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.