Balaam Used Ishtar to Make Israel Commit Treason 

Appendix 5: Balaam Used Ishtar to Make Israel Commit Treason 

Just as Satan enticed Adam and Eve to curse themselves, in the same manner, he uses the sensual goddess Ishtar to ensnare mankind and even God’s own people. The gods Moses encountered when entering Canaan were Baal and Ashtoreth, or as they were also called, Dumuzid and the queen of heaven, Inanna. When Israel came to the border of Moab, King Balak hired the prophet Balaam to curse Israel. After several failed attempts, it became clear that Israel was blessed, and no one could bring a curse against her; that is, a frontal attack would not work. God turned the intended curse into a blessing. This means that when people intend to curse Israel, God can turn it into a blessing. 

Balaam could not curse them, but he was greedy and thus found a way to have the people curse themselves. They sent in the young ladies of Moab to entice the Israelite men by saying, “Hey boys, you want to see how we ‘worship’ Baal of Peor (Numb 25).  

Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel (Num 25:1–3).  

Satan has continued to use this old trick because it works like a charm. Nevertheless, the “women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD” (Num 31:16).  

Baal of Peor was a savage god who demanded a terrible price from his devotees. Yet as we have seen, Baal, Marduk and Ninurta are variations of the Nimrod-the-Rebel-who-became-a-gibbor theme. 

And of course, behind Nimrod was Satan. The root of this rebellion started with Nimrod in the land of Shinar (Sumer). 

Shortly before his death, Moses warned Israel that when God brought them into Canaan to dispossess the nations, they must not follow after the false gods (See Deut 12:31).  

By getting Israel to worship Satan and his consort, Ashtoreth, the queen of heaven, they brought themselves under the curse of YHWH. Satan did the same thing with Adam and Eve. He did not try to kill Adam. He got Adam to do it himself. In fact, he did not go directly to Adam. He went through Eve, and then Adam followed suit. He incited Adam and Eve to covet something that was not theirs; and they lusted after counterfeit pleasure, gave in to temptation and transgressed. God has already promised us delights in His kingdom, but Satan promises us immediate, counterfeits in his kingdom.  

Figure 66 Inanna and Dumuzid reproduction of a Sumerian sculpture from http://www.reweaving.org/inanna3.html 

Ezekiel says that God: “brought me in visions … to Jerusalem, to the door of the temple … where the seat of the image of jealousy was” [This is referring to an image of one of these gods or goddesses], which provokes jealousy (Ezek 8:3). “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary” (Ezek 8:6). … “and there–every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls” (Ezek 8:10). … “and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz” [Dumuzid] (Ezek 8:14) (See Figure 66).  

They were in God’s house, but they were not worshiping God. They were worshipping other things. Notice what God says in the book of Jeremiah:  

Jeremiah confronted a group of Judeans who decided to pack up and go to Egypt, by saying, “Don’t leave, worship God”, and their response―“No!” 

“But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble (Jer 44:17). 

In other words, “Don’t tell us to come back to God, Jeremiah, because when we worshiped the queen of heaven, life was good for us. Things were good when we did that.” That is the lie―that by worshipping these false gods, the people become convinced that the gods are looking out for their good, but they are not; the ultimate end is disaster. The gods may promote their well-being for a short time, but it is a house of cards that comes crashing down. And what is worse, their infidelity in whoring after foreign gods alienates them from their Creator and His love and provision.