21:6 He passed his son 1 through the fire 2 and practiced divination and omen reading. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits, and appointed magicians to supervise it. 3 He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 4
2 Kings 23:10Context
23:10 The king 5 ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 6
1 tc The LXX has the plural “his sons” here.
3 tn Heb “and he set up a ritual pit, along with conjurers.” The Hebrew אוֹב (’ov), “ritual pit,” refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. In 1 Sam 28:7 the witch of Endor is called a בַעֲלַת אוֹב (ba’alat ’ov), “owner of a ritual pit.” See H. Hoffner, “Second millennium Antecedents to the Hebrew ’OñBù,” JBL 86 (1967), 385-401.
4 tc Heb “and he multiplied doing what is evil in the eyes of the
5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
6 sn Attempts to identify this deity with a god known from the ancient Near East have not yet yielded a consensus. For brief discussions see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor II Kings (AB), 288 and HALOT 592 s.v. מֹלֶךְ. For more extensive studies see George C. Heider, The Cult of Molek, and John Day, Molech: A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament.