More evidence for the biblical account of Israel’s first center of worship

Altar Horns Uncovered at Shiloh

More evidence for the biblical account of Israel’s first center of worship


Three altar horns were discovered at Tel Shiloh this past summer, during excavations carried out by the Associates for Biblical Research (abr) team led by Dr. Scott Stripling. These stone blocks, each with a projecting "horn," would have originally been placed at the corners of an altar. Four-horned altars are known as characteristically Israelite: Verses throughout the Bible describe the requirement for altars to be created with horns on each corner. "And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof …" (Exodus 27:2).

During sacrifices, blood would be placed on each of the horns of the altar (e.g. Exodus 29:12). Also, intriguingly, the altar horns were regarded as a "place of safety." Both the traitors Adonijah and Joab, who attempted to usurp King Solomon, fled to the tabernacle altar, clinging to the horns for dear life. "[F]or, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword" (1 Kings 1:51). Adonijah was spared—however, as per Exodus 21:14, even the altar could not be a place of safety for the murderous Joab.


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