Star worship of the ancient Israelites

Star Worship of the Ancient Israelites

Did Moses Exist? front coverIn my book Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver, I go into great detail about the astrotheological nature of Semitic worship, including that of the Israelites, who emerged from the hill country during the 12th century BCE. The Israelites were composed significantly of Canaanites, especially the Amoritish tribes that had migrated into Mesopotamia and established Babylon, as well as wandering bedouin tribes such as the Shasu and Hapiru.

All of these peoples engaged in the typical nature worship that humanity has revered since time immemorial. This nature worship is expressed in myriad forms, including and especially reverence for the sun, moon, planets, stars and constellations, a perspective called “astral religion,” “astrolatry,” “astral mythology,” “astromythology” or “astrotheology.”

In Did Moses Exist? I devote entire chapters to sun-god worship, such as of the Canaanite high god El – the same El as in “Israel,” which means “El prevails” – and the tribal god Yahweh, who is likewise significantly solar in nature. Judaism also is based significantly on moon worship, and the Babylonian influence can be found in other astrotheological elements.

Star Worship Among the Ancient Israelites

In this same regard, there is an interesting entry in the Jewish Encyclopedia under “Star Worship” (11:257). Despite the fact that this important and fascinating information is not widely known – and even denied in some quarters – this older, mainstream publication from 1906 contains accurate data about this astrotheology of the ancients.

The beauty of this fairly brief article is its thoroughness and pithiness, presenting the various proofs in a direct and forthright manner. Although its entry could be construed as an admission against interest, the Jewish Encyclopedia is not purposely omitting or denying this aspect of Hebrew worship. This secret worship I consider to be part of the mysteries, which is one reason the astral myths lost their meaning among the masses.

Once we have discerned the astrotheological nature of much ancient religion, including and especially sun worship or solar religion, and we have noted the similar themes that revolve around celestial and other natural entities and forces, it becomes a matter of science, reason and logic to contend that various biblical figures possessing these same or similar attributes are likewise astrotheological in nature, including Jesus Christ as a Jewish remake of the ancient solar hero or sun god. Once this astrolatry/astrotheology is accepted as a genuinely ancient form of worship, that door of logical association and identification is blown wide open; this fact explains significantly why certain individuals are “hellbent” on denying this information and preventing it from being widespread.

By: Executive Committee of the Editorial Board., M. Seligsohn

Among the Israelites.

This [astrolatry/astrotheology] is perhaps the oldest form of idolatry practised by the ancients. According to Wisdom xiii. 2, the observation of the stars in the East very early led the people to regard the planets and the fixed stars as gods. The religion of the ancient Egyptians is known to have consisted preeminently of sun-worship. Moses sternly warned the Israelites against worshiping the sun, moon, stars, and all the host of heaven (Deut. iv. 19, xvii. 3); it may be said that the prohibition of making and worshiping any image of that which is in heaven above (Ex. xx. 4; Deut. v. 8) implies also the stars and the other celestial bodies.

The Israelites fell into this kind of idolatry, and as early as the time of Amos they had the images of Siccuth and Chiun, “the stars of their god” (Amos v. 26, R. V.); the latter name is generally supposed to denote the planet Saturn. That the kingdom of Israel fell earlier than that of Judah is stated (II Kings xvii. 16) to have been due, among other causes, to its worshiping the host of heaven. But the kingdom of Judah in its later period seems to have out-done the Northern Kingdom in star-worship. Of Manasseh it is related that he built altars to all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of Yhwh, and it seems that it was the practise of even kings before him to appoint priests who offered sacrifices to the sun, the moon, the planets, and all the host of heaven. Altars for star-worship were built on the roofs of the houses, and horses and chariots were dedicated to the worship of the sun (ib. xxi. 5; xxiii. 4-5, 11-12). Star-worship continued in Judah until the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign (621 B.C.), when the king took measures to abolish all kinds of idolatry (ib.). But although star-worship was then abolished as a public cult, it was practised privately by individuals, who worshiped the heavenly bodies, and poured out libations to them on the roofs of their houses (Zeph. i. 5; Jer. viii. 2, xix. 13). Jeremiah (vii. 18) describes the worship of the queen of heaven to have been more particularly common among the women. Ezekiel, who prophesied in the sixth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin (591 B.C.), describes the worship of the sun as practised in the court of the Temple (Ezek. viii. 16et seq.), and from Jer. xliv. 17 et seq. it may be seen that even after the destruction of the Temple the women insisted on continuing to worship the queen of heaven.

In Job (xxxi. 26 et seq.) there is an allusion to the kissing of the hand in the adoration of the moon (see Moon, Biblical Data). According to Robertson Smith (“The Religion of the Semites,” p. 127, note 3, Edinburgh, 1889), star-worship is not of great antiquity among the Semites in general, nor among the Hebrews in particular, for the latter adopted this form of idolatry only under the influence of the Assyrians. But Fritz Hommel (“Der Gestirndienst der Alten Araber,” Munich, 1901) expresses the opposite opinion. He points to the fact that the Hebrew root which denotes the verb “to swear” is the same as that which denotes “seven,” and claims that this fact establishes a connection between swearing and the seven planets; and he furthermore declares that there are many Biblical evidences of star-worship among the ancient Hebrews. Thus, the fact that Terah, Abraham’s father, had lived first at Ur of the Chaldees, and that later he settled at Haran (Gen. xi. 31), two cities known from Assyrian inscriptions as places of moon-worship, shows that Abraham’s parents were addicted to that form of idolatry. According to legend, Abraham himself worshiped the sun, moon, and the stars before he recognized the true God in Yhwh (see Abraham in Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature). The golden calf, Hommel declares, was nothing more than an emblem of the moon-god, which, in the Assyrian inscription, is styled “the youthful and mighty bull” and the lord of the heavenly hosts (comp. “Yhwh Ẓeba’ot,” which term is intentionally omitted from the Pentateuch). He assigns the same character to the two calves made by Jeroboam several centuries later (I Kings xii. 28).

The ancient Hebrews, being nomads, like the Arabs favored the moon, while the Babylonians, who were an agricultural nation, preferred the sun. But, as appears from Ezek. xx. 7-8, the moon-worship of the Israelites, even while they were still in Egypt, was combined with sun-worship. The close similarity between the ancient Hebrews and the southern Arabs has led Hommel furthermore to find allusion to moon-worship in such Hebrew names as begin with “ab” (= “father”), as in “Abimelech” and “Absalom,” or with “‘am” (= “uncle”), as in “Amminadab” and “Jeroboam,” because these particles, when they appear in the names of southern Arabs, refer to the moon.

The term “star-worship” (“‘abodat kokabim u-mazzalot”) in the Talmud and in post-Talmudic literature is chiefly a censor’s emendation for “‘abodah zarah.” In connection with star-worship, it is related in the Mishnah (‘Ab. Zarah iv. 7) that the Rabbis (“zeḳenim”) were asked if God dislikes idolatry why He did not destroy the idols. The Rabbis answered: “If the heathen worshiped only idols perhaps God would have destroyed the objects of their adoration, but they worship also the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the host of heaven, and God can not destroy the world on account of the heathen.”

Further Information

Did Moses Exist?
Star Worship of the Ancient Israelites (forum)
Jesus as the Sun throughout History


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  • “The claim that the 12 tribes of Israel were identified with the 12 signs of the zodiac is spelled out clearly by the ancient Jewish writers Philo and Josephus, during the first century. During the first century BCE, Diodorus Siculus identified the 12 tribes with the 12 months.

    “See Exodus 39:9-14: “…they made the breastplate… And they set in it four rows of stones… And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve…according to the twelve tribes.”

    As Josephus says (Antiquities, 3.8): “And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.” (Josephus/Whiston, 75.)

    Earlier than Josephus, Philo (“On the Life of Moses,” 12) had made the same comments regarding Moses: “Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?” (Philo/Duke, 99.)”

    – Christ in Egypt, 261-2

    Malachi 4:2

    “…the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Like Father, like son, and the connection between Jesus and the sun is first evidenced in the OT book of Malachi (4:2), which immediately precedes the New Testament and in which the author refers to the “Sun of Righteousness” who will “arise with healing in his wings.” This scripture, which is in the last chapter before the Gospel of Matthew, sounds much like the winged solar disc of Babylon and Egypt.”

    “This scripture in Malachi is perceived as a reference to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. In this regard, this clearly solar appellation “Sun of Righteousness” is repeated many times by early Church fathers as being applicable to Christ.”

    For more information:

    Jesus as the Sun throughout History

    Jesus as the Sun God?

    Jesus Christ, Sun of Righteousness

    The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    Did Jesus’s Twelve Apostles Exist?

    The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology

    2,750-year-old solar-aligned temple discovered in Israel

    Borrowed from:

    ; )

  • “This book is a slightly revised version of my doctoral dissertation entitled “Solar Worship in the Biblical World” which was submitted to the Graduate School of Yale University in the Spring of 1989. As may be judged from the title of that work, I had at one time planned to cover more territory than sun worship in ancient Israel, but found the material pertaining to ancient Israel so vast that I never got beyond it.”

    – Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor, Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel” (1993)

    “At Stonehenge in England and Carnac in France, in Egypt and Yucatan, across the whole face of the earth are found mysterious ruins of ancient monuments, monuments with astronomical significance. These relics of other times are as accessible as the American Midwest and as remote as the jungles of Guatemala. Some of them were built according to celestial alignments; others were actually precision astronomical observatories… Careful observation of the celestial rhythms was compellingly important to early peoples, and their expertise, in some respects, was not equaled in Europe until three thousand years later.”

    – Dr. Edwin Krupp, Astronomer and Director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

    Scholars who’ve actually read the work by Acharya S/DM Murdock are supportive of it:

    “I find it undeniable that many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations … I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock”

    – Dr. Robert Price, Biblical Scholar with two Ph.D’s, review of Acharya’s “Christ in Egypt”

    “Your scholarship is relentless! The research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration.”

    – Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, review of “Christ in Egypt”

    “…In recent months or over the last year or so I have interviewed Frank Zindler and Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald and Robert Price all on the issue of mythicism … when I spoke to these people I asked for their expertise collectively and what I got, especially from Fitzgerald and Robert Price, was that we should be speaking to tonights guest D.M. Murdock, author of ‘Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver’.”

    – Aron Ra

    Earl Doherty defers to Acharya for the subject of astrotheology:

    “A heavenly location for the actions of the savior gods, including the death of Christ, would also have been influenced by most religions’ ultimate derivation from astrotheology, as in the worship of the sun and moon. For this dimension of more remote Christian roots, see the books of Acharya S”

    – Earl Doherty, Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, (2009) page 153

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  • It appears the wilderness event was split into two separate factions those that continued the worship of yahweh and the Baal cow god. Throughout the scriptures Creator complained about Israel’s determined worship of queen of heaven/Semiramis, Baal/Nimrod and their son Tammuz. Secretly they worshipped in the hills and refused to reject these gods in favor of the Creator. It was the main reason for their continued enslavement and the prophecies for their expulsions from the land. Locating a sun temple is evidence also of the tribe of Dan’s illegal actions as priests and prophets. According to scripture and the covenant only the Levite’s were to priests. After the 10 tribes of Israel destruction and captivity. Dan left a trail of idol worship even to the east and into Asia with the Buddhas and ancient cities that testify of their presence in the area. Enjoyed the article.

  • as above so below, with all this knowledge of the skies, yet deny the existence on earth is quite contrary, wouldn’t you think. is real or israel or is-ra-el
    wake up to real-ity

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