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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Throne

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is used for that magnificent seat on which sovereign princes usually sit to receive the homage of their subjects, or to give audience to ambassadors; where they appear with pomp and ceremony, and from whence they dispense justice; in a word, the throne, the sceptre, the crown, are the ordinary symbols of royalty and regal authority. The Scripture commonly represents the Lord as sitting upon a throne; sometimes it is said that the heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, Isaiah 66:1 . The Son of God is also represented as sitting upon a throne, at the right hand of his Father, Psalms 110:1 ; Hebrews 1:8 ; Revelation 3:21 . And Jesus Christ assures his Apostles that they should sit upon twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, Luke 22:30 . Though a throne and royal dignity seem to be correlatives, or terms that stand in reciprocal relation to each other, yet the privilege of sitting on a throne has been sometimes granted to those that were not kings, particularly to some governors of important provinces. We read of the throne of the governor of this side the river; the throne, in other words, of the governor for the king of Persia of the provinces belonging to that empire on the west of the Euphrates. So D'Herbelot tells us that a Persian monarch of aftertimes gave the governor of one of his provinces permission to seat himself in a gilded chair, when he administered justice; which distinction was granted him on account of the importance of that post, to which the guarding a pass of great consequence was committed. This province, he tells us, is now called Shirvan, but was formerly named Seriraldhahab, which signifies, in Arabic, "the throne of gold." To which he adds, that this privilege was granted to the governor of this province, as being the place through which the northern nations used to make their way into Persia; on which account, also, a mighty rampart or wall was raised there.

In the Revelation of St. John, we find the twenty-four elders sitting upon as many thrones in the presence of the Lord; "and they fall down before him that sat on the throne, &c, and cast their crowns before the throne." Many of the travellers in eastern countries have given descriptions highly illustrative of this mode of adoration. Thus Bruce, in his Travels, says, "The next remarkable ceremony in which these two nations (of Persia and Abyssinia) agreed is that of adoration, inviolably observed in Abyssinia to this day, as often as you enter the sovereign's presence. This is not only kneeling, but absolute prostration; you first fall upon your knees, then upon the palms of your hands, then incline your head and body till your forehead touches the ground; and, in case you have an answer to expect, you lie in that posture till the king, or somebody from him, desires you to rise." And Stewart observes, "We marched toward the emperor with our music playing, till we came within about eighty yards of him, when the old monarch, alighting from his horse, prostrated himself on the earth to pray, and continued some minutes with his face so close to the earth, that, when we came up to him, the dust remained upon his nose."

The circumstance of "casting their crowns before the throne" may be illustrated by several cases which occur in history. That of Herod, in the presence of Augustus, has been already mentioned. ( See HEROD. ) Tiridates, in this manner, did homage to Nero, laying the ensigns of his royalty at the statue of Caesar, to receive them again from his hand. Tigranes, king of Armenia, did the same to Pompey. In the inauguration of the Byzantine Caesars, when the emperor comes to receive the sacrament, he puts off his crown. "This short expedition," says Malcolm, "was brought to a close by the personal submission of Abool Fyze Khan, who, attended by all his court, proceeded to the tents of Nadir Shah, and laid his crown, and other ensigns of royalty, at the feet of the conqueror, who assigned him an honourable place in his assembly, and in a few days afterward restored him to his throne."


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Throne'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/t/throne.html. 1831-2.

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