Was Ancient Stone Toilet Placed in Biblical Shrine To Destroy It?

A stone toilet discovered at an archaeological site in Israel was probably used to defile a shrine, archaeologists said.

The shrine and the toilet were discovered by archaeologists at the Israel Antiquities Authority in an ongoing excavation of Tel Lachish National Park.

Tel Lachish is believed to be the site of an ancient biblical city, second only in importance to Jerusalem.

The large stone toilet, which appears to never have been used, was placed inside the shrine to desecrate it to abolish Tel Lachish as a site of religious worship.

This was likely part of a sweeping religious reform by King Hezekia of Judah, who wanted Jerusalem to be the central site of worship, not Tel Lachish.

Sa’ar Ganor, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, said that the toilet was “symbolic,” put in place before the shrine was sealed off.

It also seems to substantiate a practice referenced in the Hebrew bible in II Kings 10:27 when Jehu destroyed the cult Ba’al in Samaria and a “latrine” was made out of the Ba’al religious site.

“This is the first time that an archeological find confirms this phenomenon,” said Ganor.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @naomizeveloff


Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff is the Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Was Ancient Stone Toilet Placed in Biblical Shrine To Destroy It?

Thank you!

This article has been sent!