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A satrap was the official title given to high vice-regal (i.e. representative of a king or sovereign) officials of the Persian empire (see Ancient Empires - Persia) who ruled a group of several provinces, each of which had their own governor. The original Persian-derived Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced akh-ash-dar-pan, is translated, depending on the Bible version, variously as satraps, lieutenants or princes.

Persian Empire Map


The title of satrap is found in the Ezra, Esther and Daniel era of Bible History:

"At that time those who had come from captivity [see Why Babylon?], the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve he-goats; all this was a burnt offering to The Lord. They also delivered the king's commissions to the king's satraps and to the governors of the province Beyond the River; and they aided the people and the house of God." (Ezra 8:35-36 RSV)

"Then the king's secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the princes of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's ring." (Esther 3:12 RSV)

"It pleased Darius [see Darius The Mede] to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom; but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God." (Daniel 6:1-5 RSV)

Fact Finder: What place did the Persian Empire have in the order of prophecy?
See Daniel's Statue

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