A reference to the "queen of heaven" appears twice in the Book of Jeremiah. Who or what is this Queen of Heaven?
Is there a Queen of Heaven? Who or what is the Queen of Heaven?
The first occurrence is found in Jeremiah 7:18. It reads, "The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger." This Queen of Heaven was clearly a foreign god that some Israelites worshiped and angered the Lord in the process.
The second occurrence is found in Jeremiah 44:17-25 where the phrase is used multiple times. The Jewish men who answered Jeremiah said in verse 17, "But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster." Again, the Queen of Heaven was a foreign god the Israelites worshiped in direct opposition to God's laws.
What is the identity of this Queen of Heaven? The reference was to an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess called Ishtar (also called Ashtoreth or Astarte). In their system of gods and goddesses, Ishtar was believed to be the wife of the false god called Baal or Molech. As the wife of the chief male deity in these pagan-worshiping cultures, Ishtar became known by the name Queen of Heaven.
The reason people, especially women, worshiped this deity was based on the belief that this Queen of Heaven could bless a woman with fertility, a common desire among women of those cultures. Cakes and drink offerings would be given to this Queen of Heaven in worship. Those who made such offerings desired improved fertility as well as blessings in other important areas of life, such as bountiful food, prosperity, and safety (Jeremiah 44:17).
In response, the prophet Jeremiah told the people that such actions were the reason God destroyed Jerusalem and that false worship was not a source of blessing: "It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey the voice of the LORD or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day" (Jeremiah 44:23). The Ten Commandments were clear that the people were to worship only the Lord. Worship of any other god or goddess, including the Queen of Heaven, was condemned.
Who was the goddess Asherah/Ashtoreth?
What was an Asherah pole?
Who was the god Baal?
Who was the Beelzebub/Beelzebul that the Pharisees attributed Christ's work to?
Who was the Canaanite god Molech?
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