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Morrish Bible Dictionary


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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 4:1-12 ; cf. Joshua 20:4 ; 1 Samuel 4:18 ; 2 Samuel 15:2 ; Acts 14:13 . To 'sit in the gate' was a place of honour: "they that sit in the gate speak against me." Psalm 69:12 . It should have been the place of true judgement and justice, but was not always so. Isaiah 29:21 ; Amos 5:10,12 ; Zechariah 8:16 . It was, at least at times, the king's chief place of audience. 2 Samuel 19:8 ; 1 Kings 22:10 ; Job 29:7 ; 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. Matthew 16:18 .

The gates of cities were of wood cased with iron to strengthen them and prevent them being burnt with fire. cf. Judges 9:52 . The prison at Jerusalem had an outer gate of iron, the only iron one we read of. Acts 12:10 .

Doubtless the gates of Solomon's temple were adorned to agree with the rest of the work. In the N.T. we read of THE BEAUTIFUL GATE of the temple, 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," 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: cf. 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. Matthew 7:13,14 .

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Gate '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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