In A High Place

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And, no- I did not want to die. I was terribly afraid of heights.

I still am. So what is this perilous curiosity that to this day draws me upwards? Not long ago, people would not have even dreamed about climbing mountains. The heights were out of our reach- holy places only to be revered from below. Life had enough dangers, without seeking out more risk, more ways to die.

To those are not their allure is a madness. At height you can be taken right to the brink ; yet I never feel so alive when I am up there, knowing that at any minute I could die.

The High Place of Sacrifice route - Rough Guides | Rough Guides

Safety and danger, height, fear, the siren song of old Freudian death wish: these are the elements that always jostle in my mind as I reach summits. I am not suicidal. I find heights exhilarating. And yet, the mental slideshow of the jump, of the fall, is too vivid.

The Startup

This impulse. This picture. The steps to the High Place of Sacrifice are well maintained, if unremitting, and it takes about 45 minutes up through the crevices and folds of the mountain to reach the obelisks from the Theatre.

  1. Navigation menu;
  2. Amante Consagrado (La Hermandad de la Daga Negra 6) (Spanish Edition).
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From here you fork right to reach the altar area. The route is steep but not unduly exposed, so is manageable unless you suffer from severe vertigo even without a head for heights. From the altar area, descend the shelves of rock to a broad rim: about 50m down are regal views of the Royal Tombs. From this lofty vantage point you can watch the everyday dramas of camel handlers arguing with their mounts, young children moving goats from one patch of sparse vegetation to the next and Bedouin stallholders regaling the unsuspecting traveller.

Bands of Israelite prophets attended various high places from the time of Samuel through period of the prophets Elijah and Elisha.

Elijah even battled the prophets of Baal for control of the high place at Mount Carmel and to demonstrate Yahweh's superior power as a rain god. High places were equally important in Canaanite and neighboring religions. When the prophet Balaam was hired by the Moabite king Balak to curse the Israelites who threatened his territory, Balak took Balaam to a succession of high places, where the prophet famously blessed Balak's enemies instead of cursing them.

King Solomon later established idolatrous high places for his Moabite and Ammonite wives outside of Jerusalem , earning him, according to the author of the Books of Kings , Yahweh's rejection. And Kemosh said to me, "Go, take Nebo from Israel. Ancient Canaanite literature indeed indicates that Baal was associated with mountains, being a god of the skies and storms.

The High Place of Sacrifice route

The prophet Jeremiah indicates that Molech worship was practiced by Israelites in his time, and he accuses them of engaging in human sacrifice to this deity, who may be identified with Baal. Prophetic accusations of Israelite sexual corruption associated with the high places are often linked to these deities. Note also the idea of "high places" in a valley, indicating that the term could also relate to raised altars at low elevations, as well as to hilltop shrines. The Levite priesthood gradually replaced the prophetic bands as officiators at the high places scattered throughout Israel and Judah.

These local priests competed with the central sanctuary at Jerusalem for the benefits associated with their sacrificial office. The Book of Deuteronomy , however, stipulates that God would name only one place where sacrifice was authorized, implying that this would be the Temple of Jerusalem itself. Under King Josiah late seventh century B. Josiah destroyed many of the high places and slaughtered those priests who sacrificed to gods other than Yahweh 2 Kings The Book of Kings mentions that Josiah even dared to destroy the ancient altar and high place at Bethel , just a few miles north of Jerusalem, to which northern pilgrims were likely to go.

Although other high places survived, Jerusalem would henceforth be the only high place of the Jewish tradition. The high place at Mount Gerizim, near Shechem , would emerge as the central shrine of the northern worshipers of Yahweh, who became known as Samaritans. Gerizim was the site of a major temple for several centuries and is still a sacred place among the small Samaritan community in Israel and Palestine today. Meanwhile, Moabite , Ammonite , and Edomite high places continued as places of worship well into the Christian era.

A probable former Edomite high place at Petra in modern Jordan later became the site of a Christian monastery carved into stone atop a mountain.

The Startup

From the Old Testament and from archaeological remains, a good idea may be formed of the appearance of high places. They were typically on a hill above a town 1 Samuel There was often a sacred pillar matzevah , or a wooden pole asherim , which marked the place as sacred and might itself be an object of worship. Of particular importance was the altar, either of stone or earthen bricks, on which offerings were burnt.

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A cistern for water might also be in evidence, as well as low stone tables for dressing the victims. Large sites included a hall for the sacrificial feasts. The religion of the ancient Israelites and Canaanites centered on these places.