From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

 2 Kings 15:25  Proverbs 18:19 Proverbs 18:19  Nehemiah 7:2Fortified Cities

Armon refers to the large, fortified home of the king, often translated palace or citadel (  1 Kings 16:18 ). The term apparently referred to the massive masonry structures connected with the defense of the palace and possibly of the homes of other leading citizens ( Amos 6:8; compare  Amos 1:4 ). Apparently they served as storehouses for royal treasures and goods taken in battle ( Amos 3:10 ). Israel prayed for peace in her fortress, but no fortress gave security from God's anger ( Isaiah 25:2;  Isaiah 34:13;  Hosea 8:14 ). God promised to rebuild the fortified palaces of His people ( Jeremiah 30:18 ). The palaces should witness to God's strength ( Psalm 48:3 ,Psalms 48:3, 48:13-14 ). The wisdom teacher knew a more stubborn defense system than castles—that of humans ( Proverbs 18:19 ).

Birah is a late loan word from Accadian and refers to the fortified acropolis, usually built at the highest and most easily defensible part of a city (  Nehemiah 1:1;  Esther 1:2 ). It referred to the fortress near the Temple in the rebuilt Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 2:8 ). A military commander ruled the fortress ( Nehemiah 7:2 ). The Chronicler used the term for Solomon's Temple (1Chronicles 29:1, 1 Chronicles 29:19 ) and used the term in the plural to describe Jehoshaphat's and Jotham's building ( 2 Chronicles 17:12;  2 Chronicles 27:4 ).

Tirah refers to a stone wall used for protection around a camp of tents (  Genesis 25:16;  Numbers 31:10;  Psalm 69:25;  Ezekiel 25:4 ). Compare  1 Chronicles 6:54;  Ezekiel 46:23 .

Migdal is a defense tower which may stand alone in the countryside as a watchtower (  1 Chronicles 27:25 ). They were also used to protect vineyards and other crops ( Isaiah 5:2 ). A famous migdal crowned one area of Shechem or served as a military outpost for Shechem (  Judges 9:46-49 ). See 2Chronicles 26:9-10, 2 Chronicles 26:15 ). Battle axes were used to break down such towers ( Ezekiel 26:9 ).

Matsad and metsudah are closely connected to the Canaanite or Jebusite city of Jerusalem that David conquered (2Samuel 5:7,  2 Samuel 5:9; 1Chronicles 11:5, 1 Chronicles 11:7 ). The metsudah of Zion was probably a military citadel protecting the southeastern hill of Jerusalem, that part Israel called, “city of David.” See   Judges 6:2;  1 Samuel 23:14 ).

The basic biblical lesson is that Yahweh is our stronghold, refuge, and fortress ( Psalm 18:2;  Psalm 31:3 ).

Parembole is the Greek term for a fortified camp and designated the Roman army barracks or headquarters in Jerusalem (  Acts 21:34;  Acts 22:24;  Acts 23:10 ). Hebrews refers to Old Testament offerings burned outside the camp, comparing this to the place of Jesus' suffering and inviting Christians to be willing to suffer outside the camp, accepting disgrace as did Jesus ( Hebrews 13:11-13 ). Compare  Revelation 20:9 .

Trent C. Butler

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

The word παρεμβολή, translated ‘castle’ six times in Acts, meant in the Macedonian dialect an encampment, and in the Septuagintit is used for the camp of the Israelites in the desert ( Exodus 29:14, etc.). In the vivid narrative of St. Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem ( Acts 21:22) it probably denotes the barracks of the Roman soldiers who were stationed at the castle of Antonia, though the Revised Versionas well as the Authorized Versionidentifies it with the castle itself.

The history of this fort goes back to the time of Nehemiah, who speaks of procuring ‘timber to make beams for the castle (the Bîrah ) which appertains to the house’ (2:8; cf. 7:2). Probably on the same site John Hyrcanus, high priest from 135 to 105 b.c., built the Hasmonaean castle which Josephus calls ‘Baris’ ( Ant . xv. xi. 4; Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) i. xxi. 1). ‘When Herod became king, he rebuilt that castle, which was very conveniently situated, in a magnificent manner, and because he was a friend of Antonius, he called it by the name of Antonia’ ( Ant . xviii. iv. 3). Situated at the corner of the north and west cloisters of the Temple, it commanded, especially from its lofty S.E. tower, a view of the whole sacred precincts, while two staircases (ἀναβαθμοί,  Acts 21:35, καταβἀσεις, Jos. Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) v. v. 8) led down from it to the cloisters; and in the Roman period the soldiers of the cohort (σπεῖρα), which was always stationed in the city, ‘went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to keep watch over the people’ (Jos. loc. cit .).

The narrator of St. Paul’s arrest was evidently well acquainted with this locality, and he graphically reproduces the details of the scene. News of a Temple riot-no uncommon occurrence-came up (ἀνέβη φἀσις) to the commander of the cohort (χιλίαρχος, ‘military tribune’ Revised Version margin), who at once took soldiers and ran down (κατέδραμεν) to the fanatical crowd, probably just in time to prevent bloodshed ( Acts 21:31-32). As St. Paul was about to be conducted up one of the staircases leading to the barracks, he was swept off his feet by the rising human tide, and had literally to be carried out of danger by the soldiers; but, recovering himself on the upper steps, he asked and obtained permission to address the baffled and still raging crowd, who turned a sea of angry faces upon him from below. His beckoning hand and his Aramaic speech secured a temporary silence, which enabled him to tell his vast audience the story of his conversion, but he could not get beyond the fatal word ‘Gentiles’ ( Acts 22:21), and, leaving behind him a yelling mob, he was marched into the barracks. Fort Antonia was for some days his place of confinement. Hither came his nephew with a message which saved him from falling into the hands of fanatical conspirators ( Acts 23:16), and here Christ Himself seemed to stand by him with words of good cheer ( Acts 23:11). From the castle he was taken by night to Antipatris, and thence to Caesarea ( Acts 23:31-33).

Literature.-T. Lewin, Life and Epistles of St. Paul 3, 1875, ii. 135ff.; Conybeare-Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul , 1856, ii. 311ff.; H.A. A Kennedy, Source of NT Greek , 1895, p. 15; articles ‘Castle’ and ‘Jerusalem’ in Encyclopaedia Biblica , ‘Castle’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) .

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Castle . 1 . In   Genesis 25:16 ,   Numbers 31:10 ,   1 Chronicles 6:54 , an obsolete, if not erroneous, rendering in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] of a word denoting a nomad ‘encampment’ (so RV [Note: Revised Version.] ).

2 . In   1 Chronicles 11:5;   1 Chronicles 11:7 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] speaks of the ‘castle’ of Zion, the citadel or acropolis of the Jebusite city, but RV [Note: Revised Version.] renders as in   2 Samuel 5:7;   2 Samuel 5:9 ‘ stronghold .’ A different word ( birah ) is used of the castle or fort which in Nehemiah’s day defended the Temple (  Nehemiah 2:8;   Nehemiah 7:2 ), and of the fortified royal residence of the Persian kings at Susa (  Nehemiah 1:1 ,   Esther 1:2 etc.; RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘palace,’ marg. ‘castle’). The fortress in Jerusalem to which the authors of the books of Maccabees and Josephus give the name of Acra, is termed ‘the castle’ in 2Ma 4:27; 2Ma 5:5; 2Ma 10:20 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] , where RV [Note: Revised Version.] has throughout ‘citadel’ (so also 1Ma 1:33 and elsewhere). See, further. City, Fortification and Siegecraft, § 4.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

King James Dictionary [4]


1. A house fortified for defense against an enemy a fortress. The term seems to include the house and the walls or other works around it. In old writers, the word is used for a town or village fortified. 2. The house or mansion of a nobleman or prince. 3. In a ship, there are two parts called by this name the forecastle, a short deck in the fore part of the ship, above the upper deck and the hindcastle, at the stern.

Castle in the air, a visionary project a scheme that has no solid foundation.

CASTLE, In the game of chess, to cover the king with a castle, by a certain move.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(1): (v. i.) To move the castle to the square next to king, and then the king around the castle to the square next beyond it, for the purpose of covering the king.

(2): (n.) A piece, made to represent a castle, used in the game of chess; a rook.

(3): (n.) Any strong, imposing, and stately mansion.

(4): (n.) A fortified residence, especially that of a prince or nobleman; a fortress.

(5): (n.) A small tower, as on a ship, or an elephant's back.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 1 Chronicles 11:7 1 Chronicles 6:54 Genesis 25:16 Acts 21:34

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [7]

 Proverbs 18:19 (b) This figure describes the position and resentful arguments of an unsaved person whose heart has been hardened through mistreatment and unwise dealings.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Castle. See Fenced Cities .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

See Fortress

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

is the rendering in the A. V. of the following words in certain passages:

אִרְמוֹן , Armon ´ , A Fortress ( Proverbs 18:19; elsewhere uniformly "palace"); טִירָה , tirah ´ , a wall ("row,"  Ezekiel 46:23), hence an Enclosure, e.g. A Fortress ("palace,"  Song of Solomon 8:9), or a nomade Hamlet of palisades ( Genesis 25:16;  Numbers 21:10;  1 Chronicles 6:54; "palace,"  Ezekiel 25:4; poetically "habitation,"  Psalms 69:25); בִּרָנִיטת , Biranith ´ [from the synonymous בִּירָה , birah ´ , "palace;" (See Baris) ], a Citadel ( 2 Chronicles 17:12;  2 Chronicles 27:4); מִגְדָּל , migdal ´ ( 1 Chronicles 27:25), a Tower (as elsewhere rendered); מְצָד , Metsad ´ ( 1 Chronicles 11:7), or מְצוּדָה , metsudah ´ ( 1 Chronicles 11:5), a fort or stronghold (as elsewhere usually rendered); Ἀκρόπολις , Acropolis ( 2 Maccabees 4:27;  2 Maccabees 5:5); Πύργος , a Tower along a wall ( 2 Maccabees 10:18;  2 Maccabees 10:20;  2 Maccabees 10:22); Παρεμβωλή , a military Enclosure ( Acts 21:34;  Acts 21:37;  Acts 22:24;  Acts 23:10;  Acts 23:16;  Acts 23:32) or station ("camp,"  Hebrews 11:34;  Hebrews 13:11;  Hebrews 13:13;  Revelation 20:9). (See Tower); (See Palace) etc.

Castles among the Hebrews were a kind of military fortress, frequently built on an eminence ( 1 Chronicles 11:7). The priests' castles, mentioned in  1 Chronicles 6:54, may also have been a kind of tower, for the purpose of making known anything discovered at a distance, and for blowing the trumpets, in like manner as the Mohammedan imams ascend the minarets of the mosques at the present day to call the people to prayers. The castles of the sons of Ishmael, mentioned in  Genesis 25:16, were watch-towers, used by the nomad shepherds for security against marauders. The "castle" in  Acts 21:34, refers to the quarters of the Roman soldiers at Jerusalem in the fortress Antonia (q.v.), which was adjacent to the Temple and commanded it. (See Fortification).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]