(1.) One of the sons of Cush (Ge 10:7).
(2.) The name of a country and nation (Isa 43:3; 45:14) mentioned along with Egypt and Ethiopia, and therefore probably in north-eastern Africa. The ancient name of Meroe. The kings of Sheba and Seba are mentioned together in Ps 72:10.
(See SHEBA.) Son of Cush, i.e. Ethiopia (Ge 10:7). A commercial and wealthy region of Ethiopia (Ps 72:10; Isa 43:3; 45:14 "men of stature".) The Macrobian Ethiopians were reported to be the tallest and comeliest of men (Herodotus 3:20). Meroe, at the confluence of the Astaboras and Astapus, was called Seba, until Cambyses called it Meroe from his sister (Josephus, Ant. 2:10). Seba is distinct from Sheba, which is Semitic; Seba is Hamitic. The Sebaeans were an Ethiopian, ruling race, which dwelt about Meroe the capital, and were physically superior to the rest of the people. Shebek, or Sabacho or So, founded here an Ethiopian kingdom which ruled Egypt. Meru means "an island" in Egyptian; Meru-pet is "the island of Pet," the "bow", or else "Phut." The Astaboras is the Atbara, the most northern tributary of the Nile, and the Astapus and Astasobas unite to form the Blue river; these bound the island Meroe.
The eldest son of Cush in Ge 10:7 (1Ch 1:9), named along with Sheba in Ps 72:10, and with Egypt and Cush in Isa 43:8; 45:14. In the latter passage its people are referred to as of high stature. A comparison with Isa 18:2 points to a supposed connexion with the tall Cushites or Nubians, though there is no evidence which directly associates either the people or the country with Nubia proper, in the region of the Nile. More specific seem to be the references by Strabo and Ptolemy to a seaport Saba and Sabat, near the modern Massowa on the west of the Red Sea. This location, nearly opposite the ancient Sheba, gives some colour to the hypothesis that Seba is an African differentiation of Sheba (wh. see), the latter being naturally the parent community.
J. F. McCurdy.
Son of Cush, a son of Ham, and the territory where his descendants were located. Ge 10:7; 1Ch 1:9; Ps 72:10; Isa 43:3. The descendants have been traced to Meroe, on the west of Abyssinia, and Josephus says that Meroe was at one time called Saba, or Seba. Its ruins lie between lat. 16 and 17 N. It is, however, believed by some that this tribe first settled near the Persian Gulf (probably along with the descendants of SHEBA, another descendant of Ham), and afterwards migrated into Africa. See SABEANS.
(pl. Sebaim; in Authorized Version incorrectly rendered Sabeans) heads the list of the sons of Cush. Besides the mention of Seba in the lists of the pens of Cush,
there are but three notices of the nation --
These passages seem to show that Seba was a nation of Africa bordering on or included in Cush, and in Solomon's time independent and of political importance. It may perhaps be identified with the island of Meroe. Josephus says that Saba was the ancient name of the Ethiopian island and city of Meroe, but he writes Seba, in the notice of the Noachian settlements, Sabas. The island of Meroe lay between the Astaboras, the Atbara, the most northern tributary of the Nile, and the Astapus, the Bahr el-Azrak, "Blue River," the eastern of its two great confluents.