▪ When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, Jehovah told them to eliminate all the places of worship of the Canaanites who lived there. “You must . . . destroy all their stone figures, and all their images of molten metal you should destroy, and all their sacred high places you should annihilate,” God commanded. (Numbers 33:52) Those centers of false worship may have been either open-air hilltop sites or constructed platforms in other locations, such as under trees or in cities. (1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:29; Ezekiel 6:3) They could be equipped with altars, sacred pillars or poles, images, incense stands, and other paraphernalia for worship.
Prior to the construction of the temple in Jerusalem, the Israelites worshipped Jehovah at approved sites that the Scriptures call high places. God’s prophet Samuel offered sacrifices at “the high place” in an unnamed city in the land of Zuph. (1 Samuel 9:11-14) Once the temple was built, however, a number of kings who were faithful to Jehovah attempted to rid the land of its “high places.”—2 Kings 21:3; 23:5-8, 15-20; 2 Chronicles 17:1, 6.