The national god of the Moabites. He became angry with his people and permitted them to become the vassals of Israel; his anger passed, he commanded Mesha to fight against Israel, and Moabitish independence was reestablished (Moabite Stone, lines 5, 9, 14 et seq.). A king in the days of Sennacherib was called "Chemoshnadab" ("K. B." ii. 90 et seq. ; see Jehonadab). Chemosh was a god developed out of the primitive Semitic mother-goddess Athtar, whose name he bears (Moabite Stone, line 17; compare Barton, "Semitic Origins," iv.). Peake wrongly holds that Ashtar-Chemosh was a deity distinct from Chemosh, while Moore and Bäthgen ("Beiträge zur Semitischen Religionsge. schichte," p. 14) regard "Ashtar" in this name as equivalent to "Astarte," who they believe was worshiped in the temple of Chemosh. "Ashtar" is more probably masculine here, as in South Arabia, and another name for Chemosh, the compound "Ashtar-Chemosh" being formed like "
The etymology of "Chemosh" is unknown. The name of the father of Mesba, Chemosh-melek ("Chemosh is Malik," or "Chemosh is king"; compare Moabite Stone, line 1), indicates the possibility that Chemosh and Malik (or Moloch) were one and the same deity. Judges xi. 24 has been thought by some to be a proof of this, since it speaks of Chemosh as the god of the Ammonites, while Moloch is elsewhere their god (compare I Kings xi. 7, 33). Several critics rightly regard the statement in Judges as a mistake; but such an error was not unnatural. since both Chemosh and Moloch were developed, in different environments, from the same primitive divinity, and possessed many of the same epithets.
Solomon is said to have built a sanctuary to Chemosh on the Mount of Olives (I Kings xi. 7, 33), which was maintained till the reform of Josiah (II Kings xxiii. 13). This movement by Solomon was no doubt to some extent a political one, but it made the worship of Chemosh a part of the religious life of Israel for nearly 400 years.