The Fish Gate
by Wayne Blank
"there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate"
Almost every Biblical mention (by name) of the Fish Gate of Jerusalem involved either corruption of the people of Israel, or the aftermath of it. The reason for that may be because when a society becomes corrupt, the two most public manifestations of that degeneracy involve places of religion e.g. "they set their abominations in the House, which is called by My Name, to defile it" (Jeremiah 32:34 KJV) and business e.g. "which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the Sabbath day?" (Nehemiah 13:16-17 KJV; see also The Blasphemy Calendar).
The Lord sent prophet after prophet (see Prophets) to warn the Israelites what would happen if they did not repent of their apostasy, as this example from Zephaniah in which The Lord specifically mentioned the Fish Gate of Jerusalem.
"The word of The Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith The Lord ... And it shall come to pass in that day, saith The Lord, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills." (Zephaniah 1:1-2,10 KJV)
Time after time, the people did not heed the warning, and time after time they suffered for it. This example, which mentions the Fish Gate of Jerusalem, shows how King Manasseh (see Kings of Israel and Judah) paid dearly for his wickedness. Manasseh learned his lesson, for a while, the very hard way, but overall the people of both Israel and Judah had set for themselves a course of destruction (see The Galilee Captivity and Why Babylon?).
"Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom The Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them" (2 Chronicles 33:1-3 KJV)
When the people of Judah began their return from their Babylonian captivity (see the "Why Babylon" link above) in the time of Nehemiah, they found a city of Jerusalem in utter ruins as it had been left destroyed by the Babylonians years before. The rebuilding of the city began, including the gates.
"Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work." (Nehemiah 2:17-18 KJV)
Fact Finder: How are the gates of Jerusalem dual in meaning?