From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Elishah, or Eliseus (Hebrew: אֱלִישָׁה ’Ĕlîšāh) was the son of Javan according to the Book of Genesis (10:4) in the Masoretic Text. The Greek Septuagint of Genesis 10 lists Elisa not only as the son of Javan, but also a grandson of Japheth. His name is spelled differently in Hebrew to the prophet Elisha, ending in a hei (ה) instead of an ayin (ע).

Scholars have often identified Elishah with Cypriots, as in ancient times the island of Cyprus or part of it was known as Alashiya.[1][2]

Judean historian Flavius Josephus related the descendants of Elishah with the Aeolians, one of the ancestral branches of the Greeks.[3]

Elishah is also mentioned in the mediaeval, rabbinic Book of Jasher (Hebrew transliteration: Sefer haYashar); he is said in Jasher to have been the ancestor of the "Almanim", possibly a reference to Germanic tribes (Alemanni). An older and more common tradition refers to him as a settler of Greece,[4] particularly Elis in the Peloponnese.

The Table of Nations according to the Bible

Lusitanian mythology traditionally makes Elishah (under the name Lysias/Lísias)[5] an ancestor and predecessor of Lusus (Elisha being older, having arrived accompanying his uncle Tubal founding Portalegre in 1900 BC under Iberian king Brigo).[6] Lysias' own supposed tomb (in Portalegre) claims that he was the first "cultivator" of Lusitania.[7] Lusus' reign is traditionally placed in the 16th - 15th centuries BC, e.g., in the Livro Primeiro da Monarchia Lusitana.[8] All this is debated; Lusus has also been described as coming before Lysias, who would thus be too late to be Elishah[9] or vaguely at the same time, or even the same individual under different names.[10] Lusus is sometimes called a son of Baccus and of the lineage of Lysias, or the other way around, or even a mere companion.[11]

The Portuguese orator and mythographer Father António Vieira (1608-1697) refers to Elishah (under his actual biblical name) as founder and eponym of Lisbon and Lusitania (when he came to Iberia with his uncle Tubal), as well as the origin of the name of the mythological Elysium.[12][13] Vieira also identified Elisha's biblical brother Tarshish as the founder of Tartesos in Andalucia, implying both would have come to Iberia with Tubal (though this isn't the only theory on the identity of Tarshish).[14] Elishah in this Portuguese portrayal is identified with Bacchus' captain Lysias/Lísias, sometimes also with Lusus and Phoroneus[15], and is referred to as the founder of Portalegre and being buried at the Ermida de São Cristovão (Chapel of Saint Christopher) inside the town.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The expansion of the Greek world, eighth to sixth centuries B.C., John Boardman, Volume 3 Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 0-521-23447-6, ISBN 978-0-521-23447-4
  2. ^ "Now, this Elishah is often identified with Alashiya in the scholarly literature, an ancient name often associated with Cyprus or a part of the island." Gard Granerød (26 March 2010). Abraham and Melchizedek: Scribal Activity of Second Temple Times in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110. Walter de Gruyter. p. 116. ISBN 978-3-11-022346-0.
  3. ^ The works of Flavius Josephus: the learned and authentic Jewish historian and celebrated warrior, to which are added, three dissertations, concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, James the Just, God's command to Abraham, etc. with an index to the whole, Volume 1, translated by William Whiston, Publisher Lackington, Allen and co., 1806, Princeton University
  4. ^ A view of ancient geography and ancient history: Accompanied with an atlas of ten select maps, calculated for the use of seminaries, &c, Robert Mayo, Robert Mayo, Volume 340 Harvard social studies textbooks preservation microfilm project, Published and sold by John F. Watson, no. 51 Chestnut Street, A. Fagan Printer, 1813, Universidade de Michigan, p. 153
  5. ^ Portugal Terra de Mistérios, Paulo Alexandre Loução, p.283
  6. ^ see Portalegre, *** Carlos Leite Ribeiro *** Distritos e Concelhos de Portugal, Portalegre, distoedakilo[dead link], Portalegre Archived 2012-07-13 at Archive.today.
  7. ^ "Dialogos de dom Frey Amador Arraiz Bispo de Portalegre". google.pt.
  8. ^ Frei Bernardo de Brito, Capítulo XV
  9. ^ E.g., in Frei Bernardo de Brito's Livro Primeiro da Monarchia Lusitana, Capítulo XVIII, pg. 240, the Dialogos de dom Frey Amador Arraiz Bispo de Portalegre, p. 21, Defensam da monarchia Lvsitana, Volumes 1-2, Bernardino da Silva, pp. 36 - 37, and Ulyssipo, António de Sousa de Macedo, p. 29- 30,
  10. ^ E.g., in Paulo Alexandre Loução's Portugal Terra de Mistérios, p. 283.
  11. ^ For this discussion, see Livro Primeiro da Monarchia Lusitana, Frei Bernardo de Brito, pp. 242 - 243
  12. ^ Cartas do padre Antonio Vieira - Volumes 1-4 de Cartas do padre Antonio Vieira, J.M.C. Seabra & T.Q. Antunes, 1854, p. 114
  13. ^ Dicionário do nome das terras - origens,curiosidades e lendas das terras de portugal, João Fonseca, Cruz Quebrada/Casa das letras, 2007. Entry Lisboa
  14. ^ "Historiantes: Tarsis y Tartessos". historiantes.blogspot.com.
  15. ^ Portugal Terra de Mistérios, Paulo Alexandre Loução, p. 283
  16. ^ Dialogos de dom Frey Amador Arraiz Bispo de Portalegre, p. 21