When the Lord God blessed Abraham for his obedience, he ended his blessing by stating “and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17). This may seem odd in our current generation but during the Biblical times, cities were fortified and the gate was the only way in and out of the city. Additionally it was at the gate where the people from outside the city would engage in trade, commerce and exchange, making the gate a marketplace (2 Kings 7:1) and a storeroom (Nehemiah 12:25). When disputes of trade arose, the gate also became a place where these disputes were settled and thus a place of justice (Amos 5:15). At times, the king would come and sit at the gate to settle disputes and listen to the people (2 Samuel 19:8; 1 Kings 22:10).
Thus to possess the gate of one’s enemies means to not only be in a position that controlled trade, commerce, and exchange, but also indicated that the person who possessed the gate was one who could deliver justice and had authority as a king.
Points to ponder:
Jesus Christ the Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16) traded his own righteousness for our unrighteousness by settling the dispute of sin and death with his salvation, so that we can enter through the one gate (him) into God’s Holy presence. As the King of kings, he sits at the right hand of God, possessing the keys of the gate of hades and death (Revelation 1:18), his enemies. The promise given to Abraham of his seed (note singular) possessing the gate of his enemies, comes true in Jesus Christ.
Genesis 22:17 (KJV)
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;