bed Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
bed in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. mittah), for rest at night (Ex. 8:3; 1 Sam. 19:13, 15, 16,
etc.); during sickness (Gen. 47:31; 48:2; 49:33, etc.); as a
sofa for rest (1 Sam. 28:23; Amos 3:12). Another Hebrew word
(er'es) so rendered denotes a canopied bed, or a bed with
curtains (Deut. 3:11; Ps. 132:3), for sickness (Ps. 6:6; 41:3).
In the New Testament it denotes sometimes a litter with a
coverlet (Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 5:18; Acts 5:15).
The Jewish bedstead was frequently merely the divan or
platform along the sides of the house, sometimes a very slight
portable frame, sometimes only a mat or one or more quilts. The
only material for bed-clothes is mentioned in 1 Sam. 19:13.
Sleeping in the open air was not uncommon, the sleeper wrapping
himself in his outer garment (Ex. 22:26,27; Deut. 24:12,13).
bed in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The Jewish bed consisted of the mattress, a mere mat, or one or more quilts; the covering, a finer quilt, or sometimes the outer garment worn by day, #1Sa 19:13| which the law provided should not be kept in pledge after sunset, that the poor man might not lack his needful covering, #De 24:13| the pillow, #1Sa 19:13| probably formed of sheep's fleece or goat's skin with a stuffing of cotton, etc.; the bedstead, a divan or bench along the side or end of the room, sufficing at a support for the bedding. Besides we have bedsteads made of ivory, wood, etc. referred to in #De 3:11; Am 6:4| The ornamental portions were pillars and a canopy, Judith 13:9, ivory carvings, gold and silver, and probably mosaic work, purple and fine linen. #Es 1:6; So 3:9,10| The ordinary furniture of a bedchamber in private life is given in #2Ki 4:10|
bed in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
BED . Gen 47:31. The floors of the better sort of Eastern houses were of tile or plaster, and were covered with mats or carpets; and as shoes were not worn on them and the feet were washed, their floors seldom required sweeping or scrubbing. Matt 12:44; Luke 15:8. Thick, coarse mattresses were thrown down at night to sleep upon. The poorer people used skins for the same purpose. Such beds were easily moved. Matt 9:6. On two or three sides of the room was a bench, generally a foot high and three feet broad, covered with a stuffed cushion. This bench, called the Asiatic Beds. (From Fellow's "Asia Minor.") divan, was used for both lying and sitting upon; but at one end of the room it was more elevated, and this was the usual place of sleeping. 2 Kgs 1:4; 2 Kgs 20:2; Ps 132:3; Am 3:12. But besides the divan, we find mention of bedsteads made of wood, ivory, Am 6:4, or other materials. Deut 3:11. This knowledge of the construction of Eastern beds relieves of difficulty such passages as Ex 8:3; 2 Sam 4:5-7; Ps 6:6; Mark 4:21. Some part of the day-clothing usually served for bedclothes. Ex 22:26-27; Deut 24:12-13. The Orientals do not generally undress before lying down for the night, but are content to take off the upper part of their clothing and unloose their girdle. Bedsteads were used by the ancient Egyptians, as we know from the monuments. They also used wooden pillows of the same style as are now in use in Japan. The pillow of the Hebrews was probably a goat-skin stuffed with some soft substance, since one of this sort is common to-day in Palestine. The pillow meant in Mark 4:38 was a rower's cushion. It has been conjectured that Saul and Elijah may have used their skin water-bottles, "a cruse of water," for the purpose of a bolster. 1 Sam 26:12; 1 Kgs 19:6, margin.
bed in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The outer garment worn by day sufficed the poor for bedstead, bed beneath, and covering above, whence it was forbidden to keep it in pledge after sunset, lest the poor man should be without covering (Deuteronomy 24:13). The bolster was often of platted goat's hair (1 Samuel 19:13). A quilt to wrap one's self in is the bed meant in the miracle of Jesus when He said "Take up thy bed and walk" (John 5:8-11). The cushion or seat at the stern was our Lord's "pillow" on the lake of Galilee (Mark 4:38). Stones served as Jacob's "pillows" (Hebrew) and afterwards as the consecrated pillar to commemorate the divine vision granted him (Genesis 28:11). The divan or platform at the end or sides of a room often served as bedstead. In such a room the master of the house and his family lay, according to the parable (Luke 11:7), "My children are with me in bed."
The little chamber, bed, stool, table, and candlestick of Elijah (2 Kings 4:10) were and are the usual furniture of a sleeping room. Some bed frame is implied in Esther 1:6; 2 Samuel 3:31, "bier," margin bed. The giant Og had one of iron, a marvel in those days (one made of palm sticks is common in the present day), and required by his enormous weight and size (Deuteronomy 3:11). Og in some expedition of his against Ammon may have left behind him his gigantic bed, to impress his enemy with his super-human greatness, and the Ammonites may have preserved it in Rabbath, their capital; or Israel may have sent it to Ammon as a pledge of their friendly intentions (Jehovah having charged them not to disturb Ammon), and also a visible proof of their power in having conquered so mighty a prince as Og.
Royal beds (Song of Solomon 3:9-10 margin) had pillars of marble or silver, the bottom gold, the covering of purple and divers colors, hangings fastened to the pillarsupported canopy, the beds of gold upon a tesselated pavement (Esther 1:6); compare Amos 6:4, "beds of ivory." Often used as couches in the day (Ezekiel 23:41; Esther 7:8). Watchers of vineyards had hammocks slung from trees (Isaiah 1:8; Isaiah 24:20). Hebrew melunah, "a lodge for the night." Arab watchers sleep in them to be secure froth wild beasts; translate "the earth shall wave to and fro like a hammock," swung about by the wind.
The "bedchamber" where Joash was hidden was a storeroom for beds, and so well fitted for concealment (2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11), not the usual reclining chamber. The bedroom was usually in the most retired part of the house (1 Kings 22:25; Exodus 8:3; Ecclesiastes 10:20). In Ezekiel 13:18, "Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes" ("elbows") the allusion is to false prophetesses making their dupes rest on elbow cushions in fancied ecstasy, a symbol of the "peace" they falsely promised (Ezekiel 13:16). Beds were placed at the end of the chamber, on an ascent approached by steps: hence "I will not go up into my bed" (Psalm 132:3).