Sinai Artifacts from Kuntillet Ajrud

Image: A drawing from Kuntillet Ajrud

Hershel Shanks, the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, has written an article published in The Jerusalem Post in which he reports that the artifacts found at Sinai and returned to Egypt 35 years ago have been found.

Among the artifacts found and returned to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are the famous storage vessels found at Kuntillet Ajrud, a caravanserai located in Northern Sinai. These vessels contain inscriptions that refer to “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah.”

The drawing on these pithoi are very significant because of what they reveal about the religious practices of Northern Kingdom of Israel in the eighth century B.C.

Those who are not familiar with the Kuntillet Ajrud artifacts should read Shanks’ article. The image above is one of the drawings found on one of the pithoi. According to some archaeologists, the woman playing the lyre is Asherah, Yahweh’s consort.

You can read the article here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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3 Responses to Sinai Artifacts from Kuntillet Ajrud

  1. goulablogger says:

    The asherah of the Bible was most often a wooden pole representing the goddess, who was paired with Yahweh in a synthesis of Canaanite religion where El (another name of Yahweh) has a consort named Asherah and a storm god/fertility deity son called Baal. Their worship seems spread over a good part of the ancient Near East, and involved erecting poles or pillars dedicated to the gods.As far as the pithoi, I've read that many consider that the inscription to Yahweh and his Asherah is not actually related to the drawing itself, and that the female lyre player may in fact be male.The KJV "grove" for Asherah comes from the Greek OT and the Vulgate (KJV often resorts to the Latin), but we're now fairly certain living trees aren't meant.(Source: Anchor Bible Dictionary)

    Chuck Grantham


  2. Andy says:

    Interesting picture. Why is Asherah in a shopping cart?


  3. goulablogger says:

    Maybe Yahweh is running away with the credit card before Asherah maxes out the divine credit.

    Chuck Grantham


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