Prince, Princess

PRINCE, PRINCESS. Whereas the word “princess” trs. only one word in Heb. (שָׂרָה֮, H8576) the word “prince” is the tr. of a considerable variety of Heb., Aram. and Gr. words, which express different shades of meaning other than the direct male heir to a throne or the physical male descendant of a king. Among the more frequent meanings are “chieftain,” “ruler,” “noble,” “governor,” “deputy.” The tr. of these words as “prince” is very common in the KJV because the trs. took the LXX ἄρχων, G807, as their guide, although this is not followed consistently. The ASV and RSV contain more discerning trs.


The feminine form, שָׂרﯴת׃֙, is used of Solomon’s wives (1 Kings 11:3) and of Jerusalem as the “princess of cities” (Lam 1:1), although the Heb. word is tr. otherwise elsewhere; e.g. “ladies” (Judg 5:29; Esth 1:18); or “queens” (Isa 49:23).




5. נָסִיכְ֮, H5817, “anointed,” tr. “prince” in KJV (Ps 83:11; Ezek 32:30; cf. Dan 11:8).



8. רַבְרְבָנִין, H10652, “lords” (Dan 5:2, 3).

9. שָׁלִישׁ֙, H8957, (either Hitt. šalliš, or “third man in a chariot”) Ezekiel 23:15; elsewhere equivalent to adjutant (2 Kings 9:25).

10. קָצִין, H7903, (Dan 11:8; Prov 25:15; Mic 3:1, 9), strictly “judge,” “leader” (Jephthah) cf. Arab. Qadi.

11. חַשְׁמַנִּים (Ps 68:31), possibly “ambassadors,” or it may be a loan-word from Egyp. ḥsmn, plated bronze. RSV renders it “bronze.”


13. כֹּהֵן, H3913, (Job 12:19), “priest.” RSV “priests.”


II. In the NT. Three Gr. terms occur in the NT: 1. ἀρχηγός, G795, “leader,” “one who goes before to blaze a trail,” applied to Christ (Acts 3:15, RSV “author”); 5:31, RSV “leader.” Translated “author” (Heb 2:10; 12:3; RSV “pioneer”).


3. Χγεμών. In Matthew 2:6 it denotes Bethlehem (cf. Mic 5:2). Elsewhere used of the Rom. authority, legate, procurator, proconsul, or governor.

The Messiah is Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), Prince of princes (Dan 8:25), Prince of the kings (Rev 1:5) and Prince of life (Acts 3:15). Beelzebub is the prince of demons (Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15) and the leader of those who reject God’s sovereignty (John 12:31; 16:11).

Article 2


Of princesses far less is said. Solomon had seven hundred princesses or women “of royal birth” as wives, in contrast with three hundred concubines (1Kgs.11.3). Jerusalem is called a princess or queen (Lam.1.1). A king’s daughter (Ps.45.9-Ps.45.13), a prince’s daughter (Song.7.1), and daughter of a leader of Midian (Num.25.18) are mentioned. The new name of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, means “princess” (Gen.17.15).