It’s So Cute When They Think They’re Being Original

An 'Asherah' figurine
Sadly, this hideous thing WAS a part of Israel's worship. And this is no surprise to any of us who ever actually picked up a Bible.

Today’s bit of pagan silliness comes courtesy of Discovery.com:

God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar. . . .   Asherah’s connection to Yahweh, according to Stavrakopoulou, is spelled out in both the Bible and an 8th century B.C. inscription on pottery found in the Sinai desert at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud.

“The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.”

I’d be curious to know what evidence she thinks she’s gleaned from the Bible.  Of course, she’ll have to dismiss the 99.9% that doesn’t agree with her thesis.  But the funny part is the conclusion of the article:

The ancient Israelites were polytheists, Brody told Discovery News, “with only a small minority worshiping Yahweh alone before the historic events of 586 B.C.” In that year, an elite community within Judea was exiled to Babylon and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. This, Brody said, led to “a more universal vision of strict monotheism: one god not only for Judah, but for all of the nations.”

Well, DUH.  Anyone who’s actually read 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, or any of the pre-Exilic prophets already knew that.  That was the whole problem that led to the Babylonian Exile in the first place.  The question is whether the earliest records of the Jewish people indicate a pre-polytheist period where Israel worshiped Hashem alone.  The answer is another resounding duh.  We have the Torah, Job (which pre-dates most of the Torah), Joshua, and Judges.  While attempts have been made to late-date the Torah in order to get around the inconvenience of an actual message from the Eternal, they all fall apart on further inspection.

For example, the ever-popular JEDP (. . . WXYZ) theory of splicing the Torah up in order to “prove” a late composition was originally predicated on the theory that writing was either unknown or rare in the third and second millennium BCE.  The sheer number of ancient libraries and documents from the Hittites, Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, etc. has long since blown up that original foundation.  Sadly, much like a rickety ruin of a house swept off its foundation by an overwhelming flood, the theory has survived and become more ludicrous over time, as this parody brilliantly illustrates. But while its proponents can keep shoring it up and keep trying to nail boards into place to forestall the final collapse and claim that it’s still a good house, those of us outside of the structure can see just how foolish it is to try to live in it.

Unfortunately, because the media loves controversy–especially when that controversy has any faint chance at all of undermining Biblical belief–every attack must be given its day.  But to those of us who study Scripture, who know its intricate structure, its defiance of the river of Time, its prophecies and codes, there’s nothing to fear from digging deeper into the truth.  And the truth is that Raphael Patai has only proven that the Bible is absolutely right when it reports the sad state of paganism that Israel had descended into before the God of Hosts poured out His wrath on us.

See also “The Making of the OT” on Christian Thinktank for more details on the origin of the Tanakh.

Shalom

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