1Sa 7:3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
1Sa 7:4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.
1Sa 7:5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the LORD.
Gill writes: Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth,…. Both their male and female deities, of which see Jdg 2:13.
Jdg 2:13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
And they forsook the Lord,…. The worship of the Lord, as the Targum; this is repeated to observe the heinous sin they were guilty of, and how displeasing it was to God:
and served Baal and Ashtaroth; two images, as the Arabic version adds; Baal, from whence Baalim, may signify the he deities of the Gentiles, as Jupiter, Hercules, &c. and Ashtaroth their female deities, as Juno, Venus, Diana, &c. the word is plural, and used for flocks of sheep, so called because they make the owners of them rich; and Kimchi and Ben Melech say these were images in the form of female sheep.
Perhaps, as Baal may signify the sun, so Ashtaroth the moon, and the stars like flocks of sheep about her. Ashtaroth was the goddess of the Zidonians, 1Ki 11:5; the same with Astarte, the wife of Cronus or Ham, said to be the Phoenician or Syrian Venus.
So Lucian says (r) there was a temple in Phoenicia, belonging to the Sidonians, which they say is the temple of Astarte; and, says he, I think that Astarte is the moon; and Astarte is both by the Phoenicians (s) and Grecians (t) said to be Venus, and was worshipped by the Syrians also, as Minutius Felix (u) and Tertullian affirm; the same with Eostre, or Aestar, the Saxon goddess; hence to this day we call the passover Easter (x), being in Eoster-month; and with Andraste, a goddess of the ancient Britains (y).
There were four of them, and therefore the Septuagint here uses the plural number Astartes; so called either from Asher, being reckoned “blessed” ones, or from Asheroth, the groves they were worshipped in; or from עש, “Ash”, and תור, “Tor”, the constellation Taurus or the bull; so Astarte by Sanchoniatho is said to put upon her head the head of a bull, as the token of her sovereignty; See Gill on Gen 14:5.
(r) De Dea Syria. (s) Sanchoniatho apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 1. p. 38. (t) Suidas in voce ασταρτη. (u)In Octavio, p. 6. Apolog. c. 24. (x) Vid. Owen. Theologoumen, l. 3. c. 4. p. 192. (y) lb. c. 11. p. 244.