1. Mentioned in II Kings, xvii. 31, as a god of Sepharvaim, which until recently was supposed to be the Hebrew name for the Babylonian city Sippar. After the inhabitants of Sepharvaim had been deported to Samaria (II Kings, xvii. 24; Isa. xxxvi. 19) by Sargon, king of Assyria, they continued to worship their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech, accompanying their rites with the sacrifice of children by fire. There was, however, no Assyrian or Babylonian god bearing the name Adrammelech, although, according to some scholars, the form of the word, if it be regarded as Assyrian, points to a supposed original "Adar-malik" (see 2). There is no reference throughout the cuneiform documents to human sacrifice by fire or otherwise, and it is not certain that the sculptures and bas-reliefs show any representation of such a rite. The reference in Jer. xxix. 22 to the roasting alive of the false prophets Zedekiah and Ahab by the king of Babylon is no doubt historically accurate, although the passage is not regarded by the best authorities (as, for example, Cornill, "Jeremiah," in "Sacred Books of the Old Testament," p. 61) as properly belonging to the text. Inany case it would merely show that such cremation was not unknown in Babylonia as a punishment. It could scarcely have existed as a religious observance, or even as a common form of torture; otherwise it would have been mentioned in the inscriptions.
The question whether Sepharvaim is necessarily the Babylonian Sippar at once arises. If this theory be correct, the name Adrammelech would have to be regarded as the secondary title of the sun-god Shamash, who was the tutelary deity of Sippar. But, as no such secondary title exists in the inscriptions, there is no evidence to support such a view. Many scholars suggest that Sepharvaim (LXX. Σεπφαρίν, Σεπφαρίμ) is identical with "Shabara'in," a city mentioned in the Babylonian Chronicle as having been destroyed by Shalmaneser II. As Sepharvaim is mentioned in connection with Hamath and Arpad (II Kings, xvii. 24, xviii. 34) there is every reason to regard it as a Syrian city. Sepharvaim may therefore be another form of "Shabara'in," which is probably the Assyrian form of Sibraim (Ezek. xlvii. 16), a city near Damascus. If this be so, then any attempt at seeking all Assyrian etymology for the god-names Adrammelech and Anammelech can not, of course, succeed. The fact, too, that the practise of sacrifice by fire was well known in Syria and is mentioned only once in connection with Babylon (compare Prince, "Daniel," p. 75) would appear to confirm this view. It is quite impossible with our present knowledge to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion with regard to the exact meaning of the god-name Adrammelech. The utmost that can be said is that the word "Adr" occurs in Phenician as a god-name in the form , "Itnadr" (Baethgen, "Beiträge zur Semitischen Religionsgeschichte," p. 54), and that "Adr" appears as an epithet in connection with another divine name in the proper name Adarbaal (Baudissin, "Studien zur Semitischen Religions-geschichte," i. 312). There is no essentially Syrian god Adar.—In Rabbinical Literature:
The Talmud teaches (Sanh. 63b) that Adrammelech was an idol of the Sepharvaim in the shape of an ass. This is to be concluded from his name, which is compounded of "to carry" (compare Syriac ), and "a king." These heathen worshiped as God the same animal which carried their burdens (Sanh. l.c.; see also Rashi's explanation of this passage which interprets "to distinguish," by "carrying"). Still another explanation of the name ascribes to the god the form of a peacock and derives the name from adar ("magnificent") and melek ("king"); Yer. 'Ab. Zarah, iii. 42d.
2. Son of Sennacherib, king of Assyria (II Kings, xix. 37; Isa. xxxvii. 38), who, with his brother Sharezer, slew their father while he was praying in the temple of Nisroch at Nineveh, and afterward fled to Armenia. The revolt against Sennacherib is clearly mentioned in the Babylonian Chronicle (iii. 34-35) which, like the account of Berosus, alludes to only one son, without giving his name. The narrative of Abydenus (Eusebius, "Armenian Chronicle," ed. Schoene, i. 35), however, like that of the Scriptures, mentions two sons—Nergilus and Adramelus—which Polyhistor gives in the form "Ardumusanus" (p. 27). It should be added, however, that the existence in Assyro-Babylonian of the form Adar as the name of a god is not altogether certain, although it is probable that the god-name which appears ideographically as Nin-ib should be read Adar. Adar is the name of the last month of the year; but if this be the name of a god, it can hardly be identical with the god Ninib-Adar, who represents the sun in the east—probably the vernal sun. It must also be borne in mind that it is by no means certain that the word Adar is concealed in the name Adrammelech.