THE WOMAN AT THE WINDOW
Ivory plaque: the Woman at a Window
Nobody really knows what the ivory 'woman at the window' plaques were about, but there are plenty of educated guesses.
The most common is that the woman represented the power and fertility of the female - in humans and in Nature. This power was represented by the Assyrian goddess Inanna/Ishtar, but all major ancient religions had a goddess figure who embodied
The Woman at the Window may have been a priestess who acted as an oracle, giving sacred advice to people who consulted her.
The Bible, always hostile to other religions, links the goddess and the 'woman at the window' with prostitution, and claims that the priestesses of the fertility religions practised prostitution as part of their religious duties. (For more information, go to Archaeology - Ancient Religions)
The Bible describes Jezebel appearing at the window just before her death. Scholars suggest that this obliquely suggests she took part in ceremonies related to sacred prostitution.
There may, however, be another explanation for this idea of 'sacred prostitution':
This does not deny that sexual activity was common in rural communities at planting and harvest time - what the old Irish priests used to call "fockin' in the fields". The Book of Ruth makes this fairly obvious - see Bible Women, Ruth proposes marriage to Boaz for the double entendres in the story of Ruth and Boaz when they lie together on the threshing floor.
And certainly the sexual potency of a king was considered an important element in his ability to rule. Bathsheba was only able to steal the throne for her son Solomon when King David was no longer able to have sex with the lovely though unfortunately named Abishag. See Bible women, Bathsheba for this story.
But the sexual act as a common part of formal temple worship? This may simply have been an accusation thrown by the priests of Yahweh at their rivals in the temples of Baal and Asherah.
Whatever the truth, the biblical writers certainly detested Jezebel, who stood for everything they hated: political power in the hands of a woman who promoted worship of the gods of Nature and Fertility.
Other Online Bible Websites
Study famous and historical people, places, artwork and archaelogy of the Holy Bible online.
For more online Bible study resources and activities, visit the following websites:
www.bible-people.info - stories of the Bible's most famous men and women - Moses, Judas, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and more
www.womeninthebible.net - all about Bible women, good and bad: Ruth, Deborah, Mary of Nazareth, Jezebel
www.bible-archaeology.info - archaeological evidence and the Bible - what can we prove?
http://www.bible-art.info/ - Bible paintings and artworks: Nativity, Resurrection, Esther, Martha and Mary
http://www.bible-topten.com/ - Top Ten heroes, bad women, ways to hell, young people, villains, murders, films
http://www.bible-architecture.info/ - more about houses, palaces, temples and fortresses
To search through all websites click HERE »