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rabbe hammelech רבי חמלך ,Thus
tebachims, apxquayelpos, chief cook. The word will bear this version, but it does not suit the context in the passage where it is found, and 'D'ID 27 rab serisim 57, apX LEUV8Xos, the first rendered, in the English version, shipmaster, the second, captain of the guard, and the third, master of the eunuchs. It is used in the plural also for chief men in general, superintendents, or those at the head of affairs. , * the chief men employed by the king over the differ. ent departments of the state. It is rendered the princes of the king in the common translation. The ori. ginal term suits entirely the import of the Latin word princeps, but not of the English word prince, at least in its most common acceptation : for it is not the king's sons, or any order of nobles, who are so denominated. The word, among the Chaldeans, appears evidently to have been equivalent to the term
w shar among the Hebrews. Accordingly, he who is styled by Daniel, in the passage above quoted, O'D'70 27, is four times, in the same chapter, called 'D'707 70 shar haserisim 59. And this use of the name rab seems to have continued long in Syria, as well as in Chaldea. Thus, in the Syriac New Testament, it is found, in the same manner, united with the common appellation of any sort of officer, in order to denote the principal person in that office. Thus, rab-cohana 6o is the high-priest,
56 Jer. xxxix. 11.
57 Dan. i. 3.
rab-machsa is chief of the publicans, and rabrag. hotha " is chief shepherd. " Rab, construed in this manner, is equivalent to the Greek apz', as used in composition. The preceding titles are accordingly thus expressed in the Greek, αρχιερευς, αρχιτελωνης, and αρχιπoιμην. .
Again, the word rab is sometimes found in that version, combined, not with the title of any sort of officer, but with a term denoting the office or charge itself; in which case it always means the person
who is principally intrusted with the business. Thus, rab-beth 63 is the steward, ETTITPOTOS, he who is over the household ; and rab cano-shetha" is the ruler of the synagogue, apxuovvayoyos. It is not unlikely, though I do not find any example of it in Scripture, that the term has at first been similarly compounded with some word signifying a school, or, perhaps, with the name of the art or science taught, in order to denote the overseer of such a seminary, or the teacher of such an art. This hypothesis is at least favoured by analogy. As use, however, is variable, it appears, from what has actually happened, extremely probable, that, when all other applications of the term have been dropped, it has still remained as an honourable compellation of the learned. And when the term rab came to be peculiarly applied to such, the word wherewith it was, at first, for distinction's sake, compounded, would be superseded as unnecessary. 61 Luke, xix. 2.
62 1 Pet. v. 4. 63 Matth. xx. 8.
Mark, v. 35.
It is, at least, certain, that the Jewish doctors, who resided at Babylon, about the time of our Saviour, were called simply rab. But, in the Old Testament, there is no trace of such a title as rab, rabbi, or rabban, given to a man of letters ; nor is any of the old Prophets, or Scribes, or indeed, any other person, distinguished by this mark of respect prefixed to his name. Though the introduction of titles is always occasioned by the erection of useful and important offices, it is commonly in the decline of merit that pompous titles are most affected. At first, no doubt, vain-glory has led many to assume them, to whom they did not belong, in right of office, and an interested adulation has induced others to give them. Some of them, however, came soon, among the Jews, to be converted into a kind of academical distinctions, which, to give them more weight, are said to have been conferred solemnly in their schools or colleges, accompanied with certain religious ceremonies. From this practice, I may observe, by the way, sprang literary degrees in Christian universities, to which there is nothing similar, in all Pagan antiquity, either Greek or Roman, but to which the Jewish custom above mentioned bears an evident and close analogy.
g 5. Those who belonged to the school were divided into three classes or orders. The lowest was that of the disciples, or learners; the second, that of the fellows, or companions, those who, having made considerable progress in learning, were occa
of the first person.
sionally employed by the masters, in teaching the younger students. The highest was that of the preceptors, or teachers, to whom they appropriated the respectful title of doctor, or rabbi, which differs from rab only by the addition of the affix pronoun
All belonging to the school were accounted honourable, in a certain degree. Even the lowest, the name disciple, was considered as redounding to the honour of those youths, who were selected from the multitude, had the advantage of a learned education, and by their diligence and progress, gave hopes that they would, one day, fill with credit the most important stations. The title, companion, fellow, or associate, was considered as very honourable to the young graduate who obtained it, being a public testimony of the proficiency he had made in his studies. And the title rabbi was their highest academical honour. That it was only the youth, in what are called the genteeler stations, who had the advantage of a learned education, is manifest from the contempt which our Lord's parentage drew on him, as a teacher, from his fellow-citizens. Whence, say they
Whence, say they as, hath this man this wisdom? Is not this the carpenter's son ? They conclude that he must be illiterate, from the mean condition of his parents. It was not the children of such, then, we may reasonably infer, who were trained in those seminaries.
In the Gospels, didaoxados is given as the Greek translation of the Syriac rabbi 66 Yet this word
65 Matth. xiii. 54, 55.
06 John i. 38.
does not, as the Greek, literally signify teacher ; but, having been conferred, at first, as a mark of respect on actual teachers, and afterwards on other learned men, didacxałos was justly accounted as apposite a version as the Greek language afforded. It is certain, the term rabbi began soon to be used with great latitude. But though it came gradually to be bestowed on those who were not actual teachers, it always retained, ever since it had been appropriated to the learned, a relation to learning; and, being understood as an addition due only to literary merit, it still denoted, that though the person
who enjoyed it, might not be actually employed in teaching, he was well qualified for the office. Rabban is not the name of a degree superior to rabbi, though it seems intended for heightening the signification. It may be understood to denote eminent or learned rabbi, and appears to have been but very seldom used. The title rabboni, which we find twice given to our Lord, is rabban, with the addition of the affix of the first person, and accommodated to the pronunciation of Judea. One of those who addressed him with this compellation, was blind Bartimeus, when he applied for the recovery of his sight”. The other was Mary Magdalene, when she first saw Jesus after his resurrection 68.
That the use of the term rabban has not extended far beyond Palestine, may be presumed from the
67 Mark, x. 51.
63 John, xx. 16.