Asirske strelice iz Lahiša

Asirske strelice iz Lahiša



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Nekoliko kraljevstava na Levantu prestalo je plaćati porez asirskom kralju Senncharibu. U znak odmazde pokrenuo je kampanju za ponovno potčinjavanje pobunjenih kraljevstava, među njima i Kraljevstva Jude. Nakon što je pobijedio pobunjenike Ekrona u Filisteji, Sennacharib je krenuo u osvajanje Jude i na putu za Jeruzalem naišao na Lakiš: drugi najvažniji židovski grad.

Ratište je bio grad Lachish obzidan zidinama, smješten na brdu. Sjeverni dio brda je strmiji od južne strane i zbog toga se tu nalaze vrata. Uz činjenicu da je brdo samo po sebi prilično visoko, zid dodatno otežava probijanje grada. Unutar samog grada postojao je dvorac sa značajnim zidinama.

Asirska vojska Edit

Asirska vojska bila je najučinkovitija sila svog vremena i podijeljena je uglavnom u tri različite kategorije:

  • Pješaštvo, koje je uključivalo i trupe bliskih borbi koje su koristile koplja, i strijelce. Bilo je i unajmljenih plaćenika koji su bacali kamenje (praćke). Pješaštvo je bilo visoko obučeno i radilo je zajedno s vojnim inženjerima kako bi probilo opsade.
  • Asirska konjica konjaništva bila je među najboljima na starom Bliskom istoku i uključivala je i konjičke jedinice bliskih borbi s kopljima i montirane strijelce, koje su mogle upotrijebiti okretnost konja uz napade na velike udaljenosti.
  • Kočije, koje se nisu toliko koristile u opsadama kao u redovitim kopnenim angažmanima.

Judejska vojska Edit

Judejska vojna sila bila je beznačajna u usporedbi s profesionalnom i masovnom asirskom vojskom i uglavnom je uključivala lokalne milicije i plaćenike. U judejskoj vojsci jedva da je bilo konjanika i kola koja su uglavnom uključivala pješaštvo, bilo za blisku borbu (kopljanici) ili borbu na daljinu (strijelci), također su bili znatno manje organizirani.

Zbog strmine sjeverne strane Lahiša, asirska je vojska napala s juga, gdje su se židovski branitelji smjestili na zidine. Židovski branitelji bacali su kamenje i gađali strijele napredujuće Asirce, Asirci su sami počeli gađati strijele i kamenje, stvarajući okršaj između dvije vojske. U međuvremenu, asirski vojni inženjeri izgradili su rampu istočno od glavnih vrata gdje su asirske i židovske postrojbe počele blisku borbu. Asirci su u međuvremenu dovezli strojeve za opsadu do rampe i razbili zid. Židovski branitelji nisu mogli zadržati asirsku vojsku i povukli su se, a neki su pokušali pobjeći s druge strane brda.

Podređivanje Edit

Grad su zauzeli Asirci, njegovi stanovnici su odvedeni u zarobljeništvo, a vođe Lakiša mučeni do smrti. Grad je napušten, ali je preseljen nakon povratka iz Babilonije. [ potreban je citat ]

Asirski reljefi koji prikazuju opsadu Lahiša jasno prikazuju ovnove koji napadaju ranjive dijelove grada. [2]

Opsada i zauzimanje grada Lakiša, jednog od gradova tvrđava koji štiti prilaze Jeruzalemu, jedinstven je po tome što se spominje u hebrejskoj Bibliji (II Kraljevi 18, II Ljetopisi 32) (MIKA 1:13) i u Ljetopisima asirskog kralja, Sanheriba. I ne samo to, već je događaj prikazan na zidovima Sennacheribove palače u Ninivi. [3]

Britanski muzej ima vrhunski set reljefnih rezbarija koje su do pojedinosti prikazale opsadu. Prikazuje asirske vojnike koji ispaljuju strijele, praćke i prilaze zidinama Lachisa rampama od blata. Napadači se sklanjaju iza pletenih štitova i raspoređuju ovnove. Zidovi i kule Lachisha prikazani su prepuni branitelja koji pucaju strijelama, bacajući kamenje i baklje na glave napadača.

Natpisi za reljef u Britanskom muzeju kažu:

Plijen iz Lahiša "Asirci, oko 700.-692. pr

Iz Ninive, jugozapadna palača,

Soba XXXVI, paneli 8-9

Nakon zauzimanja Lakiša, asirski vojnici izvode pljačku iz guvernerove palače: svežanj skazarija, okrugle štitove, kola, prijestolje i par kadionica. Ispod se judejski zatvorenici sele u obiteljima, vodeći svoju robu i životinje sa sobom u progonstvo. "

Povorka zatvorenika iz Lachisa nastavlja se krećući se kroz stjenoviti krajolik s vinovom lozom, smokvama i možda maslinama u pozadini. Dužnosnici koji se smatraju odgovornima za pobunu protiv Asirije tretiraju se strože: dvojicu od njih živo razbijaju.

Sennacherib, na veličanstvenom prijestolju, gleda kako pred njega dovode zatvorenike i ponekad ih pogube. Iza njega je šator, njegova kola su u prvom planu, a oko njega su postavljeni njegovi tjelohranitelji. Kraljevo lice namjerno je izrezano, možda od strane neprijateljskog vojnika pri padu Ninive 612. pr.

Ova ploča, koja zatvara niz Lachish, prikazuje bazni logor iz kojega je opsada izvedena. Utvrđen je, s cestom kroz sredinu. Sluge rade na šatorima, a dva svećenika izvode ceremoniju ispred kola na kojima su postavljena mjerila bogova.

Reljefi nastavljaju prikazivati ​​pljačku grada, a branitelji su prikazani kako su bačeni preko bedema, nabijeni na kolac, prerezani grla i traže milost. Plan grada iz ptičje perspektive prikazan je s interijerima kuća prikazanim u odjeljku.

Nakon što je zauzeo drugi najvažniji grad u Judi, Senahirim se tamo utaborio, a zatim poslao svoj rabšak da zauzme Jeruzalem.

Opsada Lachishha tema je istoimene pjesme (i singla) metal benda Melechesh.


Arheologija u Izraelu: lahiški

Tel Lachish, humka drevnog grada Lachish, nalazi se u nizini Judejskih brda, na nekih 40 km. jugoistočno od Jeruzalema. Obilje izvora vode i plodne doline tog područja pogodovalo je postojanju prosperitetnog grada kroz znatno razdoblje.

Nasip grada prvi je put iskopan tijekom 1930 -ih. Sustavna i dubinska iskapanja velikih površina humka ponovno su provedena između 1973. i 1987. godine.

Kanaanski grad

Veliki, utvrđeni kanaanski grad osnovan je početkom 2. tisućljeća prije nove ere na brežuljku koji dominira okolinom. Bio je utvrđen zidom i a blag nagib, rampasta struktura od komprimirane zemlje s tvrdom, glatkom površinom vapnene žbuke. Utvrđenje je dovršio a fosse (opkop) u podnožju blag nagib.

Velika palača s brojnim sobama i dvorištem, vjerojatno rezidencija kanaanskog kralja Lakiša, stajala je na akropoli - najvišem dijelu grada. Nije se mogla potpuno razotkriti jer je iznad nje izgrađena kasnija izraelska palača.

Iz pisama koja su kraljevi Lakiša poslali svojim gospodarima, egipatskim faraonima (prepiska iz 14. stoljeća prije Krista el-Amarna) može se zaključiti da je Lahiš bio važno urbano središte i sjedište egipatskog guvernera južnog Kanaana.

Iz tog razdoblja u Lakišu poznata su dva hrama. Nalazi iz hrama Fosse, u zapadnom podnožju humka, uključuju kultne posude, u kojima se nude zdjele i uvezeni predmeti od keramike, fajanse i bjelokosti, svi dokazi o bogatstvu. Hram na akropoli s egipatskim arhitektonskim elementima uključivao je ulaznu odaju, glavnu dvoranu (16 x 13 m.) I podignutu svetinju nad svetinjama. Dva osmougaona kamena stupa podupirala su drveni strop, dok su zidovi bili ukrašeni oslikanom žbukom.

Kanaanski Lahiš potpuno je uništen u požaru krajem 12. stoljeća prije Krista. Prema jednoj teoriji, uništenje su izveli Filistejci obližnje Obalne ravnice prema drugoj, općeprihvaćenijoj teoriji, to su učinili Izraelci, čije je zauzimanje i uništenje grada zabilježeno u Bibliji. (Jošua 10: 31,32)

Izraelski grad

Obnovljen kao grad-tvrđava Kraljevine Jude, Lachish je dobio na važnosti nakon podjele kraljevstva na Judu i Izrael. Kao najveći grad na zapadnoj granici Judejskog kraljevstva, okrenut Filistejcima u priobalnoj ravnici, Lahiš je bio utvrđen dvostrukom linijom masivnih zidova od opeke od blata na kamenim temeljima. Glavni gradski zid na vrhu humka bio je 6 m. široka, s kosim blag nagib poduprto zidom za oblaganje duž sredine padine. Gradska vrata, u jugozapadnom zidu, jedna su od najvećih i najjače utvrđenih vrata poznatih u to doba. Sastoji se od vanjskih vrata u ogromnoj kuli izgrađenoj od velikog kamenja koja viri iz linije obrane. Kapija na vrhu humka sastoji se od tri para komora s drvenim vratima na šarkama.

Na akropoli je izgrađena palača-tvrđava koja je vjerojatno služila kao rezidencija namjesnika kojeg je imenovao judejski kralj. Tijekom 8. stoljeća prije nove ere palači je dodano novo krilo koje je povećalo na 76 x 36 m. Uz palaču je bilo dvorište sa stajama i spremištima cijeli je kompleks bio okružen zidom s kapijom.

Grad Lachish razorila je asirska vojska tijekom Senaheribove kampanje protiv Judejskog kraljevstva 701. pr. Uništenje je bilo potpuno, zgrade su do temelja spaljene, a stanovnici prognani. Asirski pohod, za vrijeme vladavine kralja Ezekije, i tabor asirske vojske u Lakišu detaljno su opisani u Bibliji. (2. kraljeva 18: 14-17 2 Ljetopisa 32: 9) Osvajanje Lakiša prikazano je na monumentalnim kamenim reljefima koji su pronađeni u palači Sennacherib u Ninvehu, pružajući rijetku suvremenu & quotfotografiju & quot bitke i osvajanja. Ove reljefne slike asirskog napada potvrđene su arheološkim dokazima na tom mjestu: napad na Lahiš izveden je s jugozapada, napadači su izgradili opsadnu rampu uz padinu humka, koja je prema izračunu sadržavala oko 15.000 tona kamenja i zemlja! Rampa je bila prekrivena žbukom kako bi se asirski ovan mogao premjestiti do gradskog zida i probiti ga. Branitelji grada izgradili su proturampu unutar grada, podižući tako gradski zid, što je prisililo Asirce da podignu visinu rampe kako bi prevladali novu obranu grada. O žestokosti bitke svjedoče ostaci oružja, ljestvice oklopa, stotine praćki i vrhova strijela.

Tijekom vladavine kralja Josije (639.-609. pr. Kr.) Grad Lahiš je obnovljen i utvrđen. Ovaj mnogo siromašniji grad zauzela je i uništila babilonska vojska 587./6. (Jeremija 34: 7) U jednoj od soba, koja je izlazila na dvorište ispred gradske kapije, grupa ostraca pronađeni su tijekom iskopavanja 1930 -ih. Sada poznata kao lahiška pisma, čine važan korpus hebrejskih dokumenata iz razdoblja Prvog hrama. Napisane paleo-hebrejskim pismom na keramičkim ulomcima, poruke su koje je zapovjednik garnizona male tvrđave poslao svom zapovjedniku u Lahišu.

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Asirske strelice iz Lahiša - Povijest

Drevna lahiška skica

Skica je opsade Lahiša od strane Asirca (kliknite za povećanje)

U davna vremena Lakiš je bio važan grad u Judeji, odmah iza Jeruzalema.

Biblija često spominje Lahiš:

2 Kraljeva 18:14 - I Ezekija, kralj judejski, posla k asirskom kralju u Laški, rekavši: "Uvrijeđen sam povratak od mene: podnijet ću ono što si mi stavio." Asirski kralj imenovao je Ezekiju za kralja Jude tristo talenata srebra i trideset talenata zlata.

2. Ljetopisa 32: 9 - Nakon toga je asirski kralj Senahirim poslao svoje sluge u Jeruzalem (ali je on [sam opsjedao] Laškii svu njegovu moć s njim) Ezekiji, kralju judejskom, i svoj Judi koja je bila u Jeruzalemu, govoreći:

Jeremija 34: 7 - Kad se vojska kralja babilonskog borila protiv Jeruzalema i protiv svih preostalih judejskih gradova, protiv Laški, i protiv Azeke: jer su ti obranjeni gradovi ostali od judejskih gradova.

Jošua 10:23 - Oni su to učinili i izveli su iz pećine onih pet kraljeva, kralja Jeruzalema, kralja Hebrona, kralja Jarmuta, kralja Laški, [i] kralj Eglona.

2 Kraljeva 18:17 - I asirski je kralj poslao Tartana i Rabsarisa i Rabshakeha odatle Laški kralju Ezekiji s velikom vojskom protiv Jeruzalema. Oni su se popeli i došli u Jeruzalem. Kad su izašli, došli su i stali kraj cijevi gornjeg bazena, koja se nalazi na magistrali polja za punjenje.

Jošua 10: 5 - Stoga petorica amorejskih kraljeva, kralj Jeruzalema, kralj Hebrona, kralj Jarmuta, kralj Laški, kralj Eglona, ​​okupio se i pošao s njima i svim svojim vojskama, utaborili se pred Gibeonom i zaratili protiv njega.

Jošua 10: 3 - Zato je Adonizedek, kralj Jeruzalema, poslao Hohama, kralja Hebrona, i Pirama, kralja Jarmuta, i Jafiju, kralja Laškii Debiru, kralju Eglona, ​​govoreći:

Jošua 12:11 - Kralj Jarmutha, jedan kralj Laški, jedan

Nehemija 11:30 - Zanoah, Adullam i [u] njihovim selima, u Laškii njegova polja u Azeki i [u] njezinim selima. Stanovali su od Beershebe do doline Hnom.

Izaija 36: 2 - I asirski je kralj poslao Rabshakeh iz Laški u Jeruzalem kralju Ezekiji s velikom vojskom. I stajao je kraj cijevi gornjeg bazena na autoputu polja za punjenje.

Mihej 1:13 - O ti stanovniče Laški, vezati kola za brzu zvijer: ona [je] početak grijeha kćeri Sionskoj: jer su se u tebi našli prijestupi Izraelovi.

Jošua 10:32 - I Jahve je izbavio Laški u ruke Izraela, koji ga je uzeo drugog dana, i udario oštricom mača i sve duše koje su bile u njemu, prema svemu što je učinio Libni.

2. Kraljevima 19: 8 - Vratio se Rabshakeh i zatekao asirskog kralja kako se bori protiv Libne, jer je čuo da je otišao iz Laški.

Izaija 37: 8 - Vratio se Rabshakeh i zatekao asirskog kralja kako se bori protiv Libne, jer je čuo da je otišao iz Laški.

Jošua 10:33 - Tada je priskočio u pomoć Hozer, kralj Gezera Laški i Jošua je udario njega i njegov narod sve dok mu nije ostavio nikoga preostalog.

Jošua 10:31 - Jošua je prešao iz Libne i sav Izrael s njim u Laškii utaborili se protiv njega i borili se protiv njega:

Jošua 10:34 - I od Laški Jošua je prešao u Eglon i sav Izrael s njim, utaborili su se protiv njega i borili se protiv njega.

Jošua 10:35 - I uzeli su ga toga dana, i udarili oštricom mača, a sve duše koje su [bile] u njemu potpuno je uništio toga dana, prema svemu što je učinio Laški.

Jošua 15:39 - Laški, i Bozkath, i Eglon,

2. Ljetopisa 11: 9 - I Adoraim, i Laškii Azekah,

2. Kraljevima 14:19 - Sada su napravili urotu protiv njega u Jeruzalemu: i on je pobjegao u Laški ali su poslali za njim u Laški, i tamo ga ubili.

2. Ljetopisa 25:27 - Nakon što se Amazija odvratio od slijeđenja Jahve, napravili su urotu protiv njega u Jeruzalemu, a on je pobjegao u Laški: ali poslali su na Laški nakon njega i tamo ga ubili.

Isus je odgovorio: & quotPazite da vas nitko ne prevari. Jer mnogi će doći u moje ime, tvrdeći: 'Ja sam Krist, i mnoge će prevariti. Čut ćete za ratove i glasine o ratovima, ali pobrinite se da niste uznemireni. Takve se stvari moraju dogoditi, ali kraj tek dolazi. Ustat će narod protiv naroda, a kraljevstvo protiv kraljevstva. Na raznim mjestima bit će gladi i potresa. Sve su to počeci porođajne boli. Matej 24: 4-8

Svatko tko se zagleda u ljudsku povijest ne može a da ne vidi cijeli svijet oblikovan ratom, gdje se granice gotovo svake nacije uspostavljaju kao rezultat jedne vojske koja ubija drugu. Zašto je rat takav dio ljudskog tkiva? Sveto pismo ukazuje da je rat simptom dubokog duhovnog problema. Rat je posljedica palog i zlog srca čovjeka. Ne tuđe zlo srce. Ne zla srca samo pohlepne oligarhije ili krvoločni agresor, već naše zlo srce. Svi mi. & quot; Nema pravednika, nema nikoga. & quot Rimljanima 3:10

Nakon što je iskoristio svoju slobodnu volju i odlučio se pobuniti protiv svog Stvoritelja, čovjek se odvojio od Boga i Njegove bliske bliskosti. (Postanak 3) Čovjek se morao nositi s prazninom koju je trebalo ispuniti, krivnjom koja ga je naljutila, sramom zbog kojeg se skrivao i strahom zbog kojeg je postao pohlepan i kontrolirao. navesti nekoliko rezultata.

Svi smo rođeni iz ove prirode i možda, ako smo iskreni, možemo vidjeti rat u nama na djelu. Kako reagiramo na isključenju na autocesti? Kako reagirati na nepravednu provokaciju? Kakva je bila vaša reakcija kada niste uspjeli, a vaš supružnik ili suradnik jesu? Pravi test ne očituje se kad nam je ugodno, već kad smo stjerani u kut i isprovocirani. Dodajmo ovome sotonističko područje gdje pali anđeli manipuliraju, motiviraju i pokreću scenarije i vjerojatno bismo se trebali začuditi da nije bilo više rata!

Bog je imao plan riješiti naš problem sa "srcem", a ljudska je povijest Njegova priča o otkupljenju gdje je naš grijeh platio netko drugi kako bi nas pravno i pravedno povezao sa svojom intimom. Ovo je evanđeoska priča, dobra vijest! Da, nevjerojatno je da je Bog namjerno apsorbirao osudu i kaznu koja nam pripada samima - kroz Osobu svoga Sina.

Poslušajte kako Izaija piše o Mesiji nekih 700 godina prije njegova dolaska.

Sigurno je uzeo naše slabosti i ponio našu tugu, no mi smo ga smatrali pogođenim Bogom, udarenim i napaćenim.

Ali bio je proboden zbog naših prijestupa, slomljen je zbog naših nepravdi, kazna koja nam je donijela mir bila je na njemu, i njegovim ranama mi smo izliječeni.

Svi smo, poput ovaca, zalutali, svatko se od nas okrenuo svojim putem i Gospodin je na njega položio bezakonje svih nas. - Izaija 53: 4-6

Kad jednom imamo mir s Bogom i budemo ispunjeni Njegovim Duhom, lakše je, iako nije zajamčeno, postići mir s drugima. Posvećenje je još uvijek proces i moramo izlagati naše bitke jedan po jedan argument okrećući drugi obraz i idući dalje, iako vojnicima ili centurionima nikada nije naređeno da napuste svoju obranu nacije.

Ako je moguće, koliko god to ovisilo o vama, živite u miru sa svima. - Rimljanima 12:18

Zato kažem, živite po Duhu i nećete udovoljiti željama grešne prirode. Jer grešna priroda želi ono što je protivno Duhu, a Duh ono što je protivno grešnoj prirodi. Oni su međusobno u sukobu pa ne radite ono što želite.
Gal 5: 16-18

Što uzrokuje tuče i svađe među vama? Ne dolaze li oni iz vaših želja koje se bore u vama? Želiš nešto, ali ne dobiješ. Ubijate i žudite, ali ne možete imati ono što želite. Svađate se i svađate. Nemate, jer ne tražite od Boga. Kad tražite, ne primate, jer tražite s pogrešnim motivima, da možete potrošiti ono što dobijete na svoja zadovoljstva. Jakov 4: 1-3

.Jer naša borba nije protiv krvi i mesa, već protiv vladara, protiv vlasti, protiv moći ovog mračnog svijeta i protiv duhovnih sila zla u nebeskim područjima. Zato obucite puni Božji oklop kako biste, kad dođe dan zla, mogli ustrajati i nakon što ste učinili sve, stajati. Ef. 6: 12,13

Obećana nam je milost dok se borimo s tim pitanjima i oproštenje kad ne uspijemo. Rečeno nam je da će se nacija nastaviti dizati protiv nacije (Mat. 24: 7) do Dana Gospodnjeg kada će Jeruzalem oplakivati ​​Onoga koga su proboli, (Zah 13:10) i Onaj koji se zove Vjerni i Istinski vraća se da vodi posljednji rat i konačno vlada u miru. Otkr. 19:11


Tamo gdje sam stajala dogodila se ratna krema. Hebrejske i asirske strijele prskaju jedna na drugu. Kamenčići za razbijanje oklopa i lubanja. Asirski ovnovi za razbijanje metodički razdvajaju vanjski zid grada. Konačno je Lachish pao.

(Fotografija: Reljef iz Sennacheribove pobjede nad Lahišem, u Britanskom muzeju)

Od svih drevnih priča u Svetoj zemlji, izraelska uprava za starine posjeduje samo jedan - Tel Lachish. Ostao je najvažniji grad u južnom kraljevstvu Jude, osim Jeruzalema.

Arheologija obilno ukazuje na biblijske događaje ovdje kao na povijesne.

Lachish, Lokacija, Lokacija

Čuvajući južni rub Šefele, Lachish je služio i kao carinska ispostava i kao nadzornik Jeruzalema nad invazijom na Egipat. Nitko nije mogao pristupiti planinskoj zemlji preko Hebrona bez Lachishinog znanja.

  • Ruševine na vrhu kazivanja uključuju veliku, ravnu platformu -dimenzija 35 x 75 metara -na kojoj je stajao niz zgrada iz vremena kralja Reboboama u 10. stoljeću prije Krista.
  • Ispod platforme počivaju ostaci kanaanskog hrama, koji datiraju iz vremena kada je Jošua uništio grad (Jošua 10: 31-32).
  • Do 1200. godine prije Krista srušena su tri uzastopna kanaanska hrama.

Sennacherib's Invasion and Victory Reliefs at Lachish

Zato je, kada je asirski tiranin, Senahirim, napao Judu 701. godine prije Krista, usmjerio pogled na Lahiš. Nakon što je osvojila sjeverni Šefelah i potisnula Egipat s puta, asirska vojska suočila se s otvorenim vratima u Jeruzalem.

Samo im je Lachish stao na put.

Sennacherib je bio toliko ponosan na svoju pobjedu nad Lakišem da se na bitku prisjetio nizom kamenih reljefa isklesanih na zidovima njegove palače u Ninivi. Dijelovi ovih reljefa izloženi su danas u Britanskom muzeju.

Još otkrivaju žestinu bitke.

(Fotografija: reljefi Sennacherib ’s prikazuju Hebreje kako se klanjaju u znak poštovanja, autorica Cathy Stiles. Britanski muzej)

Jeremijina bilješka i lahiška pisma

Više od stoljeća kasnije, za vrijeme Jeremijine službe, babilonski Nabukodonozor napao je Judeu i opsjedao njene najvažnije citate - uključujući opet Lahiš.

Jeremiah bilježi da je pred kraj invazije samo:

Jeruzalem. . . Lakiš i Azekah. . . ostali kao utvrđeni gradovi među gradovima Jude. - Jeremija 34: 7

Arheološko otkriće nazvano "lahiška slova" podupire Jeremijin stih.

(Fotografija: Lachish Letters, Wayne Stiles. Britanski muzej)

Godine 1935. arheolozi koji su kopali u stražarnici kraj vrata otkrili su osamnaest ostraka (ispisanih krhotina keramike) sa drevnim hebrejskim natpisima. Ove su riječi uključivale nacrt pisma Jeruzalemu koje je u skladu s Jeremijom 34: 7:

Promatramo signal Lachish -a. . . jer se Azeka ne vidi. - Laško pismo #4

Danas je područje Vrata i dalje najbolji način za unos priča. Rampa se polako uspinje prema sjeveru i prolazi kroz vanjska i unutarnja vrata, najveće postojeće u Izraelu. Upravo unutar vrata, interpretacijski znak otkriva mjesto otkrića lahiških slova.

(Fotografija: Lahiška kapija gdje su pronađena lahiška slova, ljubaznošću slikovne biblioteke biblijskih zemalja)

Opsadna rampa

Zemljana opsadna rampa koju su podigli Asirci i danas se naslanja na kazu i ostaje jedina iskopana opsadna rampa u bliskoj istočnoj antici. Mobilni odabiri iz Sennacheribovih ovnova za uništavanje uništili su zapadni zid vanjske kapije.

Dok se slike slideshowa nižu u nastavku, usporedite današnju fotografiju opsadne rampe sa mojom slikom na kojoj pokazujem na Asirce koji strelicama skaču po rampi i ovnu za udaranje.

Više od tisuću željeznih vrhova strijela otkriveno je na opsadnoj rampi, što nijemo svjedoči o divljaštvu bitke.

(Fotografija: Vrhovi strijela pronađeni na opsadnoj rampi Lachish, autorica Cathy Stiles. Britanski muzej)

Pogledajte kamenje za praćke otkriveno u Lakišu. Veliki su kao moja ruka!

Zamislite kakvu bi štetu mogli nanijeti lubanji.

(Fotografija: Kamenčići iz Lachishha, autorica Cathy Stiles. Britanski muzej)

Arheologija u Tel Lachishu savršeno se kombinira s biblijskom poviješću kako bi tkala jedinstvenu priču, podupirući ono što Biblija kaže.

U svom sljedećem postu podijelit ću posvetu o Lachishu. U međuvremenu evo pitanja. . .

Reci mi što misliš: Bi li naša vjera i dalje bila vjerodostojna da je povijest ne podržava? Da biste ostavili komentar, samo kliknite ovdje.

Lachish na karti:

Svidjet će vam se i ovi postovi. . .

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Prozor u Bibliju

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Ova soba u Britanskom muzeju stvorena je u istim dimenzijama kao i soba u Sennacheribovoj palači. Reljef koji prikazuje opsadu ukupne je duljine oko 30 metara.

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Asirski strijelci u Lakišu

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

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Asirski kopljanici u Lakišu

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Kopljanici nose i okrugle štitove od pruća. To ih čini pokretnijima od strijelaca koji su koristili mnogo veće štitove i štitonoše, kad su bliže zidu.

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Asirski udarni ovan i branitelji

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Obratite pozornost na vatrene baklje koje su branitelji izbacili sa zida. Jedna od ovih baklji zapalila je Ovna, a asirski operater ga pokušava ugasiti pomoću kutlače pune vode. Na ovoj fotografiji mogu se vidjeti i ljestve koje su Asirci koristili za pokušaj skaliranja zida.

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Uklanjanje zarobljenika i ratnih plijena

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

U gornjem dijelu ove fotografije mogu se vidjeti asirski vojnici kako odnose blago opljačkano tijekom bitke. U donjem odjeljku zarobljenici

vide se deportirani s malom djecom koja se voze u kolicima.

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Izbjegavanje pobunjenika

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Nakon opsade, neki bi vođe pobunjenika bili kažnjeni mučenjem kao upozorenje drugima. Ova fotografija prikazuje dva muškarca kako su preživjeli ili odguljeni.

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Kraljeva kočija

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

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Asirski konjanici

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

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Asirski udarni ovan (zatvori)

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Obratite pozornost na vatrene baklje koje su branitelji izbacili sa zida. Jedna od ovih baklji zapalila je Ovna, a asirski operater ga pokušava ugasiti pomoću kutlače pune vode. Na ovoj fotografiji se mogu vidjeti i ljestve koje su Asirci koristili za pokušaj skaliranja zida.

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Asirski strijelci s opsadnim štitovima

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

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Lachish Relief Natpis

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Ovaj natpis nalazi se u blizini slike Senahheriba koji promatra opsadu i glasi:

Sennacherib, kralj svijeta, kralj Asirije, sjeo je na (nîmedu) prijestolje i pregledao plijen oduzet iz Lahiša (ANET 288).

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Asirski kopljanici

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

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Asirski praćkaši

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Praćkaši su bili značajan sektor vojske. Dobro obučeni praćkaš mogao je ciljati vrlo precizno i ​​precizno pogoditi metu veću od 100 metara. To je značilo da su izvrsni za istjerivanje branitelja sa zida, dok se pješaštvo poput kopljanika penjalo ljestvama pokušavajući ući u grad.

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Asirski strijelci (zatvori)

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Poput praćkaša, strijelci su uspjeli prisiliti branitelje sa zida, čime su drugima olakšali ulazak u grad ljestvama ili penjanjem kroz proboje u zidu. Također bi mogli smanjiti rizik od skupe opreme poput ovnova koju su branitelji uništili na zidu.

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Asirski opsadni logor

Mjesto: Soba XXXVI, Jugozapadna palača kralja Senaheriba, Niniva, Asirija.

Fotografirano u Britanskom muzeju, London, Engleska.

Ova fotografija prikazuje asirske vojnike, šatore i drugu opremu u njihovom vojnom kampu. This camp itself is surrounded by a defensive wall with towers so it may be defended if help arrives for the besieged city. Because of the unsanitary and crowded conditions, at times people in these camps would be hit by plague.


Assyrian Arrowheads from Lachish - History

Forty kilometers south of Jerusalem, Lachish almost disappears into the fertile hills of the Sh'phelah, (land area along the sea coast) but once on top of the tel one gets a magnificent view to Bet Guvrin in the north and the Hebron hills in the east. This strategic stronghold ended its formal history in the second century BCE, when all occupation of the site ended. Long before that, Lachish experienced its famous siege by the Assyrians.

Lachish's earliest history begins with the Canaanites who lived on the tel since the fourth millennium BCE, under their own city-kings. They built one of the mightiest cities in the south of Israel, surrounded by a wall and a ramp, with a moat at its foot. It was the seat of the Egyptian governor who oversaw southern Canaan, as becomes clear from the Egyptian Amarna letters dating to the 14th century BCE.

The Bible describes how Lachish was subsequently conquered by the Israelite warrior-ruler Joshua (Joshua 10:1-32), who had already pacified nearby Gibeon, which had become friendly with the Israelites. In order to ward off the foreign danger, the Amorite king of Jerusalem, Adonizedek, suggested to four other Canaanite rulers in Judea to enter upon a pact. Among these was the king of Lachish, Japhia. The kings consented. The five first marched with their armies to Gibeon and besieged it.

The Gibeonites, worried, dispatched a message to the army camp of Joshua in Gilgal, with a plea to come to their rescue. Joshua answered them, and with the help of G-d, who amongst other feats threw big hailstones upon the enemy that instantly killed them, victory over the Amorites was inevitable. After slaughtering every one of them, Joshua returned to Gilgal.

The five Amorite kings alone had escaped the ambush, and hid in a cave near Makkedah. When Joshua found out about this he ordered his men to roll large boulders in front of the entrance. Afterwards, they were executed. After a daylong exposure of their corpses on poles, they were thrown back into the cave where they had hid, and there they still remain to the present day - or so the story goes.

Immediately following Joshua embarked upon an admirable display of superior military power. On the second day he overcame Lachish and when the king of Gezer, Horam, came to Lachish' assistance, their army was defeated too. After that, Joshua became unstoppable. In reality his conquering and slaying of "Kadesh-Barnea till Gaza, and the whole land from Goshen to Gibeon (Joshua 10:41)" probably took much longer or was less complete. An alternate theory says that Lachish was destroyed by the Philistines.

The defeat of the large Canaanite city by the then still primitive Israelites may sound somewhat overboard, were it not for the archaeological discovery that Lachish was not surrounded by a wall at the time of the conquest, 1200 BCE, and that a destruction did really take place. The Israelites did not inhabit their new prize-city at first. Only in later centuries king Rehobeam of Judah did just that. He built a city wall to protect it against the Philistine enemy and a palace-fort (II Chronicles 11:5-11).
Israelite palace at Lachish

In later generations, Lachish became more important, maybe the second most important city in Judah after Jerusalem. King Amaziah fled there when a rebellion broke out in Jerusalem (II Kings 14:19), but his pursuers found him and killed him.

In 760 BCE there was an earthquake, after which the city partly had to be rebuilt (Amos 1:1, Zachary 14:5).

The next important event was the Assyrian invasion of Judah in 701 BCE, which is also described in the Bible. Their emperor Sennacherib was keen to conquer Lachish. How important the city was for his strategic purposes, is shown by the carved reliefs that were made of the siege and ensuing battle, that were installed in the central room of his new palace in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. They were discovered in the 19th century when excavations in Nineveh first opened and several palaces of the sumptuous culture of the Assyrians appeared. The reliefs are remarkably detailed and realistic. They show a developed war-machinery on the part of the Assyrians. Upon a ramp that they had built to facilitate the siege, the Assyrian soldiers approach the city walls in neat orders of archers, flanked by infantry, who in their turn defend carts which were used to pound the walls. Supplies were carried by camels. On the bulwarks and towers were the defenders: archers and slingers of stones.


Interior of Sennacherib's palace in Nineveh

After the walls breached, there ensued a terrific fray of flying stones and constructions, which is also portrayed on the battle reliefs. The Assyrians set the city on fire (in some place the archaeologists found 50 centimetres of ashes). Many inhabitants were exiled to Assyria to become slaves and servants. In the Nineveh relief, whole families are carried off, their goods looted men are tortured and the Judean governor is seen kneeling for Sennacherib. Many people also died in the battle, as is witnessed by a mass grave which was later found by archaeologists, with 1500 human skeletons, mainly of women and children, mixed with pottery from the year 701 BCE.


relief from invasion of Lachis

After their Judean campaign, the Assyrians did not live in Lachish, but gave it and the other conquered cities in Judah to divide between the Philistine kings of Ashdod, Ekron and Gaza.


relief from invasion of Lachish

But apparently some Jewish inhabitants must have come back, because later the city was again in Jewish hands. From the next siege, this time by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, eighteen Hebrew ostraca (pottery shards) were recovered. They are now known as the Lachish letters.

One of these has a moving message it was sent from a Judean outpost to the city of Lachish, in warning of the impending Babylonian destruction. It reads: "Let my lord know that we are watching over the beacon of Lachish, according to the signals which my lord gave, for Azekah is not seen." Lachish and Azekah were the last two Judean cities before the conquest of Jerusalem in the same year, says the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 34:7). This pottery inscription is now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

After the exile in Babylon, Jews returned to Lachish (Nehemia 11:30). A Persian governor lived in a new residence which was built in the place of the Israelite palace-fort. After the Hellenistic period occupation suddenly ceased.

The actual visit to Lachish is somewhat less exciting compared to the stories and legends about it. The site has been last excavated in the eighties, and as it has not been turned into a national park, it is rather overgrown helpful signs or explanations are absent.

To reach Lachish: take the Bet Shemesh road south in the direction of Kiryat Gat. Turn south onto route 3415 till reaching the parking lot.

From the parking lot up there are some loose stones. These belonged to the Assyrian siege ramp. The fierceness of the battle is attested to by the thousands of slingstones and iron arrowheads that were found in this area. The access road is the Israelite entrance road leading to the city's gate. The road was ingeniously built to ward off intruders, as the shield was carried on the left arm, so the right side was exposed to attacks from the city's defenders on the wall.

If the city wall is followed north, one can look into the Canaanite moat here there stood an ancient temple, from which cult vessels and imported Egyptian artefacts were extracted.

Back up the slope there are remains of the Israelite outer and inner walls (there was a double wall) they can also be seen in the Assyrian reliefs. There were also an outer and inner gate. The outer gate was through a huge tower. The inner gate consisted of three pairs of chambers, and is the largest ancient gatehouse known in Israel. Although the outer, western wall of the inner gatehouse was brought down by Sennacherib's battering rams, it was reconstructed by archaeologists the cement line indicates the restorations.

The returning Jews after the exile also rebuilt the outer gate, although they left the inner destroyed gate as it was. The ostraca with the famous inscription was found in the new outer gate guardroom, which since has also been restored.


relief from invasion of Lachis

Right behind the gate is the palace area. It was built on a huge platform, which is still seen. It was built in stages and further extended. Next to the palace were storehouses and stables. The first set-up was by king Rehoboam, who built a square platform. This is excavated, but an older, underlying Canaanite temple that used to have a cedar roof, painted walls and - still visible - stone steps, cuts through the square. A successor king extended the palace to the south. Later it was extended even more to the north and east. The remaining Israelite ruins were cleared for the Persian residence that was built on the same platform the two columns and a door-sill remain of this. In the space between the palace and the western city wall houses of the Israelite period were dug out.

In the city itself, there is a sacred area in the middle towards the east wall, dated to the Israelite period. It consists of a small room with a low bench. In the western corner there was a raised altar, dating from the time of king Rehoboam (10th century BCE). Later it was covered by a terrace. On top of it came a second century BCE temple, which uses the basic plan of the Israelite temple, but with a courtyard and two rooms. It is not clear whether this temple was used for Jewish worship.

Further to the south, there is an overgrown ruin which could also have been an ancient temple. Also there is a deep square shaft in the city. It has been suggested that it was used as a water system or alternatively as a quarry. The precise knowledge of this will be left to later explorations.


History Crash Course #21: Assyrian Conquest

The Assyrians conquer northern Israel and vanquish the nation with exile.

At a time when the Jewish people of the northern kingdom of Israel are weakening spiritually, as well as physically and militarily, the Assyrians are growing stronger.

The Assyrians at this time occupy the territory immediately north -- what is today's Syria, Iraq, and Turkey -- and they are continuing to build their empire.

If you go the British Museum in London, you can see some fascinating Assyrian artifacts from this period.

You can see there the four sided Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. The Obelisk depicts the tribute paid by King Jehu of the northern kingdom of Israel to Shalmanaser III, king of Assyria. You can also see a relief from the walls of the magnificent palace at Nineveh, Assyria's capital city.

That palace belonged to King Sennacherib, and the relief shows the siege of the Israelite city of Lachish it was conquered by Sennacherib, who then boasted about it on his palace walls. The British stripped the relief from the Nineveh palace and brought to the British Museum.

The dates that you will find inscribed in the British Museum (and in other history books and other museums housing Middle Eastern artifacts) do not agree with Jewish dating that we are following in this series. This is because this series relies on the traditional Jewish dating system for ancient history -- that is for the dates "before the common era," -- BCE. The Jewish dating system and the Christian dating system vary by as much as 164 years for the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian periods, but by the time we get to the Roman period (i.e. the Christian year 1) the discrepancy disappears. (1)Why?

While it is beyond the scope of this book to present a detailed explanation of the various chronologies of the ancient world, we will explain briefly the dominant dating systems used by modern historians.

The Jewish dating system is taken primarily from a book called Seder Olam Rabba, dating back to the 2nd century CE and attributed to Rabbi Yosef ben Halafta. The sources for the dates in Halafta's book come from rabbinic traditions recorded in the Talmud as well as numerous chronologies written in the Hebrew Bible (Tanach).

It is also essential to remember that traditional Jewish chronologies, (since the beginning of the Jewish calendar almost 6,000 years ago) have always been based on absolute and highly accurate astronomical phenomenon: the movement of the moon around the earth (months) and the earth around sun (years). A combination of an unbroken tradition of the Hebrew Bible and an accurate, astronomical, time-based system, gives traditional Jewish chronology a high degree of accuracy, especially when it comes to the major events of Jewish history.

Contrary to what you might think, the chronology used by modern historians is far from exact. It was not until the 20th century that the entire world recognized one universal calendar system -- the Christian calendar (also known as the Gregorian calendar). If we go back in time however, the calendar situation is far more chaotic. Accurate historical records were almost unheard of and every empire used its own calendar system which was often based on totally different criteria. With no unbroken historical traditional and no universally accepted standard for how to calculate time, there is no non-Jewish equivalent to Seder Olam Rabba nor for the Jewish calendrical calculation system passed down from antiquity.

So how do we get the chronology that historians use today?

Historians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries worked backward and pieced it together. This was done primarily through comparing what little historical records survived from ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, together with archaeological finds, various scientific dating methods and major astronomical phenomenon such as a solar eclipse.

Because there are margins of error in virtually all of these methods and much is open to interpretation, significant debates erupted between different scholars which continue to this day. Therefore, the chronologies used by modern historian are by no means 100% accurate and you will often find disagreements amongst various scholars as to the exact dates of major ancient events and dynasties.

Because this series is written from the traditional Jewish perspective, and because Jewish chronology makes a stronger case for historical accuracy, we have chosen to use the traditional Jewish dates.

Today there are a number of renowned scholars also challenging the modern chronology and even attempting to reconcile it with the Jewish chronology. Amongst them is British scholar Peter James who writes:

With that in mind, we can continue the story.

NORTHERN KINGDOM FALLS

In 6th century BCE, Assyrian king Tiglathpileser III strengthens Assyria and establishes it as a great empire to be reckoned with. (Eventually, Assyria will even challenge the mighty Egypt.) He also introduces a very interesting way of dealing with conquered peoples. It's called exile . To pacify the lands they invade, the Assyrians take the indigenous people, move them someplace else, and bring others to take their place. By the time the exiles figure out where they are, decades pass and they don't remember to rebel any more.

Starting around 575 BCE, as a way of pacifying the northern kingdom, Tiglathpileser takes over the lands belonging to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and exiles them.

Then, Shalmanaser V, another Assyrian emperor, takes over the lands belonging to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, and exiles them.

Finally in 556 BCE Sargan II, one of the great emperors of Assyria, completes the job, and the whole northern part of the country ceases to exist as a Jewish state.

The important and obvious lesson to be learned from this quote is that why the superficial reason for the fall of the Northern Kingdom was linked to the geopolitical realities of the ancient Near East, the stvaran cause was violation of the Torah.

With the Jews driven out, who takes their place?

The Assyrians bring in a bunch of people from someplace else, who -- because they are now living in Shomron or Samaria -- come to be known as Samaritans.

The Samaritans are people who more or less adopt Judaism, but not properly or for the right reasons. Because their conversion is not complete or sincere, they are never accepted by the Jewish people, and they're very resentful.

Indeed, the Samaritans have a long history of animosity towards the Jews, and while many people are familiar with the story of the "good Samaritan" from the Christian gospels, in Jewish consciousness (and history) the Samaritans are rarely considered good.

Today there are only about 600 Samaritans left, their cult site is in Mount Grizim, which is right next to the city of Shechem, called Nablus in Arabic.

Meanwhile the Jewish people of the north have settled in various locations throughout the Assyrian empire. What happens to those ten tribes? They assimilate and are known today as the ten lost tribes.

There are numerous people throughout the world, especially in the Middle East and Asia who claim to be descended from the ten lost tribes. Today there are a number of people who have dedicated much time and effort to locating the lost tribes of Israel. One such person is Dr. Tutor Parfitt of London University. He has made it his specialty to track and trace different exotic peoples who claim to be of Jewish origin. He has written a book called "The Thirteenth Gate," and he's researched the people who claim to have Jewish connections. (2)

It's amazing how many people, many of whom know nothing about Judaism, claim to be descended from Jews. For example, many of the Pathans, Muslim fundamentalists who reside in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, claim to be descended from the ten lost tribes.

There is a Midrash that says the ten lost tribes live "over the River Sambatyon," which is a mystical river that flows all week with sand and stones but "rests" on Shabbat.

We have a concept that at the end of days, all the lost Jews will come back. The great sage, the Vilna Gaon, taught that converts are lost Jewish souls who are trying to find their way back to the Jewish people.

But for now, the ten tribes are gone.

With the Jewish people dispersed from the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians set their sights on the southern kingdom. But this one will not prove so easy.

1)The classic example is the date given for the destruction of the 1st Temple by the Babylonians. Traditional Jewish chronology gives the date as Jewish year 3338 equal to 422 BCE while secular histories give the date as 586BCE-a difference of 164 years. The source of this discrepancy is the based on conflicting opinions as to the number of kings who reigned during the Babylonian-Persian period. For a much more detailed discussion of this topic see: Jewish History in Conflict (get rest of citation)
2) Tudor Parfitt, The Thirteenth Gate-Travels among the Lost Tribes of Israel. (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson) 1987.


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Lachish was once one of the most important cities in the Kingdom of Judah. Located 50 kilometers southwest of the capital, Jerusalem, it was the main settlement of the Shephelah, the hilly lowlands that were the kingdom&rsquos breadbasket. This importance was reflected in the magnificence of Lachish&rsquos entrance, a towering six-chambered gate, which was one the hallmarks of royal architecture in the First Temple Period.

The gate, along with the rest of the city, was destroyed in 701 B.C.E., when the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, invaded Judah to put down a region-wide revolt led by Hezekiah.

Judean prisoners from Lachish Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP Simulation of Lachish gate, on backdrop of the site Photo by Guy Fitoussi, Israel Antiquities Authority

Gates were common spots for religious activity throughout the ancient Levant: travelers would often make an offering and pray for protection before leaving the safety of the city walls, or give thanks upon returning. Places of worship have been found at ancient gates across the region, from Khirbet Qeiyafa, which is near Lachish, to Bethsaida and Tel Dan in the north, archaeologists note.

Back in 2016, an expedition by the Israel Antiquities Authority excavated the three southern chambers of the gate to Lachish. The innermost of these contained some puzzling finds. It appeared to have been divided into two spaces: an outer and an inner room.

This smaller space housed a niche in the back wall as well as an installation made of large stone blocks, which the archaeologists interpreted as two horned altars &ndash a sort of double altar &ndash the one next to the other.

Horns on the corners of altars were typical of ancient Israelite shrines, but in this case there was only one protuberance that could be said to resemble such a feature. The other seven corners of the two purported altars appeared to have been struck with a blunt object, possibly to eliminate the horns, say lead researchers Saar Ganor, the IAA&rsquos chief archaeologist for the Ashkelon region, and Igor Kreimerman, a postdoctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The final surprise was the discovery, in a corner of this inner chamber, of a pit that housed a large stone, fashioned in the shape of a seat with a hole in the middle.

In the outer part of the chamber the archaeologists also found a layer of destruction, including broken pottery and arrowheads, which dated to the Assyrian attack. But no such signs of violence were found in the inner room, which the archaeologists believe had been sealed before Sennacherib&rsquos onslaught.

All the evidence suggested that this chamber initially functioned as a shrine, with the inner space that housed the altar and niche serving as a diminutive holy of holies, Ganor and Kreimerman concluded.

If you are wondering which deity was worshipped there, we do not know. Archaeological evidence has shown that the ancient Israelites had a main deity, Yahweh, the God of the Bible, but also believed in other gods. One of these other deities, Asherah, was thought to be Yahweh&rsquos wife.

Mark A. Wilson / Wilson44691

Although we can never be sure, the presence of the double altars at Lachish may suggest that this shrine was dedicated to this divine couple who sat at the top of the ancient Israelite pantheon.

And what about the apparent damage to the double altar, the strange stone seat with the central hole, and the sealing of the holy of holies?

These were all elements that could be linked to the reforms of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4), who, like other righteous kings, is described as breaking altars and idolatrous images while focusing the cult of the God of Israel at the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Bible states that Hezekiah didn&rsquot just crack down on polytheistic cults, especially Asherah&rsquos, but also removed altars that were dedicated to Yahweh himself, stating that the God of Israel must only be worshipped at the Temple (2 Kings 18:22). So the shrine at Lachish, even if it was solely dedicated to Yahweh, would have been a prime target of this reform.

Removing the horns from the altar was a typical method to deface such an artifact, as described also in the Bible (Amos 3:14), Ganor and Kreimerman reasoned. As for the perforated stone seat, based on similar objects from the same period that were found in Jerusalem, they interpreted it as a toilet seat and suggested it had been installed in the shrine to defile it.

This custom is also documented in the Bible in connection to a campaign against the cult of Baal led by King Jehu, who reigned over Judah&rsquos neighbor, the northern Kingdom of Israel, about a century before Hezekiah&rsquos time. As part of Jehu&rsquos monotheistic reforms, the king&rsquos officials &ldquodemolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.&rdquo (2 Kings 10:27).

Arrowheads found at Lachish from the battle with Sennacherib's forces Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Association

The feces-slinging begins

If Ganor and Kreimerman&rsquos theory is correct, the Lachish shrine would be a rare piece of evidence confirming one of the many cultic reforms mentioned in the Bible.

There are several such campaigns ascribed to kings of Israel and Judah &ndash from Jehu to Hezekiah to his successor Josiah &ndash but so far the only archaeological proof unearthed relates to Hezekiah&rsquos reform. An altar at a shrine in Be&rsquoer Sheva was apparently dismantled in this king&rsquos time and some scholars believe the temple in Arad was also closed during his reign.

The Lachish shrine would thus considerably add to this small body of proof attesting to Hezekiah&rsquos religious zeal.

Not so fast, say other scholars. This reading of the site is &ldquounacceptable,&rdquo according to David Ussishkin, a retired archaeology professor from Tel Aviv University, who last month published his own analysis in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.

The space excavated by Ganor and Kreimerman cannot be linked to Hezekiah&rsquos reforms because there is no evidence that it was used as a shrine, says Ussishkin. The archaeologist is intimately acquainted with Lachish, since he led a dig there in the 1970s, uncovering the three northern chambers of the gate, which are symmetrical to those that were more recently explored.

In his view, the supposed eight-horned double altar shows no signs of damage from iconoclastic fury &ndash in fact it is not an altar at all, but simply a partition made of roughly dressed stones covered in plaster.

Lachish from the air Guy Fitoussi, Israel Antiquities Authority

&ldquoThe whole link to Hezekiah&rsquos reform depends on this being a shrine,&rdquo Ussishkin tells Haaretz. &ldquoIf there are no altars, there is no shrine.&rdquo

He does not offer a specific interpretation of the mysterious stone seat, but notes that the symmetrical chamber that he excavated in the northern part of the gate also had similar partitions and contained a large stone, albeit one with a deep depression rather than a complete perforation. Ussishkin believes that the two gate chambers were not shrines and may have been used for storage or some purpose connected to water management.

Speaking to Haaretz, Ganor and Kreimerman reject Ussishkin&rsquos conclusions about the altar.

&ldquoIn every corner there are signs that the horns were cut off,&rdquo Ganor says. &ldquoI think Ussishkin didn&rsquot look at the pictures carefully enough.&rdquo

Leaving aside the controversy over the contested double altar, there is still much evidence that the recently discovered room was used as a shrine, Kreimerman maintains. The niche on the back wall was typical of places of worship, likely housing a standing stone or other sacred object, and the excavators uncovered dozens of ceramic bowls and oil lamps in the chamber &ndash a pottery assemblage that also points to cultic activities, he says.

Nothing flushed

Another study, representing a midway view between that of Ussishkin and his colleagues, was published last year by Sabine Kleiman in the Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

Kleiman, a researcher at Tubingen University, accepts that the space was indeed a shrine, but does not see evidence that it went out of use before the Assyrian attack or that it was defiled by a toilet.

Several similar perforated stone seats have been found in Jerusalem, but their identification as latrine seats is not necessarily clear, Kleiman writes. In one case, traces of fecal material in the sediments below such an artifact did suggest it was a latrine, she says, but another, similar stone was found surrounded by cultic objects and most probably had a very different function.

Since the sediments in the pit under the stone from Lachish also tested negative for fecal residues, it is possible that here too the artifact was not connected to bodily functions, but was part of the cultic activity of the shrine, perhaps serving to pour a sacred offering of oil or other liquids, Kleiman suggests.

Ganor and Kreimerman reject this hypothesis as well. &ldquoLook at the picture and tell me that it&rsquos not a toilet,&rdquo Ganor tells Haaretz. &ldquoWe are happy that there is a debate because that&rsquos what pushes research forward, but for now we stand by our conclusions.&rdquo

The lack of human leavings under the stone artifact merely suggests that the toilet was installed purely for symbolic purposes and was never actually used, Kreimerman adds. The closure of the shrine was probably imposed by officials sent from Jerusalem and the local inhabitants would have frowned upon doing their business in a place they had considered sacred for so long, he says.

Perhaps, when the Assyrians showed up a few years later and destroyed the town, some of the locals &ldquothought this was happening because that fanatic Hezekiah had defiled their shrine,&rdquo jokes Yossi Garfinkel, a professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University. Garfinkel last month published a study arguing in support of Ganor&rsquos and Kreimerman&rsquos interpretation of the site in Strata, the journal of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society.

Besides academic one-upmanship, the fierce debate is very much about the connection between archaeology and the Bible, and the loaded question of whether the holy text is entirely mythological or not, Garfinkel says.

The Lachish gate shrine doesn&rsquot signal that the Bible should be taken literally, that the story of Jehu&rsquos toilet-aided desecration of the temple of Baal is history or that all the details of Hezekiah&rsquos reforms are accurate, he opines. It does however show that, at the very least, the text correctly reflects the religious beliefs and customs of its time, in this case on what made a place holy, and what one needed to do to make it unholy, he says.

&ldquoThe Bible is not a history book,&rdquo Grafinkel concludes. &ldquoBut this discovery shows us that in the biblical narrative there are echoes of history.&rdquo


Rare ‘smiting gods’ among artifacts found at 12th century BCE Canaanite temple

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

A pair of smiting gods and other rare ritual artifacts are among the fascinating discoveries described in a recently published comprehensive report of the 2013-2017 excavations of the archaeology-rich Lachish site. The report digs deep into 12th century BCE Canaanite worship practices, from the modest temple structure, to ritual items discovered inside.

“This excavation has been breathtaking,” said lead archaeologist Professor Yosef Garfinkel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology in a press release on Monday. The excavation report, “The Level VI North-East Temple at Tel Lachish,” was recently published in the academic journal Levant: The Journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant.

“Only once every 30 or 40 years do we get the chance to excavate a Canaanite temple in Israel. What we found sheds new light on ancient life in the region. It would be hard to overstate the importance of these findings,” said Garfinkel, who led the excavation along with Professor Michael Hasel of Southern Adventist University in Tennessee.

The temple structure, called the “North-East Temple” by the archaeologists, was uncovered in National Park Tel Lachish, near today’s Kiryat Gat, and is similar in plan to contemporary temples discovered in northern Israel at ancient Nablus, Megiddo, and Hazor.

During the middle and late Bronze Ages, the people of Lachish controlled large parts of the Judean lowlands and the city was among the foremost Canaanite cities in the Land of Israel. Mentioned in the Bible, Lachish was built around 1800 BCE and later destroyed by the Egyptians around 1550 BCE. The city rose and fell twice more, “succumbing for good around 1150 BCE,” according to the press release.

The 12th century BCE Canaanite temple, while not a massive compound, is a once-in-a-lifetime find for archaeologists. The Levant article writes that, “in comparison to the plan of other temples of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age I, the North-East Temple of Lachish is modest in its dimensions and can be defined as medium-sized.”

According to the press release, the compound was divided into a front area that was marked by two columns and two towers, which led into a large hall. From there, an inner sanctum was delineated by four supporting columns “and several unhewn ‘standing stones’ that may have served as representations of temple gods,” stated the press release. The two “standing stones” are quite large: the bigger of the pair measures 60 cm (some 23 inches) wide and 90 cm long (approximately 35 inches) and the smaller is also 60 cm wide and only 70 cm (nearly 28 inches) long.

In a departure from the typical Canaanite temple structure, the compound also includes side rooms. “The presence of side rooms in that structure is one of the main points that has fueled the dispute over its characterization as a temple or a ceremonial palace,” write the authors. “It is possible that the addition of side rooms to a temple with ‘Syrian’ characteristics is a precursor of Iron Age temples like the temple of Motza and the biblical Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.” The schematic drawing illustrating the Levant article indicates there were some eight or nine areas to the large temple compound, including a “Holy of Holies.”

In addition to the standing stones, the press release lists a plethora of other ritual items that were discovered, such as “bronze cauldrons, jewelry inspired by the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor, daggers and axe-heads adorned with bird images, scarabs, and a gold-plated bottle inscribed with the name Ramses II, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs.”

Perhaps the most fascinating finds are a pair of smiting gods, which were discovered inside the temple’s inner sanctum, comparable to the Jerusalem Solomonic Temple’s “Holy of Holies.” Labeled Room H in the article, it “is located in the innermost part of the structure and on its central axis, directly opposite the main entrance.”

Smiting gods are found in the Levant in temples from the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age I. The authors write that the figurines are commonly identified with two Canaanite gods, Baal or Resheph, who are both known as war gods, “although it is impossible to identify our figurines with either due to the lack of clear attributes.”

According to the article, the smiting gods measure a scant 10 cm (4 inches) and 8.5 cm (3.3 inches). The two little male figurines are made of bronze and were originally coated with silver. Both are marching with their right hands raised and are wearing short kilts and tall hats, one of which, the article writes, recalls the White Crown of Upper Egypt. One of the gods is still holding a weapon, a mace or club that is attached to the figure’s forehead, writes the article. “Below their feet are pegs that were used to attach the figurines to wooden stands, as attested by the remains of wood.” According to other remains found on one of the gods — beads and indications of a necklace — one may have been worn as a pendant.

The history of Lachish was littered with ups and downs and, according to the Levant article, there are several indications uncovered in the main hall “which represent a secondary phase of construction that seems to reflect a crisis state preceding the destruction of the temple.”

Among the most headline catching finds that were reporting during the excavation is the discovery of what researchers are calling the first known account of the Semitic letter “samech.” Reported in 2015, the letter was found on a “potsherd slightly larger than a business card,” as The Times of Israel wrote then, which was found inside the temple’s ruins.

The inscription, three lines containing nine early Semitic letters, was discovered during excavations at the site in 2014 and is believed to date from around 1130 BCE. It’s the first Canaanite inscription found in a Late Bronze Age context in over 30 years.

Times of Israel staff pridonio je ovom izvještaju.

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