Watch-tower (צָפַית, Isa 21:5; מַּצפֶּה, 2Ch 20:24; Isa 21:8), a structure over or by the side of city gates in the East, in which a watchman was stationed to observe what was going on at a distance, especially in times of danger (2Sa 18:25). We find that he went up by a staircase from the passage, which, like the roof of the dwelling-houses, was flat, for the purpose of descrying at a distance those that were approaching the place, or repelling the attacks of an enemy. The observations made by the watchman were not communicated by him immediately to the king, but by the intervention of a warder at the outer gate of the tower; and it appears that a private staircase led from the lower room, in which David (in the above passage) was sitting, to the upper room over the gateway; for by that communication he retired to give full vent to his sorrow (see Thomson, Land and Book, 2:411). SEE CITY; SEE GATE; SEE TOWER.

Definition of watchtower

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