VIDEO: [NOVA] Documentary on the Assyrian Siege of Lachish, Judah
The dawn of Hezekiah’s kingship is known by his reforms against paganism. The height of his reign was troubled with a wane in obedience to God and the subsequent invasion by Assyrian King Sennacherib. The last two decades of Hezekiah’s life included a great revival with miraculous intervention and deliverance from the hands of Sennacherib. These events are detailed in our article “Hezekiah: a Story, a King, a Legacy.”
An unusual discovery in 2016 highlighted the dawn of his kingship, characterized by the reforms against paganism.
During excavations under Sa’ar Ganor at Tel Lachish, a six-chambered gate complex was uncovered and excavated. In the furthest-right chamber from the outside entrance, archaeologists found what appeared to be an Israelite gate-shrine. The room held two four-horned altars, several ceramic lamps, bowls and stands. This shrine showed the struggle Israel had with paganism.
The horns from these altars, however, had been intentionally broken off. In ancient Israel, a guilty person could grab the horns at the corners of the altar as an entreaty for extreme mercy. To have them removed is an extreme insult to the god. Even more interesting, amid the ruins of the altar, a toilet seat had been installed.
These six-chambered gates are characteristic of King Solomon’s rule where a centralized government was set up. Lachish was built up in the style of Solomon by Rehoboam, who ruled the southern kingdom of Judah after the nation of Israel split. The shrine and toilet seat were found in layers relating to the eighth century b.c.e.