They put up ·stone [sacred] pillars to gods and Asherah ·idols [poles; C a sacred tree or pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah; 13:6; 1 Kin. 14:15] on every high hill and under every ·green [spreading] tree.
The exile came about because of sin: The children of Israel sinned against God, their God, who had delivered them from Egypt and the brutal oppression of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They took up with other gods, fell in with the ways of life of the pagan nations God had chased off, and went along with whatever their kings did. They did all kinds of things on the sly, things offensive to their God, then openly and shamelessly built local sex-and-religion shrines at every available site. They set up their sex-and-religion symbols at practically every crossroads. Everywhere you looked there was smoke from their pagan offerings to the deities—the identical offerings that had gotten the pagan nations off into exile. They had accumulated a long list of evil actions and God was fed up, fed up with their persistent worship of gods carved out of deadwood or shaped out of clay, even though God had plainly said, “Don’t do this—ever!”
And they made to them(selves) images, and maumet woods, in each high hill, and under each tree full of boughs; (And they set up images, or idols, for themselves, and idol groves, or sacred poles, on each high hill, and under each tree full of boughs;)
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