Shavsha

SHAVSHA (shăv’sha, Heb. shawshā’). David’s secretary of state (1Chr.18.16; Shisha in 1Kgs.4.3; Seraiah in 2Sam.8.17; Sheva in 2Sam.20.25).


SHAVSHA shăv’ shə (שַׁוְשָׁ֖א, 1 Chron 18:16). There are variations of this name in 2 Samuel 20:25 (Sheva); 2 Samuel 8:17 (Seraiah); 1 Kings 4:3 (Shisha); but it is generally agreed that the weight of evidence indicates that the spelling Shavsha is the correct one.

The name occurs in a list of high officials in the court of David and designates a secretary or scribe. The necessity of such an office reflects the development of governmental affairs both domestic and foreign. In Solomon’s reign, according to 1 Kings 4:3, where his name appears as Shisha, two of Shavsha’s sons occupied the office of their father. Shavsha’s father is not named in the records perhaps because, it is speculated, he was an alien. This omission, together with the fact that the name Shavsha is regarded by some scholars to be related to the Babylonian word Shamshu (sun), supports the idea that he was of foreign origin. It would be natural that a man of this type would be appointed to an office that handled foreign affairs and documents.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

State secretary or scribe during the reign of David (1Ch 18:16; 2Sa 20:25). He was the first occupant of this office, which was created by David. It is significant that his father’s name is omitted in the very exact list of David’s officers of state (1Ch 18:14-17 parallel 2Sa 8:15-18); this fact, coupled with the foreign sound of his name, points to his being an "alien"; the assumption that the state secretary handled correspondence with other countries may explain David’s choice of a foreigner for this post. Shavsha’s two sons, Elihoreph and Ahijah, were secretaries of state under Solomon; they are called "sons of Shisha" (1Ki 4:3), "Shisha" probably being a variant of "Shavsha."

Horace J. Wolf