Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mothers and Daughters

For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Galatians 4:25-26

Cities in Hebrew are always feminine. Satellite settlements, or suburbs, of an urban center are, by Hebrew idiom, called "daughters." Psalm 9:14 refers to the "gates" of the daughter of Zion, clearly indicating a town of some sort (see also Psa. 48:11; 97:8; Isa. 10:32; Josh. 15:45,47: in the Joshua passages the word “towns” is the same Hebrew word as “daughters”). These "daughters" were dependent commercially, politically and militarily upon the "mother city" — a collateral concept echoed in Galatians 4:26 and Revelation 17:5, to cite two diametrically opposite examples.

A city king’s influence often extended beyond the city walls. Major cities, such as Gezer, had smaller villages, known as “daughters,” that cropped up outside the city walls. Unlike a city, these villages were not walled. They depended on the mother city for commerce, protection, and justice. To enjoy the protection and order of the city, “daughter” hamlets needed to be on good terms with the city’s king. To gain his favor, these villagers would pay taxes and remain loyal to the king. In return, the king extended his role of provider and protector to these outer villages as well. Jesus said, " '... Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children' " (Luke 23:28). He may have been referring to both the women of Jerusalem and the small surrounding villages that received the initial fury of the Roman destruction that he predicted.


  1. This is great. I learned yet another Hebrew Idiom. Thanks.

  2. Very cool, Donna.
    I wonder if it could also apply to geographic stakes or areas in the same way here to Isaiah 3:16

    "Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:"

  3. Wow, that's a thought that hadn't occurred to me. Someone once pointed out that all of the inhabitants of a city would be considered "daughters" also, no matter what their sex. So I guess that means that men and women can apply this verse equally.