Doorkeepers in the Bible
also known as: door-keeper
Particularly in cities, persons were appointed to keep the street door secure leading into the interior of the house.
“but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.” —John 18:16 LSB
Sometimes females held this post.
When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. —Acts 12:13 NASB
Doorkeepers are mentioned in connection with the collection of donations at the temple doors in 2 Kings.
“Go up to Hilkiah the high priest that he may count the money brought in to the house of the Lord which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people. —2 Kings 22:4 NASB
Here the Hebrew word translated doorkeepers is has-sap ( הַסַּ֖ף ).
Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the utensils that had been made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the heavenly lights… —2 Kings 23:4 NASB excerpt
Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his relatives of his father’s house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service, doorkeepers of the tent… —1 Chronicles 9:19 NASB excerpt
Then the captain of the bodyguards took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest, with the three doorkeepers. —2 Kings 25:18 NASB
Doorkeepers exempt from taxes
We also inform you that it is not allowed to impose tax, tribute, or toll on any of the priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God. —Ezra 7:24 NASB
Eunuch doorkeeper assassins
And it was found written what Mordecai had reported about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had sought to attack King Ahasuerus. —Esther 6:2 NASB
Psalmist wanted to be a doorkeeper?
The word English word doorkeeper appears in the King James Version of Psalm 84.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. —Psalm 84:10 KJV
The New King James Version sticks with this translation.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. —Psalm 84:10 NKJV
The English Standard Version and New International Version exactly agree…
…I would rather be a doorkeeper… —Psalm 84:10 NIV and Psalm 84:10 ESV
The original Hebrew word here appears only this one time in Scripture and seems to simply mean “to wait at the threshold.” If so, this can refer to either simply standing at a threshold or actually guarding the threshold as doorkeeper.
Other translators believe that the psalmist is not saying that he wants to become a doorkeeper, but rather that he would rather stand at the door of God’s house and merely look in, than dwell in houses where iniquity prevailed.
This is is the sense that the New American Standard Bible and the Legacy Standard Bible try to convey…
For better is a day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.
I would choose to stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. —Psalm 84:10 LSB
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. —Psalm 84:10 NASB