|MARKET PLACE |
The narrow streets and clustered buildings of most towns and villages in ancient Paletine left little room for a public market place. Shops were built into private residences or clustered in the gate area to form bazaars (1 Kings 20:34). Merchants operated booths just inside the city gate or hawked their merchandise outside the gate area in an open space or square. This area also served as a marshaling place for troops (2 Chronicles 32:6) and the site for public meetings (Nehemiah 8:1), victory celebrations (Deuteronomy 13:16), and the display of captives (2 Samuel 21:12).
Herod rebuilt many of the cities of Palestine following the Greek pattern which included open areas for public gathering (Greek: agora). Amidst the shops, children played (Matthew 11:16), day laborers gathered to be hired (Matthew 20:2-3), and Pharisees and other leading citizens wandered, exchanging greetings (Matthew 23:7;
Luke 11:43). Paul went to the marketplace (Greek agora) on his visits to Greek cities to speak to the crowd always gathered there (Acts 17:17). He and Silas were also tried by magistrates in the marketplace at Philippi after angering the local merchants (Acts 16:19).
Victor H. Matthews