The Israelites were often tempted to worship the gods of the Canaanites and the surrounding nations. One of those gods was called Molech or Moloch. He required that his worshipers sacrifice their children to him. Here is what Wikipedia says about him.
Rabbinical tradition depicted Moloch as a bronze statue heated with fire into which the victims were thrown. This has been associated with reports by Greco-Roman authors on the child sacrifices in Carthage to Baal Hammon, especially since archaeological excavations since the 1920s have produced evidence for child sacrifice in Carthage as well as inscriptions including the term MLK, either a theonym or a technical term associated with sacrifice. In interpretatio graeca, the Phoenician god was identified with Cronus, due to the parallel mytheme of Cronus devouring his children.
It seems inconceivable that anyone would be willing to kill their own children. Perhaps it makes more sense when we understand the power behind idolatry. Read the rest of this entry