Tel Lachish Gate

The iron-age gate of Tel Lachish, now exposed and preserved to a height of four meters (around 13 feet), consists of six chambers, measuring some 80 by 80 feet in total. The gate at Tel Lachish is the largest one in Israel dating to the First Temple period, named for the temple built in Jerusalem by King Solomon nearly 3,000 years ago.

circa 950 BCE

The remains of iron-age gate (illustration) at Tel Lachish, dating back to first temple period it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in his campaign against Judah in 586 BCE (Jeremiah 34:7). The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess, whereby Lachish was a major city and the most important one after Jerusalem. The gate at Tel Lachish is the largest one in Israel dating to the First Temple period.

circa 950 BCE

An aerial view of the 80-foot gate, with three chambers located on each side, and the ancient city’s main street running in between them. Southern chambers of the inner gate partially reconstructed artistically, with the Gate Shrine in the lower most chamber. High-ranking people, including kings, governors, judges, city elders (Proverbs 31:23) and other officials, would sit on benches while attending over affairs there.

circa 950 BCE

Western gate tower, as seen from outside approach, looking north-west. After the Starkey excavation, the tower was still standing to a height of 10 feet. But it later collapsed. The restoration was based on old photographs in order to reassemble the massive stone of the tower. The city gate started restoration in 1985, in order to present the city gate to the non-professional visitors. It was named for the temple built in Jerusalem by King Solomon nearly 3,000 years ago.

circa 950 BCE

Eastern tower from within the gate, looking south-east. The plan of the gate complex was rectangular, with a spacious paved courtyard (illustration) in its center. The courtyard was located between the outer and inner towers. According to biblical narrative, the gate would have been right at the heart of the city’s most important activities.

circa 950 BCE

Dating back to the first temple period, the gate-shrine at Tel Lachish (illustration) marks the first time archaeologists have found evidence of desecration mentioned in Bible, outside of biblical narrative. Before the Assyrian army destroyed the city’s gate-shrine, the archaeologists believe, it had been desecrated as part of King Hezekiah’s fierce war on idolatry (II Kings 18:4). A stone toilet was found in the rear room of this sanctuary (II Kings 10:27).

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