In May 2012 it was announced the discovery of two miniature cultic shrines from Khirbet Qeiyafa, which the discoverers suggested were miniature models
of the Ark of the Covenant, and which gave insight into architectural practises some 30 or 40 years before the construction of the first Jerusalem
The Ark of God
Garfinkel and Ganor presented three artefacts: two small boxes, one of stone and the other of clay, and a fragmentary stone artefact that looks
like some kind of cultic stand. They were discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa, which is a single stratum fortification in the Valley of Elah (30 kms
southwest of Jerusalem) dating to c.1000 BC. It’s a significant archaeological site because it gives us a window onto life in the region at the
beginning of the Iron II period, and some would argue bolsters the claim for the historicity of a monarchy under David and Solomon.
The two boxes presented are, according to Garfinkel and Ganor, miniature models of the Ark of God.
The stone shrine is made of soft limestone and painted red. Its façade is decorated by two elements. The first are seven groups of roof-beams, three
planks in each. This architectural element, the “triglyph,” is known in Greek classical temples, like the Parthenon in Athens. Its appearance at
Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example carved in stone, a landmark in world architecture.
The clay shrine is decorated with an elaborate façade, including two guardian lions, two pillars, a main door, beams of the roof, folded
textile and three birds standing on the roof. Two of these elements are described in Solomon's Temple: the two pillars (Yachin and Boaz) and the
What the Hebrew archaeologists seem to be ignoring however is that these Arks/Cultic Shrines are far more likely to have been related to the consort
of YHWH, in terms of Asherah.
Below is an example of an Asherah cultic shrine, it can be understood as relating to this Goddess due to the whirl on the columns, this symbol dates
back to Sumeria for Inanna or Ishtar, and gave the term Nin or Lady.
Here's another example of an Asherah construct utilizing that symbolic motif;
It seems likely then that any architectural elements seen in the shrines were copied from Caananite models of shrines of Asherah;
An example of this is the lions that are found at the base of the columns in the ceramic example, a known aspect of the Asherah shrines;
Interestingly the Temple of Ain Dara which i recently looked at shows the most parallels with the Temple of Solomon, that was dedicated to Teshub, a
storm/mountain God and champion of Order over Chaos, and Shaushka, a Hurrian variant of Ishtar/Asherah.
Inside that temple are the giant carved footprints;
curiously coincidental one finds an example of a carved hand in association with an inscription dedicated to YHWH and Asherah;
Extended as if in blessing, a hand reaches out from an inscription that reads “Blessed will be Ariyahu to Yahweh and his Asherah.” Found in
a tomb at Khirbet el-Kom, near Hebron, the inscription provides yet more evidence that the ancient Israelites believed their god Yahweh to have a
consort. Ariyahu may have been a priest of Yahweh: It was common for the temple priests to incorporate a form of the name Yahweh into their own
So all in all sadly no Ark of God, but the Ark of the Goddess Asherah, she who must be ignored...
edit on 25-3-2013 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)