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Dictionaries :: Gate

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1.) Of cities, as of Jerusalem (Jer 37:13; Neh 1:3; 2:3; 3:3), of Sodom (Gen 19:1), of Gaza (Jdg 16:3).

(2.) Of royal palaces (Neh 2:8).

(3.) Of the temple of Solomon (1Ki 6:34,35; 2Ki 18:16); of the holy place (1Ki 6:31,32; Eze 41:23,24); of the outer courts of the temple, the beautiful gate (Act 3:2).

(4.) Tombs (Mat 27:60).

(5.) Prisons (Act 12:10; 16:27).

(6.) Caverns (1Ki 19:13).

(7.) Camps (Exd 32:26,27; Hbr 13:12).

The materials of which gates were made were,

(1.) Iron and brass (Psa 107:16; Isa 45:2; Act 12:10).

(2.) Stones and pearls (Isa 54:12; Rev 21:21).

(3.) Wood (Jdg 16:3) probably.

At the gates of cities courts of justice were frequently held, and hence "judges of the gate" are spoken of (Deu 16:18; 17:8; 21:19; 25:6,7, etc.). At the gates prophets also frequently delivered their messages (Pro 1:21; 8:3; Isa 29:21; Jer 17:19,20; 26:10). Criminals were punished without the gates (1Ki 21:13; Act 7:59). By the "gates of righteousness" we are probably to understand those of the temple (Psa 118:19). "The gates of hell" (R.V., "gates of Hades") Mat 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.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


gat (Hebrew normally (over 300 times) sha?ar; occasionally deleth, properly, "gateway" (but compare De 3:5); elsewhere the gateway is pethach (compare especially Ge 19:6); Aramaic tera?; Greek pulon, pule; the English Revised Version and the King James Version add caph, "threshold," in 1Ch 9:19,22; and the King James Version adds delathayim, "double-door," in Isa 45:1; thura, "door," Ac 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 (Ne 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 (Ac 3:2) as a very exceptional thing. Some doors were solid slabs of stone, from which the imagery of single jewels (Isa 54:12; Re 21:21) was derived. When closed, the doors were secured with a bar (usually of wood, Na 3:13, but sometimes of metal, 1Ki 4:13; Ps 107:16; Isa 45:2), which fitted into clamps on the doors and sockets in the post, uniting the whole firmly (Jud 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 (Eze 21:15,22), and as to "possess the gate" was to possess the city (Ge 22:17; 24:60), it was protected by a tower (2Sa 18:24,33; 2Ch 14:7; 26:9), often, doubtless, overhanging and with flanking projections. Sometimes an inner gate was added (2Sa 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 (Ru 4:1; 2Sa 15:2) and for assemblages. For the latter purpose "broad" or open places (distinguished from the "streets" in Pr 7:12) were provided (1Ki 22:10; Ne 8:1), and these were the centers of the public life. Here the markets were held (2Ki 7:1), and the special commodities in these gave names to the gates (Ne 3:1,3,18). In particular, the "gate" was the place of the legal tribunals (De 16:18; 21:19; 25:7, etc.), so that a seat "among the elders in the gates" (Pr 31:23) was a high honor, while "oppression in the gates" was a synonym for judicial corruption (Job 31:21; Pr 22:22; Isa 29:21; Am 5:10). The king, in especial, held public audiences in the gate (2Sa 19:8; 1Ki 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 (1Ki 22:10; Jer 17:19; Pr 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; La 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 Jud 5:8,11 is very uncertain, and the text may be corrupt.

Written by Burton Scott Easton





Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g4439 Greek: pule


is used

(a) literally, for a larger sort of "gate," in the wall either of a city or palace or temple, Luk 7:12, of Nain (burying places were outside the "gates" of cities); Act 3:10; 9:24; 12:10; Hbr 13:12;

(b) metaphorically, of the "gates" at the entrances of the ways leading to life and to destruction, Mat 7:13, 14; some mss. have pule, for thura, "a door," in Luk 13:24 (see the RV); of the "gates" of Hades, Mat 16:18, than which nothing was regarded as stronger. The importance and strength of "gates" made them viewed as synonymous with power. By metonymy, the "gates" stood for those who held government and administered justice there.

2 Strong's Number: g4440 Greek: pulon


akin to No. 1, primarily signifies "a porch or vestibule," e.g., Mat 26:71; Luk 16:20; Act 10:17; 12:13, 14; then, the "gateway" or "gate tower" of a walled town, Act 14:13; Rev 21:12, 13, 15, 21, 25; 22:14.


(1) In Act 3:2 thura denotes, not a "gate," but a "door," RV.

(2) Probatikos, signifying "of, or belonging to, sheep," denotes a sheep "gate" in Jhn 5:2, RV, and AV marg.

(3) The conjectural emendation which suggests the idea of "floods" for "gates" in Mat 16:18 is not sufficiently substantiated to be accepted.

Smith's Bible Dictionary


The gate and gateways of eastern cities anciently held and still hold an important part, not only in the defence but in the public economy of the place. They are thus sometimes taken as representing the city itself (Genesis 22:17; 24:60; 12:12; Judges 5:8; Ruth 4:10; Psalm 87:2; 122:2). Among the special purposes for which they were used may be mentioned.

(1.) As places of public resort (Genesis 19:1; 23:10; 34:20; 24; 1 Samuel 4:18 etc.).

(2.) Places for public deliberation, administration of Justice, or of audience for kings and rulers or ambassadors (Deuteronomy 16:18; 21:19; 25:7; Joshua 20:4; Judges 9:35 etc.).

(3.) Public markets (2 Kings 7:1). In heathen towns the open spaces near the gates appear to have been sometimes used as places for sacrifice (Acts 14:13 compare 2 Kings 23:8). Regarded therefore as positions of great importance, the gates of cities were carefully guarded, and closed at nightfall (Deuteronomy 3:5; Joshua 2:5, 7; Judges 9:40, 44). They contained chambers over the gateway (2 Samuel 18:24). The doors themselves of the larger gates mentioned in Scripture were two leaved, plated with metal, closed with locks and fastened with metal bars (Deuteronomy 3:6; Psalm 107:16; Isaiah 46:1-2). Gates not defended by iron were of course liable to be set on fire by an enemy (Judges 9:52). The gateways of royal palaces and even of private houses were often richly ornamented. Sentences from the law were inscribed on and above the gates (Deuteronomy 6:9; Isaiah 64:12; Revelation 21:21). The gates of Solomon's temple were very massive and costly, being overlaid with gold and carving (1 Kings 6:34, 35; 2 Kings 18:16). Those of the holy place were of olive wood, two‐leaved and overlaid with gold; those of the temple of fir (1 Kings 6:31-32; 6:34; Ezekiel 41:23-24).


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