Daily Archives: February 24, 2011

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).