DOORKEEPER A person guarding access to an important or restricted place. Temple doorkeeper was an important office in biblical times. The doorkeepers collected money from the people (2 Kings 22:4). Some Levites were designated doorkeepers (or “gatekeepers”) for the ark (1 Chronicles 15:23-24). The Persian kings used eunuchs for doorkeepers (Esther 2:21). Women also served this function (John 18:16-17; Acts 12:13).
The Hebrew word underlying the translation “doorkeeper” in Psalms 84:10 (KJV, RSV, NIV) appears only once in the Old Testament. The root idea is threshold. Thus some translations (NASV, REB, TEV) render the word by “at the threshold” or some similar expression. The reference is those waiting outside the Temple either to beg alms or to seek admission. The thought of the verse is that it is better to be standing outside the Temple than to be inside the tents of the wicked.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.