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Molech (also variously known as Moloch, Milcom, Malcam) was the name given to the national pagan god of the Ammonites, a people descended from Abraham's nephew Lot. Their territory was generally across The Jordan River from Israel in what is today part of the Kingdom of Jordan (Jordan's modern-day capital city, Amman, is named from the Ammonites). Worship of Molech included people burning their own children to death in fire, often by placing them in the arms of a hollow metal idol of Molech that had been heated very hot with a fire burning inside. The Ammonites were not the only ones who participated in this evil, the Israelites too became perverted by it - including wise-in-his-youth (1 Kings 3:7-12) King Solomon who became a corrupt fool (1 Kings 11:4-6) in his old age.

Valley Of Hinnom Molech

The Lord warned the Israelites to have nothing to do with Molech:

"You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane The Name of your God: I am The Lord" (Leviticus 18:21 RSV)

King Solomon however became corrupt in his old age, morally and religiously (see Solomon's Compromise):

"For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to The Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of The Lord, and did not wholly follow The Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem (i.e. The Mount Of Olives)." (1 Kings 11:4-7 RSV)

Subsequent kings of Israel and Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah) were often as corrupt as Solomon, including King Manasseh who turned the Valley Of Hinnom (shown in the photograph, see also Where Is Hell?) into a place where the pagan worshipers did all sorts of vile and wicked things - including burning children alive as sacrifices to Molech. One section of the valley was called Tophet, or the "fire-stove," where the children were slaughtered (2 Kings 23:10). It was a place of tremendous evil for many years.

"And he built altars in the house of The Lord, of which The Lord had said, "In Jerusalem shall My Name be for ever." And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of The Lord. And he burned his sons as an offering in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and practiced soothsaying and augury and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of The Lord" (2 Chronicles 33:4-6 RSV)

Fact Finder: Was the division of Israel into 2 kingdoms, Israel and Judah, a God-commanded punishment for Solomon's apostasy?
1 Kings 11:29-35
See also Rehoboam

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