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: שְׁבָ֥א —transliteration: shebha' —meaning: “seven” or “an oak

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

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

    Hebrew: שְׁבָֽא׃

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

    Sheba’s descendants are called Sabeans.


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

    Hebrew: שְׁבָ֖א


  4. Sheba, a kingdom in southern Arabia

    Hebrew: שְׁבָ֗א

    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.

    QUEEN OF SHEBA — Its queen brought Solomon gold, spices, and precious stones (1 Kings 10:1-13). She was a seeker of the one true God and is called by our Lord Jesus the “queen of the south.”

    “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” —Matthew 12:42

    She came “to test him with hard questions,” which Solomon answered to her satisfaction. They exchanged gifts, after which she returned to her land.

    Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones.

    And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.

    And she said to the king,

    “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”

    Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

    …And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants. —1 Kings 10:1–13 ESV excerpt

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

  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)

    Hebrew: שֶׁ֥בַע

    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: March 29, 2024