Governor. In the Authorized Version this one English word is the representative of no less than ten Hebrew and four Greek words.
1. The chief of a tribe or family. 2. A ruler in his capacity of lawgiver and dispenser of justice. 3. A ruler considered especially as having power over the property and persons of his subjects. Gen. 24:2; Josh. 12:2; Ps. 105:20. The “governors of the people,” in 2 Chron. 23:20, appear to have been the king’s body-guard; cf. 2 Kings 11:19. 4. A prominent personage, whatever his capacity. It is applied to a king as the military and civil chief of his people, 2 Sam. 5:2; 6:21; 1 Chron. 29:22, to the general of an army, 2 Chron. 32:21, and to the head of a tribe. 2 Chron. 19:11. It denotes an officer of high rank in the palace, the lord high chamberlain. 2 Chron. 28:7. It is applied in 1 Kings 10:15 to the petty chieftains who were tributary to Solomon, 2 Chron. 9:14; to the military commander of the Syrians, 1 Kings 20:24, the Assyrians, 2 Kings 18:24; 23:8, the Chaldeans, Jer. 51:23, and the Medes. Jer. 51:38. Under the Persian viceroys, during the Babylonian captivity, the land of the Hebrews appears to have been portioned out among “governors” (pachôth) inferior in rank to the satraps, Ezra 8:36, like the other provinces which were under the dominion of the Persian king. Neh. 2:7, 9. It is impossible to determine the precise limits of their authority or the functions which they had to perform. It appears from Ezra 6:8 that these governors were intrusted with the collection of the king’s taxes; and from Neh. 5:18; 12:26 that they were supported by a contribution levied upon the people, which was technically termed “the bread of the governor”; comp. Ezra 4:14. They were probably assisted in discharging their official duties by a council. Ezra 4:7; 6:6. The “governor” beyond the river had a judgment-seat beyond Jerusalem, from which probably he administered justice when making a progress through his province. Neh. 3:7. At the time of Christ Judea was a Roman province, governed by a procurator (governor) appointed by Rome.