Till their sojourn in Egypt the Hebrews dwelt in tents. They then for the first time inhabited cities (Genesis 47:3; Exodus 12:7; Hebrews 11:9). From the earliest times the Assyrians and the Canaanites were builders of cities. The Hebrews after the Conquest took possession of the captured cities, and seem to have followed the methods of building that had been pursued by the Canaanites. Reference is made to the stone (1 Kings 7:9; Isaiah 9:10) and marble (1 Chronicles 29:2) used in building, and to the internal wood-work of the houses (1 Kings 6:15; 7:2; 10:11, 12; 2 Chronicles 3:5; Jeremiah 22:14). "Ceiled houses" were such as had beams inlaid in the walls to which wainscotting was fastened (Ezra 6:4; Jeremiah 22:14; Haggai 1:4). "Ivory houses" had the upper parts of the walls adorned with figures in stucco with gold and ivory (1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chronicles 3:6; Psalm 45:8).
The roofs of the dwelling-houses were flat, and are often alluded to in Scripture (2 Samuel 11:2; Isaiah 22:1; Matthew 24:17). Sometimes tents or booths were erected on them (2 Samuel 16:22). They were protected by parapets or low walls (Deuteronomy 22:8). On the house-tops grass sometimes grew (Proverbs 19:13; 27:15; Psalm 129:6, 7). They were used, not only as places of recreation in the evening, but also sometimes as sleeping-places at night (1 Samuel 9:25, 26; 2 Samuel 11:2; 16:22; Dan. 4:29; Job 27:18; Proverbs 21:9), and as places of devotion (Jeremiah 32:29; 19:13).