APHARSATHCHITES ə fär’ sĭth kīts, APHARSACHITES ə fär’ sə kīts (אֲפַרְסַתְכָיֵ֞א, (Ezra 4:9) RSV governors, and אֲפַ֨רְסְכָיֵ֔א (5:6; 6:6) RSV governor).
In Ezra 4:9 the longer form occurs while Ezra 5:6 and 6:6 preserve a shorter form. They are some of the Samaritan signers of a complaining letter to the Pers. officials against the rebuilding of the Temple.
C. F. Keil (in loco) would link them with the Pharathiakites of Strabo (XV 3. 12) and Herodotus (i.101) on the borders of Persia and Media while A. L. Oppenheim cites evidence from W. Eilers to show that the words come from two old Pers. loan words: the first from Old Pers. frasaka, “investigator” (= cuneiform iprasakku) and the second from Old Pers. frēstak “messenger.”
A. L. Oppenheim. Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, I, 156; W. Eilers, Iranische Beamtennamen in der Keilschriftlichen überlieferung (1940) 5ff., 30, 39, 40, 100.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
af-ar-sath’-kits, a-far’-sak-its (’apharcathkhaye’): A tribe living in Samaria that protested against the rebuilding of the Temple, and brought their complaint to Darius (Ezr 4:9; 5:6; 6:6). The tribe has not yet been recognized with any certainty in the inscriptions. Rawlinson identifies them with the Persians; other scholars deny that any Assyrian king was ever so situated as to have been able to obtain colonists from Persia. Some maintain with Marquardt that the term is not the name of a tribe, but the title of certain officers under Darius. Fred. Delitzsch suggests the inhabitants of one of the two great Medean towns "Partakka" and "Partukka" mentioned in Esarhaddon’s inscriptions. Andreas plausibly connects it with the Assyrian suparsak (Muss-Arnolt, Assyrian Dict., 1098), saqu (3) "general"; Scheft takes it from an old Iranian word aparasarka, "lesser ruler."