Among the leading characteristics of the nomad races, those two have always been numbered whose origin has been ascribed to Jabal the son of Lameth, (Genesis 4:20) viz., to be tent-dwellers and keepers of cattle. The same may be said of the forefathers of the Hebrew race; nor was it until the return into Canaan from Egypt that the Hebrews became inhabitants of cities. An Arab tent is called beit, "house;" its covering consists of stuff, about three quarters of a yard broad, made of black goat's-hair, (Song of Solomon 1:5) laid parallel with the tent's length. This is sufficient to resist the heaviest rain. The tent-poles or columns are usually nine in number, placed in three groups; but many tents have only one pole, others two or three. The ropes which hold the tent in its place are fastened, not to the tent-cover itself, but to loops consisting of a leathern thong tied to the ends of a stick, round which is twisted a piece of old cloth, which is itself sewed to the tent-cover. The ends of the tent-ropes are fastened to short sticks or pins, which are driven into the ground with a mallet. (Judges 4:21) Round the back and sides of the tent runs a piece of stuff removable at pleasure to admit air. The tent is divided into two apartments, separated by a carpet partition drawn across the middle of the tent and fastened to the three middle posts. When the pasture near an encampment is exhausted, the tents are taken down, packed on camels and removed. (Genesis 26:17,22,25; Isaiah 38:12) In choosing places for encampment, Arabs prefer the neighborhood of trees, for the sake of the shade and coolness which they afford. (Genesis 18:4,8)
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