Furniture

FURNITURE (כְּלִי, H3998, article, utensil, vessel). Since the word keli basically means “anything made,” “finished,” or “produced,” the Eng. VSS tr. the word in a variety of ways: furniture, furnishings, instrument, thing, stuff, utensils, vessel. It is often used of the various articles of furniture, implements, and vessels of the Tabernacle which God asked Moses to make according to the pattern shown to him in the Mount—the brazen altar and laver, the table of showbread, the golden lampstand, the altar of incense, the ark and mercy-seat (Exod 25:9 KJV “instruments,” RSV “furniture,” KJV “furniture,” RSV “utensils”; 31:9 KJV “furniture,” RSV “utensils”; 35:14 KJV “furniture,” RSV “utensils”; 39:33 KJV “furniture,” RSV “utensils”; 40:9 KJV “vessels,” RSV “furniture”; 1 Chron 9:29 KJV “vessels,” RSV “furniture”).

When Nehemiah discovered that Tobiah had been given a furnished chamber in the Temple, in anger he threw all the household furniture out of the room (Neh 13:8 KJV “stuff”).

In Genesis 31:34 the Heb. word כָּר, H4122, is tr. “furniture” in the KJV, but “saddle” in the RSV. The reference is to a “basket-saddle.” It was in this that Rachel successfully hid the household gods from her father.

Household furniture in Biblical Pal. was very simple. Handwoven curtains separated the men’s and the women’s quarters. Beds were found only in the homes of the wealthy; the average person used sleeping mats, which were rolled up when not in use. Since houses were primarily a place for sleeping, and people spent most of their time out of doors, there was little furniture in the house. Mats spread on the bare floor served in place of tables and chairs. Sometimes stone or wooden benches, covered with carpet, were placed along the walls. With the wealthy it was different, as evident in the denunciation of the grandees of Samaria by the prophet Amos, who, he said, luxuriated in beds of ivory and lazily stretched themselves upon couches (Amos 3:12; 6:4).

Bibliography

M. S. and J. L. Miller, Encyclopedia of Bible Life (1944), 246-252.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


In Ac 27:19 the word skeue is translated in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "tackling," with "furniture" in the Revised Version, margin.

By way of information regarding the general furniture of the house little is said directly in the Scriptures. The chamber built for Elisha upon the wall contained a bed, a table, a seat, and lampstand. This was doubtless the furnishing of most bedrooms when it could be afforded. The prophet Amos had a supreme contempt for the luxurious furniture of the grandees of Samaria (3:12; 6:4). For full particulars see House; Tabernacle; TEMPLE.