Sha'phan (Heb. Shaphan', שָׁפָן, coney; Sept. Σαφἀν v.r. Σαπφάν, and Σαφφάν in 2 Kings 22), the scribe or secretary of king Josiah, and the father of another of his principal officers. B.C. cir. 628. He was the son of Azaliah (2Ki 22:3; 2Ch 34:8), father of Ahikam (2Ki 22:12; 2Ch 34:20), Elasah (Jer 29:3), and Gemariah (36:10-12), and grandfather of Gedaliah (39:14; 40:5, 9, 11; 41:2; 43:6), Michaiah (36:11), and probably of Jaazaniah (Eze 8:11). There seems to be no sufficient reason for supposing, as many have done, that Shaphan the father of Ahikam, and Shaphan the scribe, were different persons. The history of Shaphan brings out some points with regard to the office of scribe which he held. He appears on an equality with the governor of the city and the royal recorder, with whom he was sent by the king to Hilkiah to take an account of the money which had been collected by the Levites for the repair of the Temple and to pay the workmen (2Ki 22:4; 2Ch 34:9; comp. 2Ki 12:10). Ewald calls him minister of finance (Gesch. 3, 697). It was on this occasion that Hilkiah communicated his discovery of a copy of the law, which he had probably found while making preparations for the repair of the Temple. Shaphan was intrusted to deliver it to the king. Whatever may have been the portion of the Pentateuch thus discovered, the manner of its discovery, and the conduct of the king upon hearing it read by Shaphan, prove that for many years it must have been lost and its.contents forgotten. The part read was apparently from Deuteronomy, and when Shaphan ended, the king sent him with the high priest Hilkiah, and other men of high rank, to consult Huldah the prophetess. Her answer moved Josiah deeply, and the work which began with the restoration of the decayed fabric of the Temple quickly took the form of a thorough reformation of religion and revival of the Levitical services, while all traces of idolatry were for a time swept away. Shaphan was then probably an old man, for his son Ahikam must have been in a position of importance, and his grandson Gedaliah was already born as we may infer from the fact that thirty-five years afterwards he was made governor of the country by the Chaldaeans, an office which would hardly be given to a very young man. Be this as it may, Shaphan disappears from the scene, and probably died before the fifth year of Jehoiakim, eighteen years later, when we find Elishama was scribe (Jer 36:12). There is just one point in the narrative of the burning of the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies by the order of the king which seems to identify Shaphan the father of Ahikam with Shaphan the scribe. It is well known that Ahikam was Jeremiah's great friend and protector at court, and it was therefore consistent with this friendship of his brother for the prophet that Gemariah the son of Shaphan should warn Jeremiah and Baruch to hide themselves, and should intercede with the king for the preservation of the roll (36:12, 19, 25).

Bible concordance for SHAPHAN.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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