Type: Canaanite Deity
My first encounter with Moloch comes from a silly parody of “Jesus Loves the Little Children”: “Moloch loves the little children / All the children of the world / Black and black and black and black / Stick their ashes in a sack / Moloch loves the little children of the world.” Turns out, there really was a demon/god called Moloch that demanded child sacrifice as offering. He is commonly depicted as a man with the head of a bull, much like the minotaur of Greek mythology. What makes Moloch different from the minotaur is how his worshipers made their sacrifices to him. If you’ve ever seen The Wickerman, this might be a familiar scene: a giant bronze statue with seven chambers for sacrifices, the chamber in the belly used specifically for children. Once the chambers were filled, a fire would be lit under the statue, and the sacrifices would essentially be baked alive. However, there is some debate over whether such a god or demon existed. There is etymological evidence that the name doesn’t refer to any specific deity but the general practice of child sacrifice. There is a similar word in the Punic language which means “sacrifice,” so Moloch could just be a translation issue. Wouldn’t be the first time the Bible got something wrong.