Migdal Oz, the Strong Tower
What does the Bible mean when it calls the name of the LORD a Migdal Oz or a strong tower?
Is this a metaphor describing some unknown characteristic of the LORD and His name? Can Hebrew pictograms help reveal some of what is meant here?
The ancient scriptures are filled with references to the name of the LORD. They include phrases such as “call on the name of the LORD,” “blessed be the name of the LORD,” “praise the name of the LORD,” “trust in the name of the LORD,” and “glorify the name of the LORD.” What is special about His name that we are obviously missing?
In a previous article the name of the LORD was shown to be Yood Hey Vav Hey, which as you may know contains a very wonderful picture of the finished work of Messiah on the cross at Calvary. A brief summary of the meaning discovered in the four pictures found in these pictograms is hand-behold-nail-behold. Behold the hands with the nail scars emblematic of the death suffered to set free those imprisoned by the bondage of sin.
With this revelation, each time we now happen across the name LORD or YHVH in the scriptures, which is usually pronounced Yahweh or Yehovah, we know who we are remembering and what He did for us.
In Proverbs 18 verse 10 David writes this praise to God after he was delivered from the hand of King Saul:
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
The words strong tower used here are the Hebrew words Migdal Oz. What is it about the name YHVH that makes it a Migdal Oz, and for that matter, what exactly is a Migdal Oz?
In conventional Hebrew Migdal refers to a tower especially found in fortified cities. It can also refer to a watchtower. Oz is also a noun and means strength. What can the ancient Hebrew pictographs detail for us? Let’s first look at Migdal which is spelled Mem Gimel Dalet Lamed.
Mem s the picture of waters of either chaos and destruction like a tsunami or waters like a gentle stream that brings life. It can mean the living waters or the Word of God.
Gimel is the picture of the camel nd means to lift up. It is the third letter in the Hebrew Aleph-Beyt and can be a picture of the Holy Spirit.
Dalet is the picture of the door and means a pathway or an entrance to a place of life or death.
Lamed is the picture of the shepherd’s staff nd means to control or to have authority.
What do these pictograms tell us? That the living waters by the power of the Holy Spirit open the door to life. This occurs according to the authority of the shepherd. And who is that shepherd? None other than YHVH, the Word of God.
What can we learn from Oz which is spelled Ayin Zayin?
Ayin is the picture of the eye and means to see, to know, or to experience.
Zayin is the picture of the pruning tool and means to cut off, to pierce, or to harvest.
Oz shows us that those coming against the Migdal will experience being cut off, pierced, or harvested.
A watchtower such as the one mentioned in the scriptures found on the ancient border of Egypt was meant to guard against foreign invasion so was built for advance warning. For what else was a Migdal Oz used?
Castles or walled fortresses were often build on hills. Their defenses consisted of the steep climb, which was an obvious advantage to the defenders, and a dry moat at the base of the outer wall. If the invaders were able cross the moat and able to breach the outer wall, they would be faced with the Migdal Oz, a tall tower inside the outer walls which was the last line of defense. This was the place of final refuge.
In the Migdal Oz, not only will sanctuary be found, not only will those who come against it be cut off, but it literally will be the pathway to life through the living waters by the Spirit. All this is by the power in the name of YHVH who is our final refuge.
The promise given by David at the end of our Psalm is that those who are righteous, the “right-doers,” run into the Migdal Oz and are saved.
In Chapter 9 of the book of Judges there is a literal example of the Migdal Oz being a place of refuge and deliverance. In this account, Abimelech, a wicked king of Israel, murdered both men and women to end a rebellion against his rule. The people fled to the city of Thebez which had a Migdal Oz and entered it as their last refuge. In verses 52 and 53 the result is recorded for us:
“And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. “
Verse 55 concludes with this:
“And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, that departed every man unto his place.”
This is a clear picture that demonstrates the truth of the metaphor. The Migdal Oz is indeed a final refuge, a place of safety, and a place of salvation. And the name YHVH is that Migdal Oz, the Living Water that by the Holy Spirit brings life to all those who run to Him, and cuts off those that come against Him.