The Hebrew term netsivʹ may denote a rather permanent contingent of soldiers stationed at a military installation. The related Hebrew word mats·tsavʹ (outpost) carries a similar idea.—1Sa 13:23; 14:1, 4, 6, 11, 12, 15; 2Sa 23:14.
The Philistines had garrisons in Israelite territory during the reigns of Saul and David. (1Sa 10:5; 13:3, 4; 1Ch 11:16) After David defeated Syria and Edom, he maintained garrisons in their territory to prevent rebellion. (2Sa 8:6, 14; 1Ch 18:13) For the peace and security of the land, Jehoshaphat installed garrisons in Judah and in the cities of Ephraim that Asa had captured. (2Ch 17:1, 2) The presence of such a military body did much to maintain order and protect royal interests in territories where the native inhabitants were likely to rebel.
A Roman garrison was maintained at Jerusalem during the first century C.E. Their quarters were in the high Tower of Antonia adjoining the temple grounds. When a crowd of Jews dragged Paul outside the temple and sought to kill him, soldiers of the garrison were able to come down quickly enough to rescue him. (Ac 21:31, 32) During Jewish festival seasons, extra troops were brought in to strengthen this garrison.—See ANTONIA, TOWER OF.