Monday, October 17, 2011

Queen of Heaven

The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”
Jeremiah 44:19

 למלכת השׁמים  to the queen of heavens

The Book of Jeremiah takes us to early 6th century Judea in the Babylonian period. We hear the women talk about their and their agreeing husbands religious worship of Queen of Heavens. The people of Jerusalem burn good smelling incense to make her happy, bake for her cakes and pour out drink offerings at altars. As is the habit in religions all over the world.

In the Bible a female sky goddess is mentioned only in the Book of Jeremiah, once in Chapter 7:18 and four times in chapter 44 verses 17-19 and 25 in strongly cultic context. She is not just a religious idea in some belief system but gets active worship from her followers.

This goddess is probably related to the ancient Mesopotamian divinity known as Ishtar, goddess of love, bright planet Venus of the early morning and a beautiful sight in the evening after sunset when prostitutes went to their work in the streets of Babylon.

"Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, in particular Anat, Isis, Innana, Astarte. Hera and possibly Asherah (by the prophet Jeremiah). Elsewhere, Nordic Frigg also bore this title. In Greco-Roman times Hera, and her Roman aspect Juno bore this title. Forms and content of worship varied."

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