Elder In the Old Testament
Among primitive peoples authority seems naturally to be invested in those who by virtue of greater age and, consequently, experience are best fitted to govern thus Iliad iii.149. Later the idea of age became merged in that of dignity (Il. ii.404, ii.570; Odyssey ii.14). In like manner the word patres came to be used among the Romans (Cic. Rep. 2,8,14). So also among the Germans authority was entrusted to those who were older; compare Tacitus Agricola. The same is true among the Arabians to the present day, the sheik being always a man of age as well as of authority.
The elders served as local magistrates, in bringing murderers to trial (
In certain passages different classes of officers are mentioned as "judges and officers" (
Schurer, GJV3, section 23, especially 175 ff Eng. edition, II, i, 149 ff; Benzinger, H A2, 51; Deissmann, Bibelstudien, 153 ff (sv. ...); BDB, 278 (...); Preuschen, Griechisch-Deutsches Handworterbuch, under the word, 958 f.