2 Kings 19:37
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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(37) And it came to pass.—Twenty years afterwards.

Nisroch.—This name appears to be corrupt. The LXX. gives Νεσεραχ and Μεσορὰχ; Josephus, ἐν Αράσαη, “in Araskè,” as if the name were that of the temple rather than the god. The Hebrew version of Tobit (1:21) gives Dagon as the god. Dagon (Da-kan, Da-gan-nu) was worshipped at an early date in Babylonia, and later in Assyria; but no stress can be laid on the evidence of a late version of an Apochryphon. Wellhausen thinks the original reading of the LXX. must have been Άσσαρὰχ, which seems to involve the name of Asshur, the supreme god of the Assyrians.

Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him.—The Assyrian monuments are silent on the subject of the death of Sennacherib. For Adrammelech, see the Note on 2Kings 17:31. Sharezer, in Assyrian, Sar-uçur, “protect the king,” is only part of a name. The other half is found in Abydenus (apud Eusebius), who records that Sennacherib was slain by his son Adramelos, and succeeded by Nergilos (i.e., Nergal), who was slain by Axerdis (Esarhaddon). From this it appears that the full name was Nergal-sar-uçur, “Nergal protect the king!” (the Greek Neriglissar.) (See Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 39:13.)

And they escaped into the land of Armenia.—Ararat, the Assyrian Urartu, was the name of the great plain through which the Araxes flowed. The battle in which Esarhaddon defeated his brothers was fought somewhere in Little Armenia, near the Euphrates, according to Schrader, who gives a fragment of an inscription apparently relating thereto.

Esarhaddon.—The Assyrian Assur-aha-iddina, “Asshur gave a brother,” who reigned 681-668 B.C.

2 Kings 19:37. He was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god — The God of Israel had done enough to convince him that he was the only true God, yet he persists in his idolatry: justly then is his blood mingled with his sacrifices, who will not be convinced, by so dear-bought a demonstration, of his folly in worshipping idols. His sons smote him — Smote their own father, (whom they were bound to protect at the hazard of their own lives,) and that when they saw him engaged in the very act of his devotion!

Monstrous villany! But God was righteous in it. Justly are the sons suffered to rebel against their father that begat them, when he was in rebellion against the God that made him. They, whose children are undutiful to them, ought to consider whether they have not been so to their Father in heaven. They escaped into the land of Armenia — Which was a country most fit for that purpose, because it was near to that part of Assyria, and was very mountainous, and inaccessible by armies; and the people were stout and warlike, and constant enemies to the Assyrians. And Esar- haddon his son reigned in his stead — Who, according to Ezra, (Ezra 4:2,) sent great supplies to his new colony at Samaria; fearing, probably, lest Hezekiah should improve the last great advantage to disturb his late conquest there.

19:35-37 That night which followed the sending of this message to Hezekiah, the main body of their army was slain. See how weak the mightiest men are before Almighty God. Who ever hardened himself against Him and prospered? The king of Assyria's own sons became his murderers. Those whose children are undutiful, ought to consider whether they have not been so to their Father in heaven? This history exhibits a strong proof of the good of firm trust and confidence in God. He will afflict, but not forsake his people. It is well when our troubles drive us to our knees. But does it not reprove our unbelief? How unwilling are we to rest on the declaration of Jehovah! How desirous to know in what way he will save us! How impatient when relief is delayed! But we must wait for the fulfilling of his word. Lord, help our unbelief.The death of Sennacherib, which took place many years afterward (680 B.C.), is related here, as, from the divine point of view, the sequel to his Syrian expeditions.

Nisroch his god - Nisroch has not been as yet identified with any known Assyrian deity. The word may not be the name of a god at all but the name of the temple, as Josephus understood it. Assyrian temples were almost all distinguished by special names. If this be the true solution, the translation should run - "As he was worshipping his god in the house Nisroch."

They escaped into the land of Armenia - literally, "the land of Ararat," or the northeastern portion of Armenia, where it adjoined Media. The Assyrian inscriptions show that Armenia was at this time independent of Assyria, and might thus afford a safe refuge to the rebels.

Esar-haddon (or Esar-chaddon), is beyond a doubt the Asshur-akh-iddin of the inscriptions, who calls himself the son, and appears to be the successor of Sin-akh-irib. He commenced his reign by a struggle with his brother Adrammelech, and occupied the throne for only thirteen years, when he was succeeded by his son, Sardanapalus or Asshur-bani-pal. He warred with Phoenicia, Syria, Arabia, Egypt, and Media, and built three palaces, one at Nineveh, and the others at Calah and Babylon.

2Ki 19:37. Sennacherib Slain.

37. as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch—Assarae, or Asshur, the head of the Assyrian Pantheon, represented not as a vulture-headed figure (that is now ascertained to be a priest), but as a winged figure in a circle, which was the guardian deity of Assyria. The king is represented on the monuments standing or kneeling beneath this figure, his hand raised in sign of prayer or adoration.

his sons smote him with the sword—Sennacherib's temper, exasperated probably by his reverses, displayed itself in the most savage cruelty and intolerable tyranny over his subjects and slaves, till at length he was assassinated by his two sons, whom, it is said, he intended to sacrifice to pacify the gods and dispose them to grant him a return of prosperity. The parricides taking flight into Armenia, a third son, Esar-haddon, ascended the throne.

The land of Armenia was a place most fit for their purpose, because it was near to that part of Assyria, and was very mountainous and inaccessible by armies, and the people more stout and warlike, and constant enemies to the Assyrians.

Esarhaddon; who sent great supplies to his new colony in Samaria, Ezra 4:2, fearing, it seems, lest Hezekiah should improve the last great advantage to disturb his new conquests there.

And it came to pass, when King Hezekiah heard it,.... The report of Rabshakeh's speech, recorded in the preceding chapter:

that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth; rent his clothes because of the blasphemy in the speech; and he put on sackcloth, in token of mourning, for the calamities he feared were coming on him and his people: and he went into the house of the Lord; the temple, to pray unto him. The message he sent to Isaiah, with his answer, and the threatening letter of the king of Assyria, Hezekiah's prayer upon it, and the encouraging answer he had from the Lord, with the account of the destruction of the Assyrian army, and the death of Sennacherib, are the same "verbatim" as in Isaiah 37:1 throughout; and therefore the reader is referred thither for the exposition of them; only would add what Rauwolff (t) observes, that still to this day (1575) there are two great holes to be seen, wherein they flung the dead bodies (of the Assyrian army), one whereof is close by the road towards Bethlehem, the other towards the right hand against old Bethel.

(t) Travels, par. 3. ch. 22. p. 317.

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

(y) This was the just judgment of God for his blasphemy, that he would be slain before the idol that he preferred to the living God, and by those who should by nature have needed his defence.

37. in the house of Nisroch] The LXX. gives the name as Μεσεράχ. Of Nisroch we have no information except this passage, and it is uncertain whether the name be rightly represented in the Hebrew. Some have connected the word with the Hebrew nesher = an eagle, and because on the Assyrian monuments one most conspicuous figure is an eagle-headed man have thought that the name given to the god by the Hebrews refers to this representation. Probably the name is incorrect either because the Jews did not learn it correctly, or connected it with a false etymology. Josephus (Ant. x. 1, 5) says Sennacherib was murdered ‘in his own temple Arasce’ (ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ ναῷ Ἀράσκῃ), which looks as if he had had some different name before him.

Adrammclech and Sharezer his sons] Just as in verse 31 the Massoretic text had an omission of consonants and gave only the vowels of the word, so it is done with ‘his sons’ here. The consonants as well as vowels are written in the parallel place in Isaiah. The Chronicler (2 Chronicles 32:21) says ‘they that came forth of his own bowels slew him with the sword’.

into the land of Armenia] R.V. Ararat. The change is in accordance with the Hebrew text. But the interpretation of Ararat as Armenia is found in the Vulgate of Genesis 8:4, where ‘upon the mountains of Ararat’ is represented by super montes Armeniœ. Then in the verse of Isaiah parallel to this of 2 Kings, the LXX. translates by εἰς Ἀρμενίαν, and the Vulgate by in terram Armeniorum. That Ararat, though unknown to the Greeks and Romans, was the name of a part of Armenia is made evident by the name Araratia being given by Moses of Khorene to the central province of that country (Hist. Armen. Whiston, p. 361). In Tob 1:21 where we have a notice of this king Sennacherib and his death, the name of the land of refuge is given as Ararath.

Esarhaddon] According to the Assyrian canon this king came to the throne in b.c. 681, and reigned till 668. In consequence of disaffection in Babylonia, he united it to the Assyrian kingdom and was the first (and only) Assyrian who had two capital cities. For he resided now in Nineveh and now in Babylon. On his dwelling at Babylon, cf. 2 Chronicles 33:11. Esarhaddon was famous for the number and grandeur of his buildings, having erected in Mesopotamia and Assyria no fewer than thirty temples. His palace at Nimrûd has been discovered and excavated in recent times.

Verse 37. - And it came to pass - seventeen or eighteen years afterwards; not "fifty-five days" after, as the author of Tobit (1. 21) says - as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god. The word Nisroch offers considerable difficulty. It has been connected with nesher (נֶשֶׁר), "eagle," and explained as a reference to the eagle-headed genius sometimes seen in the Assyrian sculptures ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 265). But there is no evidence that the genii were ever worshipped in Assyria, much less that they had temples of their own, nor is any name resembling "Nisroch" attached to any of them. The word itself is somewhat doubtful, and different manuscripts of the Septuagint, here and in Isaiah 37:38, have the variants of Nasaraeh, Esorach, Meserach, and Asarach, while Josephus has Araskas. Asarach might conceivably be a strengthened form of Asshur; but the substitution of samech for shin is against this explanation. Still, Asshur was certainly Sennacherib's favorite god, the deity whom he principally worshipped. Josephus regards the name as belonging, not to the god, but to the temple (ἐν τῷ ἰδίθι ναῷ Αράσκῃ λεγομένῳ), which is perhaps the true solution of the difficulty. Translate - "as he was worshipping his god in the house Nisroch." That Adram-melech and Sharezer his sons. Adram-melech is called "Adrammeles" by Aby-denus, "Ardamazanes" by Polyhistor. Neither form resembles any known Assyrian name, but Adrammelech has a good Semitic derivation (see the comment on 2 Kings 18:31). "Sharezer" is probably a shortened form of Nergal-shar-ozer (comp. "Shalman," Hosea 10:14), which was a name in use at the time ('Eponym Canon,' p. 68). Abydenus seems to have called him Nergilus. Smote him with the sword. So Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:1. § 5) and Mos. Chor. ('Hist. Armen.,' 1:22). A mutilated inscription of Esarhaddon's seems to have described his war with his brothers ('Records of the Past,' vol. 3. p. 103) at the commencement of his reign, but the earlier part is wanting. And they escaped into the land of Armenia; literally, of Ararat. The Hebrew "Ararat" is the Assyrian "Ur-arda" - the ordinary name for the country about Lakes Van and Urumiyeh. The name "Armenia" is not found earlier than the inscriptions of Darius Hystaspis. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead. Esarhaddon (the Sarchedon of Tobit 1:21, and the Asshur-akh-iddin of the Assyrian inscriptions) succeeded his father in B.C. 681, and was engaged for some time in a war with his brothers on the Upper Euphrates, after which he made himself master of Nineveh. He reigned from B.C. 681 to B.C. 669, when he was succeeded by his son, Asshur-bani-pal. Assyria reached the acme of her prosperity in his time.

2 Kings 19:372 Kings 19:37 contains an account of Sennacherib's death. When he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer slew him, and fled into the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon became king in his stead. With regard to נסרך, Nisroch, all that seems to be firmly established is that he was an eagle-deity, and represented by the eagle-or vulture-headed human figure with wings, which is frequently depicted upon the Assyrian monuments, "not only in colossal proportions upon the walls and watching the portals of the rooms, but also constantly in the groups upon the embroidered robes. When it is introduced in this way, we see it constantly fighting with other mythical animals, such as human-headed oxen or lions; and in these conflicts it always appears to be victorious," from which we may infer that it was a type of the supreme deity (see Layard's Nineveh and its Remains). The eagle was worshipped as a god by the Arabs (Pococke, Specim. pp. 94, 199), was regarded as sacred to Melkarth by the Phoenicians (Nonnus, Dionys. xl. 495,528), and, according to a statement of Philo. Bybl. (in Euseb. Praepar. evang. i. 10), that Zoroaster taught that the supreme deity was represented with an eagle's head, it was also a symbol of Ormuzd among the Persians; consequently Movers (Phniz. i. pp. 68, 506, 507) regards Nisroch as the supreme deity of the Assyrians. It is not improbable that it was also connected with the constellation of the eagle (see Ideler, Ursprung der Sternnamen, p. 416). On the other hand, the current interpretation of the name from נשׁר (נשׁר, Chald.; nsr, Arab.), eagle, vulture, with the Persian adjective termination ok or ach, is very doubtful, not merely on account of the ס in נסרך, but chiefly because this name does not occur in Assyrian, but simply Asar, Assar, and Asarak as the name of a deity which is met with in many Assyrian proper names. The last is also adopted by the lxx, who (ed. Aldin. Compl.) have rendered נסרך by Ἀσαράχ in Isaiah, and Ἐσοράχ (cod. Vatic.) in 2 Kings, by the side of which the various readings Μεσεράχ in our text (cod. Vat.) and Νασαράχ in Isaiah are evidently secondary readings emended from the Hebrew, since Josephus (Ant. x. 1, 5) has the form Ἀρασκής, which is merely somewhat "Graecized." The meaning of these names is still in obscurity, even if there should be some foundation for the assumption that Assar belongs to the same root as the name of the people and land, Asshur. The connection between the form Nisroch and Asarak is also still obscure. Compare the collection which J. G. Mller has made of the different conjectures concerning this deity in the Art. Nisroch in Herzog's Cycl. - Adrammelech, according to 2 Kings 17:31, was the name of a deity of Sepharvaim, which was here borne by the king's son. שׁראצר, Sharezer, is said to mean "prince of fire," and was probably also borrowed from a deity. בּנין (Isa.) is wanting in our text, but is supplied by the Masora in the Keri. The "land of Ararat" was a portion of the high land of Armenia; according to Moses v. Chorene, the central portion of it with the mountains of the same name (see at Genesis 8:4). The slaying of Sennacherib is also confirmed by Alex. Polyhistor, or rather Berosus (in Euseb. Chr. Armen. i. p. 43), who simply names, however, a son Ardumusanus as having committed the murder, and merely mentions a second Asordanius as viceroy of Babylon.

(Note: With regard to the statement of Abydenus in Euseb. l. c. p. 53, that Sennacherib was followed by Nergilus, who was slain by his son Adrameles, who again was murdered by his brother Axerdis, and its connection with Berosus and the biblical account, see M. v. Niebuhr, Geschichte Assurs, pp. 361ff. Nergilus is probably the same person as Sharezer, and Axerdis as Esarhaddon.)

The identity of the latter with Esarhaddon is beyond all doubt. The name אסר־חדּן, Esar-cha-don, consisting of two parts with the guttural inserted, the usual termination in Assyrian and Babylonian, Assar-ach, is spelt Ἀσορδάν in the lxx, Σαχερδονός in Tobit - probably formed from Ἀσερ-χ-δονοσορ by a transposition of the letters, - by Josephus Ἀσσαραχόδδας, by Berosus (in the armen. Euseb.) Asordanes, by Abyden. ibid. Axerdis, in the Canon Ptol. Ἀσαράδινος, and lastly in Ezra 4:10 mutilated into אסנפּר, Osnappar (Chald.), and in the lxx Ἀσσεναφάρ; upon the Assyrian monuments, according to Oppert, Assur-akh-iddin (cf. M. v. Niebuhr, Gesch. Ass. p. 38). The length of his reign is uncertain. The statements of Berosus, that he was first of all viceroy of Babylon, and then for eight years king of Assyria, and that of the Canon Ptol., that he reigned for thirteen years in Babylon, are decidedly incorrect. Brandis (Rerum Assyr. tempora emend. p. 41) conjectures that he reigned twenty-eight years, but in his work Ueber den histor. Gewinn, pp. 73, 74, he suggests seventeen years. M. v. Niebuhr (ut sup. p. 77), on the other hand, reckons his reign at twenty-four years.

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