Matthew 10:3

3 Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus,

Matthew 10:3 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 10:3

Philip and Bartholomew
The first of these was called next; his name is a Greek one, which his parents, though Jews, might take from the Greeks that dwelt among them, see ( John 12:20 John 12:21 ) mention is made of one R. Phelipi, and Phulipa, in the Jewish writings F17. The latter of these, Bartholomew, is conjectured, by Dr. Lightfoot, to be the same with Nathanael, he being called next in order after Philip; and that his name was Nathanael, (ymlt rb) , "Bar Talmai", or "the son of Talmai", or "Ptolomy": a name once common to the kings of Egypt: so Talmai, king of Geshur, is by the Septuagint, in ( 2 Samuel 3:3 ) ( 2 Samuel 13:37 ) called Tholmi, and in ( 1 Chronicles 3:2 ) Tholmai: hence it appears, that Bartholomew is no other than Bartholmi, or the son of Tholmi. We read of one R. Jonathan, (owmlwjba Nb) , "ben Abtolemus", in the Talmud F18, whether the same name with this, may be considered.

Thomas, and Matthew the publican:
by the other evangelists Matthew is mentioned first; but he being the writer of this Gospel, puts Thomas first, which is an instance of his modesty; and also calls himself the "publican", which the other do not: this he mentions, to magnify the grace of God in his vocation. The Jews F19 speak of (yatm) , "Matthai", or "Matthew", as a disciple of Jesus. Thomas was sometimes called Didymus; the one was his Hebrew, the other his Greek name, and both signify a "twin", as it is very likely he was: mention is made of R. Thoma, or Thomas bar Papias, in a Jewish writer F20. Next follow,

James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus:
the former of these is so called, to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee. This is the James, who was the brother of our Lord, ( Galatians 1:19 ) and is called "James the less", ( Mark 15:40 ) . Alphaeus his father, is the same with Cleopas, ( Luke 24:18 ) or Cleophas, ( John 19:25 ) . The Hebrew name, (yplx) , which often occurs among the Jews F21, may be pronounced either Chlophi, or Alphi, or with the Greek termination Cleopas, or Alphaeus. The latter of this pair of apostles is the same person with Jude, the writer of the epistle, which bears that name, and was the brother of James, with whom he is coupled: he was called Lebbaeus, either from the town of Lebba, a sea coast town of Galilee, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks; or from the Hebrew word (ybl) , "my heart", as others, either for his prudence, or through the affections of his parents to him; as the Latins call one they love, "meum corculum", "my little heart"; or from (aybl) , "a lion", that being the motto of the tribe of Judah. His surname Thaddaeus, is thought by some to be a deflexion of Jude; or Judas, and as coming from the same root, (hdy) , which signifies "to praise", or "give thanks"; or from the Syriac word, (dt) , "a breast", and may be so called for the same reason as he was Lebbaeus. Frequent mention is made of this name, (aydt) , "Thaddai", or "Thaddaeus", among the Talmudic F23 doctors. The Jews themselves speak F24 of one (hdwt) , "Thodah", as a disciple of Jesus, by whom no doubt they mean this same disciple. Eusebius F25 mentions one Thaddaeus, as one of the seventy disciples, who was sent to Agbarus, king of Edessa, who was healed and converted by him. This Agbarus is reported to have wrote a letter to Jesus Christ, desiring him to come and cure him of his disease; to which Christ is said to return an answer, promising to send one of his disciples, who should do it; and that accordingly, after Christ's death, Thomas sent this Thaddaeus to him.


F17 Massechet Sopherim, c. 21. sect. 7. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 71. fol. 63. 4.
F18 T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 19. 1.
F19 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 43. 1.
F20 Juchasin, fol. 105. 2.
F21 Echa Rabbati, fol. 58. 4. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 60. 4. Juchasin, fol. 92. 1.
F23 T. Hieros. Celaim, fol. 27. 2. Sabbat, fol. 6. 1. Erubim, fol. 23. 3. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 123. 1. & Erubim, fol. 71. 2. Juchasin, fol. 81. 1. & 105. 2. & 108. 1.
F24 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 43. l.
F25 Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 12, 13.

Matthew 10:3 In-Context

1 Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.
2 Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother),
3 Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus,
4 Simon (the zealot ), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
5 Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans,

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Other manuscripts read Lebbaeus; still others read Lebbaeus who is called Thaddaeus.
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