DOOR AND DOORPOST
The Bible distinguishes between the term petaḥ, which is the entrance to a house (Gen. 43:19), and delet, which is a device for closing and opening the entrance. Thus, while petaḥ applies to both the entrance to a tent (Gen. 18:1) and a house, the term delet is used only in connection with a built house. The door has two main components: a fixed frame and a moving board or slab. The frame has two doorposts (Heb. mezuzot), which are its vertical sides; a lintel (Heb. mashqof), its upper horizontal side; and a sill or threshold (Heb. saf), its lower horizontal side. Wider doorways occasionally had a third vertical beam on which two doorleaves, as implied by the dual form of the word delata'im ("paired doors"; Isa. 45:1), one attached to each of the doorposts, converged when shut. The doorway was constructed as part of the wall in question, but the doorposts, lintel, and threshold were built in after the construction of the building was completed. Finally, the door itself was set into this framework. At the top and bottom of each doorleaf was added a projecting hinge of wood, metal, or other material, to be received within depressions in the lintel and threshold respectively (cf. I Kings 7:50). Doors generally opened inward; they were prevented from swinging outward by ledges, stops at the outer edges of the lintel, and the threshold. Other methods of placing hinges were to suspend the door on some pliable material, such as leather or rope – these were fixed between the door and the doorpost at two points and served as hinges to enable the movement of the doors back and forth – or sometimes to put up special metal hinges that joined the door to the doorpost. A number of excavations have revealed the remains of metal coverings on hinges and sockets that served to protect them from wear. Excavations in Palestine have frequently uncovered sockets carved into the lintel and the threshold.
The threshold was of stone, either cut to size and laid slightly higher than the floor or built up from smaller stones. It was built slightly higher than the level of the floor and the
Pritchard, Pictures, 219, pl. 675; Y. Kaplan, Ha-Arkhe'ologyah ve-ha-Historyah shel Tel Aviv-Yafo (1959), 60, fig. 20, pls. 9–11; Y. Yadin et al., Hazor, 2 (1960), pl. 16:1.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.