a confidential servant of the king ( Genesis 37:36 ; 39:1 ). In Romans 16:23 mention is made of "Erastus the chamberlain." Here the word denotes the treasurer of the city, or the quaestor, as the Romans styled him. He is almost the only convert from the higher ranks of whom mention is made (Compare Acts 17:34 ). Blastus, Herod's "chamberlain" ( Acts 12:20 ), was his personal attendant or valet-de-chambre. The Hebrew word saris , thus translated in Esther 1:10 Esther 1:15 ; Esther 2:3 Esther 2:14 Esther 2:21 , etc., properly means an eunuch (as in the marg.), as it is rendered in Isaiah 39:7 ; 56:3 .
Eunuch, or chief servant.
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven CHAMBERLAINS that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. ( Esther 1:10-11 )
an officer attached to the court of a king, who formerly had charge of the private apartments or chambers of the palace. He kept the accounts of the public revenues. The office held by Blastus, "the kings chamberlain," was entirely different from this. ( Acts 12:20 ) It was a post of honor which involved great intimacy and influence with the king. For chamberlain as used in the Old Testament, see [EUNUCH]
In the Old Testament the word rendered chamberlain, caric, is more properly "eunuch," an officer which oriental monarchs placed over their harems (Esther 1:10,12,15; 2:3,14,21; 4:4; 6:2,14; 7:9; 2 Kings 23:11). This officer seems also to have had other duties. See under \EUNUCH\. In the New Testament:
(1) oikonomos, literally manager of the household, apparently the "treasurer" as in the Revised Version (British and American) "Erastus the treasurer of the city saluteth you" (Romans 16:23). Compare adapted use as applied to Christian apostles and teachers, bishops, and even to individual members; in which cases, rendered "stewards" (1 Corinthians 4:1; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10).
(2) In Acts 12:20, "Blastus the king's chamberlain" (ho epi toa koitonos tou basileos, "he who is over the king's bed-chamber"), not treasure-chamber, as above; here praefectus cubiculo, or chief valet de chambre to the royal person, a position involving much honor and intimacy.
Edward Bagby Pollard
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