Who and what is…

Hebrew: שְׁבָא

This is the name of 4 biblical men and 2 places.

  1. Sheba, a son of Raamah (Genesis 10:7)

    Hebrew: shebha

    His descendants settled with those of Dedan on the Persian Gulf.

  2. Sheba, a son of Jokshan, who was a son of Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 25:3)


  3. Sheba, a son of Joktan (brother of Peleg) (Genesis 10:28)

    He is a descendant of Shem, and therefore a Semite/Shemite.

    Sheba’s descendants are called Sabeans.


  4. Sheba, a kingdom in southern Arabia

    also known as: Saba or Yemen or Arabia Felix

    This is the land of descendants of Sheba, son of Joktan (mentioned above). Its people are called Sabeans. The land is roughly the location of modern day Yemen.

    The Greeks and the Romans called this area Arabia Felix, which literally means “Fertile Arabia.”

    Modern Yemen, the area where ancient Sheba was located

    Sheba, in fact, was Saba in Southern Arabia, the Sabaeans of classical geography, who carried on a trade in spices with the other peoples of the ancient world. They were Semites (descendants of Shem), speaking one of the two main dialects of Himyaritic or South Arabic.

    The land of Sheba became a monarchy before the days of King Solomon. Its queen brought him gold, spices, and precious stones (1 Kings 10:1-13). She is called by our Lord the “queen of the south” (Matthew 12:42).

  5. Sheba, a town of the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:2)

    Hebrew: shebha' —meaning: “seven” or “an oak

  6. Sheba, a “son of Bichri,” of the family of Becher, the son of Benjamin, and thus of the stem from which King Saul was descended (2 Samuel 20:1-22)

    When David was returning to Jerusalem after the defeat of Absalom, a strife arose between the ten tribes and the tribe of Judah, because the latter took the lead in bringing back the king. Sheba took advantage of this state of things, and raised the standard of revolt, proclaiming, “We have no part in David.” With his followers he proceeded northward.

    David seeing it necessary to check this revolt, ordered Abishai to take the gibborim, “mighty men,” and the body-guard and such troops as he could gather, and pursue Sheba. Joab joined the expedition, and having treacherously put Amasa to death, assumed the command of the army.

    Sheba took refuge in Abel-Bethmaachah (Abel-beth-maachah), a fortified town some miles north of Lake Merom. While Joab was engaged in laying siege to this city, Sheba’s head was, at the instigation of a “wise woman” who had held a parley with him from the city walls, thrown over the wall to the besiegers, and thus the revolt came to an end.


Article Version: July 12, 2021