Tower is the rendering in the A. V. of the following Heb. and Gr. words:
1. בָּחוֹן בִּחִן, and בָּחוּן (Sept. ἔπαλξις),from בָּחִן, to 'search," "explore," a searcher or watcher; and hence the notion of a watch-tower. In Isa 32:14 the tower of Ophel is probably meant (Ne 3:26).
2. מגַדָּל and מַגדּל or מגדּוֹל (πύργος;' turris), from גָּדִל to "become great," a-lofty tower; used sometimes as a proper noun. SEE MIGDOL,
3. מָצוֹר (πέτρα munitio), a strong fortification; only once "tower" (Hab 2:1). SEE EGYPT.
4. עֹפֵל (οικος;' domus), only in 2Ki 5:24. SEE OPHEL.
5. פּנָּה, usually "corner," twice only "tower" (Zephaniah 1:16; 3, 6; γωνία; angulus).
6. מַצפֶּה (σκοπιά:specula), "watch-tower." SEE MIZPAH.
7. מַשׂגָּב (ὀχύρωμα; robur), "a refuge," only in poetry. SEE MISGAH.
8. Πύργος, the general term in the New Test. SEE FORTIFICATION.
Isolated watch towers or fortified posts in frontier or exposed situations are mentioned in Scripture, as the tower of Edar, etc. (Ge 35:21; Mic 4:8; Isa 21:5,8,11; Hab 2:1; Jer 6:27; Song 7:4); the tower of Lebanon, perhaps one of David's "garrisons" (.netsib, 2Sa 7:6; Raumrer, Polaest. p. 29). Such towers or outposts for the defence of wells, and the protection of flocks and of commerce, were built by Uzziah in the pasture grounds (midbar), SEE DESERT, and by his son Jotham in the forests (choreshim) of Judah (2Ch 26:10; 2Ch 27:4). Remains of such fortifications may still be seen, which, though not perhaps themselves of remote antiquity, yet very probably have succeeded to more ancient structures built in the same places for like purposes (Robinson, Bibl. Res. 2, 81, 85,180; Roberts, Sketches, pl. 93). Besides these military structures, we read in Scripture of towers built in vineyards as an almost necessary appendage to them (Isa 5:2: Mt 21:33; Mr 12:1). Such towers are still in use in Palestine in vineyards, especially near Hebron. and are used as lodges for the keepers of the vineyards. During the vintage they are filled with the persons employed in the work of gathering the grapes (Robinson, Bibl. Res. 1, 213; 2, 81; Martineau,. East. Lif, p. 434; De Saulcy, Travels, 1, 546; Hackett, Ilustr. of Script. p. 163, 171). SEE LODGE.
Mural towers were in all antiquity built as part of the fortifications of towns, especially at the corners of the walls and the gates (2Ch 14:7; 2Ch 26:9,15; 2Ch 32:5; 2Ch 1 Macc. 5, 55; 13:33, 43, etc.; comp. Isa 23:3; Isa 30:25; Eze 26:4,9; see Pliny, 11. N. 6:22, 1). Also in the interior of cities towers served as citadels (Jg 9:46 sq.). Jerusalem (q.v.) was especially provided with towers of this description, many of which had special names (Ne 3:11; Ne 12:38; Jer 31:38, etc.). Those on the walls and at the gates were used for sentries (2Ki 9:17; 2Ki 17:9; 2Ki 18:8; Eze 27:11). The Temple (q.v.) was likewise supplied with numerous towers. The "tower in Siloam" (q.v.) (Lu 13:4) was probably some mural defense near that fountain. SEE GATE; SEE WALL.
Among many ancient nations, especially the Babylonians, towers were employed in the siege of cities, as appears from the prophet's account of the divination used by the king of Babylon to determine his line of march into the kingdom of Judah: "At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem, to appoint captains, to open the mouth in the slaughter, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering-rams against the gate, and to build a tower" (Eze 21:22). SEE BATTERING-RAM. In the Maccabaean age, towers borne on elephants were used to carry warriors in battle (1 Macc. 6:37; comp. Pliny, H. N. 11:1 "turrigeri elephantorum humeri"). In Roman sieges the tower (vinea, from the vine-branches with which it was often thatched), run on wheels along an artificial causeway (agger), was proverbial (Lu 19:43). SEE MOUNT.
In the figurative language of Scripture, towers are used for defenders and protectors, whether by counsel or strength, in peace or in war (Ps 18:10; Ps 61; Ps 3). SEE WAR.