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Historic Jesus

It was common practice from the earliest days for herdsmen to build a stone tower on a hilltop to keep watch over their herds, protecting them against wild animals and thieves. Such a watchtower, built by a herdsman named Edar, provided a stopping place for Jacob soon after his wife Rachel died (Gen. 35.21). When the people of Israel settled in the land of Canaan as agriculturalists, they built similar towers in their grain fields and vineyards. These towers often served as lodges for the vineyard keeper. Similar examples of such towers were constructed by King Uzziah: "He built towers in the desert, and digged manywells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen, also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry" (11 Chron. 26.10). Isaiah referred to the custom: "My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein" (Isa. 5.1,2). Jesus included the building of a watchtower in the parable of the wicked tenants, when he described the excellent vineyard prepared by the owner (Matt. 21.33-40).