Is Ashtoreth “Mrs. Yahweh”?
Tom Roberts, PhD
For centuries, the people of God had fought an uphill battle attempting to defend the one God concept. Monotheism is defined as the belief in one deity. Amenhotep of Egypt believed the Great Monad was the sun god Ra. The mountain god El, in Hebrew traditions, was known as Elohim. Until our time, much of the Middle Eastern understanding was unavailable to us to evaluate some of the statements contained in Scripture about these other gods besides Yahweh that supposedly existed in other nations, Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:33); Dagon (Judges 16:23-24; 1 Samuel 5:7); Chemosh (Judges 11:24; 1 Kings 11:33); Milchom (1 Kings 11:33); and Nisroch (2 Kings 19:37). Isaiah shows that there is no consort beside this God contrary to pagan documents from Elephantine, which asserted the existence of a “Mrs. Yahweh,” violating the First Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:7; Exodus 20:3). The Hebraic equivalent of the Elephantine concept is Sophia, or Lady Wisdom, who was to convey God’s wisdom to the prophets via the Holy Spirit, Racah Kadesh, who was also feminine in Hebraic terms.
The Hebrew prophets were in total agreement that one should worship Yahweh alone. There was never any deviation upheld for any other practice. Today, scholars have advanced the position that Monotheism was a post exilic development after the demise of polytheism which existed in Israel’s history. The problem with this concept is Monotheism existed in Egypt during Amenhotep’s reign and later, the mountain god El was worshipped as a Semitic deity.
The Ugaritic text entitled “KRT” does show a supreme being who was always male and the lower classification of gods and goddesses employed divine agency for the one god. Cyrus Gordon, one of the greatest Semitic scholars of our time, in his Ugaritic textbook grammar states the Semitic goddesses were always in subjection to male deities through divine agency. He also denies there was “Golden Age” for the female goddess at the dawn of civilization as most feminist theologians claim. Even the classic work entitled Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible states on p. 104 that the notion that Yahweh has Baal characteristics and is married to Ashtoreth is no where supported in the KTU as modern scholars claim. Yahweh would have had to become Baal for this “wedding” to take place. This is why Isaiah 43:10 states He had no consort and the worship of Baal was expressly forbidden.
Ashtoreth certainly was in the Mighty Counsel and there’s no reason to believe that her former position was every edited out of the Hebrew bible. There is no textual evidence which shows that an earlier Hebrew manuscript suggested she was “Mrs. Yahweh or God’s consort. Although “Mrs. Yahweh” is certainly in the Elephantine documents, this does not demonstrate that she was Ashtoreth married to Yahweh in the Hebrew bible.
Today books such as The Twilight of the Gods suggest that a “Golden Era” of polytheism existed in early Hebrew history. It is no surprise to modern scholars that a great struggle between the two schools of thought was truly a part of Israel’s religious history. In Wisdom Traditions, Sophia was worshipped in the early church as part of the divine feminine. (See the Odes of Solomon and The Holy Spirit in Eastern Church Traditions by Stanley Burgess) Wisdom is worshipped in Orthodox traditions as the feminine counterpart to the Holy Spirit who exists within the nature of God. Could this “dance with Sophia” be the divine feminine who is sought by those looking to complete their worship experience?