The reference to “the pots, the shovels and the basins … which Hiram made for King Solomon … of burnished bronze” (1 Kings 7:45) is indirect evidence that an altar stood in the courtyard outside the Temple. Specific descriptions of a large sacrificial altar located in the courtyard can only be inferred from the text of 1Kings 8:64 and 2 Chronicles 4:1. Ezekiel 43:17, which mentions access to the altar by steps (
The altars envisioned by these priestly sources were clearly different from the one ordained by Exodus 20:19–23. The prohibition of steps in Exodus 20:23 led the rabbis to prescribe a ramp (kevesh) for the sacrificial altar, and this was in fact the practice in the Second Temple. But there is no evidence in the Hebrew Bible of such a ramp in the pre-Exilic Temple.