In Masonic ritual there is a passage in the fourteenth degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite that almost certainly goes unconsidered by the few people who are even aware of its existence. It says about King Solomon:
...much intoxicated with his great power, he plunged into all manner of licentiousness and debauchery, and profaned the Temple by offering incense to the idol Moloch...
The ritual confirms the Biblical account that King Solomon turned away from Yahweh to favour older gods. But who or what was Moloch?
We were interested to know what sort of idol had turned Solomon's head away from the new god of the Jews, which for Jews, Christians and Muslims today is God Himself.
We found that Moloch was more than an idol. Many scholars believe that he was a Canaanite god of the Sun whose name came to represent the practice of 'child sacrifice' amongst the Jewish people. His name derives from, and is synonymous with, the word Malak meaning 'king', as we knew from the name 'Melchizedek'. Moloch began in the distant past as a Canaanite Sun god; a king who reigned from the heavens through his 'son' - the king on earth. However, we discovered that the writers of the Old Testament used the term Moloch to describe a form of sacrifice rather than the name of a god. The sacrifice in question was the burning alive of the king's own children, to persuade the gods to be kind.
Surely, this could not be true of King Solomon?
Then were recalled how ancient kings such as David and particularly Solomon had huge harems and therefore probably countless children - so they could afford to loose a few that were born to less favoured wives or concubines. They may not have even known the children that they offered up as a 'sacrifice'.
Early depictions of Moloch show him as a man with a bull's head. The central feature of his worship was the ritual burning of children in 'the fire of Moloch' - (Milton described this ancient god in Paradise Lost as ' Moloch, horrid king'). This practice of committing living children to scream slowly to death in the remorseless heat of the god's fire began at an early period and retained such power over parental compassion that Mosaic law stated that if any man, made or permitted his children to 'pass through the fire of Moloch' he was to be put to death. The Bible calls this child sacrifice 'the abomination of the Ammonites' but we have to accept that this horrific ritual was still being conducted at the time the Jewish Law was written down, else why was it necessary to have rules against it?