Werner Braun

Arad’s Israelite bamah. A large altar stands in the middle of the temple courtyard of the Israelite royal fortress at Arad, in the Negev region of southern Israel. Built of unworked stones, as prescribed in Exodus 20:22, the altar’s dimensions—5 by 5 by 3 cubits (approximately 7.5 by 7.5 by 4.5 feet)—match those given in Exodus 27:1 for the altar in the Israelite desert tabernacle. The stone remains of an earlier altar at Arad serve as a step at the front of the later altar. On this step, archaeologists found two shallow bowls that had been used to hold offerings; one was inscribed with an abbreviation thought to mean “holy to the priests.” Near the altar were found a small bronze lion figurine and an incense burner.