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robberies are very frequent in the East Indies at the present day. The holes or cracks in these walls afford a harbour for serpents : see Amos v. 19.

The Egyptian bricks were made of mud, clay, and straw chopped in short lengths, mixed together; generally baked in the sun, not burned in kilns. These were the bricks the Israelites were employed in making; so they needed the

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straw which Pharaoh forbade his officers to give them, Exod. v. 7. Morier saw men thus compelled to labour in making bricks and building in Persia. Bricks of this sort are found among the ruins in Egypt and other eastern countries. In some places, they still remain very hard, while, where less baked, they have mouldered away, and other houses have been built upon the ruins or rubbish of the first, as Jowett describes, which may explain Jer. xxx. 18, and illustrate Job iv. 19. Very large stones were used in some of the public buildings. At Baalbec are some fifty-eight feet long, and twelve in thickness. Robinson measured one in the ancient foundation of the temple at Jerusalem, above thirty feet long, and six and a half broad. Many houses in Jerusalem and other cities, are roofed with stone. Burkhardt describes doors of stone.

The rich people in the east build their houses very strong, particularly when they live in the country away from towns. This is necessary, that they may be safe from robbers. Thus their houses might often be called castles. It was the same in our own country some hundred years ago, as may be seen in ruins which remain.

In the eastern cities, the larger houses were usually very similar in form, though different in size; the same manner of building seems to have been continued from very early times. Often several families inhabited the same house. The streets are generally very narrow, the better to shade the inhabitants from the sun; so narrow that two carriages cannot pass each other. Usually, only the door of the porch, and one latticed window or balcony, open upon the street. When any alarm takes place, or any remarkable spectacle is to be seen, the people hasten to the house tops, Isaiah xxii. 1. On entering a large house, you pass through a porch, with benches on each side, where the master receives visitors, and transacts business; for strangers are seldom admitted further.

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The court is open to the weather, and usually has galleries round it, like those in old inns. When a number of persons meet at a house for a feast, or on a similar occasion, they usually assemble in the court; the ground is covered


with mats and carpets; an awning is generally stretched over their heads, to screen them from the sun or the rain. In the courts of the houses our Saviour and his apostles often instructed those who came to hear. This explains the expression, " into the midst,” Luke v. 19, where Christ was sitting when the man sick of the palsy was brought to him: The covering above-mentioned is what is meant by the roof that was removed to let the sick man down from the top of the house; for the word translated tiling or roof, means also a covering such as is just described. This may explain Psa. civ. 2, “Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.” Round the court are a number of rooms; the buildings are sometimes two or three stories high, with a gallery to each. The inner chamber is alluded to, 1 Kings xx. 30; xxii. 25; The bed chamber, 2 Chron. xxii. 11, where Jehoshabeath hid Joash, was not like our sleeping rooms, but a room where mattresses, or beds, were stored.

Sometimes there is a well in the court, as in the house at Bahurim, 2 Sam. xvii. 18; in handsome modern houses often there are fountains. In some places there are rooms underground for the hot days. On the left side, is shown the awning, or roof,” under which the family in sultry weather repose, but it is not the large covering stretched across the whole court on such an occasion as that mentioned Luke v. Under the adjoining arcades, a staircase, by which the flat roofs are reached, is seen.

Towards the street there is generally only a range of blank wall, perhaps with a few small openings, so as not to attract notice by a splendid front.

The tops of the houses in the east are always flat; they are covered with plaster, and layers of reeds and earth, so that they form a terrace. They are surrounded with low walls, called battlements, Deut. xxii. 8; or sometimes with a sort of railing, or latticed work, through which Ahaziah probably fell from the top of the house, or from one of the upper galleries : see 2 Kings i. 2. Pliny Fisk describes a gallery faced with lattice work, at which a bride appeared, looking through the lattice, Cant. ii 9. These roofs, or terraces, are used for many family purposes, such as drying linen or flax, Josh. ii. 6, etc. : the inhabitants enjoy the cool air there in the evening, and converse with each other and their neighbours: see Luke xii. 3. Sometimes they were used as places of retirement for prayer, as is mentioned of Peter, Acts. x. 9; and there the booths were made for the feast of tabernacles, Neh. viii. 16. The tops of the houses being

flat, the people could pass from one to another without going down into the street. This further explains the account of the paralytic, Luke v. 19, for it shows how the persons who carried him might go to the top of the house in which Jesus was teaching. Isaiah (xxii. 1) describes the people of Jerusalem as rushing to the tops of their houses when alarmed by the enemy. Hartley describes them as doing so now in cases of fire. Morier, and other travellers in the east, when passing on their journeys at an early hour, observed people thus sleeping on the roof, or beginning to set about the duties of the day. Paxton noticed huts of reeds on the houses at Beyrout, in which the inhabitants slept. At Safet, a town built on the side of a hill, the flat roofs of one row of houses form the roadway of a higher range of buildings.

The stairs were often on the outside of the houses, so that a person could descend at once into the street, without going into the house, which explains our Lord's command, Matt. xxiv. 17. It is very common for people, at this day, to sleep on the roofs of their houses in the summer months. The English consul was sleeping thus at the time of the great earthquake at Aleppo, and he ran down into the street when he felt the shock, without going through the house. The upper rooms were, and are at the present time,

generally used as the principal apartments. Such a room was prepared for our Saviour and his disciples, for the passover. In such a room St. Paul was preaching at Troas, when Eutychus was overcome with sleep and the heat, there being many lights: the windows being open, he fell from the third loft, or story, into the street. The windows sometimes project and overhang the street. Jowett describes such apartments.

In building houses, large nails, or pins, were fixed in the walls, alluded to Isa. xxii. 23; Ezra ix. 8, on which various articles were hung. Wilson describes such at Damascus. The houses are sometimes very beautifully fitted up and finished, the beams of valuable wood, Cant. i. 17, perhaps carved, or ornamented with ivory, as that of Ahab, 1 Kings xxii. 39

When the house was finished, and ready to be inhabited, it was usual to celebrate the event with rejoicing, and to entreat the Divine blessing and protection: this is alluded to, Deut. xx. 5. Psalm xxx, is stated to have been written for the dedication of the house of David.

When mankind began to multiply upon the earth, violence and wickedness increased; they found themselves less safe in their tents and separate dwellings, and began to live together in numbers, that they might protect each other. The necessity for living close together led them to build their houses with more than one story. Thus cities and towers began to be built. In Numb. xiii. 28, we read of the cities of the Canaanites; they were very numerous, and strongly fortified with walls. “Walled up to heaven," Deut. i. 28. These cities were very different in size, most of them probably contained only a few houses or huts, surrounded by a ditch, with a wall or bank of earth, behind which the inhabitants could stand and throw stones or darts at those who came to attack them. Others were larger, and, as Jericho, Josh. vi., had high and strong walls. The fenced cities, as they are often called in the Bible, were very numerous; and Jerusalem, Babylon, Samaria, Tyre, Ashdod, and others, could not be taken till after long sieges. Houses were built upon these walls, Josh. ii. 15; Acts ix. 25.

The Pyramids of Egypt are very large piles of building. In one of them, passages and halls have been discovered; it is large enough to contain several hundred other rooms. The largest of these piles are built of stone; but there are some built with the bricks used in Egypt, such as the Israelites were tasked to make; see Exodus i. 14.

The streets of Eastern cities often are not more than three or four feet wide. In Cairo, they are so narrow that in many places a person cannot safely pass a loaded camel. Many of them are very winding, but that at Damascus where Ananias found Saul, was called Straight, Acts ix. 11; and there is still one street there so named, about half a mile long. At Smyrna, there is a street watered by a river, with trees on each side, as in the description Rev. xxii. 2. But the houses did not always stand close together; they often had large gardens and fields within the walls of the cities: this was the case with Babylon. It is supposed that “ the house of the forest of Lebanon," 1 Kings vii. 2, had pleasure grounds about it. There were frequently rooms detached, like the prophet's chamber, 2 Kings iv. 10, from the main building, to be used in the summer season, thus the summer parlour of Eglon, Judg. iii. 20. And there were rooms or ranges of apartments suited for each season, Jer. xxxvi. 22 ; Amos. iii. 15.

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