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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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or "men of stature," Isaiah 45:14 . These men were probably the Sabeans of Arabia Felix, or of Asia. They submitted to Cyrus. The Sabeans of Arabia were descended from Saba; but as there are several of this name, who were all heads of peoples, or of tribes, we must distinguish several kinds of Sabeans.

1. Those Sabeans who seized the flocks of Job 1:15 , were, probably, a people of Arabia Deserta, about Bozra; or, perhaps, a flying troop of Sabeans which infested that country.

2. Sabeans, descendants from Sheba, son of Cush. Genesis 10:7 , are probably of Arabia Felix: they were famous for spices; the poets gave them the epithet of soft and effeminate, and say they were governed by women:

Medis, levibusque Sabaeis

Imperat hic sexus.

[This sex governs the Medes, and the gentle Sabeans.] Several are of opinion, that from them came the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10:1-2; and that of these Sabeans the psalmist speaks, Psalms 72:10 , "The kings of Arabia and Sheba shall give gifts;" and Jeremiah 6:20 : "What are the perfumes of Sheba to me?" and Isaiah 60:6 : "All who come from Sheba shall offer gold and perfumes."

3. Sabeans, sons of Shebah, son of Reumah. Genesis 10:7 , probably dwelt in Arabia Felix. Probably it is of these Ezekiel speaks, Ezekiel 27:22 , who came with their merchandise to the fairs of Tyre: and Joel 3:8 : "I will deliver up your children to the tribe of Judah, who shall sell them to the Sabeans, a very distant nation."

4. Sabeans, descendants from Joktan, may very well be those mentioned by Ezekiel 27:23 : "Saba, Assur, and Chelmad, thy dealers." They are thought to have inhabited beyond the Euphrates; whence they are connected with Asshur and Chilmad, Genesis 10:28; 1 Chronicles 1:22 .

5. Sabeans are also placed in Africa, in the isle of Meroe. Josephus brings the queen of Sheba from thence, and pretends that it had the name of Sheba, or Saba, before that of Meroe.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Sabeans'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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