The 'Asherah.
This Is Appendix 42 From The Companion Bible
The word 'Asherah is from the root 'ashar, to be straight, erect,
or upright. From this comes the meaning, in a moral sense, to be
upright, hence, to prosper or be happy. The 'Asherah was so called
because it was something set upright or erect in the ground, and
worshipped. The word occurs forty times, and only a careful study
of each passage will give a correct view.
Compared with this, all that men may think or say about the
'Asherah is of little value. The word is always rendered grove or
groves in the Authorized Version; and always left as a proper name
in the Revised Version.
From a conspectus of the passages, we learn that it was either a
living tree with the top cut off, and the stump or trunk fashioned
into a certain shape (Deuteronomy 16:21); or it was artificially
fashioned and set erect in the ground (Isaiah 17:8. 1 Kings 14:15;
16:33). It was made of wood (Judges 6:26) or stone. What the shape
was is indicated in 1 Kings 15:13, and 2 Chronicles 15:16, where in
the Authorized Version. "an idol in a grove", should be (as in the
Revised Version) "an abominable image for an 'Asherah". It could
be "cut down" (Exodus 34:13, the first occurrence of the word);
"plucked up" (Micah 5:14); "burnt" (Deuteronomy 12:3); or
"broken in pieces" (2 Chronicles 34:4).
It is often coupled with mazzevoth, or stone "pillars" (Revised
Version) (and rendered images in Authorized Version), connected
with Baal-worship.
That it could not have been in a "grove" is clear from 2 Kings
17:10, where it is forbidden to set one up "under any green tree".
While it is distinguished from Ashtoreth the goddess, it is yet
associated with that goddess, Ashtoreth being representative of the
productive (or passive) principle of life; and Baal being
representative of the generative (or active) principle.
The image which represents the Phoenician Ashtoreth of Paphos,
as the sole object of worship in her temple, was an upright block of
stone, anointed with oil, and covered with an embroidered cloth.
Such stones are to be met with all over the Semitic world;
especially in Babylonia, in Syria, Palestine and Arabia. Even the
Mahommedan sacred stone (kaaba) at Mecca remains an object of
The place Beth-el was so called because of its anointed stone.
There was another Beth-el in Northern Israel.
Two columns of stone stood before every Phoenician temple.
Those at Tyre are described by Herodotus (ii. 44); and the "pillars
of the sun" are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 34:4. Isaiah 17:8, etc.
Like every form of "religion," it had to do with the "flesh;" and
hence, by the law of evolution (which is seen operating only in
human affairs) it soon became corrupted. Evolution is seen in the
progress of man's works, because he begins from ignorance, and
goes on learning by his mistakes and failures. From the moment he
ends his works devolution at once sets in and deterioration begins.
This is specially true in the "religious" sphere. All religions have
become corrupt.
So with the 'Asherah. Originally a tree, symbolical of the "tree of
life," it was an object of reverence and veneration. Then came the
perversion of the earlier idea which simply honoured the origin of
life; and it was corrupted and debased into the organ of procreation,
which was symbolized by the form and shape given to the
'Asherah. It was the Phallus image of Isaiah 57:8, and the "image
of the male", Ezekiel 16:17.
These symbols, in turn, became the incentive to all forms of
impurity which were part of its libidinous worship, with the swarms
of "devotees" involved in its obscene orgies.
The serpent was accepted as the symbol of the nexus, and was
thus associated with the "pillar" and the "tree". Hence, it too
became an object of worship.
The principal factor in this form of Canaanite idolatry is that it
was not a primitive conception of a religious rite, but the corruption
of an earlier idea which began with honouring the origin of life.
All the ancient systems of idolatry, connected with Astrology and
Mythology, etc., were, in the same way, not original inventions of
what was new; but the corruption of what was old, and the
perversion of primitive truth.
There can be no doubt about its being, in its essence, Phallic
worship pure and simple, whatever may have been its origin. This
abomination was common to all the ancient nations; and relics of it
are found to-day in various forms, in India and elsewhere. The
menhirs of the Celtic religion are the true descendants of the
At first it was centred in the Canaanitish nations; and from them it
spread to the others. It was the great abomination of Canaan, and
that is one reason why the Canaanites, as the descendants of the
Nephilim, had to be destroyed by the sword of Israel. The other
reason was the origin of those nations themselves (see Appendix 23
and Appendix 25), with which it was closely connected. The first
mention of the 'Asherah stamps it as being the special object of
Jehovah's hatred. It is given to explain His name as "jealous"; for
that is the name He takes in denouncing it. Compare His threats in 1
Kings 14:15; 15:13; 16:32, 33; 2 Chronicles 36:14, etc.
It led to Israel's banishment from the land; and subsequently to
that of Judah's.
It is still preserved in veiled language in secret fraternities,
Freemasonry, Theosophy 1, and in the Roman Church; language so
conceals it that probably those who use it to-day have little idea of
what they are perpetuating; while the ancient symbols I O proclaim
"sex as the true God of Hosts," as the Kabbala declares.
A recrudescence of this is more than hinted at; and it will be better
understood when "the abomination" of Antichrist shall stand once
again 2 in the Temple at Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15).
The following passages will show further the nature of this form
of idolatry :- Jeremiah 5:7; 7:30, 31; 19:4, 5; 37:34 - 35. Hosea 4:12 -
14. Amos 2:7 - 9.
The word 'Asherah is noted in the margin of each passage where
it occurs in The Companion Bible, but the following complete list
is given to put the student in possession of the whole of the data;
and thus to enable him to form his own conclusions.
Exodus 34:14.
Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3; 16:21.
Judges 3:7; 6:25, 26, 28, 30.
1 Kings 14:15, 23; 15:13; 16:33; 18:19 (sing).
2 Kings 13:6; 17:10, 16; 18:4; 21:3, 7; 23:4, 6, 7, 14, 15.
2 Chronicles 14:3; 15:16; 17:6; 19:3; 24:18; 31:1; 33:3, 19; 34:3, 4,
Isaiah 17:8; 27:9.
Jeremiah 17:2.
Micah 5:14.
1 See The Perfect Way, page 2, and The Computation of 666,
pages 105-9.
2 Matthew 24:15; compare Daniel 9:27; 12:11.