Figure 2: (Right) Front view of the statue, showing the lunar deity emblem on its chest. (Left) Rear view of the statue.
The principal object of interest is the statue [Figure 2] which Morey has labelled as a "Moon-god".
Thestatue, about 40 cm in height, depicts a man with an inverted crescent suspended from his necklace and holdinga cup-like object in his right hand, while the other hand rests on his knees.
The question now is what exactlythis statue represents which Morey labelled as "Moon-god"?According to Yadin, this statue can represent a deity, a king, or a priest. He says that all the "three alternativesare possible", but he "believes it is a statue of the deity itself".
However, it appears that later he had modifiedhis views. Writing in the
Encyclopedia Of Archaeological Excavations In The Holy Land
, Yadin describes thesame statue as
Basalt statue of deity or king from the stelae temple...
Subsequent scholarship has described the same statue either in uncertain or neutral terms. For example,
Treasures Of The Holy Land: Ancient Art From The Israel Museum
describes the statue of the seated figureas:
It depicts a man, possibly a priest, seated on a cubelike stool. He is beardless with a shaven head; his skirtends below his knees in an accentuated hen; his feet are bare. He holds a cup in his right hand, while his lefthand, clenched into a fist, rests on his left knee. An inverted crescent is suspended from his necklace.
Amnon Ben-Tor in
The New Encyclopedia Of Archaeological Excavations In The Holy Land
describes thestatue as a "seated male figure" without saying what it represented.
In a later publication, however, hedescribed the same object as "a small basalt statue of a decapitated deity (or king) whose head was foundnearby."
Amihai Mazar, in a similar fashion, described the statue as "a sitting male figure (possibly depictinga god or a priest)."
Clearly, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars concerning this statue. It is not too hard tounderstand why this is the case. It seems illogical that a god should hold offering vessels in his hand; the god isusually the one who receives offerings. Therefore, the statue should, in all probability, depict a priest or aworshipper of a god, who himself is in a way considered present, either invisibly or in the upright stela of thesanctuary. Furthermore, the statue of a man holding an offering was seated at the left hand side of the shrine