Asherah as Tree of Life

Pithos A from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, late ninth–early eighth century B.C.E.

Kuntillet ‘Ajrud is an archaeological site on the Sinai Peninsula in present-day Egypt. The site was likely an Israelite trading post or oasis. Excavations undertaken in the 1970s revealed two large pithos jars (used to store water and other liquids) with intriguing drawings and text. The line drawing shown here from pithos A depicts the tree of life, representing the goddess Asherah. Two caprids (goat-antelopes) flank the tree and eat from its leaves. Asherah rests atop a majestic lion. The textual inscriptions found on the jars are, in large part, written in early Hebrew script. These inscriptions repeatedly mention Yahweh and are mostly religious in content. 

Kuntillet ‘Ajrud

Canaanite mother goddess

A West Semitic language, in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written except for parts of Daniel and Ezra. Hebrew is regarded as the spoken language of ancient Israel but is largely replaced by Aramaic in the Persian period.

Short written texts, generally inscribed on stone or clay and frequently recording an event or dedicating an object.

Short written texts, generally inscribed on stone or clay and frequently recording an event or dedicating an object.

Relating to or associated with people living in the territory of the northern kingdom of Israel during the divided monarchy, or more broadly describing the biblical descendants of Jacob.

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