(1.) Heb. sar (1Sa 22:2; 2Sa 23:19). Rendered "chief," Ge 40:2; 41:9; rendered also "prince," Da 1:7; "ruler," Jg 9:30; "governor,' 1Ki 22:26. This same Hebrew word denotes a military captain (Ex 18:21; 2Ki 1:9; De 1:15; 1Sa 18:13, etc.), the "captain of the body-guard" (Ge 37:36; 39:1; 41:10; Jer 40:1), or, as the word may be rendered, "chief of the executioners" (marg.). The officers of the king's body-guard frequently acted as executioners. Nebuzar-adan (Jer 39:13) and Arioch (Da 2:14) held this office in Babylon.
The "captain of the guard" mentioned in Ac 28:16 was the Praetorian prefect, the commander of the Praetorian troops.
(2.) Another word (Heb. katsin) so translated denotes sometimes a military (Jos 10:24; 11/6'>Jg 11:6,11; Isa 22:3 "rulers;" Da 11:18) and sometimes a civil command, a judge, magistrate, Arab. kady, (Isa 1:10; 3:6; Mic 3:1,9).
(3.) It is also the rendering of a Hebrew word (shalish) meaning "a third man," or "one of three." The LXX. render in plural by tristatai; i.e., "soldiers fighting from chariots," so called because each war-chariot contained three men, one of whom acted as charioteer while the other two fought (Ex 14:7; 15:4; 1Ki 9:22; comp. 2Ki 9:25). This word is used also to denote the king's body-guard (2Ki 10:25; 1Ch 12:18; 2Ch 11:11) or aides-de-camp.
(4.) The "captain of the temple" mentioned in Ac 4:1; 5:24 was not a military officer, but superintendent of the guard of priests and Levites who kept watch in the temple by night. (Comp. "the ruler of the house of God," 1Ch 9:11; 2Ch 31:13; Ne 11:11.)
(5.) The Captain of our salvation is a name given to our Lord (Heb 2:10), because he is the author and source of our salvation, the head of his people, whom he is conducting to glory. The "captain of the Lord's host" (Jos 5:14-15) is the name given to that mysterious person who manifested himself to Abraham (Ge 12:7), and to Moses in the bush (Ex 3:2,6, etc.) the Angel of the covenant. (See Angel.)
CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE (Lu 22:4; Ac 4:1; 5:24): not military, but over the guard of the temple, consisting of priests and Levites (2Ki 12:9), "the priests that kept the door" (2Ki 25:18); they visited the posts by night, and saw that the sentries were on the alert. In Heb 2:10, (Greek "Prince leader of their salvation,") the antitypical Joshua who leads us into the heavenly Canaan. The same Greek in Heb 12:2, "the Author," rather "Prince leader of our faith." Ac 3:15, "Prince of life."
This word occurs very frequently in the OT (AV and RV), and appears to have been favoured by the translators as a comprehensive term to denote a ruler, or a military commander of any unit, whatever its size might be. In modern military language it means especially the commander of a company of infantry, numbering about 100 to 110 men, and is quite unsuitable as a translation. It represents in OT 13 different Hebrew words. In Ezekiel it is often used for the secular head of the Messianic kingdom: 'prince' will there and often elsewhere do as a rendering; 'officer' and 'chief' will suit other passages. There are further places where none of these words will do as a translation. In the NT it translates four Greek words, and means: (1) Joh 18:12; Ac 22:28 a Roman military officer, a tribune of the soldiers, in command of about 1000 men, constituting the garrison of Jerusalem (hence Re 6:15; 19:18 in a general sense); (2) Lu 22:4,52; Ac 4:1 etc., the captain of the Temple, a Levite, who had under him a body of police, probably themselves also priests, whose duty it was to keep order in the Temple at Jerusalem and guard it by night; (3) Heb 2:10 (RV 'author') leader, initiator; (4) Ac 28:16 AV 'captain of the guard' (wanting in RV), a doubtful reading and of doubtful sense. See also Army,
In the O.T. this word is used for one filling any office of rule or command: as the head of a tribe, Nu 2:3-29; commander of an army, etc. The person who appeared to Joshua as 'a man' declared himself to be 'captain of the Lord's host.' He told Joshua to remove his shoes from his feet, for the ground was holy, evincing that he was God's representative to lead their warfare. Jos 5:14-15. In the N.T. the Lord is called 'Captain' of our salvation, ???????, 'chief leader.' Heb 2:10.
There was also a 'CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE,' ?????????. Lu 22:4,52; Ac 4:1; 5:24,26. This word is literally 'the leader of an army;' it is also applied to magistrates, Ac 16:20, but the captain of the temple was set not over the soldiers, but over the priests and Levites: cf. Nu 3:32; 1Ch 9:11; Jer 20:1.
THE CHIEF CAPTAIN or HIGH CAPTAIN is ?????????, lit. 'Captain of a thousand,' applied to the chief of the soldiers in Jerusalem. Acts 21 - 25.
CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD, Ac 28:16, is ??????????????, properly 'commander of a camp,' but here the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, an officer to whom state prisoners were entrusted at Rome.
1. As a purely military title, "captain" answers to sar in the Hebrew army and tribune in the Roman. The captain of the guard in
was probably the prefectus pratorio.
2. Katsin, occasionally rendered captain, applies Sometimes to a military,
sometimes to a civil command, e.g.
3. The captain of the temple, mentioned
superintended the guard of priests and Levites who kept watch by night in the temple.