In early as in later times the Bed of the poor was the bare ground, and the bedclothes the simple gown worn during the day, which was wrapped about one at night (Ex. xxii. 25, 26; Deut. xxiv. 13). Hence a pledge of the "simlah" (garment) had to be returned before sunset. When a man was on a journey such a Bed was the most natural one, and a stone served the purpose of a pillow (Gen. xxviii. 11). The mat upon the floor was an advance. It was placed near the wall and, later, put on an elevation; hence the expression, "going up" to the Bed (Gen. xlix. 31). The Bed itself was built upon supports and was of different forms, as may be inferred from the variety of names for it; e.g.: (1) "Miṭah," 27 times, Gen. xlvii. 31, xlviii. 2, xlix. 33; Ex. viii. 3; I Sam. xix. 13, and elsewhere. (2) "Mishkab," 45 times, Gen. xlix. 4, etc. (3) "'Eres" (compare the Assyrian "ershu"), 10 times, Song of Songs i. 16; Prov. vii. 16; Ps. xli. 4, etc. (4) "Maẓa'," once, Isa. xxviii. 20. (5) "Yeẓua'," 5 times, I Chron. v. 1; Job xvii. 13; Ps. lxiii. 7 [A. V. 6], cxxxii. 3; Gen. xlix. 4. It is impossible to state just what was the difference between these names, but in time the simple Bed of Deut. xxiv. 13 gave way to a more luxurious article, and in post-exilic days beds of fine wood are found, and pillows of costly materials elaborately embroidered (Judith x. 21; Esth. i. 10; Cant. iii. 10). Among the rich, couches also were used (Amos iii. 12, vi. 4).
Among the poorer classes there was no separatesleeping-room; but when there were two floors, the second was set aside for sleeping. Both "mishkab" and "miṭah" have a somewhat figurative meaning, signifying the final resting-place, and similarly the "'eres," or couch, of the king of Og (Deut. iii. 11) may refer to his sarcophagus.
- Benzinger, Hebräische Archäologie, p. 123;
- Nowack, Hebräische Archäologie, i. 143.