Altar in Eastons Bible Dictionary
(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars