Robert Wright

Solomonic gate at Gezer. This is the best-preserved of the three Solomonic gates to the cities named in 1 Kings 9:15; it clearly shows the characteristic six room form (three on each side) of the Solomonic gateways. The other two gates, almost identical to this one, were discovered at Hazor and Megiddo. All three gates had stone foundations supporting a mudbrick superstructure.

In this picture, the dark horizontal drainage ditch across the center marks the passage through the gate into the city. This ditch was covered when the gate was in use. A person, far left, stands on the threshold of the gate; the steeply sloping hillside outside the city is behind him and to the left. On either side of the drainage ditch are three rooms, each of which opens onto the central passageway. Two people sit on low stone benches, one in the center room and the other in the room on the interior side of the gateway. The rectangular object against the short wall of the chamber in the left foreground is a watering trough.

In addition to their usefulness as defense positions for soldiers, the cool, shaded chambers had other functions. On benches in the alcoves, the elders of the city conducted legal business, an activity referred to by Amos when he called for justice to be established “in the gate” (Amos 5:15).