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High places


High places. From the earliest times it was the custom among all nations to erect altars and places of worship on lofty and conspicuous spots. To this general custom we find constant allusion in the Bible, Isa. 65:7; Ezek. 6:13, and it is especially attributed to the Moabites. Isa. 15:2; 16:12. Even Abraham built an altar to the Lord on a mountain near Bethel. Gen. 12:7, 8; cf. 22:2-4; 31:54. Notwithstanding this we find that it was implicitly forbidden by the law of Moses, Deut. 12:11-14, which also gave the strictest injunction to destroy these monuments of Canaanitish idolatry. Lev. 26. The command was a prospective one, and was not to come into force until such time as the tribes were settled in the promised land. Thus we find that both Gideon and Manoah built altars on high places by divine command. Judges 6:25, 26; 13:16-23. It is more surprising to find this law absolutely ignored at a much later period, when there was no intelligible reason for its violation—as by Samuel at Mizpeh, 1 Sam. 7:10, and at Bethlehem, ch. 16:5; by Saul at Gilgal, ch. 13:9, and at Ajalon,(?) ch. 14:35; by David, 1 Chron. 21:26; by Elijah on Mount Carmel, 1 Kings 18:30, and by other prophets. 1 Sam. 10:5. The explanations which are given are sufficiently unsatisfactory; but it is at any rate certain that the worship in high places was organized and all but universal throughout Judea, not only during, 1 Kings 3:2-4, but even after the time of Solomon. At last Hezekiah set himself in good earnest to the suppression of this prevalent corruption, 2 Kings 18:4, 22, both in Judah and Israel, 2 Chron. 31:1; although so rapid was the growth of the evil that even his sweeping reformation required to be finally consummated by Josiah, 2 Kings 23, and that too in Jerusalem and its immediate neighborhood. 2 Chron. 24:3. After the time of Josiah we find no further mention of these Jehovistic high places.