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"Yahweh and His Asherah": the Goddess or Her Symbol?

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image of Vetus Testamentum

This article discusses whether 'srth in the phrase lyhwh ... wl'srth in inscriptions at Kuntillet 'Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom refers to the goddess Asherah or her wooden symbol (here rendered "asherah"). First, it is argued that the drawing on pithos A from Kuntillet 'Ajrud does not illustrate the inscription, and that the figures in it probably do not represent Yahweh and Asherah. Second, although our knowledge of the Hebrew used in ancient Israel and Judah is far from complete, it is best, if possible, to interpret inscriptions in the light of usage in the Hebrew Bible. Since pronominal suffixes are not attached to personal names in the Hebrew Bible, it is better to translate 'srth "his asherah", rather than "his Asherah". Third, there is no difficulty in supposing that someone could utter a blessing by Yahweh and by a cultic object.


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