Ezekiel 8:14-15, Weeping for Tammuz

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. 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.

Here’s a puzzle. Why is it such an abomination to sit and weep at the gates of the LORD’s house?

It isn’t that the women are weeping, it’s who they weep for. They aren’t weeping for a friend or relative; they’re partaking in a widespread annual ritual, in which cult members mourn the death of the Sumerian god of food and vegetation.

The summer solstice marks the period of declining daylight hours, and this annually recurring cycle of the beginning of death was “celebrated” in Babylonia with a six-day funeral for the god, Tammuz. Tammuz is one of an array of dying-and-rebirthing gods, whose story is told in nature itself.

These women are honoring a Babylonian god, and doing so at the very gates of the Temple.

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