One of the things I've been looking deeply into recently is the spiritual metaphors in the Bible. Where specific acts are associated with spiritual equivalents. Often times it's difficult to tell what "level" the author is speaking on. Physical level or Spiritual level (a little like Jesus conversation with the woman at the well when she speaks of physical water and Jesus talks of spiritual water)
With this in mind I'm curious on people's interpretation and understanding of worship of false Gods being associated with "sacrificing or passing children through fire". This is mentioned in multiple places such as:
Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not give any of thy seed to make them pass through the fire to Molech; neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am Jehovah
What I'm curious of is:
Is this speaking of the children literally being sacrificed by the Israelites in a physical fire like a burnt offering ?
Is the act of worshipping a false God such as Molech (and or dedication of the child to that God) being equated to them sacrificing their children. Because even though the Israelites don't actually kill their children physically themselves - the worship will defile them and their seed resulting in the children being destroyed in the future. In this interpretation the act of worship of a false God/Idol is "spiritually equivalent" to "sacrificing your children in fire" because the defilement will mean the furture Generation have to be purged by God.
This came to mind when I recently read through the book of Hosea. Hosea 1 deals specifically with "spiritual adultery". The prophet is instructed to marry a permiscious woman / prostitute Gomer to symbolise Israel being unfaithful to the covenant and worshipping other Gods. The children are named Jezreel, Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi to signify that they did not belong to God and he would abandon them and they would be destroyed. So in this case the Israelites didn't sacrifice their chidlren - but the worship of false Gods resulted in the destruction of the future generations by God. Essentially in Hosea at least the act of worshipping the false god - is equivalent to sacrificing your children. Basically just trying to understand if the statements in other books about CHildren or seed being passed through fire are literary metaphors to express the same concept or if the Israelites really did actually physically sacrifice their children themselves
I would also be interested if any Hebrew experts could offer insights on the original text. I noticed in the interlinear neither Leviticus 18:21 or Jeremiah 32:35 include the word fire. This seems to be an "addition" to the english translation.It instead uses the word "lə·ha·‘ă·ḇîr". other uses are normally associated with "transfer" Eg of ownership or kingship The same word is used when the kingship of Israel is passed from Saul to David. 2 Samuel 3:10. The fire seems to be "inferred" or something simply added to the English translation. Not sure
I also looked at the interlinear from the Greek Septagint and it seems to align more with this wording which does not include fire or sacrifice. It is translated as:
It uses the greek work "λατρεύω" which means "Serving/Worshipping" another God. There is no mention of fire or child sacrifice in the Greek text.