act has %een descri%ed as if the
LOR1 $ere sayin" to the traitor65!das# &y discile# I have infinite ity for yo!. Yo! have
roved false# yo! have forsaken &e in yo!r heartK %!t I $ill not treat yo! as an ene&y#
for I have co&e not to destroy# %!t to f!lfill. Here is &y so of friendshi# and G that tho!
doest# do '!ickly.G
3JC
1;8 See Rih%any# o. cit.# . C9# C3.
3J; GSo#G The 0eole.s Bi%le Encycloedia# *harles R. Ba&es# ed.# . 39;:.
1;6 Anis *. Haddad# 0alestine Seaks# . :; @Anderson# Ind.6 The Warner 0ress# 3I<CA.
3JC Rih%any# o. cit.# . CI.

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