Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Family and the Home in Ancient Hebrew Culture

Brittany Held

Hello, my name is Abraham, and welcome to my crib!  Come on in and let me introduce you to my little family.  I live in this quaint four room home with just my wife, Sarah, son, Jacob, and daughter, Abigail (Stager 18).  You could definitely say that I am the man of the house.  We are very much a patriarchy, and if something ever happened to me, I know my Jacob would take up his rightful spot and replace me as head of the house (Petersen 15). 

Right now we are outside in our little courtyard.  This is where we let the animals go outside and my wife likes to send the kids out here when they won’t sit still.  Also Sarah enjoys cooking out here when the weather permits it (Hardin 81).

As we go inside you will notice two broad rooms at the back of the house and two long rooms at the front of the house.  We consider our long rooms to be outside areas.  We are currently in the smallest long room.  This is where my wife does most of the cooking.  In the next long room, you will usually find my wife on the western side of the room grinding up cereal or preparing a meal.  We also store a large amount of food and fuel in this area.  The eastern half of this long room is where we have the indoor stable.  We have a couple of sheep, a few goats, and even a cow!  This is where I spend most of my time.  If I’m not tending to the animals, you might find me making wine or doing a little metal work (Hardin 80). 

The broad rooms are what we consider the inside of the house.  You can tell that these rooms are our living areas because there are raised thresholds from the other rooms, solid walls, and treated floors (Hardin 79).  In the very back downstairs broad room, you will see my wife’s weaving tools.  She and my daughter will make textiles back here and then we are able to use them to trade.  We mostly use the other room for storage of extra food, pots, and supplies.  This room is generally a multipurpose room depending on the season (Hardin 80).  The upstairs broad rooms are the main living areas. The bedrooms are located in the upper story (Stager 16). My wife also takes care of the children and lets them play upstairs.  She won’t have them running around her kitchen (Hardin 83)!

An interesting fact about my four room home is that it is an adaptation of farm life in the city: the ground floor has space for food processing, small craft production, stabling, and storage; the second floor is where we eat, sleep, and pursue other fun activities (Faust & Bunimovitz 24). Since we live in the city, there are clusters of homes around us.  We’re just lucky that our city was planned well and we have good neighbors (Shiloh 11).  I think that about wraps up the tour so thanks for coming to check out my humble abode!  It’s been great having you guys here but it is time for you to get out of my house.

Works Cited
Faust, Avraham and Shlomo Bunimovitz.  “The Four Room House: Embodying Iron Age Israelite Society.” Near Eastern Archaeology Vol. 66 No. ½ (2003): 22-31. JSTOR. Web. 31 Mar. 2013.
Hardin, James W.  “Understanding Domestic Space: An Example from iron Age Tel Halif.” Near Eastern Archaeology Vol. 67 No. 2 (2004): 71-83. JSTOR.  Web.  31 Mar. 2013.
Karges, Dylan. Drawing. n.d.
Petersen, David L. "Genesis And Family Values." Journal of Biblical Literature 124.1 (2005): 5-23. Academic Search Premier. Web. 31 Mar. 2013.
Shiloj, Yigal. “The Casemate Wall, the Four Room House, and Early Planning in the Israelite City.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 268 (1987): 3-15. JSTOR. Web. 31 Mar 2013.
Stager, Lawrence E. “The Archaeology of the Family in Ancient Israel.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 260 (1985): 1-35. JSTOR. Web. 31 Mar 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment