Remphan is Ninurta: His Star Has Eight points

What about Remphan?

In Acts 7:43, Steven recounted Israel’s history (drawing from Amos 5): “You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:43 NASB). Due to a scribal error in the letters, the Hebrew k, כ [kaph], was replaced by the Hebrew r, ר [resh], and in Greek, ph (φ) substituted for v. [i] Thus the Hebrew Chuin or Kewan, was rendered in the Septuagint, as Ῥαιφάν [Raiphan]. To be clear, there was no ancient god known as Remphan. It is the result of a scribe misreading some letters that are easy to confuse, and out came the fictitious Remphan.

Unfortunately, the star of Israel’s false god to whom Stephen and Amos referred, has been erroneously associated with the six-pointed Magen David (Star of David). However, the pagan star in question is NOT the Magen David. Rather, it was the Star of Ninurta, which has eight points, as we have seen, not six points.

Ninurta, the Arrow and the Star

Sikkuth, of course, sounds nothing like Ninurta; so, why does it represent Ninurta? The name Sukuth was a Hebraized form of the Babylonian Shukudu (“the Arrow”), a name of Sirius,[ii] the brightest star in the night sky. It was associated with the god Ninurta.[iii] Thus, the star was associated with Sirius and Saturn, and had nothing to do with the Magen

Ninurta with 8-pointed star-bow-ancient.eu/image/6317/cylinder-seal-with-Ninurta

David. Amar Annus notes the following about arrow epithets used for Ninurta:

  • The arrow (šukudu) … is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius (see CAD s.v.), and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself … The terrible arrow of Marduk is compared to a merciless lion … šiltahu 5.[iv]
  • Ninurta is the Arrow (= Sirius), the great warrior, who slit the throats of the enemies of Assurbanipal with his pointed arrowhead
  • Ninurta himself is an ‘arrow’.

“Ninurta’s identity with the star is explicit in a šu-ila prayer which begins with the words atta Kaksisa Ninurta ašared ili rabûti “you are Sirius, (that is) Ninurta, the first among the great gods” (Mayer 1990: 467ff).” [v]

In other words, Ninurta is known as the Arrow, and the Arrow, in an astronomical setting, is the star Sirius. The imagery of gods as stars reminds us of the language of Revelation in which angels are frequently symbolized as stars. In John’s vision of Revelation, Jesus has seven stars in his right hand. Jesus reveals the mystery: “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Rev 1:20). Thus, there are seven stars or seven angels (messengers) to God’s redeemed people. It is interesting that another word for “arrow” (mulmullu, Sumerian mul.mul) is related to the Pleiades. Amar Annus explains that:

The Pleiades were thought to bring war and destruction – “the warlike gods, who carry bow and arrow, whose rising means war.” It is worth noting that the month of Ningirsu in Astrolabe B, Iyyar, is also referred to as “the month of the Pleiades, the Seven Great Gods”.[vi]


[i] 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 23: Variations include as Ῥομφά, Ῥεμφάν, Ῥεμφάμ, Ῥαιφάν, Ῥεφάν [Rompha, Remphan, Rempham, Remphan]

[ii] “The arrow (šukudu) mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius (see CAD s.v.), and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself. In SAA Anzu III 10-11, both the same word for ‘arrow’”… Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 102

[iii] http://usccb.org/bible/amos/5/

[iv] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 104

[v] Ibid. Pg. 133-135

[vi] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 104