a Roman officer in command of a hundred men ( Mark 15:39 Mark 15:44 Mark 15:45 ). Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was a centurion ( Acts 10:1 Acts 10:22 ). Other centurions are mentioned in Matthew 8:5 Matthew 8:8 Matthew 8:13 ; Luke 7:2 Luke 7:6 ; Acts 21:32 ; Acts 22:25 Acts 22:26 ; Acts 23:17 Acts 23:23 ; 24:23 ; Acts 27:1 Acts 27:6 Acts 27:11 Acts 27:31 Acts 27:43 ; 28:16 . A centurion watched the crucifixion of our Lord ( Matthew 27:54 ; Luke 23:47 ), and when he saw the wonders attending it, exclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God." "The centurions mentioned in the New Testament are uniformly spoken of in terms of praise, whether in the Gospels or in the Acts. It is interesting to compare this with the statement of Polybius (vi. 24), that the centurions were chosen by merit, and so were men remarkable not so much for their daring courage as for their deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind.", Dr. Maclear's N. T. Hist.
Commander of a hundred men.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a CENTURION of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. ( Acts 10:1-2 )
As the name implies, hekatontarches or hekatontarchos, kenturion, Latin centurio, was the commander of a hundred men, more or less, in a Roman legion. Matthew and Luke use the Greek word while Mark prefers the Latin form, as he does in the case of other words, seeing that he wrote primarily for Roman readers. The number of centurions in a legion was 60, that being at all epochs the number of centuries, although the number varied in the cohort or speira. The ordinary duties of the centurion were to drill his men, inspect their arms, food and clothing, and to command them in the camp and in the field. Centurions were sometimes employed on detached service the conditions of which in the provinces are somewhat obscure. Men like Cornelius and Julius (Acts 10:1; 27:1) may have been separated from the legion to which they properly belonged for the discharge of special duties. They and other centurions mentioned in the Gospels and the Ac (Matthew 8:5; Mark 15:39,44,45; Luke 23:47) are represented by the sacred writers in a favorable light.
See AUGUSTAN BAND.
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