An officer in households of kings, or other dignitaries, having charge of wines and other potables. mashqeh, "one who gives drink" (Genesis 40:1-23; 41:9), rendered "cupbearer" in 1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 9:4; Nehemiah 1:11. The office was one of consider ble importance in oriental courts, because of the danger to the king's life through plots of poison, etc. Nehemiah held this position to King Artaxerxes. Wealthy courts, as that of Solomon, usually had more than one (1 Kings 10:5); over these cupbearers or butlers was the sar ha-mash-qim, or chief butler (Genesis 40:9).
Edward Bagby Pollard
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