Watch in Heb. שִׁמִר, denoting "to cut into," thence "to impress on the mind," "to observe," "to watch," in the sense of keeping or guarding; or צָפָה, the original meaning of which is "to look out," thence "to watch;" as in English, "to keep a lookout," in the sense of spying or noticing. Watching must have been coeval with danger, and danger arose as soon as man became the enemy of man, or had to guard against the attacks of wild animals. Among a primitive and nomadic people this is especially necessary. Accordingly, we find traces of the practice of watching in early portions of the Hebrew annals. Watching must have been carried to some degree of completeness in Egypt, for we learn from Ex 14:24 that the practice had, at the time of the Exode, caused the night to be divided into different watches or portions, mention being made of the "morning watch" (comp. 1Sa 11:11). In the days of the Judges (vii, 19) we find "the middle watch" mentioned (see Lu 12:38). At a later period Isaiah plainly intimates (Isa 21:5-6) that there was a watch-tower in Jerusalem, and that it was customary on extraordinary occasions to set a watchman. Watchman were, however, even at an earlier day, customarily employed in the metropolis, and their post was at the gates (2Sa 18:24 sq.; 2Ki 9:17 sq.; Ps 127:1; Ps 130:6; Pr 8:34), where they gave signals and information, either by their voice or with the aid of a trumpet (Jer 6:17; Eze 33:6). At night watchmen were accustomed to perambulate the city (Song 3:3; Song 5:7). In the New Test. we find mention made of the second, the third, and the fourth watch (Lu 12:38; Mt 14:25). On the watch at Christ's sepulchre (Mt 27:66), see the monographs cited by Volbeding, Index Priograzmmatun, page 67. SEE WATCHMAN.