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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(Jeremiah 49:1 MOLOCH or melech , "king" of the people. Malcham, Amos 5:26, Milcom, 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 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 (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Kings 23:13.) Josiah defiled the sanctuaries of both. Milcom was related to Chemosh, which is called the god of Ammon in Judges 11:24, though elsewhere the god of Moab (Numbers 21:29).

Tophet appears again in Zedekiah's reign as the scene of child immolation to Moloch (Jeremiah 32:35.) God sternly forbade any letting their seed pass through the fire to Moloch (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 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 Psalms 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 2 Chronicles 28:3; Jeremiah 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 (2 Kings 3:27; Micah 6:7; Ezekiel 16:20; Ezekiel 23:39). Kimchi (on 2 Kings 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 Amos 5:26 margin, sikut of Moloch, "the covert god." Acts 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, Acts 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, Ezekiel 20:89. Moses was aware of their clandestine unfaithfulness in general, while not knowing the particulars (Deuteronomy 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" (Jeremiah 49:3; 2 Kings 23:5; Hosea 10:5; Zephaniah 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 2 Samuel 12:31 for the Hebrew margin reading malbeen , "brick-kiln," the Hebrew text has Μalkeen , "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.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Moloch'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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