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Canaanite Temple at Lachish

12 April 2020

At www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8016539/ … a Canaanite temple destroyed at the end of the Late Bronze age has been unearthed at Lachish. The media pieces goes on to compare it with the conquest of Joshua – a view that is well out of date. The old idea that a conquest occurred at the end of the LB period is repudiated by Merenptah's mention of Israel somewhat earlier – and clearly they had been around for some time. It is also assumed to be a temple of Baal the weather god. There is plenty of evidence to suggest Baal remained prominent in, at least, the northern kingdom, as late as the mid to late 9th century BC (in the era of Elijah and Elisha). This tends to undermine the narrative of the media people. The interesting thing we can take from the post is that the temple has similarities with the layout of the First Temple (assigned to Solomon) which suggests it was a LB age structure. Indeed, the Temple of Sulman (Solomon) at Jerusalem is actually recorded in the Amarna Letters (towards the end of dynasty 18). It is also similar to other Bronze Age temples as unearthed by archaeologists.

One other thing of interest is that inside the Inner Sanctum of the Lachish temple there were columns and a circle of standing stones. Such places were dismantled during the reigns of Heziah and Josiah (late 8th and late 7th centuries BC) – in the countryside that is, and we know nothing of such a situation in temples. There were also lots of Egyptian related finds in the temple at Lachish – reflecting the position in the LB age (dynasty 18 and 19 into 20). However, the writer on the piece is a bit clueless on ancient Egypt. We are told the Canaanites once ruled over the Egyptians (which refers to the Hyksos control of the delta region for a hundred plus years) followed by a switch in fortune which 'changed with the rise of Tutankhamun and Nefertiti …'. He may have paid a visit to the recent Tutankhamun exhibition in an art gallery near Sloane Square or he had read about it. Canaan came under the sphere of Egypt long before either of these two personalities. They lived at the very end of dynasty 18.


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