Deuteronomy uses unusual parallel terms “the shegar of your herd and the ashtorot of your flock” to describe the offspring of livestock. These are names of the ancient West Semitic fertility goddess known as Ashtoret or by her less familiar bi-name Sheger. Her consort is (sometimes) the god Ashtor. What do we know about these deities and what do they have to do with livestock?
The Torah describes Moses building a copper serpent to heal the Israelites. According to Kings, Hezekiah destroys it because it was being worshiped. Archaeology and history clarify the religious and political meaning of this image.