TOWERS BESIDE A CITY GATE
At the gates he built towers: The text does not tell us how many gates there were or how many towers. TEV indicates one tower at each gate, but the text does not say this. The author could well be thinking of two at each gate, one on either side. Towers were immense stone structures either built on the walls or, in this case, attached to the walls beside a gate. On these towers were protected places where archers could shoot down on the enemy soldiers.
Many translators will need to use a descriptive phrase; for example, “high strong buildings beside each gate” (so also TOB 13:12). Sixty cubits wide at the foundations may be rendered “with a base that was ninety feet wide” (CEV) or “that was ninety feet [or, thirty meters] wide at the bottom.”
Gates … forty cubits wide means “gates … sixty feet [or, twenty meters] wide.” It is important that the information about the width of the gates be placed in conjunction with the following info…