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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. רִבאּסָריס, Rab-Saris), a name applied to two foreigners, but probably rather the designation of an office than of an individual, the word signifying chief eunzuch; in Daniel 1:3, Ashpenaz is entitled the master of the eunuchs (Rab-sarisim). Luther translates the word, in the three places where it occurs, as a name of office, the arch-chamberlain (der Erzkammerer, der oberste Kammerer). Josephus (Ant. 10:8, 2) takes them as the A. V. does, as proper names. The chief officers of the court were present attending on the king; and the instance of the eunuch Narses would show that it was not impossible for the Rab-saris to possess some of the qualities fitting him for a military command. In 2 Kings 25:19, a eunuch (סִריס, Saris, in the text of the A. V. "officer," in the margin "eunuch") is spoken of as set over the men of war; and in the sculptures at Nineveh "eunuchs are represented as comnmanding in war; fighting both on chariots and on horseback, and receiving the prisoners and the heads of the slain after battle "(Layardc Nineveh, ii, 325). But whether his office was really that which the title imports, or some other great court office, has been questioned. The chief of the eunuchs is an officer of high rank and dignity in the Oriental courts; and his cares are not confined to the harem, but many high public functions devolve upon him. In the Ottoman Porte the Kislar Aga, or chief of the black eunuuchs, is one of the principal personages in the empire, and in an official paper of great solemnity is styled by the sultan the most illustrious of the officers who approach his august person, and worthy of the confidence of monarchs and of sovereigns (D'Ohsson, Tab. Gen. iii, 308). It is, therefore, by no means improbable that such an office should be associated with a military commission; perhaps not for directly military duties, but to take chlarge of the treasure, and to select from the female captives such as might seem worthy of the royal harem. (See EUNUCH).

1. (Sept. ῾Ραβσαρείς v. r. ῾Ραφίς ) An officer of the king of Assyria sent up with Tartan and Rab-shakeh against Jerusalem in the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17). B.C. 713.

2. (Sept. Ναβουσαρείς v. r. Ναβουζαρίς .) One of the princes of Nebuchadnezzar, who was present at the capture of Jerusalem, B.C. 588, when Zedekiah, after endeavoring to escape, was taken and blinded and sent in chains to Babylon (Jeremiah 39:3). Rab-saris is mentioned afterwards (Jeremiah 39:13) among the other princes who at the command of the king were sent to deliver Jeremiah out of the prison. It is not improbable that we have not only the title of this Rab-saris given, but his name also, either Sarsechim (Jeremiah 39:3) or (Jeremiah 39:13) Nebushasban (worshipper of Nebo, Isaiah 46:1), in the same way as Nergal-sharezer is given in the same passages as the name of the Rab-mag.

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

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