Chemosh


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Chemosh

(kē`mŏsh), identified, probably mistakenly, as the god of the Ammonites in the Bible (see MilcomMilcom
[Heb.,=their king], in the Bible, god of the Ammonites whose cult Solomon introduced in Jerusalem. In the Book of Judges the name is replaced (probably by mistake) by Chemosh. Milcom may be identifiable with Molech.
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). In First and Second Kings, Solomon erected an altar to him at Jerusalem, and Josiah destroyed it.
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Whilst I was gazing and wondering, suddenly it occurred to me--being familiar with the Old Testament--that Solomon went astray after strange gods, the names of three of whom I remembered--"Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, and Milcom, the god of the children of Ammon"--and I suggested to my companions that the figures before us might represent these false and exploded divinities.
(Cf the scene in 2 Kings 3.27, where King Mesha burns his eldest son as a sacrifice to Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, which so disheartens the Israelites that they flee in panic.) In fact, it took a bold act of the imagination to deny all reality to the elaborate and impressive cults of Israel's neighbors; and not until Second Isaiah (40-55) do we find a forthright insistence that pagan gods simply don't exist.
The idol Chemosh was originally Ammon's national idol.
Solomon even "built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab" (I Kings 11: 7).
Yet somehow supernatural and demigodic "angels" and "demons" are presented as independent segments of metaphysical realm--as well as the 40 or so named gods in the Bible: Ashtoreth, Tammuz, Diana, Jupiter, Nehushtan, Remphan, Chemosh, Nisroch, Molech, Rahab, and so on.
It may be for this reason that Hand is associated with Molech of Moloch, the god to whom children were sacrificed: "The night falls thick Hand comes from Albion in his strength / He combines into a Mighty-one the Double Molech & Chemosh." (82)
11:24, "That which Chemosh your god grants you as a possession, you shall possess, and all those whom YHWH our god dispossesses before us, we shall take possession from them," as indicating such a recognition.
Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Molech, the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.
21:29) that Moab was openly pagan and worshiping Chemosh, but it was its ethical lapse that was of interest to biblical normative law.
This diaspora was a consequence of Solomon's decision to follow pagan customs by "sacrificing in the high places," rather than the tabernacle, and the king eventually turned to human sacrifice in Chemosh. In the Biblical verses that immediately precede Coleridge's quotation, Elijah had initiated the process of reintegration by means of a sacrificial distinction, as God lit the fire under Elijah's sacrifice, while Baal failed to do the same for his followers.
The story of the Moabite campaign (1 Ki 3:4-27) in which Chemosh decides the battle is but one example of a biblical story, if not the Bible as a whole, that recognizes deities other than YHWH and is not wholly monotheistic.
Moreover, literarily, it is impossible to make sense of the later report (second edition, 2 Kgs 23:13) that Josiah destroyed Solomon's high places for Ashtoret and Chemosh unless the whole point of this passage is that Solomon in fact built them (in 11:7).