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Sepharad (/ˈsɛfəræd/[1] or /səˈfɛərəd/;[2][3] Hebrew: סְפָרַדSp̄āraḏ; also Sefarad, Sephared, Sfard) is a biblical place name of uncertain location. It is mentioned only once in the Bible, in the Book of Obadiah (Obadiah 1:20, 6th century BC). There are, however, Old Persian inscriptions that refer to two places called Saparda (alternative reading: Sparda): one area in Media and another in Asia Minor. It is speculated that Sepharad could have been Sardis, whose native Lydian name is Sfard or Sward.[4][5]

Since the late Roman period, Spanish and Portuguese Jews gave the name "Sepharad" to the Iberian peninsula.[6][7] The descendants of Iberian Jews refer to themselves as Sephardi Jews (Hebrew, plural: Sepharadim) and identify Spain as "Sepharad" in modern Hebrew.[citation needed]

Version comparisons[edit]

  • Obadiah 1:20 (trans. Judaica Press) "And this exiled host of the children of Israel who are [with] the Canaanites as far as Zarephath and the exile of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad shall inherit the cities of the southland"
  • Obadiah 1:20 (NKJV) "And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel, that are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath, and the captivity of Jerusalem, that is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South."
  • Obadiah 1:20 (Vulgate) et transmigratio exercitus huius filiorum Israhel omnia Chananeorum usque ad Saraptham et transmigratio Hierusalem quae in Bosforo est possidebit civitates austri.
  • Abdias 1:20 (Douay-Rheims) "And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel, all the places of the Chanaanites even to Sarepta: and the captivity of Jerusalem that is in Bosphorus, shall possess the cities of the south."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ H. B. Hackett (ed.) Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1877
  2. ^ The Bible dictionary, Cassell Petter & Galpin, 1875
  3. ^ William Smith (ed.) A Dictionary of the Bible, 1863
  4. ^ On the Lydian name for Sardis, see Elspeth R. M. Dusinberre; Elspeth R. M.. Dusinberre (10 April 2003). Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-521-81071-5.
  5. ^ Carsten Schapkow (9 December 2015). Role Model and Countermodel: The Golden Age of Iberian Jewry and German Jewish Culture during the Era of Emancipation. Lexington Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-4985-0803-2.
  6. ^ Torviso, Isidro Gonzalo Bango (2003). Remembering Sepharad: Jewish culture in medieval Spain. Washington National Cathedral: State Corp. for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad. p. 10. ISBN 978-8496008274.
  7. ^ "What does Sephardi Mean? Who Are the Sephardim?". Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. Retrieved 17 February 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Sefarad, Journal on Hebraic, Sephardim and Middle East Studies, ILC, CSIC (scientific articles in Spanish, English and other languages)