The meaning of Rab-mag in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
rab'-mag (rabh-magh;. Septuagint has it as a proper noun, Rhabamath): The name of one of the Babylonian princes who were present at the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, during the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (Jeremiah 39:3, Jeremiah 39:13). The word is a compound, the two parts seemingly being in apposition and signifying tautologically the same thing. The last syllable or section of the word, magh, was the designation among the Medes, Persians and Babylonians for priests and wise men. Its original significance was "great" or "powerful"; Greek megas, Latin magis, magnus. The first syllable, rabh, expresses practically the same idea, that of greatness, or abundance in size, quantity, or power. Thus it might be interpreted the "allwise" or "all-powerful" prince, the chief magician or physician. It is, therefore, a title and not a name, and is accordingly put in appositive relations to the proper name just preceding, as "Nergal-sharezer, the Rab-mag," translated fully, "Nergal-sharezer the chief prince or magician."
In harmony with the commonly accepted view, the proper rendering of the text should be, "All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, to wit, Nergal-sharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, (the) Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, (the) Rab-mag" (Jeremiah 39:3); and "so Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushazban, (the) Rab-saris, and Nergal-sharezer, (the) Rab-mag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon" (Jeremiah 39:13).
Walter G. Clippinger
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