E'rech (Hebrews E'reok, אֶרֶך, length; Sept. Ο᾿ρέχ,Vulg. Arach), one of the cities which formed the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Ge 10:10). It is not said that he built these cities, but that he established his power over them; from which we may conclude that they previously existed. It was probably also the city of the ARCHEVITES, who were among those who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezr 4:9). Until recently, the received opinion, following the authority of St. Ephrem, Jerome, and the Targumists, identified Erech with Edessa or Callirhoe (now Urfah), a town in the northwest of Mesopotamia. This opinion is supported by Von Bohlen (Introd. to Genesis page 233), who connects the name Callirhoe with the Biblical Erech through the Syrian form Eurhok, suggesting the Greek word ἐ῏υῤῥοος. This identification is, however, untenable: Edessa was probably built by Seleucus, and could not, therefore, have been in existence in Ezra's time (Ezr 4:9), and the extent thus given to the land of Shinar presents a great objection. Erech must be sought in the neighborhood of Babylon. Gesenius (Thesaur. page 151), following Bochart (Phaleg, 4:16), rather seeks the name in the ῎Αρακκα or Aracha of the old geographers, which was on the Tigris, upon the borders of Babylonia and Susiana (Ptolemy, 6:3; Ammian. Marcell. 33:6, 26). This was probably the same city which Herodotus (1:185; 6:119) calls Ardericca (῎Αρδέρικκα), i.e. Great Erech. Rosenmüller happily conjectures (Alterth. 1, 2:25) that Erech probably lay nearer to Babylon than Aracca; and this has lately been confirmed by Colossians Taylor, the British resident at Bagdad, who is disposed to find the site of the ancient Erech in the great mounds of primitive ruins, indifferently called Irak, Irka, Werka, and Senkerah, by the nomade Arabs and sometimes El-Asayiah, "the place of pebbles" (Bonomi, Nineveh, page 40). These mounds, which are now surrounded by the almost perpetual marshes and inundations of the lower Euphrates, lie some miles east of that stream, about midway between the site of Babylon and its junction with the Tigris. This is doubtless the same as Orchoa (Ο᾿ρχόη) 82 miles south, and 42 east of Babylon (Ptolemy, 6:20, 7), the modern designations of the site bearing a considerable affinity to both the original names. It is likewise probable that the Orcheni (Ο᾿ρχηνοί) described by Strabo as an astronomical sect of the Chaldaeans dwelling near Babylon (21, page 739); in Ptolemy as a people of Arabia living near the Persian Gulf (5:19, 2); and in Pliny as an agricultural population, who banked up the waters of the Euphrates, and compelled them to flow into the Tigris (6:27, 31), were really inhabitants of Orchoe and of the district surrounding it. This place appears to have been the necropolis of the Assyrian kings, the whole neighborhood being covered with mounds, and strewed with the remains of bricks and coffins. Some of the bricks bear a monogram of "the moon," and Colossians Rawlinson surmises that the name Erech may be nothing more than a form of יָרֵחִ, the Hebrews name for that luminary (Athenceum, 1854, No. 1377); but the orthography does not sustain this conjecture. Some have thought that the name of Erech may be preserved in that of Irak (Irak-Arabi), which is given to the region enclosed by the two rivers in the lower part of their course. (See Chesney, Euphrates Expedition, 1:116, 117; Ainsworth, Researches, page 178; Loftus, Chaldcea, page 160 sq., where a full description is given.) For another Erech, probably in Palestine, SEE ARCHI.

Bible concordance for ERECH.

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