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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Fenced Cities

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The distinction between a "city" and a "village" in the Bible is, the former had walls. The village had sometimes a watchman's tower, where the villagers repaired when in danger. Such towers Uzziah built in the desert for the protection of husbandmen and cattle from marauding tribes (2 Chronicles 26:10). David too had "castles" (1 Chronicles 27:25). Argob in Bashan, Og's kingdom, E. of Jordan, had "three-score cities fenced with high walls, gates and bars, beside unwalled towns a great many" (Deuteronomy 3:4-5); all which Israel took. (See ARGOB.) Villages in the Hauran sometimes consist of houses joined together and the entrance closed by a gate for security against Arab marauders.

"Build" often means "fortify" (2 Chronicles 11:5-10; 2 Chronicles 16:6; 1 Kings 15:17). The defenses consisted of one or more walls with battlemented parapets and towers at intervals (2 Chronicles 32:5; Jeremiah 31:38), whereon were war engines, also a citadel or tower, the last resource of the defenders (Judges 9:46; Judges 9:51; 2 Kings 9:17; 2 Chronicles 26:9; 2 Chronicles 26:15). Ninety towers crowned the oldest of Jerusalem's three walls, fourteen the second, sixty the third (B. J., 5:4, section 2). The tower of Hananeel is mentioned Jeremiah 31:38; Zechariah 14:10; Nehemiah 3:1, where also is mentioned "the tower of Meah," "the tower of the furnaces" (Nehemiah 3:11), "the great tower that lieth out even unto the wall of Ophel" (Nehemiah 3:27). An out-work is meant by the "ditch" or "trench," possibly a wall lining the ditch (1 Kings 21:23; 2 Samuel 20:15).

"The castle" of Antonia was the citadel of Jerusalem in our Lord's time; it served also to overawe the town, the Roman soldiers occupying it (Acts 21:34). Canaan's "cities fenced up to heaven" were leading causes of the spies' and Israel's unbelieving panic (Numbers 13:28; Deuteronomy 1:28; Deuteronomy 9:1-2). These the Israelites "rebuilt," i.e. refortified (Numbers 32:17; Numbers 32:34-42). So fenced was "the stronghold of Zion" that it remained in the Jebusites' hands until David's time (2 Samuel 5:6-7). Samaria yielded to the mighty hosts of Assyria only after a three years' siege (2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 18:10).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Fenced Cities'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/f/fenced-cities.html. 1949.

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