Resheph

RESHEPH (rē’shĕf, a flame). A descendant of Ephraim (1Chr.7.25). Nothing else is known about him.


RESHEPH re’ shĕf (רֶ֧שֶׁף; for forms in LXX see below; meaning flame, fire-bolt). 1. A member of the tribe of Ephraim, and prob. a son of Beriah and brother of Rephah (1 Chron 7:25, LXX Σαραφ, LXX Alexandrinus ̔Ρασεφ). The ASV tr. the MT whereas the RSV emends it.

2. J. Gray contended that it is a proper name, tr. as a common noun in Deuteronomy 32:24; Job 5:7; Psalms 76:3; 78:48; Song of Solomon (IDB, IV, 36f.). (The LXX also understood the word as a common noun in these passages.) Thus, according to Gray, reference is made to the Canaanite deity attested in offering lists and theophoric names from Ras Shamra, in the Egyptian Papyrus Harris (late nineteenth dynasty), and in Aram. inscrs. from Syria (8th cent. b.c.) From the name alone, one can gather that Resheph was connected with pestilence. Artistic representations and references show that he was lord of the underworld, the god of war and pestilence. In the Keret epic he is the god of plague or mass destruction. According to W. F. Albright he is closely related to the Babylonian Nergal and was identified by the Greeks with Apollo (Archaeology and the Religion of Israel [1942], 79).

Gray’s contention, however, should be rejected for it is highly unlikely that the monotheistic writers of Holy Scripture would have ascribed life to this pagan deity. On the other hand, a polemic against Rephesh may be intended in Habakkuk 3:5.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Personal name found in Phoenician as a divine name. In the Old Testament the name of a descendant of Ephraim, the eponym of an Ephraimite family or clan (1Ch 7:25).