Moloch

Ammonites

The rabbis describe the image of Moloch as a human figure with a bull’s head and outstretched arms ; 2 and the account which they give is confirmed by what Diodorus relates of the Carthaginian Kronos. His image, Diodorus savs,3 was of metal, and was made hot by a fire kindled within it ; the victims were placed in its arms and thence rolled into the fiery lap below. The most usual form of the rite was the sacrifice of their children — espe cially of their eldest sons 4 — by parents. ’ This custom was grounded in part on the notion that children were the dearest possession of their parents, and, in part, that as pure and innocent beings they were the offerings of atonement most certain to pacify the anger of the deity ; and further, that the god of whose essence the generative power of nature was had a just title to that which was begotten of man, and to the surrender of their children’s lives . . . Voluntary offering on the part of the parents was essential to the success of the sacrifice ; even the first-born, nay, the only child of the family, was given up. The parents stopped the cries of their children by fondling and kissing them, for the victim ought not to weep ; and the sound of complaint was drowned in the din of flutes and kettledrums. Mothers, according to Plu tarch,1 stood by without tears or sobs ; if they wept or sobbed they lost the honour of the act, and their children were sacrificed notwithstanding. Such sacri fices took place either annually or on an appointed day, or before great enterprises, or on the occasion of public calamities, to appease the wrath of the god.’ 2

Moloch

Judges GuyPRunkle