III. ANIMAL SUBSTANCES :— Such substances can be but in a small degree ‘pplicable to building. /vary houses are men tioned in i Kings xxii. 39 ; Amos iii. ; most likely from certain parts of the wood-work, pro bably about the doors and windows, being inlaid with this valuable substance. Solomon obtained ivory in great quantities from Tyre (i Kings x. 22 ; 2 Chron. ix. 21). [Ivorar].
In describing the houses of ancient Palestine, there is no way of arriving at distinct notions but by taking the texts of Scripture and illustmting them by the existing houses of those parts of Western Asia which have been the least exposed to the changes of time, and in which the manners of ancient days have been the best preserved. Writers on the subject have seen this, and have brought together the descriptions of travellers bearing on the subject ; but these descriptions have generally been applied with very little judgment, from the want of that distinct knowledge of the matter which only actual observation can give. Tra vellers have seldom been students of Scripture, and students of Scripture have seldom been tra vellers. The present writer, having resided for a I considerable time in Turkish Arabia, where the type of Scriptural usages has been better preserved than in Egypt, or even in Palestine itself, is enabled te speak on this matter with somewhat more pre. cision. Of four houses in which he there resided, two were first-rate, and two were second rate. One of the latter has always seemed to 'him to suggest a more satisfactory idea of a Scriptural house than any of the others, or than any that he ever saw in other Eastern countries. That one has therefore formed the basis of all his ideas on this subject ; and where it seemed to fail, the others have usually supplied the illustration he required. This course he has found so beneficial, that he will endeavour to impart a clear view of the subject to the reader by giving a general notion of the house referred to, explaining any points in which the others differed from it, and producing the passages of Scrip. ture which seem to be illustrated in the process.
We may premise that the houses present little more than a dead wall to the street. The privacy of Oriental domestic habits would render our plan of throwing the front of the houses towards the street most repulsive. On coming to a house, one
finds a lofty wall, which would be blank but for the low door of entrance [GATE] ; over svhich is usually the kiosk, or latticed window (sometimes project ing like the huge bay windows of Elizabethan houses), or screened balcony of the 4 summer par lour.' Besides this, there may be a small latttced window or two high up the wall, giving light and air to upper chambers. This seems, from the annexed engraving (No. 269), to have been the character ol the fronts of ancient Egyptian houses.
The buildings which form the house front to wards an inner square or court. Small houses have one of these courts, but superior houses have two, and first-rate houses three, communicating with each other; for the Orientals dislike ascending stairs or steps, and prefer to gain room mther by the extent than height of their habitations. It is only when the building-ground is confined by nature or by fortifications, that they build high houses. None of our four houses had more than one story ; but, from the loftiness of the rooms, they were as high as houses of three stories among ourselves. If there arc three or more courts, all except the outer one are much alike in size and appearance ; but the outer one, being devoted to the more public life of the occupant, and to his intercourse with society, is materially different from all the others. If there are more than two, the second is devoted chiefly to the use of the master, who is there attended only by his eunuchs, children, and females, and sees only such persons as he calls from the third or interior court in which they reside. In the history of Esther, she incurs danger by going from her interior court to that of the king, to invite him to visit her part of the palace ; but she would not on any account have gone to the outermost court, in which the king held his pul3lic audiences. When there are only two courts, the innermost is the harem, in which the women and children live, and which is the true domicile of the master, to wbich he withdraws when the claims of business, of society, and of friends have been satisfied, and where no man but himself ever enters, or could be induced to enter, even by strong persuasions.