Asherah, Yahweh’s wife – did the God of the Israelites have a wife?

Asherah (/ˈæʃərə/; Hebrew: אֲשֵׁרָה (ʾíšērā); Ugaritic: 𐎀𐎘𐎗𐎚 (ʾAṯiratu); Akkadian: Aširat; is a great goddess of ancient Semitic religion. She also appears in Hittite writings as Ašerdu(s) or Ašertu(s). For the Amorites was called Aṯeratum and Athiratu in Ugarit. Significantly, Yahweh and Asherah were a married couple in ancient Israel and Judah.

Yahweh (or Jehovah) (Hebrew: ‏יהוה‎, YHWH) is the Judeo-Christian God, considered the Supreme Being, and therefore God in the monotheistic religion. Until the time of Moses (around the 13th century B.C.), the Hebrews worshiped him only in a monolatry way, i.e. worshiping one deity, but not denying the existence of other deities.

The word asherah has two terms in the Old Testament. It refers both to the goddess of that name and to the pillar, tree or cult pole that is dedicated to the goddess.

In some periods, Israelite folk beliefs also included the cult of the fertility goddess Asherah, and Yahweh, worshiped by Solomon and his pagan wives, had a partner, the goddess Asherah, who was worshiped even in the Temple in Jerusalem.

According to various religions, the husband of Ashera was:
– El (Ugaritic religion)
– Yahweh (Israelite religion)
– Amurru (Amorite religion)
– Anu (Akkadian religion)
– ‘Amm (Kataban religion)
– Assur (Assyrian religion)
– Elkunirsa (Hittite religion)
It should be remembered that it was the same person of “God”, but had a different name, depending on the region and religion.

There is also an opinion that Yahweh is identified with Enlil, the son of Anu. Enlil, later known as Elil, is an ancient Mesopotamian god associated with wind, air, earth and storms.

In Ugaritic texts, Ashtarth is one of the daughters of El – the West Semitic equivalent of Anu, so I am more inclined to the version that Ashera is equivalent to Ninlil, and Yahweh is equivalent to Enlil.

Ninlil appears in the Sumerian myth of Enlil and Ninlil, and as Enlil’s wife, she bore him children: Nanna, Nergal, Ninazu, and Enbilul. Ninlil’s status has been described as that of a “subordinate consort”.

There is therefore a strong assumption that Yahweh (Enlil) had a wife named Ashera (Ninlil), who fathered children and lived for some time among people on earth, worshiped as Gods.

There is no doubt that religious syncretism was a common phenomenon in Israel. Two inscriptions from the Iron Age have survived to this day, in which the Canaanite Asherah is called the wife of the Israeli God Yahweh. In one of them, found in Kuntillet Ajrud (north-east of Kadesh Barnea), the following sentence was read: “I bless you through Yahweh and His Asherah”, in another, from Khirbet el-Qom, located in a cave that was a burial place the inscription “May Yahweh and His Asherah bless Uriah” was discovered.

Photo of Ashera source: Wikipedia; License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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