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Solar Shrine General

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Solar Shrine General
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Photo Comments

View looking west at the "Solar Shrine."  This temple was composed of three parts.  In the lower right foreground is the courtyard through which people would enter—from right (east) to left.  In the center of the image (in the brush) are a series of steps that lead up into a broad room—a more holy area.  And from there, above the center of the image, barely visible, are the two steps that lead up into the most sacred area.

This tri-partite design (courtyard, holy place, most holy place) is found in the Israelite Tabernacle and Temples, and archaeologically it is found at the Israelite Temple at Arad.  (Incidentally, Y. Aharoni excavated this "Solar Shrine" first, and then excavated the Israelite Temple at Arad).  Aharoni dated this temple/shrine to the Hellenistic Period (332–63 B.C.), while others believe it was constructed in the Persian Period (538–332 B.C.).

It is called a "Solar Shrine" because its entrance is on the east, but Aharoni maintained that it was a Jewish cultic site—and his excavation of a similar Israelite Temple at Arad seems to confirm his interpretation (entrances to the Tabernacle and Temple were from the east)!

For a brief description of Lachish and its biblical significance and a map Click Here.