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Bronze altar

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The Altar of Sacrifice of the Biblical Tabernacle.

The bronze altar, brazen altar (Hebrew: מִזְבַּ֣ח הַנְּחֹ֗שֶׁת, mizbah hanne hōshet; Exodus 39:39 ), table of the Lord (Hebrew: שֻׁלְחַ֤ן אֲדֹנָי֙, shulchan adonai; Malachi 1:7,12 ) or altar of sacrifice, altar of burnt offering (Hebrew: מִזְבַּ֥ח הָעֹלָ֖ה, mizbah hā`ōlâ; Exodus 30:28 ) was an altar built for sacrificial purposes. The literal meaning of the Hebrew term מִזְבַּ֥ח, mizbēah is "place of slaughter"[1] or "place of sacrifice".[2] The altar was a central point of the religious worship.[3] It had horns to which the animal to be sacrificed could be bound.[3] This altar differed in construction, size, etc.. at different times.[4]


In the tabernacle the altar was situated right inside the courtyard upon entering the gate to the tabernacle.[5] The altar was a hollow square, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high (Exodus 27:1-8 ). It was made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze. The altar had a horn on each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar formed a single piece.

Solomon's Temple

In the Temple built by Solomon the altar of burnt offering was increased in size.[4] It has become a square, twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high (2Chronicles 4:1 ). The altar stood in the outer court.[2] Later on Uriah removed it from its regular place to make room for another altar, but finally it was restored to its place by Manasseh.[6]

Second Temple

In the Second Temple the altar was erected before the foundations of the Lord’s Temple had been laid (Ezra 3:3,6 ). It was erected on the place occupied by the former.[4] After it has been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, it was rebuilt by Judas Maccabeus, probably using unhewn stone.[6]

Herod's Temple

In this Temple the altar has become a square, fifty cubits long, fifty cubits wide and fifteen cubits high according to Josephus or a square thirty-two cubits long, thirty-two cubits wide decreasing slowly in steps till it was twenty-four cubits according to the Mishna.[4]


  1. Tenney, Merrill C, ed. (1967). Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 31. ISBN 0-310-23560-X. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Birnbaum, Philip (1979). Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts (Revised edition ed.). Brooklyn, New York: Hebrew Publishing Company. p. 348. ISBN 0-88482930-8. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Smith, William (1979). Smith´s Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers. p. 14. ISBN 0-87981-033-5. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Unger, Merrill F (1988). Harrison, R. K.. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. pp. 48-49. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9. 
  5. "The Brazen Altar". Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Douglas, J.D.; Tenney, Merril C, ed. (1987). The New International Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 37. ISBN 0-310-33190-0.