The expression above was spoken by the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah during a period of spiritual rebellion in Judah. Ishtar, a fertility goddess, was a popular idol among the Jews.
Ishtar also was worshipped by Solomon, king of Israel, and his pagan wives. God responded by tearing the kingdom out of his hands and giving 10 of the 12 tribes to Solomon’s adversary Jeroboam.
Although some of Solomon’s predecessors removed or destroyed the idols polluting Judah, it was temporary. Ishtar always returned. Eventually she crept into the Christian church. Bishops at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 replaced Passover, which commemorates Christ’s death and resurrection, with Easter, the English name for Ishtar.
Jews worshipped the Queen of Heaven (Ishtar) openly in Jeremiah’s day. Overwhelmed with the weight of Judah’s sin and coming judgment, the prophet cries, “Ah, Lord GOD!” (Jeremiah 32:17). According to theologian John Gill, the expression “Ah” is repeated three times in the Latin translation of the Bible. Gill says Jeremiah was “greatly distressed with the trouble that was coming upon his people; and, it may be, not without some doubts and temptations about their deliverance.”
This Sunday Christians around the world will fill churches for Easter services.