Moloch or Sikkuth
26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
KJV  Amos 5:26

26 You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves.
NASBu  Amos 5:26

Rompha or Chiun
43 You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship.
NASBu  Acts 7:43

A twofold Contradiction?

1. Concerning Amos 5:26, old translations mention Moloch and Chiun as gods, but new translations give Sikkuth and Chiun.
Contradiction: Moloch or Sikkuth?

2. Concerning Acts 7:43, old and new translations – quoting Amos – refer to Moloch and  Rompha.
Contradiction: Rompha or Chiun (Kiyyun)?

Mmmmm, seems rather complicated!

Introduction Jehovah

It is well known that the name of God, JHWH is not used in Judaism. Instead one says Hasjem (The Name) or Adonai (Master). To make it easier for the reader, the old Massoretes have written the vowel signs of Adonai (e-o-a) under the characters of JHWH, resulting in JeHoWaH or JeHoVaH. And so the reader in Hebrew got the signal to read ‘Adonai’ instead of the Most Holy Name of God. The name ‘Jehovah’ is of course never used in the synagogue.

The 1901 American Standard Version of the Bible renders the divine name JHWH consistently as ‘Jehovah’, instead of LORD as was usual in the past. Recognizing the unfortunate term ‘Jehovah’, revisers later on harkened back to the rendering LORD, which is still current in all modern translations.

The Massoretes were the Jewish scholars who added vowel signs under the consonants of the text of the Hebrew Bible between 800 – 1000 CE.

First Problem: Moloch or Sikkuth

Of old there have been more words that were inconvenient to read and to hear according to the Jewish way of life. Especially the names of strange gods or objects of idolatry. In those cases substitute expressions were (are) also in use (e.g. sjiqquts or boshèt). The Hebrew word sjiqquts means ‘detestable thing’. And yes in some cases the Massoretes added the vowels i – u under an inconvenient word. The readers were supposed to read sjiqquts in that case, instead of the real Hebrew word up there. The god names Chiun and Sikkuth are such words. The original names were not to be pronounced. Let’s have a closer look to the gods that are mentioned by Amos.

Chiun, Kiyyun

When we substitute the vowels e-a instead of i-u we get: Kewan.  This was the name of an important god representing Saturn. The absence of the god Chiun in the old pantheon is enough evidence that the name is a fabrication of the Massoretes.


When we substitute the vowels u-o in Sikkuth, instead of i-u we get: Sukkoth, meaning: tents, tabernacles. Not even a name of a god, but of horrible things. These tents were used to carry the idol of the god Moloch to the place of worship somewhere in the hills. These tents were real detestable things and it was not proper to even speak about it aloud and so the Massoretes made Sikkuth of them. The KJV has the singular ‘the tabernacle’ instead of the plural ‘tabernacles’. This is acceptable, as a collective singular (for a general tradition/custom) is used.

In modern translations one has conceived the word Sikkuth as being the name of a real god (instead of tents), but there is no god in the classic pantheon with this name, only Sakkuth, also referring to the planet Saturn. The modern interpretation that the god Sakkuth is meant by Amos, is not convincing, as it is not realistic that Amos wanted to point two times – with two different names – to the same godhead (Saturn).


The name Moloch is in the Hebrew Bible: Molèk. It is clear that the vowels o-è of bosjèt (shame) are added to the word Mèlèk (King). Moloch was the king of the gods of heaven (the sun). Most interpreters acknowledge that he was the same as Baal or Bel (Master).

Here (Amos 5:26) is spoken of  ‘your Moloch’ (Malk’kèm); in Zephaniah (1:5) is spoken in the same way ‘their Moloch’ (Malk’am)

Older translators (Septuagint, Vulgate, KJV etc.), rightly saw that, when Amos spoke of an idol as ‘The King’ only Moloch could be meant. The KJV translation  best represents Amos’ intentions. As Stephen’s quote is still in accordance with all grammatical and linguistical features of Amos’ text, we hold the view that there is no contradiction at all.

Second Problem: Rompha or Chiun 

Stephen is quoting Amos 5:26 and instead of Kewan (Chiun) he has Rompha (or Rephan). Isn’t that a contradiction? Truly not. In Old and New Testament usage of quotations it is accepted that they don’t need to be verbatim.

Freedom of quoting

Anyone who compares Jesus’ quotes of the Old Testament will see immediately that there are many slight differences. Here we may speak of freedom of quoting, which was fully accepted within the Jewish religion if one spoke in the Spirit of the original prophecy.

Stephen who lived about 700 years after Amos used the Egyptian name Rompha (or Rephan) to the same god who was connected with Saturn in his time. (I.H. Marshall: Rephan appears to be the name of an Egyptian god associated with Saturn – Tyndale Commentary on Acts, repr. 1988, p.145.) This was accepted practice. He simply made use of his freedom of quoting within the Spirit of the original prophecy as the same godhead was mentioned. And so – concerning the second problem: No contradiction at all.

No Bible Contradiction