|ANAMMELECH - |
a-nam'-e-lek (`anammelekh = Assyrian Anu-malik, "Anu is the prince"):
A Babylonian (?) deity worshipped by the Sepharvites in Samaria, after being transported there by Sargon. The worship of Adrammelech (who is mentioned with Anammelech) and Anammelech is accompanied by the sacrifice of children by fire: "The Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim" (2 Kings 17:31). This passage presents two grave difficulties. First, there is no evidence in cuneiform literature that would point to the presence of human sacrifice, by fire or otherwise, as part of the ritual; nor has it been shown that the sculptures or bas-reliefs deny this thesis.
Much depends upon the identification of "Sepharvaim"; if, as some scholars hold, Sepharvaim and Sippar are one and the same cities, the two deities referred to are Babylonian. But there are several strong objections to this theory. It has been suggested that Sepharvaim (Septuagint, seppharin, sepphareimi) is rather identical with "Shabara'in," a city mentioned in the Babylonian Chronicle as having been destroyed by Shalmaneser IV. As Sepharvaim and Arpad and Hamath are grouped together (2 Kings 17:24; 18:34) in two passages, it is probable that Sepharvaim is a Syriac city. Sepharvaim may then be another form of "Shabara'in," which, in turn, is the Assyrian form of Sibraim (Ezekiel 47:16), a city in the neighborhood of Damascus (of Halevy, ZA, II, 401). One objection to this last is the necessity for representing "c" by "sh"; this is not necessarily insurmountable, however. Then, the attempt to find an Assyrian etymology for the two god-names falls to the ground. Besides, the custom of sacrifice by fire was prevalent in Syria. Secondly, the god that was worshipped at Sippar was neither Adrammelech nor Anammelech but Samas. It is improbable, as some would urge, that Adrammelech is a secondary title of the tutelary god of Sippar; then it would have to be shown that Anu enjoyed special reverence in this city which was especially consecrated to the worship of the Sun-god. (For "Anu" see ASSYRIA.) It may be that the text is corrupt.
H. J. Wolf