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The Beautiful Gate

GATE, THE BEAUTIFUL (ἡ ̔Ωράια πύλη or θύρα, G2598, the beautiful gate, or door). A gate in Herod’s Temple, q.v.

Whereas the “Beautiful Gate” of the NT Temple is known only from Acts 3, the phrase prob. refers to that entrance way, famous for its imported Corinthian bronze doors, which was the only E gate from the surrounding Court of the Gentiles into the Court of the Women (Jos. War. V. 5. 3). It was once identified with the single E gate that led from the Kidron Valley, through the outer wall and “Solomon’s Porch,” into the Court of the Gentiles—a fact that may account for the name of the later entrance way, now itself sealed up, that was built over it and called “Porta Aurea” (Ωράια), the “Golden Gate.”

After Pentecost, a man lame from his mother’s womb, was laid daily at the Beautiful Gate to ask for alms, and was miraculously healed by Peter and John in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:2, 10).


J. Simons, Jerusalem in the OT (1952), 371; A. Parrot, The Temple of Jerusalem (1957), 85-88.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(he horaia pule tou hierou):

This gate of Herod’s temple is mentioned in the narrative of the healing of the lame man by Peter and John in Ac 3:2,10. Little dispute exists as to the identification of the Beautiful Gate with the splendid "gate of Nicanor" of the Mishna (Mid., i.4), and "Corinthian Gate" of Josephus (BJ, V, v, 3), but authorities are divided as to whether this gate was situated at the entrance to the women’s court on the East, or was the gate reached by 15 steps, dividing that court from the court of the men. The balance of recent opinion inclines strongly to the former view (compare Kennedy, "Problems of Herod’s Temple," The Expositor Times, XX, 170); others take the opposite view (Waterhouse, in Sacred Sites of the Gospels, 110), or leave the question open (thus G. A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 212). See TEMPLE, HEROD’s.

The gate itself was of unusual size and splendor. It received the name "Nicanor" from its being the work, or having been constructed at the expense, of an Alexandrian Jew of this name. Lately an ossuary was discovered on Mt. Olivet bearing the Greek inscription: "The bones of Nicanor the Alexandrian, who made the doors."

Its other name, "Corinthian," refers to the costly material of which it was constructed-- Corinthian bronze. Josephus gives many interesting particulars about this gate, which, he tells us, greatly excelled in workmanship and value all the others (BJ, V, v, 3). These were plated with gold and silver, but this still more richly and thickly. It was larger than the other gates; was 50 cubits in height (the others 40); its weight was so great that it took 20 men to move it (BJ, VI, vi, 3). Its massiveness and magnificence, therefore, well earned for it the name "Beautiful."

W. Shaw Caldecott

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