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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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She´ba, Sabeans. As much confusion has been introduced by the variety of meanings which the name Sabeans has been made to bear, it may be proper to specify in this place their distinctive derivations and use. In our Authorized Version of Scripture the term seems to be applied to three different tribes. First, to the Sebaiim, the descendants of Seba or Saba, son of Cush, who ultimately settled in Ethiopia. Second, to the Shebaiim, the descendants of Sheba, son of Joktan, the Sabœi of the Greeks and Romans, who settled in Arabia Felix. They are the 'Sabeans' of , to whom the Jews were to sell the captives of Tyre. Third, to another tribe of Shebans, a horde of Bedouin marauders in the days of Job (); for whether we place the land of Uz in Idumea or in Ausitis, it is by no means likely that the Arabs of the south would extend their excursions so very far. We must, therefore, look for this tribe in Desert Arabia; and it is singular enough, that besides the Seba of Cush, and the Shaba of Joktan, there is another Sheba, son of Jokshan, and grandson of Abraham, by Keturah (); and his posterity appear to have been 'men of the wilderness,' as were their kinsmen of Midian, Ephah, and Dedan.

Yet, as if to increase the confusion in the use of this name of 'Sabeans,' it has also been applied—Fourth, to the ancient star-worshippers of Western Asia, though they ought properly to be styled Tsabians, and their religion not Sabaism but Tsabaism. Fifth, the name of Sabeans, or Sabians, has also been given to a modern sect in the East, the Mandaites, or, as they are commonly but incorrectly called, the 'Christians' of St. John; for they deny the Messiahship of Christ, and pay superior honor to John the Baptist.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Sheba'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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