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Question: In Zechariah 12:11, the "mourning of Hadad-Rimmon" refers to:  (Voting closed: June 06, 2013, 08:43:14 PM)
Ritual lamenting over a dying-resurrecting solar deity who prefigures Christ - 1 (50%)
Lamenting over the sacrifice of children to a pagan deity - 0 (0%)
Lamentation over Josiah's death on the plains of Megiddon - 1 (50%)
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Author Topic: Hadad-Rimmon: a Pagan Deity as a Prefigurement of Christ?  (Read 3139 times) Average Rating: 0
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rakovsky
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« on: September 11, 2010, 08:43:14 PM »

Zechariah 12 (JPS) says:

Quote
10. I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto Me because they have thrust him through; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.

11. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

What is the "mourning of Hadadrimmon"?

Hadad-Rimmon as a Prefigurement of Christ?

The 5th century writer Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius described the gold statue of Hadad-rimmon, who he described as a sun-god, and the chief Syrian deity. (Saturnalia vol 1, 23) Hadad was a Phoenician deity, and Rimmon the matching Syrian deity.

2 King 5:18 mentions Rimmon as the official "god" of Aram-Damascus:
Quote
when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon

Some Protestant scholars and others like Pope Benedict XVI claim that Haddad-Rimmon was associated with the Semitic god Tammuz. The Semitic god Tammuz was a dying and resurrecting solar deity, at whose symbolic death its cultists performed ritual lamentation.

The Bible speaks of the lamentations for Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:

Quote
12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, the LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

13 He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.

14 Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.

Pope Benedict XVI writes in his 2007 book Jesus of Nazareth that the lamentation
rituals impressed themselves upon those who witnessed them—as the Prophet and his audience evidently did—as the absolute archetype of grief and lamentation. ...through the ritual lamentation over him, he mysteriously prefigures someone who really does exist.

An inner connection with the Servant of God in Deutero-Isaiah is discernible here. In the writings of the later Prophets, we see the figure of the suffering and dying Redeemer, the Shepherd who becomes the lamb... K. Elliger comments...: "...[Zechariah's] gaze penetrates with remarkable accuracy into a new distance and circles around the figure of the one who was pierced on the Cross at Golgotha. Admittedly, he does not clearly discern the fig­ure of Christ, although the allusion to Hadad-Rimmon does come remarkably close to the mystery of the Resurrection..."


The first problem with Pope Benedict XVI's view is that Ezekiel describes the lamentations over Tammuz as a "greater" abomination.

Yet Zechariah 12:11 says that the lamentations over one whom they pierced who caused them to look to God would be like the lamentations of Haddad-rimmon. It says that the lamentations -by Houses that include David's- over the pierced one would happen at a time of grace and supplication, when David's House would be as an angel. This lamenting over one who was pierced is not like abominable crying over a pagan deity.

The second problem is the question "How do we know the ritual of Hadad-Rimmon was practiced in the same way- with lamentations- that the rituals of Tammuz were?"

The third problem is that Hadad-Rimmon was a solar deity in Macrobius' time (5th century), but it was originally a thunder god, so the solar death-resurrection thing might not have been around.

The fourth problem is that it sounds like this Haddad-rimmon fellow was a bad dude:


Mourning Over Children Sacrificed to Hadad?

The Jewish Encyclopedia writes:

Quote
Perhaps the difficulty would be removed, without recourse to such forced textual emendations, by taking into consideration the fact that Hadad had the qualities of Moloch (see Baudissin, "Moloch," in Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." xii.). At his sanctuary human sacrifices were usual. Hence the lament both of the victims and of the mothers. As "Gehinnom," the name of a Moloch furnace, occurs as a common apocalyptic simile, why should not "Hadadrimmon" be associated with similar horrors? The murder of him whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have pierced (Zech. xii. 10, 11), for whom they shall lament as for an only son, as for a first-born, carries out the analogy to the Moloch cult. The first-born (that is, the only son) was offered to this Hadad-Melek-Raman.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=31&letter=H

But grammatically speaking, can we call this "the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon"?
It would be better to call it "the mourning of the cultists of Hadad-Rimmon." Hadad-Rimmon itself doesn't mourn, it's the cultists who mourn.

Yes, Zechariah could speak of "the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon" as a figure of speech for the mourning that indirectly results from Hadad-Rimmon's cult. But "the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon in the valley of Megiddon" seems more like Zechariah is trying to specify what he is talking about, rather than using figures of speech.

And where do we have it recorded in the Old Testament that the cultists mourn that they sacrificed their children? Such huge mourning would show repentance, and in that case they wouldn't follow the cult anymore.

And how many slave-state teachers that beat children and cause bruises mourn for the harm they inflict when they think it is what they are supposed to do? It is horrible to think about this, but someone whose mind was controlled by a cult and killed their children might not make huge lamentations about it. 


The Mourning for Josiah Who Was Killed near the Valley of Megiddon

St Jerome (347 – 420 AD) writes that Hadadrimmon was: "a city near Jezreel, now called Maximinianopolis in the plain of Megiddon, in which the righteous king Josiah was wounded by Pharaoh Necho." Eusebius, St Jerome's father also thought that Hadad-Rimmon was a location. Following Josiah's death, huge annual lamentations were ordered to commemorate the event.

The first problem is that scholars claim Maximinianopolis has been excavated and is not at Megiddon.

The second problem is that Josiah was killed in the plain of Megiddon, but Zechariah speaks of "the valley of Megiddon."

The third problem was that St Jerome's father Eusebius (263–339 AD) also thought Hadad-Rimmon was a place, but Eusebius and Jerome lived almost 800 years after the time of Zechariah (520 BC), so they might not really have known where it was.

It seems to me like Zechariah was talking about mourning for the loss of Josiah in battle that happened near the valley of Megiddon.

Zechariah 14:10 says that Judah extends all the way to a region called Rimmon (some pagan kings like Tabrimmon named themselves Rimmon.) The Septuagint says "Rimmon", so maybe the Masoretic everyone uses is wrong to say "Hadad-Rimmon". But the Latin Vulgate says "Hadad-Rimmon."

Hadad was not an uncommon name, so it's reasonable that there could be a place in the region of Rimmon called "Hadad-Rimmon."

There was a place called Gath-rimmon, which sounds similar and may be near the modern village of Rumaneh near Megiddon.
Quote
Gath-rimmon- A Levitical city of the Kehath clan, situated in the territory of Menasseh, near Taanach (Josh 21:25). The Septuagint version of this verse, however, lists Ibleam in place of Gath Rimmon and it is widely believed that there was a copying error in the Hebrew text. If not, this Gath Rimmon may possibly be identified with present-day Rumaneh, near Taanach.
http://www.answers.com/topic/gath-rimmon-1

Quote
Gath-Rimmon גת רמון (Joshua 21:25, and called Bileam in 1 Chron. 6:55) appears to me to be identical with Hadad-Rimmon in the valley of Megiddo of Zechariah 12:11. This Levitical town of the tribe of Menasseh, situated 2 English miles west of En-Gannim, and southeast of Legion (Megiddo), in the valley of the latter, the environs of which extended to Megiddo itself, was called in the time of the Romans Maximianopolis. At present it is but the village Kafer Guth. The site of this village agrees accurately with the description given in the book of Judith 7:3, "And they encamped in the valley near Blema (i. e. Bileam), which is opposite to Jezreel."
www.jewish-history.com/palestine/ramah.html



The Peshitta Syriac manuscripts' copy of the Bible says "son of Amon" instead of "Hadadrimmon". The son of Amon was Josiah.

The Judaic Targum Jonathan, (1st to 5th centuries AD), agrees with the view that this is about mourning for Josiah's defeat.

5th century AD Targum Jonathan (b.Meg 3a) quotes Zechariah 12:11's mention of Hadad-rimmon and adds:
Quote
"Rabbi Joseph [3rd century AD] said: Were it not for the targum of this verse, we should not know what it means. [the targum is]: 'In that day, the mourning in Jerusalem shall be as great as the mourning for Ahab son of Omri whom Hadad-rimmon son of Tabrimmon killed in Ramoth-gilead, and as the mourning for Josiah son of Amon whom Pharaoh the Lame killed in the plain of Megiddo."

Quote
The Targum understands Hadadrimmon to refer to Benhadad son of Tabrimmon (Kgs 15:18; 22:29-38; 2 Chron 18:28-34)... Studies in the Targum to the Twelve Prophets, from Nahum to Malachi By R. P. Gordon

The 12th century Rabbi Rashi accepted the targums and commented:
Quote
Hadadrimmon has no connection to the Valley of Megiddon.

The problem with the targum, which says the mourning is the mourning for King Ahab is that King Ahab was a bad king people didn't like. Plus, the explanation that the "mourning of Hadadrimmon" means mourning for Hadadrimmon killed (Ahab), doesn't sound right.

Josiah is considered a pious, righteous king in 2 Chronicles 35:7-26.

The yearly mourning for Josiah is mentioned in 2 Chron. 5:30.

Josiah's death in the valley of Megiddo is mentioned in 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:22-25 .

2 Chronicles mentions a lamentation written by Jeremiah about Josiah, and the Book of Lamentations, which are often attributed to Jeremiah writing after the captivity began says: "The crown has fallen from our head. Woe unto us, for we have sinned!"
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 09:56:07 PM »

It remains a mystery to me what lamentations the prophet Zechariah is talking about.

There are three possible Hadad-Rimmons we know of:

1. The Phoenician-Syrian god that might at some point have been associated with the god Tammuz, whose cult involved strong ritual mourning.

2. A pagan named benHadad-Rimmon who killed a hated King Ahab, for whom it seems likely people wouldnt lament greatly.

3. The city of Hadadrimmon, near Maximianopolis as designated by Jerome 750 years later.


Quote
As regards Hadadrimmon, it is sufficient to remark that Jerome's identifications are often extremely misleading, that Megiddo was evidently unknown at his time, that it is doubtful whether Hadadrimmon was the name of a town or of a pagan deity, and that the Hebrew word Bilcah, rendered "valley," is not properly applicable (judging by other instances) to a broad plain like that of Esdraelon, but rather to a great valley such as that leading down to the Jordan at Beisan.
http://www.archive.org/stream/quarterlystateme09pale/quarterlystateme09pale_djvu.txt


With Jerome writing at about the same time as the Jews' rabbinical targums (3th century AD), you would think that if they knew of a city called Hadadrimmon near where Josiah died, the targums would have mentioned it in their commentary on Zechariah 11. After all, their comment is that Zechariah 11 points to Josiah's death, which is the same thing Jerome says.

And perhaps Jerome is just assuming that Hadad-rimmon must be a place "near" Maximianopolis, because Maximianopolis is near the plains of Megiddon.

But the targums can't find what Hadadrimmon refers to, so they say it must mean Ben-Hadad the son of Rimmon.



OK, so now let's look to mentions of Ben-Hadad son of Rimmon in the Bible.

1 Kings 15 describes him as the son of Rimmon.

The Mourning Ben-Hadad caused when he laid seige

There is a case of mourning associated with Ben-Hadad in 2 Kings 6:

Quote

24 And it happened after this that Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a great famine in Samaria; and indeed they besieged it until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver.
26 Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”
27 And he said, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I find help for you? From the threshing floor or from the winepress?” 28 Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you?”
And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.”
30 Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body.


Here, a lady is crying because the loss of her son, caused indirectly by Ben-Hadad's siege in Samaria, and the famine causes the Israelite king to wear sackloth. This has a similarity to the death of a firstborn in Zechariah 11, but lacks any spiritual insight into the cyring like the next explanation gives.


The Mourning of Ben-Hadad as One Seeking Forgiveness

1 Kings 20 gives a story when Ben-Hadad wore sackloth, after his troops were destroyed.

Quote
30 ...And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

31And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.

 32So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.


 33Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.

 34And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
 35And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.

 36Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.

 37Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.

 38So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.

 39And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.

 40And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.

 41And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.

42And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.

 43And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.

So in this story Ben-Hadad is defeated and goes to Ahab in sackloth, clothes that are worn for mourning, and asks forgiveness.

Ahab forgives him and makes a covenant with him. But since he forgave someone who God told him to kill, Ahab will die in his place.

So the mourning of Ben-Hadad son of Rimmon is the mourning of someone who deserves death and mourns asking for forgiveness to someone who dies in their place.

The mourning in Zechariah 11 could be the mourning of a person who seeks forgiveness from a replacement "scapegoat" in the valley near where Josiah the king was killed.


But since I am the only one proposing this I know, I don't have a strong belief on any of this. After all, Josiah wasn't killed in the valley of Megiddo.


What do you think the mourning of Hadad-Rimmon means?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 09:56:44 PM by rakovsky » Logged
rakovsky
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 10:05:29 PM »

I wrote about Jerome's view:
Quote
The first problem is that scholars claim Maximinianopolis has been excavated and is not at Megiddon.
I take that back.

I had some general idea that I had read something like that, but I can't find it on the web.

Anyway, it doesn't really fix the problem. Maximianopolis is near or at Megiddon, and Jerome wrote that Hadad-rimmon was near there. But I doubt the reliability of Jerome's words writing about the general location of an alleged village 750 years after Zechariah did. It seems that there is a good chance Jerome was just writing his viewpoint or conclusion about where it was, rather than getting a 400 year-old tradition that such a village existed there that the Rabbis didn't know.

In fact, if it was a battle-field, maybe there wasn't much of a village. I don't know Hebrew, but could it just mean the part of the region of Rimmon dedicated to Hadad?

Confusing and Mysterious.

Like many prophecies in those regards anyway.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 10:14:55 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 11:25:04 PM »

This is a bit different in the LXX which reads: "In that day the lamentation in Jerusalem shall be very great, as the mourning for the pomegranate grove cut down in the plain."
The only comentaries I have on this verse are by St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Irenaeus. The pomegranate grove cut cut down is Christ on the cross and the lamentators are those who mourn that He is cut down.
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 12:50:11 AM »

This is a bit different in the LXX which reads: "In that day the lamentation in Jerusalem shall be very great, as the mourning for the pomegranate grove cut down in the plain."
The only comentaries I have on this verse are by St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Irenaeus. The pomegranate grove cut cut down is Christ on the cross and the lamentators are those who mourn that He is cut down.

DavidH,

Thanks for mentioning the commentary.

The Septuagint says "Rimmon" instead of "Hadad-Rimmon."

The word Rimmon as a simple noun means pomegranate. But that is not the only meaning for the word. As a proper noun it means either:

1. The last name or suffix of a Syriac dynasty, as in "Ben-Hadad, the son of Tabrimmon."

2. A syriac pagan god. Pope Benedict XVI thinks this is a prefigurement of Christ.

3. A region. Zechariah 14:10 says that Judah extends all the way to Rimmon. If the Septuagint is right and the Bible only says "Rimmon," rather than "Hadad-Rimmon," this looks to me like the best explanation, since that is how Zechariah himself uses the word.

So with all due respect to St Ireneus, who lived earlier than Eusebius, even if St Ireneus says this is talking about a pomegranate, I think Zech 14:10 means that Zech 12:11 is talking about a region where an event occurred that led to Jeremiah's lamentations.

"the mourning for the pomegranate grove cut down in the plain" might prefigure in some general way Christ's death that was connected to wood, but lamenting for a pomegranate grove does not sound nearly as epic as Israel's annual lamentations that were related to Megiddo. The context of epic lamentations and Zechariah's use of the word "Rimmon" as a region in Zech. 14:10 makes it seem that Rimmon should be translated as a region if the Septuagint is to be followed.

Would you be able to get Eusebius' commentary on the use of "Hadad-Rimmon" or "Rimmon" here?

Regards.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 12:52:02 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 01:43:25 AM »

This is a bit different in the LXX which reads: "In that day the lamentation in Jerusalem shall be very great, as the mourning for the pomegranate grove cut down in the plain."
The only comentaries I have on this verse are by St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Irenaeus. The pomegranate grove cut cut down is Christ on the cross and the lamentators are those who mourn that He is cut down.

DavidH,

I do appreciate you sharing your knowledge about the verse, for the Septuagint version, and for the 2 commentaries.

The point I was trying to make in my last reply to you was that since Rimmon in Greek is pomegranate, when we use the Greek Septuagint in reverse to translate back to find the original Hebrew, it leaves us with almost the original problem of the original Hebrew meant when it spoke of "mourning for Hadadrimmon (or Rimmon) in the plain".

The discovery from your quote that the Septuagint phrases it as the Rimmon/pomegranate specifically cut down in the plain is a significant addition. It is worth pointing out that Josiah the King, was poetically cut down, and that one traditional reading of the verse is that it refers to Josiah being killed in Megiddon.

Do the church fathers you cited explain in more detail the comparison between Christ and a pomegranate grove, and why it would make sense in poetic terms for people to mourn for a pomegranate grove? I mean, do they explain how or why Zechariah would have chosen a pomegranate? If not, then it appears that the word pomegranate here might not be the best way to understand the Hebrew word Rimmon.

I think that all the main explanations of the verse fit the view that the passage describes mourning for a Messianic figure. I wrote an entry about it on my blog rakovskii.livejournal.com.

Happy Nativity.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 01:49:50 AM by rakovsky » Logged
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