And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 1 Chronicles 14:7
Today when we think about physical security many thing may come to mind. We have locks on the doors and windows to our homes. We have fences and walls to mark boundaries and property lines. Surveillance cameras, access control, alarms, and other technology assists us in protecting both people and property. What does the Bible say about physical security?
The scriptures clearly describe cities as having walls and towers. Examples include Rehab hiding the spies (Joshua 2:1-24), Solomon building and fortifies cities (1 Kings 9:15, 17-23; 2 Chronicles 8:3-10), Hezekiah fortifying Jerusalem (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 322-8, 30; Isaiah 36:2-22) and Nehemiah completing the wall (Nehemiah 6:15-16). Walls provided physical protection from other people groups and defined territory. Towers are used to describe fortification, a structure used for the purpose of strengthening defenses.
Gates provided access to the cities and had different functions whether it was a celebrated entry way serving as a main entrance to the community or a gate used for dung removal or other utility. Gates were places were business was conducted and disputes were arbitrated. They did provide for the physical security of the city by providing an entry point for normal and invited users through natural surveillance of those entering the gates. Bars which were made of wood or metal were placed across doors and gates to secure them acting as a lock providing protection for the people inside the door or gate.
When we examine the scriptures we can see physical security was often a need just as it is today. Many of the same solutions we use today are found in the Bible. Those include walls, gates, towers, bars and other means of fortification.