April 3

Deuteronomy 16:18-22John 8:39-59

Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:

ASHERAH

<Asherah refers to a cultic object representing the presence of the Canaanite goddess Asherah. When the people of Israel entered Palestine, they were to have nothing to do with the idolatrous religions of its inhabitants. Rather, God said, “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves [<asherim] …” (Exod. 34:13). This cult object was manufactured from wood (Judg. 6:26; 1 Kings 14:15) and it could be burned (Deut. 12:3). Some scholars conclude that it was a sacred pole set up near an altar to Baal. Since there was only one goddess with this name, the plural (<asherim) probably represents her several “poles.” 

<Asherah signifies the name of the goddess herself: “Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves [<asherah] four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19). The Canaanites believed that <asherahruled the sea, was the mother of all the gods including Baal, and sometimes was his deadly enemy. Apparently, the mythology of Canaan maintained that <asherahwas the consort of Baal, who had displaced El as their highest god. Thus her sacred objects (poles) were immediately beside altars to Baal, and she was worshiped along with him.  (W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s Complete Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, © 1996)

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