What is a 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.