In the current BBC series, The Bible’s Buried Secrets, Francesca Stavrakopoulou has managed to do what others, such as William Dever (Did God Have a Wife?), have failed to do: make the general public aware that ancient ‘Israelites’ or Judeans once thought that Yahweh was married to a Mrs. Yahweh. That is, polytheism, the worship of many gods, was not a corruption of some earlier Israelite monotheism; rather, monotheism grew out of an earlier Israelite polytheism.
The media is abuzz with reports about God’s wife. My favourite headline is this one from the Discovery Channel:
Asherah’s connection to Yahweh, according to Stavrakopoulou, is spelled out in both the Bible and an 8th century B.C. inscription on pottery found in the Sinai desert at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud.
“The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.”
Also significant, Stavrakopoulou believes, “is the Bible’s admission that the goddess Asherah was worshiped in Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem. In the Book of Kings, we’re told that a statue of Asherah was housed in the temple and that female temple personnel wove ritual textiles for her.”
- Jennifer Viegas, ‘God’s Wife Edited Out of the Bible – Almost’, Discovery News, 18 March 2011