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The original Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced mash-keh, meaning causing to drink, is usually translated as either cupbearer or butler in English-language translations of The Bible. During Bible History, cupbearers were important and trusted servants of kings, not just as close advisors, but also because their responsibilities included preventing the king from being poisoned, whether accidentally, or as part of an assassination.

Throne Examples of cupbearers in the Bible:

"So the chief butler told his dream to Joseph [see Coat Of Many Colors], and said to him, "In my dream there was a vine before me, and on the vine there were three branches; as soon as it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters ripened into grapes. Pharaoh's cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh's hand." Then Joseph said to him, "This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh's cup in his hand as formerly, when you were his butler." (Genesis 40:9-13 RSV)

"And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings which he offered at the house of The Lord, there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, "The report was true which I heard in my own land of your affairs and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me; your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report which I heard." (1 Kings 10:3-7 RSV)

"O Lord, let Thy ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant, and to the prayer of Thy servants who delight to fear Thy Name; and give success to Thy servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." Now I was cupbearer to the king. In the month of Nisan [see Bible Months], in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, "Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing else but sadness of the heart." Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, "Let the king live for ever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" [see Why Babylon?] Then the king said to me, "For what do you make request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, "If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may rebuild it." And the king said to me, the queen sitting beside him, "How long will you be gone, and when will you return?" So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time." (Nehemiah 1:11-2:6 RSV)

Fact Finder: Was Nehemiah a cupbearer who was given a very important job to do involving the return of the people of Judah to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile?
See Nehemiah

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