ACHMETHA (Heb. akh me-thaw', station or fortress, Ezra vi:2; 'EKIEfctrava, 2 Mace. ix:3; Judith xi:l; Tob. v:9; Joseph. ,Intiq. x:t 1, 7; xi:4, 6; also, in Greek authors 1.-.Watana F.Wirava and :IA-ha/anti 'Aygdraval,a city in Media. The derivation of the name is doubtful ; but Major Rawlinson (Geogr. Journal, x:134) has left little question that the title was applied ex clusively to cities having a fortress for the pro tection of the royal treasures.
(1) Jews' Petition. In Ezra we learn that in the reign of Darius I fystaspes the Jews petitioned that search might be made in the king's treasure house at Babylon for the decree which Cyrus had made in favor of the Jews (Ezra v:17). Search was accordingly made in the record-office ('house of the rolls'), where the treasures were kept at Babylon (•i :1) ; but it appears not to have been found there, as it was eventually discovered 'at Achmetha, in the palace of the province of the Medes' (vi :2) (2) Septuagint. It is here worthy of remark that the LXX regarded 'Achmetha,' in which they could hardly avoid recognizing the familiar title of Echatana, as the generic name for a city, and, accordingly rendered it by w6Xic . and that Josephus, as well as all the Chri_tian Greeks, while retaining the proper name of Ecbatana, yet agree, with the Greek Scriptures, in employing the word Baris, /3cfpir, to express the Hebrew Births ('the palace'), which is used as the dis tinctive epithet of the city.
(3) Apocryphal Account, In Judith i :2, there is a brief account of Ecbatana, in which we are told that it was built by Arphaxad, king of the Medes, who made it his capital.
(4) Identification. This Ecbatana has been usually identified with the present Hamadan. Major Rawlinson, however, while admitting that Hamadan occupies the site of the Median Ecba tana, has a learned and most elaborate paper in the Geographical Journal ( x :65-158; On the Site of the Atropatenian Ecbatana), in which he en deavors to show that the present Takht-i-Sulei man was the site of another, the Atropatenian Ecbatana ; and that to it, rather than to the proper Median Ecbatana, the statement in Herod otus and most of the other ancient accounts are to be understood to refer. Our only busi
ness is with the Achmetha of Ezra ; and that does not require us to enter into this question.
(5) Present Condition. Hamadan is still an important town, and the seat of one of the gov ernments into which the Persian kingdom is di vided. It is situated in north lat. 34 deg. 53 min., east long. 40 deg., at the extremity of a rich and fertile plain, on a gradual ascent, at the base of the Elwund Mountains, whose higher summits are covered with perpetual snow. Some remnants of ruined walls of great thickness and also of towers of sun-dried bricks present the only positive evi dence of a more ancient city than the one on the spot.
Heaps of comparatively recent ruins, and a wall fallen to decay, attest that Hamadan has de clined from even its modern importance. The population is said. by Southgate to be about 30, 000. Many Jews reside here, claiming to be de scended from those of the Captivity who re mained in Media. They speak the broken Turk ish of the country, and have two synagogues. They derive the name of the town from 'Haman' and 'Merle,' and say that it was given to that foe of Mordecai by King Ahasuerus. in the midst of the city is a tomb which is in their charge, and which is said to be that of Mordecai and Esther.
ACHOR(5'kor), (Heb. aw-kore', trouble; Sept. 'Ax4, a-kore'), a valley between Jericho and Ai, which received this name (signifying /rouble) from the trouble brought upon the 'Israelites by the sin of Achan (Josh. vii:24). (See Acttax.)