Build, Building

See also Build


Once a site is selected the project is laid out by the masterbuilder (viz., Gen 4:17, the city Enoch of Cain), and construction proceeds accordingly. The Bible includes reference to various kinds of building and techniques, but only as they further the Biblical purposes of inditing the story of redemption.


The chief architectural work of OT Israel is the Temple to Jahweh in Jerusalem (see Jerusalem Temple erected by Solomon to memorialize there the redemptive name of Jahweh (1 Kings 6:1ff.).

Shechem was rebuilt (refortified) by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:25) for his capital, and then he built divisive religious shrines at Dan and Bethel in defiance of God (cf. 11:38). Uzziah was particularly concerned with the defenses of Judah and built numerous towers (2 Chron 26:10) to protect the farmers and herdsmen, as well as outposts and cities among the Philistines (vv. 6ff.). Omri moved the capital of Israel from Tirzah to Samaria (1 Kings 16:23) where he built a city and included a temple to Baal (v. 32). Ahab enlarged the palace of his father. It is here that were found the proto-Ionic capitals, an indication that some thought was given concerning decoration and style, but was not destined to produce much because of the religious deterioration which brought on the end of the nation.

In the intertestamental period a number of rebuilds of Jerusalem under the Hasmoneans occurred and the city walls were moved outward. Part of David’s city was abandoned as well. The chief work, however, of the time immediately before Christ was the great complex of Herod’s Temple, built on the reconstruction of the exiles of Babylon with thicker walls and heavier roof.

Chief source of technical knowledge for construction was in Tyre (2 Sam 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1ff.). Israel, because of tendencies to minimize the grandiose, did not develop a particular architectural style.

Chief builders in Israel were David, Solomon, energetic Uzziah and flamboyant Jotham (cf. Temple [Jerusalem]). Herod’s reconstruction followed Rom. style.

Building included the use of a line (1 Kings 7:15, 23), of plummet (plumb bob; Amos 7:7, 8). The first denotes the fitting of judgment to the crime and the second connotes fig. the test of truth.


Bibliography G. Conteneau, Everyday Life in Babylon and Assyria (1954); H. E. Winlock, Models of Daily Life in Ancient Egypt (1955); National Geographic Society, Everyday Life in Ancient Times (1964); A. Badawy, Architecture in Ancient Egypt and The Near East (1966).