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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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CUPBEARER . An officer of considerable importance at Oriental courts, whose duty it was to serve the wine at the table of the king. The first mention of this officer is in the story of Joseph ( Genesis 40:1-15 ), where the term rendered butler in EV [Note: English Version.] is the Heb. word which is rendered in other passages ‘cupbearer.’ The holder of this office was brought into confidential relations with the king, and must have been thoroughly trustworthy, as part of his duty was to guard against poison in the king’s cup. In some cases he was required to taste the wine before presenting it. The position of Nehemiah as cupbearer to Artaxerxes Longimanus was evidently high. Herodotus (iii. 34) speaks of the office at the court of Cambyses, king of Persia, as ‘an honour of no small account,’ and the narrative of Nehemiah shows the high esteem of the king, who is so solicitous for his welfare that he asks the cause of his sadness ( Nehemiah 2:2 ). The cupbearers among the officers of king Solomon’s household ( 1 Kings 10:5 ) impressed the queen of Sheba, and they are mentioned among other indications of the grandeur of his court, which was modelled upon courts of other Oriental kings.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cupbearer'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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