Archisynagogus (ἀρχισυνάγωγος, "ruler of the synagogue," called also ἄρχων τῆς συναγωγῆς [Lu 8:41], and simply ἄρχων [Mt 9:18]; Heb. ראשׁ הִכּנֶסֶת, chief or ruler of the synagogue). In large synagogues there appears to have been a college or council of elders (זִקנִים = πρεσβύτεροι, Lu 7:3) to whom the care of the synagogue and the discipline of the congregation were committed, and to all of whom this title was applied (Mr 5:22; Ac 13:15; Ac 18:8, compared with ver. 17). Their duties were to preside in the public services, to direct the reading of the Scriptures and the addresses to the congregation (Vitringa, De Synagoga Vetere, lib. 3, pt. 1, c. 7; comp. Ac 13:15), to superintend the distribution of alms (Vitr. 100:13), and to punish transgressors either by scourging (Vitr.100:11; comp. Mt 10:17; Mt 23:34; Ac 22:19) or by excommunication (Vitr. 100:9). In a more restricted sense the title is sometimes applied to the president of this council, whose office, according to Grotius (Annotationes in Mt 9:18; Luc. 13:14) and many other writers, was different from and superior to that of the elders in general. Vitringa (p. 586), on the other hand, maintains that there was no such distinction of office, and that the title thus applied merely designates the presiding elder, who acted on behalf of and in the name of the whole. SEE SYNAGOGUE.

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