By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. Proverbs 9:1
The pillared house is representative of private houses in Ancient Israel and Judah from about 1200 to 586 BC.
They have been found in both urban and rural settlements. Their ground-floor plans have two or three parallel rooms, partially or completely separated by rows of pillars, extending forward from a broad room at the bac. Second stories are not preserved, but through careful excavation archaeologists have been able to demonstrate their existence.
The houses were usually built of sun-dried mud-bricks set on rough limestone foundation walls. They were protected from the elements by a coating of mud plaster. The pillars were of stone or wood. Ceilings and roofs, usually low, were constructed of sticks, reeds, or mats laid over wooden beams and covered with mud.
The ground floor served primarily as a stable, storeroom, and kitchen. Stone paving helped keep the stable areas clean and dry. Food was prepared both here and in the courtyard outside. There was no chimney, so smoke from the hearth found its way out through windows and the door.
Stiars or a ladder led to the upper floor, where the family ate, slept, and received guests. The women of the house wove cloth on a loom set up against one of the walls. In warmer months, many activities moved outside to the courtyard or roof.
An extended family -- the descendants of a patriarch and the women connected to them by marriage -- would have had several houses inside a greater walled compound, with each family unit occupying a house. This arrangement corresponds to the biblical House of the Father.