Cult Stand

Ta’anach cult stand, tenth century BCE Terra-cotta, Israel Museum. Photograph courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority/Israel Museum.

This Israelite cult stand from the site of Ta’anach was likely used before the establishment of the first Jerusalem temple. Though the stand bears no evidence of having been used for sacrificial offerings, its shape and architectural form suggest that it was used for activity that transpired on a building roof. Its exact function is unknown. The structure stands three feet tall and has four decorated tiers and a flat roof. Yahweh’s consort Asherah, represented by the tree of life, appears on the first and third levels flanked by lions. Lions were often symbolic of ancient Near Eastern goddesses. The top level depicts a winged sun-disk riding a horse.

Ta’anach Cult Stand

HarperCollins Dictionary

A system of religious worship, or cultus (e.g., the Israelite cult). Also refers to adherents of that system.

Canaanite mother goddess

Relating to or associated with people living in the territory of the northern kingdom of Israel during the divided monarchy, or more broadly describing the biblical descendants of Jacob.

Relating to the system of ritual slaughter and offering to a deity, often performed on an altar in a temple.

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