|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:24-41 The terror of the Almighty will sometimes produce a forced or feigned submission in unconverted men; like those brought from different countries to inhabit Israel. But such will form unworthy thoughts of God, will expect to please him by outward forms, and will vainly try to reconcile his service with the love of the world and the indulgence of their lusts. May that fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, possess our hearts, and influence our conduct, that we may be ready for every change. Wordly settlements are uncertain; we know not whither we may be driven before we die, and we must soon leave the world; but the righteous hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken from him.
Verse 31. - And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak. "Nibhaz" and "Tartak" are very obscure. The Sabians are said to have acknowledged an evil demon, whom they called Nib'az or Nabaz (Norberg, 'Onomastieen,' p. 100); and Tartak has been derived by Gesenius from the Pehlevi Tar-thak, "hero of darkness;" but these guesses cannot be regarded as entitled to much attention. We do not know what the religion of the Avites was, and need not be surprised that the names of their gods are new to us. The polytheism of the East was prolific of deities, and still more of divine names. Nibhaz and Tartak may have been purely local gods, or they may have been local names for gods worshipped under other appellations in the general pantheon of Babylonia. And the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. The god principally worshipped at Sippara was Shamas, "the sun." It is probable that "Adrammelech" (equivalent to adir-melek, "the glorious king," or edir-malek, "the arranging king") was one of his titles. Shamas, in the Babylonian mythology, was always closely connected with Anunit, a sun-goddess; and it is probably this name which is represented by Anammelech, which we may regard as an intentional corruption, derisive and contemptuous.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak,.... The former of which is represented by the Jews in the shape of a dog, deriving the word from "nabach", to bark, as if it was the same with the Anubis Latrator of Virgil (b), an Egyptian deity; though that is said (c) to have its name from NOeb, which in the Egyptian language signifies "gold", the statutes of it being made of gold; and the latter in the form of an ass, for what reason I cannot say; but the first word, according to Hillerus (d), signifies, "the remote one seeth", that is, the sun, which beholds all things; and Tartak is a chain, and may denote the fixed stars chained as it were in their places; or the satellites of the planets, chained to their orbs:
and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and to Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim; which were the same with Moloch; which may be concluded, partly from the worship paid them, and partly from the signification of their names; both end with "melech", king, which Moloch also signifies; the first may be interpreted the mighty king, and the latter the king that answers in an oracular way; from the first, one of the sons of Sennacherib king of Assyria had his name, Isaiah 37:36, though the Jews, according to their fancy, represent the one in the likeness of a mule, and the other in the likeness of a horse; and some make the one to be a peacock, and the other a pheasant (e); the Septuagint version puts the article before them in the feminine gender, excepting the two last, taking them for she deities, or leaving the word "images", to be understood.
(b) Aeneid. l. 6. So Ovid. Metamorph. l. 9. Fab. 12. ver. 689. (c) Jablonski apud Michael. Obs. Sacr. Exercit. 4. p. 66, 67. (d) Ut supra, (Onomast. Sacr.) p. 859. (e) Vid. Kimchium in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. Nibhaz—under that of a dog—that Egyptian form of animal-worship having prevailed in ancient Syria, as is evident from the image of a large dog at the mouth of the Nahr-el-Kelb, or Dog river.
Tartak—According to the rabbis, it was in the form of an ass, but others understand it as a planet of ill-omen, probably Saturn.
Adrammelech—supposed by some to be the same as Molech, and in Assyrian mythology to stand for the sun. It was worshipped in the form of a mule—others maintain in that of a peacock.
Anammelech—worshipped in the form of a hare; others say in that of a goat.
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