Grass on the roof

In the previous post we wrote about the account of some men putting a hole in the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching in Capernaum. Our photos illustrated the way roofs were constructed at the time. This art by Balage Balogh of Archaeology Illustrated shows clearly the roofs. You can see the flat dirt roof with the poles (we might say rafters) showing under the surface.

The houses of Capernaum in the time of Jesus.

The houses of Capernaum in the time of Jesus. Art by Balage Balogh, ArchaeologyIllustrated.com

Other biblical passages become clear when we understand the nature of house construction during Bible times.

Take a look at Proverbs27:15. Think of what the winter rains might do to one of the roofs of the day.

A continual dripping on a rainy day and a contentious wife are alike. (Proverbs 27:15 NET)

One of the Psalms of Ascent calls for the overthrow of  those who hate Zion.

May they be like the grass on the rooftops which withers before one can even pull it up, (Psalm 129:6 NET)

In another text we are told that King Hezekiah of Judah prayed to the Lord during the days of the Assyrian threat to Judah. The prophet Isaiah informs the Assyrian king Sennacherib that the Lord has overthrown His enemies in the past and will do so again. Notice the illustration:

Their residents are powerless, they are terrified and ashamed. They are as short-lived as plants in the field, or green vegetation. They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops when it is scorched by the east wind. (2 Kings 19:26 NET = Isaiah 37:27).

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3 responses to “Grass on the roof

  1. Or Proverbs 19:13 which is similar to 27:15

    It reminds me understand the following proverbs : ” Better is it to dwell upon a corner of a roof than with a contentious wife, although in a house in common. ” (Proverbs. 21:9 or 25:24). How can he live on the corner of a roof?.

    We understand better when you see the method of construction of houses in this region.

    Thank you for your interesting articles (as always).

  2. Thanks, I’m writing a short children’s story on the early life of Joseph, this is useful.

  3. Dear Ferrell,

    Going back to “the illustration Art by Balage Balogh, ArchaeologyIllustrated.com” above, one detail is missing and who is mentioned in the Mosaic law: ““When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.” (Deuteronomy 22:8 NASB)

    Why illustrator has not drawn the parapets?

    A read.

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