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The Royal Steward inscription, a lintel of a tomb found in the village of Silwan, now in the British Museum

Shebna (Hebrew: שֶׁבְנָא, Modern: Ševna, Tiberian: Šeḇnā, "tender youth") was the royal steward (`asher `al ha-bayith, "he who is over the house"; the chief or prime minister of state)[1] in the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah, according to the Hebrew Bible.[2]

Because of his pride he was ejected from his office, and replaced by Eliakim the son of Hilkiah as recorded in Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 22:15–25). Shebna also appears to have been the leader of the party who favored an alliance with Egypt against Assyria.[2]

Biblical accounts[edit]

Shebna may have been the same "Shebna the scribe" who was sent by Hezekiah to confer with the Assyrian ambassador recorded in the Books of Kings (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37; 2 Kings 19:2; parallel accounts in Isaiah 36:3, 11, 22; 37:2), although Easton's Bible Dictionary refers to them as being different people.[2]

Tomb and inscription[edit]

A royal steward's rock-cut tomb discovered in Silwan is conjectured to be Shebna's,[3] although only the term "-yahu" remains legible on the lintel from the tomb that is now kept in the British Museum.[4] The partially preserved inscription was deciphered to read "...yahu who is over the house".[4] The assumption is that Shebna's name may have been pronounced 'Shebna-yahu', the missing name fitting onto the damaged portion of the inscription.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Katzenstein, H. J. (1960). "The Royal Steward (Asher 'al ha-Bayith)". Israel Exploration Journal. Israel Exploration Society. 10 (3): 149–154. JSTOR 27924823.
  2. ^ a b c Easton's Bible Dictionary: Shebna
  3. ^ Jewish Magazine - Jerusalem Tombs
  4. ^ a b British Museum Collection
  5. ^ "Ancient Jerusalem's Funerary Customs and Tombs: Part Two," L. Y. Rahmani, The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Autumn, 1981), pp. 229–235.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Shebna". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.