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1 Kings 21:26

He became completely abominable by going after idols, just as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord drove out of the Israelites’ way.

When studying the different people groups in Deuteronomy and Joshua, we come across the Amorites and the Rephaites (giants) who were in the land of Canaan that Joshua defeated. I know what some of their detestable practices were because I have studied those. However, I am unable to find in my research which particular gods they worshiped. I don’t know if it was Molech, Milcom, or if Baal was in the picture at this point. I am having a hard time finding. Please help.

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  • Angie B, welcome! Please take a look at the Tour and Help pages (links at bottom left of the page) to help you get oriented. Ordinarily, questions here need biblical references. I've taken the liberty of including one so that the question is less likely to be closed as off topic. Please feel free to replace it if you like. Commented Jan 5 at 15:37
  • Noted! I will keep this in mind and make sure I include that next time. Your reference is absolutely fine! Thank you!
    – Angie B
    Commented Jan 5 at 20:10

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The biblical text mentions the Amorites frequently but says little about their religion other than that it was idolatrous (1 Kings 21:26). The Amorites had a relatively long history that included significant migrations. So their religion was not static and was influenced by local traditions over the years. The New World Encyclopedia summarizes:

Amorites worshiped, among others, the moon-god Sin, and Amurru, from whom their name may be taken. Amurru is sometimes described as a shepherd and the son of the Mesopotamian sky-god Anu. He is called Bêl Šadê ('Lord of the mountain') and 'He who dwells on the pure mountain.' Accordingly, it has been suggested by some scholars that Amurru might be the closely related to the Biblical El Šaddāi, the heavenly mountain deity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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In Mesopotamia, the Amorites seem to have acknowledged the Babylonian god Marduk, as depicted in the above bas relief of their famous king Hammurabi, apparently receiving insignia from him. (Note: some scholars identify this deity as Shamash, the sun god.)

The following list includes notable Amorite deities published in 2022 from Babylonian tablets:

  • Dagan, who is identified with Enlil and later with Ba'al. Dagan was the supreme god in many cities in the Upper Euphrates and mentioned in the Bible as the god of the Philistines.
  • Amurru, a personification of the Amorites as a people.
  • His consort, the goddess Asheratum, etymologically related to Asherah.
  • Kamiš, possibly identified with either Ea (water) or Nergal (underworld).
  • Yaraḫum, the moon god (male), who is named Yarikh at Ugarit and identified with the Mesopotamian god Sin.
  • Rašapum, equated with Nergal and also known from Ebla.
  • Ḫalamu, a deity associated with Nergal's domain in the netherworld
  • Ḫanatum, who is here identified with the goddess Ištar/Inanna.

With regard to the gods mentions in the OP, Miclom and Moloch were associated with the Ammonites and Moabites, respectively. They were prominent in a period later than the Amorite civilization. Ba'al was the Canaanite equivalent of the Babylonian deity Marduk and is also related the weather god Dagan, so it is likely that Amorites indeed worshipped him in some form if not by that name. The word "ba'al" means "lord" as does the Babylonian "bel."

Conclusion: Amorites worshiped many deities. By the time they encountered the Israelites in the time of Joshua, their religion overlapped that of the other peoples called "Canaanites" in the Bible, including such deities as El Shaddai (Bêl Šadê), Asherah and Dagan (and/or Ba'al) .

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  • Thank you so much for this very insightful and detailed answer! It is exactly what I have been searching for. I cannot thank God enough for this group of people and website!
    – Angie B
    Commented Jan 5 at 20:08

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