In the Authorized Version this one English word is the representative of no less than ten Hebrew and four Greek words.
The chief of a tribe or family.
A ruler in his capacity of lawgiver and dispenser of justice.
A ruler consider especially as having power over the property and persons of his subjects. (Genesis 24:2; Joshua 12:2; Psalms 100:20) The "governors of the people," in (2 Chronicles 23:20) appear to have been the king's body-guard; cf. (2 Kings 11:19)
A prominent personage, whatever his capacity. It is applied to a king as the military and civil chief of his people, (2 Samuel 5:2; 6:21; 1 Chronicles 29:22) to the general of an army, (2 Chronicles 32:21) and to the head of a tribe. (2 Chronicles 19:11) It denotes an officer of high rank in the palace, the lord high chamberlain. (2 Chronicles 28:7) It is applied in (1 Kings 10:15) to the petty chieftains who were tributary to Solomon, (2 Chronicles 9:14) to the military commander of the Syrians, (1 Kings 20:24) the Assyrians, (2 Kings 18:24; 23:8) the Chaldeans, (Jeremiah 51:23) and the Medes. (Jeremiah 51:38) Under the Persian viceroys, during the Babylonian captivity, the land of the Hebrews appears to have been portioned out among "governors" (pachoth) inferior in rank to the satraps, (Ezra 8:30) like the other provinces which were under the dominion of the Persian king. (Nehemiah 2:7,9) It is impossible to determine the precise limits of their authority or the functions which they had to perform, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. It appears from (Ezra 6:8) that these governors were intrusted with the collection of the king's taxes; and from (Nehemiah 5:18; 12:26) that they were supported by a contribution levied upon the people, which was technically termed "the bread of the governor" comp. (Ezra 4:14) They were probably assisted in discharging their official duties by A council. (Ezra 4:7; 6:6) The "governor" beyond the river had a judgment-seat beyond Jerusalem, from which probably he administered justice when making a progress through his province. (Nehemiah 3:7) At the time of Christ Judea was a Roman province, governed by a procurator (governor) appointed by Rome.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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