Skip to main content

Sheshbazzar

SHESHBAZZAR

SHESHBAZZAR (Heb. שֶׁשְבַּצַּר, שֵׁשְׁבַּצַּר), the prince (nasi) of Judah at the beginning of the return to Zion of the Babylonian Exile (538 b.c.e.). According to the Book of Ezra (1:8–11), King Cyrus of Persia delivered the Temple vessels, taken by Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem, to Sheshbazzar, the prince of the Jews, who brought them to Jerusalem during the return from Babylon. This is also mentioned in Ezra 5:14, where Sheshbazzar is called governor. Opinions differ on the origin, rank, and role of Sheshbazzar during the return to Zion. Some assumed him to have been a gentile, Persian or Babylonian, governor in the service of the king of Persia; others thought that he was a Jewish officer, not from the House of David, who was appointed over Judah for a short while at the beginning of the return to Zion; and some even held that his role in connection with the return to Zion was to restore the Temple vessels to Jerusalem. However, the title "prince" by which the prophet Ezekiel designates the Davidic ruler (Ezek. 37:25), supports the supposition that Sheshbazzar was the leader of the people of Davidic origin, and was appointed ruler of Judah by the king of Persia. There were also those who attempted to identify Sheshbazzar with *Zerubbabel on the assumption that this was Zerubbabel's Babylonian name. This hypothesis is, however, unlikely if only because both Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel are Babylonian names. Many scholars have accepted the more probable view, which identifies Sheshbazzar with Shenazzar, son of Jehoiachin, the uncle of Zerubbabel, who is mentioned in i Chronicles 3:18. An examination of the Septuagint transliterations of these two names supports the view of W.F. Albright that both revert to a basic form, Sin-abuṣur, a name common in the cuneiform documents of this era and found in an Aramaic document in the form of Shenabazar. If Sheshbazzar is Shenazzar, the uncle of Zerubbabel, then he quite naturally stood at the head of the returnees, and since he was born close to the time of the exile of Jehoiachin (c. 595 b.c.e.; see *Jehoiachin), he would have been about 60 years old at the time of the return to Zion, and apparently did not live long. Because he apparently stood at the head of the returnees for only a short time, the image of Zerubbabel overshadowed him in the narratives of subsequent generations, and thus Sheshbazzar is mentioned in the Book of Ezra only in connection with the return of the Temple vessels.

bibliography:

E. Meyer, Die Entstehung des Judenthums (1896), 75ff.; S. Jampel, in: mgwj, 46 (1902), 318ff.; J.W. Rothstein, Die Genealogie des Koenigs Jojachin (1902), 25ff.; W.F. Albright, in: jbl, 40 (1921), 108ff.; J. Gabriel, Zorobabel (1927), 48ff.; Alt, Kl Schr, 2 (1953), 333–4; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 1 (1951), 150–3; J. Liver, Toledot Beit David (1959), 9–11, 79–87.

[Jacob Liver]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sheshbazzar." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sheshbazzar." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sheshbazzar

"Sheshbazzar." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved October 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sheshbazzar

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.