International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
bild, bild'-ing (banah, binyah, once (Ezekiel 41:13); oikodomeo).
1. Building Conditions:
The building conditions existing at the time of the Hebrew conquest were rude and untutored, and, with the exception of the work of the Solomonic period, there was still little or no effort made to introduce a higher state, until the time when Greek influence began to be felt (circa 3rd century B.C.). In localities where stone was not available, mud bricks were used, and their perishable nature being realized, stone slab facing came into use. These slabs were a protection against the weather and had no constructive value. Probably the hand of the "jerry" builder can be seen in an attempt to make such bad construction appear to be solid stone.
In stone localities buildings were of stone, but the class of building was only that of the rude stone waller. Random rubble masonry, unskillfully laid, was the prevailing characteristic. Occasionally a piece of carefully dressed masonry is found, but it is the exception and is often a re-use of an earlier type akin to "sawed stone" (1 Kings 7:9). The remains of Jewish walls of the period of the early kings in Jerusalem show skill which does not appear to have existed elsewhere. The boss and margin stones, with wide mud joint, were, in part, the actual masonry of the early fortifications, and were re-used and imitated over and over again. The type crops up in feeble imitation at different sites throughout the country, but hammer-picked and rough hammer-dressed stones are also common. The fine comb pick and marginal dressing of the walls of the Temple area belong to the Herodian period (see Bliss and Dickie, "Excavations at Jerusalem," 273, PEFS, 1898). The absence of lime is a striking characteristic. There is no distinctive type which can be named exclusively Jewish, although there is good reason for believing that the boss and margin type has a Jewish origin. Wilson (Golgotha, 124) points out that the projecting bosses had a defensive value, in breaking the force of the battering-ram, and here again the necessity of defense shows its vitality in the existence of such a well-engineered detail. The absence of the finer qualities of building craft can be traced to the same source.
Foundations of fortifications were usually on rock which was sometimes squared for a bed, but more often leveled up with small stones. A portion of the South wall of Jerusalem, certainly late (5th century A.D.), was laid on a foundation of small rubble resting on debris, accumulated over an earlier wall. (See Plate IV, Excavations at Jerusalem, p. 29.) In smaller buildings, the foundations were usually laid on the debris of earlier structures. At Lachish mud brick walls were laid on a foundation of stone. A peculiar method of spreading a layer of sand under the foundations was also noted (see A Mound of Many Cities, 125-26).
4. Modern Methods:
The native wall of today is less rudely built and is bedded in lime mortar. It is a broad wall usually about 3 ft. thick, with inner and outer faces of large stones, filled in between with small rubble without proper bond, somewhat in the manner of ancient building. To make up for the want of bond, it is a common habit to insert a piece of steel joint across the return angle (see BEAM). The building and hewing methods, in all probability, are the same as they were in early Jewish times. Hewers sit at their work, with the plane of the stone on which they operate, lying obliquely from them. Stones are conveyed from the quarry, if at a distance from the building site, on donkeys, thence on men's backs to the top of the wall, by rude gangways. Every man digs his "own cistern" (Isaiah 36:16), which is sunk in the rock under the site of the house, and used as a quarry from which stones for the building are supplied. If water is scarce, the cistern is sunk first, and the winter rains are allowed to collect and provide the necessary water for the building.
To build up is often used in the sense of giving increase and prosperity, or of stablishing and strengthening. Thus in Job 22:23 Psalm 69:35 Jeremiah 18:9. A kindred sense is to restore what was decayed, as in Isaiah 58:12. To "build an house" for a person is to grant him children or a numerous posterity (Ruth 4:11; of David, 2 Samuel 7:27 1 Chronicles 17:10). Spiritually, the word is used of one's work in life, or of the formation of character and habits. The main thing here is the foundation. Those who build on Christ's word build on rock; those who reject this word build on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Christ is the sole true foundation; the work which a man builds on this will be tried by fire (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). The church is compared to a building (1 Corinthians 3:9 1 Peter 2:4-6) reared on the foundation of apostles and prophets (their truths or teaching), Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone (Ephesians 2:20-22). Believers are "builded up" in Christ (Colossians 2:7), and are exhorted to build themselves up on their most holy faith (Jude 1:20).
See ARCHITECTURE; HOUSE; FORTIFICATION.
A. C. Dickie