What’s a Bamah? How Sacred Space Functioned in Ancient Israel
Reviled by the Bible and targeted for destruction by King Hezekiah and King Josiah, the religious sanctuaries called bamot played an important role in Israelite religion By Beth Alpert Nakhai

Well, one thing it’s not—or at least not only—is a high place. Jerome’s fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible (called the Vulgate) rendered bamah as excelsus, which led to the popular English translation “high place.” Unfortunately, this translation has for centuries colored our understanding of numerous Biblical passages.1 Bamah appears over 100 times in […]

“House of David” Restored in Moabite Inscription
A new restoration of a famous inscription reveals another mention of the “House of David” in the ninth century B.C.E. By André Lemaire

The recent discovery at Tel Dan of a fragment of a stela containing a reference to the “House of David” (that is, the dynasty of David) is indeed sensational and deserves all the publicity it has received.a The Aramaic inscription, dated to the ninth century B.C.E., was originally part of a victory monument […]

The Tombs of Silwan
Lavish First Temple burial caves of Jerusalem’s elite became, in turn, Roman stone quarries, Byzantine hermit huts, Christian chapels and Muslim cellars By Hershel Shanks

As in Washington, so in Jerusalem: There are some sections you just don’t venture into. In Jerusalem one such section is the village of Silwan, on the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley opposite the City of David (the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem). Silwan has a long reputation for filth and inhospitality. Since […]

Was Yahweh Worshiped as the Sun?
Israel’s God was abstract, but he may also have had a consort By J. Glen Taylor

Did Yahweh,a the Israelite God, have a consort? Like many other scholars, I believe that a substantial number of Israelites thought so. Unlike most others scholars, however, I believe that many of these same Israelites considered the sun a symbol or icon of Israel’s God, Yahweh. Yet early Israel was far more developed than […]

Power to the Powerless—A Long-Lost Song of Miriam

According to the Book of Exodus, after the miracle at the Red Sea—the Israelites have passed through dry-shod and the Egyptians have drowned—Moses and the Israelites sing a victory hymn (Exodus 15:1–19). Immediately following the Song of the Sea, as it is called,a is the Song of Miriam: “Then Miriam the prophet, the sister […]

Memorandum Re: Restoring Gezer
This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Israel, yet it is rarely visited even by aficionados because it is so difficult to get to—unmarked and neglected. By Hershel Shanks

To: Israel Gilad, Director General, Israel National Parks Authority From: Hershel Shanks, Editor, BAR You are really missing a good bet! You are supporting and financing the excavation and restoration of two important Roman-period sites in Israel because they have great tourist potential and because the influx of new immigrants, mostly from the former […]

Mari (Tell Hariri, Syria)