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Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

16:21 a grove. This command did not forbid the planting of trees for fruit or shade or lumber, but for idol worship. The Hebrew word for “grove” here and elsewhere is usually asherah, which was the name of a goddess worshipped by the Phoenicians and other Canaanites. Her image was commonly erected in special groves of trees planted for that purpose. The goddess Asherah was said to be the wife of the god El, and the mother of Baal and many other false gods.

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