During excavations at the site of an ancient Canaanite temple in the city of Lachish, Israeli archaeologists discovered a bronze scepter covered with a layer of silver on top. Scientists believe that this is the first known to science fragment of one of those life-size "divine statues", which are mentioned in the Bible and other ancient texts.
According to Haaretz, the opening was made by specialists from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was made in the biblical city of Lachish, built on the Judean Plain. During the excavation of a Canaanite temple, archaeologists discovered a bronze scepter about 3200 years old. From above, but only on one side, it is covered with the thinnest sheet of silver.
Scientists believe the scepter may be the first archaeological evidence of life-size "divine statues" in the Levant. Until now, no one has found either the statues themselves or their fragments.
According to Professor Yossi Garfinkel, this is why this discovery is one of a kind. He believes that the scepter is all that remains of a large statue of a god that adorned the temple in antiquity.
The artifact was discovered in what was considered the holy of holies in the Canaanite Temple. Science knows about "divine statues" from Mesopotamian texts. They say that such sculptures were installed in the most secluded part of the temple. These texts also contain descriptions of the sceptres that the gods held in their hands. The find exactly matches them.
Information about life-size "divine sculptures" is found not only in the texts. So, in Nineveh, the capital of New Assyria, a stone bas-relief was found earlier. It depicts soldiers robbing a temple in the Levant. They are taking such a statue out of the building.
Earlier in Cyprus were discovered quite large metal "sculptures of divine origin" with a height of 36 and 56 centimeters. But even sculptures of such a relatively small size have never been found in the Levant. The scepter is just over 11 centimeters long and four centimeters wide. Scientists have noticed that outwardly it resembles a modern spatula. However, the fact that this is not a working tool is indicated by the mysterious symbols engraved on it.
“The meaning of this complex image is not yet clear to me,” Garfinkel admits. “Sometimes it seems to me that the engraving on the scepter resembles the figure of a man with a large head, two diagonal outstretched arms and schematically depicted torso and legs. Perhaps this form has no meaning at all. meanings, but represents some kind of astronomical or magical symbol."
In his opinion, this artifact is what the Bible calls "the divine scepter." For example, such a scepter is mentioned in the stories of the miracles performed with its help by Moses. The question remains open as to why the life-size statues of the gods have not yet been found. After all, they appear to have decorated temples throughout the region.
"These statues could have been made of wood or other perishable materials," Garfinkel suggests. "They may have been adorned with precious metals and stones and attracted thieves: temples and tombs were often looted at that time, this is not the fruit of modern society."
By the way, next to the scepter, archaeologists discovered two small figurines of some divine beings. Perhaps these figures depicted the god Baal. In addition, bronze weapons, gold earrings, gold wire and many beads have been excavated in the area of the temple.