[Milton-L] moloch

John Geraghty johnegeraghty at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 3 23:51:29 EDT 2004

A depressingly appropriate thread for today.....

 I don't have the best sources but associations of kings, crowns, child
sacrifice, messiah's and Gabriel occur and I'm sure some very interesting
things could be written when well researched. I'm sure there are better
sources but here's a quick few. I would also love to her more thoughts on
Milton and problematic sacrifice of the son. I've thought a lot about this,
especially when reading PR.

Kings (MLK) killing kids is biblical and Gabriel often is associated (as
agent in divine intervention) with those events and in lives of messianic
So in many ways he could be seen as the most appropriate for the task.

Also, Gabriel is associated w/ Gehenna and that might be a useful clue

Pharoah (King) infanticide at birth of Moses\Gabriel as protector of the
infant Moses (Haggadah)

Herod (King) infanticide at birth of Christ \Gabriel announces birth of
Christ and John Baptist later an angel warns them to flee to Egypt to save

>From an online translation of Haggadah see

When she saw the little ark floating among the flags on the surface of the
water, she supposed it to contain one of the little children exposed at her
father's order, and she commanded her handmaids to fetch it. But they
protested, saying, "O our mistress, it happens sometimes that a decree
issued by a king is unheeded, yet it is observed at least by his children
and the members of his household, and dost thou desire to transgress thy
father's edict?" Forthwith the angel Gabriel appeared, seized all the maids
except one, whom he permitted the princess to retain for her service, and
buried them in the bowels of the earth.

Noticing that the boy bore the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, she knew that
he was one of the Hebrew children, and mindful of her father's decree
concerning the male children of the Israelites, she was about to abandon the
babe to his fate. At that moment the angel Gabriel came and gave the child a
vigorous blow, and he began to cry aloud, with a voice like a young man's.
His vehement weeping and the weeping of Aaron, who was lying beside him,
touched the princess, and in her pity she resolved to save him.

later (Notice the images of Moses \infanticide \crown \Gabriel)

The counsel seemed good in the eyes of the king, and when they had placed
the stone and the coal before the child, Moses stretched forth his hand
toward the onyx stone and attempted to seize it, but the angel Gabriel
guided his hand away from it and placed it upon the live coal, and the coal
burnt the child's hand, and he lifted it up and touched it to his mouth, and
burnt part of his lips and part of his tongue, and for all his life he
became slow of speech and of a slow tongue.

Seeing this, the king and the princes knew that Moses had not acted with
knowledge in taking the crown from off the king's head, and they refrained
from slaying him. God Himself, who protected Moses, turned the king's mind
to grace, and his foster-mother snatched him away, and she had him educated
with great care, so that the Hebrews depended upon him, and cherished the
hope that great things would be done by him. But the Egyptians were
suspicious of what would follow from such an education as his.

Gehena and Child Sacrifice

Hell was born just outside the walls of Jerusalem, in the Valley of Ben
Hinnom. The prophet Jeremiah dubbed this "the Valley of Slaughter" (Jeremiah
19:6) because so many children were immolated here in a deep pit known as
the Tophet- "Place of Fire." Even kings of Judah burned their sons and
daughters at this Tophet. Eventually, the sacrifices ceased. But the memory
remained, as the Valley of Ben Hinnom was turned into Gehenna, the Hebrew
word for "Hell," where sinners suffered the eternal torment of fire. .......

Gehenna and the burning that went on there became identified with the demon
Moloch. As we've seen, this great demon was also born from changing
attitudes toward the Tophet fire-pit, since the original molek was just a
pious human-sacrifice offering. "Thus, between the Josianic reform and the
closing centuries of the pre- Christian era, we may catch a glimpse of the
rarest of all events the birth of a god- a god whose cult had, happily, long
since been abandoned."

Gehena and Gabriel  http://www.fairlds.org/pubs/conf/1999TveJ.html

Such accounts are reminiscent of the medieval Jewish text attributed to the
second-century A.D. Jewish Rabbi Akiba, in which, in the day of redemption,
the Lord will be seated in Paradise explaining the Torah when he hears
voices from Gehenna answering, "Amen." In response, he sends the angels
Michael and Gabriel with keys to open the gates of Gehenna and bring out
these repentant souls. The text continues:

What, then, do Michael and Gabriel do? In that hour they got hold of the
hand of each one of the wicked and pull them up, like a man who raises his
fellow man and pulls him up from a pit . . . And Gabriel and Michael stand
over them in that hour, and wash them, and anoint them with oil, and heal
them of the wounds of Gehenna, and clothe them in beautiful and good
garments, and take them by their hand, and bring them before the Holy One,
blessed be He . . . And when they reach the gate of the Garden of Eden,
first Gabriel and Michael enter and take counsel with the Holy One, blessed
be He, answers them and says: "Let them enter and see my Glory." (Midrash
Alpha Beta diRabbi Akiba.)7


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Harold Skulsky" <hskulsky at email.smith.edu>
To: <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>; <rumrich at mail.utexas.edu>
Sent: Friday, September 03, 2004 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] moloch

> A "gever" in Bib. Heb. is a mighty man. "Gabriel" = champion of God. The
> would-be usurper Moloch (Heb. "king") is  his miltary antithesis.
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