And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth
That is, those that came from Babylon made and served an idol of this name, which, according to the Jewish writers F21, were the figures of an hen and chickens; but others suppose them to be the Pleiades, or seven stars, the stars being had in great veneration by the Babylonians; though others rather think those Succothbenoth, "tabernacles", or "booths of the daughters", as the words may be rendered, have respect to the apartments in the temple of Venus, or Mylitta with the Babylonians and Assyrians, in which women once in their lives prostituted themselves to whomsoever asked them, in honour of Venus; of which filthy practice of theirs Herodotus F23 makes mention; and Valerius Maximus speaks F24 of a temple of Sicca Venus, which is near in sound to this, where the like impurities were committed:
and the men of Cuth made Nergal;
which, according to the Jews, was in the likeness of a cock; but others, because the first part of the word signifies a lamp, suppose fire is meant, worshipped by the Persians, from whom it is thought these men came; but rather the word signifies, as Hillerus F25 observes, the fountain of light, and denotes the sun, worshipped by the Babylonians, Cuth being a province of theirs; from hence one of the princes of Babylon had part of his name, ( Jeremiah 39:3 )
and the men of Hamath made Ashima;
which, the Jews say, was in the form of a goat, without any wool on it, or an ape F26; but according to Hillerus F1, with the Arabs, Ashima is the name of a lion, a symbol of the sun, under which form it might be worshipped; unless Ashima is the same with Shamaim, the heavens, worshipped by the Heathens; we read of the Ashemath of Samaria, by which they swore, ( Amos 8:14 ) , though that was before these men came thither.
F21 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 63. 2.
F23 Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 199.
F24 L. 2. c. 6. sect. 15.
F25 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 601.
F26 David de Pomis Lexic. fol. 17. 2.
F1 Onomast. Sacr. p. 609.