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of ofAstarte

throughout Queen ofHeaven

But surprisingly, this women's cult did not prosper only in those spheres such as the home and the family where we might expect to find women's religion. To be sure, there is a strong domestic component to the cult, seen especially in Jer. 7:18, where "the children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven." But if Jer. 44:17 and 21 are to be taken at all seriously, then the "Icings and princes" of Judah are also among those who worshiped the Queen. And, if the worship of the Queen of Heaven was a part of the religion of the monarchy, the Queen's cult may also have been at home in what was essentially the monarch's private chapel, the temple. This is certainly suggested by Ezek. 8:14, where the women who participate in the related cult ofwailing over the Queen's deceased lover, Tammuz, sit at the north gates of the temple's inner court. The presence of a temple dedicated to the Queen of Heaven in fifth-century Egypt, a century after Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 44, berates the Judahites who have fled to Egypt for worshiping the Queen of Heaven, is also suggestive.