Sacrificing of Young People—Not From God
OUTSIDE the walls of Jerusalem, there was in ancient times a place called Topheth. There, apostate Israelites, including Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, used to practice the terrible custom of child sacrifice. Finally, the faithful king Josiah stopped the practice by making Topheth a place unfit for religious ceremonies.—2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4; 33:1, 6.
Why was the place called Topheth? The origin of the word is disputed, but it is interesting to note what Jewish scholar David Kimḥi (c. 1160-c. 1235) had to say about the place. Discussing 2 Kings 23:10, where Topheth is mentioned, he wrote: “The name of the place where they caused their sons to pass through [the fire] to Molech. The name of the place was Topheth, and they said it was called thus because at the time of worship they would dance and strike tambourines [Hebrew, tup·pimʹ] so that the father would not hear his son’s cries when they were causing him to pass through the fire, and that his heart might not become agitated over him and he take him from their hand. And this place was a valley that belonged to a man named Hinnom, and it was called ‘Valley of Hinnom’ and ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ . . . Josiah defiled that place, reducing it to an unclean place, to cast there carcasses and all uncleanness, that it might never again come up into the heart of a man to cause his son and his daughter to pass through in the fire to Molech.”
In modern times, the god Molech is just a historical curiosity, and many doubtless find it hard to understand why people killed their children for him. Yet, adults today still seem ready to kill their young when it suits them. During this century, millions of youths have been sacrificed on the altar of war. Every year, untold millions of unborn babies are purposely killed in abortions, many of them because their conception was the result of casual sex or because their birth would interfere with the life-style of their parents. Thus, these children become sacrifices to the gods of sexual freedom and materialism.
Jehovah said that the burning of children to Molech was an abomination. (Jeremiah 7:31) Does he view any differently the wanton killing of young people in our generation?
[Pictures on page 31]
Child sacrifice to the false god Molech, as depicted some 75 years ago in the “Photo-Drama of Creation”
Present-day Valley of Hinnom, looking eastward