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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

hous'-hold (hoi ek tes Kaisaros oikias, "they that are of Caesar's household," Philippians 4:22): These words occur in the epistle which Paul wrote from Rome near the end of his first imprisonment there, probably in the end of 61 A.D., to the church in Philippi. They give us most interesting information in regard to the progress made in the propagation of the gospel in Rome.

It is necessary to ask, in the first place, What is meant by the words "Caesar's household"? and when the meaning of that phrase is known, then it is needful to discuss the question which rises at once, In what way did the gospel enter Caesar's household? How is it that the gospel, which at the first chiefly advanced among the poorer classes in the Empire, made its way at a bound into the very palace of the Caesars?

1. What Exactly Was Caesar's Household?:

"Caesar's household" meant the whole of the persons, slaves and freemen alike, composing the establishment of the emperor in his palace on the Palatine Hill at Rome. The slaves of the imperial household formed a host in themselves. At a time when many a private citizen in Rome owned several hundreds of slaves, it need not surprise anyone to know that there was a vastly larger number of such persons in the palace of the emperor. This was a period when the city of Rome and the court of the Caesars swarmed with Asiatics, many of whom were Jews, and many of them would be in slavery, or in employment, in the imperial court. It cannot be forgotten that Poppea, Nero's shameless consort, was a proselyte to Judaism and that she continued to advocate successfully the cause of the Jews before the emperor as occasion arose.

These persons in the emperor's palace would be employed in every conceivable capacity as household servants, cooks, bathmen, gardeners, grooms, kennel-keepers, porters, doorkeepers, messengers, secretaries, amanuenses, teachers, librarians, architects, carpenters, shoemakers, and in all other forms of service. Of course they were not all slaves: there was a very large number of freemen. The domus or familia Caesaris (represented by the Greek oikia Kaisaros) included the whole of the imperial household, the meanest slaves as well as the most powerful courtiers. On the character and constitution of this household we happen to possess more information than perhaps on any other department of social life in Rome. "In Rome itself, if we may judge by these inscriptions, the domus Augusta must have formed no inconsiderable fraction of the whole population; but it comprised likewise all persons in the emperor's service, whether slaves or freemen, in Italy and even in the provinces" (Lightfoot, Commentary on Phil, 171). In the list of offices filled by members of the imperial household were also such functions as those of keepers of the wardrobe or of the plate-chest; even the "tasters" formed a separate class of servants under a chief of their own. To belong to Caesar's household would secure even to the lowest grade of slaves substantial privileges and immunities, and would give a certain social importance, which made this position a valued one. An office in the emperor's household, however mean, was thought of so highly, that in the monumental inscriptions such a fact is recorded with scrupulous care.

2. How Did the Gospel Enter into Caesar's Household?:

The next inquiry is, How did the gospel win its way into Caesar's household? And, first, there is no need at all to suppose that the gospel was unknown, even in the palace, previous to the arrival of Paul in Rome.

3. The Gospel Known There before Paul's Arrival:

For in that numerous household of the emperor there would be Jews, perhaps many of them; and all the Jews were at that time filled with Messianic hopes, and thus were ready to listen to the gospel. As soon therefore as the gospel entered Rome, as soon as it was proclaimed in the many synagogues there, these members of Caesar's household could not fail, equally with the other members of the synagogue, to hear the story of Jesus Christ and of His cross and resurrection. A fact such as this, that the gospel was known in Rome previous to Paul's arrival there, is quite sufficient to account for the other fact, that the gospel was known in Caesar's palace.

4. The Gospel Advances in the Palace:

But the propagation of the gospel received a great impetus and help forward, when Paul arrived in the city. For although he was a "bound prisoner," his wrist fastened by an iron chain, day and night, to the soldier who guarded him, he was able to "preach the kingdom of God and to teach those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him" (Acts 28:31 the King James Version). And in this way the gospel would again reach members of the emperor's household. Immediately after his arrival in Rome, Paul had put himself in communication with "the chief of the Jews"-probably the rulers of the synagogues in Rome-and many of them came to him in his lodging and conferred with him. Those chief men of the Jews expressed their great desire to hear from him what his thoughts were in regard to the hope of Israel (Acts 28:22); and naturally all the Jews in Rome would be equally desirous to gain this information from a man of the outstanding position and character of Paul. The Jewish community in Rome had for years past been permeated with the hope of the coming of the Messiah; indeed successive rumors of false Christs had kept them in a fever of excitement, which, on one occasion at least, had broken out in tumult, so strong was their hope of His speedy appearing. Thus it would come about, as a matter of course, that the gospel would reach all the Jews in Rome, and from this knowledge of Jesus, whom Paul proclaimed, the Jews who were in the service of the emperor could not possibly be excluded.

5. The Gospel Carried by Paul's Soldier-Guard:

But besides this, the fact that Paul was in daily contact and intercourse with the soldiers who guarded him could not fail to lead to the introduction of the gospel into Gospel the regiment. And as part of the Praetorian Guard was quartered in buildings on the Palatine Hill, attached to the emperor's palace there, there was thus one other channel through which the gospel would be made known to some of those who resided in the palace of Caesar. It is thus seen that there is nothing at all surprising in the fact that there were Christians in Caesar's household.

6. Lightfoot's Conjecture:

Some of Lightfoot's suggestions and conjectures on this subject are exceedingly interesting. He reviews the names of the persons to whom Paul sends greeting in Romans 16 and compares them with the names of persons who lived at that time, and which have been found in monumental inscriptions on the columbaria or places of sepulture exhumed on the Appian Way. Many of the occupants of those columbaria were freedmen or slaves of the emperors, and were contemporaries of Paul. The result of Lightfoot's review of the names is that he claims to have established a fair presumption that among the salutations in Romans 16 some members at least of the imperial household are included (Phil, 177).

In the household of the emperor there were necessarily many persons of high rank. Perhaps we may find a hint that the gospel had been embraced by some in the higher grades of society, in such strange facts as the execution of Titus Flavius Clemens, a man of consular rank and cousin to the emperor, and also in the fact that Flavia Domitilla, the wife of Flavius Clemens, was banished by Domitian, notwithstanding her near relationship to him, for she was the emperor's niece. Her daughter Portia also shared in the same punishment of exile. The charges brought against all three were atheism and inclination to Jewish customs: surely such charges were sufficiently vague and even self-contradictory. The opinion has been suggested that probably these three persons in the inner circle of the emperor's kinsmen were Christians.

7. Aristobulus and Narcissus:

Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, etc., 353), speaking of Lightfoot's conjectures, already referred to, writes, "In all probability he is right in thinking that all the slaves of Aristobulus (son of Herod the Great) and of Narcissus (Claudius' favorite freedman) had passed into the imperial household, and that members of their two families are saluted as Christians by Paul (Romans 16:10)."

The fact of greatest interest in the whole subject is, that in society so profligate and corrupt as the court of Nero, there were "saints," Christian men whose garments were clean and who kept themselves unspotted from the world amid surroundings so dreadful and in temptation so unceasing; that the gospel was known and obeyed and loved, and that hearts and lives were loyal to Christ even in the palace of Nero Caesar.

John Rutherfurd



2541. Kaisar -- Caesar, a Roman emperor
... Caesar, a Roman emperor. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: Kaisar
Phonetic Spelling: (kah'-ee-sar) Short Definition: Caesar Definition: Caesar, a ...
// - 6k

Caesar's Household
... Lesson 44 Caesar's Household. ... Not only were converts won to the truth in Caesar's
household, but after their conversion they remained in that household. ...
/.../white/the acts of the apostles/lesson 44 caesars household.htm

D. The Question as to Paying Tribute. Ch. 20:19-26
... and teachest rightly, and acceptest not the person of any, but of a truth teachest
the way of God: 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? ...
/.../erdman/the gospel of luke an exposition/d the question as to.htm

The Tribute Money
... and carest not for any one: for Thou regardest not the person of men, but of a truth
teachest the way of God: Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? ...
/.../chadwick/the gospel of st mark/chapter 12 13-17 the tribute money.htm

Whose Image and Superscription?
... One would have said, 'It is lawful to give tribute to Caesar'; the other would have
said, 'It is not.' But that is a small matter when malice prompts. ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture e/whose image and superscription.htm

Now Herod and Philip Built Several Cities in Honor of Caesar. ...
... From The Banishment Of Archelus To The Departure From Babylon. CHAPTER 2. Now
Herod And Philip Built Several Cities In Honor Of Caesar. ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 2 now herod and.htm

Concerning the Revolt of the Trachonites; How Sylleus Accused ...
... CHAPTER 9. Concerning The Revolt Of The Trachonites; How Sylleus Accused Herod Before
Caesar; And How Herod, When Caesar Was Angry At Him, Resolved To Send ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 9 concerning the revolt.htm

Of the Navigation of King Agrippa to Rome, to Tiberius Caesar; and ...
... CHAPTER 6. Of The Navigation Of King Agrippa To Rome, To Tiberius Caesar; And Now
Upon His Being Accused By His Own Freed-Man, He Was Bound; How Also He, Was ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 6 of the navigation.htm

The Destruction of Jerusalem
... He called out the faith and gratitude of the Roman centurion, and His answer to
the Jewish leaders, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's (Mark 12:17 ...
/.../duff/the bible in its making/chapter ix the destruction of.htm

In Conflict with Scribes and Pharisees
... art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest
the way of God in truth: is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not ...
/.../mark/jesus of nazareth a biography/chapter xii in conflict with.htm

The Armour of God
... The Roman soldier had conquered it for Caesar: St. Paul would conquer it for
Christ. ... He took Caesar's armour, and put on Caesar's uniform. ...
/.../kingsley/discipline and other sermons/sermon xi the armour of god.htm

Caesar's (10 Occurrences)
... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia CAESAR'S HOUSEHOLD. ... It is necessary to ask, in the
first place, What is meant by the words "Caesar's household"? ...
/c/caesar's.htm - 18k

Render (95 Occurrences)
... (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS). Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith
he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things ...
/r/render.htm - 36k

Penny (14 Occurrences)
... This was the "tribute money" with reference to which our Lord said, "Whose image
and superscription is this?" When they answered, "Caesar's," he replied ...
/p/penny.htm - 12k

Caesar (25 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary The title assumed by the Roman emperors after Julius Caesar. ...
(n.) A Roman emperor, as being the successor of Augustus Caesar. ...
/c/caesar.htm - 16k

Pay (212 Occurrences)
... Matthew 22:17 Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to
Caesar, or not?" (WEB WEY RSV NIV). Matthew 22:21 "Caesar's," they replied. ...
/p/pay.htm - 37k

God's (602 Occurrences)
... Matthew 22:21 They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore
to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's ...
/g/god's.htm - 33k

Inscription (18 Occurrences)
... Mark 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?"
They said to him, "Caesar's." (WEB WEY YLT NAS RSV NIV). ...
/i/inscription.htm - 12k

Rejoined (5 Occurrences)
... Rejoined (5 Occurrences). Matthew 22:21 "Caesar's," they replied. "Pay therefore,"
He rejoined, "what is Caesar's to Caesar; and what is God's to God." (WEY). ...
/r/rejoined.htm - 8k

Portrait (2 Occurrences)
... Mark 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?"
They said to him, "Caesar's." (See NIV). Luke 20:24 Show me a denarius. ...
/p/portrait.htm - 7k

Superscription (5 Occurrences)
... And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto
him, Caesar's. ... They answered and said, Caesar's. (KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT). ...
/s/superscription.htm - 9k

Bible Concordance
Caesar's (10 Occurrences)

Matthew 22:21 They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Mark 12:16 They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?" They said to him, "Caesar's."

Mark 12:17 Jesus answered them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." They marveled greatly at him.

Luke 20:24 Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?" They answered, "Caesar's."

Luke 20:25 He said to them, "Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

John 19:12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you release this man, you aren't Caesar's friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!"

Acts 17:7 Jason has received them into his house; and they all set Caesar's authority at defiance, declaring that there is another Emperor-- one called Jesus."

Acts 25:10 But Paul said, "I am standing before Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also know very well.

Acts 28:19 But when the Jews made protest against it, I had to put my cause into Caesar's hands; not because I have anything to say against my nation.

Philippians 4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those who are of Caesar's household.



Caesar's Household

Related Terms

Render (95 Occurrences)

Penny (14 Occurrences)

Caesar (25 Occurrences)

Pay (212 Occurrences)

God's (602 Occurrences)

Inscription (18 Occurrences)

Rejoined (5 Occurrences)

Portrait (2 Occurrences)

Superscription (5 Occurrences)

Tried (96 Occurrences)

Likeness (52 Occurrences)

Cage (3 Occurrences)

Replied (532 Occurrences)

Says (1491 Occurrences)

Household (222 Occurrences)

Narcissus (2 Occurrences)

Opposes (7 Occurrences)

Judgment-seat (10 Occurrences)

Greet (46 Occurrences)

Wondered (45 Occurrences)

Greetings (48 Occurrences)

Tribunal (11 Occurrences)

Thenceforth (11 Occurrences)

Tribute (67 Occurrences)

Rebel (35 Occurrences)

Real (26 Occurrences)

Releasing (3 Occurrences)

Result (73 Occurrences)

Efforts (11 Occurrences)

Especially (23 Occurrences)

Exceedingly (167 Occurrences)

Emperor (5 Occurrences)

Defiance (9 Occurrences)

Denarius (8 Occurrences)

Declares (378 Occurrences)

Declaring (48 Occurrences)

Maketh (399 Occurrences)

Marveled (31 Occurrences)

Marvelled (27 Occurrences)

Pretence (5 Occurrences)

Protest (37 Occurrences)

Praetorium (8 Occurrences)

Commentary (2 Occurrences)

Clearly (67 Occurrences)

Chiefly (5 Occurrences)

Claims (12 Occurrences)

Coin (9 Occurrences)

Complaint (29 Occurrences)

Caesarea-Philippi (2 Occurrences)

Aren't (102 Occurrences)

Augustus (4 Occurrences)

Speaks (109 Occurrences)

Specially (26 Occurrences)

Sets (80 Occurrences)

Shouting (83 Occurrences)

Shilling (8 Occurrences)

Speaketh (367 Occurrences)

Image (126 Occurrences)

Salute (48 Occurrences)

Receiving (72 Occurrences)

Amazed (75 Occurrences)

Greatly (297 Occurrences)

Pontius (4 Occurrences)

Wonder (148 Occurrences)

Release (61 Occurrences)

Sought (199 Occurrences)

Members (54 Occurrences)

Fact (98 Occurrences)

Judged (201 Occurrences)

Ought (130 Occurrences)

Shew (226 Occurrences)

Makes (483 Occurrences)

Loud (222 Occurrences)

Philippians (2 Occurrences)

Friend (139 Occurrences)

Wrong (391 Occurrences)

Belong (127 Occurrences)

Beginning (187 Occurrences)

Seeking (182 Occurrences)

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