Father's House, Fathers' House

(beth 'abh, beth 'abhoth): Father's house in the Old Testament is (1) a dwelling, the family home (Ge 12:1; 31:14,30; 38:11; 1Sa 18:2); (2) a family or household (Ge 41:51; 46:31; Ex 12:3, the Revised Version (British and American) "fathers' houses"); (3) the group of households, of several of which the "family' or "clan" was constituted, aggregations of which formed the "tribe," generally "fathers' houses" (Nu 1:18,20 ff; Nu 17:2; Ezr 2:59; Ne 10:34, etc.); (4)the "family" (clan), mishpachah, "fathers' houses" (Ex 6:14 f; Nu 3:20 ff); (5) the tribe, "fathers' house," "houses" (Nu 7:2; 17:1-3, etc.).

In the New Testament "father's house" (oikos tou patros) occurs in the sense of dwelling, house (Lu 16:27; compare Lu 16:4). our Lord also uses the phrase (1) of the earthly temple-dwelling of God at Jerusalem (Joh 2:16, "Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise"; compare Ps 11:4; Isa 63:15); (2) of heaven as the abode of God and His children (Joh 14:2, "In my Father's house are many mansions," the Revised Version, margin "abiding places," oikia "house," "dwelling," also household, family; compare Ps 33:13; Isa 63:15; Mt 6:9). The phrase occurs also (Ac 7:20) of Moses, "nourished .... in his father's house" (oikos).

Revised Version has "father's hquse" for "principal household" (1Ch 24:6), "heads of the fathers' houses" for "chief fathers" (Nu 31:26; 32:28; 36:1; 1Ch 9:34, etc.); "one prince of a father's house," for "each of" (Jos 22:14); "the heads of the fathers' (houses)" for "the chief of the fathers," and "the fathers' houses of the chief," for "the principal fathers" (1Ch 24:31).

W. L. Walker

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