Monday, May 23, 2011

Can Old Testament Civil Laws be "Dangerous"?

The mindset of many is that God's civil laws
should not be implemented because they can
be abused by a bloodthirsty state. But such
an approach is self-defeating and takes
justice itself to the chopping block, for
without God's standards of justice, any act
by the state is permissible.
(photo by Andrew Butko)  

by Steve C. Halbrook

(Based on "Chapter 24: The Question of Abuse," of God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws)

Critics of God’s capital sanctions often argue that the sanctions shouldn’t be implemented since they can be abused to take innocent life.  Therefore, the state should autonomously decide punishment.

But such thinking destroys justice.  It is true that because man is fallen and finite, God’s penal justice will inevitably be abused.  But to reject justice in the name of justice is self-defeating.  A “justice system” opposed to God’s justice is by its very nature unjust—it is actually a criminal injustice system. Instead of making injustice the exception, the philosophy that says the state should decide justice for itself in order to avoid abuses of God’s justice says “let’s go ahead and make injustice the rule.”  As Greg Bahnsen writes,

[E]ven with the mistakes that we may make in using God’s law today, I prefer it as the basis for ethics to the sinful and foolish speculations of human beings.  It would be absurd for anyone to resign himself or herself to poison just because medical doctors occasionally make mistakes with prescription drugs![1]

Civil penalties based on the sinful speculations of fallen man are therefore poison by their very nature.  Moreover, God’s capital sanctions presuppose the lex talionis, which means they are perfectly proportionate to the crime.  Is it just to enact penalties disproportionate to the crime?  And yet without biblical law disproportionate penalties are what we will get.  More than a century ago Rev. S.H. Kellogg wrote,

The modern penal codes vary as widely from the Mosaic in respect of their great leniency, as those of a few centuries ago in respect of their undiscriminating severity.  In particular, the past few generations have seen a great change with regard to the infliction of capital punishment.  Formerly, in England, for example, death was inflicted, with intolerable injustice, for a large number of comparatively trivial offenses; the death-penalty is now restricted to high treason and killing with malice aforethought; while in some parts of Christendom it is already wholly abolished.[2] 

Outside the Bible’s civil code, there is no authority to determine what constitutes fitting punishments (nor for what even constitutes a crime, for that matter).  Thus the state can embrace either extreme—it can kill with impunity, or it can be criminally pacifistic.

We must here note that no matter how pacifistic a country claims to be, there will be capital sanctions anyway.  It is only logical that societies that reject God’s law inevitably embrace more death than if they accept God’s law, penal sanctions and all.  (After all, “the wages of sin is death” [Rom. 6:23b], that is, the wages of violating God’s law is death.)  This is the case regardless of a country’s ostensible pacifism.  A “pacifistic” country is not without killings; at the very least, it simply transfers killings from the state to the private citizen.  Hardened criminals are free to employ their trade of death either in prisons or on the streets.  Doctors are free to execute babies, the elderly, and the mentally disabled.  In short, execution of the guilty is exchanged for the execution of the innocent.  

Humanistic societies simply tailor their capital sanctions to suit their sinful priorities.  For the Nazis, the Aryan white race was the highest priority, so they murdered Jews.  For Americans, sex and egalitarianism are the highest priorities, so they murder unborn children.

The Protestant Reformer Martin Bucer spoke of the priorities and corresponding sanctions of his day.  These sanctions may or may not have entailed capital punishment (by Bucer’s language they likely did), but they do drive home the point about punishments and priorities:

But what shall we say is the reason that theft is dealt with so fiercely, whereas all too many wink at rape and adultery, at offenses against divine worship, at the distortion of the heavenly doctrine in which both the present and eternal salvation of men is contained, and at blasphemy of the Divine Majesty? Why, unless it is because money and external wealth are so much more dear to men than God himself, their eternal salvation, and decency and honesty?[3]

Again, removing God’s standard of punishment—no matter how harsh we might think it is—in no way shape or form preempts capital sanctions.  Rejecting God as the standard of justice simply hands the state absolute power over life and death.  While the law of God guarantees against genocide and killing the innocent, humanistic law has no such safeguard

Commenting on Romans 13, one author writes:

He [the ruler] must punish evildoers.  What is an “evildoer”?  Again we must ask:  Is the ruler free to decide the answer for himself?  To answer Yes is to give a despot a blank check for statist absolutism: he may decide that all babies in Bethlehem are “evildoers,” for instance.  King Herod was only doing his job, therefore, when he ordered the murder of the infants (Matthew 2:16).  Clearly, God has given civil rulers the power of the sword: obviously, they are supposed to execute somebody.  But whom?  If your answer is based on anything but God’s law, I repeat: you’ve just handed the state a blank check—and God’s civil minister might add you to his hit list.[4] 

Such a blank check is possible since, without God’s law as the standard for criminal punishment, civil penalties do not presuppose moral absolutes.  Without moral absolutes, what is left?  Moral relativism?  Immoral relativism?  Immoral absolutes?  The only absolute certainty is death and destruction—a far cry from “escaping the ‘dangers’ of biblical law.”

If you think man should decide law instead
of God, don't complain if your photo
winds up on a wanted poster--even
if you committed no crime whatsoever.
After all, there is no moral basis for opposing
unjust state persecution outside of God's
standards of justice.

After all, to the extent the humanistic justice system is consistent with its relativistic philosophy, justice is merely a façade.  Buddy Hanson writes, “Once we dismiss the idea of absolute ethics, the words in our law books become worthless.”[5]  For example, in the courtroom, “winning the case becomes more important than bringing about justice.  So lawyers (and judges) look for legal technicalities, rather than the rightness or wrongness of the charges.”[6]  In denying absolute moral standards, humanism lacks any standard for even knowing justice—let alone criticizing the Bible’s standards of justice.

Nevertheless, many still recoil against the idea of a society based on God’s law because of its plurality of capital sanctions.  But there is another way to look at it.  While God’s law does in fact require a plurality of capital sanctions, it also forbids an even greater plurality of capital sanctions.  This is because God’s law forbids adding to (as well as taking away from) it (Deut. 4:2). 

Thus it is the only legal system providing an absolute authority guarding against the following humanistic forms of state-sponsored killing:  Genocide; ethnic cleansings; infanticide; indiscriminate bombings of civilians; human sacrifice; Jim Crow laws; mass drownings; throwing Christians to the lions; beheading of “infidels”; lethal torture of prisoners; liquidation of the mentally and physically handicapped; euthanizing the elderly; encouraging the spread of fatal diseases (e.g., AIDS); and any other unjust executions imaginable.  So instead of sanctioning a bloodbath, God’s law safeguards against one.

We must realize, too, that the legitimacy of God’s capital sanctions are not based on whether or not they produce a greater amount of deaths than desirable in man’s eyes.  Man’s sole purpose is to obey God’s commands, whatever the outcome:  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (emphasis mine) (Ecc. 12:13). 

“Political success” then is not measured by the humanistic utilitarian philosophy of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (greatest happiness in this case being the least number of executions by the state).  Rather, it is measured by the degree the state upholds God’s law.  

We noted in chapter 7 that utilitarianism cannot be coherently applied to politics.  Utilitarianism is also a wicked philosophy, one reason being that it believes humanistic happiness is more important than fearing God.   In any case, the utilitarian argument of minimal executions by the state used against God’s law collapses on its own terms, since we can say that on net balance, “Christian” states (whether actual or in the name of Christianity) have spilled less blood than humanistic states.  In fact, we can make this case against secular humanistic states alone.  Just compare the entire Inquisition, Calvin’s
Geneva, Cromwell’s Britain, and Puritan New England with the French Revolution, the Soviet Union, Communist China, and the pro-abortion West.[7]  The body count differences are not even close. 

Not that examples are necessary (at least for those reasonably acquainted with history), but we will give just one. 

Organized irreligion in the twentieth century committed atrocities on a scale that the fiercest religious wars never approached.  The scientific racism of Nazi Germany killed forty million and attempted genocide against Europe’s Jews.  The scientific socialism of the Communist countries killed a hundred million (and still counting) people around the globe.  As the Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has noted, people in the West routinely invoke the Spanish Inquisition as an example of religious horror.  And they are right to do so.  But the Inquisition, in the course of three centuries, and after legal procedures of a sort, killed fewer people—probably around three thousand—than the Soviet Union killed on an average day.[8]

Joseph Stalin, opponent of biblical civil law
and one of history's greatest murderers.

We might add that none of the twentieth century’s nine greatest mass murderers were Christian or even part of a Christian regime, and five of the nine held to the outright atheistic religion of Communism.[9]  Far from being the persecutors, Christians numbered among the greatest victims of last century’s genocides.[10]  

We can’t address the question of whether a particular law code will lead to a bloodbath without addressing the rate of taxation that law code permits.
  On the surface it sounds insignificant, but it makes an enormous difference.  What you subsidize, you get more of.  So the more you subsidize the state (and thereby its sword), the more power you give the state to take lives.  This is a major reason why humanistic law codes have led to bloodbaths. 

But the Bible, by contrast, only permits a taxation rate of less than ten percent of one’s income (see 1 Sam. 8, where ten percent taxation was considered tyranny).  In this way “the Bible restrains the State,” since “it’s impossible to run a ruthless dictatorship on such a small tax rate.”[11]  It’s harder for the state to commit genocide without significant cash reserves for bankrolling such things as influence, weapons, and manpower.  And so it hard for humanists to argue that biblical law, which limits taxation, can be “abused” to further a bloodbath, while humanism—where man arbitrarily decides all things for himself—cannot justify any taxation limits. 

Arguments from abuse are absurd on their face.  The question is whether something is good, not whether it can be abused.  In a fallen world, all things are abused.  (Maybe we should reject the argument from abuse itself for its own abuse).  But if we remove all good things because of abuse, bad things are all we are left with.  

God’s moral law is often abused by false teachers to promote damnable heresies (e.g., salvation by works) resulting in eternal damnation.  Eternal damnation is far worse than physical death, which can result from the abuse of God’s moral law in the civil realm.  But does it follow that we reject personal morality (personal obedience to God’s law) because of false teachers?  Of course not, and as such, then it also doesn’t follow that we should reject God’s law in the civil realm.  We no more reject Christ’s Lordship over the state than His Lordship over individuals.

And what would we have left by eliminating good law that is abused?  “If abuses of law by the magistrate are corrected by removing any law to abuse, then there will be no law for the magistrate to enforce except his own, arbitrary will—which is the surest way to achieve tyranny!”[12]  The conflict is not between biblical law along with its abuses versus humanistic law.  The conflict is between biblical law and humanism, period.  Humanistic law bases itself on sin; it is any law outside the boundaries of biblical law.  So when the state abuses biblical law by 
ignoring it, it behaves equally sinfully and therefore equally humanistically as when it adds to biblical law  (cf. Deut. 4:2). 

And so we cannot blame abuses of biblical law on biblical law at all, but on humanism.  (This gives, in the case of the horrible, humanistic Inquisition, all the more reason to enact biblical law—which gives us the only moral basis for opposing humanistic inquisitions.[13]

While biblical law can possibly be abused to further tyranny, humanistic law not only definitely can lead to tyranny—by the very nature of the case, it is tyranny!  So where is the logic in eliminating biblical law because it is sometimes or even often abused (occasional imposition of humanism) and replacing it with a whole system of legal abuse (perpetual imposition of humanism)? 

However bad the legal system under biblical law would be, it can only get worse under outright humanistic law.  When a doctor makes a mistake, we don’t tell him to always make mistakes in order to never make mistakes.  We tell him to take extra precautions in the future. 

Similarly, the abuse of biblical law should not motivate society to get rid of biblical law—a self-defeating approach—but to be ever more vigilant to keep biblical law.   The answer, in short, is not to fight occasional humanism (abuses of biblical law) by a stricter adherence to humanism (no biblical law at all), but to fight occasional humanism by a stricter adherence to biblical law.

Moreover, the rejection of the Bible’s capital sanctions undermines the authority of all of biblical law, since to reject the sanctions’ authority (God) is to reject the same authority for the other civil laws.  Thus rejection of the capital sanctions is a package deal.  To reject the death penalty for blasphemy is to theoretically reject the principle of innocent until proven guilty (Deut. 19:15).  To reject the death penalty for the incorrigible son is to theoretically reject the principle of impartial judgment (Lev. 19:15).  To reject the death penalty for Sabbath-breaking is to theoretically reject the civil distinctions between murder (Ex. 21:12), manslaughter (Deut. 19:4, 5), and self defense (Ex. 22:2, 3).  In fact, to reject the capital sanctions is to reject the lex talionis (Ex. 21:23-25), and to thus repudiate any basis for a just system.  Such gives ammunition to Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s perverse reasoning that “We cannot dismiss the years of long anguish that must be endured by the victim of child rape.  It does not follow, though, that capital punishment is a proportionate penalty for the crime.”[14]

Many who argue that biblical sanctions should be ignored simply because of potential abuse also dismiss biblical sanctions as being “utopian,” i.e., an unrealistic attempt to create “heaven on earth.”  The irony is that the idea of eliminating biblical sanctions that can be abused is itself utopian.  Holding to civil sanctions is inescapable, and so those who reject biblical sanctions simply replace them with their own humanistic sanctions. 

In light of this, those who reject biblical sanctions simply because they can be abused must believe that their own humanistic sanctions cannot be abused.  Such a scenario—where a society has laws that cannot be abused—is almost as utopian as it gets.

It is such utopian humanists—those who exalt human nature, support eliminating the law of God, and imagine the possibility of a civil paradise on earth with no laws being abused—who should be kept from civil power.  History tells us over and over again that those with such a mindset not only support eliminating God’s law, but eliminating people—whatever it takes to usher in their utopian order.  Thus when asked how long he would kill people, Stalin replied, “The process would continue as long as was necessary”[15]—i.e., until the establishment of a communist utopia.[16]

We must add that unlike humanistic law, biblical law provides a dual-system of deterrence.  Not only is there a harsh penalty for serious criminal acts, but there is a harsh penalty for false witnesses.  Those exposed as false, or “malicious” witnesses must suffer the penalty the accused might have otherwise suffered:

If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Deut. 19:16-21). 

God's law is the only logical and
moral basis for justice.
Thus biblical law, unlike humanistic regimes, does not disproportionately threaten the accused without threatening the accusers.  And unlike humanistic regimes, neither does it disproportionately threaten the accuser without threatening the accused.  Biblical law is balanced and impartial towards accused and accuser alike.  Threatening false witnesses with the punishment the accused would have received minimizes illegitimate convictions and unjust punishments.  Threatening the accused with punishment proportionate to the crime if proven guilty maximizes just punishments.  In short, in biblical law just punishments are maximized while illegitimate convictions and unjust punishments are minimized. 

Therefore, biblical law provides inner-safeguards against abuse.  By contrast, what safeguards against abuse does humanism have?  If God doesn’t decide morality, man does.  If man decides morality, then there are no objective standards for morality.  Man makes himself out to be his own god and determine right and wrong for himself.

Thus in the humanistic society, morality is decided by the one (the tyrant), the few (the oligarchy), or the many (the mob).[17]   In any of these cases everything from extreme torture to genocide can be justified.  Moreover, when man rejects God’s authority, “the mind of man not only is its own ultimate authority, but also replaces God as the intelligent planner and creator of the experienced universe.”[18]  Thus the humanistic state treats life as fodder for its deadly metaphysical assumptions.  “Making widespread use of the Darwinian term ‘selection,’ the Nazis sought to take over the functions of nature (natural selection) and God (the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away) in orchestrating their own ‘selections,’ their own version of human evolution.”[19]

Western humanism deifies reason.  In such humanism the greater one’s education,  the more valuable one is considered.  One’s level of education reflects one’s closeness to the god Reason, or how close one has advanced in becoming his own god.  Thus man lacks any intrinsic worth; his value is not based on being in God’s image, but on his ability to reason. 

Hence in the French Revolution, those considered unreasonable were considered subhuman and had to be guillotined.  And in our day, liberal intellectuals hold that the unborn are not cognitively developed enough to reason, and hence can be executed.  Such was their justification for murdering Terri Schiavo.  And such was the justification for the Nazis murdering the so-called “useless eaters.” 
We see, then, the futility of rejecting God’s capital sanctions in the name of abuse.  To reject God’s capital sanctions in order to achieve justice is equivalent to saying, “Justice demands that we replace occasional injustice with continual injustice.”  And, rejecting God’s capital sanctions in the name of abuse is itself an abuse.  It is equivalent to keeping the bath water and throwing out the baby.

In the end, it must be remembered that whatever the result of following God’s law—whether it fosters a bloodbath or not[20]—we must follow God’s penal sanctions because God said so.  Man’s only job is to obey God, not to rebelliously speculate about calamities that could occur for obeying Him.  To quote William Perkins, one of the original great Puritan theologians,[21] “We must doe that which we find to be the will of God: and the events of things must be left to God.”[22]

Excerpt from the (Lord willing) upcoming book, God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws: Biblical Theocracy, Justice, and Slavery versus Humanistic Theocracy, "Justice," and Slavery by Steve C. Halbrook.  Copyright © 2010 by Steve C. Halbrook.  Based on the master's thesis, God is Just: A Defense of the Old Testament Civil Laws

     [1] Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Theonomic Reformed Approach to Law and Gospel,” in Five Views On Law And Gospel, ed. Wayne G. Strickland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 116.
     [2] S. H. Kellogg, The Book of Leviticus (Minneapolis, MN: Klock and Klock Christian Publishers, 1978), 424.
     [3] Martin Bucer, “The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties,” The Journal of Christian Reconstruction, ed. Gary North, vol. 5, no. 2 (Winter 1978-79): 14.
     [4] David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators: A Biblical Response to Ronald J. Sider (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1981), 32.
     [5] Buddy Hanson, How to De-Program Yourself from all of the Blasphemous Ideas You Learned in Public School (Tuscaloosa, AL: Hanson Group, 2009), xxxvi.
     [6] Ibid.
     [7] While we condemn the Inquisition (and the heretical Catholic Church which sanctioned it), the humanistic Soviets were hypocritical to attack the inquisitors.  Burleigh writes: “The medieval and early modern Inquisition played a part in the Communists’ demonisation of the Christian Church, with Young Pioneers chasing inquisitors from the state in a celebrated Bolshevik play.  In fact, the modus operandi of the Communist Party itself bore a marked similarity to the Spanish Inquisition, an arm of the Spanish monarchy rather than the Church, with the important differences that torture was an acknowledged and legal part of the latter’s proceedings, whose overarching objective was to induce heretics to seek forgiveness for the sake of their souls.  Only unrepentant heretics were ceremonially burned.  In the Soviet cover version, torture was frequently used but never publicly acknowledged, and confession did not bring forgiveness, but rather either a swift death or disappearance into the camps.”  Michael Burleigh, Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics, from the Great War to the War on Terror (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007), 81.
     [8] Robert Royal, The God that Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West (NY: Encounter Books, 2006), xvii.  Cited in Gary DeMar, “The Invisible God Called ‘Reason,’” Biblical Worldview Magazine, November 2006, vol. 22, no. 11: 5.
     [9] R. J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1994), 8.
     [10] Charl Van Wyk, Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense (Torrance, CA: WND Books, 2006), Appendix “Gun Control Precedes Genocide: Case Studies of Major Twentieth Century Genocide.”
     [11] Mike Warren, Lord of Soul and State: The Duty of Christians to Mix Politics and Religion (Christian Civilization, April 23, 2008).  Retrieved December 21, 2009, from
     [12] Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 337.
     [13] On the Inquisition and the need for the magistrate to uphold God’s law, Bahnsen writes, “But of course God never commanded these abuses in his law (for example, He did not grant the magistrate the right to judge heretics in the first place), and so this argument [against unsaved magistrates abusing God’s law] is actually an argument in favor of our thesis.”  Bahnsen, By This Standard, 336.  The Inquisition, moreover, is not an example of what happens when Christians are involved with civil government—it is an example of what happens when actual Christians are not involved in civil government, and humanists, and counterfeit “Christians” (humanists masquerading as Christians) are involved in civil government.  The Roman Catholic Church was and is an apostate church, not a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
     [14] Kennedy v. Louisiana, 957 So. 2d 757, reversed and remanded, IV A (2008). 
     [15] Rummel, Death by Government, 79.
     [16] Ibid.
     [17] The idea of the state being the ultimate standard of morality—and therefore law—was characteristic of twentieth-century totalitarianism.  In 1939, Dr. William Burdick, a firsthand witness of Nazi Germany’s legal operations, wrote, “It is a necessary part of the machinery of dictatorships that the law and the courts shall be subservient to the ruler.  In 1933, it was officially declared in Germany that the final authority as to the principles of the State and the law is the National Socialistic German Workers’ Party; that no other political party could be formed; and that the Fuehrer should make its laws.  Does this declaration differ in principle from the decree of Soviet Russia stating that the ‘Socialist Conscience’ shall be the final arbiter?” W. L. Burdick, The Bench and Bar of Other Lands, 422.  Cited in John Warwick Montgomery, The Law Above the Law (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1975), 22, 23.
     [18] In the words of John Frame, discussing the autonomous philosophy of Immanuel Kant.  John M. Frame, Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1995), 45.
     [19] Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (U.S.A.: BasicBooks, 1986), 17.     
     [20] Kevin Clauson turns the argument that Biblical sanctions would lead to a bloodbath on its head:  “If this were so, if this could even be so, and assuming the law was being used correctly, it would only prove that many law-breakers deserve their just punishment.”  Clauson adds that such would be unlikely, since biblical law wouldn’t be established outside a societal consensus anyway, and because of the law’s deterrent effect (“the ‘hear and fear’ factor”).  Kevin Clauson, “The Great Law-Book of the Nation,” in Explicitly Christian Politics: The Vision of the National Reform Association, ed. William O. Einwechter (Pittsburgh, PA: The Christian Statesman Press, 1997), 162.
     [21] Marc A. Clauson, A History of the Idea of “God’s Law” (Theonomy): Its Origins, Development and Place in Political and Legal Thought (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), 141.
     [22] William Perkins, A Commentary on Galatians, edited by Gerald T. Sheppard (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1989), 204.26-27.  Cited in Clauson, History of the Idea of “God’s Law”, 144.     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1 Sam 8 does not permit a civil government to tax any part of production or hard work. That's a description of what a pagan king will do and it's a prophecy fulfilled by the pagan civil pagan government we call the United States Congress. Old Testament only gave local civil governments only domain in which they can tax when it commanded each tribe to setup cities of sanctuary, and the tax is collect by the local governments. The national government of Israel had no direct tax powers, and all taxes had to be approved by the house of representatives of 12 tribes. Only in one case was a direct tax by the national government of Israel collected and in the case it was not for the government but for the tabernacle. It was a head tax on each family. The same tax was tried latter on by king to refurbish the temple and it was rejected by the house of representatives of 12 tribes. In our day, the only tax that should citizen should be subject too is a sales tax on all new goods and consumer services, collect a the point of sale by cities or counties, all other tax systems are pagan. Render to Caesars what is Caesars’ implies God is punishing by being subject to a pagan king, take your punishment. However, under the blessing of God, you are at Liberty can only be tax if you enter the market place, if you enter the city gate.