The natives of the East have ever been remarkable for a more reverential estimation of the state and dignity of a king than has usually prevailed among other people, and to this fact the language of Scripture bears ample testimony. Although on some special occasions we read of the Jewish monarchs sitting in the gate with their people (2Sa 19:8; Jer 38:7), and the prophets appear to have had easy access to them (1Ki 20:13; 2Ch 25:15), yet it is abundantly evident that regal state was, in general, fully maintained, with only that admixture of occasional intercourse and familiarity which may be noticed by every traveler at the present day in the East. Hence it was accounted the height of human felicity to be admitted into that splendid circle which surrounded the person of the sovereign, and they seem to have considered it a good omen if any one was so fortunate as to behold the face of the king (Pr 29:26); whence the expression of seeing God (Mt 5:8) is to be understood as the enjoyment of the highest possible happiness, such as his favor and protection, especially in the life to come. In reference to this custom, the angel Gabriel replied to Zacharias that he was Gabriel that stood in the presence of God; thus intimating that he was in a state of high favor and trust (Lu 1:19). Hence to "stand before the king" is a phrase which intended the same as to be occupied in his service, and to perform some duty for him (Ge 41:46; 1Sa 22:6-7), and imported the most eminent and dignified station at court. This illustrates the statement of Christ respecting children, "In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven" (Mt 18:1-10), an allusion to the custom of Oriental courts, where the great men, those who are highest in office and favor, are most frequently in the prince's palace and presence (Es 1:14; 1Ki 10:8; 1Ki 12:6; 2Ki 25:19). In like manner, the contentions among the apostles for the chief position under Christ shows that they mistook the spiritual nature of his kingdom; the request of the mother of James and John, that her sons might sit, the one on his right hand. and the other on his left, in his kingdom (Mt 20:20-23), evidently alludes to the custom which then obtained in the courts of princes, where two of the noblest and most dignified personages were respectively seated, one on each side, next the sovereign himself, thus enjoying the most eminent places of dignity (1Ki 2:19; Ps 45:9; Heb 1:3). SEE KING.