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In 1 Kings 4:1–6, a number of titles of officials are mentioned (ESV):

King Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah the sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and king’s friend; Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram the son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.

What kind of official is "the king's friend", said of Zabud in v. 5?

  • I rewrote your question to clarify what I think you are asking, because there were votes to close this question as unclear. You can rollback the edit if this is not what you meant. – user2672 Jan 23 at 14:02
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Compare this phrase to Samuel 15:37,

So Hushai, David's friend, arrived at Jerusalem as Absalom was entering the city.

We know that Hushai was David's intimate counsellor (2 Samuel 17) as well as his loyal friend who didn't betray him during Absalom's rebellion as the others did. So the same term here רעה המלך "friend of king" can mean either that he was his intimate counsellor (Cambridge bible) or that he was his loyal supporter during the rebellion of Adonijah.


It is interesting to note that the name Nathan appears among the supporters of Solomon during the Adonijah rebellion in 1 Kings 1:32. However, there the name appears as Nathan the prophet while here it appears as Nathan the priest, but we cannot rule out a connection between the two.

In any case, we would have to suppose that the subject of the phrase "king's friend" is Nathan the father of Zabud, not Zabud himself. See NJPS translation which favors this interpretation.

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