Micah, an 8th century BC Judean prophet, made puns on the names of the cities of Judah about to be destroyed by the Assyrians. Of Lachish, the capital of the Shephelah (steppe country) and second most important city of Judah, he stated, “Harness the chariot to the team of horses, O inhabitant of Lachish!” (1:13)
Chariots and horses imply there was a stable complex within the city. The 1980 Lachish Excavation properly identified these stable structures. It is connected to the eastern side of the monumental Judean palace complex and consists of a large plaster floor parade ground with stables all around. The stables were identified by the British excavation in the 1930’s as “governmental storehouses”
Other indications that Lachish was a stable city include a number of equestrian objects uncovered by the British excavation, as well as the “Lachish relief” found in Sennacherib’s palace at Ninevah. The relief depicting the siege of the city has Judean captives being carried away in a chariot as well as defenders of the city-throwing chariots over the walls at the Assyrian attackers! (Is this the origin of the phrase, “Everything but the kitchen sink!”?).
One of the objectives of the 1981 Lachish Excavation will be to continue excavating and studying the stable complex.
(Reprinted from Associates for Biblical Research Newsletter, Vol. 12, No, 3, March 1981.)
Bible and Spade 10:4 (Autumn 1981)