What does Human Sacrifice mean in the Bible?

Dictionary

Holman Bible Dictionary - Human Sacrifice
The ritual slaying of one or more human beings to please a god. This was widely practiced by many cultures in antiquity. Although the frequency of the practice is difficult to determine, the fact is that such rituals were performed for various reasons. For example, both Egyptians and Sumerians before 2000 B.C. killed servants and possibly family members to bury them with deceased kings to allow those who had served or been near the official in life to accompany him to the realm of the dead. In Mesopotamia, and perhaps elsewhere, the remains of animals and humans offered as sacrifice were deposited within foundations to protect the building from evil powers, a practice possibly reflected in 1 Kings 16:34 .
In the Old Testament, Jephthah sacrificed his daughter as a fulfillment of a vow, although the incident is clearly not normative (Judges 11:30-40 ). In the ninth century Mesha, king of Moab, offered his own son as a burnt offering presumably to Chemosh, national god of Moab, upon the walls of his capital while under siege by Israel and Judah (2 Kings 3:27 ). The event was so shocking that the siege was terminated. However, although Israelite law specifically forbade human sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21 ; Leviticus 20:2-5 ), persistent references to the practice occur, especially between 800,500 B.C. Both Ahaz and Manasseh burned their sons as an offering in times of national peril (2 Kings 16:3 ; 2 Kings 21:6 ). The sacrifices were made in the valley of Hinnom which protected Jerusalem from the west and south. A portion of the valley bore the name Topheth, a name derived from the word for fireplace or hearth. Apparently Topheth was an open air cultic area where Molech sacrifices were offered. The term Molech occurs frequently in connection with human sacrifice. In the Bible and elsewhere Molech apparently was used in two ways: 1) as the name or a title of a god to whom sacrifice was made (see 1 Kings 11:7 ) and 1 Kings 11:2 ) as a specific type of sacrifice which involved the total consummation of a person, usually a child, by fire. Both usages of the term may be reflected in the Old Testament. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel condemn such offerings as an abomination to God (Jeremiah 7:31-32 ; Jeremiah 19:5-6 ; Ezekiel 16:20-21 ; Ezekiel 20:31 ). Josiah defiled Topheth as a part of his reformation so that “no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech” (2 Kings 23:10 RSV).
These practices, foreign to the worship of Yahweh, must have been adopted by Israel from the surrounding peoples. Direct evidence for human sacrifice during the first millennium B.C. comes from two cultures with which Israel had contact: the Phoenician colony of Carthage and the Arameans. The Carthaginians sacrificed children to Kronos during periods of calamity caused by war, famine, or disease. Pits filled with bones of animals and children have been excavated at Carthage with inscribed stones indicating these were Molech sacrifices. The Arameans of Gozan in northwest Mesopotamia sacrificed humans to the god Hadad. Interestingly, the Sepharvites, a people from an area dominated by Arameans deported to Palestine in 721 B.C. by Sargon II, burned their children as offerings to Adrammelech and Anammelech (2 Kings 17:31 ). Yet the abomination of human sacrifice, stated Jeremiah, never entered the mind of Yahweh (Jeremiah 19:5 ). See Molech .
Tommy Brisco

Sentence search

Chemosh - His rites seem to have included Human Sacrifice (cf
Anammelech - As Human Sacrifice ( 2 Kings 17:31 ) was the most prominent rite connected with the god’s worship, the name, which might be interpreted as meaning ‘Anu is prince,’ in all probability owes its origin to a scribal endeavour to identify the god with Molech, in whose cult a similar practice existed
Human Sacrifice - However, although Israelite law specifically forbade Human Sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21 ; Leviticus 20:2-5 ), persistent references to the practice occur, especially between 800,500 B. The term Molech occurs frequently in connection with Human Sacrifice. Direct evidence for Human Sacrifice during the first millennium B. Yet the abomination of Human Sacrifice, stated Jeremiah, never entered the mind of Yahweh (Jeremiah 19:5 )
Mesha - Jehoram determined to punish him; but Mesha made the horrible sacrifice of his eldest son to some idol god, openly upon the wall, in sight of the Israelites, who fearing that they might incur the anger of God by having given occasion to a Human Sacrifice, retreated to their own country
Druidism - Although there is evidence that they did not originate the act of Human Sacrifice in Gaul, it was practised there
Hinnom, Valley of - The first specific mention of Human Sacrifice in Israel is in 2 Kings 16:3 and in Judah is in 2 Kings 17:17
Jephthah - By vowing, and then offering, his daughter as a Human Sacrifice in return for God’s help towards victory, he was following the religion of the false gods whom Israel worshipped (Judges 11:29-40; cf
Foundation - It was accompanied by Human Sacrifice, as may be seen in the Babylonian records; a possible trace occurs in the story of Hiel ( 1 Kings 16:34 )
Family (Jewish) - —Jewish family life, while having many points in common with that of the Gentiles, was marked by a higher standard of purity, the avoidance of infanticide, and the condemnation of the selfish cruelty that in Human Sacrifice gave the fruit of the body for the sin of the soul (Micah 6:7)
Ahaz - He even burnt his son as a Human Sacrifice (2 Kings 16:2-4)
Jephthah - " Jephthah contemplated evidently a Human Sacrifice. A literal Human Sacrifice was forbidden as an abomination before Jehovah (Leviticus 18:21; 1618880643_63). " He showed in his message to Ammon his knowledge of the Pentateuch, therefore he must have known that a Human Sacrifice was against the spirit of the worship of Jehovah. ...
They would never have come to praise a Human Sacrifice; Scripture would never have recorded without censure an anti-theocratic abomination
Molech - ...
A second suggestion is that “Molech” is the name of a pagan deity to whom Human Sacrifices were made. ...
An alternate view contends that the expression “passed through Molech” refers not to Human Sacrifices but that parents gave up their children to grow up as temple prostitutes. ...
The practice of offering children as Human Sacrifice was condemned in ancient Israel, but the implication is clear in the Old Testament that child—sacrifice was practiced by some in Israel (2 Kings 21:6 ; 2 Kings 23:10 ; 2 Chronicles 28:3 ; Psalm 106:38 ; Jeremiah 7:31 ; Jeremiah 19:4-5 ; Ezekiel 16:21 ; Ezekiel 23:37 ,Ezekiel 23:37,23:39 )
Isaac - Isaac was of too excellent a nature to be slain, for God's law gives no sanction to Human Sacrifices. This corruption of the Scripture history of Isaac's sacrifice was based on the pagan idea of the most precious Human Sacrifice being needed to appease the gods in times of calamity. The angel's intervention, the ram's substitution, and the prohibition of the Human Sacrifice prevent the possibility of supposing God sanctions any Human Sacrifice save that of the Antitype
Moloch - The "fire god", worshipped with Human Sacrifices, purifications, and ordeals by fire, habitually, as other idols were occasionally; also with mutilation, vows of celibacy and virginity, and devotion of the firstborn. But Milcom's high place was on the Mount of Olives, and Human Sacrifices were not offered as they were to Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Kings 23:13. The passing through the fire may have been sometimes only a fire baptism for purification of the dross of the body; but Psalms 106:37-38, shows that often expiatory Human Sacrifice was perpetrated, "they sacrificed their sons and daughters to "devils" (shedim , "destroyers", as Moloch was), and shed innocent blood
Jephthah - In their original form (in which Human Sacrifice played a part) these rites were intended, and believed, to be the means of assisting Nature to bring forth the fruits of the earth
Jephthah - Suppose a dog had come out of the house of Jephthah, can any one suppose that he would have offered this unclean animal as a burnt-offering to the Lord? And why, then, should we suppose that he would offer a Human Sacrifice, which would have been so much more abominable? It is, moreover, argued that no mention is made of any bloody sacrifice of the young woman. Jephthah must have known that Human Sacrifices were contrary to God's law
Jephtha - ...
Thirdly, Human Sacrifices were prohibited by the law, neither would the priest have offered the daughter of Jephtha; so that, unless it be supposed, that Jephtha invaded the priestly office, and offered his daughter himself, there should seem even hence to have arisen a great difficulty to the belief, that the daughter of Jephtha was really sacrificed. " Hence, therefore, here was at once a provision, and made by the Lord himself, to prevent every Human Sacrifice by redemption
Gods And Goddesses, Pagan - The major cultic rite in Dagon's worship was Human Sacrifice. The worship of this god was particularly odious, as it required Human Sacrifice
Phoenice - But while God requires a faith ready for such an awful sacrifice (Genesis 22), He forbids the Human Sacrifice, and substitutes animals, with whom in his material nature and animal life man is so closely related
Diana - Among her other attributes was that of goddess of childbirth, goddess of women in general, especially goddess of death (particularly for women), and as such she demanded Human Sacrifice
Idolatry - , 1 Kings 14:24 , Hosea 4:13 , Amos 2:7 , Bar 6:43 ) and Human Sacrifice (cf
Sin - The sin of Human Sacrifice followed in the reigns of such kings (2 Kings 21:6 ). The existence of Human Sacrifice underscores the depth and gravity of sin
Phoenicia, phNicians - Human Sacrifice persisted long among them in spite of their contact with the highly civilized Greeks (cf
Jehoram - ) So there ensued "great wrath against Israel"; Israel's driving him to such an extremity brought on Israel some of the guilt of the Human Sacrifice offered
Israel, History of - Yahwistic prophets were persecuted; Baalism was encouraged; activities associated with the Assyrian astrological rites were incorporated; and the practice of Human Sacrifice was revived
Gods, Pagan - ” Worship of Molech involved Human Sacrifice, especially making one's children “pass through the fire” ( Leviticus 18:21 ; Leviticus 20:2-5 ; 2 Kings 23:10 ; Jeremiah 32:35 )
Propitiation - Paul’s thought generally, it is probable that he may have regarded propitiation less in the light of a Levitical sacrificial offering than in that of the prophetical ideal of vicarious suffering, or possibly even after the analogy of Human Sacrifice-one man dying for another (cf
House - It is now certain that the Canaanites, and the Hebrews after them, were wont to consecrate the foundation of a new building by a Human Sacrifice
Sacrifice - Human Sacrifices were unquestionably offered in the earlier stages of the Hebrew transition from the prehistoric to the historic development of the doctrine. Their scarcity, however, does not warrant Bruce’s suggestion that his ideas were coloured more by the analogy of Human Sacrifice, with which Greek and Roman story makes us familiar, than by that of the Levitical system (cf
Abram - The intentional offering up of Isaac is not to be supposed as viewed by Abraham as an act sanctioned by the Pagan practice of Human Sacrifice. But the Mosaic religion held Human Sacrifices in abhorrence; and the God of the Abrahamitic family, uniformly beneficent, had imposed no duties which entailed human suffering, had demanded no offerings which were repugnant to the better feelings of our nature