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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

 Isaiah 37:9. (See Hezekiah ; SO; Esarhaddon The Tehrak of the Egyptian monuments, who reigned over Egypt from 690 or 695 B.C. to 667 B.C.; probably king of Ethiopia before he took the title "king of Egypt." Third king of Manetho's 25th or Ethiopian dynasty. Naturally he helped Hezekiah of Judah against their common enemy Sennacherib, who threatened, Egypt. Herodotus (2:141) and Josephus (Ant. 10:1-3) represent Sennacherib to have advanced to Pelusium; here Tirhakah, the ally of Sethos, the king priest of Lower Egypt, and of Hezekiah, forced Sennacherib to retire, His acquisition of the throne of Egypt seems subsequent to his accession to the Ethiopian throne, and to the diversion which he made in favor of Hezekiah against Sennacherib. He extended his conquests to the pillars of Hercules (Strabo xv. 472), the temple at Medineet Haboo is inscribed with his deeds.

But Memphite jealousy hid his share in Sennacherib's overthrow (at the time of his second invasion of Judah), and attributed Setho's deliverance to divinely sent mice, which gnawed the enemy's bowstrings. The Ethiopian influence and authority over Egypt appear in the large proportion of Ethiopians in Shishak's and Zerah's armies ( 2 Chronicles 12:3;  2 Chronicles 16:8); also in Pharaoh Necho's ( Jeremiah 46:9). Isaiah ( Isaiah 17:12-18; Isaiah 17:7) announces Sennacherib's overthrow, and desires the Ethiopian ambassadors, now in Jerusalem, having arrived from Meroe, the island between "the river of Ethiopia," the Nile, and the Astaboras, in "vessels of bulrushes"' or pitchcovered papyrus canoes, to bring word to their own nation (not "woe," but "ho!" calling the Ethiopians' attention to his prophetic announcement of the fall of Judah's and their common foe; Vulgate translated "the land of the clanging sound of wings," i.e. the land of armies with clashing arms; Vitringa supports KJV Ethiopia "shadowing," i.e. protecting the Hebrew "with wings"; Kenaphaim, related to the name of the idol Kneph, represented with wings:  Psalms 91:4).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

TIRHAKAH , king of Cush (  2 Kings 19:9 ,   Isaiah 37:9 ), marched out from Egypt against Sennacherib shortly before the mysterious destruction of the Assyrian army│(? b.c. 701). Herodotus preserves a version of the same event. Tirhakah was the third of the Ethiopian (25th) Dyn., and reigned as king of Ethiopia and Egypt from about b.c. 691 665; towards the end of his reign (670 665) until his death he was engaged in constant struggles with the Assyrians, who endeavoured to establish their power in Egypt by means of the native princes as against the Ethiopian. Tirhakah was quite unable to resist the attacks of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal; even Thebes was sacked, but the Assyrians were equally unable to hold the country they bad won. The chronology of the reign is not clear: Tirhakah was not king at the time of Sennacherib’s expedition, but he may have commanded the army opposing it. Winckler places the later Assyrian attacks in 675 668.

F. Ll. Griffith.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

King of Ethiopia, or Cuch, and of Egypt. This prince, at the head of a powerful army, attempted to relieve Hezekiah, when attacked by Sennarcherib,  2 Kings 19:9 , but the Assyrian army was routed before he came up,  Isaiah 37:19 , B. C. 712. He is undoubtedly the Tarcus of Manetho, and the Tearcho of Strabo, the third and last king of the twenty-fifth or Ethiopian dynasty. It is supposed that he is the Pharaoh intended in  Isaiah 30:2; and that  Isaiah 19:1-25 depicts the anarchy which succeeded his reign. He was a powerful monarch, ruling both Upper and lower Egypt, and extending his conquests far into Asia and towards the "pillars of Hercules" in the west. His name and victories are recorded on an ancient temple at Medinet Abou, in upper Egypt; whence also the representation above given of his head was copied by Rosselini.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Tirhakah ( Tir'Ha-Kah ), Exalted? King of Ethiopia and upper Egypt.  2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9. In legends he was one of the greatest conquerors of antiquity. His triumphs westward are said to have reached the Pillars of Hercules. When Sennacherib heard of his coming he demanded the immediate surrender of Jerusalem.  2 Kings 19:9;  2 Kings 19:16. Tirhakah reigned, probably, 28 years. The dates are uncertain, but perhaps his rule extended from b.c. 695 to 667.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Tir'hakah or Tirha'kah. (Exalted?). King of Ethiopia (Cush), the opponent of Sennacherib.  2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9. He may be identified with Tarkos, or Tarakos, who was the third and last king, of the twenty-fifth dynasty, which was of Ethiopians. His accession was probably about B.C. 695. Possibly Tirhakah ruled over Ethiopia, before becoming king of Egypt.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

King of Ethiopia.  2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9 . See Egypt

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

 2 Kings 19:8-9 Isaiah 37:9

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 2 Kings 19:9 Isaiah 37:9

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

[many Tirshakah] (Heb. Tirha'kah, תּרְהָקָה , of Ethiopic derivation; Sept. Θαρακά v.r. Θαραθά and Θαρά ; Vulg. Tharaca ) , a king of Cush (Sept. Βασιλεὺς Αἰθιόπων , A.V. "king of Ethiopia" ), the opponent of Sennacherib ( 2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9). While the king of Assyria was "warring against Libnah," in the south of Palestine, he heard of Tirhakah's advance to fight him, and sent a second time to demand the surrender of Jerusalem. This was near the close of B.C. 713, unless we suppose that the expedition took place in the twenty-fourth instead of the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, which would bring it to B.C. 703. If it were an expedition later than that of which the date is mentioned, it must have been before B.C. 697, Hezekiah's last year. But, if the reign of Manasseh is reduced to thirty-five years, these dates would be respectively B.C. cir. 693, 683, and 678, and these numbers might have to be slightly modified if the fixed date of the capture of Samaria, B.C. 720, be abandoned. (See Hezekiah).

Wilkinson supposes (1, 138) that Tirh'kah occupied the throne of Egypt from B.C. 710 to 689. Rawlinson gives the date B.C. 690 ( Hersod. 1, 392). Dr. Hincks, in an elaborate article, argues for this latter date, and: supposes Tirh'kah, after a reign over Egypt of twenty-six years, to have retired to Ethiopia B.C. 664 ( Journ. Of Sac. Lit. Jan. 1864). (See Cihronology).

According to Manetho's epitomists, Tarakos ( Ταρακός ) , or Tarkos ( Ταρκός ), was the third and last king of the XXVth dynasty, which was of Ethiopians, and reigned eighteen (Afr.) or twenty (Eus.) years. From one of the Apis-Tablets we learn that a bull Apis was born in his twenty-sixth year and died at the end of the twentieth of Psammetichus I of the XXVIth dynasty. Its life exceeded twenty years, and no Apis is stated to have lived longer than twenty-six. Taking that sum as the most probable, we should date Tirh'kah's accession B.C. cir. 695, and assign him a reign of twenty-six years. In this case we should be obliged to take the later reckoning of the Biblical events, were it not for the possibility that Tirh'kah ruled over Ethiopia before becoming king of Egypt. In connection with this theory it must be observed that an earlier Ethiopian of the same dynasty is called in the Bible "So, king of Egypt," while this ruler is called Tirh'kah, king of Ethiopia," and that a Pharaoh is spoken of in Scripture at the period of the latter, and also that Herodotus (3, 141) represents the Egyptian opponent of Sennacherib as Sethos, a native king, who may, however, have been a vassal under the Ethiopian. See So. It is deserving of remark, and strongly favors the view of those writers who maintain that during considerable periods Ethiopian dynasties ruled in Egypt, that from the time of Shishak to that of Tirh'kah it is of Ethiopians that we read in Scripture as having mainly furnished the hosts which marched to battle out of Egypt. While Shishak is called king of Egypt, his army is declared to have been composed, not of Egyptians, but of Lubims and Sukkims and Ethiopians ( 2 Chronicles 12:3). We subsequently read of Zerah the Ethiopian leading an army of Ethiopians and Lubims against Asa ( 2 Chronicles 16:8).

We now find that while Pharaoh of Egypt may have made great promises, it is the Ethiopian king Tirh'kah who alone brings an army into the field. In the reign of Pharaoh-necho, the Egyptian army seems to have been mainly composed of Ethiopians and Libyans ( Jeremiah 46:9). The natural inference is that, during this long period, the military power of Egypt was at a low ebb. At the time we are now speaking of, Rawlinson supposes Egypt to have been subject to Ethiopia ( Hierod. 1, 391). In this he is not quite correct, however. Egypt may have been inferior to it in strength and spirit, but it was, at least, nominally independent at this time, though it may have fallen soon after under the power of the Ethiopian king. That Tirh'kah was actually king of Egypt at some time is strongly maintained. There is nothing in Scripture to prevent our supposing that he became so subsequent to the period when it speaks of him. Indeed, in the position in which it places him, at the head of a large army in Egypt, with no Assyrian enemy to dread, it pictures a situation which would tempt an ambitious soldier to extend his power by dethroning an effeminate or irresolute monarch, such as the Pharaoh of his time would seem to have been. Wilkinson (1, 138-142) supposes that he at first ruled over Upper Egypt, while Sethos held the sovereignty of the lower country; that he came to the Egyptian throne rather by legal succession than by usurpation; and that he did actually fight against the army of Sennacherib, and overthrow it in battle. Scripture, however, expressly ascribes the overthrow of the Assyrian to the supernatural interposition of God ( 2 Kings 19:35). Herodotus (2, 141) does not mention Tirh'kah at all, but only speaks of the king of Egypt, and mentions the overthrow of the Assyrian army very much in the way that crafty, priests might pervert tie actual occurrence as recorded in Scripture. It is quite possible that Tirh'kah may have led his army in pursuit of the Assyrians after their mysterious midnight overthrow; may have captured prisoners and treasure; and this would be quite sufficient ground for any successes ascribed to him on the Theban sculptures. If, as is probable, he became king of all Egypt, there seems strong reason for agreeing with much, at least; of Strabo's account of him (lib. 15) as having extended his conquests into Europe.

The Assyrian power was effectually checked by the ruin of its army and the divisions of its reigning family. At the head of a great army which had come forth to fight the Assyrians, and now found itself without a foe, there is every reason why Tirh'kah may have extended the Egyptian power as far as any Egyptian king before him. If Tirh'kah did come into actual collision with the Assyrians at or near Pelusium in Egypt, as many writers maintain, it must have been upon another occasion than that mentioned in Scripture (see Josephus, Ant. 10:1, 4). It is, however, more probable that Scripture has sketched in a few words the entire matter, and that the variations from it are the effect of ignorance or design. The invasion of Assyria had probably Egypt and Ethiopia as its ultimate object, but in the account of. Scripture the Assyrian host plainly was only on its way to the accomplishment of its purpose. (See Sennacherib).

The name of Tirh'kah is written in hieroglyphics Teharka (or Coptic Tarkha). His successful opposition to the power of Assyria is recorded on the walls of a Theban temple, for at Medinet Habu are the figure and the name of this king and the captives he took (Trevor, Egypt, p. 71). At Jebel Berkel, or Napata, he constructed one temple and part of another. Of the events of his reign little else is known, and the account of Megasthenes (ap. Strabo, 15:686, where he is called "Tearkon the Ethiopian,' Τεάρκων Οα῾Ἰθίοψ ) , that he rivaled Sesostris as a warrior and reached the Pillars of Hercules, is not supported by other evidence. It is probable that at the close of his reign he found the Assyrians too powerful, and retired to his Ethiopian dominions. See Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1, 140 sq.; Brugsch, Hist. of Egypt, 2, 256 sq. (See Ethiopia).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

tẽr - hā´ka , tir - hā´ka ( תּרהקה , tirhāḳāh  ; Codex Vaticanus in 2 Kings Θαρά , Thará  ; elsewhere and in Codex Alexandrinus Θαρακά , Tharaká  ; Josephus Θαρσίκης , Tharsı́kēs ):

1. Name and Prenomen:

The king of Cush or Ethiopia ( βασιλεὺς Αἰθιόπων , basileús Aithiópōn ), who opposed Sennacherib in Palestine (  2 Kings 19:9;  Isaiah 37:9 ). The name of this ruler of Egypt and his native realm appears in hieroglyphics as Taharqa , his prenomen being Nefer - atmu - Ra - ḥu , " Nefer - atmu - Ra protects." The Assyrian form of Tirhakah is Tarqû or Tarqu'u (inscriptions of Assur - bani - pal ).

2. Origin and Length of Reign:

Tirhakah was one of the sons, and apparently the favorite, of Piankhy II. He left his mother, and the city Napata, at the age of 20; and when she followed him northward, she found him crowned as king of Egypt. As he died, after a reign of at least 26 years, in 667 BC, he must have mounted the throne about 693 BC.

3. A C hronological Difficulty

The engagement between Tirhakah's army and the Assyrians is regarded as having taken place in 701 BC. Petrie explains this date by supposing he acted at first for the reigning Pharaoh, his cousin Shabatoka, Tirhakah not having officially become Pharaoh until the former's death in 693 BC. There is a general opinion, however, that the Assyrian historians, like those of 2 King and Isaiah, have mingled two campaigns made by Sennacherib, one of them being after the accession of Tirhakah.

4. First Conflict with the Assyrians:

According to the Old Testament account, Sennacherib was besieging Libnah when Tirhakah's army appeared in Palestine. In Sennacherib's inscriptions, however, the battle with "the king(s) of Mucuru (Egypt) and the bowmen, chariots, and cavalry of Meruhha" (Meroe or Ethiopia), who had come to Hezekiah's help, took place in the neighborhood of Eltekeh. He claims to have captured the sons of the king (variant, "kings") of Egypt and the charioteers of the king of Meruhha, and then, having taken Eltekeh, Timna, and Ekron, he brought out Padi from Jerusalem, and resented him on the throne of Ekron. The name of Tirhakah does not occur in his account.

5. Struggles with Esar-Haddon and Assur-Bani-Pal. His Death:

It would seem to have been Egypt's interference in Palestinian affairs which caused the Assyrian kings to desire the conquest of that distant country. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, the Assyrian army fought in Egypt in the 7th year of Esar-haddon (675 BC), and the country was then apparently quiet until 672 BC, when Esar-haddon marched thither, and after fighting three battles, entered Memphis. "The king" (Tirhakah) fled, but his sons and nephews were made prisoners. In the latter campaign (670 BC) Esar-haddon fell ill and died on the way out, so that the operations were, apparently, completed by his son, Assur-bani-pal (Osnap-par); On hearing of the Assyrian success at Kar-Baniti, Tirhakah, who was at Memphis, fled to Thebes. The 20 petty kings installed in Egypt by Esar-haddon were restored by Assur-bani-pal, but they feared the vengeance of Tirhakah after the Assyrian army had retired, and therefore made an agreement with him. On this news reaching the Assyrian king, he sent his army back to Egypt, and the petty rulers having been abolished, Necho king of Memphis and Sais was set on the throne, with his son, Nabu-sizbanni, as ruler in Athribes. On hearing of the success of the Assyrian armies, Tirhakah fled, and died in Cush (Ethiopia). He was suceeded by TanTamane (Identified with Tanut-Amon), son of Sabaco, whom the Assyrians defeated in the last expedition which they ever made to Egypt (see W. F. Petrie, History of Egypt , III, 294 ff).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Tirha´kah, king of Cush (Ethiopia in the Common Version), who in the days of Hezekiah came out against Sennacherib when he was making war on Judah . He is the Tarakos of Manetho, the third king of the twenty-fifth dynasty, and the Tearkon of Strabo (xv. 687), with whom the twenty-fifth Ethiopic dynasty came to an end. His successful opposition to the power of Assyria is recorded on the walls of a Theban temple, for at Medinet Abu are the figure and the name of this king and the captives he took. That Tirhakah ruled at Napata, now Gebel Berkel, and in the Thebaid at the same period, is proved by the additions he made to the temples of Thebes, and by the monuments he built in Ethiopia. That he was a very potent monarch is evident from his defeat of Sennacherib, as well as from the monuments he has left both in Egypt and Ethiopia, and his maintenance of the Egyptian possessions in Asia.