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The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, making me angry. Bible other translations

“to make cakes.” Providing ritual food to the gods, which would usually be burned up or eaten by the priests, was part of what God meant when He said that His people were not to “serve” other gods. The pagan gods demanded things that required service.

“the Queen of Heaven.” The Queen of Heaven was the Assyro-Babylonian goddess Astarte (also known as “Ishtar,” although at different times and places there is a difference between the two goddesses, and she was worshiped in Canaan as Astoreth. She was widely worshiped in the Middle East, including in the west from Phoenicia on the Mediterranean coast and on into the Mediterranean world, to the east throughout Babylon, and south through Canaan, and she even had worshipers in Egypt. She was connected with fertility, sex, and war, and lust, although exactly which attributes were emphasized differed from place to place and at different times. Statues of her often show her naked. No doubt the ritual sex associated with her worship increased her popularity.

“making me angry.” The NET First Edition text note says, “There is debate among grammarians and lexicographers about the nuance of the Hebrew particle…Some say it always denotes purpose, while others say it may denote either purpose or result, depending on the context.” The people of Israel, the fathers, mothers, and children, did not worship other gods with the purpose of making God angry, so in this context translating the phrase as a result clause is likely more accurate than translating it as a purpose clause. However, it is possible the text is saying that God is venting His frustration and anger by making an ironic, hyperbolic statement, something such as “They do this just to make me angry.” God is an emotional God (and we emotional humans are created in His image), and He could be expressing His frustration with humans by saying they worship other gods to insult Him. The fact is that even if the humans did not worship other gods to spite Yahweh, the demons that were behind the pagan worship did have the purpose of insulting God in mind, and they led the humans astray.


Commentary for: Jeremiah 7:18