One of the places that we visited up north a few weekends ago was Tell Dan. The end of Judges records most of the tribe of Dan ‘migrating’ up north. They chose a city called Laish, wiped out the inhabitants and settled in. Yep, not the best picture of a tribe to be sure. Well, these are pictures from the place it is believe they settled. There was an inscription found here that stated “to the god who is at Dan” which is quite the proof for this city to be Dan. Plus the Biblical story and the archeology finds coincide so that helps. It is a beautiful area! So much water and so much green!
The first two pictures are just of the area. The last two pictures are of the reconstructed altar and the high place they found. I think the only thing they actually found were the horns of the alter so the size is based on the horns and what they know to be actual dimensions for other altars they have found. Yes, the thing was huge.
This is believed to be, and more than likely was, the altar that Jeroboam I made. One in Dan and one at Bethel when the kingdom split in two. “These are your gods oh Israel who brought you out of Egypt.” The high place was where the sanctuary would have been, the holy spot for the god(s). If you read Kings and Chronicles, this is what Jeroboam is known for, creating these altars and causing Israel to sin.
His concern was – if his people continue to use the Temple in Jerusalem they may decide to unite with their southern brothers again, take David’s grandson as king and kill him. So, to keep that from happening he created his own “religious” place and his own priesthood. You can understand his reasoning, but what a sin. Especially since Jeroboam had been already been told by God he would be given the kingdom, at least 10 tribes worth.
The northern kingdom didn’t last very long, it was taken about 200 years later and most of its people exiled. The southern nation lasted another 150 years after that. I wonder if the northern half would have lasted a little longer if they had started out better?