a drunkard; that turns
(pl. Sebaim ; in Authorized Version incorrectly rendered Sabeans) heads the list of the sons of Cush. Besides the mention of Seba in the lists of the pens of Cush, ( Genesis 10:7 ; 1 Chronicles 1:9 ) there are but three notices of the nation -- ( Psalms 72:10 ; Isaiah 43:3 ; 45:14 ) These passages seem to show that Seba was a nation of Africa bordering on or included in Cush, and in Solomons time independent and of political importance. It may perhaps be identified with the island of Meroe. Josephus says that Saba was the ancient name of the Ethiopian island and city of Meroe, but he writes Seba, in the notice of the Noachian settlements, Sabas. The island of Meroe lay between the Astaboras, the Atbara, the most northern tributary of the Nile, and the Astapus, the Bahr el-Azrak, "Blue River," the eastern of its two great confluents.
1. Forms of Name, and Parentage of Seba:
The first son of Cush, his brothers being Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtecha. In Psalms 72:10 and Isaiah 43:3 (where the Greek has Soene), Seba is mentioned with Egypt and Ethiopia, and must therefore have been a southern people. In Isaiah 45:14 we meet with the gentilic form, (csebha'im) (Sabaeim), rendered "Sabaeans," who are described as "men of stature" (i.e. tall), and were to come over to Cyrus in chains, and acknowledge that God was in him--their merchandise, and that of the Ethiopians, and the labor of Egypt, were to be his.
2. Position of the Nation:
Their country is regarded as being, most likely, the district of Saba, North of Adulis, on the west coast of the Red Sea. There is just a possibility that the Sabi River, stretching from the coast to the Zambesi and the Limpopo, which was utilized as a waterway by the states in that region, though, through silting, not suitable now, may contain a trace of the name, and perhaps testifies to still more southern extensions of the power and influence of the Sebaim. (See Th. Bent, The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland, 1892.) The ruins of this tract are regarded as being the work of others than the black natives of the country. Dillmann, however, suggests (on Genesis 10:7) that the people of Seba were another branch of the Cushites East of Napatha by the Arabian Sea, of which Strabo (xvi. 4, 8, 10) and Ptolemy (iv.7, 7 f) give information.
See SHEBA and HDB, under the word
T. G. Pinches
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