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ADONIS ə dō’ nĭs (̓Άδωνις, from אָדוֹן, H123, lord). The Syrian deity of vegetation which wilts under the hot summer sun. He was called tammuzu or dūzi in Akkad.; tammuz in Heb. In Syria and Phoenicia he was known as ’adōnī, from which comes his Gr. name Adonis. He was venerated throughout the Near East, Egypt, and Greece. A feast in his honor was celebrated in June/July. When the vegetation wilted under the scorching heat and he descended into the nether world, his wife, the goddess Ishtar, went down too in order to revive him the following spring. The two were fertility gods, symbolizing the death and restoration of life in nature. Ezekiel 8:14 tells of Israelite women weeping at one of the gates of the Temple for the death of Tammuz. There is a possible reference to his worship in Isaiah 17:10, where the “pleasant plants” may refer to Adonis gardens, as the herbs planted in his honor were called.


J. G. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris: Studies in the History of Oriental Religions (1906); S. A. Cook, The Religion of Ancient Palestine in the Light of Archaeology (1930), 139, 140; W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament, I (1961).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

a-do’-nis: A name for the Babylonian god TAMMUZ, which see. The word occurs only in the English Revised Version, margin of Isa 17:10, where for "pleasant plants" is read "plantings of Adonis." The the American Standard Revised Version rightly omits this marginal suggestion.

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