Gate

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(opening). Those of walled cities made of wood, iron, or brass (Judg. 16:33And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron. (Judges 16:3); Deut. 3:55All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many. (Deuteronomy 3:5); Psa. 107:1616For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. (Psalm 107:16); Acts 12:1010When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. (Acts 12:10)); flanked by towers (2 Sam. 18:24,3324And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone. (2 Samuel 18:24)
33And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18:33)
); market and judgment places near (2 Sam. 15:22And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. (2 Samuel 15:2); 2 Kings 7:11Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria. (2 Kings 7:1); Job 29:77When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! (Job 29:7); Deut. 17:5;25. 7; Amos 5:1010They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. (Amos 5:10); Ruth 4:1-121Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: 4And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. 10Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 11And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 12And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. (Ruth 4:1‑12)); symbol of power (Gen. 22:1717That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17); Isa. 24:1212In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction. (Isaiah 24:12); Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)); the city itself (Deut. 12:1212And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 12:12)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Beside the ordinary use of gates for the protection of a city, “in the gate” was the place where many important things were transacted. When Boaz wanted the question settled respecting Ruth and the inheritance, he went up to the gate: the subject was debated with a nearer relative, then concluded, and witnessed by the elders (Ruth 4:1-121Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: 4And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. 10Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 11And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: 12And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. (Ruth 4:1‑12); compare Josh. 20:44And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. (Joshua 20:4); 1 Sam. 4:1818And 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 4:18); 2 Sam. 15:22And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. (2 Samuel 15:2); Acts 14:1313Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. (Acts 14:13)). To “sit in the gate” was a place of honor; “they that sit in the gate speak against me” (Psa. 69:1212They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. (Psalm 69:12)). It should have been the place of true judgment and justice, but was not always so (Isa. 29:2121That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. (Isaiah 29:21); Amos 5:10,1210They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. (Amos 5:10)
12For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. (Amos 5:12)
; Zech. 8:1616These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: (Zechariah 8:16)). It was, at least at times, the king’s chief place of audience (2 Sam. 19:88Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent. (2 Samuel 19:8); 1 Kings 22:1010And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. (1 Kings 22:10); Job 29:77When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! (Job 29:7); Lam. 5:1414The elders have ceased from the gate, the young men from their music. (Lamentations 5:14)). From this it would be a symbol of power: thus the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church which Christ builds (Matt. 16:1818And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)).
Doubtless the gates of Solomon’s temple were adorned to agree with the rest of the work. In the New Testament we read of THE BEAUTIFUL GATE of the temple (Acts 3:1010And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. (Acts 3:10)); and Josephus relates that Herod made an outer gate of Corinthian brass, costing more than those adorned with gold and silver. The gates of the New Jerusalem are described as pearls: “every several gate was of one pearl” (Rev. 21:12-2512And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. (Revelation 21:12‑25)): the entrances must be in keeping with the rest of the city. The pearls represent the glories of Christ as seen in the church (compare Matt. 13:4646Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Matthew 13:46)).
The gate is used symbolically as the entrance both to life and to destruction: the former is narrow and the way straitened, and alas, there are but few that find it; whereas for the latter the gate is wide and the way is broad, and many there are that enter through it (Matt. 7:13-1413Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13‑14)).

“15. Gates” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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.

“531. The Open Gates” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The gates of walled towns are shut at sundown, or shortly after. Travelers often hasten in their journey when they see the sun declining and the shadows lengthen, lest the day expire before they reach the city gates. It not uncommonly happens that, with all their exertions, they are too late; they are then compelled to spend the night outside, exposed to storms and robbers. The prophet represents the Church of Christ with her gates “open continually,” in marked contrast to the custom with which Oriental people are familiar. A similar illustration is given by John in his beautiful description of the New Jerusalem “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:2525And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. (Revelation 21:25)).