ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia

Magistrate

a public civil officer invested with authority

The Hebrew shophetim, or judges, were magistrates having authority in the land (Deut. 1:16-17). In Judg. 18:7, the word “magistrate” (Authorized Version) is rendered in the Revised Version “possessing authority,” i.e., having power to do them harm by invasion.

In the time of Ezra (9:2) and Nehemiah (2:16; 4:14; 13:11) the Jewish magistrates were called seganim, properly meaning “nobles.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word archon, rendered “magistrate” (Luke 12:58; Titus 3:1), means one first in power, and hence a prince, as in Matt. 20:25, 1 Cor. 2:6, 8.

This term is used of the Messiah, “Prince of the kings of the Earth” (Rev. 1:5).

In Acts 16:20, 22, 35-36, 38, the Greek term strategos, rendered “magistrate,” properly signifies the leader of an army, a general, one having military authority. The strategoi were the duumviri, the two praetors appointed to preside over the administration of justice in the colonies of the Romans. They were attended by the sergeants (properly lictors or “rod bearers”).