I don’t mean to be a downer about an exciting “find” like God’s wife, but didn’t we know this? I thought it was pretty widely and commonly understood that a lot of what’s going on in the Old Testament is the definition of a group of people by establishing rules, customs, and beliefs that would differentiate them from their neighbors. And, am I wrong, or do they not spend some substantial time in the Old Testament telling the folks in this community to stop worshiping other gods and burning down and destroying the Queen of Heaven’s holy things?
I mean, this isn’t even an interpretation or speculation, like the scholars who posit that the creation story of Eve and the fruit and the tree and the snake is all symbolic of moving away from polytheism and the eminence of Asherah into monotheism and the eminence of God. This is literally “they went to that temple and burned the sacred trees of the Queen of Heaven.” Not “of the neighboring tribe’s Queen of Heaven.” People within their own group were worshiping her and the worship had to be stamped out.
Well, if she was the Queen of Heaven and God is the King… I mean, I don’t mean to make a case for willful blindness here, but this really can’t be a surprise.
On the other hand, it makes the Bible a lot more soap-opera-like if we imagine the Old Testament is the story of a very messy divorce in which God got custody of the Jewish people (we’ll gloss over how that makes the New Testament the story of God’s rebound affair with a teenage girl and what came of it).
But let’s have our minds blown a little just for fun. Over on Wikipedia, they say that Asherah was not just known as the Queen of Heaven, but in the Ugaritic texts was described as “She who treads on the sea.” Makes you wonder just who was moving upon the face of the water in Genesis 1:2, doesn’t it?