(Heb. Nisnrok', נַסרֹך, usually referred to the root נֶשֶׁר, eagle, with Persian ending och or ach, intensive, i.q. great eagle; but, according to Bohlen, perhaps a Sanscrit word, from nis, "night'" and 7o'gis, ". light," i.q. the light of night, i.e. the moon [see Gesen. Thesaur. p. 892]; Sept. Νεσράχ, 2Ki 19:37; Νασαράχ, Isa 37:38; v. r. Μεσεράχ, Ε᾿σθράχ, Α᾿σαράχ), an idol worshipped by the Assyrians, in whose temple Sennacherib was worshipping when assassinated by his sons, Adrammielech and Sharezer (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). Adopting the above Shemitic derivation of the name, Mr. Layard has discovered an eagle-headed figure in the ruins of Nineveh (at Nimrod), which he supposes to have been the Assyrian Nisroch; and one quite similar has since been dug out at Khorsabad (Nineveh and its Remains, 2:388; Nineveh and its Palaces, p. 219 sq.). . . . A Zoroastrian oracle speaks of God "as he that has the head of the hawk." But there are many great if not insuperable difficulties in the way. The name Nisroch is not found on any of the inscriptions; and nisr has not in Assyrian the meaning which it has in Hebrew. No name of any god on the sculptures at all resembles Nisroch, and the hawk-headed figure is more, as professor Rawlinson says, "an attendant genius than a god" (Four Great Empires, 2:263). Sir Henry Rawlinson even affirms that "Asshur had no temple at Nineveh in which Sennacherib could have been worshipping" (Herodot. 1:485); while Layard thinks that the king may have been slain in a temple of this god, and that the Hebrews, seeing the hawk-headed figure so frequently sculptured in connection with him, believed it to be the presiding divinity (Nineveh and Babylon, p. 637). The Jewish rabbins pretend that Nisroch was an idol formed from one of the boards of Noah's ark (Rashi on Isaiah 37; Kimchi on 2 Kings 19); while others suppose it was an image of the dove which Noah sent out from the ark (Ge 8:8), and have sought confirmation in Lucian's statement (De Jove Trag. c. 42) that the Assyrians sacrificed to the dove. Many other theories are noticed in Iken's Dissert. de Nisroch, Idolo Assyr. (Brem. 1747). See also Ideler, Ursprung d. Sternnamsen,p. 416; Creuzer, Symbol. 1:723 sq. Selden confesses his ignorance of the deity denoted by this name (De Dis Syris, synt. ii, c. 10); but Beyer, in his Additamenta (p. 323-325), has collected several conjectures (see Kulenkamp, De Nisroch Idolo Assyriorum, Romans 1747). One is mentioned as more probable by Winer (Realw. s.v.), that it was the constellation Aquila, the eagle being in the Persian religion a symbol of Ormuzd. Parkhurst, deriving the word from the Chaldee root סרִך, serak (which occurs in Daniel 6 in the form סָרכִיָּא, sarekayya, and is- rendered in the A. V. "presidents"), conjectures that Nisroch may be the impersonation of the solar fire, and substantially identical with Molech and Milcom, which are both derived from a root similar in meaning to serak. Josephus has a curious variation. He says (Ant. 10:1, 5) that Sennacherib was buried in his own temple, called Aiasce (ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ ναῷ Α᾿ράσκῃ λεγομένῷ). It may be inferred from these various renderings that the Hebrew name has been in some way corrupted, and that the initial consonant N or in is a corruption. In that case the real name is something like Asarach or Assar (Niebuhr, Gesch. Assur, p. 131; Brandis, Historisch. Gewinn, p. 105). This would at once connect the name with Asshur, the deified patriarch and head of the Assyrian pantheon, to whom belong as emblems the winged circle and the sacred tree, and who is usually called by his worshippers "Asshur, my lord." It has been thought that the reading Nisroch has arisen from taking as a phonetic sign the determinative v which is usually prefixed to the name of a god.

Bible concordance for NISROCH.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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