Who were the Apharsachites in Ezra 5:6? Why do translations differ so radically on how this word is translated?

"This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and his associates, the governors who were in the province Beyond the River, sent to Darius the king." Ezra 5:6, ESV, italics added

"The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shetharboznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which [were] on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king:" Ezra 5:6, KJV, italics added

"This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent: The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king." Ezra 5:6, NKJV, italics added

"This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius." Ezra 5:6, NIV, italics added

אֲפָֽרְסְכָיֵא : Apharcĕkay (Aramaic)

  • See also 4:9 and 6:6
    – user33515
    Dec 10 '17 at 21:30

Didn't see any biblio, so don't know how scholarly this is. It's a forum page, so type 'aphar' in Find box.


Concerning the Origin of Peoples The Ancient Identity of Hungarians The Hungarian-Hebrew Connexion

  • An essay realized with the valuable contribution of the Hungarian scholar Hargita Csaba -

Preliminary remarks: Owing to the lack of conclusive evidences available until now, this research proposes likely hypotheses, not definitive solutions. The historic facts exposed here and the reasonable credit that may be bestowed on ancient myths allow the author to frame feasible hypotheses open to further discussion.


Even in the Hebrew Scriptures the name "Israelite" is equalled with "Jew", the term used by Persians in reference to the whole nation. In the Book of Ezra, we find a list of peoples that were transferred to Israel by the Assyrians, whose ethnic denominations were unknown in earlier Biblical records:

«Then wrote Rechum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions, the Dinaites, the Apharsathkites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsi, the Arkevi, the Bavlites, the Shushankhites, the Dehites, the Elamites, and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the city of Shomron, and in the rest of the country beyond the River, and so forth» (Ezra 4:9,10).

Some of them are easily recognizable, while others belong to the peoples that will play a relevant role in the post-Achæmenian era. [For their geographic location, please see the map here. It has been difficult for exegetes and scholars to identify some of these peoples with certainty; nevertheless, from the Biblical text we can find their identity in agreement with historic sources. For example, the Apharsathkites (called Apharsakites in Ezra 5:6; 6:6) have often been thought to be the same as the Apharsi or Apharsites, accidentally mentioned twice, but from Aramaic and Persian records we can acknowledge two different peoples corresponding with each of both terms: the Aparni or Parni and the Pārs, that might roughly be translated as "Parthians" and "Persians". Therefore, having established that Apharsi is an alternative term for "Persian", the exact identity of the Aparni requires a deeper research, which is what we intend to do in this chapter. It is important in this people list the mention of the Dehites, that are the same as the Dahae (Dahâ) of the Persian accounts, as they were a Scythian tribe associated with the Aparni in the foundation of the Parthian Empire.

(End of excerpt.)

  • This is also the bit of scholarly or near-scholarly evidence I’ve found as well. In several Bible commentaries, I might add, they claim that some now think the Apharsachites are a kind of governmental rank. I wonder how they have reached this conclusion? It seems a bit presumptuous.
    – M.R.
    Dec 11 '17 at 17:37

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