Throughout the Iron Age – the period of the Old Testament – the pillared house was the dominant house form in Judah and Israel, both in cities and in rural settlements. It is also referred to as the four-room house or sometimes the three-room house. Essentially, it has one broad room at the back of the house, at times divided into two. The space at the front of the house is divided into three rooms, often separated by pillars, sometimes by walls. These rooms run longitudinally from the front of the house to the broad room at the back. The entrance of the house was in one of these longitudinal rooms. The smaller three-room house has only two longitudinal rooms. That does not necessarily mean that a house had only three or four rooms. At times the basic rooms were subdivided. And it is generally believed that most houses had a second storey. Whether it covered the entire house is not yet certain. Here’s an artist’s reconstruction of a house on Tell Halif in the 8th century, built against the city wall.
The central entrance room was probably used as a stable. The room to its left had weaving implements and was maybe used as a work-room of some kind. The long room to the right had various implements which indicate that wine-making took place here. The broad room at the back looks like a living room, and the broad room at the right was probably used for storage. The people probably slept either in the living room or in rooms on the upper level.
Note the roof roller on the flat roof. It was used to compact the roof regularly and repair any patches so that no drips would develop.
Illustration by Dylan Karges. Thanks to James W. Hardin for letting me use the illustration.