1. The designation of a band of raiders who attacked the property of Job of the land of Uz. These Sabeans took Job’s cattle and she-asses and slaughtered his attendants. (Job 1:14, 15) Job also mentions “the traveling company of Sabeans,” at Job 6:19.
It is difficult to identify with certainty these Sabeans, since they might have been descendants of a number of different men named Sheba. Abraham’s son Jokshan had a son named Sheba (Ge 25:1-3), and the possibility of the Sabean raiders’ being from this line cannot be ruled out. However, scholars more commonly suggest that the Sabeans came through the Sheba who descended from Ham through Cush (Ge 10:6, 7) or Sheba the son of Joktan in Shem’s line.—Ge 10:21-29.
2. A tall people linked in Isaiah 45:14 with laborers of Egypt and merchants of Ethiopia as ones who would recognize Jehovah and his people. Isaiah 43:3 also associates Egypt and Ethiopia but, instead of “Sabeans,” uses “Seba,” indicating that the men of Seba were called Sabeans.—See SEBA No. 2.
3. The descendants of Sheba (whether of the line of Shem or of Ham is uncertain) who evidently formed a kingdom near the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Likely the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was from this land. (1Ki 10:1) Secular sources often refer to this kingdom as Sabean, and the Bible may do likewise.—See SHEBA No. 6.
Certain translations read “Sabeans” at Ezekiel 23:42 (KJ, Yg, Da), so interpreting the marginal reading in the Hebrew Bible. However, the main text reads “drunkards,” and that is how modern translations frequently render the verse.—Ro, NW, AS, RS.