Philip findeth Nathanael
Who was of Cana of Galilee, ( John 21:2 ) and where, it is very likely, Philip found him; since we quickly read of Jesus, and his disciples being there. This man is thought, by some, to be the same with Bartholomew; and so he is called Bartholomew, in a Syriac dictionary F15; and the rather, since he and Philip are always mentioned together in the account of the apostles, ( Matthew 10:3 ) ( Mark 3:18 ) ( Luke 6:14 ) . And certain it is, from the above mentioned place, that Nathanael was among the apostles after our Lord's resurrection; and it is highly probable was one of them? his name might be Nathanael bar Tholmai, the son of Tholmai, Ptolomy, or Tholomew. It is the same name with Nethaneel, and which is read Nathanael, as here, in:
``And of the sons of Phaisur; Elionas, Massias Israel, and Nathanael, and Ocidelus and Talsas.'' (1 Esdras 9:22)and by the Septuagint on ( 1 Chronicles 2:14 ) ( 15:24 ) ( 24:6 ) ( 26:4 ) ( 2 Chronicles 35:9 ) ( Ezra 10:22 ) ( Nehemiah 12:36 ) ; and signifies one given of God; and is the same with Theodore in Greek, and Adeodatus in Latin; a doctor of this name, R. Nathaniel, is mentioned in the Jewish writings F16: and saith unto him, we have found him of whom Moses, in the law,
and the prophets, did write.
He does not say, that he, and Andrew, and Simon, had found the Messiah; though he designs him by this circumlocution; Nathanael being, as is generally thought, a person well versed in the law, and the prophets, and so would at once know who Philip meant: for Moses, in the law, or Pentateuch, in the five books written by him, frequently speaks of the Messiah as the seed of the woman, that should break the serpent's head; as the seed of Abraham, in whom all nations should be blessed; and as the Shiloh to whom the gathering of the people should be; and as the great prophet, like to himself, God would raise up among the children of Israel, to whom they were to hearken: and as for the prophets, they wrote of his birth of a virgin; of the place of his birth, Bethlehem; of his sufferings, and the glory, that should follow; of his resurrection from the dead, his ascension to heaven, and session at the right hand of God; and of many things relating to his person, and office, and work. And Philip having given this general account of him, proceeds to name him particularly; and affirms him to be
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph;
that his name was Jesus, which signifies a saviour; and answers to the promises, and prophecies, and character of him in the Old Testament; that he was of Nazareth, a place not above three hours walk from Cana, as Adrichomius says, where Philip and Nathanael were: Nazareth was the place where Christ had lived almost all his days hitherto, and therefore is said to be of it; though Bethlehem was the place of his birth, which Philip might not as yet know; as Capernaum afterwards was his city, or the more usual place of his residence: and that he was the son of Joseph; this Philip says, according to the common opinion of people, for he was supposed to be the son of Joseph; he having married his mother Mary.
F15 Bar Bahlui apud Castell Lex. Polyglott. col. 2437.
F16 Pirke Eliezer, c. 48.