Molech (though you may know him as Moloch, Molek, or Melech) was an ancient Near Eastern deity worshiped by several cultures in Phoenecia and the Levantine; the Canaanites, Carthaginians, and Israelites were especially devoted to his power and clemency. Seen today as a sinister god, given his connections to ritual child sacrifice, Molech is commonly depicted as “Ba’al Molech”, a chimera or hybrid with the head and horns of a bull, and the body of a man. Art in the modern era shows him with squinted eyes, a strong, able torso, and the air of a demon, much like classical representations of the devil himself. In fact, the foreboding visage of the deity was inspiration for the naming of Moloch horridus, the grotesque Thorny Devil lizard.
Molech was worshiped as a sun god, granting heat and light to his devotees and their land. Because of his dominion over this celestial body, he is associated in modern mythological academia with the Babylonian god Malik and the Greek Cronus. The majority of Molech worship is thought to have been conducted at Topheth, in Amman. Recent excavations have revealed remains of animal and human sacrifice at this site – ample evidence for the unsettling practices that went hand in hand with this religious group wherever it took root.
Once a respected and revered deity, showered with gifts and fervor, Molech is now the subject of dishonor and represented as devilish and evil. Either way, we’re pretty sure that he wasn’t exactly a cuddly guy.