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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(רִבאּמִג, Ratb-nm r, chief magician; Sept. ῾Ραβ - μάγ or ῾Ραβαμάχ ), a word found only in Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 39:13, as a title borne bi, a certain Nergal-sharezer who is mentioned amongt the "princes" that accompanied Nebuchadnezzar to the last siege of Jerusalem. Nergal-sharezer is probably identical with the king, called by the Greeks Neriglissar, who ascended the throne of Babylon two years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. (See NEERGAL-SHAREZER).

This king, as well as certain other important personages, is found to bear the title in the Babylonian inscriptions. It is written, indeed, with a somewhat different vocalization, being read as Rabu-Emga by Sir H. Rawlinson. The signification is somewhat doubtful. Rabu is most certainly "great," or "chief," an exact equivalent of the Hebrew רִב whence Rabbi, "a great one, a doctor;" but Mag or Emga, is an obscure term. It has been commonly identified with the word "Magus" (Gesenius, cad voc. מָג ; Calmet, Comnmetaire Litteral, 6:203, etc.); but this identification is somewhat uncertain, since an entirely different word one which is read as Magusu is used in that sense throughout the Behistun inscription (Oppert, Expedition Scientifique en Mesoppotaimie, ii, 209). Sir H. Rawlinson inclines to translate emgat by "priest," but does not connect it with the Magi, who in the time of Neriglissar had no footing in Babylon. He regards this rendering, however, as purely conljectural, and thinks we call only say at present that the office was one of great power and dignity at the Babylonlian court, and probably gave its possessor special facilities for obtaining the throne. (See MAGI).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Rab-Mag'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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