5 to Ashtoreth; in 2 Kings i.
ASTARTE, a Semitic goddess whose name appears in the Bible as Ashtoreth.'
Originating probably, in the observation of the fertilizing effect of rains and streams upon the receptive and reproductive soil, baalism becomes identical with the grossest nature-worship. Joined with the baals there are naturally found corresponding female figures known as Ashtaroth, embodiments of Ashtoreth (see Astarte; Ishtar).
The name is a compound of two divine names; the first part is a form of the Himyaritic `Athtar, the equivalent of the Old Testament Ashtoreth, the Phoenician Astarte, with the feminine ending omitted (Assyr.
Among the Semitic peoples (with the notable exception of the Hebrews) a supreme female deity was worshipped under different names - the Assyrian Ishtar, the Phoenician Ashtoreth (Astarte), the Syrian Atargatis (Derketo), the Babylonian Belit (Mylitta), the Arabian Ilat (Al-ilat).
Homoll (Jahrbiicher fur classische Philologie, cxxv., 1882) explains it as a corruption of Ashtoreth; for other derivations see O.