From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

fort of Chemosh

Carchemish is mentioned about 1800 B.C. as the capital of a kingdom in alliance with the Assyrian king Shamshi-adad I against Yahdun-lim, king of Mari.

After the Mari period, there is a short break in the known history of the city. When sources again become available, Carchemish was first under Hurrian influence, then was included within the Hittite sphere. Carchemish was a vassal and ally of the Hittite King Muwatallis against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II at the important battle of Kadesh in 1286 B.C.

Following the destruction of the New Hittite Kingdom at the hands of the Sea Peoples shortly after 1200 B.C., Carchemish became the most important heir of the Hittite culture. The land of Hatti and the Hittites mentioned in the Bible are probably these successors to the Anatolian Hittites centered on Carchemish. Carchemish again became the head of an independent kingdom and successfully resisted capture by the Assyrian Empire during the whole of its first period of expansion. Only under Sargon II were the Assyrians able to capture and destroy Carchemish in 717 B.C. Sargon helped to rebuild the city, and it became the capital of a western Assyrian province. Assyria's ultimate capture of the city was noteworthy enough that Isaiah used it as a rhetorical example in one of his oracles ( Isaiah 10:9 ).

The most important battle at Carchemish, however, was not fought over possession of the city. At the very end of the Assyrian period, when Nebuchadrezzar was incorporating all former Assyrian territory within the new Babylonian Empire, Pharaoh Neco II of Egypt came to Carchemish to try to save the remnants of the Assyrian army. He hoped to preserve a weak Assyria as a buffer between him and a strong and aggressive Babylon. He arrived too late to save the Assyrians, perhaps held up by Josiah's unsuccessful challenge at Megiddo ( 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 ). Nebuchadrezzar defeated Neco at Carchemish. This victory gave Babylon authority over all of western Asia within the next few years; for this reason it ranks as one of the most decisive battles of all time. Jeremiah and the Chronicler both took note of it; Jeremiah composed a poetic dirge commemorating the Egyptian defeat ( Jeremiah 46:2-12 ). The city of Carchemish appears to have declined after the Babylonian period of power, for references to it cease.

Carchemish and its ruins were visited by western travelers repeatedly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Excavations were carried out on the site from 1878-1881, and again from 1911-1914 and in 1920. A cuneiform inscription found during the excavations confirms the site as Carchemish.

Joseph Coleson

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

CARCHEMISH was the northern capital of the Hittite empire, but was probably also of consequence before the era of the Hittites, as it commanded the principal ford of the Euphrates on the right bank, and was therefore indispensable to travel and commerce in Northern Syria. It was shown by George Smith to have lain on the site of the modern Jerablus or Hierapolis. It was an obstacle to the march of the invading Egyptians about b.c. 1600. Several Assyrian conquerors attempted to capture it. It was taken finally by Sargon in b.c. 717 (cf.   Isaiah 10:9 ), after which it became the capital of an Assyrian province. Here Nebuchadrezzar defeated Pharaoh-necho in b.c. 605, and thus ended the latest native Egyptian rçgime in Asia (  Jeremiah 46:2 ,   2 Chronicles 35:20 ).

J. F. McCurdy.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

("the fort of Chemosh"), the Moabite idol. The Assyrian monuments show it to be a city of the Hittites who held all Syria (between 1100 and 850 B.C.) from Damascus to the Euphrates at Bir; 200 miles higher up on the Euphrates than the classical Circesium. It stood where Hierapolis (Mabog) was subsequently. Important in position as commanding a passage of the Euphrates, from whence its possession was a matter of contest between Babylon and Egypt ( 2 Chronicles 35:20). Taken by Pharaoh Necho after the battle of Megiddo in which king Josiah, Babylon's ally, fell 610 B.C. Retaken by Nebuchadnezzar three years later, 607 B.C. ( Jeremiah 46:2.) Assyria had originally taken it from the Hittites ( Isaiah 10:9).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

City on the river Euphrates, about 36 50' N, 38 5' E . The Assyrian monuments show that about 1,000 years B.C. it belonged to the Hittites. Apparently it was taken by the Assyrians,  Isaiah 10:5,9; afterwards conquered by Necho king of Egypt, after the battle of Megiddo, in which Josiah was killed,  2 Chronicles 35:20 , where it is Charchemish Three years later it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar.  Jeremiah 46:2 . Carchemish has often been associated with the classical Circesium, and placed on maps some 200 miles S.E. of the above, which is judged to be an error.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

Probably the same with Circesium or Circusium, a fortified city on the west of the Euphrates, where the river Chaboras enters it. In  Isaiah 10:9 , it appears as taken by some king of Assyria. It was attacked by Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, near the close of king Josiah's reign,  2 Chronicles 35:20 . Five years afterwards Necho was signally defeated by Nebuchadnezzar,  Jeremiah 46:1-12 . In later times was held as a frontier post of the Roman empire on the east.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Car'chemish. (Fortress Of Chemosh). Occupied nearly the site of the later Mabug or Hierapolis. It seems to have commanded the ordinary passage of the Euphrates at Bir or Birekjik . Carchemish appears to have been taken by Pharoah Necho, shortly after the battle of Megiddo, (circa, B.C. 608), and retaken by Nebuchadnezzar, after a battle three years later, B.C. 605.  Jeremiah 46:2.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Carchemish, or Charchemish ( Kär-Ke'Mĭsh ), Citadel Of Chemosh. A chief city of northern Syria, on the Euphrates, where a great and decisive battle was fought, in which Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh-necho.  2 Chronicles 35:20;  2 Kings 23:29;  Jeremiah 46:2, in b.c. 605.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Jeremiah 46:2 2 Chronicles 35:20

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

kar´ke - mish ( כּרכּמישׁ , karkemı̄sh  ; Χαρμείς , Charmeı́s , Καρχαμείς , Karchameı́s ): An exceedingly ancient Hittite city on the banks of the Euphrates, identified with Jerablus (Hierapolis) about 23 hours from Aleppo, between Birejik and Membij . The Assyrian form of the name is Kargamis or Gargamis , but its meaning is doubtful, the interpretation "Fort of the god Chemosh" having been suggested before it was known that the Assyrian-Babylon form of Chemosh was not Kamish or Gamish , but Kammusu ( Kammosu ). Systematic excavations on the site have apparently only just been made, those undertaken by Consul J. Henderson, after the death of G. Smith the Assyriologist, having been mainly devoted to the excavation of sculptures, etc. The site has vast walls and palace-mounds about. 8,000 ft. in circumference.

1. Evidence of the City's Early Existence

The earliest occurrence of the name is in an adjectival form, namely, Karkamisū , "Carchemishite," applied to a vase or measure of 200 qa , in a list of property at Sippar in the reign of Ammi-caduga (circa 1900 bc). Later on, the Egyptian poet known as Pentaur refers to the people of Carchemish ( Qarqameša ) as forming, with the men of Arvad, Aleppo and Gozan, part of "the host of the miserable king of the Hittites" ( H̬attu - šil ), who fought against Rameses Ii at the battle of Kadesh. The first Assyrian king to mention Carchemish is Tiglath-pileser I (circa 1268 bc), who states that he plundered "from the neighborhood of the land of Suh̬u (the Shuhites) as far as Carchemish of the land of Hattu" in one day.

2. Its Later History

Later, the city attracted the attention of the Assyrian king Aššur - naṣir - âpli , who started on the 8th of Iyyar, about the year 870 bc, to the conquest of the district, and received tribute from the son of Bit-Bahiani; and, a little later, from Sangara of Carchemish, who is described as king of the Hittites. This tribute consisted of 20 talents of silver, various objects of gold, 100 talents of copper, 250 talents of iron, furniture, chariots and horses - an enormous treasure. Shalmaneser II, son of Aššur - naṣir - âpli , also took tribute from the king of Carchemish here referred to. On the first occasion when the two monarchs met, Sangara was in alliance with the Sam'alians, Patinians, and Til-Bursip. After the capture of Šazabē (858 bc), a strong city of Sangara of Carchemish, all the opposing princes submitted. The tribute paid by the Hittite king on this occasion is depicted on strip F of the bronze coverings of the gates of Balawât, which has four representations of the place - two in the upper and two in the lower row of reliefs. The Kurkh monolith states that the tribute consisted of "2 talents of gold, 70 talents of silver, 80 talents of bronze, 100 talents of iron, 30 talents of purple stuff, 500 weapons, his daughter with a dowry, and 100 daughters of his great men, 500 oxen, and 5,000 sheep." A yearly tax was also imposed. The reliefs show two long trains of tribute-bearers, that in the lower row escorting the princess, who, apparently accompanied by her father, goes to meet the Assyrian king. Samsi-Adad, Shalmaneser II's son, merely mentions Carchemish as being on the western limits of his empire.

3. Tiglath-Pileser Iv R eceives Its Tribute, and Sargon of Assyria Incorporates It

In the time of Tiglath-pileser IV, the city was ruled by King Pisiri(s), who paid tribute as an Assyrian vassal. On the accession of Sargon of Assyria, however, Pisiris tried to throw off the Assyrian yoke, and made alliance with Meta of Moschi (Mesech) and other rulers, but was taken prisoner in the operations which followed. In the subsequent plundering of the city, those who suffered most were the inhabitants of the city who had been most active against Assyria. These were carried captive, and their places filled, as was the custom, by Assyrian settlers. The city's importance under Assyrian rule continued, the "mana of Carchemish" being one of the standard weights in use at Nineveh. After incorporation into the Assyrian empire it was ruled by Assyrian governors, one of whom, Bêl-êmuranni, was eponym for. the year 691 bc (reign of Sennacherib). The Old Testament gives later details. In the time of Josiah, Pharaoh Necoh marched to fight against the city, and the Jewish king went out to meet him, but lost his life at Megiddo ( 2 Chronicles 35:20 ). Four years later (605 bc), the Egyptian king was himself defeated by Nebuchadrezzar under the walls of the city ( Jeremiah 46:2 ) in the battle which decided the fate of Western Asia.

4. Sculpture and Inscriptions Found at Carchemish

The art of Carchemish was that of the Hittite nation to which the city belonged, but it was strongly influenced by the style of the Assyrians, and exhibits a mannerism if anything more pronounced. The Inscriptions found on the site are in the usual Hittite style - boldly carved natural objects and implements in relief arranged in boustrophedonbands between division-lines. It is not improbable, however, that cuneiform was also used, and texts in Phoenician characters may, by chance, be found. The patron-deity of the city was the Asiatic goddess Atargatis, whose worship, when the place lost its importance, was removed to the new Hierapolis now represented by the ruins of Membij .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(Hebrews Karkemish', כִּרְכְּמַישׁ , prob.

fort of Chemosh; Sept. Χαρμείς v. r. Καρχαμής in Jeremiah, but omits in Chronicles and Isaiah, Χαρκαμύς in  1 Esdras 1:5), mentioned in  Isaiah 10:9 among other places in Syria which had been subdued by an Assyrian king, probably Tiglath-pileser. That Carchemish was a stronghold on the Euphrates appears from the title of a prophecy of Jeremiah against Egypt ( Jeremiah 46:2): "Against the army of Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, which lay on the river Euphrates, at Carchemish, and which Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, overthrew, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah," i.e. B.C. 606. According to  2 Chronicles 35:20, Necho had advanced with his ally Josiah, the father of Jehoiakim, against the Babylonians, on the Euphrates, to take Carchemish, B.C. 609. These two circumstances the position of Carchemish on the Euphrates, and its being a frontier town, render it probable (see Layard, Nineveh And Babylon, p. 199) that the Hebrew name points to a city which the Greeks called Κιρκήσιον , the Latins Cercusium, and the Arabs Kerkesiyeh (Schultens, Index. Geogr. s.v.; Ritter, Erdk. 11:695); for this too lay on the western bank of the Euphrates, where it is joined by the Chaboras (comp. Bochart, Phaleg, 4:21; Cellarii Notit. 2:715 sq.; Michaelis, Supplem. p. 1352 sq.). It was a large city, and surrounded by strong walls, which, in the time of the Romans, were occasionally renewed, as this was the remotest outpost of their empire, toward the Euphrates, in the direction of Persia (Ammian. Marcell. 23:5; Zozim. 3:12; Procop. Bell. Pers. 2:5; comp. Procop. Aed f. 1:6; Ptolemy 5:18, 6). Carchemish is named in the cuneiform inscriptions (q.v.), which show it to have been, from about B.C. 1100 to B.C. 850, a chief city of the Hittites, who were masters of the whole of Syria from the borders of Damascus to the Euphrates at Bir, or Bireh-jik; it is also mentioned on the Egyptian hieroglyphical sculptures (Layard, ut sup. p. 305, 538). At the point where the Khabur (the ancient Chebar) joins the Euphrates, there are large mounds on both banks of the former river, marking the sites of old cities, or perhaps of different sections of one great city. The mound on the right bank is crowned with a modern Arab village, called Abu Serai, or "Father of Palaces" (Chesney, Euph. Exp. 1:118). It stands on a narrow wedge- shaped plain, in the fork of the two rivers. This corresponds exactly to Procopius's description of Circeslum, who says that its fortifications had the form of a triangle at the junction of the Chabur and Euphrates (Bell. Pers. 2:5). This seems to be the true site of Carchemish. It was visited by Benjamin of Tudela in the twelfth century, who found in it two hundred Jews (Early Travels in Pal. p. 93). According to others, however (following the Syriac and Arabic versions), it lay very much higher up the Euphrates, occupying nearly the site of the later Mabug, or Hierapolis. Dr. Hinks maintains, from his reading of the Assyrian inscriptions, that the true site of Carchemish is at or near Bir, on the opposite bank of the Euphrates, and about 200 miles higher up than it is generally thought to be (Jour. Sac. Lit. July, 1854, p. 408). Still less probable is the supposition that it is the Cadytis of Herodotus (see Heinii Dissertt. Sacr. Amst. 1726, p. 23). (See Calneh).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Car´chemish is mentioned in among other places in Syria which had been subdued by an Assyrian king, probably Tiglath-pileser. It appears to have been a frontier town and a stronghold on the Euphrates (; ), and is probably therefore the city which the Greeks called Kirkesion, the Latins Cercusium, and the Arabs, Kerkesiyeh; for this too lay on the western bank of the Euphrates, where it is joined by the Chaboras. It was a large city, and surrounded by strong walls, which, in the time of the Romans, were occasionally renewed, as this was the remotest outpost of their empire, towards the Euphrates, in the direction of Persia. It is unknown whether any traces of it still exist; for, as it lies off the usual route of caravans, it has not been noticed by modern travelers.