"Port" in the sense of "gate" (of a city or building) is obsolete in modern English, and even in the King James Version is found only in Nehemiah 2:13. "Porter," as "gate-keeper," however, is still in some use, but "porter" now (but never in the English Versions of the Bible) generally means a burden-carrier. In the Old Testament, except in 2 Samuel 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10,11, the porter (sho`er) is a sacred officer of the temple or tabernacle, belonging to a particular family of the Levites, with a share in the sacred dues (Nehemiah 13:5; 12:47). The "porters" are mentioned only in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, and Chronicles has a special interest in them, relating that their duties were settled as far back as the time of David (1 Chronicles 26:1-19), and that the office extended further to the first settlement of Palestine and even to Moses' day (1 Chronicles 9:17-26). The office was evidently one of some dignity, and the "chief-porters" (1 Chronicles 9:26) were important persons. For some inscrutable reason the Revised Version (British and American) renders sho`er by "doorkeeper" in 1 Chronicles 15-26, but not elsewhere.
Burton Scott Easton
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