Zechariah 12 (JPS) says:
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:
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:
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
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.
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 MegiddonSt 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.
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.
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."
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:
"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."
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:
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!