First Temple Period Gate-Shrine Discovered at Israeli National Park
JNS.org — An idolatrous gate-shrine from the time of Solomon’s Temple was uncovered at Tel Lachish National Park’s archeological excavations, offering convincing evidence that Hezekiah, a Biblical king of Judah, abolished idol worship in the eighth-century BCE.
According to Sa’ar Ganor, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority, the shrine, which included a “holy of holies” room, contained “two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic items, including lamps, bowls and stands.” Most interesting, said Ganor, was the discovery that “the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated,” an indicator of idolatry purposefully desecrated.
A toilet was also placed in the “holy of holies,” which was a common way cult sites were abolished in the Bible.
This discovery is the first time archaeology has proven this biblical phenomenon.
Engraved benches, where important leaders of Lachish would sit during ceremonies, were also uncovered.
Decades ago, the northern part of the gate was uncovered by a British expedition, but the current excavation has completely exposed the gate, the largest one found in Israel from the First Temple period.