Code by Fab
The Bohemian Grove; intelligence of the know-how.
John Milton in "Paradise Lost" described Moloch as follows:
"First Moloch, horrid king, besmirched with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears,
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,
Their children's cries unheard, that passed through fire
To his grim idol."
the passages where the name "Molech (or Moloch)" shows up
in the Bible
(Lev 20:2) "Moreover, you shall tell the children of Israel, 'Anyone of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who live as foreigners in Israel, who gives any of his seed to Molech; he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones.
(Lev 20:3) I also will set my face against that person, and will cut him off from among his people because he has given of his seed to Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
(Lev 20:4) If the people of the land all hide their eyes from that person, when he gives of his seed to Molech, and don't put him to death;
(Lev 20:5) then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all who play the prostitute after him, to play the prostitute with Molech, from among their people.
(1Ki 11:7) Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the mountain that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon.
(2Ki 23:10) He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
(Jer 32:35) They built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech; which I didn't command them, neither did it come into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.
(Act 7:43) You took up the tabernacle of Moloch, the star of your god Rephan, the figures which you made to worship. I will carry you away beyond Babylon.'
Some definitions from various encyclopedias and dictionaries
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
mo¯´lek, mo¯´lok (?????, ha-mo¯lekh, always with the article, except in 1Ki_11:7; Septuagint ?? ????´?, ho Molo´ch, sometimes also ?????´µ, Molcho´m, ?e???´?, Melcho´l; Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Moloch):
1. The Name
2. The Worship in Old Testament History
3. The Worship in the Prophets
4. Nature of the Worship
5. Origin and Extent of the Worship
1. The Name:
The name of a heathen divinity whose worship figures largely in the later history of the kingdom of Judah. As the national god of the Ammonites, he is known as "Milcom" (1Ki_11:5, 1Ki_11:7), or "Malcam" ("Malcan" is an alternative reading in 2Sa_12:30, 2Sa_12:31; compare Jer_49:1, Jer_49:3; Zep_1:5, where the Revised Version margin reads "their king"). The use of ßas??e?´?, basileu´s, and a?´????, a´rcho¯n, as a translation of the name by the Septuagint suggests that it may have been originally the Hebrew word for "king," melekh. Molech is obtained from melekh by the substitution of the vowel points of Hebrew bo¯sheth, signifying "shame." From the obscure and difficult passage, Amo_5:26, the Revised Version (British and American) has removed "your Moloch" and given "your king," but Septuagint had here translated "Moloch," and from the Septuagint it found its way into the Acts (Act_7:43), the only occurrence of the name in the New Testament.
2. The Worship in Old Testament History:
In the Levitical ordinances delivered to the Israelites by Moses there are stern prohibitions of Molech-worship (Lev_18:21; Lev_20:2-5). Parallel to these prohibitions, although the name of the god is not mentioned, are those of the Deuteronomic Code where the abominations of the Canaanites are forbidden, and the burning of their sons and daughters in the fire (to Molech) is condemned as the climax of their wickedness (Deu_12:31; Deu_18:10-13). The references to Malcam, and to David's causing the inhabitants of Rabbath Ammon to pass through the brick kiln (2Sa_12:30, 2Sa_12:31), are not sufficiently clear to found upon, because of the uncertainty of the readings. Solomon, under the influence of his idolatrous wives, built high places for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom, the abomination of the children of Ammon. See CHEMOSH. Because of this apostasy it was intimated by the prophet Ahijah, that the kingdom was to be rent out of the hand of Solomon, and ten tribes given to Jeroboam (1Ki_11:31-33). These high places survived to the time of Josiah, who, among his other works of religious reformation, destroyed and defiled them, filling their places with the bones of men (2Ki_23:12-14). Molech-worship had evidently received a great impulse from Ahaz, who, like Ahab of Israel, was a supporter of foreign religions (2Ki_16:12 ff). He also "made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel" (2Ki_16:3). His grandson Manasseh, so far from following in the footsteps of his father Hezekiah, who had made great reforms in the worship, reared altars for Baal, and besides other abominations which he practiced, made his son to pass through the fire (2Ki_21:6). The chief site of this worship, of which Ahaz and Manasseh were the promoters, was Topheth in the Valley of Hinnom, or, as it is also called, the Valley of the Children, or of the Son of Hinnom, lying to the Southwest of Jerusalem (see GEHENNA). Of Josiah's reformation it is said that "he defiled Topheth ... that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech" (2Ki_23:10).
3. The Worship in the Prophets:
Even Josiah's thorough reformation failed to extirpate the Molech-worship, and it revived and continued till the destruction of Jerusalem, as we learn from the prophets of the time. From the beginning, the prophets maintained against it a loud and persistent protest. The testimony of Amos (Amo_1:15; Amo_5:26) is ambiguous, but most of the ancient versions for malka¯m, "their king," in the former passage, read milko¯m, the national god of Ammon (see Davidson, in the place cited.). Isaiah was acquainted with Topheth and its abominations (Isa_30:33; Isa_57:5). Over against his beautiful and lofty description of spiritual religion, Micah sets the exaggerated zeal of those who ask in the spirit of the Molech-worshipper: "Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" (Mic_6:6 ff). That Molech-worship had increased in the interval may account for the frequency and the clearness of the references to it in tile later Prophets. In Jeremiah we find the passing of sons and daughters through the fire to Molech associated with the building of "the high places of Baal, which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom" (Jer_32:35; compare Jer_7:31 ff; Jer_19:5 ff). In his oracle against the children of Ammon, the same prophet, denouncing evil against their land, predicts (almost in the very words of Amos above) that Malcam shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together (Jer_49:1, Jer_49:3). Ezekiel, speaking to the exiles in Babylon, refers to the practice of causing children to pass through the fire to heathen divinities as long established, and proclaims the wrath of God against it (Eze_16:20 f; Eze_20:26, Eze_20:31; Eze_23:37). That this prophet regarded the practice as among the "statutes that were not good, and ordinances wherein they should not live" (Eze_20:25) given by God to His people, by way of deception and judicial punishment, as some hold, is highly improbable and inconsistent with the whole prophetic attitude toward it. Zephaniah, who prophesied to the men who saw the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah, denounces God's judgments upon the worshippers of false gods (Zep_1:5 f). He does not directly charge his countrymen with having forsaken Yahweh for Malcam, but blames them, because worshipping Him they also swear to Malcam, like those Assyrian colonists in Samaria who feared Yahweh and served their own gods, or like those of whom Ezekiel elsewhere speaks who, the same day on which they had slain their children to their idols, entered the sanctuary of Yahweh to profane it (Eze_23:39). The captivity in Babylon put an end to Molech-worship, since it weaned the people from all their idolatries. We do not hear of it in the post-exilic Prophets, and, in the great historical psalm of Israel's rebelliousness and God's deliverances (Ps 106), it is only referred to in retrospect (Psa_106:37, Psa_106:38).
4. The Nature of the Worship:
When we come to consider the nature of this worship it is remarkable how few details are given regarding it in Scripture. The place where it was practiced from the days of Ahaz and Manasseh was the Valley of Hinnom where Topheth stood, a huge altar-pyre for the burning of the sacrificial victims. There is no evidence connecting the worship with the temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel's vision of sun-worshippers in the temple is purely ideal (Ezek 8). A priesthood is spoken of as attached to the services (Jer_49:3; compare Zep_1:4, Zep_1:5). The victims offered to the divinity were not burnt alive, but were killed as sacrifices, and then presented as burnt offerings. "To pass through the fire" has been taken to mean a lustration or purification of the child by fire, not involving death. But the prophets clearly speak of slaughter and sacrifice, and of high places built to burn the children in the fire as burnt offerings (Jer_19:5; Eze_16:20, Eze_16:21).
The popular conception, molded for English readers largely by Milton's "Moloch, horrid king" as described in Paradise Lost, Book I, is derived from the accounts given in late Latin and Greek writers, especially the account which Diodorus Siculus gives in his History of the Carthaginian Kronos or Moloch. The image of Moloch was a human figure with a bull's head and outstretched arms, ready to receive the children destined for sacrifice. The image of metal was heated red hot by a fire kindled within, and the children laid on its arms rolled off into the fiery pit below. In order to drown the cries of the victims, flutes were played, and drums were beaten; and mothers stood by without tears or sobs, to give the impression of the voluntary character of the offering (see Rawlinson's Phoenicia, 113 f, for fuller details).
On the question of the origin of this worship there is great variety of views. Of a non-Sem origin there is no evidence; and there is no trace of human sacrifices in the old Babylonian religion. That it prevailed widely among Semitic peoples is clear.
5. Origin and Extent of the Worship:
While Milcom or Malcam is peculiarly the national god of the Ammonites, as is Chemosh of the Moabites, the name Molech or Melech was recognized among the Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Arameans, and other Semitic peoples, as a name for the divinity they worshipped from a very early time. That it was common among the Canaanites when the Israelites entered the land is evident from the fact that it was among the abominations from which they were to keep themselves free. That it was identical at first with the worship of Yahweh, or that the prophets and the best men of the nation ever regarded it as the national worship of Israel, is a modern theory which does not appear to the present writer to have been substantiated. It has been inferred from Abraham's readiness to offer up Isaac at the command of God, from the story of Jephthah and his daughter, and even from the sacrifice of Hiel the Bethelite (1Ki_16:34), that human sacrifice to Yahweh was an original custom in Israel, and that therefore the God of Israel was no other than Moloch, or at all events a deity of similar character. But these incidents are surely too slender a foundation to support such a theory. "The fundamental idea of the heathen rite was the same as that which lay at the foundation of Hebrew ordinance: the best to God; but by presenting to us this story of the offering of Isaac, and by presenting it in this precise form, the writer simply teaches the truth, taught by all the prophets, that to obey is better than sacrifice - in other words that the God worshipped in Abraham's time was a God who did not delight in destroying life, but in saving and sanctifying it" (Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 254). While there is no ground for identifying Yahweh with Moloch, there are good grounds for seeing a community of origin between Moloch and Baal. The name, the worship, and the general characteristics are so similar that it is natural to assign them a common place of origin in Phoenicia. The fact that Moloch-worship reached the climax of its abominable cruelty in the Phoenician colonies of which Carthage was the center shows that it had found among that people a soil suited to its peculiar genius.
Wolf Baudissin, "Moloch" in PRE3; G. F. Moore, "Moloch" in EB; Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 241-65; Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 352 ff; Buchanan Gray, Hebrew Proper Names, 138 ff.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary :
Moloch(Jer_49:1 MOLOCH or melech, "king" of the people. Malcham, Amo_5:26, Milcom, 1Ki_11:5; 1Ki_11:7, though originally the same as Moloch, assumed a modified character in time.) (See MALCHAM; MILCOM.) Ammon's god, related to Moab's god Chemosh. The "fire god", worshipped with human sacrifices, purifications, and ordeals by fire, habitually, as other idols were occasionally; also with mutilation, vows of celibacy and virginity, and devotion of the firstborn. The old Canaanite "Moloch" is always written with the article the Moloch; to him children were sacrificed in Topher in the valley of the children of Hinnom. But Milcom's high place was on the Mount of Olives, and human sacrifices were not offered as they were to Moloch (2Ki_23:10; 2Ki_23:13.) Josiah defiled the sanctuaries of both. Milcom was related to Chemosh, which is called the god of Ammon in Jdg_11:24, though elsewhere the god of Moab (Num_21:29).
Tophet appears again in Zedekiah's reign as the scene of child immolation to Moloch (Jer_32:35.) God sternly forbade any letting their seed pass through the fire to Moloch (Lev_18:21; Lev_20:2-5) on pain of death, which the people should execute; otherwise God Himself would. The passing through the fire may have been sometimes only a fire baptism for purification of the dross of the body; but Psa_106:37-38, shows that often expiatory human sacrifice was perpetrated, "they sacrificed their sons and daughters to "devils" (shedim, "destroyers", as Moloch was), and shed innocent blood ... unto the idols of Canaan" (compare 2Ch_28:3; Jer_19:5). In this respect Moloch answered to Baal the Phoenician sun god, to whom also human burnt offerings were sacrificed; also to Chemosh, to whom Mesha sacrificed his son (2Ki_3:27; Mic_6:7; Eze_16:20; Eze_23:39). Kimchi (on 2Ki_23:10) represents Moloch as a hollow brass humanlike body, with ox's head, and hands stretched forth to receive.
When it was thoroughly heated the priests put the babe into its hands, while "drums" (tophim from whence came Tophet) were beat to drown the infant cries, lest the parent should relent. The image was set within seven chapels: the first was opened to any one offering fine flour; the second to one offering turtle doves or young pigeons; the third to one offering a lamb; the fourth to one offering a ram; the fifth to one offering a calf; the sixth to one offering an ox; the seventh to one offering his son. Compare Amo_5:26 margin, sikut of Moloch, "the covert god." Act_7:43, "the tabernacle of Moloch" (like the sacred tent of the Carthaginians: Diodorus 20:65), the shrine in which the image was concealed; containing also possibly the bones of sacrificed children used for magic. The portable model "tabernacle" (compare Demetrius' silver shrines of Diana, Act_19:24) was small enough to escape Moses' notice. Amos calls Moloch "your Moloch" I am not your king but he, though ye go through the form of presenting Me offerings.
God similarly complains of their mocking Him with worship, while worshipping idols, Eze_20:89. Moses was aware of their clandestine unfaithfulness in general, while not knowing the particulars (Deu_31:21-27). The Latin Saturn corresponds; to the Phoenician Saturn relatives were offered in an emergency (Sanchoniathon). So the Carthaginians, when besieged by Agathoeles, sacrificed to him 200 noble children (Diod. Siculus, 20:14) by placing them one by one in his hands in such a manner that each fell into a pit of fire. Moloch's priests took precedence of the princes, "Chemarim" (Jer_49:3; 2Ki_23:5; Hos_10:5; Zep_1:4).(See CHEMARIM.) Hercules' priest, like Moloch himself, was called Melchart, "king of the city." Adrammelech, the Sepharvaite fire god, is related to Moloch. In 2Sa_12:31 for the Hebrew margin reading malbeen, "brick-kiln," the Hebrew text has Malkeen, "David led through Malkan," i.e. through the place where the Ammonites had burned their children to Moloch. He made their sin their mode of punishment; as they had done to the children, so he did to them.
Smith's Bible Dictionary :
Mo'lech. (king). The fire-god, Molech, was the tutelary deity of the children of Ammon, and essentially, identical with the Moabitish Chemosh. Fire-gods appear to have been common to all the Canaanite, Syrian and Arab tribes, who worshipped the destructive element under an outward symbol, with the most inhuman rites.
According to Jewish tradition, the image of Molech was of brass, hollow within, and was situated without Jerusalem. "His face was (that) of a calf, and his hands stretched forth like a man who opens his hands to receive (something) of his neighbor. And they kindled it with fire, and the priests took the babe and put it into the hands of Molech, and the babe gave up the ghost."
Many instances of human sacrifices are found in ancient writers, which may be compared with the description of the Old Testament of the manner in which Molech was worshipped. Molech was the lord and master of the Ammonites; their country was his possession, Jer_49:1, as Moab was the heritage of Chemosh; the princes of the land were the princes of Malcham. Jer_49:3; Amo_1:15. His priests were men of rank, Jer_49:3, taking precedence of the princes. The priests of Molech, like those of other idols, were called Chemarim. 2Ki_23:5; Hos_10:5; Zep_1:4.
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