🔼The name Nibhaz: Summary
- Lord Of Darkness
- From the theonym Nib'az, which belonged to a dog-like deity.
- From the verb נבח (nabah), to bark.
🔼The name Nibhaz in the Bible
The name Nibhaz occurs only once in the Bible. In 2 Kings 17:31 we read how the Avvites (who were settled in Samaria by the king of Assyria following the deportation of the Israelites) created their deities Nibhaz and Tartak and worshipped them.
It's unclear where these Nibhaz and Tartak came from, but according to the Pulpit Commentary, the Sabeans acknowledged an evil demon named Nib'az or Nabaz (spelled נבאז). The Talmud teaches that Nibhaz and Tartak were a dog and an ass (Sanhedrin.63a). Some scholars have suggested that this creature was a local equivalent of dog-gods such as the Egyptian Anubis, whereas others assume that Nibhaz represents the sun.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Nibhaz
If Nibhaz is the same as Nib'az or Nabaz, then it may mean Lord Of Darkness in Syriac. Since this creature may have had the shape of a dog, the Hebrews may have associated its name with the verb נבח (nabah), meaning to bark (and in some manuscripts, this deity is referred to as נבחן, Nibhan, which makes the association with the following verb even stronger):
The verb נבח (nabah) means to bark (what a dog does).
To a Hebrew audience, Nibhaz and especially Nibhan would have meant Barker.