Dan Dan's Flag Judah Judah's Flag Reuben Reuben's Flag Gad Gad's Flag Asher Asher's Flag Naphtali Naphtali's Flag Manasseh Manasseh's Flag Simeon Simeon's Flag Levi Levi's Flag Issachar Issachar's Flag Zebulun Zebulun's Flag Joseph Joseph's Flag Benjamin Benjamin's Flag

Nehemiah's Gates

The book of Nehemiah describes 12 unique gates around the city of Jerusalem. We know from Revelation 21 that each tribe has a specific gate into the city. The following table shows how the gates given in order of appearance in Nehemiah 3 and 12 map to the tribes.

Tribe Gate Scripture
Judah Sheep

17 Nehemiah 3:1
1Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate; they set up its doors and its holy places, as far as the tower of the 100; and they sanctified it as far as the tower of Hananel.

Reuben Fish

17 Nehemiah 3:3
3But the fish gate the sons of Hassenaah built, who also laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

Gad Old

17 Nehemiah 3:6
6The 2nd gate, Joiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah, repaired; they also laid its beams, and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

Asher Valley

17 Nehemiah 3:13
13The valley gate, repaired Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it and set up its doors, its bolts and its bars, and 1,000 cubits of the wall, as far as the dung gate.

Naphtali Dung

17 Nehemiah 3:14
14But the dung gate, repaired Malkijah the son of Recab, the ruler of Beth Hakkerem; he built it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

Manasseh Fountain

17 Nehemiah 3:15
15But the gate of the fountain, Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh the ruler of Mizpah repaired; he built it and covered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and the wall of the pool of Siloam by the king's garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the city of David.

Simeon Water

17 Nehemiah 3:26
26Moreover, the Nethanites who lived in Phaal repaired as far as the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lies at the end.

Levi Horse

17 Nehemiah 3:28
28From the entrance of the horse gate repaired the priests, each opposite his own house.

Issachar East

17 Nehemiah 3:29
29After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer, opposite his own house. After him repaired Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the east gate.

Zebulun Inspection

17 Nehemiah 3:31-32
31After him repaired Malkijah the son of Zepaniah, as far as the house of the Nethanites and of the dealers in herb drugs.
32Opposite the gate at the extreme end, and as far as the ascent of the corner which turns toward the sheep gate, repaired the goldsmiths and the dealers in herb drugs.

Joseph Ephraim

17 Nehemiah 8:16
16So the people went forth and brought them, and made themselves booths, each on the roof of his house and in their courts and in the court of the house of god and in the street of the water gate and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

Benjamin Prison

17 Nehemiah 12:39
39and from above the gate of Ephraim, as far as the old gate to the fish gate; and from the tower of Hananel, as far as the great tower, even to the sheep gate; and they stood still in the great gate.

Dan Prison

17 Nehemiah 12:39
39and from above the gate of Ephraim, as far as the old gate to the fish gate; and from the tower of Hananel, as far as the great tower, even to the sheep gate; and they stood still in the great gate.

Notes on mapping

This part of the grid has been a real learning experience. When I first put this page together in early 2009 I simply took the gates of Jerusalem listed in Nehemiah 3 and 12 in the order of their appearance and lined them up with the tribes. Thus the first gate mentioned, the Sheep Gate, matched the first tribe listed in Revelation 7, Judah. At the time very few of the matches made sense to me because I just didn't know enough about the tribes. I thought the gate to tribe map was rough and possibly even wrong.

Around the end of 2009 I was adding other columns to the tribal grid and revisted this page and the question of the gates. I realized if I began at the beginning of Nehemiah, rather than at chapter 3, and listed the gates in the order of their mention, the order of the first 6 gates changed and thus their map to the first 6 tribes. This was troubling to me, but I changed this page to this alternative map because I was still having trouble seeing the relationship between the tribes and the gates.

At the same time I spent the better part of a day studying gates throughout the Bible trying to nail down if there wasn't a way to composite the correct sequence of gates before mapping them to the tribes instead of using the simple "list" approach I began with in Nehemiah 3 and 12 originally. What I found is the level of complexity and uncertainty is way higher with trying to reconstruct a historical model, as Scripture reveals it, instead of just using the list of gates as they occur in Nehemiah 3 and 12. After hours of work I could not, for sure, show a list of gates that map to the tribes in a way that makes any sense relative to the 12 tribes or the rest of the grid. So I left this page with the "corrected" first 6 gates as per using the beginning of Nehemiah instead of just chapters 3 and 12.

Today the Holy Spirit buzzed me. I received a thoughtful and well stated write up suggesting some adjustments to how the gates relate to the tribes. After reading the submission and revisiting this page I realized that I was wrong to have adjusted this page end of Decemeber, but that I had the order right originally at the start of 2009. I also realized why most tribes match their gates in this order, something I hadn't been able to see till now.

The long and the short of it is that the table is corrected to it's original sequence and notes have been added below for each gate/tribe match.

Observations

Judah makes sense with the Sheep Gate for a couple reasons that were brought to my attention. Jesus is the ultimate shepherd of the sheep, and he's out of the tribe of Judah.

Reuben as the Fish Gate works given that Jacob's words over Reuben mention how he's like the seas, and seas are where you find fish. Reuben became the Nordic nations, all situated on water, and renowned for their exploits at sea. Just makes sense that the fish gate would go here.

Gad as the Old Gate is probably right, though I don't know how to nail this down other than to rely on the strength of the rest of the list for now.

Asher is the Valley Gate since he repeatedly has stuff on the grid related to his feet and other than a canyon, a valley is the lowest kind of land like feet are the lowest part of the body.

Naphtali is the Dung Gate because of it's smell. Elsewhere in the grid Naphtali is incense.

Manasseh as the Fountain Gate is not exactly clear to me. Manasseh is also the plague of boils which occurred when Moses/Aaron threw ashes into the air. Maybe there's some sense of projection that goes with Mansseh.

Simeon as the Water Gate is an amazing match. Nehemiah chapter 8 tells the story of everyone gathering in the court inside the Water Gate, on the 1st day of the 7th month (which is Trumpets). Realize that the Water Gate is Simeon's Gate, and Trumpets is Simeon's Holiday. What happens when you gather in Simeon's place, at Simeon's time? You receive counsel. The story unfolds that the people were shown how to celebrate the soon coming Tabernacles Holiday. This match is powerful because it combines time, place and gifting (or whatever it is when we say Simeon is wired to give counsel).

Levi as the Horse Gate may play to the way levites traveled from town to town teaching. I'm beginning to see Levi as apostolic. An example that I'm familiar with from American history would be the circuit riders/revivalists who rode from camp meeting to camp meeting on horseback. Not sure how this relates to Switzerland's history as the tribe of Levi though.

Issachar lands on the East Gate. Elsewhere in the grid Issachar is the entrance/exit curtain to the tent (tabernacle). Since that entrace curtain always faced East this is a wonderful match.

Zebulun lands on the Inspection Gate. Probably by inspection it means the place where genealogical records and similiar documents are kept. Zebulun relates to origins so this is quite a strong match provided I haven't misunderstood the meaning of Inspection.

Joseph aligns with the Ephraim Gate which is obvious since Ephraim is the son of Joseph.

Benjamin and Dan share the 12th gate such that 13 tribes fit into 12 gates. The Prison Gate makes sense with Dan since he was referred to as the "judge" by Jacob. Elsewhere in Scripture Jeremiah is arrested and thrown in jail by the captain of the guard while walking through the "Benjamin Gate." If what happens at the Benjamin Gate is you are thrown into prison, then I think "Benjamin Gate" and "Prison Gate" should be considered synonyms.