4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: City


The towns and cities of Palestine were commonly built on heights, for better security against robbers or invaders. These heights, surrounded by walls, sometimes formed the entire city. In other cases, the citadel alone crowned the hill, around and at the base of which the town was built; and in time of danger the surrounding population all took refuge in the fortified place. Larger towns and cities were often not only defended by strong outer walls, with towers and gates, but by a citadel or castle within these limits-a last resort when the rest of the city was taken, Jg 9:46,51. The "fenced cities" of the Jews, De 3:5, were of various sizes and degrees of strength; some being surrounded by high and thick stone walls, and others by feebler ramparts, often of clay or sun-dried bricks, and sometimes combustible, Isa 9:10; Am 1:7-14. They were also provided with watchmen, Ps 127:1; Song 5:7. The streets of ancient towns were usually narrow, and often unpaved. Some cities were adorned with vast parks and gardens; this was the case with Babylon, which embraced an immense at this day to form any reliable estimate of the population of the cities of Judea. Jerusalem is said by Josephus to have had 150,000 inhabitants, and to have contained, at the time of its siege by the Romans, more than a million of persons crowded in its circuit of four miles of wall. See GATE, REFUGE, WATCHMEN.

CITY OF DAVID, usually denotes mount Zion, the southwest section of Jerusalem, which David took from the Jebusites, and occupied by a palace and city called by his name. In Lu 2:11, Bethlehem his native city is meant.

CITY OF GOD, De 12:5; Ps 46:4, and the HOLY CITY, Ne 11:1, names of Jerusalem. Its modern name is El-Kuds, the Holy.

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The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which was built by Cain (Ge 4:17). After the confusion of tongues, the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (Ge 10:10-12). Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon, Gaza, Sodom, etc. (Ge 10:12,9'>19; 11:3,9; 36:31-39). The earliest description of a city is that of Sodom (Ge 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 (Nu 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 (Ge 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 (Nu 21:21,32-33,35; 32:1-3,34-42; De 3:4-5,14; 1Ki 4:13). On the west of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Jos 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 (2Ch 11:11; De 3:5). There was also within the city generally a tower to which the citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Jg 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 (Nu 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 Nu 35:9-34; De 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 (1Ch 11:5), the city of David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town (Lu 2:4).

Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city (Ne 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.)

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Cain first founded one (Ge 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 (Ge 4:20-22). Real refinement and moral civilization are by no means necessary concomitants of material civilization; in these the Sethites took the lead (Ge 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," Ge 23:2) implies that a leading object of gathering into towns was security against marauders.

So, "the tower of Edar," i.e. flocks (Ge 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 Ge 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 (Zec 2:4). Special cities furnished supplies for the king's service (1Ki 9:19; 4:7; 1Ch 27:25; 2Ch 17:12). So, our Lord represents the different servants having the number of cities assigned them in proportion to their faithfulness (Lu 19:17,19).

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 (Na 2:4). Those of one trade generally lived on the same street (Jer 37:21). The GATES are the usual place of assembly, and there courts of judges and kings are held (Ge 23:10; Ru 4:1).

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The surprisingly large number of places in the 'least of all lands' which receive in Scripture the honourable designation of 'city' is in itself evidence that the OT 'cities,' like the NT 'ships,' must not be measured by modern standards. The recent excavations in Palestine have confirmed this conclusion. In his recent work, Canaan d'apr

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