Altar מזבח
(625 words)

I. Name

The word ‘altar’ (mizbēaḥ) occurs more than 400 times in the text of the Old Testament. It derives from the root zbḥ ‘to slaughter’: the most important offering consisted of sacrificial animals. Although offerings could be made on natural elevations, constructed altars seem to be have been customary. A main characteristic of the ancient Israelite altar was the presence of ‘horns’ (qĕrānôt). For the OT altar in general see Haak 1992. In the Bible there are hardly any trace…

Cite this page
F. van Koppen and K. van der Toorn, “Altar מזבח”, in: Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online, Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter W. van der Horst. Consulted online on 20 January 2019 <>

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