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November 22    Scripture



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Manners & Customs: Cities and Villages
Characteristics of cities and villages in ancient Biblical times

Ancient Gates Character of gates. The gates of an Oriental city were of course connected with the walls; nevertheless, they were in a sense a structure by themselves. They were usually made of wood or stone, or wood that had been armored with metal. The Psalmist speaks of gates of brass (copper), and gates of iron (Psalm 107:16). Often they were two-leaved (Isaiah 45:1), and were provided with heavy locks and bars (I Samuel 23:7). Sometimes a city or town had two walls and therefore two gates with a space between them. A sentinel was stationed in the tower of the first gate. When David was at Mahanaim awaiting the result of the battle with Absalom, Scripture says: "And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone" (II Samuel 18:24). This space between the gates was used for many purposes. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Ancient Market Place THE MARKET PLACE The market place is not only a place for the purchase of goods, it is also a place for the people to gather for many other purposes. It is one of the most popular places in an Oriental city. (See section on "Merchants" p. 221 ff. especially: The merchant's place of business.) [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Ancient Walls The Oriental Town or City WALLS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CITY AND VILLAGE, AS TO WALLS. In early Old Testament times the villages were smaller places of abode without walls around them, whereas the cities or towns were larger places that had walls around them. The Mosaic Law made such a distinction: "If a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city" (Leviticus 25:29). "But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them" (Leviticus 25:31). The villages were often located near a fortified city upon which they were more or less dependent. Thus the city was the metropolis of the villages. We often read in the Bible of "cities and their villages," Some speak of the expression: "cities and their daughters," indicating a mother-city, and her dependent villages surrounding her (cf. Joshua 15:45 and 17:11).1 Walls a part of city fortifications. In Bible times most cities were walled and fortified for protection against an enemy. Those living in a city without walls would be interested in having walls built for them. Often when the Bible says that a certain character built a city, what is meant is not that a new site was located and a new city was built, but rather that a city already inhabited was supplied with walls entirely around its confines.2 It was thus that Solomon built "Bethhoron the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars" (II Chronicles 8:5). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Beggars In Eastern cities there are usually many beggars. In Old Testament times the idea of a beggar going from door to door to ask for alms was little known among the Jews. The law of Moses provided for the needy by requiring that the Jews purposely leave some of the harvest for the poor. Also mortgaged property was returned to the original owner at the year of jubilee. However, beggars were not entirely unknown, for Hannah speaks of them in her song of thanksgiving (1 Samuel 2:8). The Psalmist promised that beggary would be the lot of the wicked (Psalm 109:10), and also that the righteous would be kept from the necessity for it (Psalm 37 :25). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Cities in Naves Topical Bible Ancient Ge 4:17; 10:10-12 -Fortified Nu 32:36; De 9:1; Jos 10:20; 14:12; 2Ch 8:5; 11:10- 12; 17:2,19; 21:3; Isa 23:11 -Gates of See GATES -Designated as Royal Jos 10:2; 1Sa 27:5; 2Sa 12:26; 1Ch 11:7 Treasure Ge 41:48; Ex 1:11; 1Ki 9:19; 2Ch 8:4; 16:4; 17:12 Chariot 2Ch 1:14; 8:6; 9:25 Merchant Isa 23:11; Eze 17:4; 27:3 -Town clerk of Ac 19:35 -Government of, by rulers Ne 3:9,12,17,18; 7:2 -See GOVERNMENT -Suburbs of Nu 35:3-5; Jos 14:4 -Watchmen of See WATCHMAN -FIGURATIVE Heb 11:10,16; 12:22; 13:14

Cities in Smiths Bible Dictionary The earliest notice in Scripture of city-building is of Enoch by Cain, in the land of his exile. Ge 4:17 After the confusion of tongues the descendants of Nimrod founded Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, and Asshur, a branch from the same stock, built Nineveh, Rehoboth-by-the-river, Calah and Resen, the last being "a great city." The earliest description of a city, properly so called, is that of Sodom, Ge 19:1-22 Even before the time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt, Ge 12:14,15; Nu 13:22 and the Israelites, during their sojourn there, were employed in building or fortifying the "treasure cities" of Pithom and Raamses. Ex 1:11 Fenced cities, fortified with high walls, De 3:5 were occupied and perhaps partly rebuilt after the conquest, by the settled inhabitants of Syria on both sides of the Jordan.

Cities Scripture - 1 Chronicles 6:65 And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities, which are called by [their] names.

Cities Scripture - 1 Kings 10:26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.

Cities Scripture - 1 Kings 20:34 And [Benhadad] said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then [said Ahab], I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.

Cities Scripture - 1 Kings 9:11 ([Now] Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

Cities Scripture - 2 Chronicles 13:19 And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof.

Cities Scripture - 2 Chronicles 26:6 And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.

Cities Scripture - 2 Kings 23:8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that [were] in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which [were] on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.

Cities Scripture - Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift [it] up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Cities Scripture - Joshua 13:23 And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border [thereof]. This [was] the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof.

Cities Scripture - Numbers 35:5 And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city [shall be] in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities.

City in Easton's Bible Dictionary The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues, the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12). Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon, Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34; 47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33, 35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides many others spoken of in the history of Israel. A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5). There was also within the city generally a tower to which the citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52). A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge, three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron, on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead, and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14. When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city, which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town (Luke 2:4). Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city (Neh. 11:1). Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions of war were stored. (See PITHOM -T0002968.)

City in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Cain first founded one (Genesis 4:16-17). The material civilization of the Cainite race was superior to that of the Sethite. To the former belonged many inventions of useful arts and luxury (Genesis 4:20-22). Real refinement and moral civilization are by no means necessary concomitants of material civilization; in these the Sethites took the lead (Genesis 4:25-26). The distinction between tent or nomadic and town life early began. The root meaning of the Hebrew terms for "city," 'ar or 'ir (from 'ur "to keep watch"), and kirat (from qarah "to approach as an enemy," Genesis 23:2) implies that a leading object of gathering into towns was security against marauders. So, "the tower of Edar," i.e. flocks (Genesis 35:21). Of course, the first "cities" would be mere groups of rude dwellings, fenced round together. Sir H. Rawlinson supposes Rehoboth, Calah, etc., in Genesis 10:11, denote only sites of buildings afterward erected. The later dates assigned to the building of Nineveh, Babylon, etc., refer to their being rebuilt on a larger scale on the sites of the primitive towns. Unwalled towns are the symbol of peace and security (Zechariah 2:4). Special cities furnished supplies for the king's service (1 Kings 9:19; 1 Kings 4:7; 1 Chronicles 27:25; 2 Chronicles 17:12). So, our Lord represents the different servants having the number of cities assigned them in proportion to their faithfulness (Luke 19:17; Luke 19:19). Forty-eight cities were assigned to the Levites, of which 13 were for the family of Aaron, nine were in Judah, four were in Benjamin, and six were cities of refuge. The streets of eastern cities are generally narrow, seldom allowing more than two loaded camels to pass one another. But Nineveh's admitted of chariots passing, and had large parks and gardens within (Nahum 2:4). Those of one trade generally lived on the same street (Jeremiah 37:21). The GATES are the usual place of assembly, and there courts of judges and kings are held (Genesis 23:10; Rth 4:1).

City in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE sit'-i (`ir, qiryah; polis): I. THE CANAANITE CITY 1. Origin 2. Extent 3. Villages 4. Sites 5. External Appearance 6. General II. THE CITY OF THE JEWISH OCCUPATION 1. Tower or Stronghold 2. High Place 3. Broad Place 4. Streets 5. General Characteristics III. STORE CITIES IV. LEVITICAL CITIES LITERATURE I. The Canaanite City. 1. Origin: The development of the Canaanite city has been traced by Macalister in his report on the excavation at Gezer (Israel Exploration Fund Statement, 1904, 108 ff). It originated on the slopes of a bare rocky spur, in which the Neolithic Troglodytes quarried their habitations out of the solid rock, the stones therefrom being used to form a casing to the earthen ramparts, with which the site was afterwards surrounded and which served as a protection against the intrusion of enemies. Later Semitic intruders occupied the site, stone houses were built, and high stone defense walls were substituted for the earthen stone-cased ramparts. These later walls were much higher and stronger than those of the Neilithic occupation and were the walls seen by the Israelites when they viewed the country of their promise. 2. Extent: "The people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, and very great" (Nu 13:28) was the report of the spies sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan, to see "what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds" (Nu 13:19,20). The difficulties of the task set before the advancing Israelites and their appreciation of the strength of the cities, is here recorded, and also in Dt 1:28: "The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there." This assessment of greatness was based upon comparative ignorance of such fortifications and the want of war experience and the necessary implements of assault. It need not, therefore, be supposed that the cities were "great" except by comparison in the eyes of a tent-dwelling and pastoral people. On the contrary, most recent exploration has proved that they were small (see Pere Vincent, Canaan, 27, note 3, and Pl. I, where comparative measurements of the areas of ancient cities show that, in nine cities compared, Tell Sandahannah (barely 6 acres) is the smallest). Gezer measures approximately 22 1/4 acres and Tell el-Hesy somewhat greater. By way of illustration, it is interesting to note that the Acropolis at Athens, roughly computed, measures 7:1/4 acres, while the Castle Rock at Edinburgh is about 6 acres, or the same as the whole Seleucidan city of Tell Sandahannah. The Acropolis at Tell Zakariya measures about 2 acres or nearly one-fourth of the area...

City Rulers in the Market Place Rulers in the market place. At certain times members of the city council will be found there, and they will listen to the case of those who are in trouble. What is done there is of course unofficial because the real court is at the city gates, or as we would say, the courthouse.11 Paul and Silas were taken before the magistrates in Philippi: "They caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the market place unto the rulers" (Acts 16:19). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Gates Were a Place for Justice City gates a place for holding court. One of the most important uses of the gates of an ancient city was for holding court. Stone seats were provided for the judges. Thus Lot sat in the gate as a judge (Genesis 19:1). The city gates of those days would be like our modern courthouse. It was there that Boaz went to redeem the estate of Elimelech and thus receive Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 4:1). The prophet Amos preached to Israel to "establish judgment in the gate" (Amos 5:15). The Mosaic law recognized the city gates as the place of justice: "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment" (Deuteronomy 16:18). Thus it can be seen that one of the most important places in an ancient city was the gates of that city. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Meeting at the City Gate Gateway as a meeting-place. The gateways of ancient walled cities and the open spaces near them, were popular meeting places for the people. They seemed like large halls that could care for great assemblies of people. Being vaulted, they provided a cool place to meet on a hot day. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Porters and Heavy Burdens The heavy-laden porter in the market place. In many Eastern cities, carriages or carts are not allowed to enter the city gates and carry loads to the market place. These loads of produce are carried by porters. These men are, as a role, taken from the poorest of men. What a sight it is to see them laden down with tremendous burdens on their backs! Sometimes two of these porters will stand back to back with their loads locked together and thus rest their tired bodies for a time before proceeding on their way. JESUS condemned the lawyers of his day with words that doubtless refer to their treatment of these porters. "Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers" (Luke 11:46). Perhaps Paul was thinking of porters when he said to the Galatians, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). And JESUS must have had in mind especially the poor porters of his day so laden down with burdens, when he gave that most gracious invitation, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Streets were Long, Narrow, and Windy STREETS The words used in the Hebrew Bible for streets would indicate that there were three varieties of them. -The usual street was long, narrow, and winding (Joshua 2:19 etc.). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Streets Were Sometimes Paved with Stone As a rule, Eastern streets today are narrow, and everything would indicate that they were narrow in ancient times. In the cities some of them are paved (usually with stone), but in the villages they are seldom paved. David said, "I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets" (Psalm 18:42). Isaiah refers to the "mire of the streets" (Isaiah 10:6). The city streets usually paved in Bible days would include those connected with the temple or some public building. The Oriental appreciates greatly the description of Heaven, "wherein the streets are paved with pure gold as it were transparent glass" (Revelation 21:21). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Towers Were Part of the wall TOWERS The Oriental city has had two types of towers located in it. First was the tower constructed as a part of the city wall. At this point the wall was built higher and served as a fortification. The approach of an enemy could be sighted from here, and weapons hurled down upon men who attempted to take the city. Almost every gate of any consequence would have a tower over it. Then towers were often built where the wall turned a corner. These were called "corner towers." King Uzziah made use of such towers: "And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by skilful men, to be on the towers and upon the battlements to shoot arrows and great stones withal" (II Chronicles 26: 15). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Village in Smiths Bible Dictionary This word in addition to its ordinary sense, is often used, especially in the enumeration of towns in Jos 13:15,19 to imply unwalled suburbs outside the walled towns. Arab villages, as found in Arabia, are often mere collections of stone huts, "long, low rude hovels, roofed only with the stalks of palm leaves," or covered for a time with tent- cloths, which are removed when the tribe change their quarters. Others are more solidly built, as are most of the of palestine, though in some the dwellings are mere mud-huts.

Village in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE vil'-aj (qaphar, chawwoth, qatserim, banoth, perazoth; kome): (1) The general term for a village, in common with Aramaic and Arabic is qaphar (Song 7:11; 1 Ch 27:25; kopher; 1 Sam 6:18; kephir, Neh 6:2). This designation is derived from the idea of its offering "cover" or shelter. It is used in combination, and place-names of this formation became prominent in post-Biblical times, probably because the villages so named had then grown into towns. A well-known Biblical instance of such names is Capernaum. (2) Chawwoth (always "town" in English Versions of the Bible; see HAVVOTH-JAIR) means originally a group of tents (Arabic chiwa'). These in settled life soon became more permanent dwellings, or what we understand by a village. The term, however, is applied only to the villages of Jair in the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 32:41; 1 Ki 4:13). (3) Chatserim likewise came from nomadic life. They were originally enclosures specially for cattle, alongside of which dwellings for the herdsmen and peasantry naturally grew up (see HAZAR-ADDAR; HAZOR). They were unwalled (Lev 25:31) and lay around the cities (Josh 19:8). (4) Banoth is literally "daughters." The word is applied to the dependent villages lying around the larger cities, and to which they looked as to a kind of metropolis (Nu 21:25, etc.); the Revised Version (British and American) "towns" except in Nu 32:42. (5) Perazoth means "the open country," but it soon came to mean the villages scattered in the open (Ezek 38:11; Zec 2:4; Est 9:19). Some have sought to connect the Perizzites with this word and to regard them, not as a distinct people, but as the peasant class. Attempts have also been made to connect perazon in Jdg 5:7,11 with the same root, and the King James Version rendered it "inhabitants of the villages." the Revised Version (British and American), on the contrary, gives it the meaning of "rulers." The versions indicate a word meaning authority, and probably the text should be emended to read rozenim, "rulers." A similar emendation is required in Hab 3:14. "Village" in the Revised Version (British and American) of the New Testament invariably represents the Greek kome, but in 2 Macc 8:6 the Revised Version (British and American) Apocrypha has "village" for chora, lit. "country."

Villages in Easton's Bible Dictionary (Judg. 5:7, 11). The Hebrew word thus rendered (perazon) means habitations in the open country, unwalled villages (Deut. 3:5; 1 Sam. 6:18). Others, however, following the LXX. and the Vulgate versions, render the word "rulers."

Villages in Fausset's Bible Dictionary chatser, an enclosure of huts; chatserot; from a root "to enclose"; unwalled suburbs outside of walled towns (Joshua 13:23; Joshua 13:28; Joshua 15:32; Leviticus 25:31; Leviticus 25:34). The Jehalin Arabs arrange their tents in a circle for security against attack; the village huts were often perhaps similarly arranged. Cities are often mentioned in the Old Testament with their dependent villages. So in the New Testament, Mark 8:27, "villages of Caesarea Philippi." In Mark 1:38 "village towns" (komopoleis) of Galilee. Caphar designates a regular village, and appears in "Caper-naum," which subsequently became a town; from kaphar "to cover" or "protect" (Nehemiah 6:2; 1 Chronicles 27:25).

Villages Scripture - 1 Chronicles 9:25 And their brethren, [which were] in their villages, [were] to come after seven days from time to time with them.

Villages Scripture - 1 Samuel 6:18 And the golden mice, [according to] the number of all the cities of the Philistines [belonging] to the five lords, [both] of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great [stone of] Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the LORD: [which stone remaineth] unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.

Villages Scripture - Acts 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Villages Scripture - Joshua 13:23 And the border of the children of Reuben was Jordan, and the border [thereof]. This [was] the inheritance of the children of Reuben after their families, the cities and the villages thereof.

Villages Scripture - Joshua 16:9 And the separate cities for the children of Ephraim [were] among the inheritance of the children of Manasseh, all the cities with their villages.

Villages Scripture - Judges 5:11 [They that are delivered] from the noise of archers in the places of drawing water, there shall they rehearse the righteous acts of the LORD, [even] the righteous acts [toward the inhabitants] of his villages in Israel: then shall the people of the LORD go down to the gates.

Villages Scripture - Judges 5:7 [The inhabitants of] the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel.

Villages Scripture - Numbers 21:25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.

Villages Scripture - Numbers 32:42 And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.

Villages Scripture - Psalms 10:8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.

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