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Quite often "prince" and "princes" are mentioned in the scriptures. Of particular interest are expressions such as these:

"Prince of Persia"

"Prince of Peace"

And similar expressions - especially those found in Daniel.

I've always known a "prince" to be a future king.

Is this the definition in the scriptures? Or is "prince" a title denoting a different sort of authority?

In essense: Does prince = future king?

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Prince (nasi) in the OT just means ruler/leader. It doesn't necessarily imply that one is a son of a king. – david brainerd Apr 8 '14 at 3:19
Biblical Hermeneutics? – DJClayworth Apr 9 '14 at 2:27
@DJClayworth Not being about a specific instance would be problematic for this over on BH. – Caleb Apr 9 '14 at 6:32
up vote 2 down vote accepted

A "prince", literally speaking, is not necessarily a "future king". He is the son of a king, and so MAY be a future king, but may not. If a king has two sons, they are both princes, but it is quite possible that one will become king and the other never will. In English the word "prince" is also used for the husband of a queen when it is the queen who holds the power. Like the husband of Queen Elizabeth of Britain is called "Prince" Phillip.

By extension, the word "prince" is often used, in the Bible and elsewhere, as a general term for a person with power or authority.

I am not aware of any more specific meaning in the Bible as the word is used in general. Of course one could examine specific uses of the word and discuss exactly what sort of power is being described, but then we're not really talking about the word "prince", but rather about a specific person who is called a prince.

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The word "prince" in English comes from Latin "princeps" (genitive principis) "first man, chief leader; ruler, sovereign," noun use of adjective meaning "that takes first," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + root of capere "to take" (see capable).

So, a prince does not have to be the son of a king and doesn't even have to be of a monarchy. The Israelites had some form of princes even before they wanted a king in 1 Samuel 8.

They had princes already in Numbers. Numbers 7:2: "That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:"

A prince is simply a head, the principal leader, similar to the word principal of a school, he is the first or highest authority figure in whatever context that is, and yes, usually political contexts at least in English.

In Numbers it seems that princes were the highest leaders or representatives from every tribe from among the families of the tribes.

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Welcome! Unfortunately, to really answer this question well, you'd need to refer to the words used in the original languages, Hebrew and Greek, rather than Latin and English. If you haven't already done so, I hope you'll take a minute to take the tour and learn how this site is different from others. – Nathaniel Mar 24 at 16:33

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