ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
Till their sojourn in Egypt the Hebrews dwelt in tents. They then for the first time inhabited cities (Gen. 47:3; Ex. 12:7; Hebrews 11:9). From the earliest times the Assyrians and the Canaanites were builders of cities. The Hebrews after the Conquest took possession of the captured cities, and seem to have followed the methods of building that had been pursued by the Canaanites. Reference is made to the stone (1 Kings 7:9; Isa. 9:10) and marble (1 Chr. 29:2) used in building, and to the internal wood-work of the houses (1 Kings 6:15; 7:2; 10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). “Ceiled houses” were such as had beams inlaid in the walls to which wainscotting was fastened (Ezra 6:4; Jer. 22:14; Hag. 1:4). “Ivory houses” had the upper parts of the walls adorned with figures in stucco with gold and ivory (1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chr. 3:6; Ps. 45:8).
The roofs of the dwelling-houses were flat, and are often alluded to in Scripture (2 Sam. 11:2; Isa. 22:1; Matt. 24:17). Sometimes tents or booths were erected on them (2 Sam. 16:22). They were protected by parapets or low walls (Deut. 22:8). On the house-tops grass sometimes grew (Prov. 19:13; 27:15; Ps. 129:6, 7). They were used, not only as places of recreation in the evening, but also sometimes as sleeping-places at night (1 Sam. 9:25, 26; 2 Sam. 11:2; 16:22; Dan. 4:29; Job 27:18; Prov. 21:9), and as places of devotion (Jer. 32:29; 19:13).