What are the groves mentioned so many times throughout the Old Testament?
At first glance, the impression you usually get from reading about the groves is that they were merely clumps of trees on a hillside where pagans went to worship an idol. Yet the Bible mentions in II Kings 23:6, how king Josiah took a grove out of the house of the Lord, and burned it and stamped it into powder. How could he do that to a clump of trees? Notice it speaks of the grove in the singular tense. It was something he could pick up. And he hated it so vehemently that he burned it and ground it into bits. Just exactly what is the true meaning of the word grove as defined in the original Hebrew in which the Old Testament was written? In every instance except for one, the Hebrew word for grove is "asherah." The meaning of this word is: "an image or symbol to an ancient pagan goddess 'Astarte'." You can verify this in any Bible dictionary or concordance. The one exception where grove doesn't mean "asherah" is found in Genesis 21:33. Here the Hebrew word is "eshel" and simply means tree. Abraham planted a tree. But that had nothing to do with the "asherah," or groves, mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. There was no religious meaning attached to the tree. Beersheba is a hot, dry place. The tree was for shade. As you will notice in reading the various other scriptures mentioning these groves, they are always in connection with idols, images, pagan worship, etc. A few examples are: II Kings 17:16; 21:7; Exodus 34:13; II Chronicles 14:3; Isaiah 17:8; and Jeremiah 17:2. These groves, or asherahs, were symbols of a pagan goddess called Astarte. All of the heathen nations worshiped her through these images. When Israel came into the land of these pagan peoples, they soon began inculcating this idolatrous practice into their religion also. This was rank idolatry, which God condemned. That is why Josiah smashed the grove he brought out of the temple (II Kings 23:6). He knew it was an abomination to Almighty God in heaven. Here's why it was an abomination — To honor Astarte, men and women practiced prostitution, and positive efforts were made to induce spiritual frenzy through wild dances and self-mutilation (History of the Old Testament, Heidt, p. 127). Not only did the people bow down to the symbol of the queen of fertility, but they carried on a virtual orgy of demons before these images or asherahs. It may surprise you to know that this satanic worship is carried on toddy right in the midst of modern Israel by millions of people!! The key to understanding this fact is the identity of this pagan goddess Astarte, or Asherah. The groves were posts, pillars, images, or denuded and stripped trees dedicated to the worship of this woman. In Hislop's The Two Babylom, on page 307, this queen is identified. "That Semiramis, under the name of Astarte, was worshipped not only as an incarnation of the spirit of God, but as the mother of mankind, we have very clear and satisfactory evidence." Semiramis was deified as Astarte, and worshiped as the sex queen of heaven — the goddess of fertility. The asherahs — or groves — were symbols of fertility used in pagan idolatrous worship of her — the "goddess of fertility." They have been brought down through the generations since her reign until now, by millions who have knowingly or ignorantly been duped into the despicable worship of her. Astounding as it may seem, you probably have many of these symbols or groves right in your home town. They have spread the world over, and stand in mute dedication to the "queen of heaven" — the great whore Semiramis. They are simply obelisks, or upright towers, representing the male sex organ. In Semiramis' day, they were usually erected on a higher rise of ground called in your Bible a "high place." (I Kings 14:23; II Chronicles 17:6.) They were put at the place of worship. Today they are still med at the place of worship in the pagan churches of the world, in the form of steeples perched on top of the church buildings themselves. To clarify this, we find the following in the book entitled Pagan and Christian Creeds by Edward Carpenter: "As to the lingram as representing the male organ, in some form or the other — as upright stone or pillar or obelisk or slender round tower — it occurs all over the world, notably in Ireland and forms such a memorial of adoration paid by early folk to the great emblem and instrument of human fertility, as cannot be mistaken." (Page 183.) Sometimes at the very peak of the steeple a cross is attached supposedly in commemoration of Christ's death on the cross. However, the truth is they too represent the male member. The well-known T-shaped cross was in use in pagan lands long before Christianity, as a representation of the male member. Think how deluded and deceived the world is!! They enter the "church of their choice" every week believing they are worshiping God, when in fact they are merely sitting in a "high place" with an asherah or grove poised over their heads as the symbol of the "goddess of fertility." They worship they know not what. (John 4:22.) Satan is a clever deceiver and liar who has blinded the entire world. (II Corinthians 4:4.) You have been shown the truth, and instead of worshiping a false god with symbols, steeples and groves, you can worship the true God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23.)