(1.) Of cities, as of Jerusalem (Jer. 37:13; Neh. 1:3; 2:3; 3:3), of Sodom (Gen. 19:1), of Gaza (Judg. 16:3).
(2.) Of royal palaces (Neh. 2:8).
(3.) Of the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 6:34, 35; 2 Kings 18:16); of the holy place (1 Kings 6:31, 32; Ezek. 41:23, 24); of the outer courts of the temple, the beautiful gate (Acts 3:2).
(4.) Tombs (Matt. 27:60).
(5.) Prisons (Acts 12:10; 16:27).
(6.) Caverns (1 Kings 19:13).
(7.) Camps (Ex. 32:26, 27; Heb. 13:12).
The materials of which gates were made were,
(1.) Iron and brass (Ps. 107:16; Isa. 45:2; Acts 12:10).
(2.) Stones and pearls (Isa. 54:12; Rev. 21:21).
(3.) Wood (Judg. 16:3) probably.
At the gates of cities courts of justice were frequently held, and hence "judges of the gate" are spoken of (Deut. 16:18; 17:8; 21:19; 25:6, 7, etc.). At the gates prophets also frequently delivered their messages (Prov. 1:21; 8:3; Isa. 29:21; Jer. 17:19, 20; 26:10). Criminals were punished without the gates (1 Kings 21:13; Acts 7:59). By the "gates of righteousness" we are probably to understand those of the temple (Ps. 118:19). "The gates of hell" (R.V., "gates of Hades") Matt. 16:18, are generally interpreted as meaning the power of Satan, but probably they may mean the power of death, denoting that the Church of Christ shall never die.
- gat (Hebrew normally (over 300 times) sha`ar; occasionally deleth, properly, "gateway" (but compare Dt 3:5
); elsewhere the gateway is pethach (compare especially Gen 19:6
); Aramaic tera`; Greek pulon, pule; the English Revised Version and the King James Version add caph, "threshold," in 1 Ch 9:19,22
; and the King James Version adds delathayim, "double-door," in Isa 45:1
; thura, "door," Acts 3:2
(1) The usual gateway was provided with double doors, swung on projections that fitted into sockets in the sill and lintel. Ordinarily the material was wood (Neh 2:3,17), but greater strength and protection against fire was given by plating with metal (Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2). Josephus (BJ, V, v, 3) speaks of the solid metal doors of the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2) as a very exceptional thing. Some doors were solid slabs of stone, from which the imagery of single jewels (Isa 54:12; Rev 21:21) was derived. When closed, the doors were secured with a bar (usually of wood, Nah 3:13, but sometimes of metal, 1 Ki 4:13; Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2), which fitted into clamps on the doors and sockets in the post, uniting the whole firmly (Jdg 16:3). Sometimes, perhaps, a portcullis was used, but Ps 24:7 refers to the enlargement or enrichment of the gates. As the gate was especially subject to attack (Ezek 21:15,22), and as to "possess the gate" was to possess the city (Gen 22:17; 24:60), it was protected by a tower (2 Sam 18:24,33; 2 Ch 14:7; 26:9), often, doubtless, overhanging and with flanking projections. Sometimes an inner gate was added (2 Sam 18:24). Unfortunately, Palestine gives us little monumental detail.
(2) As even farm laborers slept in the cities, most of the men passed through the gate every day, and the gate was the place for meeting others (Ruth 4:1; 2 Sam 15:2) and for assemblages. For the latter purpose "broad" or open places (distinguished from the "streets" in Prov 7:12) were provided (1 Ki 22:10; Neh 8:1), and these were the centers of the public life. Here the markets were held (2 Ki 7:1), and the special commodities in these gave names to the gates (Neh 3:1,3,18). In particular, the "gate" was the place of the legal tribunals (Dt 16:18; 21:19; 25:7, etc.), so that a seat "among the elders in the gates" (Prov 31:23) was a high honor, while "oppression in the gates" was a synonym for judicial corruption (Job 31:21; Prov 22:22; Isa 29:21; Am 5:10). The king, in especial, held public audiences in the gate (2 Sam 19:8; 1 Ki 22:10; Jer 38:7; compare Jer 39:3), and even yet "Sublime Porte" (the French translation of the Turkish for "high gate") is the title of the Court of Constantinople. To the gates, as the place of throngs, prophets and teachers went with their message (1 Ki 22:10; Jer 17:19; Prov 1:21; 8:3; 31:31), while on the other hand the gates were the resort of the town good-for-nothings (Ps 69:12).
(3) "Gates" can be used figuratively for the glory of a city (Isa 3:26; 14:31; Jer 14:2; Lam 1:4; contrast Ps 87:2), but whether the military force, the rulers or the people is in mind cannot be determined. In Mt 16:18 "gates of Hades" (not "hell") may refer to the hosts (or princes) of Satan, but a more likely translation is `the gates of the grave (which keep the dead from returning) shall not be stronger than it.' The meaning in Jdg 5:8,11 is very uncertain, and the text may be corrupt.
See CITY; JERUSALEM; TABERNACLE; TEMPLE.
Burton Scott Easton