By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (Worthy News)– A stone altar dating from the Iron Age was accidentally discovered near the remains of an ancient wall during a dig in Judea, according to the Unity Coalition for Israel.
Apparently the altar was moved from its original location in Tel Shiloh; its discovery is the first physical evidence that Shiloh had served as a religious center prior to the First Temple period.
Archaeologists had thought that after the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant in battle that they went on to completely destroy Shiloh and its Jewish settlement. But the altar’s discovery now suggests that a Jewish presence there had still remained.
According to the Book of Samuel, the Ark was pressed into service by Israel to help turn the tide of battle, but instead the Philistines prevailed, killing thousands of Israelites — including the sons of the high priest — and capturing the Ark as well.
However, every enemy city the Ark was taken to experienced problems, so after seven months of plagues, the Philistines finally decided to return their troublesome trophy — along with a guilt offering — to the Israelites at Beth Shemesh.
According to biblical commentator Hans Hertzberg, the return of the Ark revealed that the Jewish God whom the Philistines thought they had defeated was in fact the real victor: even when His people were beaten by the armies of their enemies, Yahweh still remained Lord of all.