I heard Glenn Beck, on the radio today, saying that the "Old Testament" false god Baal was worshiped via child sacrifice (among other things). Is there any evidence of that from Tanach itself (i.e. ignoring archeological and other evidence)? I don't recall ever seeing that (not, unfortunately, that I've learned all of Tanach yet).

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    No, in fact, Rambam in Mishne Torah specifically says that even "passing the child through the flames to Moloch" wasn't necessarily or even frequently fatal. There seems to be some concern in Tanakh for whatever reason to not even portray the rituals of foreign gods as even particularly disgusting, in contradiction to the Talmud and archaeological evidence.
    – Tatpurusha
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 17:57
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    Besides the ambiguous term about Moloch mentioned by @Tatpurusha, Melachim II 3 has the king of Moav explicitly sacrificing "his son," though Radak points the "his" to the king of Edom. In addition, Melachim II 19:37 says that Sancheirev's sons killed him, and I recall from R' Gidon Rothstein's OU Nach Yomi class that Chazal say that they were afraid that he was going to sacrifice them, trying to mimic Akeidat Yitzchak. I'm not sure if these sacrifices were associated with Baal.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 18:24
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    See the verses assembled in the WP article on Moloch. Based on them, it seems reasonable to attribute a claim of Baalite child sacrifice to Tanach, even if [at least one opinion in] our tradition holds that the practice wasn't sacrifice, per se.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 18:31
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    @IsaacMoses that seems rather answer-like to me. Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 21:11
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    @Tatpurusha Although it is true that Mishneh Torah in Hilkhot Avodah Zarah 6:5-6[3] (Eliyahu Touger's translation here) says that the sons and daughters aren't burnt in sacrifice to the Molekh, it does say that they are in the service of other deities("לא שהוא שורפו למולך כדרך ששורפין בניהם ובנותיהם לעבודה זרה אחרת, אלא בהעברה בלבד הייתה עבודת זה ששמו מולך").
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


The prophet Jeremiah (19:5) clearly identifies the baal as one of the gods to which the Caananites offered their children:

וּבָנוּ אֶת בָּמוֹת הַבַּעַל לִשְׂרֹף אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם בָּאֵשׁ עֹלוֹת לַבָּעַל אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוִּיתִי וְלֹא דִבַּרְתִּי וְלֹא עָלְתָה עַל לִבִּי

  • Compare with a similar verse earlier in 7:31
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 21:24
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    In that verse, It was the Judeans who were burning their sons and daughters in sacrifice to Baal, not the Canaanites (as evident from the preceding verses).
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 20:04
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    @TamirEvan very true, but that is not relevant. The OP asked for proof that the Baal was worshiped via child sacrifice and i provided one. Furthermore, once it was proven that the Israelite's sacrificed their children to the Baal it is pretty obvious that the Canaanites did it too. The easiest explanation is that the Israelites were influenced by their evil neighbors the Canaanites, but i digress.
    – Bach
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 1:14

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