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'The Bible and the archaeology are matching': Experts say this find could back an Old Testament story

Posted October 13

A new discovery has some archaeologists saying they've likely uncovered evidence that backs the Old Testament's claims that King Hezekiah — the 13th king of Judah — destroyed idols and high places in ancient Israel.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, a 2,800-year-old "gate-shrine" — one that the Israel Antiquities Authority called "important and unusual" — from the eighth century B.C. was uncovered in Israel's Tel Lachish National Park.

While the gate was partly excavated decades ago, a newfound effort waged earlier this year led to its full uncovering and a complete exploration of the structure.

The massive city gate is at least 13-feet tall and is 80-feet by 80-feet; it has six chambers, with the city's main street passing through the middle.

Sa'ar Ganor, director of the excavation, explained that the gate is the location where all administrative and cult activities took place in the ancient city.

Among the findings, a large room was discovered in which archeologists found two four-horned altars, lamps, stands and bowls, with Ganor saying the horns seemed to be "intentionally truncated," CBN News reported.

"It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated," Ganor said, according to Fox News. "That is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah, whereby religious worship was centralized in Jerusalem and the cultic high places that were built outside the capital were destroyed."

So, what is Ganor basing this assessment on? The Bible, as it turns out.

2 Kings 18:3-4 describes similar acts, saying that Hezekiah did what God would have wanted and "removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles."

The text also says the king "broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it."

"(The horn cutting) is probably evidence of the religious reform attributed to King Hezekiah, whereby religious worship was centralized in Jerusalem and the cultic high places that were built outside the capital were destroyed," the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement about the findings.

Another relic that was found at the site is what is believed to be a toilet — something that might have been installed to try to symbolically show the desecration of the temple, CBN News reported.

The toilet was described by the Israeli Antiquities Authority as a "stone fashioned in the shape of a chair with a hole in its center," with experts saying that similar stones have been found to be toilets at other locations.

With all of this in mind, it seems the facts on the ground are potentially verifying claims made in the Bible.

"It means we have the evidence," Ganor told Christian Today of the findings. "The Bible and the archaeology are matching."

It's the first time experts have been able to find potential confirmation that toilets were installed in cultic areas in an effort to sully them; interestingly, lab results showed that the toilet wasn't used and was, again, merely symbolic.

Christian Today also noted that 2 Kings 10 discusses a time in which the pillar of Ba'al was destroyed, with a latrine put in its place.

Verse 27 reads, "They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day."

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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