Acts 7:43
Yes, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which you made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
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(43) Ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch.—The verb implies the up-lifting of the tabernacle of Moloch, in the same manner as the ark was borne (Exodus 25:14; 1Kings 2:26), as a sacred ensign in the march of the Israelites. The Hebrew word for “tabernacle” (Siccuth) is an unusual one, and may have been used as a proper name; the word rendered “Moloch,” being descriptive, Siccuth your king. The prohibition of the distinctive rite of Moloch worship in Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2, is, perhaps, in favour of the common rendering. In spite of this prohibition, however, it reappeared continually under the kings, both of Judah (2Kings 16:3; 2Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 32:35) and Israel (2Kings 17:17; Ezekiel 23:37).

And the star of your god Remphan.—Remphan appears to have been understood by the LXX. translators as an equivalent for the Hebrew “Chiun,” which is supposed by many scholars to be identified with the planet Saturn, of which “Ræphan” (the LXX. form of the name) was the Coptic or Egyptian name. There is no adequate proof, however, that the planet was so known, and the Hebrew may bear the meaning of the pedestal of your images. As to “star,” however, there is no question, and this was enough for Stephen’s purpose, as proving the worship of the host of heaven.

I will carry you away beyond Babylon.—Both the Hebrew and the LXX. give “Damascus”; and we are left to choose between an intentional variation, to emphasise the actual fulfilment of the words as surpassing what the prophet had foretold, or an inaccuracy naturally incident to a quotation from memory. One section of the speech, that which accumulates proof that Israel, had been all along a rebellious people. seems to end here. The next deals with the charge that Stephen had spoken blasphemous words against the Temple.

7:42-50 Stephen upbraids the Jews with the idolatry of their fathers, to which God gave them up as a punishment for their early forsaking him. It was no dishonour, but an honour to God, that the tabernacle gave way to the temple; so it is now, that the earthly temple gives way to the spiritual one; and so it will be when, at last, the spiritual shall give way to the eternal one. The whole world is God's temple, in which he is every where present, and fills it with his glory; what occasion has he then for a temple to manifest himself in? And these things show his eternal power and Godhead. But as heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, so none of our services can profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of Christ, the broken and spiritual heart is his most valued temple.Yea, ye took up - That is, you bore, or you carried with you, for purposes of idolatrous worship.

The tabernacle - This word properly means a "tent"; but it is also applied to the small tent or house in which was contained the image of the god; the shrine, box, or tent in which the idol was placed. It is customary for idolatrous nations to bear their idols about with them, enclosed in cases or boxes of various sizes, usually very small, as their idols are commonly small. Probably they were made in the shape of small "temples" or tabernacles; and such appear to have been the "silver shrines" for Diana, made at Ephesus, Acts 19:24. These shrines, or images, were borne with them as a species of amulet, charm, or talisman to defend them from evil. Such images the Jews seem to have carried with them.

Moloch - This word comes from the Hebrew word signifying "king." This was a god of the Ammonites, to whom human sacrifices were offered. Moses in several places forbids the Israelites, under penalty of death, to dedicate their children to Moloch, by making them pass through the fire, Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5. There is great probability that the Hebrews were addicted to the worship of this deity after they entered the land of Canaan. Solomon built a temple to Moloch on the Mount of Olives 1 Kings 11:7; and Manasseh made his son pass through the fire in honor of this idol, 2 Kings 21:3, 2 Kings 21:6. The image of this idol was made of brass, and his arms extended so as to embrace anyone; and when they offered children to him, they heated the statue, and when it was burning hot, they placed the child in his arms, where it was soon destroyed by heat. It is not certain what this god was supposed to represent. Some suppose it was in honor of the planet Saturn; others, the sun; others, Mercury, Venus, etc. What particular god it was is not material. It was the most cutting reproof that could be made to the Jews, that their fathers had been guilty of worshipping this idol.

And the star - The Hebrew in this place is, "Chiun your images, the star of your god." The expression used here leads us to suppose that this was a star which was worshipped, but what star it is not easy to ascertain; nor is it easy to determine why it is called both "Chiun" and "Remphan." Stephen quotes from the Septuagint translation. In that translation the word "Chiun" is rendered by the word "Raiphan," or "Rephan," easily changed into "Remphan." Why the authors of that version adopted this is not known. It was probably, however, from one of two causes:

(1) Either because the word "Chiun" in Hebrew meant the same as "Remphan" in the language of Egypt, where the translation was made; or,

(2) Because the "object" of worship called "Chiun" in Hebrew was called "Remphan" in the language of Egypt. It is generally agreed that the object of their worship was the planet "Saturn," or "Mars," both of which planets were worshipped as gods of evil influence. In Arabic, the word "Chevan" denotes the planet Saturn. Probably "Rephan," or "Remphan," is the Coptic name for the same planet, and the Septuagint adopted this because that translation was made in Egypt, where the Coptic language was spoken.

Figures which ye made - Images of the god which they made. See the article "Chiun" in Robinson's Calmet.

And I will carry you away ... - This is simply expressing in few words what is stated at greater length in Amos 5:27. In Hebrew it is "Damascus"; but this evidently denotes the Eastern region, in which also Babylon was situated.

43. Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Molech, &c.—Two kinds of idolatry are charged upon the Israelites: that of the golden calf and that of the heavenly bodies; Molech and Remphan being deities, representing apparently the divine powers ascribed to nature, under different aspects.

carry you beyond Babylon—the well-known region of the captivity of Judah; while "Damascus" is used by the prophet (Am 5:27), whither the ten tribes were carried.

Took up the tabernacle, on their shoulders, as they did the ark.

Of Moloch; the idol of the children of Ammon, which the Israelites were especially forbidden to worship, Leviticus 18:21 20:2 yet they did ordinarily worship him, 2 Chronicles 28:3 Jeremiah 7:31 and there was a high place built by Solomon for him, 1 Kings 11:7.

The tabernacle of Moloch was either a chest or press in which that idol was put, or the chapels into which the worshippers of Moloch were admitted, according to the quality of the offering which they brought. Which of the planets they intended to honour hereby, whether the sun, or Mars, or Saturn, it matters not so much; any of these, or any other of their gods, might be called Moloch, taking the word appellatively.

Remphan, in the place here cited, is called by the prophet, Chiun; which is one and the same idol in both places, the prophet calling it by its name then in use; and St. Stephen, like unto the name the Septuagint had called it by: whether Saturn was intended by this, as some think, or Hercules, as others, it is not our present business to inquire.

Figures; images and representatives of the hosts of heaven, or of the planets.

Beyond Babylon; the prophet Amos saith, beyond Damascus, Amos 5:27: here St. Stephen does not contradict the prophet, for they who were carried away beyond Babylon must needs be carried away beyond Damascus, as the ten captive tribes were, unto whom this was threatened. Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Mo,.... Sometimes called Molech, and sometimes Milcorn; it was the god of the Ammonites, and the same with Baal: the one signifies king, and the other lord; and was, no doubt, the same with the Apis or Serapis of the Egyptians, and the calf of the Israelites. Frequent mention is made of giving seed to Molech, and causing the children to pass through fire to him. The account the Jews give of this image, and of the barbarous worship of it, is this (f):

"though all idolatrous places were in Jerusalem, Molech was without Jerusalem; and it was made an hollow image, placed within seven chancels or chapels; and whoever offered fine flour, they opened to him the first; if turtle doves or two young pigeons, they opened the second; if a lamb, they opened the third; if a ram, they opened the fourth; if a calf, they opened the fifth; if an ox, they opened the sixth; but whoever offered his son, they opened the seventh: his face was a calf's, and his hands were stretched out, as a man opens his hands to receive any thing from his friend; and they make him hot with fire, and the priests take the infant and put it into the hands of Molech, and the infant expires: and wherefore is it called Topher and Hinnom? Tophet, because they make a noise with drums, that its father may not hear the voice of the child, and have compassion on it, and return to it; and Hinnom, because the child roars, and the voice of its roaring ascends.''

Others give a milder account of this matter, and say, that the service was after this manner (g); that

"the father delivered his son to the priests, who made two large fires, and caused the son to pass on his feet between the two fires,''

so that it was only a sort of a lustration or purification by fire; but the former account, which makes the child to be sacrificed, and put to death, seems best to agree with the scriptural one. Now this idol was included in chancels or chapels, as in the account given, or in shrines, in tabernacles, or portable temples, which might be taken up and carried; and such an one is here mentioned: by which is meant, not the tabernacle of the Lord made by Bezaleel; as if the sense was, that the idolatrous Israelites, though not openly, yet secretly, and in their hearts worshipped Mo, as if he was included in the tabernacle; so that to take it up means no other, than in the heart to worship, and to consider him as if he had been shut up and carried in that tabernacle; nor is it to be thought that they publicly took up, and carried a tabernacle, in which was the image of Mo, during their forty years' travels in the wilderness; for whatever they might do the few days they worshipped the golden calf, which is possible, it cannot be received, that Moses, who was so severe against idolatry, would ever have connived at such a practice: this therefore must have reference to after times, when they sacrificed their children to him, and took up and carried his image in little shrines and tabernacles.

And the star of your god Remphan. The Alexandrian copy reads "Raiphan"; some copies read "Raphan"; and so the Arabic version; others "Rephan"; the Syriac version reads "Rephon"; and the Ethiopic version "Rephom". Giants, with the Hebrews, were called "Rephaim"; and so Mo, who is here meant, is called "Rephan", and with an epenthesis "Remphan", because of his gigantic form; which some have concluded from the massy crown on his head, which, with the precious stones, weighed a talent of gold, which David took from thence, 2 Samuel 12:30 for not the then reigning king of the Ammonites, but Molech, or Milchom, their idol, is meant: this is generally thought to be the same with Chiun in Amos; but it does not stand in a place to answer to that; besides, that should not be left untranslated, it not being a proper name of an idol, but signifies a type or form; and the whole may be rendered thus, "but ye have borne the tabernacle of your king, and the type, or form of your images, the star of your god"; which version agrees with Stephens's, who, from the Septuagint, adds the name of this their king, and their god Rephan, or Remphan. Drusius conjectures, that this is a fault of the Scribes writing Rephan for Cephan, or that the Septuagint interpreters mistook the letter for and instead of Cevan read Revan; and Chiun is indeed, by Kimchi and Aben Ezra (h), said to be the same with Chevan, which, in the Ishmaelitish and Persian languages, signifies Saturn; and so does Rephan in the Egyptian language: and it is further to be observed, that the Egyptians had a king called Remphis, the same with Apis; and this may be the reason why the Septuagint interpreters, who interpreted for Ptolomy, king of Egypt, put Rephan, which Stephen calls Remphan, instead of Chiun, which they were better acquainted with, since they both signify the same deity, and the same star; and which also was the star of the Israelites, called by them because supposed to have the government of the sabbath day, and therefore fitly called the "star of your god". Upon the whole, Mo, Chiun, Rephan, or Remphan, and Remphis, all are the same with the Serapis of the Egyptians, and the calf of the Israelites; and which idolatry was introduced on account of Joseph, who interpreted the dream of Pharaoh's kine, and provided for the Egyptians in the years of plenty against the years of famine, and was worshipped under the ox with a bushel on his head;

figures which ye made to worship them; in Amos it is said, "which you made for yourselves": meaning both the image and the tabernacle in which it was, which they made for their own use, to worship their deity in and by:

and I will carry you beyond Babylon; in Amos it is beyond Damascus, and so some copies read here, which was in Babylon; and explains the sense of the prophet more fully, that they should not only be carried for their idolatry beyond Damascus, and into the furthermost parts of Babylon, but beyond it, even into the cities of the Medea, Halah, and Habor, by the river Gozan; and here is no contradiction: how far beyond Damascus, the prophet does not say; and if they were carried beyond Babylon, they must be carried beyond Damascus, and so the words of the prophet were fulfilled; and Stephen living after the fulfilment of the prophecy, by which it appeared that they were carried into Media, could say how far they were carried; wherefore the Jew (i) has no reason to cavil at Stephen, as if he misrepresented the words of the prophet, and related things otherwise than they were; and so Kimchi interprets it, far beyond Damascus; and particularly mentions Halah and Habor, cities in Media, where the ten tribes were carried.

(f) R. David Kimchi in 2 Kings 23.10. (g) Jarchi & Ben Melech in Leviticus 18.23. Kimchi in Sepher Shorash. rad. (h) In Amos v. 25. (i) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 64. p. 451.

Yea, ye {q} took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

(q) You took it upon your shoulders and carried it.

Acts 7:43. Καὶπροσκυνεῖν αὐτοῖς] is the answer which God Himself gives to His question, and in which καί joins on to the negation implied in the preceding clause: No, this ye have not done, and instead of it ye have taken up (from the earth, in order to carry it in procession from one encampment to another) the tent (סִכּוּת, the portable tent-temple) of Moloch.

τοῦ Μολόχ] so according to the LXX. The Hebrew has מַלְכְּכֶם (of your king, i.e. your idol). The LXX. puts instead of this the name of the idol, either as explanatory or more probably as following another reading (מִלְכֹּם, comp. LXX. 2 Kings 23:13). ὁ Μολόχ, Hebrew הַמֹּלֶךְ (Rex), called also מִלְכֹּם and מַלְכָּם, was an idol of the Ammonites, to whom children were offered, and to whom afterwards even the Israelites[208] sacrificed children (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31). His brazen image was, according to Rabbinical tradition (comp. the description, agreeing in the main, of the image of Kronos in Diod. Sic. xx. 14), especially according to Jarchi on Jeremiah 7:31, hollow, heated from below, with the head of an ox and outstretched arms, into which the children were laid, whose cries were stifled by the sacrificing priests with the beating of drums. The question whether Moloch corresponds to Kronos or Saturn, or is to be regarded as the god of the sun (Theophylact, Spencer, Deyling, and others, including Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Münter, Creuzer), is settled for our passage to this extent, that, as here by Moloch and Rephan two different divinities from the host of heaven must be meant, and Rephan corresponds to Kronos, the view of Moloch as god of the sun receives thereby a confirmation, however closely the mythological idea of Kronos was originally related to the notion of a solar deity (comp. Preller, Griech. Mythol. I. p. 42 f.), and consequently also to that of Moloch. See, moreover, for Moloch as god of the sun, Müller in Herzog’s Encykl. IX. p. 716 f.

καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμ. Ῥεφάν] and the star (star-image) of your (alleged) god Rephan, i.e. the star made the symbol of your god Rephan. Ῥεφάν is the Coptic name of Saturn, as Kircher (Lingua Aeg. restituta, p. 49, 527) has proved from the great Egyptian Scala. The ancient Arabs, Phoenicians, and Egyptians gave divine honours to the planet Saturn; and in particular the Arabic name of this star, كيوان, corresponds entirely to the Hebrew form כִּיּוּן (see Winer, Realw. II. p. 387, and generally Müller in Herzog’s Encykl. xii. p. 738), which the LXX. translators[209] have expressed by Rephan, the Coptic name of Saturn known to them. See Movers, Phönicier, I. p. 289 f., Müller, l.c.

We may add, that there is no account in the Pentateuch of the worship of Moloch and Rephan in the desert; yet the former is forbidden in Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 18:10. It is probable, however, that from this very fact arose a tradition, which the LXX. followed in Amos, l.c.

τοὺς τύπους] apposition to τὴν σκην. τ. Μολ. κ. τ. ἄστρ. τ. θεοῦ ὑμ. Ῥεφ. It includes a reference to the tent of Moloch, in so far as the image of the idol was to be found in it and was carried along with it. For examples in which the context gives to τύπος the definite sense of idol, see Kypke, ii. p. 38, and from Philo, Loesner, p. 192.

ἘΠΈΚΕΙΝΑ] beyond Babylon. Only here in the N. T., but often in classic writers.

Βαβυλ.] LXX.: Δαμασκοῦ (so also the Hebrew). An extension in accordance with history, as similar modifications were indulged in by the Rabbins; see Lightfoot, p. 75.

[208] Whether the children were burned alive, or first put to death, might seem doubtful from such passages as Ezekiel 20:26; Ezekiel 20:31. But the burning alive must be assumed according to the notices preserved concerning the Carthaginian procedure at such sacrifices of children (see Knobel on Leviticus 18:21).—The extravagant assertion that the worship of Moloch was the orthodox primitive worship of the Hebrews (Vatke, Daumer, Ghillany), was a folly of 1835–42.

[209] In general, the LXX. has dealt very freely with this passage. The original text runs according to the customary rendering: and ye carried the tent of your king and the frame (כִּיּוּן) of your images, the star of your divinity, which ye made for yourselves. See Hitzig in loc.; Gesenius, Thes. II. p. 669. The LXX. took כִּיּוּן, which is to be derived from כוּן, as a proper name (Ῥεφάν), and transposed the words as if there stood in the Hebrew כּוֹכַב כִּיּוּן אֱלֹהֵיכֶם צַלְמֵיכֶם. Moreover, it is to be observed that the words of the original may be taken also as future, as a threat of punishment (E. Meier, Ewald): so shall ye take up the tent (Ewald: the pole) of your king and the platform of your images, etc. According to this, the fugitives are conceived as taking on their backs the furniture of their gods, and carrying them from one place of refuge to another. This view corresponds best with the connection in the prophet; and in the threat is implied at the same time the accusation, which Düsterdieck in the Stud. u. Krit. 1849, p. 910, feels the want of, on which account he takes it as present (but ye carry, etc.).—The speech of Stephen, as we have it, simply follows the LXX.Acts 7:43. The answer of God to His own question: καί should be explained “ye actually took up” (“yea,” R.V., in Amos 5:26); ἀνελάβετε, “ye took up,” i.e., to carry in procession from one halting place to another. τὴν σκηνὴν, properly σκηνή = סִכּוּת, which has sometimes been explained as the tent or tabernacle made by the idolatrous Israelites in honour of an idol, like the tabernacle of the covenant in honour of Jehovah, but R.V. renders “Siccuth your king” (margin, “the tabernacle of your king”), Amos 5:26, see below.—τοῦ Μολόχ: s in LXX, but in Hebrew, מַלְכְּכֶם, i.e., your king (as A.V. in margin, Amos 5:26). The LXX, either as explanatory, or perhaps through another reading מִלְכֹּם, 2 Kings 23:13, here render by the name of the idol. Sayce also (Patriarchal Palestine, p. 258) renders “Sikkuth your Malik,” i.e., the Babylonian god Sikkuth also represents “Malik,” the king, another Babylonian deity (= Moloch of the O.T.). Most commentators maintain that Acts 7:26 (Amos 5) is not in the original connected with Acts 7:25 as the LXX render, referring the latter verse back to Mosaic times. The LXX may have followed some tradition, but not only does the fact that the worship of Moloch was forbidden in the wilderness seem to indicate that its practice was a possibility, but there is also evidence that long before the Exodus Babylonian influence had made itself felt in the West, and the statement of Amos may therefore mean that the Babylonian god was actually worshipped by the Israelites in the wilderness (Sayce, u. s., p. 259). In margin of R.V. we have “shall take up,” i.e., carry away with you into exile (as a threat), while others take the verb not in a future but in a perfect sense, as referring to the practice of the contemporaries of the prophet: “de suo tempore hæc dicit Amos” (Blass). Siccuth or rather Saccuth is probably a proper name (a name given to Nin-ip, the warlike sun-god of Babylonia (Sayce)), and both it and Kewan (Kaivan), כִּיּוּן, represent Babylono-Assyrian deities (or a deity), see Schrader, Cun. Inscript. and the O. T., ii., 141, 142, E.T.; Sayce, u. s., Art[209] “Chiun” in Hastings’ B.D., and Felten and Wendt, in loco. For the thought expressed here that their gods should go into captivity with the people, cf. Isaiah 46:2.—καὶ τὸ ἄστρονῬεμφάν, T.R.—but R.V. Ῥεφάν, on the reading see critical notes, and Wendt, p. 177. For the Hebrew (Amos 5:26) כִּיּוּן Chiun, the LXX has Ῥαιφάν. How can we account for this? Probably LXX read the word not Chiun but Kewan כֵּיוָן (so in Syr. Pesh., Kewan = Saturn your idol), of which Ῥαιφάν is a corruption through Καιφάν (cf. similar change of כ into ר in Nahum 1:6, כאש in LXX ἀρχάς as if ראש, Robinson’s Gesenius, p. 463). Kewan = Ka-ai-va-nu, an Assyrian name for the planet Saturn, called by the same name in Arabic and Persian (Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, i., 2, 216, and Art[210] “Chiun,” u. s.); and this falls in perfectly with the Hebrew, “the star of your god” (your star-god)—אֱלֹהֵיכֶם כּוֹכַב, the previous word, צַלְמֵיכֶם, “your images,” being placed after the two Hebrew words just quoted, cf. LXX (but see also Sayce, u. s., who renders “Chiun, your Zelem,” Zelem denoting another Babylonian deity = the image or disc of the sun). It seems plain at all events that both in the Hebrew and in the LXX reference is made to the divine honours paid to the god Saturn. In the words “ye took up the star,” etc., the meaning is that they took up the star or image which represented the god Saturn—your god with some authorities (so in LXX, see Blass, in loco). ὑμῶν, i.e., the deity whom these Israelites thus placed on a level with Jehovah. If we take כִּיּוּן Chiun = the litter, or pedestal, of your gods, i.e., on which they were carried in procession, as if from כּוּן (a meaning advocated by Dr. Robertson Smith), and not as a proper name at all: “the shrines of your images, the star of your God,” R.V. margin, Amos 5:26, we may still infer from the mention of a star that the reference is to the debasement of planet worship (so Jerome conjectured Venus or Lucifer). It is to be noted that the vocalisation of Siccuth and Chiun is the same, and it has been recently suggested that for the form of these two names in our present text we are indebted to the misplaced zeal of the Massoretes, by the familiar trick of fitting the pointing of one word to the consonant skeleton of another—here the pointing is taken from the word שִׁקּוּצ, “abomination,” see Art[211], “Chiun,” u. s.τοὺς τύπους, simulacra: in LXX, in opposition to σκηνή and ἄστρον. If the σκηνή is to be taken as meaning the tent or tabernacle containing the image of the god, it might be so described. τύποι is used, Jos., Ant., i., 19, 11; xv. 9, 5, of the images of Laban stolen by Rachel.—προσκυνεῖν αὐτοῖς: not in LXX, where we read τοὺς τύπους αὐτῶν οὓς ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς.—ἐπέκεινα βαβυλῶνος: in LXX and Hebrew “Damascus” ἐπέκ. only here in N.T., but in classical authors, and in LXX, Genesis 35:16 (21), Jeremiah 22:19 (and Aquila on passage in Genesis). “Babylon” may have been due to a slip, but more probably spoken designedly: “interpretatur vaticinium Stephanus ex eventu” (as the Rabbis often interpreted passages), see Wendt, in loco, and Light-foot. It may be that St. Stephen thus closes one part of his speech, that which shows how Israel, all through their history, had been rebellious, and how punishment had followed. If this conjecture is correct, we pass now to the way in which Stephen deals with the charge of blasphemy against the temple.

[209] grammatical article.

[210] grammatical article.

[211] grammatical article.43. Yea, ye took up, &c.] Read, And ye took up. The conjunction is the ordinary copulative, and the thought is continuous, “Your hearts were after your idols, and ye took up their images,” more truly than my ark. In the Hebrew the word for “took up” is that regularly employed for the “bearing” the ark of the covenant.

the tabernacle of Moloch] The Hebrew word which the LXX. have rendered tabernacle is not the usual form for that word. There is little doubt that it is intended for a proper name, Siccuth.

and the star of your god Remphan [Rephan, the] figures which ye made to worship them] This clause differs widely from the Hebrew, which gives, “And Chiun your images, the star of your god which ye made to yourselves.” The LXX. seem to have read the words in a different order. Rephan, which is by them substituted for Chiun, is said to be the Egyptian name for Saturn (see Spencer, de Leg. Heb. p. 667), and may have been used by them as an equivalent for the other name which is found nowhere else but in Amos. The whole idea of the passage seems to be that the stars were being worshipped, and so it is an illustration suited for Stephen’s argument. “To worship them” is an addition not in the LXX.

and I will carry you away beyond Babylon] The Hebrew of Amos and the LXX. say beyond Damascus. But as Babylon was the place most connected in the mind of the Jew with captivity, the alteration in the quotation may be due either to the prominence of such connection in Stephen’s mind, or in the thoughts of the reporter of the speech, who thus inadvertently wrote Babylon. At this point Stephen closes the digression which began at the 37th verse, and which is meant to point out that the Jews are doing towards Jesus just what their fathers did to Moses and against God. He now resumes the argument that God’s worship was not meant to be always fixed to one place.Acts 7:43. Καὶ) and therefore.—καὶ ἀνελάβετε, and ye took up) Hebr. ונשאתם, and ye bore, as litters or biers (for carrying images on), not without pageant. That this was perpetrated in the wilderness not long after the calf was made, is evident from the preceding verse. This idolatry was clandestine (for otherwise Moses would not have concealed or omitted to notice it), but yet it was gross and frequent. τὴν σκηνὴν, the tabernacle) A portable shrine.—καὶ τὸ) The four clauses in Amos are read in this order: And ye bore the tabernacle (Malcechem) of your king [Engl. Vers. of your Moloch], and—(Cijun) the support or prop [Engl. Vers. Chiun, the god] of your images; the star of your god, which ye have made for yourselves: wherein the third clause is subjoined to the second by apposition, there being now (in this case) no ואת prefixed; which is the reason why the LXX. translators (whom Stephen follows) have been able, without injury to the sense, to transpose these two clauses [the star—images, in LXX.: but images—the star, in the Hebr.], and why the fourth clause [which ye made to yourselves] has reference to the one of these in the Hebrew [the star], but to the other in the Greek [the figures or images], Moloch and Cijun, from being appellative became proper names; and these in Amos are construed with reference to their signification as appellatives, so that that weighty suffix, כם, your, should not be excluded [your Moloch or else King], in such a way, however, as to allude to the proper names: whence the LXX. expressly have translated them as proper names. That what Cijun (Chiun) denotes in Amos, is denoted by the Remphan of the LXX. translators, is evident from the same transposition of the clauses: namely, Saturn, as Moloch denotes Mars. See the Specimen Glossarii Sacri of A. Müller, p. 13; Selden, de diisSyr[50], and on him Andr. Beyerus; Buddei, H. E. V. T. Per. ii. p. 768, etc. Humphr. Hodius, lib. ii. de Bibl. c. 4, fol. 115, 116, plausibly infers that the translator of Amos was an Egyptian, from this Egyptian appellation of Saturn. Joh. Christoph. Harenbergius, in a remarkable disquisition, thinks that Chijun or Remphan was the Nile, which the Egyptians represented by the star Saturn. P. E. Jablonski interprets both of the Sun: Sam. Petitus, both of Saturn.—ΤῸ ἌΣΤΡΟΝ, the star) So Saturn is called, the star of whom was represented by the image: as contrasted with Mars, whom they worshipped under the form of a human figure.—τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν, your god) R. Isaac Caro terms the planet Saturn the Star of Israel, appealing to the unanimous opinion of all astrologers. See Lud. de Dieu on this passage. For the purpose of upbraiding them, he thrice introduces the word your.—Ῥεμφὰν, Remphan) The stop, judging from the Hebrew accents and the order of the words, ought to have been placed before this word, which is variously written; which, however, the LXX. translators have superseded or rendered unnecessary [by the different order of the words which they give]. But whereas the notion of the word Cijun had in it a notion suited for bringing conviction home to the Jews, a notion which is not fully given in the proper name, Ρεμφὰν, of the same LXX., Stephen supplied it by introducing the verb ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΕῖΝ, to worship; whether you derive כיון from כהן (as איוב from אהב, and היה for ההה) or from כון, with which comp. the conjugate, להכין, Isaiah 40:20. The word, ῬΕΦᾺΝ, and by inserting as the Greeks do an Μ before the second labial, ῬΕΜΦᾺΝ, seems to have the same origin as תרפים (as to which others have treated); and hence has arisen the name Remphis, a king of Egypt. Moloch is a name plain enough.—τοὺς τύπους, figures) [types]. Subtilty [in describing images as mere symbols, or types, representing different attributes of the true God] does not excuse idolatry.—ἘΠΈΚΕΙΝΑ ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΟς, beyond Babylon) i.e. beyond Damascus and Babylon: for Amos in the Hebrew, and the LXX., read ἘΠΈΚΕΙΝΑ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΟῦ. At the time of Amos they were in dread of Damascus on account of the Syrian wars: Babel (Babylon), the place of their captivity, was not as yet named; Stephen therefore supplied it: and in fact they were carried away beyond the city of Babylon: 2 Kings 17:6, “The king of Assyria took Samaria (in the ninth year of Hoshea), and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and Habor, by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” They were carried away, as a punishment, to that quarter from which they had brought their idols. Their thoughts were dwelling on Egypt: they therefore had to depart to another region far removed from it. A similar case of Ampliatio[51] of a quotation in ch Acts 15:17 (where see the note) should be compared. The Wecheliana editio observes, that there is read somewhere Δαμασκοῦ instead of ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΟς: and Prideaux, in his Connection of Sacred History with Profane, Part i. p. 14, 15, ed. Germ., thinks this to be derived from old copies, and almost approves of it. The Wechelian readings, when they are supported by no other MSS., owe their origin to the annotations of Beza. ΔΑΜΑΣΚΟῦ has been plainly derived from the LXX. in (into) Justin, whom Beza quotes.

[50] yr. the Peschito Syriac Version: second cent.: publ. and corrected by Cureton, from MS. of fifth cent.

[51] The designation of a thing from the future event: as here the applying the future carrying away to Babylon to the immediate subject of Amos’ prophecy, the carrying away to Damascus.—E. and T.Verse 43. - And for yea, A.V.; the god Rephan for your god Remphan, A.V. and T.R.; the figures for figures, A.V. The god Rephan. Rephan, or Raiphan, or Remphan, as it is variously written, is the LXX. translation of the Hebrew Chiun in Amos 5:26. The best explanation of this is that Rephan is the Coptic name of the planet Saturn, well-known of course to the LXX., and that Chiun is the Hebrew and Arabic name of the same star, which they therefore translated by Rephan. With regard to the difficulty which has been felt by many that there is no mention of any such worship of Moloch and Chiun in the wilderness, and that sacrifices were continually offered to the Lord, it seems to arise from an entire misconception of the passage in Amos. What Amos means to say is that because of the treacherous, unfaithful heart of Israel, as shown in the worship of the golden calf and all their rebellions in the wilderness, all their sacrifices were worthless. Just as he had said in Amos 5:22, "Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts;" "I hate, I despise your feast days; Take away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols" (Amos 5:21, 23): just as Isaiah also says, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?... I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts ... Bring no more vain oblations; ... it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting" (Isaiah 1:11-13, etc.); and again, "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood" (Isaiah 66:3): so all the sacrifices offered up during forty years in the wilderness were no sacrifices at all, and their hypocrisy was clearly seen when they reached the land of Canaan, and, according to Moses' prophetic declaration, "forsook God which made them... aria sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not" (Deuteronomy 32:15-18), such as Chiun and Moloch, Baalim and Ashtoreth. This later idolatry was the fruit and the judicial punishment of their first declension and apostasy in the wilderness, and led to the Captivity in Babylon. It was on seeing their unfaithfulness in the wilderness that" God turned and gave them up to serve the host of heaven." Tabernacle of Moloch

The portable tent-temple of the god, to be carried in procession. Moloch was an Ammonite idol to whom children were sacrificed. According to Rabbinical tradition, his image was hollow, heated from below, with the head of an ox and outstretched arms, into which children were laid, their cries being stifled by the beating of drums.


The texts vary between Remphan, Rephan, and Romphan. It is supposed to be the Coptic name for Saturn, to which the Arabs, Egyptians, and Phoenicians paid divine honors.

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