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In Ezekiel 8:14 the prophet is taken up in a vision, and shown women who "Weep for Tummuz." The passage does not explain what that means, although these women are engaged in some form of idolatry. My Bible footnotes tells me it is a "fertility god." I understand this passage is in context with Israel's idolatry, but what are they specifically engaged in when they are "Weeping for Tummuz"?

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This is a good question. The information available is very complex, so I have gleaned the most relevent information to answer the question. To begin, @lasersauce made the correct observation that

He [Tammuz] appears to have been a god of the spring, and the myth regarding him told of his early death and of the descent of Istar, his bride, into the underworld in search of him.

In this regard, Becking and Dijkistra (1996) provide important historical details. That is, there are similarities with the death of the Canaanite God Baal and Tammuz written in the In the Ras Shamra texts. In one of the studies the writer observes that

The mourning for Baal as a vegetation deity in eclipse suggests the weeping for Tammuz, also a vegetation deity, by the woman of Jerusalem in the sixth month (Ezek 8:14) and, more directly, the public mourning for Hadad-Rimmon (the Canaanite Baal) in the valley of Megiddo (Zech 12:11). (1).

Additional sources are here, as well as this post.

In summary, the sources indicate several parallels between Tammuz and the Canaanite god Baal.

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Thank you for your energetic search! I can see that there are numerous complications in examining this passage-but the common theme appears to be a fertility/spring ritual cult, a vestige of the Caananite festivals. – Tau Jul 3 '14 at 3:11

According to J. R. Dummelow, Tammuz was “a deity worshipped both in Babylonia and in Phoenicia—the same as the Greek Adonis. He appears to have been a god of the spring, and the myth regarding him told of his early death and of the descent of Istar his bride into the underworld in search of him. The death of Tammuz symbolised the destruction of the spring vegetation by the heat of summer, and it was celebrated annually by seven days of women’s mourning in the 4th month (June–July), which was called Tammuz. This superstition had been introduced into Jerusalem.” (A Commentary on the Holy Bible, pp. 497–98.)[1]

Additional source, covering most of the same information, but more recently printed, although not as plainly laid out. [2]

[1] [2]

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Dummelow’s book was published in 1909, when the study of ancient Babylonia was still in its infancy. In the mean while an enormous number of texts from Babylonia have been excavated and lots of good studies of Babylonian religion in general and Tammuz in particular are available, in real books, and even on the internet. What is actually the point of pasting something from an out-of-date book from 1909? – fdb Jul 2 '14 at 21:20
I wouldn't say it's fair to exclude sources based on their antiquity (esp. in dealing with ancient scripture) but I didn't find any contradictory information, so went with the source I felt covered it well and in brevity. – lasersauce Jul 2 '14 at 23:58
@lasersauce Thank you for your contribution. I was searching for some thread that would 'link' the different scenes that Ezekiel saw in this chapter. – Tau Jul 3 '14 at 3:14

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