1 Kings 11:7
Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
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(7) On the hill that is before Jerusalem.—evidently on the Mount of Olives (part of which still traditionally bears the name of the “Mount of Offence”), facing and rivalling the Temple on Mount Moriah. Tophet, the place of actual sacrifice to Molech, was “in the valley of the son of Hinnom” (2Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31), which (see Jeremiah 19:2) was east or south-east. of the city, and would lie not far from the foot of the mountain.

11:1-8 There is not a more melancholy and astonishing instance of human depravity in the sacred Scriptures, than that here recorded. Solomon became a public worshipper of abominable idols! Probably he by degrees gave way to pride and luxury, and thus lost his relish for true wisdom. Nothing forms in itself a security against the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. Nor will old age cure the heart of any evil propensity. If our sinful passions are not crucified and mortified by the grace of God, they never will die of themselves, but will last even when opportunities to gratify them are taken away. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. We see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace of God; let us therefore live in constant dependence on that grace. Let us watch and be sober: ours is a dangerous warfare, and in an enemy's country, while our worst foes are the traitors in our own hearts.Chemosh (Numbers 21:29 note), seems to have been widely worshipped in Western Asia. His name occurs frequently on the "Moabite-Stone." Car-Chemish, "the fort of Chemosh," a great city of the northern Hittites, must have been under his protection. In Babylon he seems to have been known as Chomus-belus, or Chemosh-Bel.

The hill - Olivet. At present the most southern summit only (the "Mons Offensionis") is pointed out as having been desecrated by the idol sanctuaries: but the early Eastern travelers tell us that in their time the most northern suburb was believed to have been the site of the high p ace of Chemosh, the southern one that of Moloch only.

5-7. Ashtoreth—Astarte,


and Chemosh—He built altars for these three; but, although he is described (1Ki 11:8) as doing the same for "all his strange wives," there is no evidence that they had idols distinct from these; and there is no trace whatever of Egyptian idolatry.

Then did Solomon build, i. e. suffer to be built, or gave money for it.

A high place, i.e. an altar upon the high place, as the manner of the heathens was: See Poole "Numbers 22:41" See Poole "Numbers 23:1".

In the hill that is before Jerusalem, i.e. in the Mount of Olives, which was nigh unto Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 15:30, and from this act was called the mount of corruption, 2 Kings 23:13; idolatry being often called and esteemed a corruption.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Mesh,.... Of this idol see Gill on Jeremiah 48:7, an high place for which he ordered to be built, or at least suffered it to be built, at the instigation of his Moabitish woman or women, 1 Kings 11:1, this was built in the hill that is before Jerusalem; on the mount of Olives, as Jarchi, called from hence afterwards the mount of corruption, 2 Kings 23:15 and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, 1 Kings 11:5. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the {e} abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

(e) Thus the scripture calls whatever man reveres and serves as God.

7. a high place] That ‘high places’ were not abolished in Solomon’s time we can see from 1 Kings 3:2-3, where see notes. The idea was that on a lofty height the worshipper drew nearer to his god, and so was able to offer a more acceptable sacrifice. Hence the erection of altars on the tops of hills, and these were frequently accompanied with some house or shrine for the image of the god, and hence we read of the ‘houses of the high places.’ Cf. 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29; 2 Kings 17:32; 2 Kings 23:19. This form of worshipping was so firmly rooted among the Israelites that we read of it constantly down to the reign of Josiah, by whom at length it appears to have been put down (2 Kings 23:19).

for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab] Chemosh, though generally called the national god of the Moabites, is said (Jdg 11:24) to have been also the god of the Ammonites. He is first mentioned in Numbers 21:29. The worship now introduced into Jerusalem by Solomon was put down by Josiah (2 Kings 23:13). There is nothing in any of the Biblical notices to guide us to an opinion either about the meaning of the name or the nature of the worship offered to Chemosh. An ancient Jewish tradition relates that Chemosh was worshipped under the form of a black star, hence some have identified him with Saturn. But this is no more than conjecture. Milton alludes to the identification of Chemosh with Baal-peor:

‘Peor his other name, when he enticed

Israel in Sittim on their march from Nile.’

Par. L. I. 412.

in the hill that is before Jerusalem] The hill facing Jerusalem is the mount of Olives. It is described in Ezekiel 11:23 as ‘the mountain which is on the east side of the city,’ and in Zechariah 14:4 as ‘the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.’ The LXX. (Vat.) has omitted any mention of ‘the hill before Jerusalem.’ Milton alludes to the position of these idolatrous erections:

‘the wisest heart

Of Solomon he led by fraud to build

His temple right against the temple of God

On that opprobrious hill.’

Par. L. I. 400.

The last words allude to a name given to this height in consequence of these buildings, ‘Mons offensionis.’ This name is said (Dictionary of Bible, 11. 627) to be of late origin. But the words occur in the Vulgate (2 Kings 23:13) ‘ad dexteram partem montis offensionis.’

and for Molech] See above on Milcom in 1 Kings 11:5. The LXX. translates the proper name, and reads καὶ τῷ βασιλεῖ. Milton also reminds us that the word could be translated:

‘First Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood

Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears

Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud

Their children’s cries unheard.’

The allusion in the last words is to the name ‘Tophet,’ as the valley of the son of Hinnom was called where the Moloch-worship went on. This was thought by some to be derived from the Hebrew word תף (toph) a timbrel. Hence the tradition of drums beaten to drown the cries of the suffering children. There is no warrant for the derivation, nor probably for the tradition. On the whole subject, see Selden, de Dis Syris, p. 172.

Verse 7. - Then did Solomon build an high place [see on 1 Kings 3:2] for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab [The meaning of "Chemosh" is uncertain. Gesenius suggests "Vanquisher" - Chemosh was the god of war. The mention of Ashtar-Chemosh on the Moabite stone "connects the Moabite religion with the Phoenician," where Ashtar is the masculine form of Astarte, and suggests that "Chemosh was connected with the androgynous deities of Phoenicia" (Speaker's Comm. on Numbers 21:29). It is probable, in fact, that Chemosh, Baal, Ashtoreth, Molech, etc., were originally so many names of the one supreme God, worshipped under different attributes, and with various rites in different countries], in the hill that is before Jerusalem [see 2 Kings 23:13. The hill is of course the mount of Olives. The altar would seem to have stood on the south peak, which is now known, as it has been for centuries past, as the Mons Scandali, or the Mons Offensionis (the Vulg. rendering of 2 Kings l.c.) See Robinson, 1:565, 566], and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. [Ewald sees in these altars a wise religious tolerance ("Hist. Israel," 3. pp. 297, 298).] 1 Kings 11:7He walked after the Ashtaroth, etc. According to 1 Kings 11:7, the idolatry here condemned consisted in the fact that he built altars to the deities of all his foreign wives, upon which they offered incense and sacrifice to their idols. It is not stated that he himself also offered sacrifice to these idols. But even the building of altars for idols was a participation in idolatry which was irreconcilable with true fidelity to the Lord. עשׁתּרת, Astarte, was the chief female deity of all the Canaanitish tribes; her worship was also transplanted from Tyre to Carthage, where it flourished greatly. She was a moon-goddess, whom the Greeks and Romans called sometimes Aphrodite, sometimes Urania, Σεληναίη, Coelestis, and Juno (see the Comm. on Judges 2:13). מלכּם, which is called מלך (without the article) in 1 Kings 11:7, and מלכּם in Jeremiah 49:1, Jeremiah 49:3, and Amos 1:15, the abomination of the Ammonites, must not be confounded with the Molech (המּלך, always with the article) of the early Canaanites, to whom children were offered in sacrifice in the valley of Benhinnom from the time of Ahaz onwards (see the Comm. on Leviticus 18:21), since they had both of them their separate places of worship in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kings 23:10, 2 Kings 23:13), and nothing is ever said about the offering of children in sacrifice to Milcom; although the want of information prevents us from determining the precise distinction between the two. Milcom was at any rate related to the Chemosh of the Moabites mentioned in 1 Kings 11:7; for Chemosh is also described as a god of the Ammonites in Judges 11:24, whereas everywhere else he is called the god of the Moabites (Numbers 21:29; Amos 1:15, etc.). Chemosh was a sun-god, who was worshipped as king of his people and as a god of war, and as such is depicted upon coins with a sword, lance, and shield in his hands, and with two torches by his side (see at Numbers 21:29). The enumeration of the different idols is incomplete; Chemosh being omitted in 1 Kings 11:5, and Astarte, to whom Solomon also built an altar in Jerusalem, according to 2 Kings 23:13, in 1 Kings 11:7. Still this incompleteness does not warrant our filling up the supposed gaps by emendations of the text. וגו/ .txe הרע ויּעשׂ, as in Judges 2:11; Judges 3:7, etc. יי אהרי מלּא, a pregnant expression for יי אח ללכת מלּא, as in Numbers 14:24; Numbers 32:11-12, etc. - These places of sacrifice (בּמה, see at 1 Kings 3:2) Solomon built upon the mountain in front, i.e., to the east, of Jerusalem, and, according to the more precise account in 2 Kings 23:13, to the right, that is to say, on the southern side, of the Mount of Corruption, - in other words, upon the southern peak of the Mount of Olives; and consequently this peak has been called in church tradition from the time of Brocardus onwards, either Mons Offensionis, after the Vulgate rendering of המּשׁחית הר in 2 Kings 23:13, or Mons Scandali, Mount of Offence (vid., Rob. Pal. i. 565 and 566).
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