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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Magistrate

Dictionaries :: Magistrate

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Magistrate:

a public civil officer invested with authority. The Hebrew shophetim, or judges, were magistrates having authority in the land (Deu 1:16,17). In Jdg 18:7 the word "magistrate" (A.V.) is rendered in the Revised Version "possessing authority", i.e., having power to do them harm by invasion. In the time of Ezra (Ezr 9:2) and Nehemiah (Neh 2:16; 4:14; 13:11) the Jewish magistrates were called seganim, properly meaning "nobles." In the New Testament the Greek word archon, rendered "magistrate" (Luk 12:58; Tts 3:1), means one first in power, and hence a prince, as in Mat 20:25, 1Cr 2:6, 8. This term is used of the Messiah, "Prince of the kings of the earth" (Rev 1:5). In Act 16:20, 22, 35, 36, 38, the Greek term strategos, rendered "magistrate," properly signifies the leader of an army, a general, one having military authority. The strategoi were the duumviri, the two praetors appointed to preside over the administration of justice in the colonies of the Romans. They were attended by the sergeants (properly lictors or "rod bearers").

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Magistrate:

maj'-is-trat (shephaT, corresponding to shaphaT, "to judge," "to pronounce sentence" (Jud 18:7)): Among the ancients, the terms corresponding to our "magistrate" had a much wider signification. "Magistrates and judges" (shopheTim we-dhayyanim) should be translated "judges and rulers" (Ezr 7:25). ceghanim "rulers" or "nobles," were Babylonian magistrates or prefects of provinces (Jer 51:23,28,57; Eze 23:6). In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jewish magistrates bore the same title (Ezr 9:2; Ne 2:16; 4:14; 13:11). The Greek archon, "magistrate" (Lu 12:58; Tit 3:1 the King James Version), signifies the chief in power (1Co 2:6,8) and "ruler" (Ac 4:26; Ro 13:3).

The Messiah is designated as the "prince (archon) of the kings of the earth" (Re 1:5 the King James Version), and by the same term Moses is designated the judge and leader of the Hebrews (Ac 7:27,35). The wide application of this term is manifest from the fact that it is used of magistrates of any kind, e.g. the high priest (Ac 23:5); civil judges (Lu 12:58; Ac 16:19); ruler of the synagogue (Lu 8:41; Mt 9:18,23; Mr 5:22); persons of standing and authority among the Pharisees and other sects that appear in the Sanhedrin (Lu 14:1; Joh 3:1; Ac 3:17). The term also designates Satan, the prince or chief of the fallen angels (Mt 9:34; Eph 2:2).

In the New Testament we also find strategos, employed to designate the Roman praetors or magistrates of Philippi, a Roman colony (Ac 16:20,22,35,36,38). A collective term for those clothed with power (Eng. "the powers"), exousiai, is found in Lu 12:11 the King James Version; Ro 13:2,3; Tit 3:1. The "higher powers" (Ro 13:1) are all those who are placed in positions of civil authority from the emperor down.

In early Hebrew history, the magisterial office was limited to the hereditary chiefs, but Moses made the judicial office elective. In his time the "heads of families" were 59 in number, and these, together with the 12 princes of the tribes, composed the Sanhedrin or Council of 71. Some of the scribes were entrusted with the business of keeping the genealogies and in this capacity were also regarded as magistrates.

Written by Frank E. Hirsch

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g4755 Greek: strategos

Magistrate:

besides its application to "the captain of the Temple" (see CAPTAIN), denotes "a magistrate or governor," Act 16:20, 22, 35, 36, 38. These were, in Latin terminology, the duumviri or praetores, so called in towns which were Roman colonies. They were attended by lictors or "serjeants," who executed their orders. In the circumstances of Acts 16 they exceeded their powers, in giving orders for Roman citizens to be scourged; hence they became suppliants.
See CAPTAIN.

2 Strong's Number: g758 Greek: archon

Magistrate:

"a ruler," denotes, in Luk 12:58, "a local authority, a magistrate," acting in the capacity of one who received complaints, and possessing higher authority than the judge, to whom the "magistrate" remits the case.
See CHIEF, PRINCE, RULER.

Notes:

(1) In Luk 12:11, AV, arche, "a beginning, rule, principality," is translated "magistrates;" the word, however, denotes "rulers" in general: hence the RV, "rulers."

(2) For the AV of Tts 3:1, "to obey magistrates," see OBEY, B, No. 3.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.