Don’t blame the women (Jer 44:19-44:19)

“The women said.

‘Indeed,

We will go on

Making offerings

To the queen of heaven.

We will pour out libations

To her.

Do you think

That we made cakes

For her,

With her image,

Without our husbands

Being involved?

Do you think

That we poured out libations

To her

Without our husbands

Being involved?’”

This is one of the few times that women as a group speak. Mostly, it is the men or groups of men who speak. These women complained that their husbands were complicit in this worship of the “Queen of heaven.” Entire families were involved in this goddess worship as indicated in chapter 7 of this work. The children gathered the wood. The men used it to build altars to worship this goddess. The women kneaded the dough and baked cakes with the image of this “Queen of heaven.” None of this would have been possible without their husbands being involved. Women worshiped this fertility goddess because of the importance of bearing children. In fact, quite often the most important role for women was precisely giving birth to a child, since most women desired to have children. Thus, this fertility goddess worship of a “Queen of heaven” was quite common in most ancient societies, even among the Israelites, as can be seen here. This “Queen of heaven” was not a foretelling of the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but rather a nod to the Canaanite female fertility goddess, Astarte, the wife of Baal.

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