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The Fish Gate

Ancient cities were often enclosed by defensive walls. Entry into the city was through one or more gates. Jerusalem had numerous gates (see the Fact Finder question below) that were sometimes named either according to the destination of the road that adjoined them (e.g. the Damascus Gate, the Jaffa Gate) or according to the purpose of them (e.g. the Sheep Gate, the Horse Gate). The Fish Gate was where a city fish market was located.

"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.

Old 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)

"And The Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore The Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought The Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that The Lord he was God."

"Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah." (2 Chronicles 33:10-14 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)

"Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri. But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana. And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord." (Nehemiah 3:1-5 KJV)

Fact Finder: How are the gates of Jerusalem dual in meaning?
See Physical and Spiritual Gates


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