Courtesy Avraham Biran

Bazaar religion. What accounts for the large number of massebot shrines found apart from the large royal shrine located near the Jordan River? Biran suggests that they may have been set up to serve the religious needs of Dan’s residents as well as those of merchants and travelers passing through the city. Biran has excavated a large building complex and shrine located outside the city wall, about 80 feet from the outer gate. It is possible that this complex served as a religious shelter for people entering the city. Biran calls the structures of this complex hussot, a word that in the Bible refers to streets or bazaars. The etymology of the word hussot (from the Hebrew hus, meaning outside) suggests that these bazaars, like the structures shown, were located outside a city’s walls.