You are here:
  1. » Home
  2. » Areas
  3. » Mythology
  4. » Middle East
  5. » Judaic mythology
  6. » Moloch
Cite/print/rate article
Send comment    References

Moloch

by Micha F. Lindemans
"King". The sun god of the Canaanites (Ammonites?) in old Palestine and sometimes associated with the Sumerian Baal, although Moloch (or Molekh) was entirely malevolent. In the 8th-6th century BCE, firstborn children were sacrificed to him by the Israelites in the Valleye of Hinnom, south-east of Jerusalem (see also Gehenna). These sacrifices to the sun god were made to renew the strength of the sun fire. This ritual was probably borrowed from surrounding nations, and was also popular in ancient Carthage.

Moloch was represented as a huge bronze statue with the head of a bull. The statue was hollow, and inside there burned a fire which colored the Moloch a glowing red. Children were placed on the hands of the statue. Through an ingenious system the hands were raised to the mouth (as if Moloch were eating) and the children fell into the fire where they were consumed by the flames. The people gathered before the Moloch were dancing on the sounds of flutes and tambourines to drown out the screams of the victims.

According to some sources, the Moloch in the Old Testament is not a god, but a specific form of sacrifice.


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Molekh

Page tools: