A Published Biblical Canaanite golden Locust, ca. 11th century BCE

Object No: MJ1903

From the time of the Prophet Samuel, this remarkable gold locust has a naturalistic body with folded wings and indentations detailing the face, neck, and back. Two long gold wires attached to the stomach to form four small legs, and a thicker piece of incised wire attached on either side as the long back legs.

Published: Ilton, Paul "The Bible was my Treasure Map" (1958). Mr. Ilton dedicates a chapter in his book about this piece. Allegedly discovered in a Canaanite temple in Beth-Shen, (pg. 63), he believed it to be "proof of the celebrated locust worship by pagan Philistine and Canaanite priests," (pg. 61). He refers to a ritual in which golden insects were offered, perhaps with the intention to hold back plagues, which is described in the Book of Samuel, chapter 6 verses 4 and 5; Then they said, "What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him?" They said, "Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that mar the land; and you shall give glory to the God of Israel: perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.

Exhibited:   Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY . "From the Land of the Bible" traveling exhibition, , 1953.

Dimensions: 32 mm (1 1/4 inches)

Condition: Intact and in very fine condition overall.  A rare and important object.

Provenance:   Paul Ilton private collection, acquired prior to 1958. 


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