Castle

CASTLE. A large fortified building or set of buildings, as that of a prince or nobleman. David took the Jebusite castle in Jerusalem and made it into his residence (1Chr.11.5, 1Chr.11.7). Castles were built in the cities of Judah by Jehoshaphat (2Chr.17.12) and in its forests by Jotham (2Chr.27.4). Where the KJV uses “castles,” the RV sometimes uses “encampments,” and the NIV “fortresses.” Nehemiah erected a “castle” in Jerusalem that later became the Tower of Antonia, where Paul was confined.


CASTLE. Six different words are tr. “castle” in the KJV OT.

1. טִירָה, H3227, (Gen 25:16; Num 31:10; 1 Chron 6:54). The ASV and RSV render “encampment” or “settlement.”

2. אַרְמוֹן, H810, (Prov 18:19). Applies to any building of eminence, and is rendered “palace” in 1 Kings 16:18; Psalm 48:3.

The climactic parallelism of Proverbs 18:19 is suggestive of the strong inner citadel of a city: “A brother helped is like a strong city, but quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” The citadel was the highest area within the fortifications. A strongly-built structure, manned by picked troops, would be even more difficult to take than the outer city.

3. מִגְדָּל, H4463, (1 Chron 27:25; 2 Chron 27:4). The word properly means “tower,” though “castle” is retained by ASV; “tower” in RSV.

The reference is to guardhouses, units in a chain of fortresses in sparsely-settled areas, for security and watch-points. The tower is associated with “forts” (2 Chron 27:4). For details of the structure and function of such forts see Y. Aharoni, “The Negeb” in Archaeology and Old Testament Study, edited by D. Winston Thomas, Oxford U.P. [1967], 385-403.

4. מְצָד, H5171, (1 Chron 11:7) and מְצוּדָה, H5181, (1 Chron 11:5) refer to structures for defense; rendered “stronghold” in RSV. The two words seem to be synonymous and are equated with the term “city of David.” This use may designate the inner citadel or upper city, as distinguished from the rest of the city (cf. v. 8). For the location of the “city of David” see Macmillan Bible Atlas, p. 74.

5. בִּירָנִיֹּ֖ות (2 Chron 17:12; 27:4) is rendered “forts,” “fortresses” in RSV.


See also

  • Fortification