Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot
This is the last couple, for they are all mentioned by pairs, because they were sent forth "by two and two", as the Evangelist Mark says, ( Mark 6:7 ) . The former of these is called Simon the Canaanite, to distinguish him from Simon Peter, before mentioned; not that he was a Canaanite, that is, an inhabitant of the land of Canaan, a man of Canaan, as a certain woman is called a woman of Canaan, ( Matthew 15:22 ) for all the disciples of Christ were Jews; though in Munster's Hebrew Gospel he is called (ynenkh Nwemv) , "Simeon the Canaanite", or of Canaan, as if he belonged to that country; nor is he so called from Cana of Galilee, as Jerorm and others have thought; but he was one of the (Myanq) , "Kanaim", or "Zealots"; and therefore Luke styles him, "Simon called Zelotes", ( Luke 6:15 ) ( Acts 1:13 ) . The Kanaites, or Zelotes, were a set of men, who, in imitation of Phinehas, who slew Zimri and Cozbi in the very act of uncleanness, when they found any persons in the act of adultery, idolatry, blasphemy, or theft, would immediately kill them without any more ado: this they did, from a pretended zeal for the honour and glory of God: nor were they accountable to any court of judicature for it; yea, such an action was highly applauded, as a very laudable one F26: under this specious name of Zealots, innumerable murders, and most horrible wickedness were committed, both before, and during the siege of Jerusalem, as Josephus F1 relates. Now Simon was one of this sect before his conversion, and still retained the name afterwards. Judas, the last of the twelve, is called Iscariot; concerning which name, the notation of it, and the reason of his being so called, many are the conjectures of learned men: some think that he belonged to the tribe of Issachar, and that he is called from thence, (rkvvy vya) , "a man of Issachar", as a certain man is, in ( Judges 10:1 ) others, that he takes his name from the place he belonged to, and that he was called (twyrq vya) , "a man of Kerioth". A place of this name is mentioned, ( Joshua 15:25 ) and some manuscripts and copies in some places read Judas (apo Karuwtou) , of "Caryot". Caryota is said F2 to be a plain of the city of Jericho, about eighteen miles from Jerusalem, which abounded in palm trees, called (yjyyrwq) , "Caryotae", of which mention is made in the F3 Talmud, and other writers F4. Others think he is so called, from the Syriac word, (ajwyrko) , "secariota", which signifies a "purse", or bag, because he carried the bag. Some copies read it, (skariwtev) , "scariotes": others are of opinion, that he is so called, from the manner of death he died, which was strangling: for (arkoa) , "ascara", a word often used in the F5 Talmudic writings, signifies "strangling"; and is accounted by the Jews the hardest of deaths, and an evil one; and which seems to bid fair for the true reason of his name: however, it is mentioned here, as elsewhere, to distinguish him from Jude, or Judas, the true and faithful apostle of Christ; for this was he,
who also betrayed him;
that is, Christ, as the Persic version reads it; and which is mentioned, not only for further distinction's sake, but to his great reproach. We learn from hence, that in the purest society on earth there has been an impure person; nor can it therefore be expected it should be otherwise in the best of churches, in the present state of imperfection; yea, that a man may have the highest gifts and attainments, as Judas had, ministerial gifts, and power of performing miracles, and yet be a vile person.
F26 Misn. Sanhedrim, c. 9. sect. 6. & Bartenora, in ib. T. Avoda Zara, fol. 36. 2. Maimon. Issure Bia, c. 12. sect. 4, 5, 6. 14. & Sanhedrim, c. 18. sect. 6. & Obede Cochabim, c. 2. sect. 9. Philo de Monarchia, l. 1. p. 818.
F1 De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 1, 2. & 6. 1. Vid. Abot R. Nathan, c. 6. fol. 3. 2.
F2 Vid. Wolfi Heb. Bibl. p. 410.
F3 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 50. 2. & Avoda Zara, fol. 14. 2.
F4 Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 4.
F5 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 8. 1. & Sabbat, fol. 33. 1. Sota, fol. 35. 1. Pesachim, fol. 105. 1. Taanith, fol. 19. 2. & 27. 2. Yebamot, fol. 62. 2.