Sab'ta (Heb. Subta', סִבתָּא, of unknown etymology, Sept. Σαβαθά v.r. Σαβατά, 1Ch 1:9; in Ge 10:7 the Heb. [in most MSS.] is Sabtah', סִבתָּה; Sept. Σαβαθά; Eng. Vers. "Sabtah"), the third named of the five sons of Cush, the son of Ham. B.C. cir. 2475. His descendants appear to have given name to a region of the Cushites (Ge 10:7; 1Ch 1:9). SEE CUSH.
In accordance with the identifications of the settlements of the Cushites in the art. ARABIA and elsewhere. Sabtah should be looked for along the southern coast of Arabia. There seem to be no traces in Arabic writers; but the statements of Pliny (6, 32, § 155; 12, 32), Ptolemy (6, 7, p. 411), and Anon. Peripl. (27), respecting Sabbatha, Sabota, or Sabotale, metropolis of the Atramitae (probably the Chatramotitae), seem to point to a trace of the tribe which descended from Sabta, always supposing that this city Sabbatha was not a corruption or dialectic variation of Saba, Seba, or Sheba. SEE SHEBA. It is only necessary to remark here that the indications afforded by the Greek and Roman writers of Arabian geography require very cautious handling, presenting, as they do, a mass of contradictions and transparent travelers' tales respecting the unknown regions of Arabia the Happy, Arabia Thurifera, etc. Ptolemy places Sabbatha in long. 77°, lat. 16° 30'. It was an important city, containing no less than sixty temples (Pliny, N.H. 6, 23, 32); it was also situate in the territory of king Elisarus, or Eleazus (comp. Anon. Peripl. ap. Muller, Geog. Min. p. 278, 279), supposed by Fresnel to be identical with "Ascharides," or "Alascharissoun" in Arabic (Journ. Asiat. Nouv. Serie, 10, 191). Winer thinks the identification of Sabta with Sabbatha, etc., to be probable; and it is accepted by Bunsen (Bibelwerk, Genesis 10, and Atlas). It certainly occupies a position in which we should expect to find traces of Sabta, where are traces of Cushitic tribes in very early times, on their way, as we hold, from their earlier colonies in Ethiopia to the Euphrates. Gesenius, who sees in Cush only Ethiopia, "has no doubt that Sabta should be compared with Σαβάτ, Σαβά, Σαβαί (see Strabo, 16, p. 770, ed. Casaub.; Ptolemy, 4, 10), on the shore of the Arabian Gulf, situated just where Arkiko is now, in the neighborhood of which the Ptolemies hunted elephants. Among the ancient translators, Pseudo-Jonathan saw the true meaning, rendering it סמדאי, for which read סמראי, i.e. the Sembritpoe, whom Strabo (l.c. p. 786) places in the same region. Josephus (Ant. 1, 6, 1) understands it to be the inhabitants of Astabora" (Gesenius, ed. Tregelles, s.v.). Here the etymology of Sabta is compared plausibly with Σαβάτ; but when probability is against his being found in Ethiopia, etymology is of small value, especially when it is remembered that Sabat and its variations (Sabax, Sabai) may be related to Seba, which certainly was in Ethiopia. On the Rabbinical authorities which he quotes we place no value. It only remains to add that Michaelis (Suppl. p. 1712) removes Sabta to Ceuta, opposite Gibraltar, called in Arabic Sebtah (comp. Marasid, s.v.); and that Bochart (Phaleg, 1, 114, 115, 252 sq.), while he mentions Sabbatha, prefers to place Sabta near the western shore of the Persian Gulf, with the Saphtha of Ptolemy, the name also of an island in that gulf.