A clay image of a Canaanite fertility goddess was unearthed in my square the other day. Yossi Garfinkel granted permission to post this photo of the find.
Fertility goddesses were considered influential over the fertility of the womb, making them especially popular among those desiring children. Someone wanting a child likely worshiped this figurine at home or in a temple. The Bible says that Israelites shared in this practice with the Canaanites.
Many biblical passages mention religious images like the one above. Here are two of them.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath.” (Exodus 20:4, ESV)
“Beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female.” (Deuteronomy 4:16)
Archaeology helps us to “get inside the head” of ancient peoples. We see what they saw. We come closer to their perspective, which makes them more relatable for us. Their examples, both good and bad, are more powerful when we understand their world and their surroundings.