Sleep (properly יָשֵׁ, καθεύδω) is taken in Scripture either (1) for the sleep or repose of the body (Jon 1:5-6; Ps 4:8) or (2) the sleep of the soul, i.e. supineness, indolence, or stupid inactivity of the wicked (Ro 13:11-12; Eph 5:14; 1Co 15:34), whose "damnation slumbereth not" (2Pe 2:3); or (3) for the sleep of death (Jer 51:39; Da 12:2; Joh 11:11; 1Co 15:51; 1Th 4:13-14). SEE DEATH. The early Christians looked upon the death of the body as a sleep from which they should awake to inherit glory everlasting. In the Greek word cemetery, signifying a sleeping place, applied by them to the tomb, there is a manifest sense of hope and immortality, the result of Christianity. In the catacombs of Rome, where.multitudes of the early Christians rest in hope, among the inscriptions may be read, in a Latin dress, "Victorina Sleeps;" "Zoticus laid here to Sleep;" "The Sleeping place of Elpis;" "Gemella sleeps in Peace." Emblems of their sure and certain hope of a resurrection abound; such as a vessel supporting a burning flame, and the palm branch and wreath; signifying victory over death. SEE INSCRIPTIONS.

The manner of sleeping in Eastern climates is very different from that in colder regions. The present usages appear to be the same as those of the ancient Jews. Beds of feathers are altogether unknown, and the Orientals generally lie exceedingly hard. Poor people who have no certain home, or when on a journey, or employed at a distance from their dwellings, sleep on mats, or wrapped in their outer garment, which, from its importance in this respect was forbidden to be retained in pledge over night (D'Arvieux, 3, 257; Ge 9:21,23; Ex 22:26-27; De 24:12-13). Under peculiar circumstances a stone covered with some, folded cloth or piece of dress is often used for a pillow (Ge 28:11). The wealthy classes sleep on mattresses stuffed with wool or cotton, which are often no other than a quilt thickly padded, and are used either singly or one or more placed upon each other. A similar quilt of finer materials forms the coverlet in winter, and in summer a thin blanket suffices; but sometimes the convenient outer garment is used for the latter purpose, and was so among the Jews, as we learn from 1Sa 19:13, where Michal covers with a cloak or mantle (corresponding to the modern abba or hyk) the im, age which was to represent her husband sleeping. SEE BOLSTER. The difference of use here is, that the poor wrap themselves up in it, and it forms their whole bed; whereas the rich employ it as a covering only. A pillow is placed upon the mattress, and over both, in good houses, is laid a sheet. The bolsters are more valuable than the mattresses, both in respect of their. coverings, and material. They are, usually stuffed with cotton or other soft substance (Eze 13:18,.20); but instead of these, skins of goats or sheep appear to have been formerly used by the poorer classes and in the hardier ages. These skins were probably sewed up in the natural shape, like water skins, and stuffed with chaff or wool (1Sa 19:13). SEE PILLOW.

It is evident that the ancient Jews, like the modern inhabitants of their land. seldom or never changed their dress on going to bed. Most people only divest themselves of their outer garment, and loosen the ligatures of the waist, excepting during the hottest part of the summer, when they sleep almost entirely unclad. SEE COUCH.

Bible concordance for SLEEP.

As the floors of the better sort of Eastern houses were of tile or plaster and were covered with mats or carpets, and as shoes were not worn on them, and the feet were washed, and no filthy habits of modern times prevailed, their floors seldom required sweeping or scrubbing; so that frequently the thick, coarse mattresses were thrown down at night to sleep upon (Hackett, Illust. of Script. p. 104). SEE BEDCHAMBER. The poorer people used skins for the same purpose, and frequently they had but a simple mattress, or a cloak, or a blanket, which probably also answered to wrap themselves in by day (Ex 22:26-27; De 24:12-13). Hence it was easy for the persons whom Jesus healed "to take up their beds and walk" (Mt 9:6; Mr 2:9; Joh 5:8). SEE BEDSTEAD.

To be tormented in bed, where, men seek rest, is a symbol of great tribulation and anguish of body and mind (Job 33:19; Ps 41:3; Isa 28:20). SEE BED.

Definition of sleep

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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