Idolatry pervaded Judah and Israel under their first Kings, Jeroboam from the beginning and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, at the end. In 1 Kings 14, God details the decline.
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
The idols reside at the top of hills so that they can be seen and worshipped from a distance. Groves is the translation for Asherah, the fertility goddess. Why the fertility goddess? Because ritual sex had become part of the idolatrous service. One of the stone idols in the figure below is called an Asherah pole. Notice the phallic shape. The same form is achieved by trimming the branches from a tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
Continuing the sexual theme, there were male and female prostitutes integrated into the religious services. Perverted sex during idolatrous service is described by God as part of the “abominations of the nations”.
King Asa, Rehoboam’s son, eradicated the idol worship but left the high places in 1 Kings 15.
9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.
10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.
The good kings by doing what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” , but the wicked kings do what is “evil in the sight of the Lord”.
12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
King Asa drove out the male and female prostitutes in addition to destroying the idols. Even his mother, the Queen, had to be removed and her idol burned, a wood idol in the grove.
13 And also, Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless, Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.
The places of worship remained but the images and people were gone. This pleased God greatly.
Idolatry and sexual perversion recur regularly in the Old Testament.