on Acts 7 :43
Ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them - This is a literal translation of the place, as it stands in the Septuagint; but in the Hebrew text it stands thus: But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Molech, and Chiun, your images, the star of your god which ye made to yourselves. This is the simple version of the place, unless we should translate ונסאתם את סכות מלככם venasatem eth Siccuth malkekem, ye took Sikuth your king, (instead of ye took up the tabernacle of your Molek), as some have done. The place is indeed very obscure, and the two texts do not tend to cast light on each other. The rabbins say siccuth, which we translate tabernacle, is the name of an idol. Molech is generally understood to mean the sun; and several persons of good judgment think that by Remphan or Raiphan is meant the planet Saturn, which the Copts call Ῥηφαν, Rephan. It will be seen above that instead of Remphan, or, as some of the best MSS. have it, Rephan, the Hebrew text has כיון Chiun, which might possibly be a corruption of ריפן Reiphan, as it would be very easy to mistake the כ caph for ר resh, and the vau shurek ו for פ pe. This emendation would bring the Hebrew, Septuagint, and the text of Luke, nearer together; but there is no authority either from MSS. or versions for this correction: however, as Chiun is mentioned in no other place, though Molech often occurs, it is the more likely that there might have been some very early mistake in the text, and that the Septuagint has preserved the true reading.
It was customary for the idolaters of all nations to carry images of their gods about them in their journeys, military expeditions, etc.; and these, being very small, were enclosed in little boxes, perhaps some of them in the shape of temples, called tabernacles; or, as we have it, Acts 19:24, shrines. These little gods were the penates and lares among the Romans, and the tselems or talismans among the ancient eastern idolaters. The Hebrew text seems to refer to these when it says, the tabernacle of your Molech, and Chiun, your images, צלמיכם tsalmeycem, your tselems, τους τυπους, the types or simulachres of your gods. See the note on Genesis 31:19. Many of those small portable images are now in my own collection, all of copper or brass; some of them the identical penates of the ancient Romans, and others the offspring of the Hindoo idolatry; they are from an ounce weight to half a pound. Such images as these I suppose the idolatrous Israelites, in imitation of their neighbors, the Moabites, Ammonites, etc., to have carried about with them; and to such the prophet appears to me unquestionably to allude.
I will carry you away beyond Babylon - You have carried your idolatrous images about; and I will carry you into captivity, and see if the gods in whom ye have trusted can deliver you from my hands. Instead of beyond Babylon, Amos, from whom the quotation is made, says, I will carry you beyond Damascus. Where they were carried was into Assyria and Media, see 2 Kings 17:6 : now, this was not only beyond Damascus, but beyond Babylon itself; and, as Stephen knew this to be the fact, he states it here, and thus more precisely fixes the place of their captivity. The Holy Spirit, in his farther revelations, has undoubted right to extend or illustrate those which he had given before. This case frequently occurs when a former prophecy is quoted in later times.
on Acts 7 :43
Yea, ye took up - That is, you bore, or you carried with you, for purposes of idolatrous worship.
The tabernacle - This word properly means a "tent"; but it is also applied to the small tent or house in which was contained the image of the god; the shrine, box, or tent in which the idol was placed. It is customary for idolatrous nations to bear their idols about with them, enclosed in cases or boxes of various sizes, usually very small, as their idols are commonly small. Probably they were made in the shape of small "temples" or tabernacles; and such appear to have been the "silver shrines" for Diana, made at Ephesus, Acts 19:24. These shrines, or images, were borne with them as a species of amulet, charm, or talisman to defend them from evil. Such images the Jews seem to have carried with them.
Moloch - This word comes from the Hebrew word signifying "king." This was a god of the Ammonites, to whom human sacrifices were offered. Moses in several places forbids the Israelites, under penalty of death, to dedicate their children to Moloch, by making them pass through the fire, Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5. There is great probability that the Hebrews were addicted to the worship of this deity after they entered the land of Canaan. Solomon built a temple to Moloch on the Mount of Olives 1 Kings 11:7; and Manasseh made his son pass through the fire in honor of this idol, 2 Kings 21:3, 2 Kings 21:6. The image of this idol was made of brass, and his arms extended so as to embrace anyone; and when they offered children to him, they heated the statue, and when it was burning hot, they placed the child in his arms, where it was soon destroyed by heat. It is not certain what this god was supposed to represent. Some suppose it was in honor of the planet Saturn; others, the sun; others, Mercury, Venus, etc. What particular god it was is not material. It was the most cutting reproof that could be made to the Jews, that their fathers had been guilty of worshipping this idol.
And the star - The Hebrew in this place is, "Chiun your images, the star of your god." The expression used here leads us to suppose that this was a star which was worshipped, but what star it is not easy to ascertain; nor is it easy to determine why it is called both "Chiun" and "Remphan." Stephen quotes from the Septuagint translation. In that translation the word "Chiun" is rendered by the word "Raiphan," or "Rephan," easily changed into "Remphan." Why the authors of that version adopted this is not known. It was probably, however, from one of two causes:
(1) Either because the word "Chiun" in Hebrew meant the same as "Remphan" in the language of Egypt, where the translation was made; or,
(2) Because the "object" of worship called "Chiun" in Hebrew was called "Remphan" in the language of Egypt. It is generally agreed that the object of their worship was the planet "Saturn," or "Mars," both of which planets were worshipped as gods of evil influence. In Arabic, the word "Chevan" denotes the planet Saturn. Probably "Rephan," or "Remphan," is the Coptic name for the same planet, and the Septuagint adopted this because that translation was made in Egypt, where the Coptic language was spoken.
Figures which ye made - Images of the god which they made. See the article "Chiun" in Robinson's Calmet.
And I will carry you away ... - This is simply expressing in few words what is stated at greater length in Amos 5:27. In Hebrew it is "Damascus"; but this evidently denotes the Eastern region, in which also Babylon was situated.
on Acts 7 :43
7:43 Ye took up - Probably not long after the golden calf: but secretly; else Moses would have mentioned it. The shrine - A small, portable chapel, in which was the image of their god. Moloch was the planet Mars, which they worshipped under a human shape. Remphan, that is, Saturn, they represented by a star. And I will carry you beyond Babylon - That is, beyond Damascus (which is the word in Amos) and Babylon. This was fulfilled by the king of Assyria, 2Kings 17:6.