Who was Asherah/Ashtoreth?
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The King James translation of the Bible identifies Ashtoreth as "the principal female deity of the Phoenicians;" and states that Asherah was the name of the pole or wooden image used in worshipping her. Other sources give Asherah as the name of the goddess.
Whatever the translation, she was an important goddess in the Phoenician hierarchy of gods, with no link to Egyptian gods or goddesses and no relationship to the Hebrew God.
When the Israelites settled into the Promised Land, many of them adopted the gods of the residents in the areas they entered in addition to or in place of the LORD of Israel. Judges 1:13 reads, "They forsook the LORD, and served the Ba'als and the Ash'taroth." In Judges 6, Gideon is ordered to destroy the items used to worship this goddess.
pull down the altar of Ba'al which your father has, and cut down the Ashe'rah that is beside it; and build an alther to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here...offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Ashe'rah which you shall cut down. (Judges 6:25-26)
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