Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 16

The religion of Asherah

1 Kings 16:33

There is one real God, who made heaven and earth: he alone is the true God (Deuteronomy 6:4).

However, people who serve false gods often have many gods. Ahab and Jezebel desired power in the spirit world and power over people. Therefore, they were willing to serve any god who offered them that power. They supported any religion that benefitted them. It was only the true God, and the gods of their enemies, that they opposed.

The religion of the false female god, Asherah, seemed to match the religion of Baal well. The word ‘Baal’ can mean a husband, so Asherah seemed like his wife. People prayed to her for children in their families, agricultural success, and an increase in wealth. Both religions encouraged wrong sex acts as a means to gain power in the spirit world and, therefore, answers to prayers.

People put up wooden poles in honour of Asherah. They probably also planted groups of trees in her honour. These would have showed where the sacred places for Asherah were. The people considered these to be good places for their wrong sex acts (Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 2:20).

So, these were the kind of religions that greedy and selfish people wanted to follow. The religion of Baal offered them power, authority, and control over other people. The religion of Asherah offered success, increase and wealth. Ahab built a great temple (splendid building for religion) for Baal; and he put up a high and impressive pole for Asherah.

Next part: Hiel, who rebuilt Jericho (1 Kings 16:34)


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