"The Queen of the Night Relief", Old Babylonian, 1800-1750 BC, From southern Iraq, (British Museum)
"The figure could be an aspect of the goddess Ishtar[Ashtoreth], Mesopotamian goddess of sexual love and war, or Ishtar's sister and rival, the goddess Ereshkigal who ruled over the Underworld, or the demoness Lilitu, known in the Bible as Lilith. The plaque probably stood in a shrine."
Judges 2:1-3 - Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3 So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”
What a difference a few pages in my Bible has made. Joshua has died, and already God is upset that the Israelites have not driven out all of the inhabitants, and as a result have fallen prey to worshiping their false gods, like Ashtoreth (sex goddess shown above).
It serves to teach us a lesson with respect to our natures. A great many, in our post-modern times would believe that man is basically good. However, the Scriptures teach us the complete opposite.
Here we see the Israelites, transformed from slaves in Egypt, to entering the promised land, and in less than a generation, they are lusting after foreign gods, and participating in evil idolatry.
I suppose we should understand that we are to be always on our guard, to fight against becoming the frog, slowly boiled to death in water.
As I reflect on this story, I am also reminded of how we might begin to understand contentment, in spite of the thorns in our sides. If God didn't provide the thorns, we would likely, in our pride, also fall prey to the worship of all sorts of idols.
Therefore, if we believe in the sovereignty of God, we should look for, and find contentment, and even joy in our thorns.
That is most contrary to our nature, isn't it?