« Antwerp Polyglot Apharsachites Aphraates »

Apharsachites

APHARSACHITES, a-fɑ̄r’sa-kaits, APHARSATHCHITES, a-fɑ̄r"sath´kaits, APHARSITES, a-fɑ̄r’saits: Words occurring only in the Book of Ezra (Apharsachites, v. 6; Apharsathchites and Apharsites, iv. 9). Most translators and commentators have regarded them as names of peoples, including them among the tribes settled in Samaria by the Assyrians (II Kings xvii. 24), and have made unsatisfactory attempts to identify them (e.g., the208 Apharsites with the Parrhasii of East Media—so M. Hiller, Onomasticum sacrum, Tübingen, 1706—or with the Persians—Gesenius, Thesaurus; Ewald, Geschichte Israels; E. Bertheau, commentary on Ezra, Göttingen, 1838). The best explanation has been given by Eduard Meyer (Entstehung des Judenthums, Halle, 1896, pp. 37 sqq.), following a hint of G. Hoffmann (in ZA, ii., 1887, pp. 54 sqq.). He regards “Apharsachites” and “Apharsathchites” as equivalent, the “th” (the Hebrew letter tau) having been inserted in the latter by mistake, and gives to all three words the same meaning, “Persians.” The passage Ezra iv. 9, accordingly, he reads: “Rehum the commissioner and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their colleagues the Persian magistracy, the Persian tarpelaye, the people of Erech, Babylon, and Shushan, that is, the Elamites.” The word tarpelaye (English versions “Tarpelites”) is left untranslated as necessarily meaning an official class of some unknown sort and not the name of a people. It is possible, however, that the “Apharsites” are not “Persians,” but that the form arose by dittography, the word for scribe (saphera) just above being first copied by mistake and then assimilated to the form for “Persians.” If “Apharsites” were to be thus ruled out of the verse and the Bible, the “Tarpelites” would be an unknown people heading the list like those that follow, and not the name of a class of officials.

J. F. McCurdy.

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