Isaiah 37:38
And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.
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(38) And it came to pass.—The Assyrian inscriptions fill up the gap of twenty years between the events which appear here, as if in immediate sequence, with five campaigns in the north and east of the Assyrian Empire, chiefly against the Babylonians, who revolted again under the son of Merôdach-baladan.

Nisroch.—Some experts (Oppert and Schrader) have found the name in the Khorsabad inscriptions, in a prayer of Sargon to Nisroch as the patron of marriage, but the identification is disputed by others, as G. Smith, Sayce, and Cheyne. The etymology of the name, as meaning the “eagle” deity, is also one of the open questions of Assyrian research.

Adrammelech and Sharezer.—The former name appears in that of a deity of Sepharvaim in 2Kings 17:31—its probable meaning being “the king of glory,” that of Sharezer, “the ruler preserves,” or, in a variant form, Sanatzu, “Sin (the moon-god) preserves.” The Assyrian records, so far as they are yet interpreted, make no mention of the murder, but an inscription of Esar-haddon’s, mutilated at the beginning, begins with an account of his victory over rebel princes, and the narrative of his campaign speaks of snowy mountains, which at least suggest Armenia (Heb. Ararat), (Records of the Past, iii. 101). Armenian traditions make the two parricides the founders of royal houses, the Sasserunians and Aizerunians. From the latter, in which the name of Sennacherib was common, sprang the Byzantine Emperor, Leo the Armenian. Esar-haddon is further memorable as having peopled Samaria with the mixed population of Babylonians, Cutheans, and others (2Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:10), from whom the later Samaritans were descended—as having taken Zidon and deported its inhabitants (Records of the Past, iv., p. 111)—as having left in scriptions at Nahr-el-kelb, near Beyrout, in which he describes himself as “King of Egypt, Thebes, and Ethiopia,” as having probably been the “king of Assyria” who carried Manasseh bound in fetters to Babylon. The will of Sennacherib (Records of the Past, i. 136), giving him his chief treasures, and renaming him with a new title of sovereignty (Assur-Ebil-Muni-pal, i.e., “Assur is lord, the establisher of the son “), seems to imply that he was a younger son, whom the fondness of Sennacherib had exalted above his elder brothers, who accordingly revenged themselves by the murder of their father.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19As he was worshipping - Perhaps this time was selected because he might be then attended with fewer guards, or because they were able to surprise him without the possibility of his summoning his attendants to his rescue.

In the house - In the temple.

Of Nisroch his god - The god whom he particularly adored. Gesenius supposes that the word 'Nisroch' denotes an eagle, or a great eagle. The eagle was regarded as a sacred bird in the Persian religion, and was the symbol of Ormuzd. This god or idol had been probably introduced into Nineveh from Persia. Among the ancient Arabs the eagle occurs as an idol Josephus calls the idol Araskes; the author of the book of Tobit calls it Dagon. Vitringa supposes that it was the Assyrian Bel, and was worshipped under the figure of Mars, the god of war. More probably it was the figure of the eagle, though it might have been regarded as the god of war.

That Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword - What was the cause of this rebellion and parricide is unknown. These two sons subsequently became, in Armenia, the heads of two celebrated families there, the Arzerunii, and the Genunii (see Jos. Ant. x. 1, 5, note).

And they escaped - This would lead us to suppose that it was some private matter which led them to commit the parricide, and that they did not do it with the expectation of succeeding to the crown.

Into the land of Armenia - Hebrew, as Margin, 'Ararat.' The Chaldee renders this, 'The land of קרדוּ qaredû, that is, Kardi-anum, or, the mountains of the Kurds. The modern Kurdistan includes a considerable part of the ancient Assyria and Media, together with a large portion of Armenia. This expression is generally substituted for Ararat by the Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic translators, when they do not retain the original word Ararat. It is a region among the mountains of Ararat or Armenia. The Syriac renders it in the same way - 'Of Kurdoya' (the Kurds). The Septuagint renders it, 'Into Armenia.' Jerome says that 'Ararat was a champaign region in Armenia, through which the Araxes flowed, and was of considerable fertility.' Ararat was a region or province in Armenia, near the middle of the country between the Araxes and the lakes Van and Oroomiah. It is still called by the Armenians Ararat. On one of the mountains in this region the ark of Noah rested Genesis 8:4. The name 'Ararat' belongs properly to the region or country, and not to any particular mountain. For an account of this region, see Sir R. K. Porter's Travels, vol. i. pp. 178ff; Smith and Dwight's Researches in Armenia, vol. ii. pp. 73ff; and Morier's Second Journey, p. 312. For a very interesting account of the situation of Ararat, including a description of an ascent to the summit of the mountain which besrs that name, see the Bib. Rep. for April, 1836, pp. 390-416. 'The origin of the name Armenia is unknown. The Armenians call themselves after their fabulous progenitor Haig, and derive the name Armen from the son of Haig, Armenag. They are probably a tribe of the ancient Assyrians; their language and history speak alike in favor of it. Their traditions say also that Haig came from Babylon.'

38. Nisroch—Nisr, in Semitic, means "eagle;" the termination och, means "great." The eagle-headed human figure in Assyrian sculptures is no doubt Nisroch, the same as Asshur, the chief Assyrian god; the corresponding goddess was Asheera, or Astarte; this means a "grove," or sacred tree, often found as the symbol of the heavenly hosts (Saba) in the sculptures, as Asshur the Eponymus hero of Assyria (Ge 10:11) answered to the sun or Baal, Belus, the title of office, "Lord." This explains "image of the grove" (2Ki 21:7). The eagle was worshipper by the ancient Persians and Arabs.

Esar-haddon—In Ezr 4:2 he is mentioned as having brought colonists into Samaria. He is also thought to have been the king who carried Manasseh captive to Babylon (2Ch 33:11). He built the palace on the mound Nebbiyunus, and that called the southwest palace of Nimroud. The latter was destroyed by fire, but his name and wars are recorded on the great bulls taken from the building. He obtained his building materials from the northwest palaces of the ancient dynasty, ending in Pul.

For the understanding of this, and the foregoing chapter, the reader is desired to consult my notes upon 2 Kings 18:1-20:21. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god,.... Josephus says (z), in his temple, called Arasce; but Nisroch was the name of his deity he worshipped; though who he was is not certain. Jarchi says, in one of their expositions it is said to be "neser", a plank of the ark of Noah; in Tobit 1:24 (a) it is called his idol Dagon; according to Hillerus, the word signifies a prince; and with Vitringa, a king lifted up, or glorious, and whom he takes to be the Assyrian Belus, worshipped in the form and habit of Mars:

that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; the former of these had his name from an idol so called, 2 Kings 17:31, which signifies a glorious king; and the other may signify a prince of treasure. Josephus says they were his eldest sons; what should move them to be guilty of this parricide is not known. Jarchi says that he prayed to his god, and vowed, if he would deliver him, that he might not be slain, he would offer up his two sons to him, who standing by, and hearing him, therefore slew him; the reason given for it in the Apocrypha:

"And there passed not five and fifty days, before two of his sons killed him, and they fled into the mountains of Ararath; and Sarchedonus his son reigned in his stead; who appointed over his father's accounts, and over all his affairs, Achiacharus my brother Anael's son.'' (Tobit 1:21)

According to Munster's edition, is, that Sennacherib asked his counsellors and senators why the holy blessed God was so zealous for Israel and Jerusalem, that an angel destroyed the host of Pharaoh, and all the firstborn of Egypt, but the young men the Lord gave them, salvation was continually by their hands; and his wise men and counsellors answered him, that Abraham the father of Israel led forth his son to slay him, that the Lord his God might be propitious to him, and hence it is he is so zealous for his children, and has executed vengeance on thy servants; then, said the king, I will slay my sons; by this means, perhaps, he may be propitious to me, and help me; which word, when it came to Adrammelech and Sharezer, they laid in wait for him, and killed him with the sword at the time he went to pray before Dagon his god:

and they escaped into the land of Armenia; or "Ararat;" on the mountains of which the ark rested, Genesis 8:4. Both the Septuagint version and Josephus say it was Armenia into which he escaped; and Jerom observes, that Ararat is a champaign country in Armenia, through which the river Araxes flows, at the foot of Mount Taurus, whither it is extended. The Targum calls it the land of Kardu; and the Syriac version the land of the Keredeans, which also belonged to Armenia; in these mountainous places they might think themselves most safe:

and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead; whom Josephus calls Assarachoddas; and in Ptolemy's Caron he is named Assaradinus; the same, as some think, whom the Greeks call Sardanapalus; in the Apocrypha:

"And Achiacharus intreating for me, I returned to Nineve. Now Achiacharus was cupbearer, and keeper of the signet, and steward, and overseer of the accounts: and Sarchedonus appointed him next unto him: and he was my brother's son.'' (Tobit 1:22)

he is called Sarchedon, which some take to be the same with Sargon, Isaiah 20:1.

(a) I could not verify this reference. Editor. (z) Ibid. (Antiqu. l. 10. c. 1. sect. 5.)

And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and {d} Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

(d) Who was also called Sardanapalus, in whose days ten years after Sennacherib's death the Chaldeans overcame the Assyrians by Merodach their king.

38. The official account of Sennacherib’s death as given in the Babylonian Chronicle (Col. 3:34–38) is as follows: “On 20 Tebet Sennacherib, king of Assyria, was killed by his son in a revolt. [23] years reigned Sennacherib in Assyria. From 20 Tebet to 2 Adar the revolt was maintained in Assyria. On 18 Sivan Esarhaddon, his son, ascended the throne in Assyria.” (Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek, II. pp. 281 ff.) The event took place in 681, twenty years after Sennacherib’s disappearance from Palestine. During these years he claims to have conducted five successful campaigns; but he never found another opportunity to interfere in the affairs of Palestine, and the very fact that he lived so long may have been forgotten in Judah before this history was written.

Nisroch his god] No Assyrian deity of this name has as yet been found on the monuments.

Adrammelech and Sharezer] Both Assyrian names. The former is named as the parricide by profane historians (although not in the inscriptions); the latter only here. The motive for the crime is explained by the statement of Polyhistor, that Sennacherib had placed Esarhaddon on the throne of Babylon during his own lifetime, an act which would naturally excite the jealousy of his other sons (Budge, History of Esarhaddon, p. 2).

the land of Armenia] R.V. Ararat. Ararat is the Hebrew equivalent of the Assyr. Urartu, Armenia.Verse 38. - Nisroch his god. The name Nisroch has not been found in the Assyrian inscriptions, and is, in fact, read only in this place and the parallel passage of Kings (2 Kings 19:37). It has been supposed to represent Nusku, an Assyrian god of a somewhat low position, who, however, does not obtain mention in the historical inscriptions until the time of Asshur-bani-pal. Probably the name has suffered corruption. Asshur was, in fact, Sennacherib's favourite deity, and it is remarkable that the LXX. give in this place, not Nisroch, but Asarach. "Asarach" would seem to be "Asshur" with a guttural suffix. Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him. The murder of Sennacherib by a son, whom he called "Ardumazanes," was related by Polyhistor (ap. Euseb., 'Chronicles Can.,' 1:5, § l). Esar-haddon's annals are imperfect at the commencement, but show that his authority was at first contested, and that he had to establish it by force of arms ('Records of the Past,' vol. 3. pp. 103, 104). Adrammelech seems to have assumed the title of king (Abyden. up. Euscb., 'Chronicles Can.,' 1:9, § 1), and to have been put to death by his brother. Sharezer is not elsewhere mentioned. The name is Assyrian, as far as it goes, but is incomplete. Its full form was probably Nabu-sar-uzur or Nergal-sar-uzur (see 'Eponym Canon,' p. 63, B.C. 682 and 678). And escaped into the land of Armenia. So Moses of Chorene ('Hist. Armen.,' 1:22). The Hebrew word is Ararat (Assyrian Urardu or Urartu), which was the more eastern portion of Armenia, and lay beyond the sphere of Assyrian influence. Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead. Esarhaddon (Asshur-akh iddiua) appears to have ascended the throne in B.C. 681. It is highly improbable that Isaiah was then living, and therefore the verse can scarcely be from his pen. It has probably been transferred from 2 Kings (2 Kings 19:37) in order to finish off the narrative. Esarhaddon outlived Hezekiah many years, and was brought into contact with Manasseh ('Eponym Canon,' p. 139), whom he reckoned among his tributaries (comp. 2 Chronicles 33:11).

Seventh turn, "And that which is escaped of the house of Judah, that which remains will again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For from Jerusalem will a remnant go forth, and a fugitive from Mount Zion; the zeal of Jehovah of hosts (K. chethib omits tsebhâ'ōth) will carry this out." The agricultural prospect of the third year shapes itself there into a figurative representation of the fate of Judah. Isaiah's watchword, "a remnant shall return," is now fulfilled; Jerusalem has been spared, and becomes the source of national rejuvenation. You year the echo of Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 9:6, and also of Isaiah 27:6. The word tsebhâ'ōth is wanting in Kings, here as well as in Isaiah 37:17; in fact, this divine name is, as a rule, very rare in the book of Kings, where it only occurs in the first series of accounts of Elijah (1 Kings 18:15; 1 Kings 19:10, 1 Kings 19:14; cf., 2 Kings 3:14).
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