As a means of defence against raiding enemy armies, the OT cities were surrounded by fortified walls with massive wooden gates to prevent or control entry and exit (Josh 6:1; 2 Chr 14:7; Neh 1:3). The gates were considered a weak point in a city’s defence system, as it depended on the diligence of the watchmen and gatekeepers to allow entry only for the legitimate travelers, hence they had to be constantly alert to guard and monitor all those who passed through the gates, for if they were lax in their duty, everyone within the security of the walls were in jeopardy (1 Chr 9:24; Neh 7:1,3; Jn 10:3).
Gates are to be monitored
We should pray at the strategic entry points (be they gates, doors or highways to areas, facilities and especially our homes), commanding evil forces not to enter while permitting what is good and of God access to bless and transform, for just as we securely lock the gates when evil prowls we should open them wide to the good and beneficial.
Doors and gates are prominent in scripture. Using the illustration of the night-time enclosure where sheep were kept safe, Jesus said He was the only gate, by which access could be gained to heaven (Jn 10:1-10). Another time He said, “Enter through the narrow gate that leads to life. The wide gate that most people pass through leads to destruction” (Mt 7:13).
Along with city gates, the temple gates and doors were important, admitting worshippers to meet with God. The Psalmist stated, “Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord…” (Ps 24:7,9, 118:19-21).
See also: doors, entry points, keys, walls.