The town of Arad is not important in the sense of great Bible events, but it does give a sense for the lives of common people during the time of Israel’s monarchy. The ruins of a small temple from Hezekiah’s time are significant in understanding the nature of the great Temple in Jerusalem.
Arad stands in southern Israel, in a portion of the Negev Desert that receives very little rainfall. The wilderness area was the land of the shepherd. As far back as 3,000 BC, a large Canaanite city stood at Arad. This city probably existed when Abraham and his family lived in Beersheba, a nearby desert region.
Arad was eventually destroyed, possibly by Joshua, and then rebuilt and fortified as part of Israel’s southern flank. Today, the ruins of this fortress city stand next to the Canaanite city ruins below.
During King Hezekiah’s reign, Arad was told to destroy their temple. In an effort to end pagan worship, Hezekiah ordered the destruction of all high places except for Jerusalem’s temple, regardless of whether they were built to honor God or Baal (2 Kings 18:22).
The devout worshipers at Arad did not want to tear their temple down or use if for everyday purposes. Instead, they covered it with earth. Discovered thousands of years later, the remains of this temple are a treasure for biblical archaeologists.
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