RAB-SARIS AND RAB-MAG

RAB-SARIS AND RAB-MAG
RAB-SARIS AND RAB-MAG (Heb. רַב מָג ;רַב־סָרִיס), titles of high ranking Assyrian and Babylonian officials. An economic bilingual document in Akkadian and Aramaic attests the title Rab-Saris as held by an Assyrian eponym. In that document, however, the corresponding Akkadian term is absent and it is as yet unattested elsewhere. Further a מרסרס of Sargon is found in Aramaic. The meaning of all these is "chief of the king's attendants." Though the saris–in Akkadian ša rēši–was often a eunuch (in contradistinction to the ša ziqni, "the bearded one"), there is no indication that the Rab-Saris was always castrated. In the story of Daniel, the Rab-Saris Ashpenaz trained certain aristocratic Jewish youths for service in the court of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1:3ff.). The Rab-Saris is among the Assyrian officials leading the siege of Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah (II Kings 18:17). In Jeremiah 39:3–13, the Rab-Saris Nebushazban is mentioned together with other Babylonian officials. Among these was Nergalsharezer the Rab-Mag. In late Assyrian and late Babylonian texts the rab-mugi (or rabmungi) is described as a high official who performed military, administrative, and diplomatic duties, although the precise significance of the title is unclear. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Sprengling, in: AJSLL, 49 (1932), 53–54; E. Weidner, in: AFO, 17 (1954–56), 293; J. Nougayrov, Le Palais royal d'Ugarit, 3 (1955), 16:162; H. Tadmor, in: BIES, 31 (1967), 77. (S. David Sperling)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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