—Biblical Data:

One of the important men who came to Jerusalem from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra ii 2; Neh. vii. 7). In I Esd. v. 8 he is called "Beelsarus," which points to the form Belshar (= "Belshar-uṣṣur"=O Bel, protect the king); while "Bilshan" points to "Belshunu" (His Lord). J. Halévy ("Revue Etudes Juives," x 3) translates the name "père de la langue" ().

G. G. B. L.—In Rabbinical Literature:

According to the Rabbis, Bilshan is not a proper name, but a surname to the preceding name, Mordecai. The latter was given this epithet because of his linguistic attainments,Bilshan meaning "man of language" ( ). He not only spoke many languages—the seventy corresponding to the number of nations according to the Rabbis—but also understood the language of the dumb (Men. 64b, 65a).

L. G.
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