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Thread: Wrath of Chemosh(?)

  1. #21
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    I see nothing in the text, at any level, to justify reference to “demonic forces”. The use of language like “there was great wrath” rather than “X was wrathful” looks to me like a roundabout way of saying “JHWH was angry”.
    So...your positing that God was angry at Israel and Judah because the Moabite king sacrificed his son to a demonic "god" Chemosh in a burnt offering? Sorry, but you'll need to convince me of that one. It makes more sense that the Moabites were empowered by the sacrifice to a demonic power. We see in the N.T. when Jesus cast out the man inhabited by Legion that he was uncontrollable and even chains could not hold him. For a handful of soldiers left to route an army that has up to now devastated everything obstacle in their path seems far fetched that there wasn't something else going on. Do you have trouble believing that there was a spiritual battle going on as well? Remember when King David went up against the Philistines and God told him to wait until he heard the marching in the trees to attack.

    The verse echoes the curse upon the site of Jericho in Joshua 6:

    Joshua 6:26
    At that time Joshua invoked this solemn oath: “Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho; at the cost of his firstborn he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”

    1 Kings 16.34:
    In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.


    Looks to me as if Hiel the Bethelite fulfilled the prophecy not King Mesha of Moab?
    Last edited by Littlejoe; 07-20-2018 at 02:04 AM.
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  2. #22
    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    So...your positing that God was angry at Israel and Judah because the Moabite king sacrificed his son to a demonic "god" Chemosh in a burnt offering?
    I don’t know what exactly caused the “wrath”, or even against whom or what it was directed though IMO the “wrath” could make sense as God’s, against the human sacrifice.
    Having said that, it may be worth taking another look at what is said about the reign of Manasseh of Judah, as described in 2 Kings 21.1-9:

    1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.
    2And he did evil in the sight of the LORD by following the abominations of the nations that the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
    3For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed, and he raised up altars for Baal. He made an Asherah pole, as King Ahab of Israel had done, and he worshiped and served all the host of heaven.
    4Manasseh also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My Name.”
    5In both courtyards of the house of the LORD, he built altars to all the host of heaven.
    6He sacrificed his own son in the fire,a practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did great evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.
    7Manasseh even took the carved Asherah pole he had made and set it up in the temple, of which the LORD had said to David and his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will establish My Name forever.
    8I will never again cause the feet of the Israelites to wander from the land I gave their fathers, if only they are careful to do all I have commanded them—the whole Law that My servant Moses commanded them.”
    9But the people did not listen and Manasseh led them astray, so that they did greater evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.

    2 Kings 21:
    http://biblehub.com/bsb/2_kings/21.htm

    2 Chronicles 33: http://biblehub.com/bsb/2_chronicles/33.htm

    Verse 5 mentions sacrifice of a son by a king, and Divine anger, with at least an implication that the one incurred the other. The parallel with Mesha’s sacrifice of his son is not exact, since Manasseh is accused of other sins as well; but there are similarities nonetheless. And the passages occur in the same book, so it is a reasonable assumption that they are informed by the same theology.
    Sorry, but you'll need to convince me of that one. It makes more sense that the Moabites were empowered by the sacrifice to a demonic power. We see in the N.T. when Jesus cast out the man inhabited by Legion that he was uncontrollable and even chains could not hold him.
    As I said, I see no hint of demons in this book. And I want to keep to what the text can be ascertained to mean, instead of reading into it concepts and ideas derived from other parts of the Bible - especially much later, NT, parts. The NT has its own distinctive theology, & I don’t want to mix it with that of Kings. Adding “demonic power” to the text runs the risk of importing an alien concept in order to fix a problem that may not even exist. We, being Christians, see a problem with the data in the text - I don’t think the author of the passage would do so.

    The demonology we have in the NT belongs, as far as I can see, to a later period than the Books of Kings. In Kings we have God, we have the angel of JHWH, and we have the “host of heaven”. But no single, individual, satan, in the NT sense of a fallen and malign created spirit responsible for evil. There is nothing in Kings comparable to Babylonian demons like Pazuzu or Namtar or Lilu, or to demonesses like Lamashtu or Lilitu or Ardat Lili. There are superhuman entities like the heavenly army seen by Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6 - but no demons or devil. IOW, no demonology. The NT books are apocalyptic in tone, and apocalyptic, being deeply concerned with eschatological opposition to God, is often interested in demonology. But that belongs to a different world of ideas from a book like Kings.

    ISTM that, for the author of Kings, good and evil alike came from God. The reason being, that concern for the moral innocence of God was not a concern; what I think was a concern, was to drive home the lesson that all things, including evil things, were subject to God. If this is correct, it may help to explain why, in 1 Kings 22, JHWH is described as sending a “lying spirit” upon Ahab’s court prophets. Later on, vindicating the moral aspect of God’s Holiness becomes an issue. But not here.
    For a handful of soldiers left to route an army that has up to now devastated everything obstacle in their path seems far fetched that there wasn't something else going on.
    But what was going on, that is not mentioned ? Sometimes, armies, as the saying goes, “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”. Without knowing a great deal more about the battle than we are told, I don’t see that the change in the fortunes of war can’t be explained in natural terms. The “wrath” in verse 27 may even be a theological inference: Israel had no more success than it did, therefore, JHWH must have been angry with Israel. There may be no causal connection between 27a, and 27b.
    Do you have trouble believing that there was a spiritual battle going on as well?
    None. But I don’t see how positing one here has any basis in the text. There is no mention of the angel of JHWH fighting for or against Israel, no mention of the host of heaven, not even of the stars fighting in their courses. The only warfare in the text is purely human.
    Remember when King David went up against the Philistines and God told him to wait until he heard the marching in the trees to attack.
    But how does that text, illustrate this one ?
    Looks to me as if Hiel the Bethelite fulfilled the prophecy not King Mesha of Moab?
    It looks as though I led you astray. My point was simply that the two acts of human sacrifice illuminated each other.

  3. #23
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    snip

    It looks as though I led you astray. My point was simply that the two acts of human sacrifice illuminated each other.
    They really don't. In the one you have the Moabite king sacrificing his son to Chemosh and subsequently winning the battle against Israel because of it. God surely wouldn't have been favoring the side performing human sacrifice, but a darker power wouldn't hesitate.

    In the latter you have someone losing their sons because they broke a commandment of God. Very different circumstances, and the same goes for Manasseh. Manasseh sacrificed his children, and incurred the wrath of God for doing such evil.

    Your attempts to compartmentalize the Bible lead you to getting things backwards as is usual for you. All of the books of the Bible come from the same God. They are in agreement with each other, not conflicting each other.

    The "principalities" that the NT speaks of are the same kind of beings as the "Prince of Persia" in the OT. The NT just reveals a further detail in that they are all subservient to one specific dark power, called Satan or the devil, rather than just off on their own. Not saying that they have no autonomy, but that there is a hierarchy.

  4. #24
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushing Jaws View Post
    I don’t know what exactly caused the “wrath”, or even against whom or what it was directed though IMO the “wrath” could make sense as God’s, against the human sacrifice.
    Ummm...it clearly says in the text that "...there came a great wrath against Israel", and this happened immediately after the sacrifice. As to what caused the "wrath" there are many theories I'll grant you...but the one that makes the most sense from the text IMO is demonic wrath of the demonic god Chemosh. This practice was apparently common amongst the Moabites/Canaanite's and others in the ANE world of this time. This article details some of what I'm saying:
    In 1978 a tablet from Ugarita was published in which is found a clear and decisive parallel to 2 Kings 3, as well as to 1 Sam 7 and 13.

    The relevant portion of the text reads as follows:

    If an enemy force attacks your [city-]gates,
    An aggressor, your walls;
    You shall lift up your eyes to Baal [and pray]:

    “O Baal:
    Drive away the [enemy] force from our gates,
    The aggressor from our walls.
    We shall sacrifice a bull [to thee], O Baal,
    A votive-pledge we shall fulfill:
    A firstborn,
    Baal, we shall sacrifice,
    A child
    we shall fulfill [as votive-pledge].

    A ‘tenth’ [of all our wealth] we shall tithe [thee],
    To the temple of Baal we shall go up,
    In the footpaths of the House-of-Baal we shall walk.”

    Then shall Baal hearken to your prayers,
    He shall drive the [enemy] force from your gates,
    The aggressor from your walls.


    Note that the word translated “firstborn” in the prayer is the Ugaritic bkr, which in Hebrew is bekor. This happens to be the same word used in 2 Kings 3:27. According to Baruch Margalit, this text dates to ca. 1250-1200 BCE, about four centuries before the reign of Mesha of Moab. However, the same practices described in this tablet are documented at least as late as the Roman period. “Mesha’s actions, and the Israelite retreat, fit perfectly within this Canaanite, later Punic (neo-Canaanite), tradition of a thousand years.”2 The following examples are provided by Margalit: Diodorus of Sicily (ca. 50 BCE) writes that “in Sicily the Carthaginians . . . were besieging Syracuse, but in Libya Agathocles had brought the Carthaginians under siege—the Carthaginians betook themselves to every manner of supplication of the divine powers . . . they sent a large sum of money and . . . expensive offerings to Tyre . . . when they . . . saw their enemy encamped before their walls . . . they selected two hundred of the noblest children and sacrificed them publicly.”
    (Bolded part is by me for emphasis)
    Source: http://religionatthemargins.com/2011...d-2-kings-327/

    Having said that, it may be worth taking another look at what is said about the reign of Manasseh of Judah, as described in 2 Kings 21.1-9: 1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2And he did evil in the sight of the LORD by following the abominations of the nations that the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.3For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed, and he raised up altars for Baal. He made an Asherah pole, as King Ahab of Israel had done, and he worshiped and served all the host of heaven. 4Manasseh also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My Name.” 5In both courtyards of the house of the LORD, he built altars to all the host of heaven. 6He sacrificed his own son in the fire,a practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did great evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.
    7Manasseh even took the carved Asherah pole he had made and set it up in the temple, of which the LORD had said to David and his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will establish My Name forever. 8I will never again cause the feet of the Israelites to wander from the land I gave their fathers, if only they are careful to do all I have commanded them—the whole Law that My servant Moses commanded them.” 9But the people did not listen and Manasseh led them astray, so that they did greater evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites.
    2 Kings 21: http://biblehub.com/bsb/2_kings/21.htm

    2 Chronicles 33: http://biblehub.com/bsb/2_chronicles/33.htm

    Verse 5 mentions sacrifice of a son by a king, and Divine anger, with at least an implication that the one incurred the other. The parallel with Mesha’s sacrifice of his son is not exact, since Manasseh is accused of other sins as well; but there are similarities nonetheless. And the passages occur in the same book, so it is a reasonable assumption that they are informed by the same theology.
    As Cerebrum pointed out, the two are not analogous at all. Manasseh was King of Israel. Divine anger from Yahweh against the Israelites In 2 Kings 3 is unwarranted since they did not commit the offense.

    As I said, I see no hint of demons in this book. And I want to keep to what the text can be ascertained to mean, instead of reading into it concepts and ideas derived from other parts of the Bible - especially much later, NT, parts. The NT has its own distinctive theology, & I don’t want to mix it with that of Kings. Adding “demonic power” to the text runs the risk of importing an alien concept in order to fix a problem that may not even exist. We, being Christians, see a problem with the data in the text - I don’t think the author of the passage would do so.
    Totally disagree with you. NT continues and expands upon the spiritual warfare theology that is all through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. The fact that we see more demonology displayed in the NT is certainly due to a refining/understanding of the apocalyptic world they lived in. But, I believe that understanding was because Satan was gaining more and more influence over the world as he did by Genesis 6 where God wiped out much of the evil. I believe it's why Jesus came during this time as it had reached a "fever pitch". Christ's main purpose for coming was to destroy the works of Satan...as St. John says in 1 John 3:8: "the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil."

    The demonology we have in the NT belongs, as far as I can see, to a later period than the Books of Kings. In Kings we have God, we have the angel of JHWH, and we have the “host of heaven”. But no single, individual, satan, in the NT sense of a fallen and malign created spirit responsible for evil. There is nothing in Kings comparable to Babylonian demons like Pazuzu or Namtar or Lilu, or to demonesses like Lamashtu or Lilitu or Ardat Lili. There are superhuman entities like the heavenly army seen by Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6 - but no demons or devil. IOW, no demonology. The NT books are apocalyptic in tone, and apocalyptic, being deeply concerned with eschatological opposition to God, is often interested in demonology. But that belongs to a different world of ideas from a book like Kings.
    Job is the oldest book in the Bible and mentions Satan several times. Certainly he plays a more minor role in the O.T. However, it's apparent that he is not "of God" in Job. Much more like the N.T. image of St. Peter: "Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." as St. Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8. But the O.T. authors saw the Spiritual realm a bit differently...yet not entirely differently. The concept of God reigning over a Heavenly Council that exist to fight against the counterpoint is very evident in O.T. texts. They not only saw the battle of Yahweh against evil in the person of the devil and his "princes" but also saw in Him, success in battling with and against "hostile waters" (Ps. 104:7, Ps. 77:16, Prov. 8:27–29; Job 38:6–11, Ps. 29:3–4, 10) and "cosmic monsters" (Leviathan, Behemoth and Rahab) (Ps. 74:14, Job 41:18–21, Isa. 27:1, Job 9:13, Job 26:12–13). For instance, we see that in Gen. 3 that the word for serpent is the Hebrew word "nachash" which in the Septuagint is the Greek word "ophis". In Revelation 12:9 we see the same word ophis likened to the "drakon" "...called the devil and Satan..."

    ISTM that, for the author of Kings, good and evil alike came from God. The reason being, that concern for the moral innocence of God was not a concern; what I think was a concern, was to drive home the lesson that all things, including evil things, were subject to God. If this is correct, it may help to explain why, in 1 Kings 22, JHWH is described as sending a “lying spirit” upon Ahab’s court prophets. Later on, vindicating the moral aspect of God’s Holiness becomes an issue. But not here. But what was going on, that is not mentioned ? Sometimes, armies, as the saying goes, “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”. Without knowing a great deal more about the battle than we are told, I don’t see that the change in the fortunes of war can’t be explained in natural terms. The “wrath” in verse 27 may even be a theological inference: Israel had no more success than it did, therefore, JHWH must have been angry with Israel. There may be no causal connection between 27a, and 27b. None. But I don’t see how positing one here has any basis in the text. There is no mention of the angel of JHWH fighting for or against Israel, no mention of the host of heaven, not even of the stars fighting in their courses. The only warfare in the text is purely human.
    But how does that text, illustrate this one ?
    Well, IMO, contrary to the beleifs of most contemporary western people including the western Church, but in keeping with the basic assumptions of Ancient Near East people (and even to this day, primordial people groups that still exist), Old Testament authors did not make a sharp distinction between “spiritual” and “physical” realities. The world “above” and the world “below” were seen as intertwined. So biblical authors frequently see battles between nations as participating in God’s on-going battle with evil forces. For example, the evil character and threatening power of Rahab on a cosmic level was understood to be revealed in and channeled through the nation of Egypt (Ps. 87:4, Isa. 30:7, Ezek. 29:3, 32:2, Jere. 51:34).
    Therefore, when Israel defeated an opponent this was sometimes understood as the YHWH once again defeating evil/cosmic forces of chaos (Isa. 17:12–14). When YHWH freed the children of Israel from Egypt, for example, this was considered his defeat of the raging waters (Hab. 3:12–13, Nah. 1:4). And when he further delivered Israel by parting the Red Sea, this was seen as a new application of Yahweh’s victory over Rahab (Isa. 51:9–10, Ps. 77:16). On the other hand, when Israel was conquered by an enemy this was described as being devoured by the mighty sea serpent (Jere. 51:34). Similarly, David identified the enemies who opposed him as the forces that have opposed God since the beginning of creation (Ps. 93:3–4). Consequently, when his life was threatened he asked the Lord to reenact his primordial victory over sinister cosmic forces on his behalf. He called upon Yahweh to deliver him “from my enemies and from the deep waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up” (Ps. 69:14–15). And again, “Stretch out your hand…set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hand of aliens” (144:7).

    It looks as though I led you astray. My point was simply that the two acts of human sacrifice illuminated each other.
    When doing proper exegesis, it's often very important to know how the recipients of the text understood it. The ANE readers would have known about the prayer above to Baal. So, I think the author did not get specific because he saw no reason to. This is a common thing in Scripture. the author(s) assume the reader/recipient understands unsaid things because it's "common knowledge". I think that's going on here as well.
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  5. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.

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