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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Apr 15 15:15:55 EDT 2009

1.  You wrote:  “Since the ritual [LMLK] is found in widely disparate 
settings, I don't 
 think you can tie MLK to any specific location….”
Excluding North Africa under the Phoenicians (not directly relevant to the 
Patriarchal narratives), isn’t it true that MLK (“Molech”?) is an unusual 
divine name, in secular history, outside of the coast of northwest Canaan?  
Most people called this god Baal or Haddad or Adad, etc., but not MLK.
2.  Responding now to both Gabe and Uri Hurwitz (and David Hamuel, who I 
believe wants to focus on the medieval pointing done in the Middle Ages), isn’
t )BYMLK in the unpointed Hebrew text of the Patriarchal narratives the 
linguistic equivalent of the name Abimilki, the ruler of Ssur/Tyre in the Amarna 
Here is a better site for this purpose than Wm. Moran’s translation of the 
Amarna Letters, where Anson Rainey sets forth the actual text of the Amarna 
Letters (without translation):
In unpointed text (where we don’t know the vowel sounds in Hebrew MLK), I 
see no difference between )BYMLK in Genesis and the following references to 
the princeling ruler of Ssur/Tyre in the Amarna Letters:  a-bi-mil-ki, at 
Amarna Letters EA 150: 2;  152: 2;  154: 2.
The other, more frequent, references in the Amarna Letters to this same 
name as “a-bi-LUGAL”, for example at Amarna Letter EA 147: 2, are a little 
more difficult to assess, but can be understood as follows.  LUGAL is a 
Sumerogram meaning “king”.  For example, Pharaoh is frequently referred to by 
Abimilki as LUGAL.  When writing the Sumerogram LUGAL, the scribe was presumably 
mentally thinking either melek/king or Molech.  The pagan god Molech’s name 
meant “king”.  Just as Hebrew uses MLK for both meanings, the Akkadian 
cuneiform of the Amarna Letters apparently uses the Sumerogram LUGAL for both 
meanings of MLK.
To me, the name )BYMLK in unpointed Biblical Hebrew does not seem 
distinguishable from the name of the ruler of Ssur/Tyre in the Amarna Letters:  
A-bi-mil-ki.  I myself see both such names as honoring the pagan god Molech, the 
guardian god of Late Bronze Age Ssur/Tyre.
3.  Is anyone, Gabe or Uri or anyone else, familiar with the name 
Abimilki/)BYMLK in secular history except at Ssur/Tyre in northwest Canaan?
Am I not right to see )BYMLK as connoting  n-o-r-t-h?  )BYMLK is a classic 
name for the ruler of Ssur/Tyre, where Molech was that city-state’s guardian 
god.  But the name )BYMLK makes no secular historical sense at all in a 
southwest Canaan geographical context, does it?  That’s the specific issue I 
was trying to focus on in this thread.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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