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SCEPTER (sĕp'têr, Heb. shēvet, Gr. rhabdos). A rod held in the hands of kings as a token of authority. The Hebrew shēvet is the word for “rod” or “club,” and is used of an ordinary rod (2Sam.7.14), a shepherd’s crook (Ps.23.4), or the staff of a commander (as niv translates Judg.5.14; kjv “writer”) who evidently mustered the troops, as well as of the symbol of authority.

The use of the scepter by an oriental monarch is illustrated by the account of King Xerxes (kjv Ahasuerus), who held his scepter out to Esther as a mark of favor. She touched the top of it, perhaps as an act of homage or possibly to indicate a desire to be heard (Esth.5.1-Esth.5.2). The scepter of Xerxes was of gold; Ezekiel refers to scepters made from vine branches (Ezek.19.11, Ezek.19.14). When Christ was mocked as a king, a reed or staff was placed in his hand for a scepter (Matt.27.29).——JBG

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

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