Altars in Homes
The altar. The religion in the homes of those early days largely centered about an altar upon which animal sacrifices were offered up to GOD. Thus when Abraham came into the land and had pitched his tent in the vicinity of Bethel, the Scriptural record says of him, "And there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord" (Genesis 12:8). Later on it is recorded that he built an altar at Hebron (Genesis 13:18). It is said that Jacob built one at Shechem (Genesis 33:1-20). And then in obedience to the command of the LORD, he went to Bethel, and like his grandfather, built an altar to the LORD there. Anticipating doing this, he said to his family, "Let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went" (Genesis 35:3).
The altar in the home life of those early days helped to produce a sense of sin, a realization of GOD's holiness, and a knowledge that the way of approach to GOD was through a sacrifice. The altar was the forerunner of the family prayer life in a Christian home today, which is based upon forgiveness of sin through the blood of CHRIST of which the animal sacrifice was a symbol.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]