Make a Donation
About The Author
Holy Day Calendar
Free Online Bibles
Bible Reading Plan
|Get Daily Bible Study on Facebook||Get Daily Bible Study on Twitter Follow @WayneBlank|
Monday, December 26 2011
The Tree Huggers Of Israel And Judah
The English word "grove" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, grof, which meant to dig (the English word grave is actually just a variation of the same word). It came to be used to refer to an alley or a road cut through a wooded area i.e. digging out the stumps to make a clear way. Later, it came to mean a wooded area itself - specifically, one with paths or roads through it, either by cutting, or having planted the trees with spacing in that manner.
A "grove" in the Holy Bible is most-often used to refer to a place where pagans worshipped trees, or carved tree trunks i.e. idols. Why do some translations use that word?
Asherah, and its plural form, Asherim, from the Hebrew word pronounced ash-ay-raw, refer to a pagan goddess, also known as Astarte to the Canaanites, and Ishtar (pronounced easter - the origin of the English word Easter) to the Assyrians and Babylonians. The common symbols of the cult (see also Is Your Church A Cult?) were tree trunks with all of their branches removed and images carved into them, or simply left "bare" as phallic symbols (also the original symbolic meaning of steeples and obelisks). Those standing tree trunks were the reason that some versions of the Holy Bible translate the actual original word of the Holy Scriptures, pronounced "Asherah" or "Asherim," as "grove" or "groves" e.g. for 2 Chronicles 15:16, from the RSV and KJV:
"15:16 Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron." (RSV)
As such, some are surprised to read (as it is translated in the King James Version) that righteous "Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba" (Genesis 21:33, shown below), however, unlike all of the other places where "grove" is translated, the actual word in Hebrew in that verse is not the pagan Asherah, but the Hebrew word, pronounced ay-shel, which simply means a regular tamarisk tree ("Any shrub or small tree of the genus Tamarix having small scalelike or needle-shaped leaves and feathery racemes of small white or pinkish flowers"; The WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University); the RSV correctly translates it as "21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba."
"21:22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest [see Abraham The Christian and The Rock Of The Church]: 21:23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
"The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves"
When the Israelites left Egypt, after their four centuries in Goshen (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), the LORD instructed and warned them not to defile themselves with the "groves" religion of the people that they would encounter in their land of Israel (see also Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).
"34:8 And Moses [see also Moses Of Midian] made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
The Israelites however did not obey.
"3:5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: 3:6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 3:7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves." (Judges 3:5-7 KJV)
The united kingdom of Israel was divided because King Solomon had forsaken his great wisdom and became instead a great fool ("the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination"; see the verses below). Israel became two kingdoms, The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" and The Southern Kingdom of "Judah."
The first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam, further "made Israel to sin" - to which the LORD declared that "he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger" (the "root up" was an obvious reference to destroying their tree worship, along with their kingdom; see also The Galilee Captivity).
"14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam [see Jeroboam Of Israel], who did sin, and who made Israel to sin." (1 Kings 14:15-16 KJV)
The southern kingdom of Judah did no better; they only lasted a little longer (Israel fell to the Assyrians in 721 BC, while Judah fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC). Rehoboam of Judah (see Rehoboam's Answer) continued his father Solomon's idolatry with "high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree."
"14:21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel [see Are Levites 'Jews'? and No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?], to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
The prophet Elijah's major warning to Israel was for them to free themselves of the tree-trunk cult of Jezebel. It was upon Mount Carmel that Elijah had his famous confrontation with nearly a thousand pagan priests of Baal and the groves i.e. "the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table."
"18:17 And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah [see The Prophets: Elijah], that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
Not all of the kings were idol worshippers. Hezekiah "did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves."
"18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah [see Hezekiah Of Judah] the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. 18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
Josiah too "brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves."
"23:8 And he [i.e. Josiah of Judah] brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. 23:9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
Fact Finder: Is "sorcery" a religion that is based upon the perversion of nature?
This Day In History, December 26
1135: The Coronation of King Stephen of England.
1492: Christopher Columbus established the first Spanish settlement in the New World.
1620: Plymouth Colony was established by the England's Mayflower colonists.
1806: Napoleon's army was stopped by Russian forces at the Battle of Pultusk.
1846: While snowbound and starving in the Sierra Nevadas, members of the Donner Party resorted to cannibalism.
1852: The sailing ship Marco Polo, built in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, was declared the fastest ship in the world. The ship had sailed from Liverpool, England, to Melbourne, Australia, and back in 140 days. The trip usually took 240 days.
1862: 38 Santee Sioux were hanged in Minnesota for their part in the Sioux Uprising.
1898: Radium was discovered by Pierre and Marie Curie.
1932: An estimated 75,000 people were killed by a severe earthquake in China.
1943: British naval forces sank the German battleship Scharnhorst.
1962: 8 East Berliners escaped to West Berlin by crashing through border gates in an armor-plated bus.
1972: Former U.S. President Harry Truman died at age 88. Truman was (to date) the only man to order the use of nuclear weapons on another country - the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
1975: The Russian Tupolev-144 became the world's first supersonic aircraft to go into regular service, carrying mail from Moscow.
1979: The Soviet Union sent an additional 5,000 troops into the Afghanistan conflict.
1991: Jack Ruby's (his actual name was Jacob Rubenstein; the son of Polish-immigrant Jewish parents, he grew up in Chicago where, as a boy, he ran errands for the gangster Al Capone) gun, that was used to murder Lee Harvey Oswald, sold for $220,000.00 in auction.