Daily Archives: July 22, 2010

The Gate at Dan

The late Avraham Biran worked for several decades at the city of Dan. In addition to locating the massive city walls, the high place, and the house of David inscription, he found a pedestal or rostrum within the gate where it is thought the king would sit when he visited Dan. Here is a view of the pedestal as we see it today. Note the standing stone to the left of the podium. Click on the photo for an image large enough for use in presentations.

Rostrum inside the gate at Dan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rostrum inside the gate at Dan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Prof. Carl Rasmussen has a photo showing a canopy built over the podium several years ago at Holy Land Photos. Just search for Dan, and you will also see some photos showing details of certain parts of the podium.

Balage Balogh has provided us with an illustration showing the way this area of the gate might have looked in biblical times. The illustration is based on information gleaned from the excavation at Dan. Take a look at other illustrations at Archaeology Illustrated. [At the moment this page is slow in loading. It is worth the wait.]

© Dan City Gate. Illustrated by Balage Balogh.

In several places in the Old Testament we have examples of the king sitting in the gate of a city. David sat in the gate at Jerusalem after the death of Absalom.

Then the king arose and took his seat in the gate. And the people were all told, “Behold, the king is sitting in the gate.” And all the people came before the king. Now Israel had fled every man to his own home. (2 Samuel 19:8 ESV)

The officials of the king of Babylon sat in the middle gate at Jerusalem.

Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. (Jeremiah 39:3 ESV)

Eli, the judge, had a seat at the gate of Shiloh.

As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. (1 Samuel 4:18 ESV)

The king of Israel and the king of Judah sat at the entrance of the gate of Samaria.

Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying before them. (1 King 22:10 ESV)

I trust the photo and illustration with make these biblical texts more vivid when you read them in the future.

The Explorations in Antiquity Center at LaGrange, Georgia, has a wonderful display of the various aspects of the city gate. We reported on the Center along with two reviews by David Padfield here, and here, and here. the Explorations in Antiquity web site may accessed here. The photo is provided by David Padfield.

The city gate at the Exploration in Antiquity Center. Photo by David Padfield.

The city gate at the Exploration in Antiquity Center. Photo by David Padfield.