LEADER, NOBLE, PRINCE
Several Hebrew words may be translated variously as “leader,” “noble,” and “prince.” Those appearing most frequently are as follows:
Na·ghidhʹ, meaning “leader,” is applied to Saul and David in connection with their being designated as kings over Israel and to Hezekiah as the king of Judah, with the responsibility of shepherding Jehovah’s people. (1Sa 9:16; 25:30; 2Sa 5:2; 2Ki 20:5) The tribe of Judah was selected by Jehovah to be leader of the 12 tribes of Israel, and it was from Judah that the kingly dynasty of David came.—1Ch 28:4; Ge 49:10; Jg 1:2.
Jesus is referred to as “Messiah the Leader” and “a leader and commander to the national groups,” at Daniel 9:25 and Isaiah 55:4. He counseled his disciples: “Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader [ka·the·ge·tesʹ] is one, the Christ.” (Mt 23:10) As regards the Christian congregation, Jesus Christ is the only one rightly bearing the title “Leader,” because no imperfect human is the leader of true Christians; they follow Christ. While there are those who ‘take the lead’ in God’s service, they are not titled “leader” or addressed as such, and their example is to be followed only as they imitate Christ.—1Co 11:1; Heb 13:7.
Na·dhivʹ, meaning “noble,” “willing one,” “generous one,” is used at Numbers 21:18, paralleling the term “princes,” for the willing ones of Israel who excavated a well in the wilderness. It also describes the volunteer contributors to the tabernacle construction. (Ex 35:5) As used at Job 12:21, positions of prominence and power are indicated.—See also Ps 83:9-11.
The Hebrew word cho·rimʹ, meaning “nobles,” is used for certain men of influence in a city of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel (1Ki 21:8, 11) and for Jews who held authority under the Persian Empire. (Ne 5:7; 13:17) Many of the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem, including Daniel and his companions, were taken as exiles to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E., and others were slaughtered by him in 607 B.C.E.—Jer 27:20; 39:6; Da 1:3, 6.
Sar, meaning “prince,” “chief,” is drawn from a verb meaning “exercise dominion.” (Jg 9:22, ftn) While it is often translated “prince,” it does not necessarily apply to the son of a king or a person of royal rank in every instance. The tribal heads of Israel were called “princes.” (1Ch 27:22) Those holding high office under Pharaoh of Egypt and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon were so titled. (Ge 12:15; Jer 38:17, 18, 22; Es 3:12) An army chief might be termed a sar. (Ne 2:9) Jehovah is called “the Prince of the army” and “the Prince of princes,” at Daniel 8:11, 25. Michael the archangel is “the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of [Daniel’s] people.” (Da 12:1) Invisible demon princes governing the world powers of Persia and Greece are mentioned at Daniel 10:13, 20.—Compare Eph 6:12.
Psalm 45, verses 6 and 7 of which are applied to Christ Jesus by the apostle Paul (Heb 1:8, 9), contains the statement: “In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons, whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.” (Ps 45:16) Of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, men in Christ’s ancestral line of descent, it is written: “In faith all these died, although they did not get the fulfillment of the promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them.” (Heb 11:8-10, 13) The rule of Christ involves his having not only subordinate kings and priests in heaven (Re 20:6) but also ‘princely’ representatives on earth carrying out the king’s directions. (Compare Heb 2:5, 8.) Isaiah 32:1, 2 is clearly part of a Messianic prophecy and describes the benefits rendered by such “princes” under the Kingdom rule.—See CHIEFTAIN; HEAD (Ruling Position); RULER.