Sepharva'im (Heb. Sepharva'yim, ספִווִים; Sept. Σεπφαρουαϊvμ, Ε᾿πφαρουαϊvμ) is mentioned by Sennacherib in his letter to Hezekiah as a city whose king had been unable to resist the Assyrians (2Ki 19:13; Isa 37:13; comp. 2Ki 18:34). It is coupled with Hena and Ava, or Ivah, which were towns on the Euphrates above Babylon. Again, it is mentioned in 2Ki 17:24 as one of the places from which colonists were transported to people the desolate Samaria, after the Israelites had been carried into captivity, where it is again joined with Ava, and also with Cuthah and Babylon. These indications are enough to justify us in identifying the place with the famous town of Sippara, on the Euphrates above Babylon (Ptolemy, 5, 18), which was near the site of the modern Mosaib. Sippara was mentioned by Berosus as the place where, according to him, Xithrus (or Noah) buried the records of the antediluvian world at the time of the deluge, and from which his posterity recovered them afterwards (Fragmn. Hist. Gr. 2, 501; 4, 280). Abydenus calls it πόλιν Σιππαρηνῶν (Fragm. 9), and says that Nebuchadnezzar excavated a vast lake in its vicinity for purposes of irrigation. Pliny seems to intend the same place by his "oppida Hipparenorum" — where, according to him, was a great seat of the Chaldaic learning (Hist. Nat. 6, 30). When Pliny places Hippara, or Sippara, on the Narragam (Nahr Agam), instead of on the Euphrates, his reference is to the artificial channel which branched off from the Euphrates at Sippara and led to the great lake (Chald. אגניא) excavated by Nebuchadnezzar. Abydenus called this branch "Aracanus" (Α᾿ράκανος), Ar Akan (Fragm. 10). The plural form here used by Pliny may be compared with the dual form in use among the Jews; and the explanation of both is to be found in the fact that there were two Sipparas, one on either side of the river. Berosus called Sippara "a city of the sun" ( ῾Ηλίου πόλιν); and in the inscriptions it bears the same title, being called Tsipar sha-Shamas, or "Sippara of the Sun" — the sun being the chief object of worship there. Hence the Sepharvites are said, in 2Ki 17:31, to have "burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim" — these two distinct deities representing respectively the male and female powers of the sun, as Lunus and Luna represented the male and female powers of the moon among the Romans.

Bible concordance for SEPHARVAIM.

Definition of seraphim

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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