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Ruth iv. 1, &c. “Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there... and he took ten men of the elders of the city, ... and they sat down.... And Boaz said unto the elders and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s."
2 CHRON. xviii. 9. “ And the king of Israel, and Jehosaphat, king of Judah, sat either of them on his throne,...in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria ; and all the prophets prophesied before them.”
JOB v. 4. (The) children (of the foolish) are crushed in the gate."
PSALM cxxvii. 5. “ They shall speak with (or subdue-marg.) the enemies in the gate.”
PROV. xxxi. 23. (The) husband (of a virtuous woman) is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”
LAMENT. v. 14. “The elders have ceased from the gate.”
Dan. ii. 49. “ Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” (Esther ii. 19.)
Amos v. 12. They turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.”
ZECH. viii. 16. “ Execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates."
MATTHEW ix. 9. “ And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom ; and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.”
Matt. xvi. 18. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Most eastern cities are built in the same manner, with a surrounding wall, and several gates. “ Jerusalem has at present only four open gates, one on each of the four sides of the city, looking towards the north, south, east, and west. Besides these, there were formerly four other, mostly smaller gates, now closed up with walls." -ROBINSON's Researches, vol. i. p. 386.
Shohba* has “eight gates, with a paved causeway leading from each into the town. Each gate is formed of two arches, with a post in the centre.”—BURCKHARDT'S Syria, &c. p. 70. In the early ages of the world, the gate of the city was a place of great importance. It was the seat of justice, where complaints were heard, and justice done, and all public business transacted. From this circumstance, the judges were termed elders of the gate.* (Deut. xxii. 15, xxv. 7.)
* See p. 33.
When visiting the fort of El-Arish, “At mid-day, we went to the gate, to enjoy the coolness. The arched roof affords a complete shade at all times, and often a pleasant breeze passes through. Under such a gateway, probably, Lot was seated, for coolness' sake, when the angels came to Sodom ; and for the same reason, the people of old used to resort to it, and it became the market-place. We saw how the gate became the seat of judgment, when a little after the governor appeared. His attendants having spread a mat and a carpet over it, and a cushion at each corner, he took his seat, inviting us to recline near him.”—Narrative of a Mission of Enquiry to the Jews, p. 91.
Any person may see the ancient custom mentioned in Matt. ix. 9, exemplified to this day at the gate of Smyrna. The collector of customs sits there in the house allotted him, and receives the money which is due from various persons and commodities entering into the city. The exactions and rude behaviour of these men are just in character with the conduct of the publicans mentioned in the New Testament. - See HARTLEY's Researches, pp. 216, 217.
The wicked are said to be crushed in the gate—that is, condemned and confounded.
The gates were the strong place of a city, on account of the importance of the business there conducted. So when our blessed Lord said that the gates of hell should not prevail against his Church, these words may signify, that all the strength and malice and skill of Satan should not overcome it. Many gates had towers near
may be remarked, that the gate of entrance to the now deserted Moorish palace of Alhambra in Spain is still called the gate of justice, or judgment.
them, for watchmen to observe what was going on without (2 Sam. xviii.).
MARKETS HELD AT GATES.
2 Kings vii. 1. “ Then 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.”
Mr. Morier observes : “In our rides we usually went out of the town" (Teheran, in Persia)" at the gate leading to the village of Shah Abdul Azum, where a market was held every morning, particularly of horses, mules, asses, and camels. At about sunrise, the owners of the animals assemble, and exhibit them for sale. But, besides, here were sellers of all sorts of goods, in temporary shops and tents; and this, perhaps, will explain the custom alluded to in 2 Kings vii., of the sale of barley and flour in the gate of Samaria.”—MORIER'S Second Journey through Persia, &c. p. 189.
“ We had a market in front of one of the principal gates of the town. Slaves, sheep, and bullocks, the latter in great numbers, were the principal live stock for sale. There were at least fifteen thousand persons gathered together, some of them coming from places two or three days distant. Wheat, rice, and gussub, were abundant : tamarinds in the pod, ground ruts, ban beans, ochroes, and indigo. .... Leather was in great quantities; and the skins of the large snake, and pieces of the skin of the crocodile, used as an ornament for the scabbards of their daggers, were also brought to me for sale.”—Denham and CLAPPERTON, Discoveries in Africa, vol. i. pp. 216, 217,
CITY GATES CLOSED AT NIGHT.
REVELATIONS xxi. 12, 13, 25. “ And (the city) had twelve gates...on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.... And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day ; for there shall be no night there."
“Cairo is surrounded by a wall, the gates of which are shut at night.... To the right and left of the great thoroughfares are by-streets, and quarters : most of the bystreets are thoroughfares, and have a large wooden gate at each end, closed at night, and kept by a porter within, who opens to any persons requiring to be admitted. The quarters mostly consist of several narrow lanes, having but one general entrance, which is also closed at night." -LANE's Modern Egyptians, vol. i. pp. 5, 6.
IRON AND BRASS GATES.
Psalm cvii. 16. “He hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder."
ACTs xii. 10. “When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city.”
Vain would have been the precaution of building their walls high, unless the gates had been well secured also. One of the means whereby they secure them now, is the plating them over with thick iron. Algiers has five gates ; and some of these have two, some three, other gates within them, and some of them plated all over with thick iron. After this manner the place where St. Peter was imprisoned seems to have been secured. Some of their gates are plated over in like manner with brass. See HARMER'S Observations, vol. i. pp. 392, 393.
A traveller, describing his entrance into a monastery near Jerusalem, writes, “The passage is so low that it will scarcely admit a horse ; and it is shut by a gate of