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“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. ... When
have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. And ye
shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. ... Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths (tents): That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
The booths were placed in the streets or on the tops of houses as described in Nehemiah viii. 16:“ So the people went forth and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water-gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.”
It may be observed that the booth is not mentioned in the account of the wanderings in the wilderness : the children of Israel are said to have lived in tents. But it is easy to understand why the booth should be ordered for the Feast of Tabernacles : it was a temporary tent, the materials for which were always at hand, whereas, when the Israelites were settled in houses, it would have been extremely inconvenient to have erected regular tents. The “booth” species of dwelling which was always more or less in use among the Jews : in the first notice we have of it, it was intended for cattle only :-—" Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house and booths for his cattle : therefore the name of the place is called Succoth,” i. e. “ booths” (Gen. xxxiii. 17). We next hear of it as being used by soldiers in the field :-" And
BOOTHS IN VINEYARDS.
Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah abide in booths (“tents,” E. V.). . . . shall I then go into mine house” (2 Sam. xi. 11), where the contrast between the booth and the house is forcible. So again in 1 Kings xx. 16 :- “ Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths” (“pavilions,” E. V.). It was the temporary abode which Jonah prepared for himself:-“He went out of the city .... and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.” Its insufficiency as a permanent protection, however, appears from the next verse :—“And the Lord God prepared a gourd and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head” (iv. 5, 6). Or again, it was erected for the purpose of sheltering a watchman in a garden ; in this instance its solitary position rendered it a touching picture of an unprotected, deserted condition, as in Is. i. 8:-" The daughter of Zion is left as a booth ("cottage," E. V.) in a vineyard;" while its slight structure and its brief existence form the point in Job's remark :- “He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper” (i. e. of a vineyard) “ maketh” (xxvii. 18).
It thus appears that the booth was the kind of tent with which the Israelites were familiar after their settlement in the land of Canaan. At the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, every one built himself a booth, and at the time of the year when the feast occurred, such a temporary dwelling was far from disagreeable. Even at the present day it is usual for the inhabitants of southern Palestine to forsake their houses at that season and live in the vineyards themselves.
“ The vintage,” writes Robinson, “is a season of hilarity and rejoicing to all : the town (Hebron) is then deserted, and the people live among the vineyards in the lodges and tents. Researches, ii. 81.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EASTERN HOUSES. - MATERIALS.
BRICKS AND SLIME.—BABYLONIAN MOUND.—BITUMEN Pits.MONOGRAMS ON BRICKS.—ASSYRIAN BRICKS AND MORTAR.— EGYPTIAN BRICKS.—BRICK-MAKING IN EGYPT.—USE OF BPICK IN PALESTINE. — CLAY WALLS. — SPEEDY DECAY OF MUD HOUSES.-HEAPS OF RUINS.—DIGGING THROUGH Mud Walls. -STONE HOUSES IN HAURAN.—IMMENSE STONES USED IN BUILDING.—WALLS OF CITIES. — ARRANGEMENT OF HOUSES.DESCRIPTIONS OF MODERN ORIENTAL COTTAGES.—COURTS OF SUPERIOR HOUSES.—PORCHES. — GATEWAYS.-LOCK AND KEY. - UPPER CHAMBERS.—INNER CHAMBERS.
BRICKS AND SLIME.
with few external windows, and arranged in a quadrangular form, with a courtyard in the centre. These characteristics are the results mainly of the difference of climate, but in part also of a difference in the state of society. The excessive heat of the East, the primitive manners of the inhabitants, and the insecurity which unfortunately prevails in some parts, naturally lead to different architectural arrangements.
The first point to be noticed, is the materials of which houses were erected. The earliest building of which we have any detailed description is the Tower of Babel. This was erected in a country where no stone is found, viz., in the great alluvial plain of Babylonia. We cannot be surprised that in such a district bricks were used as a substitute from a very early period, and accordingly we read in Genesis xi. 3 :-“They said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar." This statement is so strikingly confirmed by an old writer (Herodotus), in describing the buildings of that country, that we shall quote his words. He says :—“I must explain in addition to these things how the wall was built. At the same time that they dug the trench, they made bricks of the soil which was taken out, and having drawn out the bricks (from their moulds), they baked them in kilns: and afterwards they used hot bitumen as mortar” (Herod. i. 179). This passage explains to us what the s-slime was : it was bitumen, which was very abundant in that district.
In the plain of Babylonia vast mounds are found in various parts, which cover the ruins of very ancient towns or palaces, such as the Tower of Babel was intended to be. The materials of which these are composed prove to be exactly similar to those already described. “The gigantic mound," writes Ainsworth, “designated as the Mogeïyer, or place built of bitumen, rises upwards of two hundred feet above the level plain
which bounds the horizon to the west of the Euphrates, accompanied by other mounds of less dimensions and less precipitous acclivities, but over which are everywhere strewed the remains of bricks cemented with bitumen.”—Babylonia, p. 127.
Another writer, speaking of the bitumen, tells us :“On the following day we passed the bitumen pits of the Kiyara' as they are called by the Arabs. They cover a considerable extent of ground; the bitumen bubbling up in springs from the crevices in the earth. It is extensively used for building purposes.”LAYARD's Nineveh, ii. 46.
It is worthy of remark that the bricks found in these ancient heaps are generally marked with a monogram, which tells us in some cases the name of the builder, in other cases the name of the god in whose honour the place was built. We are thus enabled to learn something of the history of these mysterious mounds.
Bricks were also used in the Assyrian towns, though differing slightly from those of Babylonia, and not cemented together with bitumen: we are told that :“in the edifices of Nineveh, bitumen and reeds were now employed to cement the layers of bricks, as at Babylon; although both materials are to be found in abundance in the immediate vicinity of the city. The Assyrians appear to have made much less use of bricks baked in the furnace than the Babylonians. Common clay, moistened with water, and mixed with a little stubble, formed, as it does to this day, the mortar used in buildings.”—LAYARD's Nineveh, ii. 278.
We therefore see the propriety of Nahum's warning to the besieged Ninevites, when he bids them prepare mortar instead of using slime : Fortify thy strongholds : go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln" (Nah. iii. 14).
“ The bricks of Nineveh were frequently decorated with drawings and paintings, and hence the prophet