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House

The ordinary dwelling-houses of the Jews were of brick, less often of stone, cemented with gypsum, and roofed in with wooden beams. They seldom exceeded two stories in height. The houses of the rich were built around a court. The roofs were invariably flat and could in many cases be reached by an outside staircase, guarded by a balustrade to prevent accidents (Deut. 22:8). Upon the roof an upper chamber was often built, which served as a parlor or as a place for taking the midday siesta (Judg. 3:23, 25). Windows were closed in with latticework, glass being an extremely costly material. The principal articles of furniture were the bed, consisting of a rug or mattress, rolled up during the day and spread when required on the floor or on a ledge by the wall, or in summer on the roof of the house; the lampstand; and the table, with couches around it on which the guests reclined at full length. See also Furniture.