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Patriarchal Palestine by A. H. Sayce

Sikkuth and Chiun are the Babylonian Sakkut and Kaivan


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Rimmon, Nebo also must have been transported to Palestine at an early epoch. Nebo "the prophet" was the interpreter of Bel-Merodach of Babylon, the patron of cuneiform literature, and the god to whom the great temple of Borsippa--the modern Birs-i-Nimrud--was dedicated. Doubtless he had migrated to the West along with that literary culture over which he presided. There his name and worship were attached to many localities. It was on the summit of Mount Nebo that Moses died; over Nebo, Isaiah prophesies, "Moab shall howl;" and we hear of a city called "the other Nebo" in Judah (Neh. vii. 33).

Another god who had been borrowed from Babylonia by the people of Canaan was Malik "the king," a title originally of the supreme Baal. Malik is familiarly known to us in the Old Testament as Moloch, to whom the first-born were burned in the fire. At Tyre the god was termed Melech-kirjath, or "king of the city," which was contracted into Melkarth, and in the mouths of the Greeks became Makar. There is a passage in the book of the prophet Amos (v. 25, 26), upon which the Assyrian texts have thrown light. We there read: "Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? Yet ye have borne Sikkuth your Malik and Chiun your Zelem, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves."

Sikkuth and Chiun are the Babylonian Sakkut and Kaivan, a name given to the planet Saturn. Sakkut

was a title of the god Nin-ip, and we gather from Amos that it also represented Malik "the king." Zelem, "the image," was another Babylonian deity, and originally denoted "the image" or disk of the sun. His name and worship were carried into Northern Arabia, and a monument has been discovered at Teima, the Tema of Isaiah xxi. 14, which is dedicated to him. It would seem, from the language of Amos, that the Babylonian god had been adored in "the wilderness" as far back as the days when the Israelites were encamping in it. Nor, indeed, is this surprising: Babylonian influence in the West belonged to an age long anterior to that of the Exodus, and even the mountain whereon the oracles of God were revealed to the Hebrew lawgiver was Sinai, the mountain of Sin. The worship of Sin, the Babylonian Moon-god, must therefore have made its way thus far into the deserts of Arabia. Inscriptions from Southern Arabia have already shown us that there too Sin was known and adored.

Dagon, again, was another god who had his first home in Babylonia. The name is of Sumerian origin, and he was associated with Ami, the god of the sky. Like Sin, he appears to have been worshipped at Harran; at all events, Sargon states that he inscribed the laws of that city "according to the wish of Anu and Dagon." Along with Arm he would have been brought to Canaan, and though we first meet with his name in the Old Testament in connection with the Philistines, it is certain that he was already one of the deities of the country whom the Philistine invaders adopted. One of the Canaanitish governors in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence bears the Assyrian name of Dagon-takala,


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