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Judges 2:13

ESV They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.
NIV because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
NASB They abandoned the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.
CSB for they abandoned him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths.
NLT They abandoned the Lord to serve Baal and the images of Ashtoreth.
KJV And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

What does Judges 2:13 mean?

Israel failed to heed God's warnings (Deuteronomy 20:16–18). As expected, their choice to live side-by-side with the depraved Canaanites meant a corruption of their spiritual lives. The people of Israel began to imitate the wicked practices of the Canaanites. This included worship of deities referred to using names such as Baal and Ashtaroth.

In Semitic languages, the term ba'al implies a master or lord. Used in a religious context, it can either mean one of many idols (Judges 2:11) or a specific fertility deity, which the Bible refers to simply as Baal. The female equivalent to these Baals were the Ashtaroth, likely related to the pagan goddess Astarte (Judges 2:13).

Scholars and historians describe many variations between these gods. In the most common version, Baal was the god of fertility and war. He was understood to have a sexual relationship with his female consort, Ashtoreth. The result of their sexual encounters was thought to bring fertility to those who worshiped them, along with abundant crops and herds and the financial security which they brought.

Worship of these Canaanite deities involved depraved practices such as temple prostitution. As is common even today, sexual temptations and the promise of greater wealth are powerful lures, drawing people away from faith in God. In some instances, worship of Canaanite idols included human and child sacrifice. The temptation to sacrifice innocent lives for the sake of prosperity is faced by modern culture, as well, in the form of aborting the unborn.
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