|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Taken by Sargon, king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:24; 18:34; 19:13; Isaiah 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.)
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
sef-ar-va'-im, se-far-va'-im (cepharwayim: Sephpharouaim, Seppharoudim, Seppharoun, Seppharoumain, Eppharouaim, Sepphareim, the first two being the forms in manuscripts Alexandrinus and Vaticanus respectively, of the passages in Kings, and the last two in Isaiah):
1. Formerly Identified with the Two Babylonian Sippars:
This city, mentioned in 2 Kings 17:24; 2 Kings 18:34; 2 Kings 19:13 Isaiah 36:19; Isaiah 37:13, is generally identified with the Sip(p)ar of the Assyrians-Babylonian inscriptions (Zimbir in Sumerian), on the Euphrates, about 16 miles Southwest of Bagdad. It was one of the two great seats of the worship of the Babylonian sun-god Samas, and also of the goddesses Ishtar and Anunit, and seems to have had two principal districts, Sippar of Samas, and Sippar of Anunit, which, if the identification were correct, would account for the dual termination -ayim, in Hebrew. This site is the modern 'Abu-Habbah, which was first excavated by the late Hormuzd Rassam in 1881, and has furnished an enormous number of inscriptions, some of them of the highest importance.
2. Difficulties of That Identification:
Besides the fact that the deities of the two cities, Sippar and Sepharvaim, are not the same, it is to be noted that in 2 Kings 19:13 the king of Sepharvaim is referred to, and, as far as is known, the Babylonian Sippar never had a king of its own, nor had Akkad, with which it is in part identified, for at least 1,200 years before Sennacherib. The fact that Babylon and Cuthah head the list of cities mentioned is no indication that Sepharvaim was a Babylonian town-the composition of the list, indeed, points the other way, for the name comes after Ava and Hamath, implying that it lay in Syria.
3. Another Suggestion:
Joseph Halevy therefore suggests (ZA, II, 401;) that it should be identified with the Sibraim of Ezekiel 47:16, between Damascus and Hamath (the dual implying a frontier town), and the same as the Sabara'in of the Babylonian Chronicle, there referred to as having been captured by Shalmaneser. As, however, Sabara'in may be read Samara'in, it is more likely to have been the Hebrew Shomeron (Samaria), as pointed out by Fried. Delitzsch.
See Schrader, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, I, 71 f; Kittel on K; Dillmann-Kittel on Isaiah, at the place; HDB, under the word
T. G. Pinches
Sepharvaim (6 Occurrences)
2 Kings 17:24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and lived in the cities of it. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NIV)
2 Kings 17:31 and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS NIV)
2 Kings 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
2 Kings 19:13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?"'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Isaiah 36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria from my hand? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Isaiah 37:13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)