By Diana Edelman

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By analogy, then, statues of Yahweh would have been placed in every outlying sanctuary in Judah in addition to the main one in the temple in Jerusalem, because otherwise, there would not have been any concern for the Assyrians’ ability to parade Yahweh visibly alongside the other idols. Since most biblical scholars assume the cult was aniconic in Judah, they should logically reject this proposal. For those of us who have no trouble accepting the presence of statues of Yahweh in sanctuaries throughout Judah, however, the proposed idea is logical but not ultimately plausible.

Moshkovitz 1977 ‘The Stratigraphy at Beer-sheba and the Location of the Sanctuary’, BASOR 225: 49-58. Hoffmann, Hans-Detlef 1980 Reform und Reformen: Untersuchungen zu einen Grundthema der deuteronomistischen Geschichtsschreibung (ATANT, 66; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag). Holladay, John S. D. D. D. ), Ancient Israelite Religion: Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress Press): 249-99. Honor, Leo L. 1966 Sennacherib’s Invasion of Palestine: A Critical Source Study (Contributions to Oriental History and Philology, 12; New York: AMS Press [1926]).

The second proposal concerning the closing of rural high places and ancestral shrines, however, does not follow as a logical corollary of the first point. There would have been no need to antagonize or alienate the rural citizenry by closing local ‘unofficial’ places of worship while they took refuge in walled government facilities. Nothing would have been gained; to the contrary, such actions would have shaken the people’s confidence in their king as their protector and given a reason for them to defect to the enemy instead of fighting on Hezekiah’s behalf.

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Hezekiah's Alleged Cultic Centralization by Diana Edelman

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