The professor studying the figures believes they may have been used at pilgrimage centers to form a kind of metaphysical connection between God and Man, “a contact between earth and heaven, the core of the religious experience.”
Dr. Yosef Garfinkel, a veteran archeologist from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has proposed a fascinating theory which suggests that a series of three small clay figurines recently discovered at the archeological sites of Khirbet Qeiyafa and Moza, and two similar antiquities previously put on display at the Israel Museum, may in fact be depictions of Yahweh, the God of the Israelites written about in the Hebrew Bible.
In an article in the Biblical Archeology Review published on Friday, Dr. Garfinkel specified that the figures, believed to have been created between the tenth and ninth centuries BCE, a thousand years before the birth of Christ, may have served as representations of God in religious ceremonies.
“During our excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, only one figure was found in the early tenth-century BCE fortified city…Made of clay, the figurine’s surviving head measures about 2 inches in height….With a flat top, the head has protruding eyes, ears, and a nose,” the academic wrote.
Three of the five figures are said to represent a rider on a horse, with two horse figurines found near the mysterious heads at the Moza site. Garfinkel pointed out that the concept of God riding on horseback is mentioned repeatedly in the Biblical scriptures of Deuteronomy, Kings, Psalms, and Isaiah, and in the Ugaritic texts discovered in Syria and written between the 13th and 12th centuries BCE. “The Canaanite god Baal is described as rkb ‘rpt, ‘rider of the clouds’, 16 times in various Ugaritic texts,” the scholar pointed out.