Captain (In the Bible)
In the Douay version captain represents several different Hebrew and Latin words, and designates both civil and military officers. It is used without rule, other words being frequently substituted where the same expression with the same sense is translated, and this is true with regard to the Latin Vulgate as well as the Hebrew or Greek text. It is rarely used to designate civil officials, and then only the highest. Thus we find "captain of my people" ( 2 Kings 20:5 ); "let us appoint a captain" (instead of Moses ; Numbers 14:4 ; cf. Proverbs 6:7 ). When applied to military officers it corresponds in most cases to the Hebrew sár, and like it designates officers of all grades, namely:
- (1) Generals, "captains of the host"( sár háççãbã , strategos, hegoumenos princeps exercitus, dux ); but in many cases "general of the army" or "prince of the army" is used.
- (2) The various grades of officers of infantry: "captains of thousands" ( sár hãalãphim , chiliarchos , tribunus ); "captains of hundreds" ( sár hámmeôth, ekatontarchos, centurio ); "captains of fifty" ( sár hamíshshîm , pentekontarchos, quinquagenarius ); and "captains over tens" ( dekarches , decurio ).
- (3) "Captains of the chariots" ( sár hãrékéb . The "captains of cavalry", Vulgate duces equitatus in 2 Chronicles 18:30, 31, 32 , 21:9 , should be "captains of the chariots").
- (4) Commanders of the body-guard ( sár háttábbãhîm , sár hãrãçîm , translated respectively "captain of soldiers", Genesis 26:26 , 37:36 , etc., and "captain of the shieldbearers", 1 Kings 14:27 ).
- (5) Lastly, captain is used to designate two special classes of officers, the shôterîm , probably officers charged with the organization of newly levied troops and the order of the camp ( Deuteronomy 20:5, 9 ), and the shálîshîm , whose status is not clear; under the later kings they were royal equerries or aides-de-camp ( 2 Kings 9:25 , 15:25 , cf. 7:2, 17 ). It is also applied to the chiefs of marauding bands ( 1 Kings 2:24 ).
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online