The Lamp Below the ladder leading to the sleeping loft is a typical “window” wall that allowed air circulation and more openness between rooms. In the window wall is an oil container made from the skin of a goat. Similar skins were used for carrying wine or water. The photograph on the right displays a small lamp typical of household lamps from first-century Israel. They burned olive oil and provided a small amount of light. Most people went to bed at sunset and got up at dawn. Honest people did not work after dark (hence the phrase “works of darkness”). The bridesmaids of Jesus’ parable are described as having such lamps. The difficulty of providing light gave birth to a Jewish proverb Jesus quoted: Someone with a good eye is generous while someone with a bad eye is stingy. In that sense, Jesus said, the eye is the lamp of the body. A good eye provides light and a bad eye only darkness.


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