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Bed

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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properly מִטָּה , mittah', κλίνη, either for rest at night, Exodus 8:3; 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:15-16; 1 Kings 17:19; 2 Kings 4:10; 2 Kings 4:21; 2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11; Psalms 6:6; Proverbs 26:14; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; Luke 17:34; or during illness, Genesis 47:31; Genesis 48:2; Genesis 49:33; 1 Samuel 28:23; 2 Kings 1:4; 2 Kings 1:6; 2 Kings 1:16; 2 Kings 4:32; Mark 7:30; Revelation 2:22; often simply a sofa for ease and quiet, 1 Samuel 28:23; Esther 7:8; Amos 3:12; Amos 6:4; once a sedan for pleasure, Song of Solomon 3:7; in the New Test. frequently a mere couch, consisting of a litter and coverlet, Matthew 9:2; Matthew 9:6; Luke 5:18; Acts 5:15 (for which more properly the diminutive κλινιδίον, "couch,", Luke 5:19; Luke 5:24; or κράββατος , frequently occurring, usually "bed," once "couch," Acts 5:15; and once in the sense of a more permanent sick-bed, Acts 9:33); used also for bier for dead bodies, 2 Samuel 3:31; and specially of the triclinium, or dinner-bed, Esther 1:6; Ezekiel 23:41; "table," Mark 7:4. Another term of frequent occurrence is מִשְׁכָּב, mishkab', κοίτη, which almost always has the signification of marriage-bed, or some analogous idea (except in the Chaldee equivalent, מִשְׁכִּב of Dan.), and is often translated by terms expressive of that sense. To these may be added the poetic יָצוּעִ, yatsu'a, Job 17:13; Psalms 63:6; Psalms 132:3; signifying the same as the preceding in Genesis 49:4; 1 Chronicles 5:1; and "chamber" in prose, 1 Kings 6:5-6; 1 Kings 6:10; also מִצָּע, matstsa', Isaiah 28:20; and, finally, עֶרֶשׂ, er'es, signifying, as the derivation shows, a canopied bed of more imposing style, for whatever purpose, Job 7:13; Psalms 41:3; Psalms 132:3 (in the original); Proverbs 7:16; Song of Solomon 1:16; "couch" in Psalms 6:6; Amos 3:12; Amos 6:4; and properly rendered "bedstead" in Deuteronomy 3:11. In this last-named passage a coffin is thought by some to be meant. (See GIANT).

We may distinguish in the Jewish bed the following principal parts:

1. The bedstead was not always necessary, the divan, or platform along the side or end of an Oriental room, sufficing as a support for the bedding. (See BEDCHAMBER). Yet some slight and portable frame seems implied among the senses of the word מִטָה , mittah', which is used for a "bier" (2 Samuel 3:31), and for the ordinary bed (2 Kings 4:10), for the litter on which a sick person might be carried (1 Samuel 19:15), for Jacob's bed of sickness (Genesis 47:31), and for the couch on which guests reclined at a banquet (Esther 1:6). (See COUCH). Thus it seems the comprehensive and generic term. The proper word for a bedstead appears to be עֶרֶשׂ, e'res, used Deuteronomy 3:11, to describe that on which lay the giant Og, whose vast bulk and weight required one of iron. (See BEDSTEAD).

2. The substratum or bottom portion of the bed itself was limited to a mere mat, or one or more quilts.

3. Over this a quilt finer than those used for the under part of the bed. In summer, a thin blanket, or the outer garment worn by day (1 Samuel 19:13), sufficed. This latter, in the case of a poor person, often formed the entire bedding, and that without a bedstead. Hence the law provided that it should not be kept in pledge after sunset, that the poor man might not lack his needful covering (Deuteronomy 24:13). 4. The bed-clothes. The only material mentioned for this is that which occurs 1 Samuel 19:13, and the word used is of doubtful meaning, but seems to signify some fabric woven or plaited of goat's hair. It is clear, however, that it was something hastily adopted to serve as a pillow, and is not decisive of the ordinary use.

5. In Ezra 13:18, occurs the word כֶּסֶת, ke'seth (Sept. προσκεφάλαιον ), which seems to be the proper term. Such pillows are common to this day in the East, formed of sheep's fleece or goat's skin, with a stuffing of cotton, etc. We read of a "pillow," also, in the boat in which our Lord lay asleep (Mark 4:38) as he crossed the lake. The block of stone, such as Jacob used, covered, perhaps, with a garment, was not unusual among the poorer folk, shepherds, etc. (See PILLOW).

6. The ornamental portions, and those which luxury added, were pillars and a canopy (Judith 13:9); ivory carvings, gold and silver (Joseph. Ant. 12, 21, 14), and probably mosaic work, purple and fine linen, are also mentioned as constituting parts of beds (Esther 1:6; Song of Solomon 3:9-10), where the word אִפִּרְיוֹן, appiryon' (Sept. φορεῖον ), seems to mean "a litter" (Proverbs 7:16-17; Amos 11:4). So also are perfumes. (See SLEEP).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bed'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​b/bed.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
 
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