Solomonic Gates and the Fortifications of Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer—1 Kings 9:15

Iron Age gates in the Levant consisted of two-chamber, four-chamber, and six-chamber structures. They were often part of casemate walls. Such walls consisted of two parallel walls set a small distance apart and joined at intervals. They provided many of the advantages of a large solid wall but were cheaper to construct. When the spaces between the walls were large enough, the builders could use them as rooms or storage areas. Often the chambers in the gates could contain benches as implied in Ruth 4 when Boaz went up to the gate, sat down, and waited for the elders of the city to decide his case. Larger chambers could serve as places to conduct judicial hearings or transact business as well as quarter soldiers guarding the gates.

First Kings 9:15 reads: “And this is the reason of the labor force which King Solomon raised: to build the house of the Lord, his own house, the Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.” The archaeological remains at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer show that these towns acquired a highly distinctive six-chambered gate as well as a casemate wall. The similarities suggest that they were built at the same time, perhaps under the guidance of the same architects. These cities’ administration buildings also had a distinctive style, again implying contemporaneous construction.


[Illustration: Reconstruction of the gate complex. The so-called “Solomonic” six-chambered inner gate is at the top (after Megiddo II: Fig. 107).]