Zev Radovan

Right forelegs of goats were found in abundance in a 12th century B.C. house at Tell Qiri. The sacrifice of this portion of an animal is known from the Biblical injunction commanding the Israelites to sacrifice “the right leg … [of] a ram of consecration” (Exodus 29:22) and to give “the right hind-leg [of an animal] … to the priest for offering” (Leviticus 7:32).

Archaeologists were puzzled to find these bones, along with cultic vessels (see photograph), in a domestic dwelling. The Book of Judges, however, seems to suggest that people in the Early Iron Age (12th century B.C.) did, at times, engage in cultic activities in their homes. In Judges 17:4–5, the mother of Micah, a man from Mount Ephraim, went to an artisan “who made [for her] a graven image and a molten image.” These images were put “ … in the house of Micah … ” who then consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.