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ARIOCH (ăr'ĭ-ŏk)

The king of Ellasar in Syria and confederate with Kedorlaomer (Gen.14.1, Gen.14.4, Gen.14.9).Captain of the king’s guard at Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar (Dan.2.14-Dan.2.25).

ARIOCH âr’ ĭ ŏk (אַרְיֹ֖וכְ, LXX ̓Αριωχ). 1. An ally of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, who with three other kings led a punitive expedition against the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela in Pal. (Gen 14). Victorious over the allied army of these five Palestinian kings, Chedorlaomer’s forces were, nevertheless, put to flight by the armed retainers of Abram the Heb. The proposed identifications of Amraphel (q.v.), Chedorlaomer (q.v.), Tidal (q.v.), and the other kings have not been widely accepted. Difficulties are phonological and chronological, those of the latter variety being the more serious. If the account is to be taken seriously as historical tradition, all rulers identified with the Biblical names should be contemporaries of each other and of Abraham (19th or 18th cent. b.c.). The district over which Arioch ruled is called Ellasar in the OT. Some have seen in this name a Heb. spelling of Akkad. āl Larsa (“city of Larsa”) and have identified Arioch with Eri-aku, a variant spelling of the name of Warad-Sin, king of Larsa c. 1830 b.c. His reign ended about thirty years before that of Hammurabi of Babylon (identified by some with Biblical Amraphel). Others identify Biblical Ellasar with the city Ilanzura mentioned in Hitt. texts and the Mari archives and located between Carchemish and Haran. Some support for this interpretation might be found in the Dead Sea Apocryphon, which gives Arioch’s realm as Kptwk (Cappadocia?). If the Biblical Tidal should then be identified as a Tudhaliya, two of the four kings would hail from Anatolia. The name Arioch, if it be disassociated from Eri-aku, is prob. the Hurrian name Arriwuk, which was borne inter alia by the fifth son of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari (c. 1779-61 b.c.).

2. A second Biblical Arioch is the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguard (Dan 2:14, 15), who was commanded to execute the “wise men” who had failed to interpret the royal dream.


W. F. Albright, BASOR 78 (1940), 30; Gelb, Purves and MacRae, Nuzi Personal Names (1943), 204; R. deVaux, RB 55 (1948), 333; M. Noth, Vetus Testamentum 1 (1951), 136-140; F. M. Th. Böhl, “Das Zeitalter Abrahams,” Opera Minora (1953), 45, 46.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

ar’-i-ok: (’aryokh):

(1) The name of the vassal king of Ellasar, under Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Amraphel, king of Shinar (Babylonia), who took part in the expedition against Sodom, Gomorrah and other states (Ge 14:1,9). Assyriologists generally, and probably rightly, identify Arioch with Eri-Aku (which see), king of Larsa, Ellasar being for Al-Larsa (now Sinqara in central Babylonia).

Texts Referring to the Reign of Arioch:

For an account of the expedition see Amraphel, and for the Babylonian texts bearing upon the reign, see Eri-aku. In Ge 14:1,9, where the names of the allied kings who marched against the Cities of the Plain are given, that of Arioch follows his more immediate suzerain, Amraphel, and not Chedorlaomer, who, however, appears to have been the real overlord (verse 4), which agrees with the indications of the Bah records. No details of the expedition are available from Babylonian sources. Besides Larsa, Eri-Aku’s inscriptions inform us that Ur (Muqayyar, Mugheir) was in the principality of which Larsa was the capital.

(2) The Arioch of Da 2:14,25 was captain of the bodyguard of King Nebuchadnezzar. Nothing else is known about him except that it was he who was commanded to slay the "wise men" who failed to repeat to the king his dream and its interpretation; and who communicated to his royal master that Daniel had undertaken the task.

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