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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Bed

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In early as in later times the Bed of the poor was the bare ground, and the bedclothes the simple gown worn during the day, which was wrapped about one at night (Exodus 22:25,26; Deuteronomy 24:13). Hence a pledge of the "simlah" (garment) had to be returned before sunset. When a man was on a journey such a Bed was the most natural one, and a stone served the purpose of a pillow (Genesis 28:11). The mat upon the floor was an advance. It was placed near the wall and, later, put on an elevation; hence the expression, "going up" to the Bed (Genesis 49:31). The Bed itself was built upon supports and was of different forms, as may be inferred from the variety of names for it; e.g.: (1) "Miṭah," 27 times, Genesis 47:31, 48:2, 49:33; Exodus 8:3; 1 Samuel 19:13, and elsewhere. (2) "Mishkab," 45 times, Genesis 49:4, etc. (3) "'Eres" (compare the Assyrian "ershu"), 10 times, Song of Songs 1:16; Proverbs 7:16; Psalms 41:4, etc. (4) "Maẓa'," once, Isaiah 28:20. (5) "Yeẓua'," 5 times, 1 Chronicles 5:1; Job 17:13; Psalms 63:7 [A. V. 6], 132:3; Genesis 49:4. It is impossible to state just what was the difference between these names, but in time the simple Bed of Deuteronomy 24:13 gave way to a more luxurious article, and in post-exilic days beds of fine wood are found, and pillows of costly materials elaborately embroidered (Judith 10:21; Esther 1:10; Song of Solomon 3:10). Among the rich, couches also were used (Amos 3:12, 6:4).

Among the poorer classes there was no separatesleeping-room; but when there were two floors, the second was set aside for sleeping. Both "mishkab" and "miá¹­ah" have a somewhat figurative meaning, signifying the final resting-place, and similarly the "'eres," or couch, of the king of Og (Deuteronomy 3:11) may refer to his sarcophagus.

Bibliography:
  • Benzinger, Hebräische Archäologie, p. 123;
  • Nowack, Hebräische Archäologie, 1:143.
J. Jr.
G. B. L.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Bed'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/b/bed.html. 1901.

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