BAGOHI


BAGOHI (Gr. Βαγώας), governor of the Persian satrapy Yehud (Judea) in the time of Darius II and Artaxerxes II. Among the *Elephantine papyri there was found a letter sent in 408 B.C.E. by the Jews of Elephantine-Yeb to "Bagohi, governor of Judah," in which it is written that a similar letter had been sent to "Delaiah and Shelemiah, sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria." In this letter they appeal for assistance in the reconstruction of their temple, which had been destroyed by the priests of the Egyptian god Khnub. This letter reveals that a similar appeal had been made three years earlier to "Bagohi, governor of Judah," to Johanan, the high priest in Jerusalem, to Ostanes the brother of Anani, and to the nobles of the Jews, but no reply had been received. It is probable that the reason for the failure of the high priest to reply was his negative attitude toward this temple, but it may also have been the tense relations existing between the Persian governor and the high priest. Josephus (Ant. 11:297–301) relates that when Johanan the high priest murdered his brother Joshua in the Temple (probably at the beginning of the fourth century B.C.E.), Bagohi forced his way into the Temple, declaring to the priests who opposed his entry (since he was a Gentile) that his defilement of the Temple was less than that of a person guilty of fratricide. The discovery of the Elephantine documents has disposed of the attempts of Wilrich and Wellhausen to dismiss the story as a legend on the grounds that no person of this name was known.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

E. Meyer, Der Papyrusfund von Elephantine (19123); Cowley, Aramaic, 108ff., no. 30; A. Schalit, in Sefer Yoḥanan Lewy (1949), 252–72.

[Abraham Schalit]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.