15. Gates

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Listen from:
The gateways of walled cities, as well as the open spaces near them, were popular places of resort, being vaulted and cool, and convenient for the meeting of friends, or for a view of strangers, since all who went in or out must pass that way. They often resembled large stone halls, and had sufficient area to accommodate large assemblages. There the people assembled at the close of the day to tell the news, and to discuss various topics of interest. Thus it was that Lot at evening happened to be in the city gate when the strangers came by. In this position he readily saw them as they entered. Allusion to this use of the gate may be found in numerous other passages See Genesis 23:1010And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, (Genesis 23:10); Genesis 34:2020And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying, (Genesis 34:20); 1 Samuel 4:13-1813And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out. 14And when Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, What meaneth the noise of this tumult? And the man came in hastily, and told Eli. 15Now Eli was ninety and eight years old; and his eyes were dim, that he could not see. 16And the man said unto Eli, I am he that came out of the army, and I fled to day out of the army. And he said, What is there done, my son? 17And the messenger answered and said, Israel is fled before the Philistines, and there hath been also a great slaughter among the people, and thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken. 18And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years. (1 Samuel 4:13‑18); Job 29:77When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! (Job 29:7); Psalm 69:1212They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. (Psalm 69:12); Psalm 127:55Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:5); Proverbs 1:2121She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, (Proverbs 1:21).
Other uses of the gate will be noticed further on.