Thursday, September 29, 2016

Archaeological proof Hezekiah really did turn a pagan shrine into a toilet

“And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.” (2Kings 10:27, RSV)

Israeli archeologists have discovered a stone toilet while excavating an ancient city gate at Lachish, they said Sept. 28. The latrine is evidence a biblical king tried to stamp out idol worship there.

The scriptural reference above is to Jehu defiling a Baal temple, but the evidence from the current excavation at Lachish shows that King Hezekiah deliberately defiled the eighth century B.C. shrine at the door to the ancient city, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

“A toilet was installed in the holy of holies [“. . .the high places of the gates. . .” 2 Kings 23:8] as the ultimate desecration of that place,” the IAA said in a statement. “A stone fashioned in the shape of a chair with a hole in its center was found in the corner of the room.” The authority said it was the first time an archeological find confirmed the practice of installing a toilet to desecrate a pagan worship site. 

Laboratory tests suggest the stone toilet at the Lachish gate was never used, the IAA said, making its placement “symbolic, after which the holy of holies was sealed until the site was destroyed.”

Lachish, about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem, was conquered by the invading Assyrians under King Sennacherib in the eighth century B.C.E. The city gate was first located “decades ago,” the IAA said, but was only fully exposed in early 2016. “The excavation revealed destruction layers in the wake of the defeat, including arrowheads and sling stones, indicative of the hand-to-hand combat that occurred in the city’s gatehouse,” it said. [Read more…]

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 Bill K. Underwood is a freelance columnist and author of several books, including two novels - The Minotaur Medallion, and the best-selling Resurrection Day. Both are available in paperback here

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