Imágenes de páginas

§ 37. Doors AND Methods or securing them. 41

in their houses, by which the smoke might escape. The word Hans is rightly explained by Jerome, in Hosea 13:3, as an opening in the walls for letting out smoke, although, in other passages, it signifies an opening of any kind whatever, and especially a window.

§ 37. Doors AND METHods of securing the M.

The doors were valves, Heb. no, boro. They were suspended and moved by means of pivots of wood, which projected from the ends of the two solds both above and below. The upper pivots, which were the longest, were inserted in sockets sufficiently large to receive them in the lintel, the lower ones were secured, in a correspondent manner, in the threshold. The pivots or axles are called nirie; the sockets, in which they are inserted, bono, Prov. 26:14. The doors were fastened by a lock, basis, Sol. Song 5: 5, or by a bar, Job 38: 10, Deut. 3:5. Judges 16:3. The bars were commonly of wood. Those made of iron and brass were not used, except as a security to the gates of fortified places, or of valuable repositories, Isa. 45: 2. The lock was nothing more than a wood slide, attached to one of the folds, which entered into a hole in the door-post, and was secured there by teeth cut into it, or catches. Two strings passed through an orifice leading to the external side of the door. A man going out by the aid of one of these strings moved the slide into its place in the post, where it was fastened so among the teeth or catches, as not to be drawn back. The one coming in, who wished to unlock, had a wooden key, sufficiently large, and crooked, like a sickle. It was called one?, Judges 3:25. He thrust the key through the orifice of the door, or key-hole, lifted up the slide so as to extricate it from the catches, and taking hold of the other string, drew it back, and thus entered. Keys were not made of metal except for the rich and powerful, and these were sometimes adorned with an ivory handle. A key of this kind, in the days of the Hebrew monarchs, was assigned to the steward of the royal palace, as a mark of his office; he carried it on his shoulder, Isa. 22:22. The key-hole was sometimes so large as to admit a person's finger through it and enable him to lift the slide; in that case he stood

in no absolute need of a key to enter, Sol. Song 5:4.

[merged small][ocr errors]

They look from the front chambers into the court, from the female apartments into the garden behind the house. Occasionally the traveller sees a window, which looks towards the street, but it is guarded by a trellis, and is thrown open only on the public festivities, Judges 5:28, Prov. 7: 6, 2 Kings 9: 30, Sol. Song 2: 9. The windows are large, extending almost to the floor. Persons sitting on the floor can look out at them. They are wide, not set with glass, but latticed, so, Hoop, Exor. In the winter they are protected by very thin veils, or by valves, through which the light is admitted by means of an orifice, 2 Kings 13:17, 1 Kings 7: 17, Sol. Song 2: 9. Over the windows are nails fastened into the walls. They are adorned with beautiful heads, and not only sustain curtains by the aid of a rod extended from one to the other, but are of themselves considered a great ornament. Hence the propriety of those illustrations drawn from nails, Isa. 22:23, Zech. 10:4, Eccles. 12: 11.


Although the materials for the construction of edifices were originally stone and mud, the inhabitants of the east at a very early period made use of tiles, and do to this day. They are called in scripture p":::, roah from the white clay, of which they were made. They were of different sizes, somewhat larger than those among us. Commonly, they were hardened by the heat of the sun merely, but when intended for splendid edifices, as in Gen. 11: 3, they were burnt by fire. j#2, a brick-kiln, occurs 2 Sam. 12: 31, Nahum 3: 14, Jer. 43: 3. The walls of the common dwelling houses were erected of tiles dried in the sun upon a foundation of stone, but where the ground was solid, a basement of this kind was sometimes omitted, Matt.7:25. Dwelling houses, made of tiles dried in the sun, seldom endure longer than one generation. They fill the streets with mud in wet weather, and with dust, when it is dry, Isa. 5: 24, 10: 6, Zech.9: 3. Wehement storms, especially, injure them very much, Matt. 7:25, Ezek. 12: 5–7, 13: 11, 14.


In Palestine the houses were every where built of stones, of which there were great numbers in that region. Hence Moses, Lev. 14: 33–57, enacted his law in respect to the leprosy of houses. From the indications of it, which are mentioned, and also from the name rinson nons, or the corrosive leprosy, it would seem, that it could be no other, than nitrous acid, which dissolves stones, and communicates its corrosive action to those which are contiguous. Wherever this disease makes its appearance, its destructive effects are discovered upon the surface of the wall, it renders the air of the room corrupt, and is injurious both to the dress and the health of the inhabitants. The Hebrews probably supposed it to be contagious, and hence in their view the necessity of those severe laws, which were enacted in reference to it. Palaces were constructed of hewn stones, n°13 oas, sometimes with stones sawed, no no-hyan Boss, sometimes with polished marble. They were all called, n-13 *ra, 1 Kings 6:36, 7: 9, 11, 12. Ezek. 40: 42, 1 Chron. 22:2, Isa, 9:10, Amos 5: 11, Sol. Song. 5:15. The Persians took great delight in marble. To this not only the ruins of Persepolis testify, but the book of Esther, where mention is made of white marble, ou; or wouj, of red marble, nj, of black marble, nor b, of the party-coloured or veined marble, to: The splendour and magnificence of an edifice seems to have been estimated in a measure, by the size of the square stones of which it was constructed, 1 Kings 7: 9–12. The foundation stone, which was probably placed at the corner and thence called the corner stone, was an object of particular regard, and was selected with great care from among the others, Ps. 118: 22, Isa. 28: 16, Matt. 21:42, Acts 4:11, 2 Tim. 2: 19, 1 Pet. 2:6, Rev. 21: 14. The square stones in buildings, as far as we can ascertain from the ruins, which yet remain, were held together, not by mortar or cement of any kind, except indeed a very little might have been used, but by cramp-irons. The tiles dried in the sun were at first united by mud placed between them, -on, afterwards by lime Top, mixed with sand, sin, to form mortar, too. The last sort of cement was used with burnt tiles, Lev. 14:41–42, Jer. 43: 9. The walls even in the time of Moses were commonly incrust44 § 40. Household FuRNITURE AND UTENsils.

ed with a coat of plaster, Lev. 14:41, 42, 45, and at the present day in the East, the incrustations of this kind are of the finest execution; such was that in the palace of the Babylonian king, Dan. 5: 5. Wood was used in the construction of doors and gates, of the folds and lattices of windows, of the flat roofs, and of the wainscoting, with which the walls were ornamented. Beams were inlaid in the walls, to which the wainscoting was fastened by nails to render it more secure, Ezra 6:4. Houses finished in this manner were called port poro, Hagg. 1:4, Jer. 22: 14, ceiled houses and ceiled chambers. They were adorned with figures in stucco, with gold, silver, gems, and ivory. Hence the expressions, jgnora, so on, “ivory houses,” “ivory palaces,” and “chambers ornamented with ivory,” 1 Kings 22:39, 2 Chron. 3: 6, Ps. 45: 8, Amos 3: 15. The wood, which was most commonly used, was the sycamore, boop , (it will last a thousand years;) the acacia, to the palm, nor, for columns and transverse beams; the fir, Brigin: ; the olive tree, so oxy; cedars, boys, which were peculiariy esteemed, 1 Kings 6:18, 7:3, 7, 11. The most precious of all was the Almug tree, so called by an Arabian name, though the wood itself seems to have been brought through Arabia from India, 1 Kings 10: 11–12, 2 Chron. 2: 8,9: 10, 21. Trees not well known, perhaps a species of the oak, in Heb. hron, houjon, and rior, occur, Isa. 41: 19, 44:14, 60: 10. + 2* - or :


These in the most ancient periods were both few and simple. A hand-mill, and some sort of an oven to bake in, could not of course be dispensed with, Levit. 26:26. Deut. 24:6. Subsequently domestick utensils were multiplied in the form of pots, kettles, leathern bottles, plates, cups, and pitchers.

The floors were covered with mats or carpets, and supplied also for the purposes of rest with a sort of mattresses of thick, coarse materials, called room, Jud. 4: 18.

The bolsters, nineon, which were more valuable, were stuff. ed with wool or some soft substance, Ezek. 13:18, 21. The Poorer class made use of skins merely, for the purposes to which these mattresses and bolsters were applied. The mattresses § 40 household furniture AND UTENsils. 45

were deposited during the day in a box beside the wall. Beds supported by posts are not known in the east, the beds or mattresses being thrown upon the floor. It is common, however, in villages, if we may credit Aryda, to see a gallery in one end of the room, three or four feet high, where the beds are placed. What is now called the Divan, and in Scripture, Hton, toy, and azon is an elevation running round three sides of the room, three feet broad, and nine inches high. In the bottom of it is a stuffed cushion throughout; on the back against the wall are placed bolsters, covered with elegant cloth. Here the people sit crosslegged, or with their knees bent, on account of the small elevation of the Divan. At the corners commonly, at one always, there are placed two or three of the bolsters mentioned, made of the richest and softest materials. This is accounted the most honourable position, and is occupied by the master of the house, except when he yields it to a stranger of distinction. The Hebrews appear to have had another sort of beds, which occur sometimes under the names, icy, riton, son, and are said to have been adorned with ivory, an ornament of which the Divans just described were not susceptible. These beds resembled the Persian settees, (sophas so called,) having a back and sides, six feet long, three broad, and like the Divans about nine inches high. They were furnished also with bolsters. The sophas, as will be readily imagined, were susceptible of ornamental ivory on the sides and back, and also on the legs by which they were supported, and although those who sat in them were under the necessity of sitting crosslegged or with their knees bent, they were of such a length as to answer all the purposes of beds, Amos, 6: 4. Ps.41: 3, 132:3. Those, who were more delicate, had a veil or caul *:::/2, xovometov, which when disposed to sleep, they spread over the face to prevent the gnats from infesting them, 2 Kgs. 8: 15. The poor, as is common in Asia at this day, and in the older and more simple times, the powerful as well as the poor, when travelling, slept at night with their heads supported by a rock, and with their cloaks folded up and placed under them for a pillow, Gen.

28: 11, 18, 22. To prevent as much as possible the mats and carpet; from be

ing soiled, it was not lawful to wear shoes or sandals into the room. They were left at the door. Hence it was not necessary, that the room should often be swept, Matt. 12; 44. Lamps, nā, Āvywog,

« AnteriorContinuar »