Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

“Their images are false,” intones the prophet (Jeremiah 10:14). The word Jeremiah uses to speak of foreign idols, nisko, comes from a root meaning “to melt, to cast.” It denotes an image cast of metal, such as the bronze figurine, the Mesopotamian demon god Pazuzu (c. 800–600 B.C.E.). Shaped with a scorpion‘s body and tail, a bird‘s legs and feet, a lion‘s face, bared fangs and horns, Pazuzu was the Assyrian god of the southwest wind, king of the evil spirits of the air. According to author Philip King, such images conveyed the functions and attributes of gods but not their appearances.