Doorway - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words

Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Noun
Strong's Number: H6607
Original Word: petah

Usage Notes: "doorway; opening; entrance; gate." This word appears 164 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods. Petah basically represents the "opening through which one enters a building, tent, tower (fortress), or city." Abraham was sitting at the "doorway" of his tent in the heat of the day when his three heavenly visitors appeared (Gen. 18:1). Lot met the men of Sodom at the "doorway" of his home, having shut the door behind him (Gen. 19:6). Larger buildings had larger entryways, so in Gen. 43:19 petah may be rendered by the more general word, "entrance." In Gen. 38:14, petah may be translated "gateway": Tamar "sat in the gateway [kjv, "open place"]." Thus a petah was both a place to sit (a location) and an opening for entry (a passageway):"… And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle …" (Exod. 35:15).

There are a few notable special uses of petah. The word normally refers to a part of the intended construction plans of a dwelling, housing, or building; but in Ezek. 8:8 it represents an "entrance" not included in the original design of the building: "… When I had digged in the wall, behold a door." This is clearly not a doorway. This word may be used of a cave's "opening," as when Elijah heard the gentle blowing that signified the end of a violent natural phenomenon: " … He wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave" (1 Kings 19:13). In the plural form, petah sometimes represents the "city gates" themselves: "And her [Zion's] gates shall lament and mourn …" (Isa. 3:26). This form of the word is used as a figure for one's lips; in Mic. 7:5, for example, the prophet mourns the low morality of his people and advises his hearers to trust no one, telling them to guard their lips (literally, the "openings" of their mouths). In its first biblical occurrence, petah is used figuratively. The heart of men is depicted as a house or building with the Devil crouching at the "entrance," ready to subdue it utterly and destroy its occupant (Gen. 4:7).

Usage Number: 2
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H6605
Original Word: patah

Usage Notes: "to open". This verb, which appears 132 times in the Old Testament, has attested cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Arabic, and Ethiopic. The first occurrence is in Gen. 7:11. Although the basic meaning of patah is "to open," the word is extended to mean "to cause to flow," "to offer for sale," "to conquer," "to surrender," "to draw a sword," "to solve [a riddle]," "to free." In association with min, the word becomes "to deprive of."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words