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Their Furniture and Houses.
THERE was occasion for much less furniture in those hot countries than in ours: and their plainness in all other respects gives us reason to think they had but little. The law often speaks of wooden and earthen vessels; and earthen ware was very common among the Greeks and Romans, before luxury had crept in among them. They are mentioned among the things that were brought for the refreshment of David, during the war with Absalom.* We see the furniture that was thought necessary, in the words of the Shunamite woman who lodged the prophet Elisha: Let us make, said she to her husband, a little chamber for the man of God, and set for him there a bed, a table, a stool, and a candlestick.t Their beds were no more than couches without curtains, except they were such light coverings as the Greeks called canopies, I because they served to keep off the gnats. The great people had ivory bed-steds, as the prophet Amos reproaches the wealthy in his time; and they that were most delicate made their beds very soft, decked them with rich stuffs, and sprinkled them with odoriferous waters. They placed the beds against the
* 2 Sam. xvii. 28. + 2 Kings iv. 10.
§ Amos vi. 4. ll Prov, vii. 16.
wall; iwall; for it is said, when Hezekiah was threatened that he should die soon, he turned his face ito the wall to weep. *? m oti i
The candlestick mentioned among Elisha's furniture was, probably, one of those great ones that were set upon the ground to hold one or more lamps. Till then, and a long while after, even in the time of the Romans, they burnt nothing but oil to give light. Thence it is so common in Scripture to call every thing that enlightens the body or mind, whatever guides or refreshes, by the name of lamp. There is not much reason to think they had tapestry in their houses. They have occasion for little in hot countries, because bare walls are cooler. They make use of it only to sit and lie upon, and Ezekiel speaks of it among the merchandise which the Arabian's brought to Tyre. It is also mentioned among the things provided for David's refreshment, which would incline one to think the Israelites used it in the camp, for in houses they had chairs. * Their houses differed from ours in all that we see still in hot countries. Their roofs are flat, the windows closed with lattices or curtains, they have no chimneys, and lie for the most part on a ground floor.' i ' ** We have a great many proofs in Scripture that roofs were flat in and about the land of Israel. Rahab hid the spies of Joshua upon the roof of the house.f When Samuel acquainted Saul that God had chosen him to be
* 2 Kings xx. 2.
+ Ezek. xxvii. 20.
Josh. ii. 6.
king, he made him lie all night upon the roof of the house, which is still usual in hot countries.* David was walking upon the roof of his palace, when he saw Bathsheba bathing.t When Absalom had rebelled against his father, he caused a tent to be raised upon the roof of the same palace, where he lay with his father's concubines. I This action was in a manner taking possession of the kingdom, and made públic,tito shew that he was determined never to return; to his duty. They ran to the tops of their houses upon great alarms, as is plain from two passages in Isaiah. All this shews the reason of the law, that ordered a battlement to be raised quite round the roof, lest any body should fall down and be killed, and explains the expression in the Gospel, what you have heard in the ear, publish on the house-lops. Every house was a scaffold ready built for any one that had a mind to make himself heard at a distance. ,
The casements of windows are taken notice of in the Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, ** and the story of the death of Ahaziah king of Israel.ft. When king Jehoiakim burnt the book which Jeremiah had written by the order of God, he was sitting in his winter house, with a fire on the hearth burning before him. It Whence,one may judge they had no chimneys;$ ... : ,.,, Inc. which * 1. Sam. ix. 25.,,': 2 Sam. xi. 2 - 1 2 Sam. xvi. 22. § Isaiah xv. 3. and xxii. i.
Deut. xxii. 8. . Prov, viji. 6. ** Song of Sol.ii.9. 7+ 2 Kings i. 2, ..
** Jer. xxxvi. 22. $$ The fire which the king had before him, is supposed to have
which indeed are the invention of cold countries. In hot climates they were satisfied with stoves for the kitchen. They made use of stono in building, especially at Jerusalem, where it was very common, and they knew how to cut it into very large pieces. There is mention made, in Solomon's buildings, of stones eight or ten cubits long, that is, twelve or fifteen feet; and those called costly stones are, doubtless, different sorts of marble.* - The beauty of their buildings consisted less in ornaments placed in certain parts, than in the whole model; in cutting and joining the
been in a movcable stove, whence the Vulgate translates it, arula corum co, plena prunis; and therefore had no fixt chimney to it. And that the antients had none has been asserted by several of the learned, particularly by Manutius, in Cic. Fam. I. vii. cp. X. and Lipsius, Ep. ad Belgas, iii. 75. and that the smoke went out at the windows, or at the tops of the houses, Cato, de Re Rust. c. xviii. says, focum purum circumversum, priusquum cubitum cat, habeat. The hearth could not be swept round, if it was, as with us, built in a chimney. Columella, I. xi. c. ult. speaks of the smoke ad. hering to the ciclings over the hearth: Fuligo, quæ supra focos tectis inhæret, colligi debet. Seneca, ep. 90. describes stove tubes, then lately invented, placed round the walls of the rooms, to throw an equal warmth into them. On the other hand, Dan, Barbarus, in his Comment on Vitruvius, and Ferrarius, i, 9. maintain that they often had chimneys; but only in theupper rooms, in cænationibus, which is a reason why no remains of them are found, the highest stories first falling to ruin. Aristophanes Vesp. i. 2. 8. introduces an old man, shut up by his son, endeavouring to escape up the chimney. Herodot. vii. p. 578, 579. mentions the sun shining upon the hearth down the chimney: and Appian. B. C. civ. Kays, some of the proscribed hid theinselves in jakes, some in wells, some in chimneys. The reader may see more in the above-cited authors. * 1 Kings vii. 9, 10,
stones, they took care to have all even and welt dressed by the level and square. This is what Homer says of the building he commends, and this sort of beauty is still admired in the antient Egyptian edifices. The Israelites made use of fragrant woods, as cedar and cypress, to wainscot the inside of the most pompous buildings, and to make the cielings and pillars of.* This was used in the temple, and Solomon's palaces; t and David says, that he droells in a house of cea dar, I to express the magnificence of his apart. ments.
· Their diet.
As to what regards the table, the Israelites ate sitting, as the Greeks did in Homer's time: and it is necessary to take notice of it, to distinguish one period from another. For afterwards, that is to say, from the reign of the Persians, they ate lying upon beds, as the Persians and other eastern people did; from whom the Greeks and Romans also took the custom. Regular people did not eat till after their work, and pretty late. Wherefore eating and drinking early in the morning signify intemperance 'ind debauchery in Scripture.ll. Their food was plain. They commonly mention only eating