SO (Heb. sô’). The name of a king of Egypt, mentioned in 2Kgs.17.4 as king in the days of Ahaz king of Judah and Hoshea king of Israel. Hoshea made an alliance with So, bringing down the wrath of Assyria on Israel (2Kgs.17.5). It is difficult to identify him. He is either the king mentioned in Herodotus by the name of Sabaeo, or he is to be identified with Sib’e who in 720 b.c., because of his alliance with the king of Gaza, had to fight with Sargon, by whom he was defeated.

SO (סֹ֣וא). Mentioned in 2 Kings 17:4. “So” has been identified with Sib’e, an Egyp. general at the Battle of Raphia (c. 720 b.c.), and with Shabaka, king of Egypt (c. 716-701 b.c.). The identification between “Sib’e” and “Sive’” is possible; but recent studies indicate that the name in the Assyrian records should be read “Re-’e’” rather than “Sib-’e.” “Shabaka” offers greater phonetic difficulties, and he appears too late. Hoshea’s contemporary was Tefnakht of Sais (c. 730-720 b.c.).

A recent suggestion is that “So” refers to the city, Sais. In this case, the text should be understood as follows: “to Sais, [to] the king of Egypt.”


K. Kitchen, “So,” NBD (1962); H. Goedicke, “The End of ‘So,’ King of Egypt,” BASOR, 171 (1963), 64-66.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(co’, although the Hebrew might be pointed cewe’; Assyrian Sib’u; Septuagint Segor, Soa; Manetho, Seuechos; Latin Sevechus; Herodotus (ii. 137 ff), Sabakon): In all probability the "Sabaeo" of Herodotus, the Shabaka, who founded the Ethiopian dynasty, the XXVth of Egyptian kings. His date is given as 715-707 BC (Flinders Petrie, History of Egypt, III, 281 ff), but we may suppose that before his accession to the throne he was entitled to be designated king, as being actually regent. To this So, Hoshea, king of Israel, made an appeal for assistance to enable him to throw off the yoke of the Assyrian Shalmaneser IV (2Ki 17:3 ). But Hoshea’s submission to So brought him no advantage, for Shalmaneser came up throughout all the land and laid siege to Samaria. Not long after the fall of Samaria, So ventured upon an eastern campaign, and was defeated by Sargon, the successor of Shalmaneser, in the battle of Raphia in 720 BC.


Flinders Petrie, History of Egypt, III, 281 ff; McCurdy, HPM, I, 422; Schrader, COT, I, 261.

T. Nicol.