Between the 10th century BC and the beginning of their exile in 586 polytheism was normal throughout Israel; it was only after the exile that worship of Yahweh alone became established, and possibly only as late as the time of the Maccabees (2nd century BC) that monotheism became universal among Jews. Some biblical scholars believe that Asherah at one time was worshiped as the consort of Yahweh, the national God of Israel. There are references to the worship of numerous Gods throughout Kings, Solomon builds temples to many Gods during his reign and Josiah is reported as cutting down the statues of Asherah in the temple Solomon built for Yahweh. (Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, had erected this statue. 2 Kings 21:7) Further evidence includes, for example, an 8th-century combination of iconography and inscriptions discovered at Kuntillet Ajrudin the northern Sinai desert where a storage jar shows three anthropomorphic figures and an inscription that refers to “Yahweh … and his Asherah”. The inscriptions found invoke not only Yahweh but El and Baal, and two include the phrases “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah” and “Yahweh of Teman and his Asherah.”  There is general agreement that Yahweh is being invoked in connection with Samaria (capital of the kingdom of Israel) and Teman (in Edom); this suggests that Yahweh had a temple in Samaria, and raises a question over the relationship between Yahweh and Kaus, the national god of Edom. The “Asherah” is most likely a cultic object, although the relationship of this object (a stylised tree perhaps) to Yahweh and to the goddess Asherah, consort of El, is unclear. Further evidence includes the many female figurines unearthed in ancient Israel, supporting the view that Asherah functioned as a goddess and consort of Yahweh and was worshiped as the Queen of Heaven.