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 “chief,” “leader,” “head of family,” 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. (1 Sam. 9:16; 25:30; 2 Sam. 5:2; 2 Ki. 20:5) The tribe of Judah was selected by Jehovah to be leader of the twelve tribes of Israel. From Judah came the kingly dynasty of David.—1 Chron. 28:4; Gen. 49:10; Judg. 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 [from Gr., ka·the·ge·tesʹ, a guide] is one, the Christ.” (Matt. 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.—1 Cor. 11:1; Heb. 13:7.
Na·dhivʹ, meaning “noble,” “willing,” “volunteer,” 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 Psalm 83:9-11.
The Hebrew word hhoh·rimʹ, meaning “nobles,” “free ones,” is used for certain men of influence in a city of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel (1 Ki. 21:8, 11); also for Jews who held authority under the Persian Empire. (Neh. 5:7; 13:17) Many of the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem, including Daniel and his companions, were carried captive to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in the first captivity in 617 B.C.E. and others were slaughtered by him in 607 B.C.E.—Jer. 27:20; 39:6; Dan. 1:3, 6.
Sar, meaning “prince,” “chief,” “leader,” “official,” is drawn from a verb meaning “to rule,” “to have dominion.” 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.” (1 Chron. 27:22) Those holding high office under Pharaoh of Egypt and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon were so titled. (Gen. 12:15; Jer. 38:17, 18, 22; Esther 3:12) An army chief might be termed a sar. (Neh. 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.” (Dan. 12:1) Invisible demon princes governing the world powers of Persia and Greece are mentioned at Daniel 10:13, 20.—Compare Ephesians 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) Since the rule of Christ involves an “administration . . . to gather all things together again . . . the things in the heavens and the things on the earth” (Eph. 1:10), this allows for his having, not only subordinate kings and priests in heaven (Rev. 20:6), but also ‘princely’ representatives on earth carrying out the king’s directions. (Compare Hebrews 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; RULER.