"Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal."
In Deuteronomy 27:2-8, we read of how Moses instructed Joshua to build an altar on Mt. Ebal after the Israelites had entered the Promised Land. There, the people were to sacrifice and give thanks to the Lord.
Bible critics have generally been skeptical of the Bible's early history of Israel's conquest of Canaan. However, over the years, a growing number of discoveries have supported the Bible's account of the earliest history of the Israelites. Perhaps one of the most dramatic recent discoveries is the altar Joshua apparently built on Mt. Ebal after Israel entered Canaan.
The ruins of the altar are laid out in a rectangle that measures 25 by 30 feet. The walls of the nine-foot-high structure of uncut stones and rocks are filled with ash, dirt, stones and bones. Over 4,000 bones were found in the fill, all of them bones of the sacrificial animals called for in Moses' law. Evident, too, is the ramp up to the altar that was used by the priests, as stipulated by Exodus. One discovery at the site seems to tie everything together. It is an Egyptian scarab that was probably among the spoils the Bible says Israel took with them from Egypt.
Bible-believing Christians don't need this proof to accept the Bible. However, it is exciting to identify and learn more about such a historic place as the Mt. Ebal altar.
Notes: Machlin, Milt. "Joshua and the Archaeologist." Reader's Digest, Sept. p. 135-138.
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