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Ambassador

AMBASSADOR. The OT has three Hebrew words that express the idea of “ambassador.” (1) Tzîr (e.g., Isa.18.2) probably denotes “going,” i.e., away from home in a foreign land; (2) mal’ākh (e.g., Isa.37.9, Isa.37.14; cf. Isa.37.36 where it is the Lord’s “angel” as his ambassador), meaning “messenger,” therefore one sent on higher authority; (3) lûts (2Chr.32.31), literally “interpreter” (e.g., Gen.42.23), i.e., one carrying an authorized understanding of his master’s mind and policy. The word ambassador(s) in the NT—e.g.,“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (2Cor.5.20) and “I am an ambassador in chains” (Eph.6.20)—is from presbeuein, “to be, work, or travel as an envoy or ambassador.” Today’s concept of an ambassador as a personal representative of sovereigns of state, living in foreign residence, is somewhat alien to the biblical concept of a messenger as ambassador.