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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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SANBALLAT

san-bal'-at (canebhallaT; Greek and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Sanaballat; Peshitta, Samballat): Sanballat the Horonite was, if the appellation which follows his name indicates his origin, a Moabite of Horonaim, a city of Moab mentioned in Isa 15:5; Jer 48:2,5,34; Josephus, Ant, XIII, xxiii; XIV, ii. He is named along with Tobiah, the Ammonite slave (Neh 4:1), and Geshem the Arabian (Neh 6:1) as the leading opponent of the Jews at the time when Nehemiah undertook to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 2:10; 4:1; 6:1). He was related by marriage to the son of Eliashib, the high priest at the time of the annulment of the mixed marriages forbidden by the Law (Neh 13:28).
Renewed interest has been awakened in Sanballat from the fact that he is mentioned in the papyri I and II of Sachau (Die aramaischen Papyrusurkunden aus Elephantine, Berlin, 1908, and in his later work, Aramaische Papyrus und Ostraka, Leipzig, 1911; compare Staerk's convenient edition in Lietzmanns Kleine Texte, Number 32, 1908) as having been the governor (pachath) of Samaria some time before the 17th year of Darius (Nothus), i.e. 408-407 BC, when Bagohi was governor of Judah. His two sons, Delaiah and Shelemiah, received a letter from Jedoniah and his companions the priests who were in Yeb (Elephantine) in Upper Egypt. This letter contained information concerning the state of affairs in the Jewish colony of Yeb, especially concerning the destruction of the temple or synagogue (agora) which had been erected at that place.
The address of this letter reads as follows: "To our lord Bagohi, the governor of Judea, his servants Jedoniah and his companions, the priests in the fortress of Yeb (Elephantine). May the God of Heaven inquire much at every time after the peace of our lord and put thee in favor before Darius the king," etc. The conclusion of the letter reads thus: "Now, thy servants, Jedoniah and his companions and the Jews, all citizens of Yeb, say thus: If it seems good to our lord, mayest thou think on the rebuilding of that temple (the agora which had been destroyed by the Egyptians). Since it has not been permitted us to rebuild it, do thou look on the receivers of thy benefactions and favors here in Egypt. Let a letter with regard to the rebuilding of the temple of the God Jaho in the fortress of Yeb, as it was formerly built, be sent from thee. In thy name will they offer the meal offerings, the incense, and the burnt offerings upon the altar of the God Jaho; and we shall always pray for thee, we and our wives and our children and all the Jews found here, until the temple has been rebuilt. And it will be to thee a meritorious work (tsedhaqah) in the sight of Jaho, the God of Heaven, greater than the meritorious work of a man who offers to him a burnt offering and a sacrifice of a value equal to the value of 1,000 talents of silver. And as to the gold (probably that which was sent by the Jews to Bagohi as a baksheesh) we have sent word and given knowledge. Also, we have in our name communicated in a letter all (these) matters unto Delaiah and Shelemiah, the sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria. Also, from all that has been done to us, Arsham (the satrap of Egypt) has learned nothing.
The 20th of Marcheshvan in the 17th year of Darius the king."
Sanballat is the Babylonian Sin-uballit, "may Sin give him life," a name occurring a number of times in the contract tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus, and Darius Hystaspis. (See Tallquist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 183.)
R. Dick Wilson

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'SANBALLAT'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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