Deuteronomy 12:2

Hebrew Bible

1 These are the statutes and ordinances you must be careful to obey as long as you live in the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess. 2 You must by all means destroy all the places where the nations you are about to dispossess worship their gods—on the high mountains and hills and under every leafy tree. 3 You must tear down their altars, shatter their sacred pillars, burn up their sacred Asherah poles, and cut down the images of their gods; you must eliminate their very memory from that place. 4 You must not worship the Lord your God the way they worship.

2 Kings 17:10

Hebrew Bible

8 they observed the practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before them, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away before them did. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 12 They worshiped the disgusting idols in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command.

 Notes and References

"... Narratives (Judges 3:7; 6:25-30), legal prohibitions (Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3; 16:21), and prophetic critiques (Isaiah 17:8; 27:9; Jeremiah 17:2; Micah 5:13) indicate that the devotion to the cult symbol known as the asherah, a wooden pole of some sort, and the religious items collectively called the asherim was observed as early as the period of the Judges and as late as a few decades before the fall of the southern kingdom (2 Kings 23:4, 6, 7, 15). As Olyan has shown, the asherah was acceptable in both northern and southern kingdoms, both outside (see 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 17:10, 16; Jeremiah 17:2) and inside the royal cults of Samaria (1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 13:6) and Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:7; 23:6; 2 Chronicles 24:18). Besides Samaria and Jerusalem, devotion to the asherah is attested for Ophrah (Judges 6:25) and Bethel (2 Kings 23:15). From this information, it would appear that the symbol of the asherah was a general feature of Israelite religion. Furthermore, there is no indication that devotion to the symbol was limited to a specific group or social stratum within Israel. Olyan has argued that criticism of the goddess Asherah and her symbol, the asherah, was restricted to a single quarter of Israelite society, namely, the Deuteronomistic tradition ..."

Smith, Mark S. The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (p. 120) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002

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