462. Low Doorways

Proverbs 17:19  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
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In the open country where the houses are exposed to the depredations of wandering Arabs the gates are made very low, so as to prevent the marauders from riding through the porch into the court. A high gate would be an invitation to enter. Even in cities the gates of houses are often made low and unattractive in appearance, affording no indication of the wealth which may be within, lest the cupidity of wicked rulers should be attracted. Travelers speak of house-gates as low as three feet from the ground. In Persia a lofty gate is one of the signs of royalty, which some of the subjects, in their vanity, imitate as far as they dare.
Anderson says: “The house in which I dwelt in Jerusalem had an arch, or gateway, a few yards from the door, which was so low that a person on horseback could not pass under it. It was evidently built for the sake of security” (Bible Light from Bible Lands, p. 329).
The meaning of the text undoubtedly is, He who has a high gate to his house invites the robber by a show of prosperity and by affording facility of entrance. He thus “seeketh destruction.”