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36 - § 32. Houses.
wealthy assign the external apartment to the servants alone, excluding animals; and the Emirs, as already stated, have separate tents both for the servants and the females, Gen. 24: 67. The Nomades, who are less jealous, than the inhabitants of the cities, watch the other sex less scrupulously, Gen. 12: 15. 18; 6–9. 34: 1, 2.
The bottom of the tent is either covered with mats or with carpets according to the wealth of the possessor, and upon these they are in the habit of sitting. The more wealthy of the Nomades, especially the Emirs, possess in addition, coverlets, pillows, &c. made of valuable materials; these are piled up in one corner of the tent by day, and brought upon the bottom of it at night. The utensils of the Nomades are few ; they have vessels of shell and brass, viz, pots, kettles, and cups of brass covered elegantly with tin, also leathern bags. Their hearth is on the ground. It consists of three stones, placed so as to form a triangle. In the middle of them is a small excavation of the earth, where the fire is kindled; the vessels are placed over it upon the stones. The table, if so it may be called, from which they eat, is nothing more than a round skin spread upon the bottom of the tent. Clothing and military arms are hung upon nails in the poles of the tent.
§ 32. Houses.
In the progress of time, as tabernacles became larger and were defended against the injuries of the weather by broad stones and earth heaped up against them, it was found, that dwellings could be made of stones alone and moist earth or clay. A want of stones in some places gave occasion for the formation of tiles, which were made by reducing a body of clay to shape and hardening it in the sun or burning it in the fire. These ancient attempts are mentioned, Gen. 11: 3. 6: 16. In Deut. 8: 12, mention is made of elegant houses, and in 27:2, 4, the use of limestone is spoken of, as if it were common and well known.
§ 33. Size of Houses.
Houses at first were small, afterwards larger ; especially in extensive cities, the capitals of empires. The art of multiplying stories in a building is very ancient, as we may gather from the § 34. ForM AND Roof or Houses. 37
construction of Noah’s ark and the tower of Babel. The houses in Babylon, according to Herod. Lib. I, § 180, were 3 and 4 stories high, and those in Thebes or Diospolis in Egypt, 4 or 5 stories; consult Diod. Sic. Lib. I. c. 45. They appear to have been low in Palestine in the time of Joshua; an upper story although it may have existed, is not mentioned, till a more recent age. Jeremiah praises houses of good form and architecture, and calls them "nz, no Jer. 22: 14. The houses of the rich and powerful in the time of Christ were splendid, and were built according to the rules of Grecian architecture.
§ 34. ForM AND Roof of houses.
Many of the larger houses were tetragonal in form, and enclosed a square area. They were lately denominated by a word of Persian origin noz, Bagus a palace which according to Jerome, in whose time it was still used, signifies enclosed houses, built with turrets and walls. The roofs of the houses were flat, such as are still seen in the east. They were formed of earth heaped together, or in the houses of the rich, of a firmly constructed flooring, made of coals broken up, stones, ashes, chalk and gypsum, reduced to a solid substance by the application of blows. The declivity of the roof from the centre to the extremity is very small, hardly an inch in 10 feet. On those roofs, which are covered with earth, herbs sometimes spring up, and spears of wheat and barley, but they soon perish with the heat of the sun. The orientals of ten ascend these roofs, to enjoy a purer air, to secure a wider prospect, or to witness any event which happens in the neighbourhood. In the summer they sleep upon them, but not without a covering. They even erect tents and tabernacles upon them ; they also spread their flax and cotton there to be dried by the sun. They ascend their roofs, moreover, to talk with a person privately, to witness a public solemnity, to mourn publicly, and to announce anything to the multitude, to pray to God, and to perform sacrifices. 2 Sam. 11:2, 6,7. Is. 22:1. Matt. 24; 17. Mark 13: 15. 2 Sam. 16: 22. Jos. 2:6. 1 Sam.9:25. Judg. 16:26,27. Is. 15:3. Jer. 19:13. 48:38, Matt. 10:27. Acts 10:9. The roofs are surrounded by a breast work or wall, to prevent one from falling, which is as high as the breast. On the side next a neighbour's house, it is lower, in J8 § 35. OF THE GATE, Porch, Etc.
order, that, if the houses are near and of the same altitude, the occupants may pass from one to the other. The railing or wall of the roof, no?, was required by a law of Moses, Deut. 22:8. It was this railing which the men demolished, Mark, 2:4. Luke 5: 19, that they might let the paralytic down into the court or area of the house.
§ 35. The GATE, porch, AREA or court, FEMALE APARTMENTs. The gate or door, opening to the streets, is in the middle of the
front side of the house. Hence in Arabic it is called'h.i. or the centre. The gates not only of houses, but of cities, were customarily adorned with the inscription, which according to Deut. 6:9. 11:20, was to be extracted from the law of Moses; a practice in which may be found the origin of the modern Mezuzaw, or piece of parchment, inscribed with Deut. 6: 5–9. 11:13–20, and fastened to the door-post. The gates were always shut, and one of the servants acted the part of a porter, Acts 12:13. John 18:16, 17. The space immediately inside of the gate is called the porch, is square, and on one side of it is erected a seat for the accommodation of those strangers, who are not to be admitted into the interior of the house. In this porch, or contiguous to it, are the stairs which lead to the upper stories and the roof of the house, Matt. 24; 16, 17. From the porch we are introduced, through a second door, into the quadrangular area or Court, which is denominated Tor, or, to uégov, the centre, 2 Sam. 17: 18. Luke 5: 19. The court is commonly paved with marble of various kinds. In the centre of it, if the situation of the place admits, there is a fountain. The court is generally surrounded on all sides, sometimes, however, only on one, with a cloister, peristyle or covered walk, ston, over which, if the house have more than one story, is a gallery of the same dimensions, supported by columns, Heb. E"Tang, and protected by a balustrade, Hop, to prevent one from falling, 2 Kings 1:2. Hence occur so many allusions to columns, Ps. 75: 3. Prov. 9:1. Gal. 2: 9. 1 Tim. 3:15. Large companies are received into the court, as at nuptials, circumcisions, &c. Esther 1: 5. Luke 5: 19. On such occasions, a large veil of thick cloth is extended by ropes over the whole of it to exclude the heat of the sun; which is practised at the present day, Ps. 104: 2.
§ 36. chambers ANd other APARTMENTs. 39
The veil or curtain of the area is called in the New Testament orsyn, Luke 7:6. Mark 2: 4. The back part of the house is allotted to the women, called in Arabic the Harem, and in Hebrew by way of eminence Top-N or son-in the palace. The door is almost always kept locked, and is opened only to the master of the house, 2 Kings 15:25. Prov. 18; 19. White eunuchs guard the door externally, but maids and black eunuchs only are permitted to serve within. The latter are great favorites with their masters, Isa. 32: 14. Jer. 13:23. 2 Kings 15: 25. The Harem of the more powerful is often a separate building, 1 Kings 7: 8. 2 Chron. 8: 11. Esth. 2:8. Behind the Harem there is a garden, into which the women enjoy the pleasure of looking from their small but lofty apartments. In the smaller houses, which are not made in a quadrangular form, the females occupy the upper story. This is the place assigned them also by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey.
§ 36. CHAMBERs AND other APARTMENTs.
The chambers are large and spacious, and so constructed, as to extend round the whole of the open court or area. The doors of the chambers, borne, ririe, open in the first story into the cloisters, in the second into the gallery. The ceiling is flat; some say arched, but arches do not appear to have been known at a very early period. We search in vain for arches among the ruins of ancient edifices; perhaps they have perished with years, but they do not remain. We infer therefore that as in Ezekiel 16:24, 31, 39, cannot with certainty be translated, arch or vault.
The Hebrews at a very ancient date had not only summer and winter rooms, but palaces, Judges 3:20. 1 Kings 7: 2–6. Amos 3: 15. Jeremiah 36. 32. The houses, or palaces so called, expressly made for summer, were very large, and in point of altitude did not yield much to our churches.
The lower stories were frequently under ground. The front of these buildings faced the north, so as to secure the advantage of the breezes, which in summer blow from that direction. They were paved with marble, and when it could be done, had a fountain in the centre of the court, in order to render them still more cool. They were supplied with a current of fresh air by means 40 § 36. chAMBERS AND other APARTMENTs.
of ventilators, which consisted of perforations made through the upper part of the northern wall, of considerable diameter externally, but diminishing, in size, as they approached the inside of the wall. There was another kind of ventilator, which arose from the centre of the roof, was 10 cubits broad, and looked like a turret. It was hollow and open to the north, and so constructed as to convey the cool air into the chambers and rooms below. Summer houses and chambers are called in Scripture, boro no and Hopm nox, Judg. 8:20, 24. Jer. 22: 14. One apartment worthy of notice extends from the interior of the front side into the court, sometimes a considerable distance beyond the galleries and cloisters. Its roof is supported by two columns only, and the front of it has no wall, in order to leave the prospect more free. In this apartment princes receive ambassadors, transact business, and dispense justice. The temple of Dagon, which was destroyed by Samson, was similar, as far as concerned the columns, in its construction. It was here that the Saviour seems to have had his trial, Judg. 16:26. Matt. 26: 69. Luke 22: 61, 62. compare also 1 Kings 7: 7. Esther 5: 1. In the winter rooms and houses, the windows face the south, in order to render them more warm. They are not furnished with stoves and fire-places as among us. The coals and wood are heaped into a pot, which is placed in a hollow place left for that purpose in the centre of the paved floor. The smoke escapes through the windows. This method of keeping fires is still practised in the East, Isa. 44; 16, 47: 14. Sometimes the fire is placed directly in the hollow place or hearth in the middle of the floor, Jer. 36:22. All the rooms of the upper story may be called Hyèz and witéodov, but these words apply more appropriately to the chamber over the porch. It opens by a door directly upon the roof, being commonly a story higher than the rest part of the house. It is a place for retirement, devotion, &c. Strangers are frequently lodged in it, 1 Kings 17: 19, 2 Kings 4: 10. 23: 12. Acts 9: 37–39.
Note. There is no mention made of kitchens, or places for cooking, Heb. noon, except in Ezek. 46: 23–24. Chimneys, for the emission of smoke, were not known to the Hebrews. Those of modern construction are the invention of the 14th century. The Hebrews, however, like the modern orientals, had openings