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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Moloch

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Mo´loch, or rather Molech, is chiefly found in the Old Testament as the national god of the Ammonites, to whom children were sacrificed by fire. There is some difficulty in ascertaining at what period the Israelites became acquainted with this idolatry; yet various reasons render it probable that it was before the time of Solomon, the date usually assigned for its introduction. Nevertheless, it is for the first time directly stated that Solomon erected a high-place for Molech on the Mount of Olives (); and from that period his worship continued uninterruptedly there, or in Tophet, in the valley of Hinnom, until Josiah defiled both places (; ). Jehoahaz, however, the son and successor of Josiah, again 'did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah, according to all that his fathers had done' (). The same broad condemnation is made against the succeeding kings, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah; and Ezekiel, writing during the captivity, says, 'Do you, by offering your gifts, and by making your sons pass through the fire, pollute yourselves with all your idols until this day, and shall be enquired of by you?' (). After the restoration, all traces of this idolatry disappear.

It has been attempted to explain the terms in which the act of sacrificing children is described in the Old Testament so as to make them mean a mere passing between two fires, without any risk of life, for the purpose of purification. This theory—which owes its origin to a desire in some Rabbins to lessen the mass of evidence which their own history offers of the perverse idolatries of the Jews—is effectually declared untenable by such passages as ; ; ; ; the last two of which may also be added to show that the victims were slaughtered before they were burnt.

 

 

 

 


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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Moloch'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/m/moloch.html.

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Monday, May 25th, 2020
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