( Jeremiah 25:26 ), supposed to be equivalent to Babel (Babylon), according to a secret (cabalistic) mode of writing among the Jews of unknown antiquity, which consisted in substituting the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet for the first, the last but one for the second, and so on. Thus the letters sh, sh, ch become b, b, l, i.e., Babel. This is supposed to be confirmed by a reference to Jeremiah 51:41 , where Sheshach and Babylon are in parallel clauses. There seems to be no reason to doubt that Babylon is here intended by this name. (See Streane's Jeremiah, l.c.)
bag of flax or linen
she'-shak (sheshakh, as if "humiliation"; compare shakhakh, "to crouch"):
The general explanation is that this is "a cypherform of `Babel' (Babylon)" which is the word given as equivalent to "Sheshach" by the Targum (Jeremiah 25:26; 51:41; the Septuagint omits in both passages). By the device known as Atbas 'atbas, i.e. disguising a name by substituting the last letter of the alphabet for the first, the letter next to the last for the second, etc., sh-sh-k is substituted for babhel. This theory has not failed of opposition. Delitzsch holds that "Sheshach" represents Sis-ku-KI of an old Babylonian regal register, which may have stood for a part of the city of Babylon. (For a refutation of this interpretation see Schrader, KAT2, 415; COT, II, 108 f.) Lauth, too, takes "Sheshach" to be a Hebraization of Siska, a Babylonian district. Winckler and Sayce read Uru-azagga. Finally, Cheyne and a number of critics hold that the word has crept into the text, being "a conceit of later editors."
See further JEREMIAH, 6.
Horace J. Wolf
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