The queen of heaven
God told Jeremiah he shouldn’t even pray for the people of Israel because their sins had reached the point that judgment was unavoidable. One of the sins he cited was their worship of the queen of heaven. Entire families were engaged in this worship.
As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.
The people refused to listen to Jeremiah and judgment came. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, captured Jerusalem and the members of the ruling class were killed or taken to Babylon as captives. Some of the people who were left fled to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them. Even then they refused to give up their worship of the queen of heaven.
Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”
And the women said, “When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands’ approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
The queen of heaven was the Sidonian goddess Ashtoreth who was among the many false god the Israelites worshiped.
Today many people serve another queen of heaven. They call Mary, the mother of Jesus, the queen of heaven. Their intention is to honor her. But is it really honoring to Mary to give her the title that once belonged to a goddess so evil that God told Jeremiah not even to pray for those who worshiped her?