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SEPHARAD (Heb. סְפָרַד), the site of a colony of exiles from Jerusalem, mentioned in Obadiah 20. It is predicted that the exiles in Sepharad would possess the cities of the south.

Sepharad was identified as *Sardis, the capital of Lydia in Asia Minor, after the publication by E. Littmann of a bilingual Aramaic-Greek inscription found in the excavations of Sardis in which Sepharad is equated with Sardis. This identification is supported by another bilingual inscription, in Lydian and Aramaic, found at Sardis, in which Sepharad is written in the date formula at the opening of the Aramaic part (see bibl. for Donner and Roelling; and Kent).

Targum Jonathan renders Sepharad as Ispamia or Spamia, and the Peshitta, as Ispania, i.e., Spain. From the end of the eighth century c.e., Sepharad became the usual Hebrew appellation for the Iberian Peninsula.


E. Littmann, Sardis, 6, pt. 7 (1916), 23–28; C.C. Torrey, in: ajsll, 34 (1918), 185–98; R.G. Kent, Old Persian… (19532), s.v.Sparda (Sʾfard-); H. Donner and W. Roellig, Kanaanaeische und aramaeische Inschriften, 1 (1962), no. 260; 2 (1964), 306–7.

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