BAR 20:03, May/Jun 1994
Portraits of Yahweh: Horse or Bull?
The identification of the animal on tier 1 of the Taanach stand is important to understanding the cultic significance of tier 1 (above) and tier 3, as well as of the whole stand. Although the animal has often been identified as a bull, and thus could be a symbol of Baal or Yahweh, two zoological experts have recently confirmed the view that the frolicking animal is actually a horsean animal associated with Yahweh, but not with Baal. The animals full tail, erect ears, long muzzle and large hooves all support this conclusion. The absence of a mane does not alter this identification; rather, the discovery of numerous Iron Age horse figurines without manes, including a seventh-century B.C.E. horse (below) from Jerusalem, suggests that this was a customary way to depict horses.