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WALL. In ancient times throughout the East the walls of houses were built of crude or sun-baked brick. Stone was used only in a certain few localities where it was plentiful. In Chaldea stone was entirely absent; in Assyria it was so rare that it was used only as an accessory. In Palestine houses were constructed of crude brick, although sometimes wood, mud-brick, and stone were used in alternate layers. In Egypt houses were built of crude brick mixed with chopped straw. Every ancient city had enormous walls surrounding it, sometimes containing chambers inside. There still exist some of the stones in the wall of the temple enclosure at Jerusalem. They measure thirty feet (nine m.) long, eight feet (two and one-half m.) wide, and three and one-half feet (one m.) high, weighing over eighty tons (seventy-three metric tons). Josephus tells of stones in the temple of Solomon sixty feet (eighteen m.) long.

WALL. This word is the tr. of several Heb. and Gr. words. That for field or vineyard is sometimes גָּדֵר, H1555, (Isa 5:5) or שׁוּר, H8803, (2 Sam 22:30), while the most frequent word is חוֹמָה, H2570, city or building. House walls were usually made of mud brick set on rubble stone base courses, with walls of rubble stone occasionally set in mud mortar. City walls in early times were built vertically without any outer glacis for protection; down to the beginning of Iron Age II they were casemate type walls and later they were solid and thick to resist the Assyrian battering rams. Thicknesses varied between three and five meters with projecting bastions. The latter were crowned with overhangs to ward off attackers, and crenelations to protect archers.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)



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