366. Fortified Cities

2 Chronicles 8:5; Judges 1:16; Judges 3:13; 1 Kings 12:25; 1 Kings 16:34; 2 Kings 9:17‑20; 2 Kings 25:4; 2 Chronicles 11:5‑10; 2 Chronicles 26:15; 2 Chronicles 32:5  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
2 Chronicles 8:55Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; (2 Chronicles 8:5). Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars.
1. Fortifications are as ancient as cities; indeed, some writers assert that the difference, anciently, between cities and villages was simply the difference between walled and unwalled towns. The Egyptian and Assyrian sculptures contain representations of “fenced cities” with walls of squared stone or squared timber on the summit of scarped rocks. Some of the fenced cities of Scripture are thought to have been protected by stockades of wood. Sometimes there was more than one wall to a fortified city. It was thus with Jerusalem. See 2 Kings 25:4; 2 Chronicles 32:66And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, (2 Chronicles 32:6). Sometimes there was a ditch outside the wall, and a low wall or rampart protecting that. At regular distances on the wall there were towers for the purposes of watching and defense. See 2 Kings. 9:17; 2 Chronicles 26:55And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. (2 Chronicles 26:5). The gates were strongly protected with bolts or bars of brass or iron. Sometimes there was built at some central point within the city a citadel or stronghold which might resist attack even after the walls were destroyed.
2. To “build” a city often meant not to give a new town a location, and to erect the houses, but to build walls around a town already inhabited. It was thus that Solomon built the two Beth-horons mentioned in the text. Thus Rehoboam “built” the cities named in 2 Chronicles 11:5-105And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah. 6He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, 7And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam, 8And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph, 9And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, 10And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. (2 Chronicles 11:5‑10). So Jeroboam “built” Shechem and Penuel (1 Kings 12:2525Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. (1 Kings 12:25)) and Hiel “built” Jericho (1 Kings 16:3434In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:34)) a city which had been inhabited long before (Judges 1:16; 3:1316And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people. (Judges 1:16)
13And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. (Judges 3:13)