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 was worshipped much earlier by Solomon, king of Israel. God responded by tearing the kingdom from his hands and giving 10 of the 12 tribes to Jeroboam, Solomon’s adversary. But the harlotry continued and God divorced the 10 northern tribes (Jeremiah 3:8). The southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, were exiled to Babylon for similar offenses.
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 should commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection, with Easter, the English name for Ishtar. Easter is mentioned once in the Bible, and only in the Kings James Version (Acts 12:4). It is a mistranslation of the Greek word for Passover.
Jews worshipped the Queen of Heaven (Ishtar) openly in Jeremiah’s day. Overwhelmed by 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.”
On April 12 Christians around the world will fill churches for Easter services.