High State Officials Under David And Solomon -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 02:4 (Autumn 1973)
Article: High State Officials Under David And Solomon
Author: Anonymous


High State Officials Under David And Solomon

One of the important results of archaeology has been to illuminate the meaning of official titles used in the Bible (see BIBLE AND SPADE, Winter 1972, pages 7 and 8). A recent PhD dissertation by Tryggve N. D. Mettinger at the University of Lund in Sweden has brought together much valuable data on the function of Israelite civil government officials (Solomonic State Officials, A Study of Civil Government Officials of the Israelite Monarcy; Coniectanea Biblica, Old Testament Series 5, C. W. K. Gleerup, Lund, 1971). The following is a summary of Dr. Mettinger’s findings.

The members of David’s cabinet are first listed in 2 Samuel 8:16–18 (similarly in 1 Chronicles 18:15–17). Of the six offices listed, two are military, two are religious and two are civil. The two civil offices are:

Verse 16mazkir, Recorder (Secretary of State, NEB)

Verse 17sopher, Scribe (Adjutant-General, NEB)

From the list of cabinet members in 2 Samuel 20:23–26 we learn that David added a third civil office later in his reign:

Verse 24al-hammas, Over the Tribute (In Charge of the Forced Levy, NEB)

In addition to the offices which David established, Solomon added three more as indicated in 1 Kings 4:1–6:

Verse 5al-hannitstsabim. Over the Officers (Superintendent of the Regional Governors, NEB)

Verse 5reeh hammelek, Principal Officer and The King’s Friend (King’s Friend, NEB)

Verse 6al-habbaith, Over the Household (Comptroller of the Household, NEB)

These lists give us only the high officers under David and Solomon. There were, of course, many more lower ranking officials in the government of Israel.

The Royal Herald

In studying the Scriptural references to the mazkir, Mettinger finds that the office was similar to that of the Egyptian Royal Herald. There are only two places in the Bible which refer to the

activities of the Royal Herald — 2 Kings 18:18 and

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