shesh-baz'-ar (shesh-batstsar or sheshbatstsar): Sheshbazzar is the Hebrew or Aramaic form of the Babylonian Shamash-aba-ucur, or Shamash-bana-ucur: "Oh Shamash, protect the father." It is possible that the full name was Shamash-ban-zeri-Babili-ucur, "Oh Shamash, protect the father (builder) of the seed of Babylon." (See Zerubbabel, and Compare the Babylonian names Ashur-banaucur, Ban-ziri, Nabu-ban-ziri, Shamash-ban-apli, Shamash-apil-ucur, Shamash-ban-achi, and others in Tallquist's Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, and the Aramaic names on numbers 35, 44, 36, and 45 of Clay's Aramaic Dockets.) If this latter was the full name, there would be little doubt that Sheshbazzar may have been the same person as Zerubbabel, since the former is called in Ezr 5:14 the governor of Judah, and the latter is called by the same title in Hag 1:1,14; 2:2,21. It is more probable, however, that Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel were different persons, and that Sheshbazzar was governor of Judah in the time of Cyrus and Zerubbabel in that of Darius. It is possible that Sheshbazzar came to Jerusalem in the time of Cyrus and laid the foundations, and that Zerubbabel came later in the time of Darius Hystaspis and completed the building of the temple (compare Ezr 2:68; 4:2; Hag 1:14).
According to Ezr 1:8 Sheshbazzar was the prince (Hannasi) of Judah into whose hands Cyrus put the vessels of the house of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem and had put in the house of his gods. It is further said in Ezr 1:11 that Sheshbazzar brought these vessels with them of the captivity which he brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem. In Ezr 5:14 f it is said that these vessels had been delivered by Cyrus unto one whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor (pechah), and that Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God which was in Jerusalem.
R. Dick Wilson