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Remphan (Ancient Greek: ρεμφαν) was the subject of idolatrous worship mentioned by Stephen at the time of his death in the New Testament Book of Acts 7:43. It is presumed by Biblical scholars to be the same as Kiyyun (Hebrew: כִּיּוּן), mentioned in Amos 5:26.[1][2] Since the words "Kiyyun" and "Remphan" are each hapax legomenon, there is debate whether they are meant as common or proper nouns, and their exact meaning.[3]

In the Bible[edit]

In the New Testament, Stephen condemns 'Jewish idolatry' in the following verse: "And you took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of the god Remphan, the images which you made to worship; and I will remove you beyond Babylon."[4] It is seen as a reference to Amos 5:26: "So shall ye take up Siccuth your king and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves."[5] The context for the admonition is that Amos had been sent to the northern Kingdom of Samaria, where Judaism had become syncretic with foreign idolatry, which he declares unacceptable.[6] It is seen[by whom?] as a prophetic reference to Shalmaneser V's later capture of the Israelites and taking them into the cities of the Medes.[1]


Remphan[note 1] is a rendering of the Ancient Greek, ρεμφαν. Various manuscripts offer other transliterations of this pronunciation, including Ῥομφά, Ῥεμφάν, Ῥεμφάμ, & Ῥεφάν.[citation needed] It is likely in reference to "Kiyyun" mentioned in Amos 5:26,[note 2] which the Septuagint renders as "Raiphan" (Ῥαιφάν) or "Rephan".[citation needed] Kiyyun is generally assumed to be the god Saturn,[7] the Assyriaan name of which was "Kayvân" ("Kēwān").[8]

Christian analysis[edit]

In Moses and Aaron (1625), Thomas Godwyn claimed Kiyyun and the Star of Remphan should be held as separate entities, the first a reference to the deity Heracles, and the latter a reference to a painted mark on the forehead of Molech.[9]

In the 18th century, Christian Gottlieb Wolff referenced the belief that the name actually came from Ancient Egypt, by way of the Aminonitarum, tying his worship into the period that Diodorus Siculus' history references the king "Remphis", possibly Ramses III, beginning a seven-generation decline of Egyptian civilization.[2]

The August 1862 edition of The Quiver noted "'The star of your god Remphan' is an expression which cases some difficulty. The star is probably the representation of the star Remphan, which Stephen with cutting reproach calls 'your god'. But who or what was Remphan? [...] The fact is, we know but little respecting the false gods worshipped in Syria and Palestine at different times, although the names of many of them have come down to us".[10]

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Remphan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 82.

  1. ^ a b Horne, Thomas Hartwell. An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Vol. 2. pp. 410ff.
  2. ^ a b Wolff, Christian Gottlieb (1741). Chiun et Remphan (in Latin). litteris Takkianis.
  3. ^ Perrin, Andrew B.; Baek, Kyung S.; Falk, Daniel K., eds. (2017). Reading the Bible in Ancient Traditions and Modern Editions. Atlanta: SBL Press. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-88414-253-9.
  4. ^ a b Acts 7:43
  5. ^ Amos 5:26
  6. ^ Denio, F. B. (April 1886). "The Interpretation of Amos V". The Old Testament Student. Bangor Theological Seminary. 5 (8): 25–26. doi:10.1086/469782.
  7. ^ Steyn, Gert J. (2006). "Trajectories of scripture transmission: The case of Amos 5:25–27 in Acts 7:42–43". HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies. 69 (1). doi:10.4102/hts.v69i1.2006.
  8. ^  Jastrow, Morris, Jr.; Barton, George A. (1903). "Chiun". In Singer, Isidore; et al. (eds.). The Jewish Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. p. 39.
  9. ^ Godwyn, Thomas (1678). Moses and Aaron: Civil And Ecclesiastical Rites, Used by the Ancient Hebrews. London. pp. 148–151.
  10. ^ The Quiver. August 1862.


  1. ^ Also transliterated as Romphan, Rempham, Rephan, or Raiphan.[4]
  2. ^ Also transliterated as Chiun, Kewan, Kaiwan, Kiyuwn, or Kijun.