Town (not carefully distinguished in the A. V. from "city," which latter is the usual rendering of עַיר, occasionally "town" this latter is also the translation, at times, of קַיר, prop. a wall, as usually rendered; חָצֵר, a village, as generally rendered; and so κώμη in the New Test. [once more distinctively κωμόπολις ark 1:38]; בִּת, a daughter, sometimes fig. employed; חִוּוֹה, only in the phrase Havoth-jair [q.v.]; חִוּוֹה; "unwalled towns," means rather open country). The first mention of such collective residence occurs early in the antediluvian history (Ge 4:17), but we are not to think, in the case of such primitive "cities," of anything more than a mere hamlet, the nucleus, perhaps, of an eventual metropolis. Towns, however, appear in the history of the patriarchs as strong central points of the agricultural tribes in nomadic regions. They were therefore enclosed with walls, and thus each town was originally a fortress (see Nu 32:17; hence the term מַבצָר, literally a fort, applied κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν to Tyre, Jos 19:29; 2Sa 24:7); such as the cities which the Israelites captured and demolished under Joshua. For this purpose eminences and hills (comp. Mt 5:14) were naturally selected as more commanding and secure sites (see Konig, De Montibus, Urbium Antiquiss. Sedibus [Annseberg. 1796]), a precaution which Palestine, with its varied surface and exposed situation, especially suggested (comp. 2Sa 4:6). We know little, however, of the exact architectural style of its cities, with the exception of Jerusalem. In modern times Oriental towns are built very wide-spreading, and often include extensive open spaces, gardens, etc. (see Thevenot, 2, 114; Buckingham, p. 95, 335; Taverhier, 1, 169; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. 4:395 sq.), e.g. Damascus:(Kampfer estimates Ispahan as more than a day's ride in circuit, Amer. Exot. p. 163). This especially applies to the larger cities of Asia, such as Babylon and Nineveh, which enclosed an area of many miles (see Ritter, Erdk. 11:903). The gates of the cities were closed (Jos 2; Jos 5 sq.; Jg 16:3; 1Sa 23:7; 1Ki 4:13; Ps 147:13, etc.) with strong folding-doors (דּלָתוֹת דּלָתִים) with brazen or iron bars (בַּרַיחַים), and were surmounted by turrets (2Sa 18:32), which were guarded by sentries (ver. 24 sq.). In these the governors and judges held their sittings, and a more or less extensive square (רַחֹב, which, however, does not always mean an open place, but sometimes a wide [πλατεῖα] street, Ge 19:2; Jg 19:15,17,20) adjoined (Ezr 10:9; Ne 8:1,3,16; 2Sa 21:12; 1 Chronicles 32:6; Job 29:7; Song 3:2) where the market was held (2Ki 7:1; comp. ἀγοραί, Josephus, Life, 22). The streets (חוּצוֹת, Job 18:17; Isa 5:25; Jer 37:21, etc.; שׁוָקַי , Song 3:2; Ec 12:4, etc.; πλατεῖα, Mt 6:5; Mt 12:19; Ac 5:15, etc.) were not so narrow (yet see στενωπός applied to those of Jerusalem in Josephus, War, 6:8, 5) as in modern Oriental towns (Maundrell, p. 172; Olearius, p. 291; Russegger, 1, 367; Robinson, 1, 38; 3, 697), where, as in Acre (Mariti, p. 246), scarcely two laden camels, or in Damascus (Schubert, 3, 29) scarcely a single one, can pass (Burckhardt, Arab. p. 151). The streets of Hebrew antiquity (at least in the large towns)' had names, which were sometimes taken from those of the kind of trade carried on in them (Jer 37:2; comp. ἀγοραί, Josephus, War, 5, 8, 1, like modern bazaars; Russell, Aleppo, 1, 29 sq.; Harmer, 1, 245 sq.; Arvieux, 1,55; Ker Porter, 1, 406,407). They were occasionally paved in the later period (Josephus, Ant. 15:9,6; 16:5, 3; 20:9,7); in earlier times (comp. Isidore, Orig. 15:16) we find notice of paving in the court of the Temple (2Ki 16:17). From 1Ki 20:34 it would seem that kings sometimes constructed or improved certain avenues (comp. Rosenmüller, Morgenl. 3, 201 sq.). Aqueducts (תּעָלוֹת) were built in Jerusalem before the exile (2Ki 20:20; Isa 7:3; Isa 22:9; for Pilate's undertaking see Josephus, Ant. 18:3, 2; comp. War, 2, 17, 9; Robinson, 2, 166 sq.); other cities were supplied by springs (see Josephus, Ant. 17:13, 1) and cisterns, the latter, at times, of very expensive construction (War, 7:8, 3). SEE WATER.
As to the varied condition of cities in pre-exile times of Palestine we have only disconnected notices. The oldest ones of the land were destroyed by a natural or miraculous combustion in Abraham's time (Ge 19:24 sq.). During the conquest by the Israelites many were destroyed by fire (Jos 6:24,26; Jos 11:13), but later were in part rebuilt (Jg 1:26; 1Ki 16:24) and embellished (Jg 18:28; 1Ki 12:25; 1Ki 15:17; 1Ki 17:21; comp. 2Ch 8:5). The Chaldaean invasion made (especially in the case of Jerusalem) many changes, and during the exile most of the cities were deserted. The Syrian wars under the Maccabees wasted or destroyed several (see 1 Macc. 5, 44,65; 9:62). Others, however, especially Jerusalem, were fortified, and castles and citadels were built (ver. 50: 12:38; 13:33; 15:7, 39, 40; Josephus, War, 4:7, 2; Ant. 13:16, 3). During the Roman period cities especially multiplied, chiefly under the patronage of the Herodian family; but many of them were largely occupied by Gentiles, with their heathenish theatres, gymnasia, stadia, and temples (ibid. 15:5, 2; 18:2, 1 and 3; 20:9, 4, etc.). Fortifications and towns also increased (ibid. 15:9, 4; War, 7:8, 3). The post-exilian topography of Palestine therefore exhibits many names of places not mentioned in the Old Test.; some of them, however, may have existed earlier. The district of Galilee was especially rich in towns and villages which amounted in all to two hundred and four (Life, 45). SEE PALESTINE.
The names of Palestinian cities were almost invariably significant, as appears from the present situation and configuration of the land (e.g. Agin, fountain; Bethlehem, bread-producing Gibeon, elevation; Mizpah, look- out; Ramah, height; many of them, accordingly, used with the article). Numbers of these are compounded, e. g with בֵּית(house; see Rödiger, De Arb. Libror. Hist. Interpret. p. 21), עַיר or קַריָה (city) הֲצִר (court), עֵמֶק (valley), אָבֵל (meadow), בּאֵר (well), עֵין (spring), and in the post- exilian period with כּפִר (village); those with בִּעִל (Baal) appear to have been of Canaanitish origin (see Panofka, Ueb. d. Einfuss der Gottheiten auf Ortasdmen [Berl. 1842]). Some are of dual (Kitrjathaim, Jerusalem, Dothan) or plural form (Kerioth, Anathoth, Gebim); in one case (Beth- horon) we hale the distinction of upper and lower villages. Several places of the same name are distinguished by the name of the tribe added (see Mt 2:1,5; Mt 21:11; Lu 4:31). In Roman times, especially under the Herods, many old names were displaced by others of Greek or Latin origin (e.g. Diospolis, Neapolis, Sebaste, Caesarea, Tiberias, later Elia Capitolina), some of which have still survived (comp. Ammian, Marcel. 14:8), while the most of them have again yielded to the older appellation (comp. Josephus, War, 1, 4, 2; Ant. 13:13, 3; see Reland, Palest. p. 567), or to an imitation in Arabic of a similar sound (Palmer, Desert of the Wandering, p. 31). SEE NAME.
On the population of the cities of Palestine nothing definite is known, for the numbers (as Jg 20:15) from which an estimate might be made are in many cases corrupt (Josephus's statements [e.g. War, 3, 3,1] are suspicious; but see Raumer, Palaest. p. 430 sq.). SEE NUMBER. A distinction between walled towns and open villages is not uniformly maintained in the Old Test., although in the later period they began to be distinguished (see פּרָזוֹת, Eze 38:11; חֲצֵרַים, Ne 12:25;
comp. בָּנוֹת, Nu 21:25; Nu 32; Jos 15:45; Jg 11:26; Ne 11:25; אֵם 2Sa 20:19; see Gesenius, Monum. Phoen. 2, 263; a metropolis or province is called מדַינָה in the Talmud, Maas. Sheni, 3, 4, etc.). The New Test., however, males such distinctions (Mr 1:38; comp. Mt 10:11; Mr 6:56 [8:27]; Lu 8:13,22; Ac 8:25): κώμη, e.g. Bethphage (Mt 21:22), Bethany (Joh 11:1), Emmaus (Lu 24:13), Bethlehem (Joh 7:42 ); but πόλις, e.g. Nazareth, Capernaum, Nain; but these terms are used loosely, and the compound κωμόπολις even occurs. So, likewise, Josephus uses πόλις and κώμη almost interchangeably (see Life, 45; Ant. 20:6, 2), and he occasionally employs the 'diminutive πολίχνη (War , 4:2, 1). In general, however, κώμη (village) chiefly belongs to those places whose name is compounded with כפר (Gesenius, Thesaur. 2, 707). The Talmathdists (but comp. Megillah, 1 3; Erubin, 5, 6) distinguish places thus: כַּרִכַּים, cities with defenses; עַירוֹת.' towns without fortifications; כּפָרַי , villages (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. p. 599 sq.). Reland gave the first extensive list of the localities of Palestine (in his Palaestina), which might be greatly enlarged from the Talmud (see Baba Bathra, 2 and 3; Baba Metsiah; 11:5). SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
On the municipal government of pre-exilian Palestine no definite information remains. There were judges (שֹׁפטַים) and overseers (שֹׁטַרַים) both named as officers (De 16:18), but the latter title is not clear; and elsewhere the elders appear as civil authorities. In post-exilian times the magistrates of Palestinian cities are called councilors (βουλαί, Josephus, Life, 12,13, 34, 61, 68), at whose head, as it would seem, stands a ruler (ἄρχων, ibid. 27; War 2, 21, 3). But from these are to be distinguished the territorial στρατηγοί or ἔπαρχοι, who had their seat in certain towns, and probably had civil jurisdiction over a particular district (Life, 9,11, 17; Ant. 19:7, 4). On the civil law in cities see the Mishna (Sanhedr. 1, 1 sq.). SEE GOVERNMENT.
The gates of cities were guarded during the day by sentinels, who looked out from the turret on the walls no the distance (2Sa 13:24 sq.; 2Ki 9:17 sq.; comp. Eze 27:11), and either with the voice or with a horn gave the news (Jer 6:17; Eze 3:6). Night patrols are also mentioned (Song 3; Song 3). Of lighting the streets, however, there is no trace, as in western towns (Becker, Gallus, 1, 333 sq.). SEE WATCH.
The mile-stones (still extant, Robinson, 3, 693) set up along the roads to indicate the distance of one town from another belong to Roman times (see Ideler, in the Schrif. d. Berl. Akad. 1812, hist. class. p. 134 sq.). On this point, and on the geographical position of towns, there are only incidental notices in the canonical books (see Ge 12:8; Jg 21:19, etc.), and clearer indications appear in the books of Maccabees, and particularly in Josephus (see Life, 12, 24, 51, etc., collated by Reland, Palaest. 2, c. 6; comp. Mishna, Maas. Sheni, 5, 2); but it is not till the time of Eusebius and his Latin editor, Jerome (in his Onomasticon), that we get definite data (jon these points; while the later itineraries (namely, the Itiersar. Antoinii [not the emperor of that name] and the Itin. Herosol. [both edited by Wesseling, Amst, 1735, 4to] and Abulfeda (Tabula Syria) give full and exact details on the subject, which, however, have to be supplemented (and often corrected) by modern; comparisons and measurements. SEE GEOGRAPHY.