Extensive evidence of idol worship in Israel from the period of the judges and kings has long been known.
This evidence continues to grow. The discovery of blessings found on the remains of storage jars that associate Yahweh and Asherah caused a particularly large stir. Inscriptions related to this formula were found in the northeast Sinai region and at another site just west of Hebron, Israel from around BC.
Earlier texts, figurines and amulets from the coastal city of Ugarit also seem to fit the pattern. These types of statements seem to be crafted to create maximum controversy. A more precise statement regarding this theory would have noted instead that in the pantheon of ancient Canaan the chief god had a consort or wife, and it appears that this thinking was picked up by people living in Israel who tied the goddess Asherah to their God Yahweh.
The article does not bring up those scholars who dispute the conclusions of scholars like Dever and Stavrakopoulou for one reason or another. What becomes more disturbing is the skewed framing of this topic, both within the Discovery article and in others over the years. Traces of her remain.
In the same article, Aaron Brody, director of the Bade Museum and an associate professor of Bible and archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion, piles on. In his view, a more universal vision of strict monotheism only developed after the Babylonian captivity. This line of thinking naturally leads to the idea that the Bible cannot be used as a reliable source for our understanding of history or the development of religion.
They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. But do these claims truly reflect what we see in the Scriptures?
In reality, the various terms Asherah and its plural, Asherim , Asheroth, Ashteroth and Ashtaroth are not rare, but are used 53 times in 13 books of the Hebrew Bible. This hardly seems like a closely guarded secret that was nearly edited out of the pages of the Bible.
This excludes the numerous clear references related to sacred trees, groves and poles that may or may not be associated with the fertility goddess. Remember that the golden calf was likely thought to represent the presence of gods, so the same concept may have been involved with the relation between trees and the goddess Asherah. The god Baal is also very prevalent, being mentioned more than twice as many times as Asherah. While some present the idea that the Bible portrays religion among the Israelites as strictly faithful monotheism from the beginning with a few occasionally succumbing to the lure of paganism at the fringes , this just does not match what the Bible actually states.
Contrary to the claims of these scholars, the Bible does not try to cover up the reality of these facts. From the time of Abraham around 2, BC to the time of the final destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon in BC, the Bible repeatedly shines a light on the incessant worship of foreign gods among the people of Israel.
Read the below summary of the powerful pull that idolatry had on the people of Israel throughout the Old Testament OR skip to the conclusion. A survey of just a fraction of the primary texts will help drive home the extent and clarity with which the biblical authors address the issue of idolatry. Abraham is said to have come from a family of idol worshipers Josh.
Ezekiel gives a startling account of how God was angry with Israel before they left Egypt and commanded them to forsake the idols of Egypt. But Israel would not listen Ezek.
Among the extensive laws given at Sinai is one that commanded that any Israelite who slaughtered an ox, sheep or goat for food in the camp to first bring it to the tent of meeting. This was done to stem the practice of bringing the animals out to the open field to sacrifice them to goat demons, as had been their practice Lev. This shows that it must have been going on during the stay in Egypt. Even today, Satan and demons are often depicted as having horns and are associated with goat images.
While God was giving these commands, the Israelites were busy forming a golden calf to worship Ex. After rebelling against God many times in the wilderness Num. He predicted that after his death, things would become even worse Deut. When Joshua and Israel renewed the covenant after the conquest, the people agreed to worship God alone. This started a continuous cycle of the people abandoning the LORD, and God sending oppressors to chasten them.
Then the people would cry out to God who would send a judge to save them. But as soon as the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, without dropping any of their practices or their stubborn ways Jud. There are numerous references in the Book of Judges to this cycle.
When the last judge, Samuel, performed a covenant renewal with Israel, he directed them to put away their foreign gods 1 Sam. The people would soon reject the LORD as their ruler by asking for a king like all the nations around them.
Thus it was with Moses. On the morning of the third day of their encampment, "there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud", and the people assembled at the base of the mount. When a book of the Law is found and read to Josiah, it becomes obvious just how far Israel has strayed from God. And remember when you said, O Moses, surely we will not remain content with one kind of food; pray, then, to thy Lord for us that HE may bring forth for us of what the earth grows - of its herbs and its cucumbers and its wheat and its lentils and its onions. Are there not some things we can learn neither by precept nor example?
Once the kingdom was split into two Judah and Israel , things became even worse. Jeroboam did not want his people to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to worship and be swayed to rejoin them. So he made two golden calves and put them up in Bethel and Dan and instituted new feasts along with a new priesthood apart from the Levites.
He also made many temples and high places 1 Kings and The following 18 kings in Israel were all said to have done evil and followed in the ways of Jeroboam with too many references to list. This would end up cutting them off and destroying them from the face of the earth 1 Kings , 2 Kings The people did not answer him a word 1 Kings , Israel was finally taken to Assyria for their apostasy 2 Kings It is tempting to think of Judah as the faithful kingdom compared to the northern kingdom of Israel.
However, a closer look shows that this was not the case. The reforms of Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah were the exceptions and not the rule.
If yes, will they focus on the idols visible in the rear-view mirror that beckon them to return? Or will they walk by faith and rely on our Creator to get us there?
James Jensen. Kent Stroman. Phillip London.
Deliver Us II: Discovering Your Idols on the Path to the Promised Land - Kindle edition by Don Umphrey. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC . Exodus: Moses and the children of Israel as slaves in Egypt and on their trip to the Promised Land serve as a backdrop for a biblical study on idolatry and.
Popular Book - By Robert Serocki. Health Care: Corporate Power vs. Ellis Fletcher. Allen Power M. A comprehensive guide to help you understand heart disease, cholesterol metabolism and how to take charge of implementing Sheikh MD. Richard Harry Gatley. For Good! Sylvester Sviokla III. Steven M. They Want Me to Fundraise! Popular Book - By Scott Kelby. A Wife s Devotion. Flett PhD.
Peters OD. Anne Brown.