(prop. שִׁעִר, shalar, πὑλη; which are also used [espec. the Heb. word] for DOOR SEE DOOR [q.v.], although this latter is more properly designated by פֶּתִח, pe'thach, an opening, of which דֶּלֶת, de'leth, was the valve, Gr. θύρα; there also occur סִŠ, saph, 1Ch 9:19,21, a vestibule or "threshold," as usually elsewhere rendered; and the Chald. תּרִע, tera' an entrance, only in Ezra and Dan.), the entrance to inclosed grounds, buildings, dwelling-houses, towns, etc. (see Thomson, Land and Book, 1:29 sq.). Thus we find mentioned. Gates of Cities, as of Jerusalem, its sheep-gate, fishgate, etc. (Jer 37:13; Ne 1:3; Ne 2:3; Ne 5:3); of Sodom (Ge 19:1); of Gaza (Jg 16:3).

2. Gates of royal palaces (Ne 3:8).

"Gates." topical outline.

3. Gates of the Temple. The temple of Ezekiel had two gates, one towards the north, the other towards the east; the latter closed (Eze 44:1-2), the other must have been open. The gates of Solomon's Temple were very massive and costly, being overlaid with gold and carvings (1Ki 6:34-35; 2Ki 18:16). Those of the Holy Place were of olive-wood, two-leaved. and overlaid with gold; those of the Temple of fir (1Ki 6:31-32,34; Eze 41:23-24). Of the gates of the outer courts of Heroid's temple, nine were covered with gold and silver, as.well as the posts and lintels; but the middle one, the Beautifil Gate (Ac 3:2), was made entirely of Corinthian brass, and was considered to surpass the others far in costliness (Joseph. War, 5:5, 3). This gate, which was so heavy as to require twenty men to close it, was unexpectedly found open on one occasion shortly before the close of the siege (Joseph. War, 6:5,3; Ap. 2:9).

4. Gates of tombs (Mt 27:60).

Bible concordance for GATES.

5. Gates of prisons. In Ac 12:10, mention is made of the iron gate of Peter's prison (Ac 16:27). Prudentius (Peristephanon, 5:346) speaks of gate-keepers of prisons.

6. Gates of caverns (1Ki 19:13).

Definition of gate

7. Gates of camps (Ex 31:18,18; see Heb 13:12). The camps of the Romans generally had four gates, of which the first was called porta praetoria, the second decumana, the third principalis, the fourth quintana (Rosin. Antiq. Romans 10:12). The camp of the Trojans is also described as having had gates (Virgil, AEn. 9:724). The camp of the Israelites in the desert appears to have been closed by gates (Ex 32:27). We do not know of what materials the enclosures and gates of the temporary camps of the Hebrews were formed. In Egyptian monuments such enclosures are indicated by lines of upright shields, with gates apparently of wicker, defended by a strong guard. In later Egyptian times, the gates of the temples seem to have been intended as places of defence, if not the principal fortifications (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 1:409, abridgm.). The gateways of Assyrian cities were arched or squareheaded entrances in the wall; sometimes flanked by towers (Layard, Nineveh 2:388, 395; Nin. and Bab. page 231; Mon. of Nin. part 2; ch. 49; see also Assyrian bas-reliefs in Brit. Mus. Nos. 49, 25, 26). The entrances to their own royal mansions were a simple passage between two colossal human-headed bulls or lions. SEE PALACE.

As the gates, of towns served the ancients as places of security SEE FORTIFICATION, a durable material was required for them, and accordingly we find mentioned —

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

1. Gates of iron and brass (Ps 107:16; Isa 14:2; Ac 12:10). It is probable that gates thus described were, in fact, only sheeted with plates of copper or iron (Faber, Archaeol. page 297), and it is probably in this sense that we are to interpret the hundred brazen gates ascribed to the ancient Babylon. Thevenot (Voyage, page 283) describes the six gates of Jerusalem as covered with iron, which is probably still the case with the four gates now open. Other iron-covered gates are mentioned by travelers, such as some of the town gates of Algiers (Pitt's Letter, 8:10), and of the towers of the so-called iron bridge at Antioch (Pococke, volume 2, part 1, page 172). Gates of iron also mentioned by Hesiod (Theog. 732), by Virgil (AEnaid, 1:482; 7:609), and by Ovid (Metamorpheses, 7:126).

2. Gates of stone, and of pearls, are mentioned in Isa 54:12, and Romans 21:12, wheich, it has justly bees supposed, refer to such doors, cut out of a single slab, as are occasionally discovered in ancient countries (Shaw, page 210; Burckhardt, Syria, page 58, 74; Portar, Damsc. 2:22, 192; Ray, Coll. of Trav. 2:429). At Ensswan (Syene), in Upper Egypt, there is a granite gateway bearing the name of Alexander, the son of Alexander the Great (Wilkinson, 3:403). The doors leading to the several chambers of the so-called "Tombs of the Kings," near Jerusalem, were each formed of a single stone seven inches thick, sculptured so as to resemble four panels: the stiles, muntins, and other parts were cut with great art, and exactly resembled those of a door made by a carpenter at the present day — the whole being completely smooth and polished, and most accurate in its proportions. The doors turned on pivots, of the same stone of which the rest of them were composed, which were inserted in corresponding sockets above and below, the lower tenon being of course short. This is one of the modes in which heavy doors of wood are now hung in the East. One of these doors was still hanging in Maundrell's time, and "did not touch its lintel by at least three inches." But all these doors are now thrown down and broken (Monconys, p. 308; Thevenot, page 261; Pococke, 2:21; Maundrell, sub Mar. 28; Wilde, 2:299; Robinson, 1:530). Similar doors are described by Dr. Clarke (Travels, pt. ii, vol. i, p. 252) in the remarkable excavated sepulchres at Telmessus, on the southern coast of Asia Minor; and others were noticed by Irby and Mangles (Travels, page 302) in the sepulchres, near Bysan (Bethshabs). There are stone doors to the houses in the Hauran beyond the Jordan (Burckhacdt, page 58); and in the north of Persia the street doors of superior houses are often composed of a single slab of a kind of slate. In the ancient sepulcher recently discovered, as described by Dr. Wilde (Narrative, 2:343), the outer door is formed by a single slab, and moves on horizontal pivots that run into sockets cut in the pilasters at the top, in the manner of 47 swinging hinge.

3. Gates of wood. Of this kind were probably the gates of Gaza (Jg 16:3). They had generally two valves, which, according to Faber's description (Arch. page 300), had sometimes smaller doors, or wickets, to afford a passage when the principal gate was closed — a fact which he applies to the illustration of Mt 7:13.

The parts of the doorway were the threshold (סִŠ Jg 19:27; Sept. πρόθυρον, Vulg. limen), the side-posts (מזוּזת; σγαθμοί; uterque postis),

and the lintel(מִשׁקוŠ; φλιά, superliminare, Ex 12:7). It was on the lintel and side-posts that the blood of the Passover lamb was sprinkled (Ex 12:7,22). A trace of some similar practice in Assyrian worship seems to have been discovered at Nineveh (Layard, Nin. 2:256). Gates were generally protected by some works against the surprises of enemies (Jer 39:4). Sometimes two gates were constructed one behind another, an outer and inner one, or there were turrets on both sides (2Sa 18:24,33; see Faber's Archaeology, page 301). The gates of the ancients were generally secured emitlstrong, heavy bolts and locks of brass or iron (De 3:5; 1Sa 23:7; 1Ki 4:13; 2Ch 8:5; Jer 45:2; Jer 49:31; Ps 147:13). This was probably done with a view to the safety of the town, and to prevent hostile inroads (Harmer's Observations, 1:188). The keys of gates, as well as of doors, were generally of wood; and Thevenot observes that gates might 1be opened even with the finger put into the keyhole from which Harmer elucidates the passage in the Song of Solomon, 5:4. The doors themselves of the larger gates mentioned in Scripture were two-leaved, plated with metal (Jg 16:3; Ne 3:3-15; Ps 107:16; Isa 45:1-2). Gates not defended by iron were of course liable to be set on fire by an enemy (Jg 9:52).

The gates of towns were kept open or shut according to circumstances: in time of war they were closed against the inroads of the enemy (Jos 2:5), but they were opened when the enemy had been conquered. On festive occasions they were also thrown wide open, to which Ps 24:7 alludes. This opening of the gates, as well as closing them, was done by means of keys. That near the gates towers were often constructed, serving for defense against attacks of the enemy, may be inferred from De 3:5; 2Sa 18:24; Jg 9:35, comp. with 52. So Juvenal (Sat. 6:290) puts the towers of the gates for the gates themselves. Virgil (En. 6:550) represents the infernal gate as having a tower. Enemies, therefore, in besieging towns, were most anxious to obtain possession of the gates as quickly as possible (De 18:22; Jg 9:40; 2Sa 10:8; 2Sa 11:27; 1Ki 8:37; Job 5:4; Isa 22:7; Isa 28:6); and generally the town was conquered when its gates were occupied by the invading troops (Deuteronomy 38:57; Jg 5:8). This observation is made also by several Greek and Roman authors (Herodian, Histor. 1:12, § 14; Virgil, AEn. 2:802 sq.). In or near the gates, therefore, they placed watchmen, and a sufficiently strong guard, to keep an eye on the movements of the enemy, and to defend the works in case of need (Jg 18:16; 2Ki 7:3; Ne 13:22; see Herodian, Histor. 3:2, § 21; Virgil, AEn. 2:265 sq., 365). Regarded, therefore as positions of great importance, the gates of cities were carefully guarded and closed at nightfall (De 3:5; Jos 2:5,7; Jg 9:40,44; 1Sa 23:7; 2Sa 11:23; Jer 39:4; Judith 1:4). They contained chambers over the gateway, and probably also chambers or recesses at the sides for the various purposes to which they were applied (2Sa 18:24; Layard, Nin. and Bab. page 57, and note). In the Temple, Levites, and in houses of wealthier classes and in palaces, persons were especially appointed to keep the gates (Jer 35:4; 2Ki 12:9; 2Ki 25:18; 1Ch 9:18-19; Es 2:21; שֹׁעֲרַים; Sept. θυρωρό, πυλωροί; Vulg. portarii, janitores). In the A.V. these are frequently called "porters," a word which has now acquired a different meaning. The chief steward of the household in the palace of the shah of Persia was called chief of the guardians of the gate (Chardin, 7:369).

We read that some portions of the law were to be written on the gates of towns, as well as on the doors of houses (De 6:9; De 11:20); and if this is to be literally understood (comp. Isa 54:12; Re 21:21), it receives illustration from the practice of the Moslems in painting passages of the Koran on their public and private gates (Maundrell, E.T. page 488; Lane, Mod. Eq. 1:29; Rauwolff, Travels, part 3, chapter 10; Ray, 2:278). Various artificial figures and inscriptions were engraved on their gates by the Romans (Virgil, Georg. 3:26 sq.). SEE POST.

Gates are often mentioned in Scripture as places at which were holden courts of justice, to administer the law and determine points in dispute: hence judges in the gate are spoken of (De 16:18; De 17:8; De 21:19; De 25:6-7; Jos 20:4; Ru 4:1; 2Sa 15:2; 2Sa 19:8; 1Ki 22:10; Job 29:7; Pr 22:22; Pr 24:7; La 5:14; Am 5:12; Zec 8:16). The reason of this custom is apparent; for the gates being places of great concourse and resort, the courts held at them were of easy access to all the people; witnesses and auditors to all transactions were easily secured (a matter of much importance in the absence or scanty use of Written documents); and confidence in the integrity of the magistrate was insured by the publicity of the proceedings (comp. Polyb. 15:31), There was within the gate a particular place, where the judges sat on chairs, and this custom must be understood as referred to when we read that courts were held under the gates, as may be proved from 1Ki 22:10; 2Ch 18:9. Apart from the holding of courts of justice, the gate served for reading the law, and for proclaiming ordinances, etc. (2Ch 32:6; Ne 8:1,3). We see from Pr 31:23; La 5:14, that the inferior magistrates held a court in the gates, as well as the superior judges (Jer 36:10); and even kings, at least occasionally, did the same (1Ki 22:10, comp. with Ps 27:5). The gates at Jerusalem served the same purpose; but for the great number of its inhabitants, many places of justice were required. Thus we find that Nehemiah (Ne 3:32) calls a particular gate of this city the counsel-gate, or justice-gate, which seems to have had a preference, though not exclusive, since courts must have been holden in the other gates also. After the erection of the second Temple, the celebrated great Sanhedrim, indeed, assembled in the so-called conclave caesurae of the Temple; but we find that one of the Synedria of Jerusalem, consisting of twenty-three members, assembled in the east gate, leading to the court of Israel, the other in the gate leading to the Temple Mount. The same custom prevails to the present day among other Oriental nations, as in the kingdom of Morocco, where courts of justice are holden in the gate of the capital town (Dopter, Theatrum pomarum, page 9 sq.). Hence came the usage of the word "Porte" in speaking of the government of Constantinople (Early Trav. page 349). Respecting the Abyssinians and inhabitants of Hindustan, we are likewise assured that they employed their gates for courts of justice. Homer (Iliad, 1:198 sq.) states of the Trojans that their elders assembled in the gates of the town to determine causes, and Virgil (AEn. 1:509 sq.) says the same. From Juvenal (Satir. 3:11) it appears that with the Romans the porta Capena was used for this purpose (Graevii Thesaurus Antiquit. Roman. 10:179. We may refer to J.D. Jacobi's Dissertat. de foro in portis, Leipzig, 1714, where the custom of holding courts in the gates of towns is explained at large. SEE TRIAL. 'The Egyptian and Assyrian monuments represent the king as giving an audience, especially to prisoners, at his tent-door.

In Palestine gates were, moreover, the places where, sometimes at least, the priests delivered their sacred addresses and discourses to the people; and we find that the prophets often proclaimed their warnings and prophecies in the gates (Pr 1:21; Pr 8:3; Isa 29:21; Jer 17:19-20; Jer 26:10; Jer 36:10).

Among the heathen gates were connected with sacrifices, which were offered in their immediate vicinity; in which respect the hills near the gate are mentioned (2Ki 23:8). In Ac 14:13, the gates of Lyntra are referred to, near which sacrifice was offered; in which passage Camerarius, Dedien, and Heinsius take πυλῶνας to mean the town-gate. The principal gate of the royal spalace at Ispahan was in Chardin's time hald sacred, and served as a sanctuary for criminals (Chardin, 7:368, and petitions were presented to the sovereign at the gate. See Es 4:2, and Herod. 3:120, 140).

The gate was, further, a public place of meeting and conversation, where the people assembled in large numbers to learn the news of the day, and by various talk to while away the too tedious hours (Ps 69:13). It was probably with this view that Lot sat under the gate of Sodom (Ge 19:1); which is more probable than the Jewish notion that he sat there as one of the judges of the city (comp. Ge 23:10,18; Ge 34:20; 1Sa 4:18; 2Sa 18:24; see Shaw, Trav. page 207).

Under the gates they used to sell various merchandises, provisions, victuals, e.g., at Samaria (2Ki 7:1); and for this purpose there were generally recesses in the space under them (see Herodian, 7:6, § 6). The same is stated by Aristophanes (Eqsit. 1245, ed. Dind.) of the gates of the Greeks. But the commodities sold at the gates are almost exclusively country produce, animal or vegetable, for the supply of the city, and not manufactured goods, which are invariably sold in the bazaars in the heart of the town. The gate-markets also are only held for a few hours early in the morning. SEE BAZAAR.

On an uproar having broken out at Jerusalem, the heads of the people met under the New-gate (Jer 29:26), where they were sure to find insurgents. The town-gates were to the ancient Orientals what the coffee- houses, exchanges, markets, and courts of law are in our large towns; and such is Still the case in a great degree, although the introduction of coffee- houses has in this, and other respects caused some alteration of Eastern manners. In capital towns the quidnuncs occasionally sat with the same views near the gate of the royal palace, where also the officers and messengers of the palace lounged about; and where persons having suits to offer, favors to beg, or wishing to recommend themselves to favorable notice, would wait day after day, in the hope of attracting the notice of the prince or great man at his entrance or coming forth (Es 2:19,21; Es 3:2).

Criminals were punished without the gates (1Ki 21:13; Ac 7:59), which explains the passage in Heb 13:12. The same custom existed among the Raomans (see Plaut. Milit. Glorios. act 2, sc. 4:6, 7). At Rome executions took place without the Porta Metia or Esquilina. As to the gate through which Christ was led before his crucifixion, opinions differ; some taking it to have been the Dung-gate (Lamy, Apparat. Gegograph. chapter 13, § 3, page 321); others, following Hottinger (Cipp. Hebr. page 16) and Godwyn, understand it of the Gate of Judgment. But for all that concerns the gates of Jerusalem, we must refer to the article JERUSALEM SEE JERUSALEM .

Gates are put figuratively for public places of towns and palaces. The gates of a town are also put instead of the town itself (Ge 22:17; Ge 24:60; Jg 5:8; Ru 4:10; De 12:12; Ps 87:2; Ps 122:2). By gates of righteousness (Ps 118:19) those of the Temple are no doubt meant. The gates of death and of hell occur in Job 38:17; Ps 9:14; Alicash 2:13. Doors and gates of hell are especially introduced, Pr 5:5; Isa 38:10; Mt 16:19; and the Jews go so far in their writings as to ascribe real gates to hell (Wagenseil, Sota, page 220). Virgil (AEn. 6:126) also speaks of infernal gates. The origin of this metaphorical expression is not difficult to explain; for it was very common to use the word gates as an image of large empires (Ps 24:7); and in pagan authors the abode of departed souls is represented as the residence of Pluto (see Virgil, AEn. 6:417 sq.). In the passage, then, Mt 16:19, by "gates of hell" must be understood all aggressions by the infernal empire upon the Christian Church. SEE CITY.

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