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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Ruler (2)

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RULER.—This word is used in Authorized Version of the Gospels to translation six different Greek words, and it is therefore necessary to classify the instances according to the word represented. (1) In Mark 13:9 and Luke 21:12 ἡγεμών (Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘governor’), for which see art. Governor. (2) In Matthew 24:45, (47),Matthew 25:21, (23), Luke 12:42, (44) κύριος, which means an owner of property, especially of slaves. It is hardly too much to say that the word κύριος suggests the word δοῦλος, ‘slave.’ The one word is correlative to the other. A κύριος is one who possesses slaves; a δοῦλος is one who belongs to and is bound to serve an owner. St. Paul, for example, regarded himself as standing in that relation to Jesus Christ. (3) In one passage, John 4:46 (AVm [Note: Vm Authorized Version margin.] ), βασιλικός, a general term, not infrequently found, to indicate any one in the service of a royal person. In this passage a man in the service of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, is doubtless meant. The word appears to be used only of those in the service of Eastern potentates, and never in connexion with the Roman Emperor. (4) In John 2:9 the expression ‘ruler of the feast’ occurs. This is a translation of the compound word ἀρχιτρίκλινος, lit. ‘ruler of the dining-room’ (with three dining-couches). His position at a dinner or banquet corresponded very much to that of a head-waiter at a modern public dinner. He had to see to the arrangement of the dining-conches, the laying of the table, the supply of food and drink; in short, to supervise everything connected with the comfort of the guests and the success of the banquet. (5) In the great bulk of the instances the word ‘ruler’ represents ἄρχων, a more or less vague term which generally answers to the English (city) magistrate. In the following passages it indicates a member or officer of the Sanhedrin (wh. see): Luke 23:13; Luke 23:35; Luke 24:20, John 3:1. In Matthew 9:18-23, if we compare the parallel narratives (Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41), it would appear to mean ‘ruler of the synagogue,’ as in John 12:42, the context of which seems to settle the question. We are probably to understand this implication also in Luke 18:18, John 7:26; John 7:48. (6) The title ‘ruler of the synagogue’ (ἀρχισυνάγωγος) is explicitly used in Mark 5:22; Mark 5:35-36; Mark 5:38, Luke 8:41; Luke 8:49; Luke 13:14 (in all the passages except the last it is Jairus that is referred to). The name was applied in Palestine to the chief official of the synagogue as a place of worship. He had, for example, to maintain order in the building, and had to select those who were to take part in the service. Outside Palestine the title was frequently honorary, and carried no duties with it.

A. Souter.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ruler (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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