🔼The name Moloch: Summary
- From the noun מלך (melek), king.
🔼The name Moloch in the Bible
The name Moloch occurs only once in the Bible, although it's the Greek version of the Hebrew name מלך (Molech), which occurs a few more times. Moloch is mentioned in Acts 7:43, where Stephen quotes Amos 5:25-27, in which the Lord foretells Judah's (or rather: Israel at large) exile to Babylon.
Moloch was the horrifying deity of the Ammonites, whose worship entailed the sacrifice by fire of living children. This was obviously forbidden by the Law of YHWH, the Lord of Life (Leviticus 18:21) but the Israelites did it anyway. No one less than king Solomon built a center of worship for Moloch (1 Kings 11:7) but three centuries later, it was demolished by king Josiah (2 Kings 23:10). See for more details our article on the name Molech.
🔼Etymology of the name Moloch
The name Moloch is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Molech, and that name comes from the Hebrew noun מלך (melek), meaning king:
The noun מלך (melek) means king, and a king is not merely a glorified tribal chief but the alpha of a complex, stratified society, implying a court and a complex government.
The Bible insists that a society must be governed by a triad of anointed sovereigns, namely prophets, priests and the king. A good king causes his people to be prosperous and peaceful whereas a bad one causes poverty and strife. The difference between the two is dictated by how close to the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God) the king operates. A kingdom that is wholly in tune with the Law consists of only sovereign individuals and is thus without a physical king.
An Aramaic cognate verb מלך (malak) means to consult, which confirms that the concept of royalty indeed evolved from wisdom and intellectual prowess rather than brute physical or political strength, as is commonly suggested.
From this noun derives the verb מלך (malak): to be or become king, the nouns מלכה (malka) and מלכת (meleket): queen or court-lady, the noun מלוכה (meluka): kingship or royalty, and the nouns מלכות (malkut), ממלכה (mamlaka) and ממלכות (mamlakut), meaning sovereignty or kinghood.
The name Moloch means King.