Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tel Dan

Where to begin again following the variety and wealth of our few days in the north?  Perhaps not by being made to choose yet between the multiple sites of Galilee.  Instead perhaps this, almost the northern point (from the top of the steps at the top of the picture we could look a very short distance into Lebanon).

I've often read about sacrifices in the Canaanite 'high places' and in the later sanctuaries which followed their model, but I can now see them clearly in my mind's eye.  A short while after David's death, royal attempts were made to establish alternative holy places in the northern kingdom, thus reducing the chances of local pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom.

One of the places in which a golden calf was erected was Dan.  It would have stood on (or in front of) the high place.  Beneath it would have been the altar for burnt scarifices.  One 'horn' of the altar has been discovered, from which the height of the platform has been deduced, represented  here in metal; note the surviving first part of the flight of steps to the platform rising on its left hand side.

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