I just read an article about the archeological discovery of a public toilet. This would be less than fascinating were it not for the fact that it’s a find of Biblical proportions. It’s an uncovering of a physical event we see described in 2 Kings 10. In case you haven’t read that account lately, please allow me to elucidate.
There was a guy with the memorable name of Jehu. The prophet Elisha had Jehu anointed King of Israel. The story of the transition of power can be found in 2 Kings 9. I don’t have time to recount it here, but it’s definitely recommended reading.
Seventy sons had father Ahab…
Jehu was given the job of wiping out Ahab’s family. You may remember Ahab as one of the worst kings ever (not to mention his lovely wife, Jezebel—another story altogether). To do so, Jehu enlisted the services of the City Council of Samaria.
Ahab had seventy sons living in that city (apparently, he was rather prolific). Jehu ordered that their heads be cut off and arranged in two piles at the entrance of the city gates (quite the welcoming site upon entering, I’m sure). He then had the rest of Ahab’s family, friends, and political associates put to death as well. This is what we call, “Taking care of the loose ends.”
Now here comes the pièce de résistance. Ahab and Jezebel were big proponents of Ba’al worship. Ba’al was the god of just about anything the pagans wanted him to be (fertility, weather, agriculture—you name it, he was the god of it). You may recognize him better as Beelzebub.
“…converted to a public latrine.”
It was well known among the faithful that the true God of Israel did not take kindly to false gods like Ba’al horning in on his territory. The Israelites were to be loyal to Yahweh, and Yahweh alone. Being in positions of influence, Ahab and Jezebel had led much of the citizenry down the wrong spiritual path.
Once these two were out of the way, Jehu took the final step to remove their ungodly impact. He suckered the priests and congregants of Ba’al into their place of worship and wiped them out. Then he ordered the temple to be destroyed. The temple ruins were then converted to a public latrine (2 Kings 10:27).
The more we dig out of the ground, the more the Bible is shown to be accurate. The actions described in this little piece of history are definitely not politically correct—just true. What took place there would be roughly akin to our president destroying a place of worship and replacing it with a manure pit. Those were obviously different times.
A little addendum to this revelation is that Jehu destroyed all the remnants of Ba’al worship from Israel. Yet, he overlooked a couple of golden calves that he salvaged for use as his own personal idols. I’m not sure why he didn’t take a lesson from the destruction of Ahab and Jezebel.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]