Ashtaroth

The name of a pagan deity

Hebrew name: עַשְׁתֹּרֶת (ashoreth)

Name meaning: Meaning uncertain

Ashtaroth, also known as Ashtoreth, Ashtart, or Astarte, was a female deity worshipped in the ancient Near East during the time of the Old Testament. In ancient Canaanite mythology, Ashtaroth was the goddess of the hunt, worshiped by many cultures across ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The deity also at some point became associated with fertility. Ashtaroth is thought to be an intentional Hebrew distortion of the name Astarte, as this form of the name only appears in the Bible.1

The name Ashtaroth is mentioned in several passages in the Bible; in context, these passages are most often lamenting Israel’s apparent obsession with worshiping false gods such as Ashtaroth and Baal (e.g. Judges 2:13, Judges 10:6, 1 Samuel 7:3, 1 Samuel 7:4, 1 Samuel 12:10, and 1 Samuel 31:10). 1 Kings 11:5 says that even King Solomon at one point turned his allegiance from Yahweh to Ashtaroth. The Bible condemns the worship of Ashtaroth and other false gods, even describing the worship of these false gods as “provok[ing] the LORD to anger” (Judges 2:13). The prophets associated many of the disasters that befell Israel throughout her history with the rampant idolatry throughout the kingdom, inviting God’s judgment and earnest calls to return to him.

Beesh-terah (Joshua 21:27) – Beesh-terah, or Beth-eshterah (“house of Ashteroth) was the name of a city in the region of Bashan ruled by the Amorite king, Og, known for its many cultic sites devoted to Ashtoreth.

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Peter B. Boeckel. “Ashtoreth”, Lexham Bible Dictionary.

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