GROVE (see also Asherah; אֲשֵׁרָה, H895, Asherah or her cult object; אֵ֫שֶׁל, H869, tamarisk tree).

“Grove” is an incorrect tr. (KJV) of both Heb. words above. This mistranslation of אֲשֵׁרָה, H895, is based on LXX rendering, “groves” (ἄλσος, ἄλση). Asherah was a Canaanite fertility or mother goddess and consort of El (cf. Ugaritic ’atrt, Athirat); and also the wooden cult object or “sacred pole” by which she was represented. Apparently, the plurals Asherim and Asheroth refer only to her images or cult objects. The contexts show that Asherah was a goddess (or an object representing her) who was worshiped along with Baal (Judg 3:7; 2 Kings 23:6). In the time of Elijah, 400 prophets of Asherah ate at Jezebel’s table (1 Kings 18:19). Naturally, Jezebel (a Phoenician/Tyrian) would have promoted the worship of Asherah and Baal. Such worship was denounced by the spiritual leaders of Israel. The Amorite name Abdi-Ashirta (“servant of Asherah”) appears in the Amarna Letters. In Ugaritic, reference is made to “Athirat of the Tyrians.” The word itself is prob. derived from the word meaning “walk, tread” (cf. Ugaritic Athirat Ym, “Athirat of the sea,” which perhaps meant originally, “she who treads the sea”; cf. further W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity, pp. 231, 310, and W. L. Reed, The Asherah in the Old Testament).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) ’asherah.

See nodetitle.

(2) ’eshel (Ge 21:33 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "a tamarisk tree").

See Tamarisk.