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RAB-SHAKEH (Heb. רַבְשָׁקֵה; Akk. rab šāqî), title of a high Assyrian and Babylonian official. Akkadian texts indicate that he was in charge of territories. In the Assyrian eponym succession, this official was fourth in line from the king. In Middle Assyrian texts the šāqû ("butler") is mentioned as a member of the domestic staff of the palace. The rab-šāqî was thus originally "chief butler." The development calls to mind the English "chamberlain." At the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib the Rab-Shakeh addresses the leaders and the people in an effort to secure their surrender (ii Kings 18:19; Isa. 36–37).


L. Waterman, Royal Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire (1930), pt. 1, 353, r. 9; E. Weidner, in: afo, 17 (1954–56), 290; R. Labat, in: Fischer Weltgeschichte, 5 (1970), 36.

[S. David Sperling]

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