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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

House

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(בִּיַת, ba'yith, which is used with much latitude, and in the "construct" form בֵּית, beyth, Anglicized "Beth," [q.v.] enters into the composition of many proper names; Gr. οικος, or some derivative of it), a dwelling in general, whether literally, as house, tent, palace, citadel, tomb, derivatively as tabernacle, temple, heaven, or metaphorically as family. (See PALACE).

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I. History and Sources of Comparison. Although, in Oriental language, every tent (see Gesen. Thes. p. 32) may be regarded as a house (Harmer, Obs. 1, 194), yet the distinction between the permanent dwelling-house and the tent must have taken rise from the moment of the division of mankind into dwellers in tents and builders of cities, i.e. of permanent habitations (Genesis 4:17; Genesis 4:20; Isaiah 38:2). The agricultural and pastoral forms of life are described in Scripture as of equally ancient origin. Cain was a husbandman, and Abel a keeper of sheep. The former is a settled, the latter an unsettled mode of life. Hence we find that Cain, when the murder of his brother constrained him to wander abroad, built a town in the land where he settled. At the same time, doubtless, those who followed the same mode of life as Abel, dwelt in tents, capable of being taken from one place to another, when the want of fresh pastures constrained those removals which are so frequent among people of pastoral habits. We are not required to suppose that Cain's town was more than a collection of huts. (See CITY).

Our information respecting the abodes of men in the ages before the Deluge is however, too scanty to afford much ground for notice. The enterprise at Babel, to say nothing of Egypt, shows that the constructive arts had made considerable progress during that obscure but interesting period; for we are bound in reason to conclude that the arts possessed by man in the ages immediately following the Deluge existed before that great catastrophe. (See ANTEDILUVIANS).

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

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