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Sacrificial Altar

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Sacrificial Altar
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Photo Comments

This is a reproduction of the sacrificial altar that Y. Aharoni found in 1973.

The altar measures 63 x 63 in. (1.6 x 1.6 m.). In fact, it is approximately of biblical dimensions, that is, 5 x 5 x 3 cubits (Exodus 271–8), but it is made of hewn stones (not the local wadi stones) — contrary to the biblical injunction (Exodus 20:24–26). It does have four "horns" (Aharoni found three of them, the fourth was added to complete the reconstruction).

The altar was part of an Israelite sanctuary that was located here at Beersheba (Amos 5:5: 8:14; compare the Israelite temple found at Arad). This sanctuary was probably destroyed during the religious reforms of one of the good Judean kings, either Hezekiah (715–686 B.C. — 2 Kings 18:22) or Josiah (640–609 B.C. — 2 Kings 23:8). Its stones were desecrated and reused for a secular purpose. Aharoni actually found the stones being reused in the wall of one of the storehouses that he excavated.

For a map and brief introductory comments about Beersheba Click Here.

This image courtesy of Reinhold Buxbaum.