Who Is Molech In The Bible?
According to the Bible, Molech is the name of a Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice. It is also called God of the Ammonites. Perhaps it was called Malkam, Milkom, and Molech. Molech may have been a title rather than the name of a deity. The Mosaic Law clearly stated that anyone who sacrificed his children to Molech would be put to death.—Lev 20:2; Jer 32:35; Ac 7:43.
The Complete Explanation Of Molech According To The Bible
As with much of ancient history, the precise origins of Molech worship remain unclear. The word Molech is believed to have originated from the Phoenicians or the Phoenician-based Malak, which refers to a type of sacrifice used to confirm the fulfillment or omission of an oath. Molech is the Hebrew word for “king.” It was common for the Israelites to add the names of pagan gods to the vowels of the Hebrew word Sharm: Bosheth. In this way, Astarte, the goddess of fertility and war, became Ashtoreth. “Molech” consequently comes from a combination of the words Malak, Melekh, and Vosheth, which can be interpreted as “a ruler with a personality who has received a shameful sacrifice.” It is also written as milkom, milkam, malik, and Molech. Ashtoreth is her companion, and ritual prostitution was considered an important form of worship.
The Phoenicians gathered as a group of people living in Canaan (modern-day Lebanon, Syria, and Israel) between 1550 BC and 300 BC. In addition to sexual rituals, the worship of Molech also included child sacrifices performed for Baal or “taking children out of the fire.” It is believed that Molech’s statues were made of huge metal sculptures with the head of a bull instead of a man’s head. Each statue had a hole in its stomach and probably had outstretched hands, forming a sort of sacrificial altar in that hole. There was a fire in or around the idol. The children were placed in the hands of the idol or in that hole. A couple who had lost their firstborn believed Molech would bring financial success for their family and future generations.
The worship of Molech was not limited to Canaan alone. Monoliths found in North Africa are filled with engraved images of pillars of stone “Malak”—often written as “Malak’mar” and “Malak’dum.” meaning “the sacrifice of sheep” and “sacrifice of man.” In North Africa, Molech is known as “Kronos.” Kronos moved to Carthage, Greece, and in mythology, his development was a titan and his father. In the form of Zeus, Molech is related to Baal and is sometimes equivalent to him, although the word Baal was also used to designate any god or ruler.
In Genesis 12, Abraham receives God’s call to go to the land of Canaan. Although male sacrifice was not common in Abraham’s native country of Ur, it was well established in his new country. God later told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:2). But then God separated Himself from gods like Molech. Unlike the local Canaanite gods, Abraham’s God hated human sacrifice. God ordered Isaac to be released, and he offered a ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac (Genesis 22:13). God used this incident to illustrate how He would later provide for His Son in our place.
Five hundred years after Abraham, Joshua led the Israelites into the wilderness to enter the Promised Land. God knows that the Israelites were immature and easily turned away from worshiping the one true God (Exodus 32). Before the Israelites entered Canaan, God warned them against worshiping Molech (Leviticus 18:21) and repeatedly told them to destroy cultures that worshiped Molech. The Israelites didn’t listen to God’s warnings. Instead, they incorporated the worship of Molech into their traditions. Even the wisest king, Solomon, got caught up in this cult and worship of Molech and other gods and created a high place for them (1 Kings 11:1-8). Molech worship was performed in “high places” (1 Kings 12,:31) and in a narrow valley just outside Jerusalem, known as the Valley of Hinnom (2 Kings 23,:10).
Despite occasional efforts by righteous kings, Molech’s worship did not end until the Israelites went into exile in Babylon. (Although Babylonian religion was a pantheistic religion and was characterized by astrology and prophetic pronunciation, it did not involve human sacrifice.) Somehow, the spread of the Israelites into a larger pagan civilization eventually succeeded, leading to their false gods. Abandoned. When the Jews returned to their land, they rededicated themselves to God, and the Valley of Hinnom was turned into burning garbage and the dead bodies of criminals. Jesus used the picture of this place—an eternally burning fire, devouring countless suffering humans—to describe hell, where those who reject God will be burned forever (Matthew 10: 28).
The abhorrent pagan rite of child sacrifice was common among the nations of Palestine (Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 3:32). Children, “for Molech a passage through the fire” (Leviticus 18:7–21; 2 Chronicles 28:3). Jewish rabbinic tradition portrays Molech as a brass statue heated with fire, into which victims were thrown.
God forbade this abominable sacrament under the penalty of death. Moses said, And don’t offer any of your kids to Molech as your home, nor profane God’s name (Leviticus 18,21; 20).
However, God’s prohibition was not fully obeyed by the Israelites (2 Kings 16:2,3; 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35; Ezekiel 23:37; Leviticus 20:2-5; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35, etc.). Some kings of Israel, such as Ahaz (2 Kings 16:3) and Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6), were influenced by pagan beliefs and committed this crime at Topheth, near Jerusalem.
As a result, the place was under King Amon, the son of Manasseh. But later, the righteous King Josiah made it clear. Then he defiled Topheth, which was in a valley of the Hinnomites, so that no one could offer Moloch his son or daughters by remaining in the fire (2 Kings 23.10). And this sin continued in Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 7:31).
Molech Name Derived From?
Some scholars have suggested that Molech represents the Canaanite God Mekal, proved by inscriptions in archaeology and that the last two letters are reversed. Others claimed that the name is derived from the combination of the letters of the Hebrew Melek (“king”) with the vowels of Bosheth (“shame”). Bosheth is often used in the Old Testament as another name for the pagan God Baal (“God”).
Since the 1920s has provided evidence for child sacrifice for Baal Hammon in Carthage, North Africa. In 1935, Oisfeldt dated 400-1000 BC. He published his discoveries relating to a Punic inscription from Carthage of the period. He claimed that the words “Molech of sheep” and “Molek of man” were used to designate animal and human sacrifices (Molk als Opferbegriff im Punischen und Hebräischen und das Ende des Gotter Moloch).
In addition, Ji Dosin found manuscripts in Mesopotamia in the city of Mari, proving that the inhabitants worshiped a deity named Muluk in the mid-Euphrates region in the 18th century BC. (Review d’Assariologie, Volume 35, p. 178, , n. 1).
In addition, other Mesopotamian inscriptions have shown that children were offered as sacrifices by fire to another deity by the name of Adrammelech (2 Kings 17:31). Archaeologists concluded a connection between this deity and the deity Muluk, as they both have the same last half of the words.