Procurator This word does not occur in the Vulgate or in the A.V., nor is its accurate Greek equivalent, ἐπίτροπος (though used by Philo, Leg. ad Ceiium, and by Josephus. Ant. 20:6, 2, 8, 5; comp. 20:5,; his office is called ἐπιτροπή [ibid. 20:5, 1]), found in this sense in the Greek Testament, where it is represented by the vaguer term ἡγεμών, rendered by our translators "governor" (Lu 2:2; Mt 27:2; Mt 28:14, etc.). ῾Ηγεμών also occurs in a perfectly general sense (Mt 10:18; 1Pe 2:14). In Mt 2:6 it is rendered "prince," and corresponds to the Hebrew אִלּוּŠ. "Governor" in the A.V. is also used for ἐθνάρχης (2Co 11:32). Διοικητής is another Greek term for procurator. The word ἡγεμών, or procurator, is generally applied, both in the original and in our version, to the procurators of Judaea, Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27 etc.), Felix (Acts 23), and Festus (26:30); but it is also used of Cyrenius (Quirinus), who held the more responsible and distinguished office of praeses or leqatus Caesaris over the province of Syria (Lu 2:2). Procurators were chiefly despatched to the imperial, and not to the senatorial provinces. SEE PROVINCE. The revenues of the latter flowed into the merarium, or exchequer, while those of the former belonged to the fiscus, or privy purse. The procuratore Caesoris were specially intrusted with the interests of the fiscus, and therefore managed the various taxes and imposts, performing similar duties to those exercised by the quaestors in the provinces administered by the senate. Procurators were, however, sometimes sent as well as quaestors to the senatorial provinces (Tacit. Ann. 13:1: Dio Cass. 53:15); but these were doubtless offices of less dignity, though bearing the same title. Procurator is also used for steward (Plautus, Pseud. 2, 2, 14), attorney (Ulpian, Dig. 3, 3), regent (Cesar, B. C. 3, 112), etc. They were selected from among men who had been consuls or praetors, and sometimes from the inferior senators (Dio Cass. 53:13-15). They were attended by six lictors, used the military dress, and wore the sword (ibid. 13). No quaestor came into the emperor's provinces, but the property and revenues of the imperial treasury were administered to the rationales, procucratores, and actores of the emperor, who were chosen from among his freedmen, or from among the knights (Tacit. Hist. v, 9; Dio Cass. 53:15). Sometimes the procurators were invested with the dignity of legati, or procuratores cum jure gladii (τῇ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἐξουσίᾷ, Josephus, War, ii, 8, 1), and this was the case with the procurators of Judaea, which had been made a sub-province of Syria (προσθήκη τῆς Συρίας; id. Ant. 13:1, 1) since the deposition of the ethnarch Archelaus, A.D. 6. There is therefore no inaccuracy in the use of ἡγεμών in the New Test., since we find from inscriptions that preeses and procurator were often interchangeable (Gruter, p. 493, b). In one respect, indeed, the ἡγεμόνες were even more powerful than the proconsuls themselves (ἀνθύπατοι); for, being regarded as the immediate emissaries and representatives of the Caesar, by whom they were appointed to an indefinite tenure of office (Dio Cass. 53:13-15), they had the power of inflicting capital punishment at their own discretion (Joh 19:10; Josephus, War, ii, 8, 1). They also governed the province when the proconsul was dead or absent, "vice proconsilium," as we see from many inscriptions (Murat. p. 907, 4, etc.). In a turbulent and seditious province like Judaea, their most frequent functions were of a military or judicial character. The first procurator was Coponius, who was sent out with Quirinus to take a census of the property of the Jews and to confiscate that of Archelaus (Josephus, Ant. 18:1, 1). His successor was Marcus Ambivitus, then Annius Rufus, in whose time the emperor Augustus died. Tiberius sent Valerius Gratus. who was procurator for eleven years, and was succeeded by Pontius Pilate (ibid. 2, 2), who i called by Josephus (ibid. 3, 1) ἡγεμών, as he is in the New Test. He was subject to the governor (praeses) of Syria, for the council of the Samaritans denounced Pilate to Vitellitus, who sent him to Rome and put one of his own friends, Marcellus, in his place (ibid. 4, 2). The headquarters of the procurator were at Cesarea (Josephus, War, ii, 9, 2; Ac 23:23), where he had a judgment-seat (25:6) in the audience-chamber (ver. 23), and was assisted by a council (ver. 12) whom he consulted in cases of difficulty, the assessores (Suieton. Gelb. 14), or; ἡγεμόνες, who are mentioned by Josephus (War, ii, 16, 1) as having been consulted by Cestius, the governor of Syria, when certain charges were made against Florus, the procurator of Judaea. More important cases were laid before the emperor (Ac 25:12; comp. Josephus, Ant. 20:6, 2). The procurator, as the representative of the emperor, had the power of life and death over his subjects (Dio Cass. 53:14; Mt 27:26),which was denied to the proconsul. In the New Test. we see the procurator only in his judicial capacity. Thus Christ is brought before Pontius Pilate as a political offender (Mt 27:2,11), and the accusation is heard by the procurator, who is seated on the judgmentseat (ver. 19). Felix heard St. Paul's accusation and defence from the judgment-seat at Caesarea (Acts 24), which was in the open air in the great stadium (Josephus, War, 2, 9, 2), and St. Paul calls him "judge" (Ac 24:10), as if this term described his chief functions. The procurator (ἡγεμών) is again alluded to in his judicial capacity in 1Pe 2:14. He was attended by a cohort as body-guard (Mt 27:27), and apparently went up to Jerusalem at the time of the high festivals, and there resided in the palace of Herod (Josephus, War. ii, 14, 3; Philo, De Leg. ad Caiunz, § 37, ii, 589, ed. Mang.), in which was the pretoriium, or "judgment-hall," as it is rendered in the A.V. (Mt 27:27; Mr 15:16; comp. Ac 23:35). Sometimes, it appears, Jerusalem was made his winter quarters (Josephus, Ant. 18:3, 1). The high- priest was appointed and removed at the will of the procurator (ibid. 2, 2). Of the oppression and extortion practiced by one of these officers, Gessius Florus, which resulted in open rebellion, we have an account in Josephus (Ant. 20:I, 1; War, ii, 14, 2). The same laws held both for the governors of the imperial and senatorial provinces, that they could not raise a levy or exact more than an appointed sum of money from their subjects, and that when their successors came they were to return to Rome within three months (Dio Cass. 53:15). The pomp and dignity of the procurators may be inferred from the narrative of these trials, and from the titles of "most excellent" and "most noble" (κράτιστε), applied to them by such different lips as those of Claudius Lysias, Tertullian, and St. Paul; yet they were usually chosen from no higher rank than that of the equites, or even the freedmen of the emperor; and the "most noble Felix," in particular, was a mere manumitted slave (Tacit. Hist. 5, 9; Ann. 12:54; Sueton. Claud. 28). It is satisfactory to find that even in the minutest details the glimpses of their position afforded to us by the New Test. are corroborated by the statements of heathen writers. The violence (Lu 13:1), the venality (Ac 24:26), the insolence (Joh 19:22), and the gross injustice (Ac 24:27), which we see exemplified in their conduct towards our Lord and his apostles, are amply illustrated by contemporary historians (Josephus, Ant. 18:3, 1; War, ii, 9; Cicero, in Veterem, passim); and they weighed so heavily on the mind of the emperor Trajan that he called the extortions of provincial governors "the spleen of the empire" (comp. Aurel. Vict. Epist. 42). Vespasian (mnore suo) took a more humorous view of the matter, and said that the procurators were like sponges (Sueton. Vesp. 16). The presence of the wives of Pilate (Mt 27:19) and Felix (Ac 24:24) reminds us of the famous debate on the proposition of Caecina to forbid the proconsuls and procurators to be accompanied by their wives (Tacit. Ann. 3, 33, 34). This had been the old and perhaps the wise regulation of earlier days, since the cruelty, ambition, and luxury of these ladies were often more formidable to the provincials than those of the governors themselves. But the rule had often been violated, and had of late been deliberately abandoned. We see, too, in the ready handing-over of the prisoner from one authority to another (ἀνέπεμψεν, remisit, Lu 23:7; Ac 26:32), some trace of that salutary dread of being denounced after their term of office was over, which alone acted as a check upon the lawlessness of even the most unscrupulous governors. Even the mention made of things at first sight so trivial as the tribunal (βῆμα), and the tessellated pavement (λιθόστρωτον) on which it was elevated, derives an interest and importance from the fact that they were conventional symbols of wealth and dignity, and that Julius Caesar thought it worth while to carry one about with him from place to place (Sueton. Jul. c. 46). See Sibranda, De Statu Judaeoe Provinc. (Franc. 1698; also in Iken, Thes. Nov. ii, 529); Deyling, Observat. ii, 429; Grossmann, De Procuratore (Lips. 1823); Langen, in the Theol. Quartalschr. (1862) iii; Bible Educator, 3, 180. SEE GOVERNOR.

Definition of procurator

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