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The custom of colouring rams' skins red still continues ...“ All our baggage consisted of a sheep-skin coat, the woolly side in, and the other side coloured red with ochre, and greased to keep out the rain.”IRBY and MANGLES, p. 258.
Tabernacle is sometimes put for heaven, the dwelling-place of the blessed. When the Psalmist exclaims, “I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts !" although his words had a direct and obvious reference to the House of God on earth, they pointed the eye of faith to his courts above.
The Jews, we find, did often understand heaven by such forms of speech; and thus St. Paul speaks of a
often understand beaven boy
“ greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands." The true Christian, while reading the account of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, whereon the glory of Jehovah rested, and where Moses was permitted to speak unto God, " as a man speaketh to his friend," will look forward with humble, yet earnest hope to that blessed time when the same glorious presence shall be with his redeemed people, not in an earthly wilderness, and for a limited time; but for ever and ever, in the fair land of promise, the heavenly Canaan, “ The rest and the inheritance” of the Israel of God.
Then shall the fulfilment of all those “good things” which were but feebly shadowed forth in the first tabernacle, be announced by a “great voice out of heaven, saying,"
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men ; and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
HOUSES-SOMETIMES BUILT OF STONE-STONES OF IMMENSE SIZE
USED IN BUILDING-HOUSES IN THE HAURĀN—UNBURNT BRICKS AND MORTAR — EASTERN BUILDINGS OFTEN PERISHABLE – WALLS — DIGGING THROUGH WALLS — NAILS IN WALLS GATES OF EASTERN CITIES MUCH RESORTED TO FOR PUBLIC BUSINESS-MARKETS HELD AT GATES—CLOSED AT NIGHT-IRON AND BRASS GATES-STONE GATES AND BARS-LARGE GATES A MARK FOR ROBBERS — KING'S GATE-LOCKS AND KEYS — MANNER OF CARRYING THE KEY-EASTERN STREETS-STREET IN SMYRNA-ARAB DWELLINGS-MEAN EXTERIOR OF EASTERN HOUSES-PLAN OF AN EASTERN HOUSE-PORCH OR DOORTHRESHOLD — Court OR QUADRANGLE — THE PARALYTIC — PAVEMENTS_GALLERIES-CHAMBERS—THE HAREM — STAIRS - WINDOWS — Flat Roofs — CARAVANSERIAS — TOWER AT MAHANAIM—TOWERS IN THE DESERT-TEMPLE OF DAGON— PALACE OF KING AHASUERUS—THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM.
HOUSES OF STONE.
LEVIT. xiv. 45. “And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and timber thereof."
1 Kings v. 17. “ And they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house."..
vii. 10. “... Stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits.”
Psalm cxviii. 22. “ The stone which the builders refused is become the head-stone of the corner.”
ISAIAH ix. 10. “ The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones.”
Amos v. 11. “Ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them.” .
In progress of time men began to raise more substantial and permanent dwellings for their greater comfort and security. In places where wood was scarce, houses were often built entirely of stone. In larger buildings, stones of immense size were used. Among the ruins of Baalbec are “three stones, which alone occupy a space of one hundred and seventy-five feet and one half : viz. the first, fifty-eight feet seven inches ; the second, fifty-eight feet eleven ; and the third, exactly fifty-eight feet; and each of these are twelve feet thick. These stones are of a white granite, with large shining flakes; there is a quarry of this kind of stone under the whole city and in the adjacent mountains, which is open in several places; and among others, on the right as we approach the city, there is still lying there a stone, hewn on three sides, which is sixty-nine feet two inches long, twelve feet ten inches broad, and thirteen feet three inches in thickness.”— See CALMET, Fragment, lx.
In the wonderful piece of wall identified by Dr. Robinson with part of the ancient foundations of the Jewish temple at Jerusalem, is a corner-stone, measuring “ thirty feet ten inches in length, by six and a half feet broad.”— Researches, vol. i. p. 423.
“The ancient towns on the great plains of the Haurān* are entirely built of stone. These fertile plains were peopled by a race dwelling in houses, “as early as the time of Job, or even before, as in his day, his sons and daughters feasted luxuriously in houses ; while the Chaldeans and Sabeans, who, like the present inhabitants of
* It is supposed by several that the country now called the Haurān formed part of, or at any rate was adjacent to the land of Uz.
the neighbouring desert, the Bedouin Arabs, fell upon the inhabitants of the plains, and carried off their camels and flocks, smiting those who resisted with the edge of the sword * probably lived as their successors at this moment do, in tents. Wherever, indeed, the cultivators of the soil were fixed, as in these towns of the Haurān, and led a settled life, as distinguished from the wanderers of the desert, their habitations must always have been of stone, from the great abundance of that material, and the total want of wood ; and buildings so constructed, of low and massive proportions, with large and solid blocks, united with careful and excellent workmanship, would endure as long as the most ancient structures now existing in any part of the globe.
“ The buildings are in themselves so strong, being wholly composed of stone, including roofs, and even doors, that they never need repairs. In times of great danger, when a visit from Arabs of the desert is apprehended, the inhabitants either retire to some other town, or barricade themselves in their houses by heaping up loose stones to oppose the approach of horsemen to the most defenceless parts of their dwellings, while they can assail them with the same materials from the terraces above. It is only by walls of loose stones, heaped up without cement, that the enclosures for the cattle are formed, unless, as is sometimes the case, they are driven into the dwelling itself at night, where they remain perfectly secure from depredation."—BUCKINGHAM's Arab Tribes, pp. 180, 326.
“In general each dwelling (in the towns of the Haurān) has a small entrance leading into a court-yard, round which are the apartments ; of these the doors are usually very low. The interior of the rooms is constructed of large square stones ; across the centre is a
* See the 1st chapter of the Book of Job, which is generally considered to be the most ancient of all the books of Scripture ; where many coincidences will strike the reader, between the present state of the Haurān, and the ancient picture of the land of Uz.