Encyclopaedia Biblica/Molech-Moth

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Heb. H/Sn, Lev. 20s, in MT always pointed with the article except in 1 K. 11:7 ;LXX in Pent. ap\iav [archon], o apx<av [ = ~/C, as in Gen. 49:20, Nu. 23:21, Dt. 17, 14:15, etc.], in i K. 11:7 [LXX{L}, ^eA^o/x [melchom] ] Jer. 3^35 /3a(TiAeus, which was probably the original rendering in all passages in Kings and Prophets where later Greek translators find Molech ;- Aq. Symm. Theod. MoAox, which has intruded into LXX{B NA} as a doublet in Jer. 32:35 [ 39:35] and in different manuscripts in a number of other places ; in some cases it has supplanted the rendering 'king', as in LXX{Q}, , etc., in Jer. 32:35, LXX{AB} 2 K. 23:10 [LXX{L} MeA^o^i [melchom], cp v. 13], v d- o">- Am. 5:26 [see Hexapla]; Pesh. in Pent., following an old Jewish exegesis, 3 interprets of impregnation of a heathen woman ; 2 K. 23:10, Jer. 32:35 'amlek [1 K. 11:7, Am. 5:26, Zeph. 1:5, Malkom, Milcom] ; Tgg. -]Sl2-

1. Name.[edit]

The name of a deity to whom the Judaeans in the last ages of the kingdom offered their own children in sacrifice with peculiar rites. The places in which the name Molech occurs in MT are Lev. 18:21, 20:2-5, 1 K. 11:7{4}, 2 K. 23:10, Jer. 32:35 [ = 39:35]; Greek translators have Moloch also in Am. 5:26 Zeph. 1:5. Allusions to the worship of Molech are recognised by many modern scholars in Is. 30:33, 57:9 (EV 'the king' ) ; but the view of Geiger, who found references to this cult in a much larger number of passages, has been generally rejected. 5 The evidence of MT and the versions, a brief summary of which is given above, shows that the older interpreters took the word (-]^a. I^Dn) not as a proper name, but as an appellative or a title used in the cultus (see below, 5), and read it melek, 'ruler, king' ; the pronunciation molek 6 is probably an intentional twist, giving the word the vowels of boseth, shame. 7

The oldest witness to the pronunciation molek is the text of Acts 7:43. The name does not occur in Philo, Josephus, or any of the remains of the Jewish Hellenistic literature of the time, and is not found even in the Greek Ononmatica. In Jubilees 30:10 the Ethiopic text has Moloch, but the Old Latin version alienigena (see footnote 3 below).

1 Moloch, EV Acts 7:43, AV Am. 5:26.

2 Cp the variants of LXX and the Hexapla in Zeph. 1:5, Am. 5:26 where the testimony is confused under the influence of Acts 7:43 Is. 3033.

3 Cited to be condemned in M. Megilla, 4g; cp Tg.Jer. 1 on Lev. 18:21 ; see Geiger, Urschrift, 303. Add Jub. 30:10 Lat. alienigena.

4 In 1 K. 11:7, Molech is an error for Milcom; cp MILCOM, 1

5 Geiger, Urschrift, ^odff. ; against Geiger, Oort, Menschen- offer, 6oj/f.\ Knenen, Th. T 2 562_/; Eerdmans, Melekdienst, 23, f.

6 MoAoy, Moloch, by vowel assimilation ; cp Boo, A^u/co/n, etc., b rankel, Vorstuditn, 119.

7 Geiger, Urschrift, 301 (1857); Dillmann, MB AW, 1881, June 16; G. Hoffmann, ZATH 3i24 (1883); WRS Rel. Sei.(~), 372 n., and many. Cp the substitution of boseth for ba'al in Jer. 3:24, 11:13, Hos. 9:10 ; also T/ a.i<r\vim), f; BaaA (ij MoAox - 47 2 K. 23 10). See IDOL, 3.

2. The sacrifice.[edit]

The term regularly employed to describe the rites of Molech worship is Tsyn (he'ebir), cause to pass, make over to a deity, synonymous with give or pay (in sacrifice) ; thus, to Yahwe (firstlings), Ex. 13:12; to Molech, Jer. 32:35 Lev. 18:21 (in the latter a doublet or gloss to give, cp Ezek. 16:21); cp 'give to Molech', Lev. 18:21, 20:2-4; 'make over' victims to idols, Ezek. 16:21, 23:37; frequently, 'make over, offer, by fire' (without the name of the deity), Dt. 18:10, 2 K. 16:3, 17:17, 21:6, 2 Ch. 33:6, Ezek. 20:31 (LXX generally didyfiv iv irvpi); 'make over by fire to Molech' (2 K. 23:10). The common rendering, 'make (a son or daughter) pass through the fire to Molech' (so EV), is also possible, if 'to Molech' be understood not locally but as the dedication of the sacrifice. The verb occurs so constantly in this connection that were it not for Ex. 13:12 it would doubtless have been regarded as belonging distinctively to the Molech cult.

The words ^.xa T3j;n, rendered 'cause to go through the fire', have often been thought to describe a ceremony of consecration or februation by passing through fire, -* such as has been practised in different forms and on different occasions in all parts of the world, 3 the Roman Palilia being a familiar example. 4

Thus Theodoret (Qu<est. 47 in iv. Reg.} brings to the explanation of the phrase customs which had fallen within his own observation : 'I have seen in some cities once in the year fires lighted in the public squares, and persons leaping over them and jumping - not merely boys but grown men, while infants were handed through the flame by their mothers. This was regarded as an expiation and purification'. The 65th Canon of the Concilium Quinisextum (692 A.D.), in forbidding under severe penalties the ancient custom of leaping over bonfires in the streets at the new moon, quotes as warrant for the prohibition 2 K. 21:65

This interpretation is old ; it is expressed in LXX Dt. 18:10, 'No man shall be found among you who purifies his son or daughter by fire' ; 6 cp Vg. Jer. 32:35 tit initiarentfilios suos et filias suas Moloch. The Mishna seems to understand the rite as an initiation not as a sacrifice ; 7 in the Babylonian Talmud Rabbi Abaye (4th cent.) explained the custom as he imagined it: there was a row of bricks with fires on both sides of it, between which the child must pass. His contemporary Raba compared it to the Jewish custom of swinging over the Purim bonfires. 8 Similarly Jewish interpreters in the Middle Ages - e.g. , Rashi on Lev. 18:21 : the father handed over his son to the heathen priests ; they built two large fires between which the boy was made to pass. 9 It is generally assumed that the child went through unscathed (so Rashi, Maimonides) ; but others believed that the ordeal had a more serious ending : the child was compelled to go back and forth til! the flames seized him or he fell into the fire ; 10 or at least that the trial was sometimes fatal. Another old interpretation of the laws in Lev. 18:21, 20:2-5 (commerce with heathen women) has been mentioned above ( i, n. 3).

The testimony of both the prophets and the laws is abundant and unambiguous that the victims were slain and burnt as a holocaust: see Jer. 7:31, 19:4-6, cp 32:35, Ezek. 16:20-21, cp 23:37-39 (? 24:6+), Dt. l2:31. cp 18:10 also 2 K. 17:31 ; see further Jer. 3:24 Is. 57:5-6, 57:9, Ps. 106:37-38. These passages, it will be observed, prove also that the children were not burnt alive, but were slaughtered like other sacrificial victims ; see especially Ezek. 16:20-21, 23:37-38, cp also Gen. 22. Josephus, therefore, correctly interprets 2 K. 16:3 when he says of Ahaz, 'he also sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to the idols' (oXo/cai/rwcre), according to the custom of the Canaanites'. Some of the midrashim give gruesome descriptions of the roasting of children in the arms of the idol of Molech (see below, 3).

Ibn Ezra bluntly explains the word Tayn as equivalent to ;nir, 'burn', 'for thus was the cult'. l Many scholars have endeavoured to reconcile these conflicting views in the theory that children were sometimes only 'passed through' the fire in rites of initiation or februation, sometimes actually burned. Analogies have been cited both for the attenuation of a sacrifice to a symbolical delivery to the flames, and for the growth of a real offering out of a more harmless rite. 2

1 For this interpretation see Vitringa, Otss. sacr.,\\\>. 2, chap. 1; Kuenen, Th.T\(,off. (1867); Dillmann, Exod. Lev.P) 141/1 590; Eerdmans, Melekdienst, 7 f.

2 Cp Nu. 31:23, of the spoil of war whatever will stand fire, nriBl EJN3 VVajm, 'ye shall pass through the fire and it shall be clean' ; cp the following clause on purification by water.

3 On fire festivals and ceremonies see Mannhardt, Bautnkul- tus, 497 (f. ; Frazer, Golden Bought-), 3 237 //.

4 Ovid, Fasti, \i*ijff. 5 Mansi, 11 073.

6 iTfpiKa.8a.ipuv, Vg. ijiti lustret; cp Chrysost. Ham. injoann. 1 16, <t>oif}dfeii>. F om. tv jrvpi.

7 M. Sanhedrin, 7:7 : cp Tos. Sanhedr. 10:4-5 ; Siphre on Dt. 18:10 : Jer. Sanhedr. 7:13 (fol. 25 b c) ; Bab. Sanhedr. 64 a b.

8 Bab. Sanhedr. 64 b ; see Aruch, s.v. ine - On the Purim fires, see Frazer, Golden Bought, 3 172^

9 Cp kashi on Sanhedr. 64^; Maimon., Yad Hazaka, Abodah Zarah, 63 ; More Kiboklim, 3:37.

10 See Aruch, I.c.

3. Seat of the worship.[edit]

The only seat of this cult of which we have certain historical knowledge is Jerusalem. The catalogue of the sins for which the northern kingdom was destroyed, 2 K. 17:7+, in which the Israelites are charged with offering their sons and daughters by fire (v. 17, wayi), was drawn up by a deuteronomistic writer (in the sixth century) from Dt. , Jer. , and Ezek. The prophets of the eighth century, in their indictment of contemporary Israel, say nothing of such sacrifices. (On 2 K. 17:31 and Is. 57:3+, see below, 4.)

In Am. 5:26, CD37D D12D HN nnNC 3l! LXX has TOU MoAox [ton moloch] (cp Acts 7:43), Vg. Ufa lock (Aq. MoA^Oju., Pesh. walkdiii), and many interpreters down to our own time find here the name of Molech (see AV), some - chiefly older scholars - thinking that the idolatry of the forefathers in the wilderness is meant, 3 others, foreign cults of the author's own time. If, however, 'Siccuth' (Sakkut) is, like 'Chiun' (Kaiwan), the proper name of a Babylonian deity, as is now the generally accepted and most probable opinion, CD2?D can only be appellative, 'your king', and thus, apart from the question of the genuineness of the verse, the reference to Molech disappears; see CHIUN, and AMOS, 13 [but cp MOSES, 11 ; SHECHEM, 11.] Even with the appellative interpretation of niDD> 'tabernacle', 4 the verse would testify only that to some (unnamed) god the epithet 'king' was applied ; there is no allusion to the peculiar rites of Molech worship. Hos. 13:2 has been understood to refer to human sacrifice {5} to the calves of Israel (not Molech); but the better interpretation is, 'Human offerers kiss calves!' 6

The place of sacrifice at Jerusalem was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom (see HINNOM, VALLEY OF ; JERUSALEM, col. 2423 n. 7), just without the city gate Harsith (Jer. 19:2), not far from the Temple, and is called the 'Tophet' ( rann). 7 This pronunciation of the name is probably, like Molech, one of the cases in which MT has given a word of idolatrous association the vowels of boseth. (Geiger ; see above, i ) ; cp LXX 6a<f>e6, Ta<f>ft), 6a<p(f>fd [thapheth, tapheth, thaphpheth], Pesh. tappath. On the derivation and meaning of the word see TOPHET. If we may connect it with Aram, rsn (Jer.Tgg. , Talm. ) and the cognate words (see especially RSW 377 n . ), nan (pronounced tephath) is a loan word of Aramaic origin (cp Heb. aipUtA, and the denom. vb. saphath, set (a pot) on the fireplace). 8 The meaning 'fireplace' would agree well with Is. 30:33, the only passage in the OT which seems to describe Tophet.

1 Geiger's surmise, on Lev. 18:21 (Urschrift 305), based on MT 2 Ch. 28:3 (against all the versions) compared with 2 K. 16:3, that the original reading was everywhere YiQil, consume by fire, for which T2J?n is a euphemistic substitute, is generally rejected.

2 See G. Voss, De origine . . . idolatria, lib. 2, ch. 5 ; Spencer, De li ifibiis ritnalibus, lib. 2, cb. 13, 2. Braun, Selecta Sacra, 4,l\.ff.\ Witsius, Miscell. Sacra, lib. i diss. 5, i8yC

3 See Kuenen, Religion of Israel, 1250; cp Th.T 2592 (1868). Literature of the question in Eerdmans, Melekdienst, 142 n. ; further, Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 257 Jf.

4 So, most recently, Nath. Schmidt, JBL 13 g/. (1894).

5 So Oort, Kuenen, Eerdmans (23).

6 Wellhausen, Stade, Nowack, and others.

7 On human sacrifices outside of cities see WRS Rel. Set.<~) 371+

8 The supposed Aramaic origin of the word seems at variance with the probably Phoenician origin of the cult ; see below, 6.

Whatever explanation be given of the form, the word tophte is obviously synonymous with nDn . it is a fireplace, apparently a pit or trench - 'deep and wide' - in which the fuel was piled. 1 Compare the \a.<nt.a. TrArjpe? n-upoj [chasma pleres pyros] in Dipdorus' description (probably from Duris of Samos) of the child sacrifices of the Carthaginians (20:14), and the lines of Euripides, Iphig. in Taur. 6:21-22., quoted by Diodorus in the same connection, where Orestes, about to be sacrificed asks, Toic^os 8e jroio? Seferai ft oral/ Bavut; Iphigenia answers: irvp tepbi/ fv&ov x<i<Tfj.a. T evpu>7rbi> jreVpas.2

The language of Jeremiah when he says that the people of Judah had built high places of Tophet (7:31), or of Baal (19:5, 32:35), does not contradict this inference, for these expressions mean no more than a 'heathen sanctuary' (see HIGH PLACE, 5).

There is nothing in the OT about an image at this sanctuary ; Ezek. 16:20-21 is hardly - in this rhetorical indictment - to be put into such close connection with v. 17, that we should understand the 'images of a male' in the latter verse of a Molech idol to whom the children were sacrificed; 3 and the author of 2 K. 23:10 would scarcely have failed to mention the image, if one had been there.

The descriptions of the idol of Molech in Echa rabbathi on Lam. 1:9, andY1 alkut on Jer. 7:31 (from Midrash Yelammeaenu, cp Tanchuma, ed. Buber, Debarim, fol. 8 a) which have been repeated by many Jewish and Christian authors, are not only much too late to have any value as evidence to the fact, but are manifestly derived from Greek accounts of the image of Kronos to which the Carthaginians burned their sons. 4

That the 'Tophet' was to the Molech worshippers a very holy place is evident from 2 K. 23:10, but especially from Jer. 7:32 : in the day when the Valley of Ben Hinnom shall be called the Valley of Slaughter, they shall bury the slain in Tophet for want of room, and thus be constrained themselves to defile it (cp Ezek. 9:7, of the temple), Jer. 19:12.

4. Age of the cult in Judah.[edit]

The testimonies in the OT concerning the sacrifice of children to Molech with peculiar rites - the question is not here of the antiquity of human sacrifice in general 5 - relate chiefly to the seventh and the beginning of the sixth century B.C. We have, indeed, a statement that Ahaz (reigned from about 734) 'offered his son by fire' (2 K. 163, T35;n)p and many scholars are accordingly of the opinion that the cult was introduced in the eighth century - most likely by Ahaz himself, whose penchant for foreign fashions in worship is known (2 K. 16:10-16). There is no intrinsic improbability in this ; but we may hesitate to affirm the fact on the sole testimony of the author of Kings (end of 7th cent. ) in his pragmatic judgment of the reign of Ahaz (2 K. 16:1-4). The prophets of the eighth century - in striking contrast to those of the next - make no mention of child sacrifices in their enumeration of the sins of their contemporaries ; and, if Ahaz really offered up his son it would be more natural to regard it as a last resource in desperate straits, 6 like Mesha's sacrifice (2 K. 3:26-27), than as an early instance of the Molech cult.

Is. 30:33 (cp 3) obviously plays upon this cult : for the enemies of Judah a vast fire pit is prepared (tophie), like the Tophet in the Valley of Ben Hinnom ; 'this, too, is for the king', as that Tophet for the king-god ('Molech' ). The elimination of the latter clause (Duhm) removes but half the difficulty. If the horrid rites of Tophet had been as familiar in Isaiah's day as this verse implies, is it conceivable that we should have but one reference to them, and that in sarcasm rather than in abhorrence? The difficulty would not exist if we could assume that tophte was a common name for a fire pit, which only later became specifically associated with the offerings to Molech, but the probability is that topheth (tephath) is a foreign word which was adopted with the cult (see above, 3) ; the corresponding Hebrew words have not developed similar meanings.

1 See Che. Isaiah (SBOT) 157.

2 Examples of burning men in fire pits are cited from Arabic literature by WRS Rel. Sciii.(-l, 377.

3 Kuenen, Th. T2 577 jf., cp 5747^ Oort, Menschenoffer, 79 f. thinks that Molech was properly the name of the image, which was arranged to serve as an altar.

4 See Moore, //> 16i6i ff. (1897). For the Greek and Roman testimonies see Maximilian Mayer, in Roscher, Lex.2 1 501 ff. See also WRS Rel. Sem. (2), 377 n.

6 See SACRIFICE, 13.

6 As the occasion we should probably think of the invasion of Judah by Pekah and Rezin (Is. 7:1, 2 K. 16:5). But it would be strange that we find no allusion to the deed in Is. 7-8.

Is. 30:27-33, as a whole, is regarded by several recent critics as post-exilic (Guthe, Hackmann, Cheyne), and this may be confidently affirmed of r . 30 ; the tone of the allusion is rather that of a writer remote from these atrocities, than of a prophet in the midst of the struggle against them.

In the last half century of the kingdom of Judah the denunciations of the prophets (Jer. 7:31, 19:5+, 32:35, cp 3:24 ; Ezek. 16:20-21, 36:20-26, 31:28, 37:39, cp Mic. 6:6-8) and the prohibitions of the legislation (Dt. 18:10, cp 12:31 ; Lev. 18:21, 20:2-5) 1 prove that the sacrifice of children was a common thing, not on occasions of extremity, but as part of an established cult. The victims were frequently, if not always, firstborn sons or daughters of their mother (Ezek. 20:26, cp Mic. 6:7 ; see below, 7). The author of Kings, in his recital of the sins of Manasseh for which Judah was doomed (2 K. 21:2-9, cp Jer. 15:4), includes the offering of his son by fire (r. 6, T3JJ.1, see also 23:10), and although the verse is little more than an application to Manasseh of Dt. 18:10-11. and the testimony of such catalogues of crimes is always to be taken with caution, in this case it may very well be true. A public cult of this kind is more likely to have been introduced from above than to have sprung up from below ; particularly if, as we shall in the sequel find reason to think probable, the peculiar rites came from abroad.

The sacrifices were suppressed and the sanctuary dismantled and defiled by Josiah in 621 (2 K. 23:10); but the worship was revived under Jehoiakim and continued till the fall of Jerusalem (Jer. 11:10-13, Ez. 20:30-31). Is. 57:5 has sometimes been thought to attest the survival - or revival - of the sacrifice of children among the descendants of the ancient Israelites at a very late date ; 2 cp v. g where the 'king' is under stood of the divine king ( 'Molech', Ewald) ; but the evidence is of doubtful interpretation, and it is uncertain how far the writer is describing cults of his own time.

1 Perhaps only 20:2a is the old law ; see LEVITICUS, 18.

2 Verse 5 is regarded by Duhm and Cheyne as secondary in a late context. That Is. 56:9-57:11a is not a fragment of a prophet contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as was thought by critics of the last generation, is now generally recognised.

3 On the religious importance of these ejriicA7J<reis [epikleseis] see Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, 1:35.

5. To whom were the sacrifices offered ?[edit]

It has generally been held that these sacrifices were offered to a foreign god named Molech, cognate or perhaps identical with the Ammonite Milcom, whose worship for some reason received a great impulse in the last century or two before the fall of Judah. The language of the prophets seems to confirm this view : Jeremiah calls the place of sacrifice the high place of the baal (i.e., a heathen deity, Jer. 19:5, 32:35), the baal (MT boseth) had devoured the children of the Judaeans (3:24) ; Ezekiel speaks of sacrificing children to idols (23:39, gillulim), and characterises the worship as fornication (e.g., 16:20) or adultery (23:37), expressions which since Hosea had been standing metaphors for apostasy. There can, indeed, be no question that to the prophets this cult was an apostasy to heathenism ; as little can we doubt that the rites were introduced from a foreign religion (see below). But we cannot be equally certain that the judgment of the prophets accurately reflects the intention of the worshippers ; we shall find evidence in the prophets themselves that those who brought these sacrifices devoted them to no foreign god.

The pronunciation 'Molech', as we have seen ( i), is a figment of Jewish readers ; the word was originally spoken as it was meant by the writers, ham-melek, 'the king', a title or 7ri/c\i7<ris [epiklesis], 3 not a proper name. There is a strong presumption that the deity who was thus addressed in Jerusalem was the national God, Yahwe. The title 'king' implies the belief that the god to whom it is given rules the destinies of the people ; and whatever foreign deities Manasseh admitted to his pantheon, he and his people never ceased to acknowledge Yahwe as the god of Israel.

'The king' (melek) is, in fact, a common title of Yahwe : see Is. 6:5, 'the king, Yahwe of Hosts' ; Jer. 46:18, 'As I live saith the king, whose name is Yahwe of Hosts' (cp 48:15); Is. 44:6, 'Yahwe, the king of Israel' (cp 41:21, 43:15, Zeph. 8:15); a contemporary of Jeremiah bears the name Malchiah, 'my king is Yahwe' (Jer. 21:1, 38:1), nor is there any reason to think that in the older names Malchishua (son of Saul, 1 S. 31:2), Abitmelech (Judg. 9:1), Ahimelech (a priest of Yahwe, contemporary of David, 1 S. 21-22, 2 S. 8:17), melek is to be understood otherwise ; note the analogy of baal-names (see BAAL, 5). J

This presumption is strongly supported by the testimony of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Jeremiah is constrained to protest repeatedly that Yahwe had not enjoined these sacrifices : the people of Judah built the 'Tophet' sanctuary in the valley of Ben Hinnom 'to burn their sons and daughters with fire ; a thing which I commanded them not, nor did it enter into my mind' (7:31, cp 19:5, 32:35). The prophet's emphatic denial is the best evidence that those who offered these sacrifices offered them to Yahwe, as they believed in obedience to his command. This conclusion is confirmed in a remarkable way by Ezekiel : the people had obstinately disobeyed the good laws which Yahwe had given them (20:18+), therefore 'I gave them statutes not good and ordinances whereby they cannot live, and defiled them by their sacrificial gifts in offering every firstborn, that I might fill them with horror' (Ezek. 20:25-26, cp v. 31). The prophet does not, like Jeremiah, deny that Yahwe had commanded any such thing ; he declares that these bad and destructive laws were what the people had deserved by rejecting better ones. He leaves us in no doubt what the law was, for he uses the very words of Ex. 13:12, 'Thou shall offer every firstborn to Yahwe' (mn S cm iss *?3 rroyrn) ; see below, 7. The prohibition Lev. 18:21 also shows that the Molech sacrifices were offered to Yahwe : 'Thou shall not give any of thy children [offering them, T3yn^>, gloss] to the king, and shall not [thus] profane the name of thy God'. Cp also Mic. 6:6-7. Gen. 22.

1 On these names see Gray, Hebrew Proper Names, 115 jf. 138^. 146 j?C; Kerber, Hebrdische Eigennamen, 37 ft. [Cp also MALCHIAH, SAUL, and Crit. Bib., where an attempt is made to go behind MT, and recover more original forms of the names. T. K. c.]


3 So Graf,/<->-/a, Preface, 11 J. (1862); Tiele, VtrgtUjktluU Geschietinis, 692^; Stade, ZA Til 6 308 (1886).

4 Schrader, Th. St. 47 ynff. (1874): Adar or Adrammelech = Saturn = Moloch-Kewan-Sandan-Hercules, etc., 328,/C

6. Whence was the cult derived ?[edit]

The natural, and indeed almost inevitable, inference from the facts that have been brought out in the foregoing paragraphs - the place at which the sacrifices were offered, the peculiar rite, the time in which the worship first appears - is that the offering of children by fire at the 'Tophet' in the Valley of Hinnom to Yahwe the king was a foreign cult introduced in the reign of Manasseh. And, inasmuch as in this age, when the relations of Judah to Assyria were uniformly friendly, the influence of Assyrian civilisation - which, as always, necessarily includes religion - was at its height, and since other cults which then came into vogue can with much probability be traced to Babylonia, 2 it is not surprising that many scholars should have thought that the 'Molech' worship came from the same quarter. 3 This conjecture seemed to be confirmed by the fact that the colonists from Sepharvaim - long identified with Sippara in northern Babylonia - are said in 2 K. 17:24-31 to have burned their sons to their gods ADRAMMELECH and ANAMMELECH (qq.v. ), whose names are obviously compounded wilh melek (Adar-malik, Anumalik). The divine name or title malik was read in many Assyrian inscriptions ; 4 texts were understood to speak of human sacrifice ; l reliefs and figures on seal-cylinders were thought to represent it.

The progress of investigation has left but little of this seemingly sufficient demonstration. Sepharvaim is not the Babylonian Sippara (Abu Habba), but a city in Western Syria (see SEPHARVAIM) ; the texts supposed to speak of human sacrifice were wholly misinterpreted ; the representations in art are more than doubtful. 2 Malik is an epithet of various gods, probably not, however, in the meaning 'king' (sarru ; e.g., sar Hani Asm- ; id. Marduk ; Sin sar Hani sa same u irsitim),* but 'counsellor', 'decider' (prop, mdlik),* or perhaps 'prince'. The cases in which Malik appears alone as though a proper name, particularly the inscription of Nabu-bal-iddin from Sippara (col. 55 40 67), 5 where it occurs in connection with Samas and Bunene, are variously explained ; 6 but it is at least certain that if malik ever became locally a proper name, the god to whom it was given occupied no such conspicuous place in the Assyrian pantheon as to make it probable that his .worship should be taken up with so much zeal in distant Palestine, and, so far as our evidence reaches, there is no trace in Babylonia of the peculiar child sacrifices of the 'Molech' worship.

The OT represents these sacrifices as Canaanite. 7 The value of this testimony is diminished by the fact that from Hosea onwards the contaminating influence of Canaanite culture was the common prophetic explanation of the religious corruption of Israel ; and the late date at which the peculiar Molech cult appears forbids us to suppose that it was adopted, like the baal worship, from the old population of the land in the period of occupation and settlement. But if we may take Canaanite in the larger sense in which it includes the Phoenicians, 8 this theory of the origin of the cult is probably true. For, though there is sporadic or inferential evidence of child sacrifice in many parts of the world, 9 the Phoenicians and their colonists, especially the Carthaginians, are the one civilised people of antiquity of whom we know that the sacrifice of their own children was practised, not as an occasional recrudescence of savage superstition, nor in the hole-and-corner rites of some abominable mystery, but as an established and prominent part of the public religion. These sacrifices seemed to the Greeks so remarkable in their atrocity, that no author who touches upon the history or customs of the Phoenician race fails to mention them. And it is of great significance for our question that in the descriptions of these rites, whether in mythical or historical form, the pit of fire constantly recurs. 10

1 Sayce, Human Sacrifice among the Babylonians, TSBA 425; Lenormant, Etudes accadiennes, 8112; see Eerdmans, Melekdienst, \o=,ff.

3 See \V. H. Ward, Human Sacrifice on Babylonian cylinders, Ainer. Journ. Arck.^^ff. (1889); C. J. Ball, PSBA 14 T.i,qff- [1892]; A. Jeremias in Ro.scher, Lex. 2 -1110.

3 Del. Ass. HWB, 692.

4 Ibid. 412 /.; A. Jeremias in Roscher, 23109.

5 A 3i, 174^:

6 See Jastrow, Rel. Bab. and Ass. 176^; Tiele, Baby. ionisch-Assyr. Geschichte, 524 ; Jeremias, I.e. See also Eerd mans. 73^

7 Dt. 12:29-31, 18:9-14, Ezek. 16:20 (in the midst of a description of the corruption of Israel in Canaan ; cp ? . vf>ff., intercourse with foreigners); Jer. 3:24, 19:5 (the 'baal' - i.e., Canaanite deity). [Cp PLAGUES, TEN.]

8 Sidon the firstborn of Canaan, Gen. 10 15 ; see CANAAN, i/

9 See Bachofen, Mutterrecht, mff. 220/9".; Frazer, Golden Bought, 2 y,_p.

10 The testimonies are collected by Miinter, Religion der karthager, 17 ff.\ Maximilian Mayer, in Roscher, s.v. 'Kronos', 2 1501^ (cp E. Meyer, ib. 1 1223 2869^). The most important are: the Platonic Minos, 315 C; Kleitarchos, quoted in Scholia to Plato, Rep. 1 337 A ; Diodorus Siculus 20 14 (from Duris of Samos?), 13 86 ; Plutarch, De Superstitione, c. 13; Porphyry, De Abstinent!*, 2 56 ; cp Philo of Byblos, "g; 3. 4 {FHG 3 570). On the fiery pit cp also the myth of Talos, Sophokles, Daidalos, frg. 163, 2; Simonides, frg. 202 A, l.ergk; Eustath. on Odyss. 20302 (p. 1893), etc. See Moore, JBL, 16 164 (1897).

The deity to whom these sacrifices were offered is called by the Greeks Kronos. Philo of Byblos tells us that the native name of the Phoenician Kronos was El (frag. 2:14, FHG 8567. cp frag. 4, ib. 570 / ), and relates of this god that he killed a son and a daughter with his own hands, 'so that the other gods were amazed at Kronos disposition' (frag. 2:18, I.c. 568); and that in a time of plague he sacrificed his only son to his father Ouranos (frag. 224) ; another passage narrates the sacrifice of his only son when great peril of war threatened the country (fragg. 4/, I.e. 5/o/ ) ; human sacrifices to Kronos, of which, according to Porphyry, the Phoenician history of Sanchoniathon was full, followed the example given by the god himself. It would be too much to infer from our evidence that the Kronos sacrifices were always dedicated to the one god El ; indeed, in the light of what we know of the Phoenician religion this is altogether improbable. Human sacrifices were offered to other gods, for example, to Melkarth, the city god of Tyre, whom the Greeks called Herakles.- 1

Many Phoenician proper names are compounded with melk, milk, 'king'. 2 The title, like ba'al, was doubtless given to the divine rulers of different cities ; whether in time it attached at least by eminence to certain among them is not proved, though inherently probable enough. In particular we do not know that the god (El) or gods to whom children were sacrificed were specifically invoked with this en-i /cA^cris [epiklesis]. At this point the chain of evidence connecting the Molech sacrifices of the Israelites with the Phoenician cult is not complete. It is perhaps not irrelevant to observe, however, that not only does the Kronos- El of Philo of Byblos reign upon earth in a way that no other god in his pantheon does (frag. 2:26 ; cp 24:28 etc.), but that in Greek authors also the epithet /SacriAeu? [basileus] is applied to Kronos in a much more primitive sense than to Zeus. 3

7. Why did the Jews sacrifice their children?[edit]

We should err widely if we imagined that these heart rending sacrifices were introduced, like Ahaz's new altar, in idle imitation of a foreign fashion. The spirit in which they were offered is expressed in the words which the author of Micah puts into the mouth of the people : 'Will Yahwe accept thousands of rams, myriad streams of oil ? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?' The sacrifice of the firstborn, the dearest thing on earth, is the most costly and therefore the most efficacious piaculum by which the wrath of God can be averted. It is not strange, therefore, that these sacrifices should have been multiplied in the last age of Judah, when disaster after disaster proved how heavily the anger of Yahwe rested upon the nation. 4 If their neighbours, at such a time, offered to their gods this uttermost atonement, would Yahwe expect less of his people ? Nay, did not he demand as much ? We have learned from Jeremiah and Ezekiel (above, 5) that their contemporaries alleged a law in which Yahwe claimed these sacrifices, and Ezekiel quotes the law : 'Thou shall offer every firstborn to Yahwe' (Ex. 13:12). 5 In the law books as we have them, this and the parallel laws are protected by clauses prescribing the redemption of firstborn children (see, however, Ex. 22:29 [28]). If these provisions attached to the laws from the beginning," the worshippers may have treated them as permissive, and thought that a more unreserved devotion would not avail itself of the privilege of substitution. More probably the safeguarding clauses were added to exclude the interpretation of the law - not contemplated by its framers - which became current in the seventh century, according to which it demanded the actual sacrificing of the firstborn of men as well as of beasts.

A story repeated by Dionysius of Halicarnassus presents a striking analogy: the Tyrrhenians (Dionys. 'Pelasgians') in a time of scarcity vowed to Zeus, Apollo, and the Kabiri, to sacrifice tithes of all their increase. Their prayer had been heard, they offered tithes of their cattle and the fruits of the soil. A direr famine, with many other signs of the wrath of the gods, came upon them, and when they consulted the oracle they received this response: It was because, when they got what they desired, they did not pay what they had promised, but were still owing the most valuable part of all. They did not understand the response, but one of the older men interpreted it : The gods were just ; they had indeed paid the first-fruits of their property honestly, but they still owed the tithe of human kind, which the gods prized above all. 2 There was a division of opinion about this interpretation, some rejecting it as given with evil intent ; but a second appeal to the oracle confirmed it. 3

If our hypothesis is correct, the religious motive of the child sacrifices in Judah came from within ; the form of the piacula was foreign, probably Phoenician.

1 Plin. AW 36 39; cp Quint. Curt. 4 5.

2 See Baethg. Bcitr. ^ff. ; E. Meyer in Roscher, Lex. 2 3io6_/C

3 On the latter point see Max. Mayer, in Roscher, Lex. 214577?:

4 The same causes led to the foreign cults and strange mysteries described in Ezek. 8.


6 On this question see Kue. Th. T 1 53-72 (1867) ; Tiele, Ver- gelijkende Geschiednis, 695 n. ; against Dozy , Israilieten te Mckka, \of. etc.

8. Literature.[edit]

Jn. Selden, DedisSyris, 1617 ; in later edd. with additamenta by Andr. Beyer ; Jn. Spencer, De legibus ritualibus (1685), lib. 3, ch. 13 ; Jn. Braun, Selecta sacra, ch. 8 ; Herm. Witsius, Miscellanea sacra, lib. 2, diss. 5 ; Goodwin, Moses et Aaron, lib. 4, ch. 2 ; dissertations by Dietzsch and Ziegra in Ugolini, Thesaurus, 23 861 jff. 887 jff. ; Milliter, Religion tier Kartliager,^ (1821); Movers, PhSnizier, 1 322-498 (1841); Daumer, Feuer- und Moloch- dicnst der alien Hebr<icr( 1 842) ; Ghillany, Die Menschenopfer tier alien fM>r<ier (1842) ; E. Meier, Tk. St. 11. Kr., 1843, pp. 1007-1053 ; Geiger, Urschrift, 2997^ , Oort, ffet Menschenoffer in Israel (1865); Kuen. Jahveh en Molech, Th. T 2 559-598 (1868), cp it. 1 53^?". kgiff. (1867); Godsdienst van Israel, \ 250 Jf. (lS(x))=J?e!igTon of Israel, 1249^.; Tiele, I ergelijkcnde Geschiedenis, pp. 457^ y&ff. 692^ (1872); cp Gesch. van den Godsdienst in de Oudheid, 1 228 f. 327 jff. (1893); Baudissin, Jahive et Moloch (1874) ; art. Moloch PR Eft), 10 id&ff. (1882) ; Scholz, GStzendienst u. Zauber^vesen, 182 ff. (1877) ; Kerdmans, Melekdienst en Vereering van Heiiiellichainen in Israel s Assyrische Periode (1891); V. Hoonacker, Le vceu de Jephte (1893); Kamphausen, Das I erhdltnis des Menschenofifers zur Israelitischen Religion (1896). G. F. M.


AV, 1 Esd. 8:47 = Ezra 8:18, MAHLI.


(ly lO), a name in the genealogy of Jerahmeel ; 1 Ch. 2:29 f (MCOH\ [H], MO)A<\^ [A], MOcoAl [L]). 4 The name of his brother is Ahbar (so read, with LXX{B} ), Ahbar and Molid are, with the help of transposition, carved out of Jerahme'el, like Jerah and Almodad (probably) in Gen. 10:26. This does not exclude the possibility that Molid, or perhaps Molad (cp A), may have been regarded as the father of MOLAD AH [q.v. ], which is indeed probably another record of Jerahmeel. Cp JERAHMEEL, 2. a. T. K. c.


(Am. 5 26 AV and RV m e-, Acts 743t). See MOLECH and CHIUN AND SICCUTH.


(."DDK)), Dt.9. See IDOL, !,<-.


1 Esd. 9:34 = Ezra 10:34, MAADAI.


As in the case of metals, it has been judged best not to give a long comprehensive article, but to treat the subject in a series of special articles (see especially MANEH, PENNY, SHEKEL, STATER ; WEIGHTS AND MEASURES).

The Hebrew narrators (J, E, P) who recast the Hebrew legends relating to primitive times had not forgotten the advanced civilisation prevalent in Canaan when their forefathers entered it ; they presuppose the existence of a metallic currency, in harmony with the ancient Egyptian tribute lists and the Tell el-Amarna letters.

A favourite opinion connected with the patriarchal story must, however, be abandoned. The notion that the kesitah of Gen. 33:19 and two other passages was a piece of precious metal, with the stamp of a lamb, indicative of its value, is based on the fact that LXX, Vg., and Onk. render 'lamb' or 'sheep' - a very insufficient ground (Che.; for a better explanation, see KESITAH).

There is no passage in the OT suggestive of anything like the Assyrian ingots stamped with 'the head of Ishtar of Nineveh', to which Babelon (58, quoted by Kennedy) refers. At the same time, there can be no doubt that ingots of fixed weight were in use among the early Israelites (see, e.g. , 1 S. 9:8), and in those transactions in which the strictest accuracy was required, the money was specially weighed. Hence ^p_o (sakal), properly 'to weigh', often means 'to pay' - e.g. , Gen. 23:16, Ex. 22:16, 1 K. 20:39, Is. 55:2, Ezra 8:25. Gen. 23:16 is especially interesting, from the vividness of the description of a business transaction in the course of which it occurs. The meaning, however, is hardly given correctly by the commentators whom Kennedy (Hastings, DBS 420 a) follows. Methodical emendation of the text brings out a meaning which is far more satisfactory and suggestive (see KESITAH).

1 Antiqq. RoM.\2-jf., from Myrsilos of Lesbos ; see FUG

2 Cp Varro s explanation of child sacrifice cited in Aug. Civ. Dei, 1 19: quod omnium seminum optimum est genus humanum.

3 See also what follows in Dionysius.

4 BI. suggests (but cp Ki. in SHOT) that the -\ is intrusive.

The clue to the problem of the kesitah has been given by a misreading of LXX in Chronicles, and in solving this problem light has been thrown on another passage (Gen. 23:16), where the phraseology had not been questioned. It was for four Carchemish-minae of gold that Abraham, according to P, purchased Machpelah (Gen. 23:16), and for one mina of Carchemish that Jacob, according to E, bought a piece of land at the 'city of Shechem' (Gen. 33:19, cp Josh. 24:32; but see SHECHEM). How important the Carchemish mina was, is seen by the fact that it was carried by Phoenician traders to Greece. The description of the purchase in Gen. 23 reminds us of many Assyrian documents in which the mina of Carchemish is expressly mentioned as the standard of money payments (KB, vol. iv.).


To ascertain the value of the coins in use among the Jews in the post-exilic age, we must have recourse to metrology. Works relating to this subject are therefore to be included here. See especially J. Brandis, Das Miinz-, Maas- u. Geiuichtsiucsen in I ordcrasien (1866), and Literature under WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

On the Egyptian and Babylonian use of the precious metals for the purposes of exchange, cp Maspero, Dawn of Civilisation, 324^ 749 Jf. ; and on the question, Did the Assyrians coin money? see the essay by C. H. W. Johns, Expos., Nov. 1899. On Jewish coins, see Madden, Coins of the Jews (1881); Levy, Gesch. der jud. Miinzen (1862) ; de Saulcy, Recherches stir la numisniatique jutiaique (1854), and Numisinatique de la Terre Sainte (1874); and Th. Reinach, Les )>tonnaies juives (1887). See also A. R. S. Kennedy s excellent monograph Money in Hastings, DB 3 417-432. On the statement of Herodotus (1 94) that the Lydians first coined money see LVDIA, i.




(f3n), Lam. 4:3 AV, etc. See JACKAL, LILITH, WHALE.


the period from the first appearance of one new moon to that of the next - in other words, the period of a lunar revolution.

1. Meaning.[edit]

Naturally, therefore, when months are spoken of, only lunar months can be meant ; of any such artificial product as the so-called solar month the ancient Israelites took no more account than do the modern Jews in arranging their calendar. Both the OT words for month - hodes (uhn) and yerah (rrv) - correspond to the natural definition given above. Hodes, the commoner and specifically Hebrew name, denotes originally the new moon (the 'new' light), a meaning which the word retained throughout in Phoenician (cp the n. pr. E in J3= Nou/i^vtoj [noumenios], of the inscrr. ) ; yerah, the word for month common to all the Semitic languages (cp Phoen. nT, Aram, ny, Assyr. arhu, etc.), though comparatively rarely employed in the OT (Ex. 2:2, Dt. 21:13, 33:14, 1 K. 6:37-38, 8:2, 2 K. 15:13, Job 3:6, 7:3, 29:2 39:2, Zech. 11:8, Ezra 6:15 and Dan. 4:26 [4:29]), tells the same story plainly enough by its close relationship to yareah ( rn>), the word for moon. The appearance of the new moon (cnn) inaugurated a new period, a new month, and was festally observed by the Israelites from ancient times (cp, e.g., Am. 8:5, Hos. 2:11 [2:13], Is. 1:13-14). See NEW MOON.

The mean length of such a month is 29 d. 12 h. 44 m. 2.82 sec., and accordingly it was impossible that the determination of the month, as long as it rested on direct observation only, could arrive at any absolutely uniform result ; the observed months inevitably varied in length between twenty-nine and thirty days, and the order in which the months of twenty-nine days (ryi ian) alternated with those of thirty days (N^ gnn) had not yet been fixed even at the time when the Mishna was composed ; even at that late date, in the second century A.D. , the point was decided by the first visibility of the new moon (cp also Jer. 316). It was only with the introduction of a fixed calendar in the fourth century, that a regular order was determined in this matter also (see YEAR).

2. Old (Canaanite) Names.[edit]

The oldest names of months of the year preserved in the OT are the following four :

  • (1) Abib (a axn, always with ehn preceding), Ex.13:4, 23:15, 34:18, Dt. 16:1, i.e., the month of the ripening ears of corn, ear month;
  • (2) Ziw (/ 1 K. 6:37, and n enn, 1 K. 61 [where also, however, rrv ought probably to be read]), the month of splendour, flower month ;
  • (3) Ethanim (c jrmn rn i 1 K. 8:2), perhaps meaning the month of perennial streams, the month, that is, in which only such streams contained any water; and
  • (4) Bui (^3 pry, 1 K. 6:38), probably meaning rain month, but according to others, with less likelihood, the month of growing crops.

Plainly these four names were originally Canaanite, and were taken over by the Israelites when they settled in that country ; Ethanim and Bui are met with on still extant Phoenician-Cyprian inscriptions (^3 m , e.g. , at the beginning of the inscription of Eshmunazar ; cantt rrr, CIS 1, no. 86 a), and the meaning of all four, so far as can be seen, has reference to the regular rotation of the seasons of the year as experienced in Palestine.

Other Phoenician names of months are preserved on Phoenician-Cyprian inscriptions, but partly only in mutilated form (their interpretation also still remains very problematical) : NS1D or DKSTD (CAS" 1, no. n); -n^ (C/S I, no. 92); so (C/.S"1, no. 4); ps = n^ys (tb., no. 88); and B DKTQl (C/S1, ySi no. 13).!

It is not probable that the Canaanites understood by yerah a solar month, and had thus accepted the Egyptian year. In any case the old names Abib, Ziw, etc. , do not point to an Egyptian vague year, the employment of which would have involved such a displacement that at the end of every 120 years the names of the months would have been a whole month too early. A further evidence that the Canaanite months were originally lunar is undoubtedly suggested by the fact that in Phoenician inscriptions, rrv ttnrn, 'on the new moon of the month', denotes the first day of the month in question (cp C/S1.I, p. 92 ff. ; the monument is referred to the first half of the 4th cent. B.C.). 2 Further, that the mourning period of thirty days, spoken of in Dt. 21:13 (cp Nu. 20:29 Dt. 34:8), should be called a month of days (c-S 1 m ) is not impossible where reckoning is made by lunar months, and does not necessarily imply acquaint ance with the solar month of the Egyptians.

1 To these add (Lidzbarski, Nordsetn. E/>ig. 4i2)-| < r!i nf]C> ySS-

2 Even though Di. doubts this translation and maintains that the expression means simply 'on the new moon that happens in the month in question', the words cannot be employed as an argument for the solar month theory. The expression could be used only as long as one new moon alone in a month was possible, or 'new moon' must have lost its original meaning, and in that case must be interpreted as meaning simply the first day of the month, just as the Gk. vov^via [noumenia]. does in later usage. But even this later usage also shows that originally the new moon marked the beginning of the month and that the months were lunar. Moritz Schmidt's not quite certain restoration of the Cyprian-Greek text in the inscription known as Idaliensis I. (CIS\ i, p. \o\ff.), a bilingual in Phoenician and Cyprian Greek dating from the fourth century B.C., according to which the inscription would contain reference to five supplementary days, could not in any case be accepted as convincing evidence regard ing Canaanite usage.

3 pt^rpp according to Dalman.

3. (Ass.-Bab.) terms.[edit]

With the exile, and the shifting of the beginning of the year (borrowed from the Babylonians) to the spring season, the old names of the months began to be abandoned and their place was taken by the ordinal numerals. Abib now became the first month (cp Ex. 13:4 with 12:2), Ziw the second (1 K. 6:1), Ethanim the seventh (1 K. 8:2), and Bul the eighth (i K. 6;38) ; the numeration started from the new beginning of the year - viz., spring. In course of time the Assyrian-Babylonian names for the months began to gain currency ; but without addition of their numbers they are met with only in Ezra 6:15 (Aramaic) and in Nehemiah (1:1, 2:1, 6:15). l The latest date at which they can have first come into use among the Jews could be fixed with certainty if in Zech. 1:7 and 7:1 the names really dated from the time of the prophet Zechariah. That, however, is not probable ; we must, therefore, content ourselves with the general statement that they can hardly have come into use with the Jews before the fifth century and even then were far from being exclusively employed. They are not all of them met with in the OT ; but their Hebrew form can be recovered from post-biblical literature, for example, from the Roll of Fasts, an Aramaic document dating from 66-70 A.D. 2 The name of the eighth month (see the table given below) shows very clearly on the one hand that these names are not of Persian but of Babylonian-Assyrian origin, and on the other that they assume the year to begin in spring ; for A-ra-ah-sam-na means the eighth month (arah = nT and samna = ,-i:iSE ). Moreover the name of the intercalary month betrays its character by its dependence on he name of the preceding (twelfth) month ; it is no more than a second closing month that is occasionally tagged on.

4. Macedonian Names.[edit]

These Babylonian-Assyrian names have held their own in the Jewish calendar down to the present day. It was only for a short time that they found rivals in the Macedonian names. One certain trace of this use of the Macedonian calendar we have in 2 Macc. 11:30 where the month corresponding to Nisan is called Zav6ii<6s [xanthikos]. It is not quite certain whether in 2 Macc. 11:21 the name of the month AioffKOpivOios [Dioskorinthios], as it is now read, is merely a corruption of text for Avffrpos [Dystros] (a name which occurs in Tob. 2:12 [N]), or whether it is due to an oversight of the author, or whether it is the name, otherwise unknown, of an intercalary month to be inserted between Dystrus and Xanthicus. Josephus still employs at pleasure the Macedonian names for the Hebrew. Finally, in 3 Macc. (6:38) we meet with two Egyptian months: Pachon (Haxuv, not in V), the ninth Egyptian solar month (of thirty days), and Epiphi ( E7ri0[e]t), the eleventh.

5. Comparative calendar.[edit]


Canaanite No. Bab-Ass. Hebrew. LXX, etc. Macedonian Solar
>'>X 1 Ni-sa-an-nu 1o'>, nisin (Neh 2:1) N(e)io-av [neisan] (in Esth.) =av0ikds [Xanthikos] April
11 2 Ai-ru TX, iyyar (Targ. 2 Ch. 30:2) 'Iap [Jar] (Jos. Ant. 8:3:1) 'ApTEuio-ios [Artemisios] May
3 Si-va-nu or Si-man-nu i1'O, siwan (Esth. 8:9) E(E)iovav [Sionan] (Bar. 1:8 and Esth. 8:9 [Xca mg]) Aaio-ios [Daisios] June
4 Du-u-zu 11On, tammuz IIaveuos [Panemos] July
5 A-bu >X, Ab Awos [Lohos] August
6 U-lu-lu 515X, elul (Neh. 6:15) 'EAouA ['eloul] (1 Macc. 14:27 not K) ropIIiaios [Gorpiaios] September
O'1nX 7 Tash(tish)-ri-tum '>wn, tishri 'YIIEpBEPETaios [Hyperberetaios] October
51> 8 A-ra-ah sam-na 11Wn7O, marheswan Mapo-ovavns [Marsouanes] (Jos. Ant. 1:33) Aios [Dios] November
9 Ki-[i]s[i]-li-mu 15O> kislew (Zech 7:1, Neh. 1:1) Xao-EAEV or -aA [chaselen or -al] (1 Macc. 154) 'AIIEAAaios [Apellaios] December
10 Te-bi-[e]-tu[m] n>O, tebet (Esth. 2:16) TEBI0os [Tebithos] (Jos. Ant. 11:64) Avdvvaios [Audynaios] January
11 Sha-ba-tu O>W, shebat (Zech. 1:7) EaBaT [Sabat] (1 Macc. 16:14) IIEpiTios [Peritios] February
12 Ad-da-ru 77X, Adar (Esth. 3:7) 'Adap [Adar] (1 Macc. 7:43) Avo-Tpos [Austros] March
Intercalary Ar-hu ma-ah-ru, sha Addaru nX7n> 77X, after-Adar, or '>W 77X, second Adar

In the foregoing table the post-exilic usage is followed and the year reckoned as beginning in spring. According to the autumn reckoning which was afterwards returned to and still rules in the jewish calendar, the seventh month was the first in the year and the insertion of the intercalary month was made accordingly in the middle of the year. For the mode of insertion see YEAR. It will of course be understood that the months named in the last column, being solar months, correspond only roughly and in a general way to those in the preceding columns, which are lunar.

1 In Esth. 9:15, 9:17, 9:19, 9:21 the number is not given with the name, because in 9:1 it is given, once for all, for Adar.

2 See Dalman, Aram. Dialektproben (1896), pp. 1-3, 32.

6. Divisions of month.[edit]

The month was divided into decades ( asor, lic-y) or nto weeks (shabu , yoB*). It would be too bold an undertaking to seek to prove from the division into decades that the Israelites were acquainted also with the Egyptian month of thirty davs, and thus had at one time even reckoned by solar months. The division of the month into three thirds of ten days each could have commended itself to the Israelites just as easily as one into four fourths of seven days each, inasmuch as they too had months of 30 days as well as months of 29 days. It is only in one passage (Gen. 24:55), however, that asor means a space of ten days ; everywhere else, where the word is applied in relation to time, it means the tenth day (Ex. 12:3, Lev. 16:29, Josh. 4:19, 2 K. 25:1, Ezek. 20:1, 24:1, 40:1). On the division of the month into weeks, see WEEK. These divisions were never made use of for dating the day of the month ; thus it never was said 4 on such and such a day of such and such a decade or on such and such a day of such and such a week. Dates were given simply by the number of the day of the month.

7. Literature.[edit]

See especially PL, Ueber das Kalenclerwesen vor dem Baby- lonischen Kxil in MBBA, 1882, pp. 914-939; Schiirer, d/l 1 (2) 623 ./ ; cp also We. HeiJ. 89 ff. ; Schr. A ATftl, 379/, and \V. Muss-Arnolt, The Names of the Assyro- Babylonian Months and their Regents, JBL 11 [1892], pp. 72-94 and 160-176. K. M.


On 2 K. 23:17 RV (}-1>*) and Is. 65:4 AV (DH-IYJ) see TOMB ; on 1 S. 15:12 RV (T) see SAUL.


UooAei [BA]), 1 Esd. 8:47 RV. See MAHLI.


The words are :

  • (i) j\v, yare'ah, from a root mi (see BDH), probably connected with \ / rnNi to travel, wander (so MV, Buhl, Lag. BN 46, and cp the Egy. name for the moon Hunsu, 'the wanderer').
  • (2). "133 . , lebanah (\/ 'to be white' or 'pale' ) occurs three times, Cant. 6:10, Is. 24:23, 30:26.

New moon is E lh, hodes, from the root BHn, to be new, whilst full moon is ND2> kese ; cp Ass. kuse'u ( = agu), a cap or tiara, the god at full moon being supposed to have his tiara on.

1. References.[edit]

In Gen. 1:14+, where the story is told of the creation of sun and moon and stars, the moon is not mentioned by name ; she is the lesser of the two great lights set in the firmament to give light upon the earth (vv. 16-17), and rules the night (cp Ps. 136:9, Jer. 31:35), apparently in independence of her fellow. According to the priestly writer the oldest Hebrew month and year were lunar (see MONTH, YEAR), so that the words of v. 14 (cp Ps. 104:19), 'Let them be for signs and for seasons, for days and years', would have a special force when applied to the moon. How far the Hebrews attributed to her a permanent influence on things terrestrial - that is to say, whether they planted and sowed, reaped and felled and sheared, according as she waxed or waned - we do not know ; in one passage only (Dt. 33:14) is the growth of vegetation apparently ascribed to her influence ; J but the correctness of the text is very doubtful. It is certain, however, that the day of new moon (cnh), and in a lesser degree that of full moon (xps, cp Ps. 81:4 [3], if the usual reading and interpretation are correct) were marked with red in the Hebrew calendar. (For cnn as a religious festival cp 1 S. 20:5, and || ror, 2 K. 4:23, Am. 8:5; || nyia, Is. 1:14 ; || in, Ps. 81:4 [81:3] : see NEW MOON.) In Ps. 121:6 (we can hardly quote Hos. 5:7, a very doubtful passage) we find a malignant influence attributed to her ; the reference may be to the blindness that results from sleeping in the moonlight with uncovered face (so Carne, Letters from the East, 77 ; but see Macrob. Saturn. 7:16-26). The word ereA^iaa.fo/u.ej os [seleniazomenos] in Mt. 4:24 and (TeXTjcidj frcu [seleniazetai] in 17:15 testify to the prevalence of the belief that the moon caused epilepsy.

References to the moon are frequent in Hebrew poetry. She is the emblem of beauty (Cant. 6:10), and of the order that does not change (Ps. 72:57, 89:37). That she should stay her course (Josh. 10:12-13, Hab. 3:11) is a crowning evidence of God's might ; that she should suffer eclipse (Is. 13:10, 24:23, Joel 2:10 Mt. 24:29, etc.) or turn to blood (Joel 2:31 quoted Acts 2:20, Rev. 6:12) betokens that the day of God's wrath is at hand. The moon shall not 'withdraw' herself (Is. 60:20), but 'her light shall be as the light of the sun' (cp Enoch 72:37), when 'Yahwe binds up the breach of his people and heals the wound of its stroke' (Is. 30:26).

1 AV has 'for the precious things put forth by the moon' ; RV, '. . . of the growth of the moons'. AV therefore covers over the difference between the singular E CC in a, and the plural C nT in b. In the || passage Gen. 49, 25a and 25b together are represented by 'blessings of the breasts and of the womb' (Crnj C TC ), again an inconsistency of number, but one that is of no exegetical significance. cnj), gcres, rendered in RV growth, is a an-. Ae-y., and is suspicious.

2. Moon worship.[edit]

The moon's very splendour was a danger for religion (Dt. 4:19, cp Wisd. 13:2-3). The Assyrians and Babylonians had for ages been addicted to the worship of the heavenly bodies, and such a name as BETH-SHEMESH [q.v. ] suggests that sun-worship was practised among the Canaanites, possibly through early Babylonian influence ; the names JERICHO and JERAHMEEL [qq.v.] we abstain from quoting. 'Among the Hebrews', says Robertson Smith (Rel. Sem.W, 135, n. 2), 'there is little trace of [astral worships] before Assyrian influence became potent', and he would be a bold man who would argue from the problematic astral elements in some of the OT narratives (cp Winckler, (7/2), or from doubtful proper names like LAHAN, MILCAH, SARAH, or from the real or supposed origination of the Hebrews in two famous seats of moon-worship (L T R [g.v. ] in S. Babylonia and HARAN [q.v. ]) that moon-worship - a religion of more venerable antiquity in Babylonia than sun-worship - must have been one of the chief temptations of the primitive Hebrews. Something, at least, we do know : from the time of Ahaz onwards a syncretistic tendency, though checked for a time by Josiah, gained more and more ground in the kingdom of Judah. Striking evidence of this is given in Jer. 8:2, 19:13, and even though 2 K. 17:16 comes from a late writer (see Kittel in HK), the truth of its statement cannot be doubted (Am. 5:26 is not here quoted for a special reason ; see PHOENICIA, 12). Certainly, moon-worship is but once explicitly mentioned in the OT ; but the one proof-passage, though post-exilic, is of great importance. It is the famous passage in Job 31:26 relative to the hand-kiss to sun and moon. We must not say that the language is merely dramatic, as if the writer aimed dispassionately at reproducing primitive times with strict accuracy. In this section of Job, especially, the poet is thinking of his own time ; his heart throbs as he writes. We may add that the imported cultus of Tammuz, which is attested by Ezek. 8:14, almost certainly presupposes moon-worship, Tammuz and the moon, as Winckler has pointed out, being closely related. Nor is it unfair to suggest that the crescents worn by the women of Jerusalem in later times (Is. 3:18, part of an inserted passage 1 ) had a heathenish connection.

The QUEEN OF HEAVEN mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (7:18, 44:17) forms the subject of a special article. On the name Sinai, see SINAI.

See Jensen, Kosuwlo^ie der Babylonier, 101-108; ZA, 1896, pp. 298-301; Winckler, Gil (e.g., 23 ff. 57 ff.)\ Homme), AHT, and Anfsfitze, bk. ii. (1900), also Der Gestirndienst der alien Ara/>er(s. lecture, 1900); G. Margoliouth, The earliest religion of the ancient Hebrews, Contemp. Rev., Oct. 1898 ; Goldziher, Hebrew Mythology, 71-76, 204-6, 351 ./T The mention of these books by no means implies acceptance of the theories, sometimes not very strictly critical, expressed in them.

A. C. P.

1 See Che. Intr. Is. igf. ; Marti, Jes. in KHC 44.


RV Moossias (/v\oocc[e]iAC [BA]) P 1 Esd. 9:31 = Ezra 10:30 MAASEIAH, 13.


( nbnfen ; TON TOY MCOR- Aceei [B], Mu)p^0[e]i [AQ*], McopAAeiN [Q mg -]- ir Jer. 26:18 Meop&eeiTHC [BKAQ]), a phrase used of Micah (Mic. 1:1 AV, RV Morashtite), and supposed to mean a native of a place called Moresheth, a dependency of Gath, in the maritime plain (so Driver, Introd.W, 326 ; cp MORESHETH-GATH). This, however, is not very plausible; it would seem that 'Gath' (m) in Mic. 1:14 must necessarily be corrupt. In Mic. 1:13 Lachish is called the prime occasion of sin to the people of Zion (p sna). Then Micah continues, 'Therefore (i.e., be cause of the sin which spread from Lachish) thou wilt have to bid farewell (lit. to send a parting present, as to a bride) to Moresheth, O people of Zion' (m was corrupted into ru, and jvs fell out of the text). 1 Moresheth, or rather Morashah, appears to be another form of Mareshah, adopted to suggest the meaning 'betrothed' (nc-iKo). It corresponds to me'arei (jjnKs) in v. 15, which should most probably run thus:

nc xio rniy v ""rax bHKS"i_y
^NX" 1133 NIT; ^Ncrrv-iy
'Unto a (new) betrother will I conduct thee, O community of Mareshah ;
To Jerahmeel shall the glory of Israel come'. a

That in much later times a place with a name like Morasthi (?), distinct from Mareshah, was pointed out to Jerome, does not prove that this is the place intended in Mic. 1:14, or the place of which Micah was a native.

Robinson's reasons (7> A 2423) for distinguishing Moresheth from Mareshah are,

  • (i) the difference of the names, which come from different roots (but this is surely a mistake ; Mareshah is

properly ntyjtlDi Josh. 10:44), and

  • (2) that they are both given in the same context (but the .writer had an interest in pronouncing the name the second time Mareshah viz., to produce a fresh paronomasia).

Robinson, however, may be right in thinking that the church which, according to Jerome, covered the site of the supposed sepulchre of Micah, was the church 20 minutes SSE. of Bet Jibrin, the ruins of which are now called Sanda Hanna or St. Anne (see ELEUTHEROPOLIS). Close by, he says, are the ruined foundations of a village, which may or may not be ancient. This village may in truth have been early Christian, and have been called Morasthi to please pil grims. Cp Che. 7(3^10576-580 (1898). T. K. C.

1 The alternative is, if we keep the text, to make j-|J a vocative : Therefore shalt thou, O Gath, bid farewell to Moresheth (so We., Nowack), which seems to have no propriety in this context. G. A. Smith (1896) finds no satisfactory explanation of MT.

2 A captivity in N. Arabia (here called Jerahmeel) is in the mind of the writer, who is probably not Micah, but a post-exilic writer. See MICAH ii., 4.

3 Tg., perhaps avoiding reference to a heathen deity, sees ir> the name N ST K"i D, pure myrrh, a figurative description of Mordecai.

4 MARDOCHEUS is the form of the name in the AV apocrypha.

5 LXX's 'Aminadab', if we prefer this reading to 'Abihail', is also an ethnic name = 23-13, cp NADAB.


OP JIO [Baer, Ginsb.], 43, 83, MApAox&lOC or -xeoc [BNAL]).

i. The cousin and foster-father of Esther, and one of the chief personages in the book of Esther [q. v. ] (Est. 2:5, etc.). He is described as Jeminite ( rp ), i.e. , virtually a Benjamite, and as descended from Jair, Shimei, and Kish, the last two of which are well-known Benjamite family names. His name, however, if correctly transmitted, is genuine Babylonian (cp Bab. Mardukea), and means 'belonging to MARDUK' (see MERODACH). 3 The day of 'Mardocheus' (RV 'of Mordecai' 4 (2 Macc. 15:36, rfjs papSoxaiKris [A, but /j-apdoxoiKTjs V] i)/j.fpas) is a designation of the 14th of Adar, the first and greatest of the days of Purim ; see ESTHER. The fact, however, that in Esth. 2:15 (cp 9:29) Mordecai's uncle is called Abihail 5 (Wl 3N)i which is most probably a popular corruption of Jerahmeel (see NABAL), that Shimei is an ethnic = Shimeoni, and that Kish probably = Cushi, makes it highly probable that Esthers foster-father derived his name not from Marduk but from Jerahmeel i.e. , that he belonged to a family of old Jerahmeelite extraction. His true name may be Carmeli or some one of the parallel forms.

This result compels us to give serious consideration to a view which would otherwise be, not indeed absurd (there being analogies enough for it), but at least unnecessary - viz., that the original story of Esther (as perhaps also that of Judith) is to be included among the records of the oppression of the Jews, after the fall of the kingdom, by the N. Arabian populations. See OBADIAH (BOOK).

The difficulty caused by the statement in Esth. 26, which apparently makes Mordecai a fellow-captive of Jeconiah, is dealt with at length by Ryssel, who offers the suggestion that "C X may really refer to Mordecai's family. There is, however, a ready explanation if the Book of Esther is based on an earlier narrative (see OBADIAH), If the king of Geshur or Jerahmeel is the oppressor of the Jews in the intention of this narrative, it was possibly said that Carmeli (?) was one of those carried captive by the Jerahmeelites. See PURIM, 6.

2. A Babylonian Jew (Kzra -Ja Neh. 7;7, /xapa#)(aio?, fj.a\- e>xeos [B], /3ay6ox<"o IN i" Neh.]); in 1 Esd. 5:5 MARDOCHEUS.

T. K. C.


(/wcope), Mt. 5:22 RVmg, EV FOOL (q.v. end).


(rnsn nini, the soothsayer's hill ? r&BA.A6&/v\oopA [B], Toy BcoMoy Toy ABcop [A], BOYNOY TOY AMOipe [L]), in a descrip tion of the position of the Midianitish army (Judg. 7:1). Usually identified with the hill above Shunem, now called Nabi Dahi (so BaedJ 2 , 243 ; G. A. Sm., HG 397 ; Buhl, Pal. 103), though G. F. Moore sup poses the hill intended to bo near Shechem. The phrase, however, is simply an editor's ingenious attempt to make sense of a corrupt passage. Cp HAROD (THE WELL OF), i. 'Moreh' or rather 'Hammoreh' should be 'Gilboa' ; both forms are among the many corrup- ions of Jerahmeel. On the true site of Gilboa see SAUL, 3-4 , and on the origin of Moreh see following article. T. K. c.


(!TVIO fx; THN THN YTH^HN [ADEL] ; cp MORIAH), Abraham's first resting-place in Canaan ; it was at the spot where Shechem afterwards stood (Gen. 12:6 ; but see SHECHEM). AV's rendering 'plain', however, is in admissible ; it is borrowed from Jerome, and ultimately from the Aramaic translators (Onk. , Jon., Sam., Tg. tos"o), who may have wished to save Abraham from the suspicion of tree- worship. RV renders 'the oak (mg. , terebinth) of Moreh'. So Tuch (1838), comparing 'the oaks of Mamre' (Gen. 13:18, 14:13). Most recent writers prefer 'the oak (sacred tree) of one who gives oracles', and compare the oak of augurs (Judg. 937 RV m K-) ; see MEONENIM. This is no doubt a possible meaning. Cp mi,i, 'to give directions' in Dt. 33:10, Mic. 3:11 (of priests), Is. 9:14 (of prophets). The analogy of 'Moriah' (, -fen, Gen. 22:2), however, which is certainly the corruption of a proper name (see MORIAH), suggests that Tuch and the earliest scholars may be right, and LXX's rendering seems to point to an early reading nunc, for which we may also perhaps quote the Syriac rendering, 'the oak of Mamre' (moo).

The easiest solution would be "13M, 'Amorite'. SfltErn , 'Jerahmeelite', however, is just as possible, and is favoured by the circumstance that the king of Shechem in Judg. 1 bears a name (Abimelech) which is most probably an early distortion of Jerahmeel, and by the prominent position of the Jerahmeelites in early legend (see ISAAC, JACOB, and cp SHECHEM).

The same tree is referred to again in Gen. 35:4 as "PNrt, and in Dt. 11:30, where (with Sam., LXX) we should perhaps read ji^N in the singular. Cp GILGAL, 5. T. K. C.


(T\\ ntTflO, 'possession of Gath' ; KAHRONOMIA pee [BAQ] ; HEREDITAS GETH], a place in the ShSphelah or Judaean lowland near the Philistine country (Mic. 1:14). Though the name has disappeared, the context forbids us to doubt where the place lay, and Micah's surname 'the Morasthite' implies that it was the home of that prophet. The paronomasias of the section make the interpretation difficult, and in 1:14 none of the ancient versions surviving recognises Moresheth Gath as a proper name. The word Morasthite (Morashti) was therefore obscure to them ; but this only gives greater weight to the traditional pronunciation, with a in the first syllable, which is as old as LXX, and goes against the view, taken by the Targum both on Micah and on Jeremiah, and followed by some moderns (including Roorda), that Micah came from Mareshah (cp v. 15).

When Eusebius (OS 282 74) places /xupaotfei [moorasthei] near Eleutheropolis it is not likely that he is thinking of Mareshah (Maresa), for he speaks of the former as a village, and of the latter as a ruin 2 mi. from Eleutheropolis. Jerome, too, in the Epitaph. Paulae (Ep. 108), speaking as an eye-witness, distinguishes Morasthim, with the church of Micah's sepulchre, from Maresa. This, indeed, was after the pretended miraculous discovery of the relics of Micah in 385 A.D. ; but the name of the village which then existed (Pnrf. in Mich.) can hardly have been pait of a pious fraud. W. R. S.


or rather 'the Moriah' (il lbn), the name of the mountain on which the temple at Jerusalem was built, Gen. 22:2 (in its present form), 2 Ch. 3:1.

Gen. 22:2, Sam. rt!O1Cn pK Sam. Vv. njvin, 'vision' ; (B, TT)V yrfv TT)v in/jTjArjf (cp their rend, of ,-plS in 12 6 [see MOREH]) ; Aq. (T. y.) -rr\v Ka.Ta<j>avfi ; Symm. (T. y.) -rip OTTTOO-UIS ; Vg. terram visionis, connecting with riNI, 'to see' ; Pesh. J^J c.-SD ).-^jJ ; Onk. x:nSlS KjnxS connecting with XT, 'to fear '; Jon. T"11D "1U3> 2 Ch. 3:1, o^iop(e)ia [amariah] [HAL]; 'mountains of the Amorites' [Pesh.]; Moria [Vg.]. Whether the Pesh. rendering in Gen. is rightly claimed by Di. and Ball in favour of a reading 12N.1, seems doubtful ; the plural points may be due to a later misunderstanding (see Geiger, Urschrift, 278-279). Deimel, however (ZTK, 1899, p. 3), still takes virtually the same position (ms = .TTSKi comparing Pesh., and even Ass. Martu). For Midrashic explanations of 'Moriah', see Ber. rabba, 55 (Wiinsche, 263-264). The explanation of the Chronicler (2 Ch. 3:1) is also of the Midrashic type ; 'Moriah' is the mountain where Yahwe (see Chron.) appeared to Solomon's father, David.

Great obscurity hangs about this name, which only occurs in these two passages, and in extra-biblical passages (Jos. Ant. 1:13:1, rb Mii/nov 6pos) based upon them. Until quite lately, in fact, it has been generally assumed J that Moriah was the ancient name of the temple-mountain. This view, however, only goes back to the Chronicler, who may have derived the name from the narrative in Genesis (cp Baudissin, Studien, 2252). That the editor of JE, who gave Gen. 22:1-19 its present form, meant to attach the interrupted sacrifice to the temple-mountain is highly probable; but he suggests rather than states this, and the fact that he does not make Abraham call the sacred spot 'the Moriah' but (if the text is right) 'Yahwe-yir'e' ought to have opened the eyes of the critics. The only satisfactory solution is that, in the copy of E used by the editor of JE, the word following {"iN ^N in v. 2 was indistinctly written. That word was surely not C"cn (Wellh. CH 21), as if Shechem were meant, for the Samaritan tradition is ultimately based on a confusion between the spots mentioned in 12:6 and 22:2 respectively. Nor was it !owii (Di. , Ball), which is not definite enough. The true reading must be one of the names which specially belong to the southern border of Canaan - viz. , either D lSD ( = the N. Arabian Musri ; see MIZRAIM, 2b) or ^NCITV. The proposal to read Misrim has been approved by Winckler, both privately and in print (GI 244, n. i ) ; the i- in CHXO would easily fall out after J-IN. Our explanation of the story of the sacrifice of Isaac (see ISAAC, JEHOVAH-JIREH), however, favours 'Jerahmeel'. That the scene of the story is to be placed in the Negeb has been seen by Bacon, who rather too arbitrarily reads_ aasn; co 20:1, 24:62, Nu. 18:29 (see his Genesis, 141, n. 3 ; and art. in Hebraica, April 1891). Between the Jerahmeelite country and the land of Musri no sharp line of division can be drawn. See NEGEB.

1 Philo, however (De Abr. 32 = 2:25, ap. Lag. Orient. 2:55), evidently did not share the common view. His words are, <T<j>a.yid<ra.i eiri Tivos ui//J)AoTaTOU KO\iavov, iroppiaraTia jrcAetoj aTTOorai Ta rpiu 6601 >;/. pur.

The view that Moreh (12:6) and Moriah (22:2) are connected - advocated in 1838 by Tuch, but probably very much older - is therefore not so incorrect as has been supposed. The Samaritan tradition (ZDPV 6:198, 7:133) identifying the mountain of sacrifice with Gerizim, is not solely the result of religious rivalry with the Jews. 'Moreh' (traditionally near Shechem) and 4 'Moriah' are probably enough connected. Gerizim, too, is really not altogether an unplausible selection. No one would speak of seeing Mt. Moriah at a distance, nor does the expression 'on the third day' suit Jerusalem as well as it suits Gerizim. It it needless, however, to revive the old controversy, which loses its basis when a keen criticism is applied to the text in the light of passages already found to contain the names Misrim and Jerahmeel. See, further, JEHOVAH-JIREH.

And what shall we say of the proceeding attributed to the ancient editor of JE? Did he, as Wellhausen (CH 21 ) supposes, invent the name n-ian, 'the Moriah', in order to displace the true reading (i.e. , as We. thinks, n lbn, 'the Hamorites' ) with the least amount of violence, while at the same time suggesting the thought of David's vision? Surely not. Corruptions of the text arose very early (cp GILEAD, JACOB). The editor had before him an indistinctly written text, and, helped by a special devotion to the temple at Jerusalem, imagined that he read Tfl!S (run*), which he explained as = ,T NIC, 'the appearance of Yahwe'. 1 The name, however, which had never before been heard of, made no impression on the Jewish mind, till the Chronicler (in what form, may be left uncertain) gave it currency. To hold with Grill (ZATW 4 [ l88 4] M4/. ) that Moriah, as a name for the temple-mount, is at least as old as the name Jerusalem, and to explain it as = ,T jvno, 'foundation of Yahwe', is a view which, though supported by Konig (Lehrgeb.i\.\4%o), is by no means natural or philologically plausible. T. K. C.

1 Local names are not generally compounded with !T, though W. M. Miiller (<4.r. u. Eur.) mentions some in pre-Israelitish times which have the appearance of being so compounded.

2 Wilkinson's paragraph on the mills of the early Egyptians (Manners and Customs, etc. [1878] 1359) is shown, by his editor Birch in a footnote (I.c.), to be a mistake. Cp Erman, op. cit. 189.


The historically oldest mode of making the grains of cereals more palatable was to roast them (see FOOD, i [a]). It was found still more profitable, however, to release the mealy kernel by rubbing the grains between two stones, a method still in vogue among many civilised races. The lower and larger stone might be slightly concave like the Scottish 'saddle-querns', or might be flat and sloping towards the front as in Egypt, whilst the rubbing stone was flat on one side and round on the other, with rounded ends, like an egg cut lengthwise. Such querns are still, or were till recently, used for grinding dura (Niebuhr, Dtscript. de V Arable, 45, with illustration, copied in Benzinger, HA 85; Nowack, HA 110). Along with mortars, they were the only means by which the ancient Egyptians obtained their flour 2 (see statuette of slave-girl at work, Erman, Egypt, 190). A number of rubbing stones were found by Bliss in the mound of Tel-el-Hesy, and are figured by him (from a photograph) in A Mound of Many Cities, 85.

A more efficient mode of obtaining the same results was by means of the mortar (m la. medokah, Nu. 11:8, LXX, Ovta. ; also trroo, maktesh, Prov. 27:22; Aq., Theod. , 6 \/xoj [holmos]; in later Hebrew more frequently ntyrpc, maktesheth] and pestle (ty, eli, Pr. , I.c.; LXX, Aq. , etc., here and LXX{BX} c - a A 23:31, virepos [hyperos]). Both mortar and pestle were in ordinary cases either of wood - probably, as at the present day, a section of the trunk of a tree - or of stone ; specimens in the latter material were also found at Tel-el-Hesy (illustr. ap. Bliss, I.c. ). Copper mortars were likewise in use, and in the temple the mortars in which the family of Abtines pounded the spices for the sacred incense were of gold.

According to Jewish tradition they were among the spoils which Titus took with him to Rome (Edersheim, Hamburger), and according to some the cup-like vessels which appear on the table of shewbread on the Arch of Titus are two of these mortars. 1

In NT times a mortar was an article of furniture in every house and, as we learn from the Mishna, was used for pounding, besides wheat and barley, a variety of substances such as vegetables, spices, salt, etc.

In the laws regulating the selling of houses, the maktesheth kebu'a (fixed) or the mortar built, probably with a pedestal (see illustr. inWilk. cited below), into the floor was a fixture, and went with the house as distinguished from the 'moveable mortar' which did not (Bab. Bath. 4 3 ; see passage in full under MILL, 3). The average height of the household mortar and pedestal (vi^dA/uioi ) was about three feet, and the length of the pestle half as much again, hence Hesiod s line cited by Bliimner (Techno logic d. geiuerbe, etc., 17), ohftov juej> Tpi7rd5r)i> Tdfivfiv virepov 5e Tpunj^vi . The pestles of the Egyptians (see illustr. in Wilkinson, Anc. Egy. 2:204) and of the Greeks (Blumner, op. cit. 22, from a vase) were more slender in the middle, where they were grasped by one hand or both, swelling slightly towards either end where they again contracted.

Mortars are mentioned in the OT as having been used for the preparation of the manna (Nu. 11:8), and once again Prov. 27:22 : 'Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar [among bruised corn (RV ; AV wheat) with a pestle] yet will his foolishness not depart from him'. Toy, however, omits the words within brackets as exceeding the poetical measure of the half-couplet. 2 In that case the expressive figure of the poet is taken from the use of mortar and pestle to remove the husk from the wheat before grinding. 3 The coarse meal obtained by this method was termed by the Hebrews BHJ, geres (Lev. 2:14-16, RV 'bruised corn', from an unused root en:, Arab, jarasha, to crush, grind, which gives us the modern Syrian name for the hand- mill, jarushy], also nQ ~\y, arisah (Nu. 15:20, EV 'dough', RV mg, 'coarse meal' ; see Ges.-BuhK 13 , s.v. ), and perhaps nisn or nisi, 4 riphoth (Prov. 27:22, 2 S. 17:19, RV 'bruised corn' ). In order to obtain a finer meal, the contents of the mortar might be taken out from time to time and passed through a sieve, the coarser grains being returned to the mortar, as we see from the detailed illustration of the process on an Egyptian monument (Wilkinson, I.e.}.

The impoverishing effects of intemperance (Prov. 23:31) are paraphrased by the Greek translators in terms of a popular proverb ; 'thou shall walk more naked than a pestle' (for instances om classical writers see Bliimner, op. cit. 18).

The mortar (maktesh) gave its name to two localities in Palestine, doubtless of a deep hollow formation, the one associated with the exploits of Samson (Judg. 15:19, EV 'the hollow place'. see LEHI), the other in or close to Jerusalem (Zeph. 1:11, see RVmg-, and cp JERUSALEM, 23, etc., and MAKTESH).

That the mortar and pestle preceded the mill among the Hebrews, as we are expressly informed was the case among the Romans (see MILL), is shown by an interesting example of conservativism in religious practice, similar to the late retention of stone knives for the rite of circumcision (Josh. 6:3, cp Ex. 4:25). In the legislation of Leviticus, it is required that the offering of the first-fruits shall consist of early ears of wheat roasted at the fire, and then crushed in the mortar (214; cp Servius's statement quoted under MILL). A. R. s. K.

1 They are more likely to be gold censers.

2 [Toy's view, however, leaves out of account niS 1,1 lira-, which can hardly mean in the midst of grit (or, bruised corn), niS-in in 2 S. 17:19 being corrupt (see n. 4 below), and there being no other proof-passage. 5 s iv /u.e <ro> crvveSpiov suggests !Jin3 C"13n ; this is very plausible, but it is better to read ninirn ~1H3- After some necessary corrections (see Crit. Bib.)t\\e text becomes,

Though thou argue (thy matter) with a fool in the most public place,
His foolishness will not depart from him.]

3 The MT with the words retained - as was noted under COOKING, 3 - has not infrequently been regarded as an indication of the manufacture of the favourite Syrian dish kibbeh, which consists of boiled wheat and mutton pounded together for some hours.

4 [Strict textual criticism questions the existence of such a word. The initial n in rilS in, niEin is hardly the article. For Prov., I.c., see n. 2 above, and in 2 S. I.e. read cushions in readiness for a meal). See Crit. Bib.]


i. "lOh, homer ; TTH\OC < lutum (Gen. 11:3 [cementum], Ex. 1:14, Is. 41:25, Nah. 3:14). The builders of the tower of Babel are said to have used bitumen (EV 'slime' ) instead of mortar (see BITUMEN). In Palestine the usual material is clay (Ar. tin). This is mixed with chopped straw which serves the same purpose as the ox-hair which our plasterers mix with their plaster. Besides this, there is a mortar made from sand, ashes, and lime, well pounded and mixed with oil. Nothing affords a stronger manifestation of persevering and patient labour than the long-continued and repeated beatings to which the Orientals subject the plaster (of lime, ashes, and straw), which is more especially intended to resist wet, and which does most effectually answer that purpose ( Kitto, Pict. Bib. , Ezek. 13:10) ; cp HOUSE, i. Mortar is usually trodden with the feet (Nah. 814) ; but wheels may also be used.

2. ISy, 'aphar; xous ; lutum (Lev. 14:42-45). See above.

3. In Ezek. 13:10-11, 13:14-15, 22:28 1 ^ me is used, for which EV has 'daub with untempered [mortar]' (cp Ar. tafal, 'dry loam or clay' ). This rendering goes back to Vg. 'linire luto absque paleis' (once), 'linire absque temperamento' (thrice) ; but the figure seems to be that the prophets whitewash, or give sanction and plausibility to, the popular scheme (likened to a mud wall). So LXX (oAei ^eif) and the moderns.

4. E^S, melet; LXX{BKAQ} om. (Jer. 48:9-10, RV, AV clay). Read ing uncertain (see CLAY).


RV Mosorah (rnD lO ; MGICAAAI [BA], Mic&Ae [I-]), Dt. 10:6-7, or Moseroth (nhpb, MAC- coypcoe, -poy9 [BE 1 ], MACoypoyO t A ] k)9 [L]), Nu. 33:30-31, a station in the Wilderness of Wanderings (see WANDERINGS). The termination -ah in Moserah, however, is locative. The name seems to be really traditional, and it is difficult not to place it in the neighbourhood of Kadesh. If so, MSser may be a corruption of -MS, Missur - i.e., the N. Arabian land of Musri. This is a conjecture ; but we are bound to give at least a conjectural explanation of the statement 'there Aaron died, and there he was buried' (Dt. 10:6). Cp Nu. 20:22-28, and see HOR, MOUNT, i. T. K. C.



  • Earlier criticism (1).
  • Names (2).
  • Ark of bulrushes (3).
  • Born in Egypt ? (4).
  • A Yahwe clan (5).
  • Misrim (6).
  • Ex. 4:24-26. Zipporah (7).
  • Elaboration of story (8).
  • Interviews with Pharaoh (9).
  • Yam Suph (10).
  • N. Arabian sojourn (11).
  • Clans at Kadesh ( 12).
  • Accounts of theophany ( 13).
  • Historical element ( 14).
  • Meribah, Dathan, etc. ( 15).
  • Death of Moses ( 16).
  • Balak, etc. ( 17).
  • Conquest of Cushan ( 18).
  • Moses and Elijah ( 19).
  • Other references ( 20).
  • Extra-biblical ( 21).
  • Result ( 22).

1. Earlier criticism.[edit]

'There hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom Yahwe knew face to face' (Dt. 34:10). This is the enthusiastic eulogy of a late editor, reflecting on the beautiful picture of an ideal 'man of God' presented in the composite narrative. Every true Jew and every true Christian must read it with reverence and sympathy. Still, true devoutness does not exclude historical criticism, and as critical students we are bound to remember that every religion which is not simply autochthonous and primitive displays considerable eagerness in doing honour to its real or supposed founder. Now, the influence of great personalities too great to be altogether tied down by tradition and convention upon the religions of the most gifted races cannot indeed be over looked ; but it is only too easy for the adherents of a religion to assign too many achievements to its rightly or wrongly assumed chief prophet and legislator.

Feeling this tendency very strongly, Ewald endeavoured to reduce the prophetic and legislative work of Moses 'to those essential truths and social arrangements which constitute the motive power of the whole history'. 'We must not', he says, 'be startled by the grandeur of the former or the wonderful nature of the latter, so as to reject anything because it appears incredible. For all the greatest and most enduring ideas that actuate and glorify the subsequent history, must have arisen in that sacred birthday of the community ; and ... at such extraordinary epochs, and among a people such as Israel then was, the most wonderful things became possible' (Hist. 2:107).

Few of us are still satisfied with the mixture of abstract religious philosophy and arbitrary criticism furnished by Ewald. His notion of what 'Israel then was' being purely imaginative, there can be no sound or durable basis to his reconstruction of Moses and his teaching. To the Israelites, as we now begin to know them from a truly historical criticism, the 'abstract ideas' which Ewald finds in 'the Mosaic economy' would have been 'a stone instead of bread'. 1 If such a person as Moses existed, he can, in working for such a people as the Israelites, only have occupied himself with the practical questions of the time ; otherwise indeed the subsequent history of Israel is inconceivable. He had to unite the tribes on a permanent basis, and this basis could only be a religious one. He must therefore have been a worshipper and spokesman of Yah\v& in some special sense, and have devoted himself successfully to the task of making this God more generally worshipped. In order to do this, however, he must first of all have brought the scattered clans of Israel together, and, if we assume that some of them were in the land of 'Goshen', that Goshen was in Egypt, and that the Egyptian authorities hindered the removal of the clans, Moses must have had the greatest difficulties to cope with, and very justly, from a teleological point of view, may his success appear an extraordinary divine interposition. More than this we cannot venture, even from a moder ately conservative point of view, to assume. 2 That there was a marked difference between the religion promoted, as is supposed, by Moses and that of (say) the Kenites, cannot be asserted. That morality counted for more with Moses than (say) with Jethro, is inconsistent with the facts recorded in the Book of Judges, from which facts we may infer with some degree of accuracy what the moral state of the Israelites before the entrance into Canaan must have been. Morality, indeed, cannot as yet have emerged from rule and tradition, nor can the decisions given by Moses beside the sacred tree and well safely be regarded even as its germs. 3

The historical character of Moses, however, has been rather postulated than proved by recent critics. Without it, they find it difficult or impossible to explain the ethical impulse and tendency which, at any rate from the time of the prophet Amos (and Amos, be it remembered, presupposes that this impulse is no novelty), is conspicuous in the history of Israelitish religion. Moreover, the name Moses not only represents a great though little-known personality ; it is also a symbol of a colossal fact asserted by the later tradition - viz. , the deliverance of the clans or tribes of Israel from Egyptian bondage, and the recognition of Yahwe by these united clans as the deity who had proved himself mightier and consequently more divine than the gods of Egypt (cp Ex. 18:10-11, J), and required from them a gratitude and an obedience, out of which in the fulness of time a true ethical conscious ness and an ethical monotheism might be expected to develop. 1

The task at present before scholars is to examine these assumptions of recent criticism, and since criticism is bound to be progressive and to correct its own errors, we shall proceed to study various unobserved or neglected facts, which, it will be seen, are adverse even to the highly mitigated traditionalism to which critics twenty or even ten years ago were addicted. We shall not forget the need of circumspection ; but our circumspection will have to apply itself in as yet unfamiliar ways.

1 Cp Wellh. Hist, of Israel and judah (3), 16 (1891); IJG 17 (1894).

2 Cp Stade, GVI (1887), 130; Akad. Rcden (1809), 107/1 Smend, A T Rel.-gesch. W (1899), p. ij/.\ Montefiore, Hibbcrt Lectures, 1892, p. i$f.

3 See Budde, Kel. of Isr. 33 f. Note that 'law' in the English edition of this book corresponds to Recht in the German.

2. Names.[edit]

First of all, however, we must deal with the name Moses and the other related names, and ask, What do they mean ? and what have they to teach us ? The name of Moses appears in the OT as nirDi Mose ; the Arabic form of this is Musa. In Josephus and Philo, and in MSS of the LXX and NT generally, we meet with the Grascised form /xwucr^j [mooyses] (cp Vg. Moyses) ; there is a constant variant, however, /juixrrjs [mooses]. If the OT form were correct, and the name Hebrew, the obvious meaning would be 'deliverer' ( v/ntro, 'to draw out' ; cp 2 S. 22:17 = Ps. 18:17). There is no trace, however, of such an explanation any where in the OT. Pharaoh s daughter, who is sup posed to speak Hebrew, calls the foundling Mose, 'because I drew him out of the water' (Ex. 2:10 [E]). That E had any thought of an Egyptian origin is improbable ; the name Mose is strikingly unlike any of the names given as Egyptian in the story of Joseph, and the Hebrew connection suggested for the name by E has no parallel in the Joseph story except in the accounts of non-Egyptian names like Ephraim and Manasseh.

At a much later time it became important to tighten the connection between the Jews and the Egyptians ; on the Ethiopian war of Moses, see 21. Josephus (Ant.ii.96; c.Ap. 1:31] and Philo (Vit. Moys. 1:4 ) therefore were dissatisfied with the vague statement of Pharaoh's daughter, and explained the name Moses as = 'saved from the water', a theory to which Jablonski (Opuscc. 1:152+) gave a quasi-philological character. Hence for a time the Coptic etymology, mo 'water', and use 'rescued', obtained general currency, though a genuine Egyptian name meaning 'saved from the water' would be quite differently formed (ZDMG 25:141).

At present, a more plausible etymology (suggested by Lepsius, Chronologic, 326 ; cp Ebers, Durck Gosen, 525-526) is in vogue. There is an Egyptian word mes or mesu, meaning 'child', which sometimes occurs as a name by itself, and sometimes as the second part of a theophorous name (e.g. , in the royal names Thotmes, Ahmes, Ramessu). Dillmann (Ex. -Lev. 16) would take 'Moses' = mesu to be the original name ; Renan (Hist. 1 160) and Guthe (GVI [1899], 20) prefer to take it as an abbreviation of a theophorous Egyptian name.

1 So Rudde, op. cit. 35-38

2 Giesebrecht, Geschichtlichheit des Sinaibundes (1900), p. 1 regards the 'Egyptian name' of Moses as a fact which confirms the statement that Moses came forward in Egypt; and Well. (IJG{1} 24, 11, 1) appears untroubled by doubts. Holzinger, however (Ex. 6) says that the name i7WO is 'unexplained'

3 From a private communication of Prof. W. Max Muller.

The special objection to these widely held views 2 is fourfold,

  • (i) The vowel in mes, mesu (or, according to W. M. Miiller, mose) is short, whereas the corresponding vowel in Mose is long, and the sibilants in the two words are different. 3
  • (2) The Hebrews would surely not have accepted a name for their hero from their Egyptian oppressors ; * the supposed Egyptian etymologies of PHINEHAS and HOR are not safe enough to be quoted on the other side as parallels.
  • (3) A close examination of the traditions respecting Moses connects him much more certainly with N. Arabia than with Egypt.
  • (4) The points of contact between Israelitish and Egyptian religious customs are few and unimportant, which would be strange, if Moses had received a name which naturalised him as an Egyptian.

It remains to interpret the name of Mose on the analogy of the names of Moses' nearest relations which express ethnic, more precisely, the present writer now thinks, N. Arabian affinities.

These names, with the explanations here suggested, are

  • (1) Amram, probably a development of Jerahmeel;
  • (2) JOCHEBED (q.v.), perhaps the original of the tribal name known to us as Ja'akob (Jacob) ;
  • (3) Aharon (Aaron), probably a distorted fragment of Jerahmeel ;
  • (4) MIRIAM (q.v.), a distortion either of Merari [Misri] or of Amramith ;
  • (5) ZIPPORAH (y.v.), probably = Zarephath i.e., a personification of the Zarephathites, a branch of the Misrim of N. Arabia (see ZAREPHATH) ;
  • (6) Gershom -* i.e., belonging to the Girshu or Gishru or Geshurim of the Negeb of Palestine (see GIRZITES).

If the explanation of these names now suggested be accepted they record the early connection of the Israelites with populations of N. Arabia, where Horeb (the sacred mountain with which Moses is so closely associated) was situated (see SINAI). The presumption therefore is that ns*Ci Mose, also is N. Arabian. It might be connected with nsp, 'Misrite', Missur being the general name of the country referred to (see MIZRAIM). Mose is virtually identical with Musi, which, in Ex. 6:19 [P], is the name of a son of Merari b. Levi ; indeed, in 1 Ch. 24:27 (cp v. 26), SHOHAM (i.e. , Mose, corrupted by transposition) occurs in lieu of Musi. The other son of Merari is called Mahli (elsewhere explained as = Jerahmeel), and we may assume that Mose, Musi, and Merari are all developments or distortions of some collateral form of Misri 3 (i.e., one belonging to the land ot Missur ).

It may be objected to this view that in the earliest tradition (J), as it now stands, the father, the mother, and the sister of Moses are nameless, and that Aaron appears in this document only to disappear (see AARON, 4). The answer is

  • (1) that the want of names in Ex. 2:14 may be due to RP , who found the original names inconsistent with his material in chap. 6 (so Bacon), and
  • (2) that, on the theory advocated above, the tradition of the migration led by Moses is in fact necessarily without personal names, the names Moses, Amram, Jochebed, etc. , being all ethnic, and not really borne by individuals.

All that the earliest tradition knew was that a tribe closely connected with the Misrites and Jerahmeelites, and specially addicted to the worship of Yahwe, the god of Horeb, played a leading part in the migration of the Israelites into Canaan. This earliest tradition comes to us in part through P, whose lateness as a writer does not detract from the value of any information which he cannot have invented, and prob ably derived from early traditional sources.

1 According to Manetho (in Jos. c. Ap. 1:26-27) the Egyptian name of the leader of the 'lepers' was Osarsiph ; but when he went over to TOUTO TO -yeVos, he received the name of Moses. Cp JOSEPH ii., i, n. Chaeremon (ib. 1:32) makes the Egyptian name of Moses Tisithen.

2 Zipporah's second son Eliezer is only a doublet of Aaron's son ELEAZAR (q.e ., i), the ethnic origin of whose name may be presumed, but is not definitely explained.

3 We can hardly therefore look for an Assyrian etymology of Moses (e.g., masu, to be bright). Cp Sayce, AW. Ass. Bab. 46+.

3. The ark of bulrushes.[edit]

The tradition respecting the child Moses in the box (basket ?) of papyrus-reeds (EV 'ark of bulrushes' ; see RUSHES - 1) is told only by E - According to this writer, Moses, the child of a man and a woman of the tribe of Levi (see JOCHEBED), was hidden among the reeds by the Nile, on account of a cruel edict that all male children of Hebrews should be put to death (cp Mt. 2:16).

Moses' sister watched him, till the daughter of Pharaoh 1 saw the weeping child, and had compassion on him. Through his sister's cleverness he enjoyed maternal nursing, but was afterwards adopted as her son by Pharaoh's daughter.

This charmingly told story is of mythic origin. 2 The tale of the setting adrift of a divine or heroic infant on water is also a tradition of the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Germans, and even the Japanese. 3 It is significant that the Hebrew word for 'ark' occurs only twice in - Ex. 2:35 and in Gen. 6:14+ (Deluge) - and we may venture to suppose that the story of Moses has absorbed one of the details of a popular story either of Creation (cp the Japanese myth) or of the Deluge (which is a second Creation, cp DELUGE, 19). The story gained immensely by this. The hero who was destined to lead his people through a sea, and to be worsted by no obstacles, ought, in poetical fitness, to baffle his enemies even in infancy.

Of the parallel non-Jewish stories it is only necessary to quote one - that of Sargon of Agad. This remarkable tale, which boldly claims the authority of Sargon, begins thus (cp BITUMEN, col. 589) 4 : -

'Sargina, the powerful king, the king of Agade am I. My mother was poor, my father I knew not ; the brother of my father lived in the mountains . . . My mother, who was poor, conceived me, and secretly gave birth to me ; she placed me in a basket of reeds, she shut up the mouth of it with bitumen, she abandoned me to the river, which did not overwhelm me. The river bore me away and brought me to Akki the irrigator. Akki the irrigator received me in the goodness of his heart. Akki the irrigator reared me to boyhood. Akki the irrigator made me a gardener. My service as a gardener was pleasing unto Ishtar and I became king'. 5

Such a story as this, apart from the detail about the gardener, was probably floating in popular Hebrew tradition, and when men began to ask what happened to Moses before he became Hobab's (or Jethro's) son- in-law, it occurred to a narrator to transfer it to the biography of Moses. When the tradition was thus enriched, it of course stated that Moses drew his first breath in the land of Egypt. The story of the ark is adapted only to the region of the Nile or the Euphrates, and J, though in its present form his account of Moses begins (apparently) with the aid rendered by Moses to Hobab's daughters 8 (Ex. 2:16-17), distinctly states that Moses had fled to Midian 7 (or rather Musri) from Egypt.

1 Josephus {Ant. 2:9:5) calls her Thermutis ; Artapanus (in Eus. Praep. Ev. 9 27) Merris. Cp col. 2090.

2 Ewald (Hist. 242) long ago saw this ; so also Ebers, Durch Gosen (1872), 72.

3 The Japanese myth is that the first child born to the divine pair, Izanagi and Izanami, the parents of gods and men, was set adrift in an ark of reeds. The story (which is admitted as genuine by Tylor, Remarks on Japanese Mythology) is told in connection with an account of Creation. For a wider circle of kindred stories see A. Bauer, Die Cyros-sage und Verwandtes ; K. Schubert, Herodots DarstcHung der Cyrussage.

4 Note that no name is mentioned (apart from Akki) but that of Sargina. So in the story of Moses in Ex. 2 no name is given but that of Moses. The cause of Sargina's exposure is not mentioned.

5 R. W. Rogers, Hist, of fSab. and Ass., 1 362 : cp KB, iii.a loo ; Del. Par. 208 f. Note that initu is not 'princess' (as G. Smith) but 'poor'.

6 In Oxf. Hex., however, vv. 11-15a are assigned to J (cp Wellh., Corn.).

7 pis, like JITS, is sometimes an error for "NXC i.e., Musri.

8 The story in Ex. 2:12 is not in character with the Moses of the later period. 'He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one', etc. One may defend the story of the flight of Moses by the Egyptian story of Sanehat or Sinuhit (KPP>, 2:18+), but not the cause of the flight.

4. Born in Egypt or Musri.[edit]

It is not, however, an easy matter to understand how Moses can have left his fellow-tribesmen in Egypt and settled with Hobab. 8 The narrator who made him the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter only increased the difficulty ; for if Moses had been rearecd as an Egyptian, he would naturally have received an Egyptian office and an Egyptian wife. Moreover, let it now be noticed that we have in 1 K. 11:17+, in its present form, the account of an Edomite who fled into Egypt, and was there hospitably received by Pharaoh, who gave him the queen s sister to wife, and that underlying this is an earlier and more authentic story that the asylum found by the fugitive was in the N. Arabian Musri. 1 The suspicion naturally arises that the earliest tradition respecting Moses represented him as an Israelite, who, together with his clan, had been admitted to the jus connubii by a tribe of Midianites, or rather (see HOBAB) Misrites, which dwelt not far from Horeb, the sacred mountain of Yahwe. The story of his chivalrous conduct towards Hobab's daughters seems to have been suggested by that of Jacob's friendliness to Rachel at the well (Gen. 29:2-10 J). Jacob marries Rachel; so Moses marries Zipporah, who is one of the seven daughters of the priest of Midian (Musri ?). Who are these seven daughters, we ask ? Surely they represent the seven districts of the Misrite territory, one of which - that nearest Canaan - had, we hold, for its centre Zarephath. ZIPPORAH (q.v. ) is, in our view, a mis- written Zarephath, just as Rachel is a distortion of Jerahmeel; Further, let us not forget that Elijah, who is in some important respects the double of Moses, is closely connected by tradition with Zarephath which belongs to Missur (1 K. 17:10, revised text ; see ZAREPHATH ). The only doubt is whether Moses (i.e., the clan) acquired Zarephath by the cession of a Misrite chieftain, or by conquest (see 17).

The story in Ex. 4:24+, being deeply corrupt, is of no value for the story of Zipporah, and the description of her in Nu. 12:1 as a 'Cushite woman' adds nothing to our knowledge. Some indeed (e.g., Ewald, Hist. 2 inf., n. 3) have supposed that it is not Zipporah who is meant, but an Ethiopian concubine whom Moses took after the death of Zipporah. It is not, however, the Ethiopian but the N. Arabian Cush (see CUSH, 2) that is referred to, and Hobab, father of Zipporah (Zarephath), dwelt in Musri 2 which adjoined Cush.

5. A Yahwe Clan.[edit]

By this connection the clan of Mose (Misri ?), as it was now called, and apparently the whole tribe of Levi 3 became a priestly and in a wide sense prophetic tribe, devoted to the worship of Yahwe. 4 This is thoughtfully described by E in Ex. 31:4b, 31:6, 31:9-14 as a new and solemn revelation of God to Moses by the name Yahwe at 'Horeb the mountain of God'. J also describes a solemn call to Moses, but presupposes that Yahwe is already known to the elders of Israel in Egypt (3:16). J also speaks of the mountain as TD in, 'mount Sinai' 5 (iTJDn, EV 'the bush', is less probable) ; it burned, and was not consumed. The mountain (called Horeb [mutilated from 'Jerahmeel' ?] by E and Sinai by J) is described, according to a very plausible emendation of 3:1 , as in 'the wilderness of Jerahmeel' (read 1270 SxcnT for naian inx) ; it may be Jebel Muweileh which lies NE. of 'Ain Gadis, E. of the Wady es-Seraif, but is more probably some mountain-group nearer to Kadesh. 6 Horeb or Sinai was virtually guarded by a tribe of Yahwe - worshippers which is variously called Kenites, Jerahmeelites (?), 7 and Misrites (scarcely Midianites).

1 See HADAD, and cp JQR 11 [1899], 551-556; Beke, Origines Biblicie, 1 [1834], 307, n. 4.

2 Read USD for pa (see preceding col. n. 7).

3 'Levi' is doubtless an older name than Mose. On its origin see LEVI.

  • So Bateson Wright (Was Israel ever in Egypt? 164) finds traces of a tradition that this tribe (Levi) is of Kenite origin.

6 SoinDt. 33 16 read, with Renan, TO JTB - See BUSH, and note the differences of scholars as to the exact sense of nJD> a word which we certainly do not expect just here, and find only once again in a dependent passage, Dt. 33 16. Bacon s theory, adopted by Bennett (Hastings, Dfl 3 349 a), is therefore excluded.

6 Therefore not SE. of Elath (as Wellhausen). See SINAI, and cp BEER-LAHAI-ROI, JEHOVAH-JIREH.

7 'Ben Reuel', Nu. 10:29, = ben Jerahmeel.

6. Misrim.[edit]

We are further told that Yahwe commissioned Moses to bring out the b'ne Israel who were in Egypt, so that they might worship Yahwe on this mountain (so E), and that he promised to give them a home in a land flowing with milk and honey (so J). The present writer regards it as probable that this land was described in the text which underlies Ex. 38 as 'the land of the Kenite, the Rehobothite, the Jerahmeelite, and the Zarephathite' ; a that the 'land flowing with milk and honey' was in the Negeb 2 (Nu. 13:21-22 , revised text; cp ESHCOL, PARADISE, REHOB, ZIN) ; and even our present narrative is not without some indications that the Exodus known to the original tradition was a peaceful one, and that the land which was migrated from was not Goshen but Cushan (the N. Arabian Cush) - not Misraim (Egypt) but Misrim (Musri). Of course it is not inconceivable (cp EXODUS i. , 3) that some clans of Israel may have been in Egypt, and may have removed from that country to join kindred clans in N. Arabia, one of which - the tribe of Levi or Mose - may even have gone to the land of Goshen to escort their brethren to Kadesh. But is there not something artificial in this construction of history ?

It is true that the story of Joseph represents Simeon as having been kept in bondage in Egypt (Gen. 42:24), and that we naturally suppose Simeon and Levi to have shared the same fate (cp Gen. 49:5a). The ethnic connections of Simeon and Levi, however, to judge from the valuable material in the genealogies of 1 Ch. 4:6, appear to have been N. Arabian ; the name Phinehas is not to be quoted as suggesting an Egyptian element in Levi, for it is more probably of Jerahmeelite than of Egyptian origin (see PHINEHAS). As Moses is a member of the tribe of Levi (so closely connected by tradition with N. Arabia) we cannot expect to find him in Egypt, though he (i.e. , his clan) may, as we have admitted, possibly (not probably) have made an expedition to the Egyptian frontier.

7. Ex. 4:24-26.[edit]

That the Moses-clan was at any rate composed of fearless warriors (cp Ex. 32:26-27 and contrast the timid Moses of Ex. 2:12) is shown by the story which underlies the certainly corrupt narrative in Ex. 4:24-26. As it now stands, the narrative relates in most obscure terms how Zipporah protected her husband against the angry Yahwe (!) by circumcising her son (see CIRCUMCISION, 2). Really, however, in our view, the passage describes a feat of martial prowess comparable to that ascribed to Shamgar in Judg. 3:31 (see Crit. Bib. ).

We read thus, 'And it came to pass in the wilderness of Jerahmeel that Jerahmeelites (i.e., Amalekites, raiders who had o fixed settlements) fell upon him and sought to slay him. And he took an ox-goad, and smote the Jerahmeelites, and thought, I have wiped out the Jerahmeelites' (cp Ex. 17:14-15, 'I will wipe out the name of Amalek', etc.). To explain this it may be noted that the word Jerahmeelites has, we believe, a twofold meaning: (i) those of Jerahmeelite origin, (2) Bedouins.

8. Elaboration of story.[edit]

The tradition of the Exodus, as we now have it, is indeed extremely inconsistent. At one time it delineates a Moses who must be an individual (e.g. Ex. 3-4:23) ; at another it enables us to see plainly that Moses is no individual, but a clan. We need not wonder at these variations. The original tradition, which had to do chiefly with tribes, was too strong to be altogether transformed ; but the tendency of storytellers to individualise altered the primitive tradition in many points. Here is an instance. We have seen how the infancy of Moses was glorified ; tradition was equally careful to give the hero a suitable equipment as a prophet of Yahwe. A prophet, according to the primitive notion, must be a thaumaturgist ; Moses therefore needed a wonder-working staff. 3

According to J, Yahwe vouchsafed to give a supernatural power to the shepherd's staff in the hand of Moses (4:2+) ; but J gets rid of the thaumaturgic element as soon as he can. E, on the other hand, states that God entrusted Moses with a staff which he had not previously possessed, to perform his wonderful works (4:17; cp 4:20b), and that of the five plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians by Moses four (i.e., all except the death of the firstborn) were brought by his lifting up or stretching out his staff, and the striking story of Rephidim turns entirely on the uplifting of the hand with the staff. P, too, attaches much importance to the staff, though it is of Aaron's staff that this writer speaks. Four out of the six plagues were inflicted by its means, whilst in the case of the fifth, the boils were brought about by Moses throwing soot into the air before Pharaoh. So too at the passage of the yam suph (see below, 10), E tells us (14:16) of a command of God that Moses should lift up his staff (over the sea), whilst P (ib, cp 21) is content with the stretching out of the hands ; in either case the phraseology has an implication of magic art. Cp PLAGUES (TEN).

1 In Ex.38, as it now stands, these names have become Canaanite, Hittite, Amorite, Perizzite ; Hivite and Jebusite" have been added.

2 So in 1 S. 18:25-27 the 'hundred foreskins' may have come by corruption from Jerahmeelites (D S^CnY). The whole story becomes quite plain and natural. Cp SHECHEM, and see Crit. Bib.

3 In Ex. 4 20 & paraphrases ri\v pdfiSov TI\V napa. TOV deov.

9. Interviews with Pharaoh.[edit]

The demand addressed to Pharaoh by Moses next requires attention. J puts it thus, 'And they said, The God of the Hebrews has met with us : let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahwe, lest he fall on us with pestilence or with the sword' (5:3 [5:2]; cp 3:18, 8:27); and again, 'And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go ; for we must hold a feast to Yahwe' (10:9) ; and yet again, 'And Moses said, Thou must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings. . . Our cattle also shall go with us ; there shall not a hoof be left behind ; for thereof must we take to serve Yahwe our God ; and we know not with what we must serve Yahwe till we come thither' (10:25-26).

Elsewhere (see PLAGUES, TEN) we have commented on the imperfect truthfulness of these demands ; here, therefore, it is enough to refer to the phrase hag Yahwe, 'feast of Yahwe' (10:9). This phrase confirms our previous suspicion that the Egyptian training of Moses is not a feature of the original tradition, the notion which underlies the word hag (i.e., probably, a solemn circuit round a sacred object) being specially Arabian (cp DANCE, 3). The phrase 'three days' journey' also deserves notice. It might indeed be a mere stylistic idiom (cp Gen. 30:36, Nu. 16:33) ; but it is expressly put into Moses mouth by Yahwe (3:18); accordingly it is used by Moses twice. Moreover, when Moses 'led Israel onward from the yam suph, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur (Missur?)', we are told that they went three days in the desert, and found no water (Ex.15:22) ; shortly afterwards they came to Sinai. It is possible, then, that Horeb or Sinai was represented in the primitive story as three days journey in the desert of Musri. Yet it was certainly much more than three days journey from the Red Sea.

10. The yam suph.[edit]

This may perhaps favour the view, to which the manifold difficulties of the story of the passage of the sea give some plausibility, that the yam suph, like the waters of MARAH [q. v. ], had originally no existence outside the ideal wonder land to which we are introduced in Gen. 2. If this view be accepted, the traditional story of the passage of the sea (religiously so impressive) has come out of a myth which like that of the 'ark of bulrushes', originally floated in tradition apart from any historical setting 1 - a myth of the destruction of certain enemies of Yahwe in a sea of reeds by a great wonder-working prophet. Perhaps, if the reading yam suph is the original one (see 10), no better explanation is available. We are at any rate liberated by it from a view of the early history of the Israelites which is encompassed with difficulty.

It has indeed been ably attempted elsewhere (see EXODUS i. , 10-16) to make the story of the yam suph (interpreted as the Red Sea) geographically, and therefore to some extent also historically, intelligible. The attempt could only be made provisionally. From Egyptian sources we have no confirmation of the story, nor is there the least chance of our getting any, and to rely on the unconfirmed accounts of such comparatively late writers as J and E, and on a supposed fragment of a commemorative song from the Mosaic age 1 (Ex. 15:1-3), would not be a critical procedure. Investigation had to proceed tentatively, and since the first efforts have met with doubtful success, we must now try again, and enter on paths partly marked out long ago by an English scholar, confident that religion can only gain by the fullest investigation of its history. See, further, RED SEA.

1 In the Syriac version of the Legend of Alexander (3:7 ; Budge's edition, 1:96) we read, 'We saw in that river a reed the height of which was thirty cubits, and its thickness as that of a garland which a man puts on his head. The whole city was overshadowed by these reeds'. Cp the suggestive remark in Wi. GI 2 9 2.

11. N. Arabian Sojurn.[edit]

The story of the 'Plagues of Egypt' will receive separate consideration (see PLAGUES [TEN], especially 5). Suffice it to say here that the original tradition was probably ignorant of the existence of ill-feeling between Misrites and Israelites. It is as friends that the Misrite and the Israelite women part. They have long been neighbours or even housemates, and the Misrites who stay behind do not grudge their precious jewels to their departing friends (Ex. 3:22). Indeed, some of the N. Arabians (an my, in MT of Ex. 12:38; AV 'mixed multitude' ) or Zarephathites (rosoN, MT of Nu. 11:4; AV 'mixed multitude' ), especially Hobab (Nu. 10:29, Judg. 1:16, 4:11), accompany the Israelites. See MINGLED PEOPLE. Nor need we trouble ourselves too much about the names Goshen, Pithom, Rameses (Raamses), Pihahiroth, Baal-zephon, Succoth, Etham ; for, in spite of a prevalent opinion which is deserving of all respect, it is probably best to explain them as names of the Negeb of S. Palestine or N. Arabia. 2

(a) It is, at any rate of the highest importance that a number of OT passages become satisfactorily clear only when we assume them to refer to a sojourn of the Israelites in Arabia. The witness of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, depends, it is true, on emendations of the text of 1 K. 12:25-33 (see SHECHEM); but the emendations are such as cannot safely be disregarded, and they appear to prove that Jeroboam uttered these words, speaking of the golden calf, 3 'Behold, thy god, O Israel, who brought thee up out of the land of Misrim'.

(b) In Am. 9:7 emendation is again employed ; but the obscurity of the passage fully justifies it. 'Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Misrim, from Rehoboth of Jerahmeel', follows naturally on v. 9, 'Are ye not as the bne Cushim (the Cushites of N. Arabia) to me, O ye bne Israel? saith Yahwe'. See REHOBOTH.

(c) The passage Am. 5:25-27 is hardly intelligible as it stands. When emended, it becomes full of suggestion. Read, 'Do ye bring me sacrifices and offerings in he wilderness of the Arabians, O house of Israel? Then the Cushites, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites, and the Salareans (see SALMA) shall take you away, and I will carry you into exile beyond Cus ham, saith Yahwe'. 1 There are parallels for this in the book of Amos itself (see the next passage, and PARADISE).

1 See the commentaries of Baentsch and Holzinger, and cp OPs. 31, n. g. It seems hazardous to make the Song of Moses earlier than the earliest of the psalms in the Psalter.

2 Cushan, [Sare]phathim, Jerahmeel, Rehoboth, Zaphan (inferred from Zephani[ah]), Maacath, Ethan are the possible originals. Of course, it is also possible that the names were inserted to make the Exodus from Egypt plausible. When, however, we remember the result mentioned above, of the N. Arabian affinities of the personal names connected with the Exodus (Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Hur, Phinehas, etc.), we naturally incline to interpret the local names in a similar way.

3 Possibly the idea that there were two calves arose when 1 'Bethel' and 'Dan' were supposed to be different places ; really 'Bethel' may have lain close to Dan (see SHECHEM). The story in Ex. 32:48 favours the view that there was but one calf, and so does Is. 57:8, if the text has been rightly emended (see MEMORIAL, 2).

(d) Now, too, it becomes plain how Am. 2:10 was originally read. 'But it was I that brought you up out of the land of Misrim, and led you through the wilder ness of the Arabians'. 2

(e) A similar statement is made in Mic. 6:4, where according to an emendation that seems to be called for, the right names are probably Misrim, Arbhim, Misrim, Jerahme elim (see MICAH [BOOK], 3 [-4], i ).

Thus the prophets, if we have recovered their text, are on the side of the new theory. It is only in post- exilic passages like Is. 10:26, 11:15-16, 43:16-17, 51:10, 63:11, Ps. 66:6, 77:17-18, 77:20, 78:13, 78:53, 106:79, 114:35, 136:13, Neh. 9:9-11 that we find unmistakable allusions to the Exodus from Egypt. It is also a prophet (see above, c) who enables us to trace the genesis of the story of the forty years wandering in the wilderness. It arose in an ancient scribe's chamber, and was the result of reading c yatK, 'forty', instead of D 3"iJ7, 'Arabians' (cp Kirjath-arba, 'city of four', for Kirjath-arab, 'city of Arabia' ?). If the reader will now turn to Ex. 13:3, 13:14, 20:2, Dt. 5:6, 6:12, 8:14, 13:5, 13:10, Josh. 24:17, Judg. 6:8, he will be struck by the great improvement effected by simply reading n aiy, 'Arabians', for D-oy, 'servants' ; the 'house ( = territory) of the Arabians' is clearly a much better parallel to 'the land of D lsa' than the phrase which now stands in the text - viz. , 'the house of bondage' (rather, of servants). Unfortunately, we cannot also remove the 'forty years' from most of the Hexateuch passages in which the phrase occurs, because the legend had already fixed itself in the literary circles to which the writers of those passages belonged. In Nu. 14:33 (J), however, on which 32:13 is dependent, it is quite possible. The legend is therefore subsequent to J, and anterior to the paraenetic part of Dt. and to P.

So far as the residence in a Misrim (c lsc) which was not Egypt is concerned, we have the support of Beke, who attempts, it is true, to rescue far too much of the traditional narratives, but is on safe ground when he argues that 'the land of Goshen or of Rameses was an integral and, as I should contend, a principal part of the kingdom of Mitzraim' (Origines Biblicae, 1277). His geographical definition of c ISO s too wide ; but without the help of Assyriology it could not have been otherwise.

12. Clans at Kadesh.[edit]

The traditional details of the journey from the yam suph to the sacred mountain now lose, not indeed their religious, 3 but at any rate their historical interest. It is probable that no such journey was known to the original tradition.

It is possible that yam suph (]?0 D ) is an early corruption of n ?"^~ c .\ 'sea of Zarephath', 4 a synonym for n"cn C = SucnT C f 'sea of Jerahmeel', - i.e., the Dead Sea (see SALT SEA), and that the names MARAH (?.? .) and ELIM (<].- .) are but fragments of the ethnic plural 'Jerahme'elim', such as we often find side by side in the genealogical lists of a later age. MASSAH AND MKKIBAH (q.v.), and REPHIDIM, S to which traditions of more value were attached, were certainly in the territory sometimes described as Jerahmeelite ; Massah was apparently by the rock of Kadesh (see SELA), and Merihah was more fully designated Meribah of Kadesh (a variation of Kadesh of Jerahmeel [?]). 8 While the Moses-clan and those associated with it were at the sacred mountain, they were of course profoundly influenced by the Kenites. This is suggested symbolically by E's statement (J may have said the same thing l ), that Moses received a visit from his father-in-law, who gave him important advice relative to his administration of justice. 2

This account, however, is placed out of the proper order ; the visit was originally supposed to have occurred near the close of the sojourn at Horeb (see Ex. 18, end). (On Massah and Meribah, and on the gift of manna and of quails, see special articles. )

1 The reference is to the cultus of Bethel, Gilgal ( = Cusham- jerahmeel = Dan ?), and Beersheba. Do ye fall back to the religion of the Cushites? 'Then these very people shall take you away'. Read

c N2 s oi c ri D RSriYi c ra c:rm mc

2 njC" is an erroneous gloss. It now becomes unnecessary to reject the whole of 2:10 as a later insertion (Nowack's theory).


  • Cp Dt. 1:1, where the text of the document used by the later

writer whom we call Do probably read . . . in Arabia of Jerahmeel, opposite Zarephath, etc. See SUPH. Perhaps the writer who fused the Misrite and the Egyptian forms of the tradition found jifi*S"p indistinctly written, and confounded the sea with a mythical sea of reeds (see 10).

5 The Rephidim story is apparently the justification of the long feud between Israel and Amalek in later times. Cp JEHOVAH-NISSI.

6 Mr. S. A. Cook acutely compares Meribah with Meri(b)baal (MASSAH, 3, end) ; now Meri(b)baal is one of the many distortions of Jerahmeel (see MEPHIBOSHETH).

13. Accounts of Theophany.[edit]

We have now arrived at the great Theophany and the 'berith' (see COVENANT). It is important to use the results of critical analysis, and to keep the three accounts separate.

According to J, after the preliminaries described in chap. 19, Moses, who alone approached Yahwe, received from Yahwe the Ten 3 Words, 'the words of the covenant' (concerning ritual), which, at the divine command, he wrote down upon two tables of stone. 'He was there with Yahwe forty days and forty nights ; he neither ate bread nor drank water' (34:28). When the time for departure comes, the people are troubled, and put aside their ornaments, 4 and Moses asks Yahwe whom he will send with him to lead Israel to its resting- place. The answer is given, 'My panim (manifestation 5 ) shall go with you' (3314). Early the next morning Moses ascends the mountain, and another favour is granted ; 'Yahwe passed by'. The noble declaration of Yahwe's ethical nature in 34:6-7 belongs to a redactor ; as Battersby has noticed, it is the expression of a school of religious thought later and wiser than the Yahwist's (Oxf. Hex. 2134).

According to E, after the due preliminaries, there was a great thunderstorm, and Moses brought the people to the foot of the mountain to meet God. Affrighted at the storm and the 'trumpet', the people fled from the mountain, and Moses alone drew near to the darkness in which God was. The words spoken were, as the text now stands, the famous Decalogue adopted by the Church (see DECALOGUE). The probability, however, is that E's original Decalogue (if the number ten may be assumed 6 ) is to be found in the cultus laws (20:22-26, 22:29-31, 23:10-19 [23:20-33]).

After reporting the words of God to the elders, Moses, attended by Joshua, again ascends the mountain, and remains there forty days and forty nights, during which time, it is probable, he has received instruction in the 'judgments' or decisions (mishpatim) in 21:1, 22:16. Finally he receives the two tables of stone, on which the fundamental words of God have been written by the divine hand. 7 (The story of the GOLDEN CALF [q.v. ] may be passed over. 8 ) An altar is erected, and burnt offerings and peace offerings are offered. The people are besprinkled with the 'blood of the covenant' (24:8; see COVENANT, 5, end), so that, on the basis of their promise of obedience, their communion with the deity is assured.

According to D, the sole foundation and contents of the covenant at Horeb was the (expanded) Decalogue.

According to P, the glory of Yahwe was for six days hidden in a cloud on the top of Sinai. On the seventh day Moses was called into the cloud (Ex. 24:15b-18a:), where he received instructions as to the tabernacle and its furniture, the priests and their vestments, the altar of incense, etc. (25:1-31:17 ). There Moses received the 'two tables of the testimony' (see ARK, 3); his face shone so that he veiled it (cp HORN). The tabernacle was eagerly constructed, furnished, and sanctified. Aaron and his sons were consecrated as priests (Nadab and Abihu can be passed over). From time to time the various laws of the Book of Leviticus were communicated.

1 Probably Ex. 18 contains some elements from J's parallel account which RJE. has worked into E's narrative. So Di., Bacon (Trip. Trad., 1894), Carpenter-Battersby (2 108).

2 Moses then is the sheikh of his clan. Presumably the place of judgment is the sanctuary of Yahwe, near Horeb. According to Judg. 4:11 (cp Nu. 10:29-32, J), the father-in-law of Moses accompanied Israel to the Promised Land. Cp the statement about 3T 31JJ-

3 The number ten is only probable.

4 So J's part of 33:4. The trouble was caused by the prospect of going to a distance from the god of Sinai, and as a consolation the ornaments are probably to be devoted to the decoration of the sacred tent and of the Ark. See Dillmann and Baentsch ad loc.

5 Cp the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21).

6 For Wellhausen's reconstruction see DECALOGUE, 5.

7 See Baentsch on Ex. 24:12, but cp O.rf. Hex., ad loc. (2:119).

8 The allusion to the golden calves (or calf? see SHECHEM) of Jeroboam is unmistakable.

14. Historical element.[edit]

What is the element of historical truth, whether large or small, which forms the kernel of these various narratives? Here as elsewhere in the primitive story the object of the narrators is, 'not to relate what actually occurred, but to shape traditions of the past for the good of the present'. 1 If it was really a primitive tradition that, under the conduct of the clan or tribe of Mose, certain Israelitish tribes left the Egyptian territory and went to the land of the Kenites, where their conductors had long been settled, it stands to reason that the new-comers would have to adopt the religion of the Kenites. In any case the Moshe-clan and the clans which gathered round it from whatever quarter must have taken this step. 2 The 'pomp and circumstance' of the so-called covenant was unnecessary. What may have occurred is described in a passage which is one of the most antique portions of the narrative of JE (Ex. 18:12, E) :

And Jethro, Moses father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God ; and Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to hold the sacred meal before God ( = at the sanctuary).

Jethro (or perhaps Jethru), the priest of 'Midian' (Musri) is about to bring his visit to Moses to an end (18:27). Before he does so, he offers sacrifices to Yahwe his God, and invites the representatives of Israel to assist at the ceremony and the feast. Before they could do this, the Israelite clans must have been solemnly incorporated with Yahwe's people. This incorporation is now solemnly recognised by Jethro. It is a sacrifice of initiation. 3

May we venture to say that there was already an essential difference between the religion of the Kenites and that of the new worshippers of Yahwe? There was - if we may assume that in some wonderful way, explicable only as an intervention of Yahwe, certain newly arrived Israelites had been delivered from the very jaws of death. 4 If, however, we cannot venture to assume this, the origin of the difference which subsequently existed between the Yahwism of the Israelites and that of any other people which recognised a god named Yahwe must be referred to some later period. It may be noticed, however, that even critics who as regards the story of the yam suph may be called relatively conservative, distinctly hold that the original Yahwism of the Israelites had no ethical character. All that they can say is that the claim upon Israel's fidelity constituted by Yahwe's great mercy at the Red Sea had an ethical character, and that the desire to satisfy this claim was a potent impulse to the gradual moralisation of Israel's religion.

It has been pointed out already that the sacred mountain must have been at no great distance from Kadesh - i.e., the southern Kadesh called Kadesh- barnea or rather (see NEGEB, 2) Kadesh-jerahmeel. It was in the neighbourhood of this mountain that the new Yahwe-worshippers settled. We therefore set aside the notion of a long journey from Sinai or Horeb to Kadesh, and at the same time that of the early con struction of a surrogate for the mountain shrine of Yahwe (the Ark). As long as the clans or tribes remained within easy distance of God s mountain, the need of a portable sanctuary could not have been felt. It was when they began to push forward into new territories (perhaps even 'three days' journey, Nu. 10:33, would disquiet them) that this want would begin to be noticed. Whether the construction of the Ark was an Israelitish idea, or due to imitation of the Kenites or Misrites, we cannot say ; the Hebrew narrator had not a historical object in ascribing it to a divine revelation to Moses. At any rate, the idea of Renan and Guthe that the Ark of the Israelites was suggested by Egyptian prototypes is not plausible, the connections of Moses being not Egyptian, but Arabian.

1 Guthe, GVI 23.

2 A tribe that 'changes its seats changes its gods' (W. R. Smith).

3 Perhaps, as Budde (Religion of Israel to the Exile, 23) remarks, this is the reason why Moses is not mentioned as taking part in the sacrifice.

4 'The Kenites served their god because they knew no better ; because he was of their blood-kindred, and had grown up in in separable union with them. . . . But Israel served Yahwe because He had kept his word ; because He had won Israel as his possession by an inestimable benefit' (ibid. 35-36)-. But can we be sure that the Kenites had experienced no divine mercies which awakened the same ethical impulse as the deliverance at the Red Sea (ex hyp.) awakened in the Israelites? If the tribal name 'Jerahmeel' was interpreted by the Jerahmeelites to mean 'God has mercy', they had. But it would be very unsafe to lay stress upon this.

15. Meribah, Dathan, Aaron, and Miriam.[edit]

If we add that we also dismiss certain traditional stories relative to the journey from Sinai to Kadesh ( See KIBROTH-HATTAAVAH, MANNA, QUAILS, MERIBAH), it is only from the point of view of students of the early history. There is something to learn from each of these traditions, and the picture of the great leader as it was painted by the later narrators possesses a special interest of its own. Whether 'very meek' is what E meant to say in Nu. 12:3 may be doubted (cp POOR, i) ; but certainly t-rpoiro- <t>6pr)(rei> (Dt. 1:31 LXX; Acts 13:18) may fitly describe the Leader's uniform gentleness and love towards his people (see especially the sublime as well as beautiful passage, Ex. 32:32). P, it is true, reports an exception to this at Meribah, where, in his impatience, Moses exclaims to the assembly of Israel, 'Hear now, ye rebels' (Nu. 20:10) ; but it may reasonably be doubted whether P has accurately reproduced the tradition which had reached him.

The reason for doubting is as follows : - In Gen. 33:19, 34+ ^NSriV is, we believe, miswritten "iion (one of the many distortions of this ethnic). This suggests the possibility that D lCn in D lSH WIJ/OS (Nu. 20:10) may have been corrupted out of an indistinctly written p SxcnT- It is probable that Jerahmeelites (Kenites) accompanied the Israelites from Kadesh. Now the rock of Meribah ( = Kadesh-jerahmeel?) was their own rock. The original story may have traced the sacred fountain of Kadesh to a stroke on the rock given by the staff of Moses. In this story Moses probably addressed the Jerahmeelites (j<]"lj;C;j> Q SxCnT)- The mistaken reading 'ye rebels' (Q isn) probably led to a recast of the tradition. Cp, however, MASSAH AND MERIBAH.

Certainly one whom 'Yahwe knew face to face' ( Dt. 34:10) could not have the ordinary human weaknesses. Nor do we find that Moses was wanting in mercifulness even under great provocation (see Nu. 12:13 [E], 16:22 [P]). The narratives as we have them represent Moses and his opponents as individuals. It is very possible, however, that relations of clans are symbolised by these personal narratives. l The Reubenites ( = Dathan and Abiram) may have resented the superiority of the Mose clan on the ground that Reuben and Levi were equally descended from Leah, and the clans of 'Miriam' and of 'Aaron' may have become jealous of the prosperity of the kindred clan of Mose. To go farther than this and conjecture (with Guthe, G VI 21:25) that Moses, as well as Joshua, belonged to the tribe of Joseph, which traditionally derived its origin from Rachel, seems unwise. Indeed, the supposed connection of Joshua with Ephraim is probably due to a later misapprehension. See JOSHUA.

1 'It is the most probable thing in the world that actual history underlies this representation' (Budde, Rel. of Isr. 82).

16. Death of Moses.[edit]

With the settlement of the confederated clans of Israel in Kadesh and its neighbourhood the story of Moses ought, one would have thought, to have ended. It is not at all certain that it did not once do so, and that the mountain from which, according to tradition, he surveyed the land which was about to be occupied, was not in Musri rather than in Moab (another case of the confusion of "iixo and SKID). The reason of this statement is as follows : - When the Israelites, unaware that Yahwe's power extended beyond Kadesh, murmured at the report of the spies, and talked of returning into Egypt, Yahwe in his wrath threatened to destroy them, and to make Moses (i.e., the Moses-clan) into 'a nation greater and mightier than they' (Nu. 14:12). Ultimately, we are told, Yahwe decided that only Caleb, who was of 'another spirit', * should, with his posterity, possess the land. This certainly points forward to the occupation of Hebron, or perhaps rather Rehoboth, 2 by the Calebites (see CALEB). Theoretically, then, Moses should henceforth have disappeared, and it is very possible that the primitive tradition made him at this point surrender his authority to Joshua (=Abi-sheba or Eli-sheba [?]), and patiently wait for his approaching end.

17. Balak: Moses-clan at Zarephath.[edit]

It is true, the tradition in its present form gives Moses still some opportunities of guiding and directing Israel. The episode of Balaam the soothsayer and Balak the Moabite king comes into the existing biography of Moses. It is very probable, however, that the original story of Balaam and Balak was rather different from that which our text presents. Balak is called a 'son of ZIPPOR' (q.v. ) ; in our view, the original phrase was most probably 'son of Zarephath'. Balaam on the other hand dwelt, not at a doubtful Pethor on the Euphrates, but at Rehoboth by the River of Misrim. See REHOBOTH. It is possible that, according to one tradition, the Misrites grew tired of the Israelites, and that Balak their king sought the aid of a great prophet or diviner - a worshipper of Yahwe - against his unwelcome visitors. It may have been at this period, according to the early tradition, that Moses (i.e. , the Moses-clan) gained possession of Zarephath. Two inconsistent stories respecting the occupation of this place were probably current, corresponding to the inconsistent narratives of the capture of REHOBOTH [q. v. ]. One represented Zephath or Zarephath as won by force (Judg. 1:17), the other as acquired by an amicable compact (Gen. 33:18, revised text; Ex. 2:21). At any rate we may (or must) suppose that the wandering Levites, who at a later time sought employment from Israelitish families as priests of Yahwe (this is vividly brought before us in Judg. 17:7-13), had Zarephath for their centre. One part of the Moses-clan therefore (to which clan, be it noted, the Levite of Judg. 17-18 belonged) remained in Zarephath, while another part accompanied other clans in expeditions of conquest, precisely as we learn from Judg. 1:16 that Judah was accompanied in one of its campaigns by a branch of the Kenites. Representatives of the Moses-clan would naturally guard the portable sanctuary (the ark), which was an inseparable accompaniment of the leading Israelite clans so soon as they journeyed far from Kadesh. It was from these that the reputation of the Levites as a warlike tribe (Gen. 34, Ex. 32:26-28) must have been derived.

1 See ESCHATOLOGY, col. 1342, midway.

2 There are traces of an early tradition that the land flowing with milk and honey, explored by the spies, was to the S. of the Negeb of Judah (see NEGEB, 7). Cp PARADISE.

18. Conquest of Cushan.[edit]

The statement (Dt. 2:24-3:17) that Israel under Moses conquered the territory of Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings E. of the Jordan, and that it was allotted to certain Israelitish tribes, seems to be due to a misunderstanding of the early tradition (see OG, SIHON). All that any form of the primitive legend knew of was the conquest of the Jerahmeelite or Arabian land of Cush, and the Jericho spoken of in Josh. 2-6 was really some important Jerahmeelite city, such as Zarephath or Halusah. 1 The story in Josh. 2-6 makes Joshua the leader of Israel when 'Jericho' (Jerahmeel) was taken. This is surely the correct traditional view. 'Moses' took no part in any migration from Arabia. To tread the land of promise was denied him ; this is distinctly stated in the traditions. The editors could not alter - they could but attempt to explain this fact. It was 'on your (Israel's) account', said some (Dt. 1:37, 3:26); it was because of something wrong in the conduct of Moses, said others (Nu. 20:6, 20:12, Dt. 32:51, Ps. 106:33). Cp MASSAH AND MERIBAH. The true reason, however, was forgotten. It was because the Moses-clan was the clan of Yahwe, and Yahwe, as late as the time of Elijah, was the God of Horeb. At least a part of the Moses- clan, as we saw just now, probably remained at Zarephath.

19. Moses and Elijah.[edit]

It thus becomes probable that, in the primitive tradition, Moses, Aaron, and Miriam 'the prophetess' (Ex. 15:20, E) passed away as individuals in tne same region : Miriam at Kadesh (Nu. 20:1), Aaron either at Moserah (Dt. 10:6), or at Mount Hor (Nu. 20:28, 33:38), and Moses on the top of 'the Pisgah'. 2

The Pisgah-view enjoyed by Moses has been considered elsewhere (see PISGAH). We have only to add that, according to Dt. 34:6, 'no one knows of his sepulchre unto this day'. The Jewish comment on this is that this was designed in order that the Israelites might not raise a sanctuary at the grave of Moses, or because no sepulchre could be worthy of him. But the question is whether some primitive story which would account better for the circumstance has not been omitted. Moses and Elijah are two parallel heroes (cp Mal. 4:4-5, with Lk. 9:30), and are both connected with Zarephath and with Horeb. 3 In the story of Elijah's decease it is said that fifty men were sent to find Elijah, but in vain, because he had gone up in a whirlwind, accompanied by chariots and horses of fire, into heaven. It appears likely that a similar tale was originally told of Moses. 4 It would be a fitting close to the career of the prophet of Yahwe, who was originally known as the storm-god. We may add that this view is at least analogous to the early Christian belief in a spiritual assumption of the great legislator. 5

It has been said of Elijah that his end corresponds with singular exactness to his beginning, that he appears in the history of Israel like a meteor, and disappears as mysteriously. The same thing may perhaps be said of Moses, for no one will say that the story of the 'ark of bulrushes' is more historical than that of the great prophet s burial. Primitive tradition knew nothing either as to his birth or as to his death, and altogether was too scanty to please posterity. Hence speculation busied itself in filling up the gap. See especially Josephus (Ant. 2 9 and 10 ; c. Ap. 1:26-27) and Philo (Vit. Moyses). On the Midrash called the Petirath Mose 6 see Zunz, Gottesdienstl. VortrugeP\, 154 ; for the Assumption of Moses, see Charles's edition (1897), especially the appendix on the original Assumption (cp APOCALYPTIC, 59); on later legends in general, see Beer, Leben Moses nach Auffassung der juci. Sage (1863), and on the legendary graves of Moses and Aaron, Goldziher, Hebrew Mythology, ?8if.

1 Hardly Kadesh, as suggested in JERICHO, 2. Halusah (Ziklag) was possibly the city conquered by the Danites. according to Judg. 18:27-29. See ZIKLAG.

2 MOSERAH [,/.Z .]=Missur (Musri); Hor and 'the Pisgah' both come, the present writer thinks, from Jerahmeel. The current views are scarcely tenable. See NEBO, MOUNT.

3 According to Renan, 'Le geant du Sinai parait une creation de 1 ecole d Klie. Les deux legendes se compenetrent. lilie a dans le Horeb des visions qui ont avec celles de Moise au meme lieu les plus grandes ressemblances' (Histoire, 2 288).

4 Winckler's theory that Moses is 'the returning Tammuz, the sun of spring and summer' (C/289 284) implies too great a confidence in the mythological key to ancient legends.

5 See Clem.Alex. Strom. 615, quoted by Charles, Assumption of Moses, 107.

6 A parallel Midrash relative to the decease of Aaron is probably later (Zunz).

20. Other references to Moses.[edit]

Of references to Moses in the OT outside of the Hexateuch specially deserving attention we may notice Ps. 99:6, 'Moses and Aaron among his priests' ; Is. 63:12, 'that caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses' ; Jer. 15:1, 'though Moses and Samuel stood before me' ; Mic. 6:4, 'I sent before thee Moses and Aaron and Miriam' ; Mal. 4:4, 'remember the law of Moses my servant' ; to which we may add the title of Ps. 90, 'A prayer of Moses the man of God'. In some of these passages the text is doubtful. It is not likely, for instance, that Moses would have been called a priest ; for rjrpa we should probably read vrna, 'his chosen ones' (cp 10623, said of Moses). Nor is it probable that Aaron and Miriam were given a share of the leadership specially belonging to Moses (see MICAH, 3 [-4], i). The title of Ps. 90 will be referred to else where (PSALMS [BOOK], 26 [17]).

The references in the NT are comparatively less important, because, where not simple abstracts of OT statements, they merely reproduce late Jewish traditions. The extraordinary beauty of Moses (Acts 7:20 ; cp Heb. 11:23) reminds us of Jos. Ant. 2:9:7 (/J.op<f>-f) Betov [morphe theion]). In Acts 7:22 we have allusions to the tradition of Moses acquaintance with Egyptian magic arts, and of his warlike prowess (see below, 21).

In v. 23 Te<rcrepaKoi TaeY)s xpoi/os may be illustrated by Ber. rabba, par. 100 (on Gen. 1:14), 'Moses stayed in the palace of Pharaoh forty years, and in Midian forty years, and for forty years he ministered to the Israelites'. In v. 22 and in vv. 38, 53 we find a reference to the tradition that the law was proclaimed through the ministry of angels (cp LXX, Dt. 33:2, Gal. 3:19, Heb. 2:2, with Del. s note). On 2 Tim. 3:8-9 see JANNES AND JAMBRES, and on Jude 9 see APOCALYPTIC, 59.

21. Hellenistic and Mohammedan legends.[edit]

We referred just now to a statement in the speech of Stephen (Acts 7:22) relative to Moses as a warrior. This may refer to such stories as that of the Ethiopian war (Jos. Ant. ii. 10; Artrapanus in Eus. Praep. Ev. 928; see HISTORICAL LITERATURE, 19, iii., col. 2090) ; which some considered to be based on the reference in Nu. 12:1 to Moses Cushite wife, whilst Wiedemann (OLZ, May, 1900, pp. 173/1 ) conjectures that some tradition of Mesui, who held the office of prince of Cush, under Rameses II. and his successor Me(r)neptah (cp Ebers, Diurh Goseti, 526) may have reached later writers through one of the many Egyptian legendary tales, and have had some share in the forma tion of the story. This latter theory, however, pre supposes the Egyptian origin of the name Moses.

The references to Moses in the Koran are many ; they illustrate the unoriginality of Mohammed, who gives us mere recasts of the biblical narratives, expanded by the help of the traditions current among the Arabian Jews. The most remarkable is in Sur. 18, where Moses is brought into connection with the mysterious personages el-Hidr (on whom see DELUGE, g 15, ELIJAH, 4) and 'the two-horned' (Alexander the Great? - see HORN).

22. Important positive truth remaining.[edit]

From all these legends we turn back with renewed interest to the old biblical narratives, and our sympathy is great with those (who like Giesebrecht1) feel compelled to treat Moses as to some extent a historical personage as a protest against a meagre evolutionary view of Jewish religion. If it was not an Exodus from an Egyptian house of servants that awakened the sense of an almighty and all-righteous protector of Israel, and if it was not through Moses that the meaning of the event was brought home to the people, what other deliverance and what other deliverer are we to set in their place? There are no great heroes of popular tradition to whom we can point but Samuel and Elijah. The former is brought into connection with the war with the Philistines, which certainly appears to have stirred up religious fervour in no slight degree ; 2 the other, with the persecution of Yahwe-worshippers by Ahab. 3 Our knowledge, however, respecting these personages is very slight. Samuel and Elijah have apparently both been much idealised, and sober history cannot venture to admit that Ahab really destroyed the altars of Yahwe and slew his prophets. The fact, however, need not be doubted that through the chequered experiences of the national history the representatives of prophetism arrived at the apprehension of a truth which had hitherto been practically unknown, viz. , that to ensure prosperity it was not enough to worship Yah we alone ; his one immutable requirement was righteousness. Is it not reward enough to the critical student to have made this historically plain, and so to have rescued all that was indispensable in the imaginative popular biography of the ideal man of God ?

T. K. C.

1 Die Geschichtlichkeit des Sinai-bundes (1900).

2 Cp Budde, Religion of Israel, 101.

3 Cp Kuenen, Religion of Israel, 1 361.


(MOCOAAAMOC [BA]), 1 Esd. 9:14 = Ezra 10:15, MESHULLAM, 11.


(MOCoAA<\MON[A]) ( 1 Esd. 8:44 AV, RV Mosollamus = Ezra 8:16, MESHULLAM, 10.


(l T; CMC, 1 but in Is. 518 X PONOC. cp WORM; tinea; Job 4 19 13 2 8 27 18 Ps.39i2[n] Is.SOg 518 Hos. 5:12 [on LXX see SPIDER ad Jin. \, Ecclus. 193 [cp <B] 42 13 Bar. 6:12 [LXX /3pu>/uaT4H Mt. 6:19-20, Lk. 12:33).

The moth naturally occurred to Hebrew writers in search of a symbol for the perishableness of man and his possessions. It need hardly be remarked that there are various species of the genus Tinea, which are destructive of woollen fabrics and of furs. We cannot select any one of these as more likely than the rest to represent the biblical moth.

Nor need we make any special reference to biblical passages, except to those in which the moth appears only through a cor ruption of the text, vy, 'moth', being really a relic, in one place (Job 13:28) of Vpn, 'caterpillar' (see LOCUST), in others of r 33y, 'spider' (see SPIDER).

i. Tob 27:18a, where EV, following MT, brings the house of the rich man into some not very clear connection with the moth. Accepting this, prosaic persons have imagined an allusion either to the cases made of leaves, etc., in which caterpillars of certain species shelter themselves, or to the cocoons which they spin before pupating. The corruption of E"32j; into tyy [long word -> first & last letter only] is, however, so easy that we need not defend the traditional reading at the cost of such an unnatural conjecture (see Merx, Budde, Duhm). On the other hand, we may safely restore the moth in Job 27:18b.- The whole verse should probably run thus, 'He builds his house as the spider ; he has laid up his store for the moth'

2. On Ps. 39:11 [39:12] we may refer to what is said elsewhere (OWL). The ordinary view that the psalmist compares the divine chastisements to the operations of a moth (cp Hos. 612) has serious exegetical difficulties. In two passages, how ever, the moth may on grounds of textual criticism be restored (Is. 51:6, Ps. 37:20; Che. SBOT, ad loc., and Ps.W).

T. K. C.

1 OTJS also represents DD in Is. 51:8 and 3jyi in Prov. 14:30 ; cp WORM.

2 This has been overlooked by the critics. LXX gives opa beside tniJTes ; Pesh., too, implies tt"33y (instead of ) 8 is nearer the true text than either MT or Pesh.