The name Moloch results from a dysphemic vocalisation in the Second Temple period of a theonym based on the root mlk “king”. There are a number of Canaanite gods with names based on this root, which became summarily associated with Moloch, including Biblical מַלְכָּם Malkam “great king” (KJV Milcom), which appears to refer to a god of the Ammonites, as well as Tyrian Melqart and others.
Rabbinical tradition depicted Moloch as a bronze statue heated with fire into which the victims were thrown. This has been associated with reports by Greco-Roman authors on the child sacrifices in Carthage to Baal Hammon,especially since archaeological excavations since the 1920s have produced evidence for child sacrifice in Carthage as well as inscriptions including the term MLK, either a theonym or a technical term associated with sacrifice. In interpretatio graeca, the Phoenician god was identified with Cronus, due to the parallel mytheme of Cronus devouring his children.
Otto Eissfeldt in 1935 argued that mlk was not to be taken as a theonym at all but as a term for a type of fire sacrifice, and that *lĕmōlek “as a molk-sacrifice” had been reinterpreted as the name of a Canaanite idol following the Deuteronomic reform under Josiah (r. 640–609 BC). According to Eissfeldt, this 7th-century reform abolished the child sacrifice that had been happening.
Moloch has been used figuratively in English literature from John Milton‘s Paradise Lost (1667) to Allen Ginsberg‘s “Howl” (1955), to refer to a person or thing demanding or requiring a very costly sacrifice.
Source: Moloch – Wikipedia