Moloch

59”x51” oil on canvas/wood 1994

Idolatry is singled out over and over in the sacred writings as one of the most debased crimes man can commit. Indeed, two of the ten commandments are devoted to it. In Leviticus, where God decrees the laws governing perverse sexual relationships, we find a severe prohibition against the ancient Canaanite worship of the idol Molech:

”You shall not present any of your children to pass through (the fire) for Molech…..any man who shall give of his seed to Molech, shall be put to death….”

The practice in the worship of Molech was to present the child to the priests who passed him through large fires, burning the child as a form of religious devotion. In the upper lunette of the painting there is an immolated infant. As horrifying as this is, it was practiced by many ancient peoples. Indeed, the immolation of the young, directed by zealots, continues in our own day.

In the bottom panel, we see a ram caught in a thicket. This refers to the momentous event in Genesis when Abraham is tested by God who tells him to bring his only beloved son, Isaac, to the mountain as an offering. Just as Abraham is about to slaughter Isaac, an angel calls from heaven and orders him to stop. As he raises his eyes he sees a ram caught by its horns in a thicket, and sacrifices that instead. That God abhors the sacrifice of children is made clear by this narrative.

View Full Resolution Image