A Biblical Archaeology Moment – King Hezekiah’s Reforms
In 2 Chronicles 29–32, we read of King Hezekiah’s religious reforms to centralize worship in Jerusalem and to cleanse and refurbish the Temple in Jerusalem, during the first year of his reign, as he believed that his ancestors had not worshiped the God of Israel dutifully. 2 Kings 18:4 relates “he removed the high places broke down the pillars and cut down the sacred pole.”
2 Kings 10:27 relates that he had ordered the destruction of temples and idols of Ball“Then they demolished the pillar of Baal, and destroyed the temple of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day”.
Evidence for this last passage has been found in Lachish, in the foothills of Judah, Lachis was seen as as the second most important city in the Kingdom of Judah. Archaeologists exposed the massive city gate complex, discovering the remains of storage jars, that bore the marking lmlk “[belonging] to the king”. Also found was a room that appears to have once been a shrine. The room contained two four-horned altars, such as those found in temples of Baal, whose horns had been intentionally damaged, as well as ceramic lamps, bowls and stands. They also unearthed a seat carved of stone with a hole in the center, which head archaeologist, Sa’ar Ganor believes to be a toilet. This latrine, Ganor says, was unquestionably a form of desecration of this shrine room—as related in 2 Kings 18:4. Laboratory tests on the stone toilet was placed suggest it was never used,” Ganor said in an IAA press release. “Hence, we can conclude that the placement of the toilet had been symbolic, after which the holy of holies was sealed until the site was destroyed.”