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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

e'-rek, er'-ek ('erekh; Orech):

1. Etymology of the Name:

The second of the cities founded by Nimrod, the others being Babel, Accad and Calneh (Genesis 10:10). The derivation of the name is well known, Erech being the Semitic-Babylonian Uruk, from the Sumerian Unug, a word meaning "seat," probably in the sense of "residential city." The character with which it is written enters into the composition of the Babylonian names of Larsa and Ur of the Chaldees.

2. Position and Nature of the Ruins:

Its identification with Warka, on the left bank of the Euphrates, half-way between Hillah (Babylon) and Korna, is beyond a doubt. It is thought that the Euphrates must have flowed nearer to the city in ancient times, as the Gilgames legend relates that that hero and his companion Enkidu washed their hands in the stream after having killed the divine bull sent by the goddess Ishtar to destroy them. The shape of the ruin is irregular, the course of the walls of the Northeast having been seemingly determined by that of the Nile canal (Shatt-en-Nil), which flowed on that side. The extreme length of the site from North to South is over 3,000 yds., and its width about 2,800 yds. This space is very full of remains of buildings; and the foundations of the walls, with their various windings, gateways and defenses, are traceable even now.

3. Its Patron-Deities and Their Temples:

Two great deities, Ishtar and Nanaa, were worshipped in this city, the temple of the former being E-anna, "the house of heaven" (or "of Anu," in which case it is probable that the god of the heavens, Anu, was also one of the patrons of the city). The shrine dedicated to Ishtar is apparently now represented by the ruin known as Buwariyya or "reed-mats," and so called on account of the layers of matting at intervals of 4 or 5 ft. This is the great temple-tower (ziq-qurat) of the place, called E-gipar-imina, "the house of 7 enclosures." The remains are situated in a large courtyard measuring 350 ft. by 270 ft. As in the case of other Babylonian erections, the corners are directed toward the cardinal points, and its height is about 100 ft. above the desert-plain.

As Erech is mentioned with Babylon, Niffer (Calneh) and Eridu, as one of the cities created by Merodach (Nimrod), it is clear that it was classed with the oldest foundations in Babylonia. It was the city of Gilgames, the half-mythical king of the earliest period, who seems to have restored the walls and temples. Its earliest known ruler of historical times was Ensag-kus-anna, about 4,000 B.C.

4. History of the City's Temples, etc.:

The celebrated shrine of Ishtar was already in existence in the time of Lugal-zaggi-si, who came somewhat later. King Dungi (2600 B.C.) restored E-anna and built its great wall. This was in the time of the great Ur Dynasty, but later the city seems to have come under the dominion of the kings of Isin, Libit-Ishtar having apparently restored the sanctuary of Ishtar on E-gipara. Another great ruler of the early period was Sin-gasid, king of Erech, who was a patron of E-anna; and when he restored this shrine, he endowed it with grain, wool, oil and 1 shekel of gold. There seems also to have been a shrine to Nergal, god of war, which was restored by King Sin-gamil. About 2280 B.C. Kudur-Nanchunde, the Elamite king, plundered the city, and carried off the statue of the goddess Nanaa, which was only restored to its place by Assur-bani-apli, the Assyrian king, about 635 B.C. Samsu-iluna seems to have surpassed his father Hammurabi (Amraphel) in the restoration of the city's temples, and other rulers who did not forget Erech were Nebuchadrezzar and Nabonidus.

5. Literature Referring to Erech:

Many tablets have been found on the site, and give promise of interesting discoveries still to come. Having been the capital of the hero-king Gilgames, who saw the wonders of the wide world, spoke with the Babylonian Noah face to face, and almost attained immortality as a living man, it was always a place of romance. Poetical compositions concerning it exist, one of the most interesting being a lamentation possibly written after the invasion of Kudur-Nanchundi, when famine was rife in the city, blood flowed like water in E-ulbar, the house of Istar's oracle, and the enemy heaped up fire in all the goddess' lands as one heaps up embers.

6. The City's Numerous Names:

The consideration in which the city was held is made plain by the geographical lists, from which it would seem that it had no less than 11 names, among them being Illab or Illag, Tir-anna, "the heavenly grove"; Ub-imina, "the 7 regions"; Uru-gipara-imina, "the city of the 7 enclosures"; and Uruk-supuri, "Erech of the folds" (the name which it always bears in the Gilgames legend), given to it either on account of its being a center where pastoral tribes gathered, or because of the flocks kept for sacrifice to its deities.

7. Tablets and Tombs of Late Date:

Besides the inscriptions of the kings already mentioned, tablets of the reigns of Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar, Nabonidus, Cyrus, Darius and some of the Seleucids have been found on the site. In the ruins of the town and the country around, numerous glazed earthenware (slipper-shaped) coffins and other receptacles, used for and in connection with the burial of the dead, occur. These are mostly of the Parthian period, but they imply that the place was regarded as a necropolis, possibly owing to the sanctity attached to the site.


Schrader, KAT; Loftus, Chaldoea and Susiana, 162; Fried. Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? 221; Zehnpfund, Babylonien in seinen wichtigsten Ruinenstatten, 48.

T. G. Pinches

Strong's Hebrew
756. Arkevaye -- inhab. of Erech
... inhab. of Erech. Transliteration: Arkevaye Phonetic Spelling: (ar-kev-ah'ee) Short
Definition: Erech. ... of Erech NASB Word Usage men of Erech (1). Archevite. ...
/hebrew/756.htm - 6k

751. Erek -- a city in Babylon
... 750, 751. Erek. 752 . a city in Babylon. Transliteration: Erek Phonetic Spelling:
(eh'-rek) Short Definition: Erech. ... NASB Word Usage Erech (1). Erech. ...
/hebrew/751.htm - 5k


Syria at the Beginning of the Egyptian Conquest
... he had discovered in Hilprecht's book an inscription belonging to the reign of this
prince; but Hilprecht has shown that it belonged to a king of Erech, An-a-an ...
/.../chapter iisyria at the beginning.htm

Moses and his Writings
... 'Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.' (Genesis 10:10.)
The ruins of all these great cities and kingdoms have now been found. ...
/.../duff/the bible in its making/chapter iii moses and his.htm

The History after the Flood.
... After the flood was there again a beginning of cities and kings, in the following
manner:"The first city was Babylon, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in ...
/.../theophilus/theophilus to autolycus/chapter xxxi the history after the.htm

Of the Generations of the Three Sons of Noah.
... hunter against the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon, Erech,
Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that ...
/.../augustine/city of god/chapter 3 of the generations of.htm

Chapter x
... mirable dictu! 10-12. The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon, and Erech
and Akkad and Calneh in the land of Shinar. From that ...
// of genesis volume 1/chapter x.htm

Babylonia and Assyria
... to the west of Lagas was Larsa, the modern Senkereh, famous for its ancient temple
of the Sun-god, a few miles to the north-west of which stood Erech, now Warka ...
/.../early israel and the surrounding nations/chapter vi babylonia and assyria.htm

Editor's Preface
... Erech became the capital of Lugal-zaggisi's empire, and doubtless received
at this time its Sumerian title of "the city" par excellence. ...
/.../history of egypt chaldaea syria babylonia and assyria v 1/editors preface.htm

... En-sag-saganna, king of Kengi. Lugal-zaggisi, king of Erech, founds an empire in
western Asia cir. BC5000 (?). ... DYNASTY OF ERECH. Sin-gamil. Sin-gasid. ...
/.../sayce/early israel and the surrounding nations/appendices.htm

The Old Testament and Comparative Religion
... He became king of Erech, where he ruled as a tyrant until the gods created
Ea-bani to destroy him. The two, however, became bosom friends. ...
/.../eiselen/the christian view of the old testament/chapter v the old testament.htm

Sennacherib (705-681 BC )
... Meanwhile the Assyrian generals had captured Uruk (Erech) on the 1st of Tisri, after
the retreat of Khalludush; and having sacked the city, were retreating ...
/.../chapter isennacherib 705-681 b c.htm

Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

length; health; physic

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(length), one of the cities of Nimrod's kingdom in the land of Shinar, (Genesis 10:10) doubtless the same as Orchoe, 82 miles south and 43 east of Babylon, the modern designations of the site --Warka, Irka and Irak --bearing a considerable affinity to the original name.

ATS Bible Dictionary

One of Nimrod's cities in the plain of Shinar, Genesis 10:10. A recent explorer finds its probable site in the mounds of primeval ruins now called Irka or Irak, a few miles east of the Euphrates, midway between Babylon and the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
(LXX., "Orech"), length, or Moon-town, one of the cities of Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Genesis 10:10); the Orchoe of the Greeks and Romans. It was probably the city of the Archevites, who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezra 4:9). It lay on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 120 miles south-east of Babylon, and is now represented by the mounds and ruins of Warka. It appears to have been the necropolis of the Assyrian kings, as the whole region is strewed with bricks and the remains of coffins. "Standing on the summit of the principal edifice, called the Buwarizza, a tower 200 feet square in the centre of the ruins, the beholder is struck with astonishment at the enormous accumulation of mounds and ancient relics at his feet. An irregular circle, nearly 6 miles in circumference, is defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places 40 feet high."
Erech (2 Occurrences)
... earthen rampart, in some places 40 feet high.". Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
ERECH. e'-rek, er'-ek ('erekh; Orech): 1. Etymology ...
/e/erech.htm - 13k

Ellasar (2 Occurrences)
... 9). It is supposed that the old Chaldean town of Larsa was the metropolis of this
kingdom, situated nearly half-way between Ur (now Mugheir) and Erech, on the ...
/e/ellasar.htm - 9k

Calneh (2 Occurrences)
... kal'-ne (kalneh; Chalanne): The name of the fourth city of Nimrod's kingdom (Genesis
10:10), the three preceding it being Babel, Erech, and Accad, ie the ...
/c/calneh.htm - 11k

Ur (5 Occurrences)
... It was abandoned about BC 500, but long continued, like Erech, to be a great sacred
cemetery city, as is evident from the number of tombs found there. ...
/u/ur.htm - 15k

Nimrod (4 Occurrences)
... He established his kingdom "in the land of Shinar," including the cities "Babel,
and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh" (Genesis 10:10), of which only Babel, or ...
/n/nimrod.htm - 11k

Chaldees (13 Occurrences)
... The Talmud, however, as well as some later Arabic writers, regarded Erech
(the Septuagint Orek) as the city. The cuneiform writing ...
/c/chaldees.htm - 15k

... Easton's Bible Dictionary One of the nations planted by the Assyrians in Samaria
(Ezra 4:9); the men of Erech. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. ARCHEVITE. ...
/a/archevite.htm - 7k

Shinar (8 Occurrences)
... in Shinar before the Semites 9. The States of Shinar: (1) Sippar; (2) Kes; (3) Babylon;
(4) Nippur; (5) Adab; (6) Surippak; (7) Umma; (8) Erech; (9) Lagas; (10 ...
/s/shinar.htm - 27k

... In his 7th year he took Unug (Erech) and Isin-two of the principal cities of Babylonia,
implying that the Dynasty of Babylon had not held sway in all the states ...
/h/hammurabi.htm - 47k

Cyrus (20 Occurrences)
... to have been another move on the part of the Persians, for the Elamite governor (?)
is referred to, and had apparently some dealings with the governor of Erech...
/c/cyrus.htm - 39k

Bible Concordance
Erech (2 Occurrences)

Genesis 10:10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Ezra 4:9 then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, and the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Shushanchites, the Dehaites, the Elamites,



Erech: A City of Shinar

Related Terms

Ellasar (2 Occurrences)

Calneh (2 Occurrences)

Ur (5 Occurrences)

Nimrod (4 Occurrences)

Chaldees (13 Occurrences)


Shinar (8 Occurrences)


Cyrus (20 Occurrences)

Ere (14 Occurrences)

Erect (17 Occurrences)

Chaldeans (82 Occurrences)

Chaldea (8 Occurrences)

Deluge (17 Occurrences)

Dura (1 Occurrence)

Ba'bel (2 Occurrences)


Akkad (1 Occurrence)

Astarte (2 Occurrences)

Ashtoreth (3 Occurrences)

Accad (1 Occurrence)

Babylonia (17 Occurrences)

Euphrates (36 Occurrences)

Babylon (270 Occurrences)

Elamites (2 Occurrences)

Elam (24 Occurrences)

Hushai (13 Occurrences)

Beginning (187 Occurrences)

Babel (3 Occurrences)

Monthly (11 Occurrences)

Sacrifice (300 Occurrences)

Sodomite (1 Occurrence)

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