Amos 3:14 (NKJV)

14 “That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; And the horns of the altar shall be cut off And fall to the ground.

In (levictus 16:18) Aaron was commanded to put blood on the horns of the altar to make atonement for it & to cleanse it.

The horns of the altar in Jerusalem had provided refuge for fugitives,those who took hold of them were granted asylum(1 kings 1:50-53)

Could it be that in (Amos 3:14)when God promised that the horns will be cut off & fall to the ground meant that there would be no place of asylum, no place of escaping God's judgment?


1 Answer 1


The answer is "yes".

The "horns" of an altar are corners that are raised as in this reconstruction of the altar found at Tel Sheva

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The symbolism of the corners is:

  1. The strength, good fortune or "horn" of Israel (e.g. Lamentations 2:3)
  2. The possibility of asylum or escape from destruction (e.g. I Kings 2:28, I Kings 1:50-53)
  3. The ability to obtain forgiveness from sin (by means of the blood of the sin offering, see Leviticus chapter 4)

So the symbolism of the cutting off of the corners is the loss of all three of these. The language of the verse is similar to that of psalms 107:16 for example.

The above is summarized from the Da'at Miqra.

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