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Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

handling; stroking; taking away

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(subduer), the national deity of the Moabites. (Numbers 21:29; Jeremiah 48:7,13,46) In (Judges 11:24) he also appears as the god of the Ammonites. Solomon introduced, and Josiah abolished, the worship of Chemosh at Jerusalem. (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13) Also identified with Baal-peor, Baalzebub, Mars and Saturn.

ATS Bible Dictionary

The national god of the Moabites, and of the Ammonites, worshipped also under Solomon at Jerusalem, Numbers 21:29; Jud 11:24; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Jeremiah 48:7. Some erroneously identify Chemosh with Ammon.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The destroyer, subduer, or fish-god, the god of the Moabites (Numbers 21:29; Jeremiah 48:7, 13, 46). The worship of this god, "the abomination of Moab," was introduced at Jerusalem by Solomon (1 Kings 11:7), but was abolished by Josiah (2 Kings 23:13). On the "Moabite Stone" (q.v.), Mesha (2 Kings 3:5) ascribes his victories over the king of Israel to this god, "And Chemosh drove him before my sight."
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ke'-mosh (kemosh; Chamos):

1. Moabites, the People of Chemosh

2. Solomon and Chemosh Worship

3. Josiah Putting Down Chemosh Worship

4. Chemosh and Ammonites

5. Moabite Stone

6. Mesha's Inscription and the Old Testament

7. Chemosh in the Inscription

8. Parallels between Inscription and Old Testament Record

9. Ethical Contrast


1. Moabites, the People of Chemosh:

The national God of the Moabites, as Baal of the Zidonians, or Milcom (Moloch, Malcam) of the Ammonites. The Moabites are apostrophized in an old Hebrew song as the "people of Chemosh" (Numbers 21:29). Jeremiah in his oracle of doom upon Moab has recourse to the same old song and calls the people "the people of Chemosh." The impotence of the god to deliver his people is described by the prophet in figures representing him as going into captivity with them, his priests and princes together, and Moab is to be ashamed of him as Israel was of the Golden Calf of Bethel, which did not avail to save the Northern Kingdom from the conquering Assyrian power (Jeremiah 48:7, 13, 16).

2. Solomon and Chemosh Worship:

For Chemosh, "the abomination of Moab," as for Moloch, "the abomination of the children of Ammon," Solomon, under the influence of his idolatrous wives, built a high place in the mount before Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7). It was natural that they should desire to worship still after the manner of the gods of their native land, but although the effect of all this was seen in the moral and spiritual deterioration of Solomon himself there is no indication that the immoralities and cruelties associated with such worship were then practiced in Jerusalem. In the days of Ahaz and Manasseh, even as early as the days of Abijam of Judah, they were (1 Kings 15:12, 13).

3. Josiah Putting Down Chemosh Worship:

Josiah found these abominations of alien worship, which had been introduced by Solomon and added to by Ahaz and Manasseh, flourishing when he came to the throne. Moved by the prohibitions of the Book of the Law (Deuteronomy 12:29-31; Deuteronomy 18:10), Josiah pulled down and defiled the high places and the altars, and in order to make a clean sweep of the idolatrous figures, "he brake in pieces the pillars," or obelisks, "and cut down the Asherim," or sacred poles, "and filled their places with the bones of men" (2 Kings 23:1-20).

4. Chemosh and Ammonites:

There is one passage where Chemosh is designated the god of the Ammonites (Judges 11:24). Jephthah is disputing the right of the Ammonites to invade territory which belongs to Israel because Yahweh has given it to them by conquest. And he asks: `Shouldst thou not possess the territory of those whom Chemosh, thy god, dispossesses, and we the territory of all whom Yahweh, our god, dispossesses?' It may be that he is called here the god of the Ammonites by a mere oversight of the historian; or that Moab and Ammon being kindred nations descended from a common ancestor, Lot, Chemosh may in a sense belong to both. We notice, however, that Jephthah's argument in meeting the claim preferred by the king of Ammon passes on to Israel's relation to the Moabites and makes mention only of well-known Moabite cities. Chemosh is accordingly named because of his association with Moab, the cities of which are being spoken of, although strictly and literally Milcom should have been named in an appeal addressed as a whole to the Ammonites (Judges 11:12-28; compare Moore at the place).

5. Moabite Stone:

The discovery of the Moabite Stone in 1868 at Dibon has thrown light upon Chemosh and the relations of Moab to its national god. The monument, which is now one of the most precious treasures of the Louvre in Paris, bears an inscription which is the oldest specimen of Semitic alphabetic writing extant, commemorating the successful effort made about 860 or 850 B.C. by Mesha, king of Moab, to throw off the yoke of Israel. We know from the Old Testament record that Moab had been reduced to subjection by David (2 Samuel 8:2); that it paid a heavy tribute to Ahab, king of Israel (2 Kings 3:4); and that, on the death of Ahab, Mesha its king rebelled against Israelite rule (2 Kings 3:5). Not till the reign of Jehoram was any effort made to recover the lost dominion. The king of Israel then allied himself with the kings of Judah and Edom, and marching against Moab by the way of the Red Sea, inflicted upon Mesha a defeat so decisive that the wrath of his god, Chemosh, could be appeased only by the sacrifice of his son (2 Kings 3:6).

6. Mesha's Inscription and the Old Testament:

The historical situation described in the Old Testament narrative is fully confirmed by Mesha's inscription. There are, however, divergences in detail. In the Book of Kings the revolt of Mesha is said to have taken place after the death of Ahab. The inscription implies that it must have taken place by the middle of Ahab's reign. The inscription implies that the subjection of Moab to Israel had not been continuous from the time of David, and says that `Omri, the father of Ahab, had reasserted the power of Israel and had occupied at least a part of the land.

7. Chemosh in the Inscription:

It is with what the inscription says of Chemosh that we are chiefly concerned. On the monument the name appears twelve times. Mesha is himself the son of Chemosh, and it was for Chemosh that he built the high place upon which the monument was found. He built it because among other reasons Chemosh had made him to see his desire upon them that hated him. It was because Chemosh was angry with his land that `Omri afflicted Moab many days. `Omri had taken possession of the land of Medeba and Israel dwelt in it his days and half his son's days, but Chemosh restored it in Mesha's days. Mesha took `Ataroth which the king of Israel had built for himself, slew all the people of the city, and made them a gazing-stock to Chemosh and to Moab. Mesha brought thence the altar-hearth of Dodo, and dragged it before Chemosh in Kerioth. By command of Chemosh, Mesha attacked Nebo and fought against Israel, and after a fierce struggle he took the place, slaying the inhabitants en masse, 7,000 men and women and maidservants, devoting the city to `Ashtor-Chemosh and dragging the altar vessels of Yahweh before Chemosh. Out of Jahaz, too, which the king of Israel had built, Chemosh drove him before Mesha. At the instigation of Chemosh, Mesha fought against Horonaim, and, although the text is defective in the closing paragraph, we may surmise that Chemosh did not fail him but restored it to his dominions.

8. Parallels between Inscription and Old Testament Record:

Naturally enough there is considerable obscurity in local and personal allusions. Dodo may have been a local god worshipped by the Israelites East of the Jordan. Ashtor-Chemosh may be a compound divinity of a kind not unknown to Semitic mythology, Ashtor representing possibly the Phoenician Ashtoreth. What is of importance is the recurrence of so many phrases and expressions applied to Chemosh which are used of Yahweh in the Old Testament narratives. The religious conceptions of the Moabites reflected in the inscription are so strikingly like those of the Israelites that if only the name of Yahweh were substituted for that of Chemosh we might think we were reading a chapter of the Books of Kings. It is not in the inscriptions, however, but in the Old Testament narrative that we find a reference to the demand of Chemosh for human sacrifice. "He took his eldest son," says the Hebrew historian, "that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there was great wrath against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land" (2 Kings 3:27). This appears to indicate that the Israelites had to give up their purpose to fasten the yoke of bondage again upon Mesha and that they returned empty-handed to their own land. But this fortunate result for Moab was due to the favor of Chemosh, and in particular to the human sacrifice by which he was propitiated.

9. Ethical Contrast:

If we find in these representations of Chemosh in the Old Testament narrative and in Mesha's inscription a striking similarity to the Hebrew conception of Yahweh, we cannot fail to notice the lack of the higher moral and spiritual elements supplied to the religion of Israel by the prophets and indeed from Moses and Abraham downward. "Chemosh," says W. Baudissin, "is indeed the ruler of his people whom he protects as Yahweh the Israelites, whom he chastises in his indignation, and from whom he accepts horrible propitiatory gifts. But of a God of grace whose long-suffering leads back even the erring to Himself, of a Holy God to whom the offering of a pure and obedient heart is more acceptable than bloody sacrifices, of such a God as is depicted in Israel's prophets and sweet singers there is no trace in the Moabite picture of Chemosh. While Mesha is represented as offering up his own son in accordance with the stern requirements of his religion, Old Testament law-givers and prophets from the beginning condemned human sacrifice" (RE3, article "Kemosh").


RE3, article "Kemosh"; Cooke, Text-Book of North-Semitic Inscriptions, "Moabite Stone," 1-14; W. Robertson Smith, Prophets of Israel, 49; Sayce, Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments, 364.

T. Nicol.

Strong's Hebrew
3645. Kemosh -- a god of the Moabites
... Kemosh or Kemish. 3646 . a god of the Moabites. Transliteration: Kemosh or Kemish
Phonetic Spelling: (kem-oshe') Short Definition: Chemosh. ... Chemosh. Or (Jer. ...
/hebrew/3645.htm - 6k

The Nations of the South-East
... thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: [Chemosh] hath given his sons that escaped
[the battle], and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon, King of the ...
/.../sayce/early israel and the surrounding nations/chapter iii the nations of.htm

... (See page 112). 1. I am Mesha the son of Chemosh-melech, king of Moab, the Dibonite. ...
I made this monument to (the god) Chemosh at Korkhah, as a monument. ...
/.../sayce/early israel and the surrounding nations/appendices.htm

Pride of Prosperity
... There, before the altars of heathen deities, "Chemosh, the abomination of Moab,"
and "Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon," were practiced the ...
/.../white/the story of prophets and kings/chapter 3 pride of prosperity.htm

The Unmistakable Honesty of the Writers of the Bible Attests to ...
... Aaron and the golden calf, Solomon and the later kings being notable examples""Then
did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in ...
/.../the divine inspiration of the bible/chapter three the unmistakable honesty.htm

The Rending of the Kingdom
... This division must take place, He had declared, "because that they have forsaken
Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god ...
/.../white/the story of prophets and kings/chapter 6 the rending of.htm

The Fall of Solomon
... evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his
father.7. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture f/the fall of solomon.htm

The New Garment Bent
... Because that they have forsaken Me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of
the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture f/the new garment bent.htm

A Ruler who Wronged his People
... Solomon built a place of worship for Chemosh, the god of Moab, on the hill that
is opposite Jerusalem, and for Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. ...
/...// childrens bible/a ruler who wronged his.htm

The Old Testament and Archeology
... against the Moabites, who fled for refuge within the strong fortress of Kir-hareseth,
where Mesha offered up his own son as a burnt-offering to Chemosh, his god ...
/.../the christian view of the old testament/chapter iv the old testament.htm

Knox in England: the Black Rubric: Exile: 1549-1554
... treason." But, in practice, he regarded Catholics as "idolaters," in the same sense
as Elijah regarded Hebrew worshippers of alien deities, Chemosh or Moloch ...
/.../lang/john knox and the reformation/chapter iv knox in england .htm

Chemosh (8 Occurrences)
... On the "Moabite Stone" (qv), Mesha (2 Kings 3:5) ascribes his victories over the
king of Israel to this god, "And Chemosh drove him before my sight.". ...CHEMOSH. ...
/c/chemosh.htm - 20k

Stone (290 Occurrences)
... some unimportant corrections) Dr. Neubauer's translation of the inscription, based
upon Smend and Socin's text: (1) I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-melech, king ...
/s/stone.htm - 54k

Moabite (13 Occurrences)
... some unimportant corrections) Dr. Neubauer's translation of the inscription, based
upon Smend and Socin's text: (1) I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-melech, king ...
/m/moabite.htm - 23k

Nebo (13 Occurrences)
... Mesha (MS) says that by command of Chemosh he went by night against the city, captured
it after an assault that lasted from dawn till noon, and put all the ...
/n/nebo.htm - 17k

Mesha (4 Occurrences)
... (3.) Hebrews id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of ... Substitute "Yahweh"
for "Chemosh," and his phraseology might be that of a pious Hebrew king. ...
/m/mesha.htm - 12k

Carchemish (3 Occurrences)
... Fortress of Chemosh, a city on the west bank of the Euphrates (Jeremiah 46:2; 2
Chronicles 35:20), not, as was once supposed, the Circesium at the confluence ...
/c/carchemish.htm - 13k

Molech (16 Occurrences)
... Solomon, under the influence of his idolatrous wives, built high places for Chemosh,
the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom, the abomination of the children ...
/m/molech.htm - 24k

Ashtoreth (3 Occurrences)
... On the Moabite Stone, for example, `Ashtar is identified with Chemosh, and
in the inscriptions of southern Arabia `Athtar is a god. ...
/a/ashtoreth.htm - 14k

Moloch (2 Occurrences)
... He is also called Molech (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5, etc.), Milcom (1 Kings 11:5,
33, etc.), and Malcham (Zephaniah 1:5). This god became Chemosh among the ...
/m/moloch.htm - 21k

Moabites (26 Occurrences)
... 3. Religion: The chief deity of Moab was Chemosh (kemosh), frequently mentioned
in the Old Testament and on the Moabite Stone, where King Mesha speaks of ...
/m/moabites.htm - 28k

Bible Concordance
Chemosh (8 Occurrences)

Numbers 21:29 Woe to you, Moab! You are undone, people of Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, and his daughters into captivity, to Sihon king of the Amorites.

Judges 11:24 Won't you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever Yahweh our God has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess.

1 Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the mountain that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon.

1 Kings 11:33 because that they have forsaken me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon. They have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in my eyes, and to keep my statutes and my ordinances, as David his father did.

2 Kings 23:13 The high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mountain of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.

Jeremiah 48:7 For, because you have trusted in your works and in your treasures, you also shall be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, his priests and his princes together.

Jeremiah 48:13 Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.

Jeremiah 48:46 Woe to you, O Moab! the people of Chemosh is undone; for your sons are taken away captive, and your daughters into captivity.



Chemosh: An Idol of And of the Amorites

Chemosh: An Idol of The Moabites and Ammonites

Related Terms

Stone (290 Occurrences)

Moabite (13 Occurrences)

Nebo (13 Occurrences)

Mesha (4 Occurrences)

Carchemish (3 Occurrences)

Molech (16 Occurrences)

Ashtoreth (3 Occurrences)

Moloch (2 Occurrences)

Moabites (26 Occurrences)

Gods (310 Occurrences)

Zidonians (11 Occurrences)

Undone (20 Occurrences)

Goddess (6 Occurrences)

Detestation (5 Occurrences)

Milcom (8 Occurrences)

Benhadad (24 Occurrences)

Ash'toreth (3 Occurrences)

Sido'nians (11 Occurrences)

Sidonians (16 Occurrences)

Omri (16 Occurrences)

Corruption (37 Occurrences)

Amorites (82 Occurrences)

Chenaanah (5 Occurrences)

Disgusting (149 Occurrences)

Ammonites (97 Occurrences)

Olives (30 Occurrences)

Detestable (121 Occurrences)

Ammon (100 Occurrences)

Worshipped (81 Occurrences)

Moab (162 Occurrences)

Perished (76 Occurrences)

Trusted (82 Occurrences)

Captives (69 Occurrences)

Malchiel (3 Occurrences)

Woe (102 Occurrences)

Abomination (78 Occurrences)

Wo (92 Occurrences)

Kerioth (4 Occurrences)

Observing (28 Occurrences)

Joram (26 Occurrences)

God'dess (2 Occurrences)

Firstborn (119 Occurrences)

Fate (138 Occurrences)

Fugitives (21 Occurrences)

Firstling (8 Occurrences)

Ruined (65 Occurrences)

Perisheth (15 Occurrences)

Chemarims (1 Occurrence)

Confided (17 Occurrences)


Achievements (12 Occurrences)

Ashamed (131 Occurrences)

Astarte (2 Occurrences)

Strongholds (44 Occurrences)

Sihon (34 Occurrences)

Escaped (94 Occurrences)

Idolatry (14 Occurrences)

Horonaim (5 Occurrences)

Amorite (81 Occurrences)

Exile (101 Occurrences)

Whomsoever (28 Occurrences)

Mount (311 Occurrences)

Vile (59 Occurrences)

Builded (65 Occurrences)

Dispossessed (42 Occurrences)

Prisoners (170 Occurrences)

Forsaken (110 Occurrences)

Jehoram (27 Occurrences)

Sends (94 Occurrences)

Removal (42 Occurrences)

Trusting (45 Occurrences)

Baal (94 Occurrences)

Driven (128 Occurrences)

Idol (56 Occurrences)

Worshiped (83 Occurrences)

Escape (142 Occurrences)

Won't (144 Occurrences)

Ordinances (119 Occurrences)

Judgments (146 Occurrences)

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