New Evidence Found of Life-Sized Canaanite Idols

As the Bible mentions repeatedly, the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the promised land were enthusiastic worshippers of graven images. While archaeologists have discovered countless small idols, they have not found any that are life-sized. But a recent discovery by Yosef Finkelstein at the Bronze Age Canaanite city of Lachish suggests that such statues once existed. Rossella Tercatin writes:

After recently uncovering a spatula-like object, [Finkelstein] noticed some parallels with a similar item previously unearthed in Hazor in the Upper Galilee, a different Canaanite site. “The two scepters from Lachish and Hazor date to the end of Canaanite occupation at these sites (the 12th and 13th centuries BCE, respectively). Both come from cult-like contexts, are of similar size, and are made of bronze coated with silver,” he wrote in the paper.

In addition, the two findings—each of them a few centimeters long—present a striking resemblance with a third artifact: the scepter held by a 27-centimeter-high figurine found at Megiddo almost a century ago. The figurine, made of bronze but completely coated in gold, depicts a seated god holding a spatula-like scepter.

“The form of this scepter is a miniature version of the objects discovered at Lachish and Hazor,” he pointed out, highlighting that the figure has been identified as the Canaanite god El. By comparing the three items, Garfinkel was able to suggest that the bigger artifacts were likely part of sculptures proportionate to their size.

“The archaeological context of the object from Lachish and its iconography strongly suggest that it belonged to a life-sized statue of the Canaanite god El,” . . . he concluded.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Canaanites, Idolatry

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy