[b-hebrew] )BYMLK vs. Abimelech vs. Abi-Molech

Gabe Eisenstein gabe at cascadeaccess.com
Wed Apr 15 14:43:28 EDT 2009

I'm not engaging the main argument here, but it made me curious... Is it 
possible to read Abimelech simply as "(my) father king", a title more 
than a proper name? What I'm thinking is that the "me" in "my father" is 
the person addressing the king, not the king's name. So it would be like 
"your majesty" or "my lord".

(While this is possibility might seem strange to those who regard the 
text as a chronicle, it wouldn't seem so to those who read the text as 
legend or outright fiction.)

Regarding Molech, my study has inclined me to the view that the word 
really just means king, used as an appellation for a deity; but that 
there was a special usage (whether or not it involved an alternate vowel 
pattern), usually involving the preposition (LMLK), that referred 
specifically to a type of ritual involving passing through or over fire, 
and symbolic sacrifice (the Talmud and Assyrian sources tell us that the 
sacrifice didn't involve real killing, but maybe on some rare occasions 
it did). Since the ritual is found in widely disparate settings, I don't 
think you can tie MLK to any specific location, even if it is being used 
in a way (i.e., as an implicit deity-name) that is analogous to the way 
MLK is used in "(passing through fire) to king (Adad)".
(On the other hand, the god "Adramelech" -- probably a resh-daleth 
mistranscription for Adad-melech -- is said in 2Kings 17 to come from 
Sepharvaim in Mesopotamia.)

Gabe Eisenstein

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