From several passages in the Bible we see that the city gates played an important part in government in ancient Israel. But after the reforms of Josiah the only recognized shrine with a holy place was the Temple in Jerusalem. Did the city gates before Josiah play a religious role as well?
Here is a link to news of a new find at Lachish.
I am a little confused by some details from the article. It says that the find mostly dates from the time of Assyrian invasion during the reign of Hezekiah. However, there were inscriptions to “the king of Hebron” (amelek hebron). According to the story of David, he ruled from Hebron for a while. I do not know what “the king of Hebron” would mean in the 8th century. So were these inscriptions 200 years older than that?
From the article:
Steps to the gate-shrine in the form of a staircase ascended to a large room where there was a bench upon which offerings were placed,” Dr. Ganor said.
“An opening was exposed in the corner of the room that led to the holy of holies; to our great excitement, we found two four-horned altars and scores of ceramic finds consisting of lamps, bowls and stands in this room. It is most interesting that the horns on the altar were intentionally truncated.”
“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: ‘He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles…’ (II Kings 18:4).”
Hmmm. I think the article leaves some things out. So I would like to know more about this find.