BECHORATH (be-Wrath), (I I eb. bek-o rate, firstborn), a son of Aphiah, or Abiali (B. C. 1225); grandson of Becher (t Sam. ix:1). He was an ancestor of Saul.
The manner of sleeping in warm Eastern cli mates is necessarily very different from that which is followed in our colder regions. The present usages appear to be the same as those of the ancient Jews, and sufficiently explain the passages of Scripture which hear on the subject.
(1) Bedding. Beds of feathers are altogether unknown, and the Orientals generally' lie exceed ingly hard. Poor people who have no certain, home, or when on a journey, or employed at a distance from their dwellings, sleep on mats, or %%rapped in their outer garment, which. from its importance in this respect. was forbidden to be retained in pledge over night (D'Arvieux, iii :257 ; Gen. ix :21. Exod. :27; Deut.
Under peculiar circumstances a stone covered with some folded cloth or piece of dress is often used for a pillow ( Gen. xxviii t ). The more wealthy classes sleep on mattresses stuffed with wool or cotton, which arc often nn other than a quilt thickly padded, and arc used either singly or one or more placed upon each other A similar quilt of finer materials forms the coverlet in winter.
and in summer a thin blanket suffices, but some times the convenient outer garment is used for the latter purpose, and was so among the Jews, as we learn from I Sam. xix:13. The difference of use here is, that the poor wrap themselves up in it, and it forms their whole bed, whereas the rich employ it as a covering only. A pillow is placed upon the mattress, and over both, in good houses, is laid a sheet. The bolsters are more valuable than the mattresses, both in respect of their cover ings and material; they are usually stuffed with cotton or other soft substance; but instead of these, skins of goats or sheep appear to have been formerly used by the poorer classes and in the hardier ages. These skins were probably sewed up in the natural shape, like water-skins, and stuffed with chaff or wool (I Sam. xix :13).
It has been doubted whether the couches of the Jews for repose and for the use of the sick, called n:it taw' (Heb. a bed as extended (Gen. xlvii: 31; I Sam. xix:13; 2 Sam. iv:7; 2 Kings i:4); wish kawb' (Heb. (Exod. xxi:r8; 2 Sam. xiii:5; Cant. iii:t), or eh'res (Heb. (Job vii:13; Cant. i:I6), properly 'bedstead,' (Comp. Deut.
were actually bedsteads of different sorts, or simply the standing and fixed divans such as those on which the Western Asiatics commonly make their beds at night.
It has been usually thought that the choice must lie between these alternatives, because it has not been understood that in the East there is, in fact, a variety of arrangement in this matter, but we feel satisfied that the different Hebrew words answer to and describe similarly different arrangements, although we may be unable now to assign to the several words their distinctive ap plications to still subsisting things.
(2) .Divan. The divan, or dais, is a slightly elevated platform at the upper end and often along the sides of the room. On this are laid the mat
tresses on which the Western Asiatics sit cross legged in the daytime, with large cushions against the wall to support the back. At night the light bedding is usually laid out upon this divan, and thus beds for many persons are easily formed. The bedding is removed in the morning, and de posited in recesses in the room, made for the purpose. This is a sort of general sleeping-room for the males of the family and for guests, none but the master having access to the inner parts of the house, where alone there are proper and distinct Led-chambers. In these the bedding is either laid on the carpeted floor, or placed on a low frame or bedstead.
(3) Bedstead. The most common bedstead in Egypt and Arabia is of this shape, framed rudely of palm sticks. It was used in ancient Egypt, and is figured in the mural paintings. In Palestine, Syria and Persia, where the palm tree is not com mon and where timber is more plentiful, a bed frame of similar shape is made of boards. This kind of bedstead is also used upon the house-tops during the season in which people sleep there. It is more than likely that Og's bedstead was of this description (Deut. iii :II). In the times in which he lived the palm tree was more common in Palestine than at present, and the bedsteads in ordinary use were probably formed of palm sticks. They would, therefore, be incapable of sustaining any undue weight without being disjointed and bent awry, and this would dictate the necessity of making that destined to sustain the vast bulk of Og, rather of rods of iron than of the mid ribs of the palm-fronds. These bedsteads are also of a length seldom more than a few inches beyond the average human stature (commonly 6 feet 3 inches), and hence the propriety with which the length of Og's bedstead is stated, to convey an idea of his stature.
It is not necessary to suppose that the bed steads were all of this sort. There are traces of a kind of portable couch (I Sam. xix:I5), which appears to have served as a sofa for sitting on in the daytime (I Sam. xxviii:23; Ezek. xxiii:41; Amos vi:4), and there is now the less reason to doubt that the ancient Hebrews enjoyed this convenience, as we find such couches in use among the neighboring nations, and figured on their monuments.
A bed with a tester is mentioned in Judith xvi: 23, which, in connection with other indications, and the frequent mention of rich tapestries hung upon and about a bed for luxuriousness and or nament, proves that such beds as are still used by royal and distinguished personages were not unknown under the Hebrew monarchy (Comp. Esth. 1:6; Prov. vii :r6 seq.; Ezek. xxiii :41).
(4) Customs. It is evident that the ancient Jews, like the modern inhabitants of their land, seldom or never changed their dress on going to bed. Most people only divest themselves of their outer garment, and loosen the ligatures of the waist, excepting during the hottest part of the summer, when they sleep almost entirely unclad.