Bible Dictionaries
Word: Roof


  • Fausset:
    The roof is often of a material which could easily be broken up, as it was by the paralytic's friends: sticks, thorn bushes (bellan), with mortar, and marl or earth. A stone roller is kept on the top to harden the flat roof that rain may not enter. Amusement, business, conversation (I Sa. 9:25), and worship (Act. 10:9) are carried on here, especially in the evening, as a pleasant and cool retreat (2 Sa. 11:2) from the narrow filthy streets of an eastern town. Translated 1 Sa. 9:26, "about daybreak Samuel called (from below, within the house, up) to Saul upon the top (or roof) of the house (where Saul was sleeping upon the balcony, compare 2 Ki. 4:10), Rise up," etc. On the flat roof it was that Rahab spread the flax to dry, hiding the spies (Jos. 2:6)
      Here, in national calamities, the people retired to bewail their state (Isa. 15:3; Jer. 48:38); here in times of danger they watched the foe advancing (Isa. 22:1, "thou art wholly gone up to the housetops"), or the bearer of tidings approaching (2 Sa. 18:24, 33). On the top of the upper chamber, as the highest point of the house, the kings of Judah made idolatrous altars to the sun and heavenly hosts (2 Ki. 23:12; Jer. 19:13; 32:29). Retributively in kind, as they burnt incense to Baal the god of fire, the Chaldeans should burn the houses, the scene of his worship, with fire (Zep. 1:5). On the top of the house the tent was spread for Absalom's incestuous act with his father's concubines, to show the breach with David was irreparable (2 Sa. 16:21-22).
      On the housetop publicly the disciples should proclaim what Jesus privately taught them (Mat. 10:27; Luk. 12:3). Here Peter in prayer saw the vision (Act. 10:9). From the balustraded vast roof of Dagon's temple the 3,000 Philistines witnessed Samson's feats (Jdg. 16:27). Here the people erected their booths for the feast of tabernacles (Neh. 8:16). The partly earth materials gave soil for grass to spring in rain, speedily about to wither, because of the shallowness of soil, under the sun's heat like the sinner's evanescent prosperity (2 Ki. 19:26; Psa. 129:6).
      Though pleasant in the cool evening and night, at other times the housetop would be anything but pleasant; so "it is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop (though there exposed to wind, rain, heat, and cold) than with a brawling woman in a wide house" (Pro. 21:9).
  • Funk & Wagnall's:
    The roof of the house, which had to be repaired annually before the beginning of winter, was a favorite resort for purposes of evening recreation (2 Sa. 11:2), or for private conversation (1 Sa. 9:25), or for lamentation (Is. 15:3; Jer. 48:38). From such frequent use of the roof we get the reason for the common law in Dt. 22:8, that roofs should be provided with a battlement. But in spite of this, one could easily leap from one roof to another, so that it was possible in this manner to go the length of whole streets (Mk. 13:15, and Jos. Ant. XIII, 5, 3). Houses of the well-to-do were often provided with a superstructure on the roof, 'aliyyah, used as a sleeping-, guest-, or sick-chamber (1 Ki. 17:19; 2 Ki. 4:10f). Here also one went for prayer (2 Ki. 23:12; Tob. 3:10; Dn. 6:11; cf. Ac. 10:9). This usually had two places of exit, one leading to the lower chamber, the other directly to the street (Mk. 2:4).
  • Nelson's:
    The top of a house. The roof of a typical house in Palestine usually was flat and often was used as a sitting area. The roof was used as a place both to relax and to observe the surrounding area (2 Sam. 11:2). The phrase, "under my roof," suggested hospitality. Thus, when the centurion whose servant Jesus healed did not feel worthy of having Jesus "under my roof" (Mt. 8:8), he was saying that he had no right to entertain Him.

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Roof Texts
Genesis 19:4-8--But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them." 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof (b:TSE^L qoRA^thiy; LXX: hyPO te-n SKEPe-n to-n doKO-N mou)." (ESV)
Alt.:--for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. (KJV)
Alt.:--because they have come under the protection of my roof. (HCSB)
Alt.:--since I'm responsible for them. (GWT)
Alt.:--But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 22:8--When you build a new house, install a parapet (ma?aqeh, LXX: stephANe-n) along your roof (l:ghagekha^, LXX: to- DO-MaTI) so that if someone falls from the roof, you won't bring guilt of bloodshed on your house (LXX: te- oiKIa). (ISV)
Alt.:--When you build a new house, you shall make a railing (parapet) around your [flat] roof, so that you do not bring the guilt of [innocent] blood on your house if someone falls from it. (AMP)
Alt.:--When you build a new house, build a low wall around the edge of [a fence/parapet on] the roof [the flat roofs of Israelite houses were used for living space] so you will not be guilty [have bloodguilt] if someone falls off the roof [to avoid negligent homicide]. (EXB)

Joshua 2:6-9--But she had brought them up to the roof (haga^gha^h, LXX: epI to DO-Ma, upon the house) of the house and hid them with the stalks of flax which she had laid in order upon the roof (haga^gh, LXX: epI tou DO-Matos, on the house). 7 And the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan unto the fords; and as soon as those who pursued after them had gone out, they shut the gate. 8 And before they lay down, she came up unto them upon the roof (haga^gh, LXX: epI to DO-Ma, on the top of the house), 9 and she said unto the men, "I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. (KJ21)
Alt.:--But the two spies were still on Rahab's roof. She came up and found them awake.
Rahab: I know the Eternal has given your people this land. Your coming has paralyzed us all with fear. (Voice)

Judges 16:27--Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and upon the roof (hagha^g, LXX: epI to DO-Ma, on the roof) there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson made sport. (Darby)
Alt.:--Now the house was full of men and women; and all the cardinals of the Philistines were there, and upon the roof there were about three thousand men and women that beheld while Samson was mocked. (EJ2000)
Alt.:--For this occasion the building was full of peopleómen and women and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. About 3,000 people stood on the roof watching as Samson leaned against the pillars. [The crowd watched and waited with anticipation.] (Voice)

2 Samuel 11:2--One evening, David got up from his couch and was pacing back and forth on the roof (?al-gagh, LXX: epI tou DO-Matos) of the palace (tou OIKou). From the roof (haga^gh, LXX: apO tou DO-Matos) he saw a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. (CEB)
Alt.:--Late one afternoon, David got up from a nap and was walking around on the flat roof of his palace. A beautiful young woman was down below in her courtyard, bathing as her religion required. David happened to see her (CEV)
Alt.:--One evening [afternoon] David got up from his bed [midday rest] and walked around on the roof [the flat roofs of Israelite houses were used for living space] of his palace [the king's house]. (EXB)

2 Samuel 18:24-25--Now David was sitting between the two gates; and the lookout went up to the roof ('el-gagh, LXX: eis to DO-Ma) of the gate by the wall, and when he raised his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25 The lookout called down and told the king. (AMP)
Alt.:--Meanwhile, David was sitting between the inner and outer gates in the city wall. One of his soldiers was watching from the roof of the gate-tower. (CEV)
Alt.:--When the watchman climbed the stairs to his post at the top of the wall (LB)
Alt.:--The man on guard duty went up to the roof over the entrance of the gate by the wall. (NIRV)

Nehemiah 8:14-17--And they found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, 15 and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, saying, "Go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths, as it is written." 16 Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house (?al-gagow, LXX: epI tou DO-Matos auTOU), or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. 17 So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. (NKJV)
Alt.:--So the people gathered branches and made shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards (CEV)
Alt.:--They built shelters [booths] on their roofs [roofs were living space], in their courtyards (EXB)

Jeremiah 19:13--and the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, which are defiled, shall be as the place of Topheth, even all the houses upon whose roofs (gagothe^yhem, LXX: epI to-n do-mATo-n autO-N) they have offered unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink-offerings unto other gods. (JPS17)
Alt.:--I will make Jerusalem as unclean as Topheth, by filling the city with your dead bodies. I will do this because you and your kings have gone up to the roofs of your houses and burned incense to the stars in the sky, as though they were gods. And you have given sacrifices of wine to foreign gods. (CEV)
Alt.:--The houses in Jerusalem, the houses of the kings of Judah, and all the rooftops of the houses will be unclean like this city Topheth. This is because people burned incense to the entire army of heaven (GWT)
Alt.:--They'll bury bodies here in Topheth until there's no more room. And the whole city will become a Topheth. The city will be turned by people and kings alike into a center for worshiping the star gods and goddesses, turned into an open grave, the whole city an open grave, stinking like a sewer, like Topheth. (Mes)

Jeremiah 32:29--and the Chaldeans, that fight against this city, shall come and set this city on fire, and burn it, with the houses, upon whose roofs (gagowthe^yhem, LXX: epI to-n do-mATo-n autO-N) they have offered unto Baal, and poured out drink-offerings unto other gods, to provoke Me (hakh:?is.e^niy, LXX: parapikranAI me). (JPS17)
Alt.:-- the houses where people have made me angry by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops (GNT)
Alt.:--where they have made smoke offerings on their roofs to Baal (LEB)
Alt.:--And the houses will burn where people have given special perfume to Baal on their roofs (NLV)
Alt.:--Their offerings have ignited my anger. (Voice)

Ezekiel 40:12-13--The space also before the little chambers was one cubit on this side, and the space was one cubit on that side: and the little chambers were six cubits on this side, and six cubits on that side. 13 He measured then the gate from the roof (migagh, LXX: aPO tou TOIchou) of one little chamber to the roof (l:ghagow, LXX: ePI ton TOIchon) of another: the breadth was five and twenty cubits, door against door. (KJV)
Alt.:--There was a barrier before the side rooms, one cubit on either side. And the side rooms were six cubits on either side. Then he measured the gate from the ceiling of the one side room to the ceiling of the other, a breadth of twenty-five cubits; the openings faced each other. (ESV)
Alt.:--And he took the measure of the doorway from the back of one room to the back of the other, twenty-five cubits across, from door to door. (BBE)

Matthew 8:8-9--But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof (hyPO te-n STEGe-n); but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." (RSV)
Alt.:--"Sir," replied the Captain, "I am not a fit person to receive you under my roof: merely say the word (Wey)
Alt.:--But the officer said, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are (NLT)
Very similar: Luke 7:6.

Matthew 10:27--What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. (NIV)
Alt.:--What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! (NLT)
Alt.:--whatever you hear with your ears, preach on the rooftops. (ABPE)
Alt.:--what ye hear in the ear preach upon the houses. (Darby)
Alt.:--what is whispered into your ear, proclaim upon the roofs of the houses. (Wey)

Matthew 24:16-17--then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop (epI tou DO-Matos) go down to take anything out of the house (ek te-s oiKIas). (NIV)
Alt.:--Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things that are in his house [because there will not be enough time]. (AMP)
Alt.:--If you are on the roof of your house, don't go inside to get anything. (CEV)
Alt.:--Those on their porches must not even go inside to pack before they flee. (LB)
Very similar: Mark 13:15; Luke 17:31.

Mark 2:2-5--And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. 3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy (paralytiKON), which was borne of four. 4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof (apeSTEGasan te-n STEGe-n) where he was: and when they had broken it up (exoRYXantes), they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 5 When Jesus saw their faith (te-n PIStin auTO-N), he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (KJV)
Alt.:--Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying. (HCSB)
Alt.:--so they dug through the clay roof above his head and lowered the sick man on his stretcher, right down in front of Jesus. (LB)
Alt.:--they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. [Palestinian roofs were generally flat and made of thatch and dried mud.]
Alt.:--So they made a hole by digging through the roof above Jesus. (NIRV)
Alt.:--they unroofed the roof where He was. (DLNT)

Luke 5:19--And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop (ePI to DO-Ma), and let him down through the tiling (diA to-n kerAMo-n) with his couch into the midst before Jesus. (KJV)
Alt.:--they went up on the roof, removed some tiles, and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, he said, "Friend, I forgive your sins." (Mes)
Alt.:--So they went up on the roof and lowered the man on his mat through the ceiling (NCV)
Alt.:--they went up on the roof and lowered him on the mat through the roof tiles (HCSB)

Luke 12:1-3--During this time when a crowd of many thousands had gathered together, so that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware for yourselves of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But nothing is concealed (synkekalymMENon) that will not be revealed (apokalyphTHE-setai), and secret (krypTON) that will not be made known (gno-sTHE-setai). 3 Therefore everything that you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops (ePI to-n do-mATo-n). (LEB)
Alt.:--But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (NASB)
Alt.:--But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. (AMP)
Alt.:--For there is nothing covered up which is not going to be exposed, nor anything private which is not going to be made public. (Phillips)
Alt.:--what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! (NLT)
Alt.:--will be preached on the rooftops. (ABPE)
Alt.:--What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (NIV)
Alt.:--You can't keep your true self hidden forever; before long you'll be exposed. You can't hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town. (Mes)

Acts 10:9-- The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop (ePI to DO-Ma) to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance (EKstasis) 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13 And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat." 14 But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean." 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." (NKJV)
Alt.:--Peter went up on the roof of the house about the sixth hour (noon) to pray, (AMP)
Alt.:--Peter went up about mid-day on to the flat roof of the house to pray. (Phillips)
Alt.:--Peter went out on the balcony to pray. It was about noon. Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch. While lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the skies open up. Something that looked like a huge blanket lowered by ropes at its four corners settled on the ground. Every kind of animal and reptile and bird you could think of was on it. (Mes)
Alt.:--Peter went up on the flat rooftop of Simon the tanner's house. He planned to pray, (Voice)
Alt.:--Peter went up to the higher parts of the house to pray (DR)
Alt.:--"What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy)." (AMP)
Alt.:--"God has made these things pure. Don't say they are unfit to eat." (ERV)

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