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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Tent

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TENT (σκηνή).—The light shelter of the nomad, here to-day and away to-morrow, is an apt symbol of what is fleeting and transitory. This lends the suggestion of irony to our Lord’s phrase (Luke 16:9) ‘eternal tents.’ The notion of transiency is uppermost also in 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:4 (σκῆνος).

The ordinary Eastern tent is made of black goats’ hair cloth, spun and woven by the women with very primitive implements. The women pitch the tents, and on removing they strike and pack them for the journey. The roof is supported by three rows of three upright posts, from 6 feet to 8 feet in height, the middle row being highest. It is stretched by cords fastened to the edges, and attached to pegs driven firmly into the ground. The ‘walls’ are hung like certains round the eaves, and a breadth of cloth across the tent cuts off the women’s compartment from that open to the public. It is an effective shelter from the sun. When wet, the cloth shrinks and becomes quite waterproof. σκηνή may also mean a hut, booth, or other temporary structure, like those made by the Arabs of el-Huleh from the reeds that abound in the marshes close by the base of Hermon. Peter was doubtless familiar with these rude peasant structures, the leafy shelters erected on the roofs for cool retreat in summer, and the booths for the Feast of Tabernacles (Matthew 17:4 etc.).

W. Ewing.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Tent'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/t/tent.html. 1906-1918.

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