391. Chamberlains

Esther 1:10; 1 Samuel 8:15; 1 Kings 22:9; 2 Kings 8:6; 2 Kings 9:32; 2 Kings 20:17‑18; 2 Kings 23:11; 2 Kings 25:19; 1 Chronicles 28:1; Esther 2:21; Isaiah 39:7; Jeremiah 29:2; Jeremiah 34:19; Jeremiah 38:7; Jeremiah 39:3; Jeremiah 52:25  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Sarisim is variously rendered “chamberlains,” “officers” and “eunuchs.” They were emasculated persons who had charge of the harems of Oriental monarchs, and who were also employed by them in various offices about the court. They often became the confidential advisers of the monarch, and were frequently men of great influence, and sometimes had high military office. See Jeremiah 39:33And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. (Jeremiah 39:3). This was especially the case in Persia, where they acquired great political power, and filled positions of great prominence, and sometimes engaged in conspiracy against the life of the king, an illustration of which may be found in Esther 2:2121In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. (Esther 2:21).
The Hebrew monarchs had them in their courts. See 1 Samuel 8:1515And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. (1 Samuel 8:15); 1 Kings 22:99Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah. (1 Kings 22:9); 2 Kings 8:6; 9:32; 23:11; 25:196And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now. (2 Kings 8:6)
32And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. (2 Kings 9:32)
11And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. (2 Kings 23:11)
19And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city: (2 Kings 25:19)
; 1 Chronicles 28:11And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 28:1); Jeremiah 29:2; 34:19; 38:7; 52:252(After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;) (Jeremiah 29:2)
19The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf; (Jeremiah 34:19)
7Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin; (Jeremiah 38:7)
25He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city. (Jeremiah 52:25)
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Though it was the barbarous custom of Eastern sovereigns to mutilate many of their young prisoners in the manner here indicated, there is no evidence that the Hebrew kings ever did this. The eunuchs employed by them are supposed to have been imported. It is thought that Daniel and his companions were thus maltreated by the king of Babylon in fulfillment of the prediction contained in 2 Kings 20:17-1817Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. 18And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (2 Kings 20:17‑18); Isaiah 39:77And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (Isaiah 39:7).