When Shalmaneser king of Assyria carried away Israel from Samaria to beyond the Euphrates, he sent people in their stead into Palestine, among whom were the Sepharvaim, 2Ki 17:24,31. That Sepharvaim was a small district under its own king, is apparent from 2Ki 19:13; Isa 37:13. It may, with most probability, be assigned to Mesopotamia, because it is named along with other places in that region, and because Ptolemy mentions a city of a similar name, Sipphara, as the most southern of Mesopotamia.
taken by Sargon, king of Assyria (2Ki 17:24; 18:34; 19:13; Isa 37:13). It was a double city, and received the common name Sepharvaim, i.e., "the two Sipparas," or "the two booktowns." The Sippara on the east bank of the Euphrates is now called Abu-Habba; that on the other bank was Accad, the old capital of Sargon I., where he established a great library. (See Sargon.) The recent discovery of cuneiform inscriptions at Tel el-Amarna in Egypt, consisting of official despatches to Pharaoh Amenophis IV. and his predecessor from their agents in Palestine, proves that in the century before the Exodus an active literary intercourse was carried on between these nations, and that the medium of the correspondence was the Babylonian language and script. (See Kirjath-sepher.)
From southern Ava, Cuthah, and Hamath, the Assyrian king brought colonists to people Samaria, after the ten tribes were deported (2Ki 17:24). Rabshakeh and Sennacherib (2Ki 18:34; 19:13) boastingly refer to Assyria's conquest of Sepharvaim as showing the hopelessness of Samaria's resistance (Isa 36:19): "where are the gods of Hamath ... Sepharvaim? have they (the gods of Hamath and Sepharvaim) delivered Samaria out of my hand?" How just the retribution in kind, that Israel having chosen the gods of Hamath and Sepharvaim should be sent to Hamath and Sepharvaim as their place of exile, and that the people of Hamath and Sepharvaim should be sent to the land of Israel to replace the Israelites! (Pr 1:31; Jer 2:19).
Sepharvaim is Sippara, N. of Babylon, built on both banks of Euphrates (or of the canal nahr Agane), from whence arises its dual form, -aim, "the two Sipparas." Above the nahr Malka. The one Sippara was called Sipar-sa-samas, i.e. consecrated to Samas "the sun god"; the other, Sipar-sa-Anunit, consecrated to "the goddess Anunit". The Sepharvites burned their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the "male and female powers of the sun"; on the monuments Sepharvaim is called "Sepharvaim of the sun."(See ADRAMMELECH; ANAMMELECH.)
Nebuchadnezzar built the old temple, as the sacred spot where Xisuthrus deposited the antediluvian annals before entering the ark, from whence his posterity afterward recovered them (Berosus Fragm. 2:501; 4:280). Part of Sepharvaim was called Agana from Nebuchadnezzar's reservoir adjoining. Sepharvaim is shortened into Sivra and Sura, the seat of a famed Jewish school. Mosaib now stands near its site. The name Sippara means "the city of books." The Berosian fragments designate it Pantibiblia, ("all books"). Here probably was a library, similar to that found at Nineveh, and which has been in part deciphered by G. Smith and others.
1. A city mentioned in 2Ki 18:34 (Isa 36:19) and Isa 19:13 (Isa 37:13) as among those captured by the Assyrians, all apparently in Syria. Probably it answers to the Shabara'in named in the Babylonian Chronicle as taken just before the fall of Samaria. Sibraim of Eze 47:8 may then be the same city. 2. A word of exactly the same form as the above occurs in 2Ki 17:24-31 as the name of a place whose inhabitants were deported to Samaria. The context favours the supposition that the famous city Sippar in North Babylonia is intended. Probably the similarity between the words led some early copyist to write Sepharvaim by mistake.
J. F. McCurdy.
(the two Sipparas) is mentioned by Sennacherib in his letter to Hezekiah as a city whose king had been unable to resist the Assyrians.
comp. 2Kin 18:34 It is identified with the famous town of Sippara., on the Euphrates above Babylon, which was near the site of the modern Mosaib. The dual form indicates that there were two Sipparas, one on either side of the river. Berosus celled Sippara "a city of the sun;" 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. Comp.
SEPHARVAIM, a country of Assyria, 2Ki 17:24,31. This province cannot now be exactly delineated in respect to its situation. The Scripture speaks of the king of the city of Sepharvaim, which probably was the capital of the people of this name, 2Ki 19:13; Isa 37:13.