Small towns in the neighborhood of a larger town or city. The capital or primary city of a district was the metropolis, or “mother” city, as at 1 Chronicles 18:1: “Gath and its dependent towns” (literally, “Gath and her daughters”). Tyre is called the “daughter” of Sidon, a city evidently older than Tyre, which seems to have been originally a colony of Sidon. (Isa 23:8, 12; Ge 10:19; Jos 11:8) The towns of Judah were dependent on Jerusalem. (Ps 48:11; 97:8; La 3:51) Other “mother” cities with dependent towns were Samaria and Sodom (Eze 16:53), Rabbah of Ammon (Jer 49:3), Kenath (Nu 32:42), Ekron (Jos 15:45), Ashdod and Gaza (Jos 15:47), Beth-shean, Ibleam, Dor, En-dor, Taanach, and Megiddo (Jos 17:11).
The “daughter” towns either originated from or were politically, economically, and sometimes religiously dependent on the “mother” city. In some cases the dependent towns were unwalled or less fortified, and in times of siege the inhabitants would seek safety in the “mother” city.—Jer 4:5; 8:14.
The ancient city of Jerusalem as the “mother” of the dependent towns of Judah is used symbolically to picture “heavenly Jerusalem,” Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom through Jesus Christ, in which those seeking righteousness will find refuge in “the day of Jehovah against all the nations.”—Heb 12:22, 28; Ob 15, 17; Ps 48:11-13; Joe 2:32.
Babylon the Great is pictured in Revelation, chapter 17, as a prostitute woman and as a city, with daughters. These are organizations springing from the mother organization. Dependent on her, they will fall to destruction with her.—See CITY.