Amos 5:26
But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
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Amos 5:26. But ye have borne, or did bear, the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun — Your ancestors manifested their want of true devotion toward me, in that they were so prone to practise those idolatries which they learned in Egypt, or which they saw practised in the countries through which they passed: see Numbers 25:2; Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:7; Ezekiel 20:16; and Ezekiel 23:3; Ezekiel 23:8. As these words are quoted by St. Stephen, (Acts 7:42-43,) to prove that God gave them up to worship the host of heaven, it is probable that by Moloch is meant the sun, which the whole East worshipped in ancient times, called also, as almost all interpreters agree, Baal, Bel, or Belus: Baal, the Lord, (as the word signifies,) and Moloch, the king of heaven, being the same. As for the other word, Chiun, rendered by the LXX. Rephan or Remphan, according to Vossius, it signifies the moon; but Aben Ezra understands it of Saturn, an interpretation which many learned men approve: see particularly Lud. de Dieu, upon Acts 7:43, and Dr. Spencer, De Leg. Hebr., lib. 3. cap. 3, where it is shown that Saturn was called Rephan, or Remphan, by the Egyptians. Your images — They had images of these supposed deities, that of Moloch representing the sun, and that of Chiun the star Saturn: see Seldon, 2:396. These images were placed in shrines, here termed סכות, a tabernacle, or tabernacles, and these they used to carry about with them, as Grotius and Dr. Hammond, on Acts 7:43, have proved.

5:18-27 Woe unto those that desire the day of the Lord's judgments, that wish for times of war and confusion; as some who long for changes, hoping to rise upon the ruins of their country! but this should be so great a desolation, that nobody could gain by it. The day of the Lord will be a dark, dismal, gloomy day to all impenitent sinners. When God makes a day dark, all the world cannot make it light. Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God, will be pursued by them; if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them. A pretence of piety is double iniquity, and so it will be found. The people of Israel copied the crimes of their forefathers. The law of worshipping the Lord our God, is, Him only we must serve. Professors thrive so little, because they have little or no communion with God in their duties. They were led captive by Satan into idolatry, therefore God caused them to go into captivity among idolaters.But ye have borne - Literally, "And ye bare the tabernacle of your Moloch" (literally, "your king," from where the idol Moloch had its name.) He assigns the reason, why he had denied that they sacririced to God in the wilderness. "Did ye offer sacrifices unto Me, and ye bare?" that is, seeing that ye bare. The two were incompatible. Since they did "carry about the tabernacle of their king," they did not really worship God. He whom they chose as "their king," was their god. The "tabernacle" or "tent" was probably a little portable shrine, such as Demetrius the silversmith and those of his craft made for the little statues of their goddess Diana Acts 19:24. Such are mentioned in Egyptian idolatry. "They carry forth" we are told , "the image in a small shrine of gilt wood."

Of your Moloch and Chiun - The two clauses must be read separately, the "tabernacles of Moloch" (strictly, "of your king,") "and Chiun your images." The two clauses, "the tabernacle of your king, and Chiun your images," are altogether distinct. They correspond to one another, but they must not be read as one whole, in the sense, "the tabernacle of your king and of Chiun your images." The rendering of the last clause is uncertain. God has so "utterly abolished the idols" Isaiah 2:18, through whom Satan contested with Him the allegiance of His people, that we have no certain knowledge, what they were. There may be some connection between the god whom the Israelites in the wilderness worshiped as "their king," and him whose worship Solomon, in his decay, brought into Jerusalem, the god whom the Ammonites worshiped as "the king, Hammolech," or, as he is once called, "Molech , and three times "Milchom" 1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 11:33; 2 Kings 23:13 (perhaps an abstract, as some used to speak of "the Deity"). He is mostly called "Hammolech," the Ammonite way of pronouncing what the Hebrews called "Hammelech, the king."

But since the name designates the god only as "the king," it may have been given to different gods, whom the pagan worshiped as their chief god. In Jewish idolatry, it became equivalent to Baal Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35, "lord;" and to avert his displeasure, the Hebrews (as did the Carthaginians, a Phoenician people, down to the time of our Lord ), burned their own children, "their sons and their daughters," alive to him. Yet, even in these dreadful rites, the Carthaginian worship was more cold-blooded and artificial than that of Phoenicia. But whether "the king," whom the Israelites worshiped in the wilderness, was the same as the Ammonite Molech or no, those dreadful sacrifices were then no part of his worship; else Amos would not have spoken of the idolatry, "as the carrying about his tabernacle" only.

He would have described it by its greatest offensiveness. "The king" was a title also of the Egyptian Deity, Osiris , who was identified with the sun, and whose worship Israel may probably have brought with them, as well as that of the calf, his symbol. Again most of the old translators have retained the Hebrew word Chiyyan , either regarding it as a proper name, or unable to translate it. Some later tradition identities it with tire planet Saturn , which under a different name, the Arabs propitiated as a malevolent being . In Ephrem's time, the pagan Syrians worshiped "the child-devouring Chivan" .

Israel however, did not learn the idolatry from the neighboring Arabs, since it is not the Arab name of that planet . In Egyptian, the name of Chunsu, one of the 12 gods who severally were thought to preside over the 12 months, appears in an abridged form Chuns or Chon . He was, in their mythology, held to be "the oldest son of Ammon" ; "his name is said to signify , "power, might;" and he to be that ideal of might, worshiped as the Egyptian Hercules ."

Etymology M. See Sir G. Wilk. in Rawlinson, Herodotus, ii. 78. note. "The Egyptians called Hercules Chon." L. Girald (Opp. ii. 327) from Xenophon. Antioch. Drus. but the authority given is wrong). The name Chun extended into Phoenician and Assyrian proper names. Still Chon is not Chiyyun; and the fact that the name was retained as Chon or Chun in Phoenicia (where the worship was borrowed) as well as in Assyria, is a ground for hesitating to identify with it the word of Chiyyun, which has a certain likeness only to the abridged name. Jerome's Hebrew teacher on the other hand knew of no such tradition, and Jerome renders it "image . And certainly it is most natural to render it not as a name, but as a common noun. It may probably mean, "the pedestal," the "basis of your images." The prophet had spoken of their images, as covered over with their little "shrines, the shrines of your king." Here he may, not improbably, speak of them, its fastened to a pedestal. Such were the gods, whom they chose for the One true God, gods, "carried about," covered over, fixed to their place, lest they should fall.

The worship was certainly some form of star-worship, since there follows, "the star of your god." It took place after the worship of the calf. For Stephen, after having spoken of that idolatry says, "Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets" Acts 7:42. Upon their rebellions, God at last gave them up to themselves. Stephen calls the god whom they worshiped, "Rephan," quoting the then existing Greek translation, "having regard," Jerome says, "to the meaning rather than the words. This is to be observed in all Holy Scripture, that Apostles and apostolic men, in citing testimonies from the Old Testament, regard, not the words, but the meaning, nor do they follow the words, step by step, provided they do not depart from the meaning."

Of the special idolatry there is no mention in Moses, in like way as the mention of the worship of the "goat , a second symbol of the Pantheistic worship of Egypt , is contained only incidentally in the prohibition of that worship. After the final rebellion, upon which God rejected that generation, Holy Scripture takes no account of them. They had failed God; they had forfeited the distinction, for which God had created, preserved, taught them, revealed Himself to them, and had, by great miracles, rescued them from Egypt. Thenceforth, that generation was cast aside unnoticed.

Which ye made to yourselves - This was the fundamental fault, that they "made it for themselves." Instead of the tabernacle, which God, their king, appointed, they "bare about the tabernacle" of him whom they took for their king; and for the service which He gave, they "chose new gods" Judges 5:8 for themselves. Whereas God made them for Himself, they made for themselves gods out of their own mind. All idolatry is self will, first choosing a god, and then enslaved to it.

25, 26. Have ye offered? &c.—Yes: ye have. "But (all the time with strange inconsistency) ye have borne (aloft in solemn pomp) the tabernacle (that is, the portable shrine, or model tabernacle: small enough not to be detected by Moses; compare Ac 19:24) of your Molech" (that idol is "your" god; I am not, though ye go through the form of presenting offerings to Me). The question, "Have ye," is not a denial (for they did offer in the wilderness to Jehovah sacrifices of the cattle which they took with them in their nomad life there, Ex 24:4; Nu 7:1-89; 9:1, &c.), but a strong affirmation (compare 1Sa 2:27, 28; Jer 31:20; Eze 20:4). The sin of Israel in Amos' time is the very sin of their forefathers, mocking God with worship, while at the same time worshipping idols (compare Eze 20:39). It was clandestine in Moses' time, else he would have put it down; he was aware generally of their unfaithfulness, though not knowing the particulars (De 31:21, 27).

Molech … Chiun—"Molech" means "king" answering to Mars [Bengel]; the Sun [Jablonski]; Saturn, the same as "Chiun" [Maurer]. The Septuagint translates "Chiun" into Remphan, as Stephen quotes it (Ac 7:42, 43). The same god often had different names. Molech is the Ammonite name; Chiun, the Arabic and Persian name, written also Chevan. In an Arabic lexicon Chiun means "austere"; so astrologers represented Saturn as a planet baleful in his influence. Hence the Phœnicians offered human sacrifices to him, children especially; so idolatrous Israel also. Rimmon was the Syrian name (2Ki 5:18); pronounced as Remvan, or "Remphan," just as Chiun was also Chevan. Molech had the form of a king; Chevan, or Chiun, of a star [Grotius]. Remphan was the Egyptian name for Saturn: hence the Septuagint translator of Amos gave the Egyptian name for the Hebrew, being an Egyptian. [Hodius II, De Bibliorum Textibus Originalibus. 4.115]. The same as the Nile, of which the Egyptians made the star Saturn the representative [Harenberg]. Bengel considers Remphan or Rephan akin to Teraphim and Remphis, the name of a king of Egypt. The Hebrews became infected with Sabeanism, the oldest form of idolatry, the worship of the Saba or starry hosts, in their stay in the Arabian desert, where Job notices its prevalence (Job 31:26); in opposition, in Am 5:27, Jehovah declares Himself "the God of hosts."

the star of your god—R. Isaac Caro says all the astrologers represented Saturn as the star of Israel. Probably there was a figure of a star on the head of the image of the idol, to represent the planet Saturn; hence "images" correspond to "star" in the parallel clause. A star in hieroglyphics represents God (Nu 24:17). "Images" are either a Hebraism for "image," or refer to the many images made to represent Chiun.

But ye, the idolatrous children of idolatrous fathers,

have borne, carried along with you in the wilderness,

the tabernacle, or little chapel, or shrine, or canopy, in which the image of their idol was placed. Though others conjecture this to be the proper name of an idol, I conjecture it is the name of the portable temple or chapel in which the supposed deity was placed.

Moloch; the great idol of the Ammonites, as Jupiter was of the Greeks and Romans; some ancient king among them, who was a famous founder, or raiser, and benefactor to their nation, though we know not who this was.

Chiun: perhaps if we understand the whole apparatus or storehouse of their images, We shall not err. Their grand idol was Moloch, whose image they kept, and carried about in a sacellum, or consecrated portable chapel, and with him the rest of their petit deities, in their images placed orderly, as they fancied, about their great deity. Others will have Chiun to be Saturn.

Your images: whatever these were, it is plain God accounts them their inventions and their gods.

The star of your god: what star this was we need not inquire; the idolaters appropriated the stars to their gods, and probably did in the roof of their gods’ tabernacles frame the star over the image of their god: or, the star your god, or which you worship.

Which ye made to yourselves; all which deities you have found out and established to yourselves.

But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Mo,.... The god of the Ammonites; See Gill on Amos 1:13; and See Gill on Jeremiah 7:31; called theirs, because they also worshipped it, and caused their seed to pass through the fire to it; and which was carried by them in a shrine, or portable tent or chapel. Or it may be rendered, "but ye have borne Siccuth your king" (p); and so Siccuth may be taken for the name of an idol, as it is by Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, to whom they gave the title of king, as another idol went by the name of the queen of heaven; perhaps by one was meant the sun, and by the other the moon;

and Chiun, your images; Mo or Siccuth was one, and Chiun another image, or rather the same; and this the same with Chevan, which in the Arabic and Persic languages is the name of Saturn, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi say; and is so rendered by Montanus here; and who in the Egyptian tongue was called Revan, or Rephan, or Remphan; as by the Septuagint here, and in Acts 7:43;

the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves; or the star "your god" (q); meaning the same with Chiun or Saturn; perhaps the same with the star that fell from the air or sky, mentioned by Sanchoniatho (r); which Astarte, the wife of Chronus or Saturn, is said to take and consecrate in Tyre; this they made for themselves, and worshipped as a deity. The Targum is,

"ye have borne the tabernacle of your priests, Chiun your image, the star your God, which ye have made to yourselves.''

Various are the senses put upon the word Chiun. Some read it Cavan, and take it to signify a "cake"; in which sense the word is used in Jeremiah 7:18; and render it, "the cake of your images" (s); and supposing that it had the image of their gods impressed upon it. Calmet interprets it "the pedestal of your images" (t); and indeed the word has the signification of a basis, and is so rendered by some (u); and is applicable to Mo their king, a king being the basis and foundation of the kingdom and people; and to the sun, intended by that deity, which is the basis of the celestial bodies, and of all things on earth. Some take Mo and Chiun to be distinct deities, the one to be the sun, the other the moon; but they seem rather to be the same, and both to be the Egyptian ox, and the calf of the Israelites in the wilderness, the image of which was carried in portable tents or tabernacles, in chests or shrines; such as the Succothbenoth, or tabernacles of Venus, 2 Kings 17:30; and those of Diana's, Acts 19:24; the first of these portable temples we read of, is one drawn by oxen in Phoenicia, mentioned by Sanchoniatho (w); not that the Israelites carried such a tent or tabernacle during their travels through the wilderness, whatever they might do the few days they worshipped the calf; but this is to be understood of their posterity in later times, in the times of Amos; and also when Shalmaneser carried them captive beyond Damascus, as follows. It may be further observed, for the confirmation and illustration of what has been said concerning Chiun, that the Egyptian Anubis, which Plutarch (x) says is the same with Saturn, is called by him Kyon, which seems to be no other than this word Chiun: and whereas Stephen calls it Rephan, this is not a corruption of the word, reading Rephan or Revan for Chevan; nor has he respect to Rimmon, the god of the Syrians, but it is the Egyptian name for Saturn; which the Septuagint interpreters might choose to make use of, they interpreting for the king of Egypt: and Diodorus Siculus (y) makes mention of an Egyptian king called Remphis, whom Braunius (z) takes to be this very Chiun; see Acts 7:43; but Rephas, or Rephan, was the same with Chronus, or Saturn, from whence came the Rephaim (a), who dwelt in Ashtaroth Karnaim, a town of Ham or Chronus; see Genesis 14:5. Some (b), who take Siccuth for an idol, render it in the future, "ye shall carry", &c. and take it to be a prediction of Amos, that the Israelites should, with great reproach and ignominy, be obliged by the Assyrians, as they were led captive, to carry on their shoulders the idols they had worshipped, and in vain had trusted in, as used to be done in triumphs; See Gill on Amos 1:15.

(p) "Siccuth regem vestrum", Munster, Montanus, Vatablus, Calvin, Mercerus. (q) "sidus deum vestrum", Liveleus; "sidus, vel stellam deos vestros", Calvin. (r) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 38. (s) "placentam imagiuum vestrarum", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Vatablus. (t) Dictionary, in the word "Chiun". (u) "Basim imaginum vestrarum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "statumen", Burkius. (w) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 1. p. 35. (x) De Iside. (y) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 56. (z) Selecta Sacra. l. 4. c. 9. sect. 132. p. 435. (a) Vid. Cumberland's Sanchoniatho, p. 120. (b) Vid. Scholia Quinquarborei in loc. So Jarchi and Lyra.

But ye have borne the tabernacle of your {n} Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

(n) That idol which you esteemed as your king, and carried about as you did Chiun, in which images you thought that there was a certain divinity.

26–27. But ye shall take up Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwân your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves; and I will cause you to go into exile beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah] You and your idols (cf. Jeremiah 43:7 b, Jeremiah 49:3 b; Isaiah 46:1-2) will go into exile together: this will be the end of your self-chosen course[159]. But though the general sense of the verse is clear, some of the details are obscure. Sakkuth (probably read as sukkath) was taken by the ancients as an appellative, LXX. σκηνή, Vulg. tabernaculum, hence A.V. tabernacle, i.e., here, the shrine of an image: but more probably R.V. Siccuth—or better, disregarding the Massoretic punctuation[160], Sakkuth—is correct, Sakkuth being a name of Adar, the Assyrian god of war and the chase (also of the sun, light, fire, &c.), and said to mean “chief of decision,” i.e. “chief arbiter” (viz. in warfare): see Schrader, K.A.T[161][162] p. 443, Tiele, Bab.-Ass. Gesch. p. 528 f.; Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 7, 151–154. Chiun (R.V.) should in all probability be pointed Kêwân or Kaiwân; it will then be identical with the Assyrian name of the planet Saturn, Ka-ai-va-nu (whence also Kêwân and Kaiwân, the Syriac, Persian, and Arabic names of the same planet[163]): so the Pesh., Ibn Ezra, Schrader, and many other moderns. The middle part of the verse does not, however, seem to be altogether in order; images (in the plural), for instance, being strange as applied to Kaiwân alone; and perhaps we should either (with Schrader) transpose two groups of words, and read “Sakkuth your king, and Kaiwân your star-god, the images which ye made” &c., or (with Wellhausen) omit צלמיכם, “your images,” and כוכב, “the star of” (or “star”), as glosses on אלהיכם, “your god” and כיון, “Kaiwân,” respectively. The reference must be to star-worship introduced into Israel from Assyria: cf., somewhat later, in Judah, Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3, 2 Kings 23:12 &c.[164] The context appears to shew, as W. R. Smith remarks (Proph. p. 140), that the cult alluded to was not a rival service to that of Jehovah, but was attached in some subordinate way to the offices of His sanctuary.

[159] The rendering of A.V., R.V., have borne, is possible grammatically, but not probable: the reason which decisively excludes it is that a reference to idolatries practised in the wilderness is entirely alien to the line of the prophet’s thought. (In the Heb., there is no therefore in Amos 5:27.)

[160] Which may be intended to suggest the word shiḳḳutz, “detestable thing,” often applied to idols (Deuteronomy 29:17, etc.).

[161] .A.T. … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[162] … Eb. Schrader, Die Keilinschriften und das A. T., ed. 2, 1883 (translated under the title The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. 1885, 1888). The references are to the pagination of the German, which is given on the margin of the English translation.

[163] See Payne Smith, Thes. Syr., who cites (p. 1660) Ephr. Syrus ii. 458 B; Ges. Thes. p. 669 f.; Fleischer in Levy, Chald. Wörterb. i. 428; Ges. Jesaia, ii. 343 f.

[164] The explanation of this verse adopted above is that of Ewald and most modern authorities; but it is right to add that there are some scholars whom it fails to satisfy. These scholars agree indeed that the verse cannot refer to idolatry in the past, but object, for instance (Wellh.), that the idols of a vanquished nation would be carried off as trophies by the victors (Isaiah 46:1), rather than taken into exile by the vanquished themselves, and point out that the fault with which elsewhere Amos reproaches the people is an exaggerated ceremonialism in the worship of Jehovah, not devotion to other gods. There is no doubt force in these objections; but it may be doubted whether our knowledge of the times is such as to render them conclusive; nor has any preferable explanation been yet proposed. Cf. Wellh., p. 83; G. A. Smith, p. 172 f.; N. Schmidt, Journ. of Bibl. Lit., 1894, p. 1–15; Cheyne, Expositor, Jan. 1897, p. 42–44 (who, like Wellh., rejects the verse as a gloss).

LXX. has τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολὸχ καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ θεοῦ Ῥαιφάν, τοὺς τύπους αὐτῶν οὓς ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς, whence the quotation in Acts 7:43 τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολὸχ, καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ θεοῦ Ῥεμφάν, τοὺς τύπους οὓς ἐποιήσατε προσκυνεῖν αὐτοῖς. Ῥαιφάν is evidently a corruption of Kaiwân, which in Acts 7:43 has become further corrupted into Ῥεμφάν.

beyond Damascus] Syria, in Amos’s time, was to Israel a more familiar power than Assyria or Babylon; Damascus was its capital; and exile into the unknown regions beyond Damascus is accordingly announced as the climax of Israel’s punishment. After the Babylonian exile Babylon became both the type of Israel’s oppressor and Israel’s typical place of exile; and this, no doubt, is the reason why St Stephen, in Acts 7:43, unintentionally substitutes Babylon for Damascus.

The passage Amos 5:21-25 is one of the first statements in the O.T. of the great prophetic truth, that sacrifice or indeed any other outward religious observance, is not, as such, either valued or demanded by God; it is valued, and demanded, by Him only as the expression of a right state of heart: if offered to Him by men who are indifferent to this, and who think to make amends for their moral shortcomings by the zeal with which they maintain the formal offices of religion, He indignantly repudiates it. The Israelites, like men in many other ages, were sufficiently ready to conform to the external forms and offices of religion, while heedless of its spiritual precepts, and especially of the claim which it makes to regulate their conduct and their lives; and the prophets again and again take occasion to point out to them their mistake, and to recall to them the true nature of spiritual religion. See Hosea 6:6[165]; Isaiah 1:10-17; Micah 6:6-8; Jeremiah 6:19-20; Jeremiah 7:1-15; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Isaiah 66:2-4 (in Amos 5:3 “as” = “no better than”): also 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6-8; Psalm 50:13-15; Psalm 51:16-17; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 21:27; Sir 34:18 to Sir 35:11.

[165] Comp. on this text the writer’s Sermons on the Old Test. (1892), pp. 217–232.

(3) 6. A second rebuke, addressed to the self-satisfied political leaders of the nation, who “put far the evil day,” and, immersed in a life of luxurious self-indulgence, are heedless of the ruin which is only too surely hastening upon their people (Amos 5:1-6). But, as before, exile is the end which the prophet sees to be not far distant: Israel’s sins have caused Jehovah to turn His face from them. Invasion and destruction are coming upon them; their boasted strength will be powerless to save them from the consequences of their violation of the laws of truth and right (Amos 5:7-14).

Verse 26. - This verse has occasioned great perplexity to commentators. The connection with the context, the meaning of some of the terms, and whether the reference is to past, present, or future, are questions which have roused much controversy. We need not here recapitulate the various opinions which have been held. It will be sufficient to state what seems to be the simplest and most probable explanation of the passage. But we must not omit to mention first the explanation adopted by Ewald, Schrader, Farrar, Konig, and others, viz. that this verse refers to the punitive deportation which was to be the people's lot, when they should take their shrines and images with them into captivity. "So shall ye take (into exile) Sakkuth your king," etc. But the punishment is foretold in ver. 27; and this verse contrasts their idol worship with the neglected worship of Jehovah (ver. 25). But ye have borne; and ye bare; καὶ ἀνελάβετε (Septuagint); et portastis (Vulgate). Ye offered me no pure worship in the wilderness, seeing that ye took false gods with you, and joined their worship with, or substuted it for, mine. The tabernacle of your Moloch; τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολόχ (Septuagint); tabernaculum Moloch vestro (Vulgate). The Hebrew word rendered "tabernacle" (sikkuth). which is found nowhere else, has been variously explained. Aquila gives συσκιασμούς: Theodotion, "vision," reading the whole sentence thus: Καὶ ἤρατε τὴν ὅρασιν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑμῶν ὑμῶν ἄστρον τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑμῶν. Many moderns render, "stake," "column," or "shrine." Others suppose it to be equivalent to Sakkuth, an Assyrian name for Molech (or Adar); but this is very uncertain (see 'Studien und Kritiken.' 1874, p. 887), sad the parallelism requires the word to be an appellative and not a proper name. It most probably means "shrine," a portable shrine, like those spoken of in Acts 19:24 in connection with the worship of Diana. The Syriac and Arabic versions call it "tent," and thus the reproach stands forth emphatically that, instead of, or in conjunction with, the true tabernacle, they bore aloft, as if proud of their apostasy, the tabernacle of a false god. Such shrines were used by the Egyptians, according to Herodotus (2:63, where see Rawlinson's note) and Diod. Sic. (1:97). Many such may be seen in the Egyptian room of the British Museum. Keil quotes Drumann, 'On the Rosetta Inscription,' p. 211, "These were small chapels, generally gilded and ornamented with flowers and in other ways, intended to hold a small idol when processions were made, and to be carried or driven about with it." Hence we must look to Egypt as the source of this idolatry. Moloch, though sanctioned by the LXX. and St. Stephen (Acts 7:43), is a mistranslation. De Rossi, indeed, mentions that one Hebrew manuscript gives Moloch, but the received reading is Melkekem, which is confirmed by Symmachus and Theodotion, who have τοῦ βασιλέως ὑμῶν, and by the Syriac. The translation, therefore, should run, "Ye took up the shrine of your king," i.e. of him whom ye made your king in the place of Jehovah, meaning some stellar divinity. And Chiun your images; καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν Ῥαμφάν, "and the star of your god Raephan "(Septuagint); et imaginem idolorum vestrorum; literally, the kiyyun of your images. The parallelism again requires us to take this unknown word as an appellative; and according to its probable derivation, its meaning is "pedestal," or "framework," that on which the image stood. The Greek rendering is, as Keil thinks, owing to a false reading of the unpointed text, in old Hebrew kaph and resh being easily confounded, and vau and pe. Theodotion considered the word a common noun, translating it by ἀμαύρωσιν. It is probably a mere coincidence that in some Assyrian inscriptions the name Kairan occurs as that of a deity, who is identified with Saturn; that the Egyptians (from whom the Israelites must have derived the notion) ever acknowledged such a deity is quite unproved. St. Stephen merely quotes the Textus Receptus of his day, which was close enough to the original for his argument. The star of your god. These words are in loose apposition with the preceding, and are equivalent to "your star god," or the star whom ye worship as god. Whether some particular star is meant, or whether the sun is the deity signified, cannot be determined, although the universal prevalence of the worship of sun gods in Egypt makes the latter supposition very probable. St. Stephen puts the sin in a general form: "God gave them up to serve the host of heaven" (Acts 7:42; comp. Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3). Which ye made to yourselves. This was the crime, self-will, desertion of the appointed way for devices of their own invention. Amos 5:26Amos 5:26 is attached in an adversative sense: "To me (Jehovah) ye have offered no sacrifices, but ye have borne," etc. The opposition between the Jehovah-worship which they suspended, and the idol-worship which they carried on, is so clearly expressed in the verbs הגּשׁתּם and נשׂאתם, which correspond to one another, that the idea is precluded at once as altogether untenable, that "Amo 5:26 refers to either the present or future in the form of an inference drawn from the preceding verse: therefore do ye (or shall ye) carry the hut of your king," etc. Moreover, the idea of the idols being carried into captivity, which would be the meaning of נשׂא in that case, is utterly foreign to the prophetical range of thought. It is not those who go into captivity who carry their gods away with them; but the gods of a vanquished nation are carried away by the conquerors (Isaiah 46:1). To give a correct interpretation to this difficult verse, which has been explained in various ways from the very earliest times, it is necessary, above all things, to bear in mind the parallelism of the clauses. Whereas in the first half of the verse the two objects are connected together by the copula ו (ואת), the omission of both את and the copula ו before כּוכב indicates most obviously that כּוכב אלהיכם does not introduce a third object in addition to the two preceding ones, but rather that the intention is to define those objects more precisely; from which it follows still further, that סכּוּת מלכּכם and כּיּוּן צלמיכם do not denote two different kinds of idolatry, but simply two different forms of the very same idolatry. The two ἁπ. λεγ. sikkūth and kiyyūn are undoubtedly appellatives, notwithstanding the fact that the ancient versions have taken kiyyūn as the proper name of a deity. This is required by the parallelism of the members; for צלמיכם stands in the same relation to כיון as מלככם to סכות. The plural צלמיכם, however, cannot be in apposition to the singular כיון (kiyyūn, your images), but must be a genitive governed by it: "the kiyyūn of your images." And in the same way מלככם is the genitive after סכות: "the sikkūth of your king." Sikkūth has been taken in an appellative sense by all the ancient translators. The lxx and Symm. render it τὴν σκηνήν; the Peshito, Jerome, and the Ar. tentorium. The Chaldee has retained sikkūth. The rendering adopted by Aquila, συσκιασμός, is etymologically the more exact; for sikkūth, from סכך, to shade, signifies a shade or shelter, hence a covering, a booth, and is not to be explained either from sâkhath, to be silent, from which Hitzig deduces the meaning "block," or from the Syriac and Chaldee word סכתא, a nail or stake, as Rosenmller and Ewald suppose. כּיּוּן, from כּוּן, is related to כּן, basis (Exodus 30:18), and מכונה, and signifies a pedestal or framework. The correctness of the Masoretic pointing of the word is attested by the kiyyūn of the Chaldee, and also by צלמיכם, inasmuch as the reading כּיון, which is given in the lxx and Syr., requires the singular צלמכם, which is also given in the Syriac. צלמים are images of gods, as in Numbers 33:52; 2 Kings 11:18. The words כּוכב אל which follow are indeed also governed by נשׂאתם; but, as the omission of ואת clearly shows, the connection is only a loose one, so that it is rather to be regarded as in apposition to the preceding objects in the sense of "namely, the star of your god;" and there is no necessity to alter the pointing, as Hitzig proposes, and read כּוכב, "a star was your god," although this rendering expresses the sense quite correctly. כּוכב אלהיכם is equivalent to the star, which is your god, which ye worship as your god (for this use of the construct state, see Ges. 116, 5). By the star we have to picture to ourselves not a star formed by human hand as a representation of the god, nor an image of a god with the figure of a star upon its head, like those found upon the Ninevite sculptures (see Layard). For if this had been what Amos meant, he would have repeated the particle ואת before כּוכב. The thought is therefore the following: the king whose booth, and the images whose stand they carried, were a star which they had made their god, i.e., a star-deity (אשׁר refers to אלהיכם, not to כּוכב). This star-god, which they worshipped as their king, they had embodied in tselâmı̄m. The booth and the stand were the things used for protecting and carrying the images of the star-god.

Sikkūth was no doubt a portable shrine, in which the image of the deity was kept. Such shrines (ναΐ́σκοι) were used by the Egyptians, according to Herodotus (ii. 63) and Diodorus Sic. (i.:97): they were "small chapels, generally gilded and ornamented with flowers and in other ways, intended to hold a small idol when processions were made, and to be carried or driven about with it" (Drumann, On the Rosetta Inscription, p. 211). The stand on which the chapel was placed during these processions was called παστοφόριον (Drumann, p. 212); the bearers were called ἱεραφόροι or παστοφόροι (D. p. 226). This Egyptian custom explains the prophet's words: "the hut of your king, and the stand of your images," as Hengstenberg has shown in his Dissertations on the Pentateuch, vol. i. p. 161), and points to Egypt as the source of the idolatry condemned by Amos. This is also favoured by the fact, that the golden calf which the Israelites worshipped at Sinai was an imitation of the idolatry of Egypt; also by the testimony of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 20:7.), to the effect that the Israelites did not desist even in the wilderness from the abominations of their eyes, namely the idols of Egypt; and lastly, by the circumstance that the idea of there being any allusion in the words to the worship of Moloch or Saturn is altogether irreconcilable with the Hebrew text, and cannot be historically sustained,

(Note: This explanation of the words is simply founded upon the rendering of the lxx: καὶ ἀνελάβετε τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ Μολόχ καὶ τὸ ἄστρον τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑμῶν Ῥαιφάν, τοὺς τύπους οὓς ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς. These translators, therefore, have not only rendered מלכּכם erroneously as Μολόχ, but have arbitrarily twisted the other words of the Hebrew text. For the Hebrew reading מלככם is proved to be the original one, not only by the τοῦ βασιλέως ὑμῶν of Symm. and Theod., but also by the Μαλχόμ of Aquila and the malkūm of the Peshito; and all the other ancient translators enter a protest against the displacing of the other words. The name Ῥαιφάν (Ῥηφαν), or Ῥεμφάν (Acts 7:43), however, owes its origin simply to the false reading of the unpointed כיון as ריפן, inasmuch as in the old Hebrew writings not only is כ similar to ר, but ו is also similar to פ; and in 2 Samuel 22:12, where חשׁרת־מים is rendered σκοτός (i.e., חשׁכת) ὑδάτων, we have an example of the interchange of כ and ר. There was no god Rephan or Rempha; for the name never occurs apart from the lxx. The statement made in the Arabico-Coptic list of planets, edited by Ath. Kircher, that Suhhel (the Arabic name of Saturn) is the same as Ῥηφάν, and the remark found in a Coptic MS on the Acts of the Apostles, "Rephan deus temporis," prove nothing more than that Coptic Christians supposed the Rephan or Remphan, whose name occurred in their version of the Bible which was founded upon the lxx, to be the star Saturn as the god of time; but they by no means prove that the ancient Egyptians called Saturn Rephan, or were acquainted with any deity of that name, since the occurrence of the Greek names Υλια and Σελινη for sun and moon are a sufficient proof of the very recent origin of the list referred to. It is true that the Peshito has also rendered כּיּוּן by ke'wām (כּיון), by which the Syrians understood Saturn, as we may see from a passage of Ephraem Syrus, quoted by Gesenius in his Comm. on Isaiah (ii. p. 344), where this father, in his Sermones adv. haer. s. 8, when ridiculing the star-worshippers, refers to the Kevan, who devoured his own children. But no further evidence can be adduced in support of the correctness of this explanation of כּיון. The corresponding use of the Arabic Kaivan for Saturn, to which appeal has also been made, does not occur in any of the earlier Arabic writings, but has simply passed into the Arabic from the Persian; so that the name and its interpretation originated with the Syrian church, passing thence to the Persians, and eventually reaching the Arabs through them. Consequently the interpretation of Kevan by Saturn has no higher worth than that of an exegetical conjecture, which is not elevated into a truth by the fact that כיון is mentioned in the Cod. Nazar. i. p. 54, ed. Norb., in connection with Nebo, Bel, and Nerig ( equals Nergal). With the exception of these passages, and the gloss of a recent Arabian grammarian cited by Bochart, viz., "Keivan signifies Suhhel," not a single historical trace can be found of Kevan having been an ancient oriental name of Saturn; so that the latest supporter of this hypothesis, namely Movers (Phnizier, i. p. 290), has endeavoured to prop up the arguments already mentioned in his own peculiar and uncritical manner, by recalling the Phoenician and Babylonian names, San-Choniâth, Kyn-el-Adan, and others. Not even the Graeco-Syrian fathers make any reference to this interpretation. Theodoret cannot say anything more about Μολόχ καὶ Ῥεφάν, than that they were εἰδώλων ὀνόματα; and Theod. Mops. has this observation on Ῥεμφάν: φασὶ δὲ τὸν ἑωσφόρον οὕτω κατὰ τὴν Ἑβραίων γλῶτταν. It is still very doubtful, therefore, whether the Alexandrian and Syrian translators of Amos really supposed Ῥαιφάν and כּיון to signify Saturn; and this interpretation, whether it originated with the translators named, or was first started by later commentators upon these versions, arose in all probability simply from a combination of the Greek legend concerning Saturn, who swallowed his own children, and the Moloch who was worshipped with the sacrifice of children, and therefore might also be said to devour children; that is to say, it was merely an inference drawn from the rendering of מלככם as Μολόχ. But we are precluded from thinking of Moloch-worship, or regarding מלככם, "your king," as referring to Moloch, by the simple circumstance that כּוכב אלהיכם unquestionably points to the Sabaean (sidereal) character of the worship condemned by Amos, whereas nothing is known of the sidereal nature of Moloch; and even if the sun is to be regarded as the physical basis of their deity, as Mnter, Creuzer, and others conjecture, it is impossible to discover the slightest trace in the Old Testament of any such basis as this.

The Alexandrian translation of this passage, which we have thus shown to rest upon a misinterpretation of the Hebrew text, has acquired a greater importance than it would otherwise possess, from the fact that the proto-martyr Stephen, in his address (Acts 7:42-43), has quoted the words of the prophet according to that version, simply because the departure of the Greek translation from the original text was of no consequence, so far as his object was concerned, viz., to prove to the Jews that they had always resisted the Holy Ghost, inasmuch as the Alex. rendering also contains the thought, that their fathers worshipped the στρατιᾶ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.)

whereas star-worship, or at any rate the worship of the sun, was widely spread in Egypt from the very earliest times. According to the more recent investigations into the mythology of the ancient Egyptians which have been made by Lepsius (Transactions of the Academy of Science at Berlin, 1851, p. 157ff.), "the worship of the sun was the oldest kernel and most general principle of the religious belief of Egypt;" and this "was regarded even down to the very latest times as the outward culminating point of the whole system of religion" (Lepsius, p. 193). The first group of deities of Upper and Lower Egypt consists of none but sun-gods (p. 188).

(Note: It is true, that in the first divine sphere Ra occupies the second place according to the Memphitic doctrine, namely, after Phtha (Hephaestos), and according to the Theban doctrine, Amen (Ἄμων). Mentu and Atmu stand at the head (Leps. p. 186); but the two deities, Mentu, i.e., the rising sun, and Atmu, i.e., the setting sun, are simply a splitting up of Ra; and both Hephaestos and Amon (Amon-Ra) were placed at the head of the gods at a later period (Leps. pp. 187, 189).)

Ra, i.e., Helios, is the prototype of the kings, the highest potency and prototype of nearly all the gods, the king of the gods, and he is identified with Osiris (p. 194). But from the time of Menes, Osiris has been worshipped in This and Abydos; whilst in Memphis the bull Apis was regarded as the living copy of Osiris (p. 191). According to Herodotus (ii. 42), Osiris and Isis were the only gods worshipped by the ancient Egyptians; and, according to Diodorus Sic. (i. 11), the Egyptians were said to have had originally only two gods, Helios and Selene, and to have worshipped the former in Osiris, the latter in Isis. The Pan of Mendes appears to have also been a peculiar form of Osiris (cf. Diod. Sic. i. 25, and Leps. p. 175). Herodotus (ii. 145) speaks of this as of primeval antiquity, and reckons it among the eight so-called first gods; and Diodorus Sic. (i. 18) describes it as διαφερόντως ὑπὸ τῶν Αἰγυπτίων τιμώμενον. It was no doubt to these Egyptian sun-gods that the star-god which the Israelites carried about with them in the wilderness belonged. This is all that can at present be determined concerning it. There is not sufficient evidence to support Hengstenberg's opinion, that the Egyptian Pan as the sun-god was the king worshipped by them. It is also impossible to establish the identity of the king mentioned by Amos with the שׂעירים in Leviticus 17:7, since these שׂעירים, even if they are connected with the goat-worship of Mendes, are not exhausted by this goat-deity.

The prophet therefore affirms that, during the forty years' journey through the wilderness, Israel did not offer sacrifices to its true King Jehovah, but carried about with it a star made into a god as the king of heaven. If, then, as has already been observed, we understand this assertion as referring to the great mass of the people, like the similar passage in Isaiah 43:23, it agrees with the intimations in the Pentateuch as to the attitude of Israel. For, beside the several grosser outbreaks of rebellion against the Lord, which are the only ones recorded at all circumstantially there, and which show clearly enough that it was not devoted to its God with all its heart, we also find traces of open idolatry. Among these are the command in Leviticus 17, that every one who slaughtered a sacrificial animal was to bring it to the tabernacle, when taken in connection with the reason assigned, namely, that they were not to offer their sacrifices any more to the Se‛ı̄rı̄m, after which they went a whoring (Amos 5:7), and the warning in Deuteronomy 4:19, against worshipping the sun, moon, and stars, even all the host of heaven, from which we may infer that Moses had a reason for this, founded upon existing circumstances. After this further proof of the apostasy of Israel from its God, the judgment already indicated in Amos 5:24 is still further defined in Amos 5:27 as the banishment of the people far beyond the borders of the land given to it by the Lord, where higlâh evidently points back to yiggal in Amos 5:24. מהלאה ל, lit., "from afar with regard to," i.e., so that when looked at from Damascus, the place showed itself afar off, i.e., according to one mode of viewing it, "far beyond Damascus."

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