Acts 1:23
And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
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(23) They appointed.—It is uncertain whether this was the act of the Apostles, presenting the two men to the choice of the whole body of disciples, or of the community choosing them for ultimate decision by lot.

Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus.—Some MSS. give the various-reading of “Joses,” which was, perhaps, only another form of the same name. Nothing further is known of him. The conditions of the case make it certain that he must have been a disciple almost from the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, and that he must have become more or less prominent, and probable therefore, as stated by Eusebius (Hist. i. 12), that he was one of the Seventy. The name Barsabas (= son of the oath, or of wisdom) may have been a patronymic, like Barjona, or may have been given, like Barnabas, as denoting character. It appears again in Judas Barsabas of Acts 15:22, and on the former assumption, the two disciples may have been brothers. The epithet Justus, the just one, is significant, as possibly indicating, as in the case of James the Just, a specially high standard of ascetic holiness. Another with the same surname—Jesus surnamed Justus—meets us as being with St. Paul at Rome as one of “the circumcision” (Colossians 4:11), and another, or possibly the same, at Corinth (Acts 18:7). In both cases the use of the Latin instead of the Greek word is noticeable, as indicating some point of contact with the Romans in Judæa or elsewhere.

Matthias.—Here, too, probably, the same conditions were fulfilled. The name, like Matthew (see Note on Matthew 9:9), signified “given by Jehovah,” and had become, in various forms, popular, from the fame of Mattathias, the great head of the Maccabean family.

1:15-26 The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world, was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal was made to God; Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, which we do not; and better than they know their own. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us, we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by which any trust may be committed to us.And they appointed two - They proposed, or, as we should say, nominated two. Literally, they placed two, or made them to stand forth, as persons do who are candidates for office. These two were probably-more distinguished by prudence, wisdom, piety, and age than the others, and they were so nearly equal in qualifications that they could not determine which was the best suited for the office.

Joseph called Barsabas ... - It is not certainly known what the name Barsabas denotes. The Syriac word "Bar" means "son," and the word "Sabas" has been translated "an oath, rest, quiet, or captivity." Why the name was given to Joseph is not known but probably it was the family name - Joseph son of Sabas. Some have conjectured that this was the same man who, in Acts 4:36, is called Barnabas. But of this there is no proof. Lightfoot supposes that he was the son of Alpheus and brother of James the Less, and that he was chosen on account of his relationship to the family of the Lord Jesus.

Was surnamed Justus - Who was called Justus. This is a Latin name, meaning just, and was probably given him on account of his distinguished integrity. It was not uncommon among the Jews for a man to have several names, Matthew 10:3.

And Matthias - Nothing is known of the family of this man, or of his character, further than that he was numbered with the apostles, and shared their lot in the toils, the persecutions, and the honors of preaching the gospel to mankind.

23. they appointed—"put up" in nomination; meaning not the Eleven but the whole company, of whom Peter was the spokesman.

two—The choice would lie between a very few.

Joseph, or Joses, the same name called

Barsabas in their common tongue, and

Justus (probably for his integrity) amongst the Romans, who then ruled over them.

Matthias; some think the same with Nathanael. And they appointed two,.... The motion made by Peter was attended to by the whole company; they approved of it, and accordingly proposed two persons by name; one of which was to be chosen, not by the apostles, but by the whole assembly. The Arabic version reads, "he appointed two", as if Peter singly did this: contrary to all copies, and other versions, and to the context; which shows, that the whole body of the people were concerned in this affair, who prayed and gave forth their lots and suffrages: the persons nominated were,

Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. The former of these has three names; in one ancient copy of Beza's he is called Joses; and by some thought to be the same with Joses, surnamed Barnabas, in Acts 4:36 partly because in one copy, and in the Syriac version there, that Joses is called Joseph; and partly, because of the nearness in sound between Barsabas and Barnabas: hence the Ethiopic version here reads, "Joseph, who was called Barnabas", and so Beza's most ancient copy; but though Joses is here meant for Jose, or Joses is, with the Jews, an abbreviation of Joseph; yet not Joses the Levite, who was of the country of Cyprus, but Joses of Galilee, the son of Alphaeus and Mary; and who had two brothers, James and Jude, already apostles; see Matthew 13:55. Moreover, though the two names, Barnabas and Barsabas, differ little in sound, yet much in sense: the former is interpreted "the son of consolation", Acts 4:36 but the latter signifies much the same with Bathsheba; as that may be interpreted "the daughter", this "the son of an oath"; or as others, "a son of wisdom"; and by others, "the son of fulness"; I should choose to take it to be the same name with , and interpret it, "the son of an old man"; as Alphaeus might be, when Joses, or Joseph was born, and he be the younger brother of James and Jude; as for his surname Justus, this was a name not only in use among the Grecians and Romans, especially the latter, but among the Jews: hence we often read of Rabbi "Justa", and sometimes, "Justi", and at other times, "Justai" (x) whether he had this surname from his being a very just man, as Aristides was called Aristides the just; and so Simeon the high priest, the last of Ezra's great synagogue, was called Simeon the just (y); and so James the brother of this Joseph, or Joses, was called by the Jews (z); and it may be, that he himself might have his name from the patriarch Joseph, who used to be called by them, Joseph, "the just" (a): for Matthias, his name is Jewish, and he was no doubt a Jew; hence we read , "Rabbi Matthia ben Charash" (b); his name signifying the same as Nathanael does, namely, the gift of God, made Dr. Lightfoot conjecture they might be the same; but this agrees not with another conjecture that learned man, who elsewhere thinks, that Bartholomew and Nathanael were the same; and if so, he must have been an apostle already; Clemens of Alexandria was of opinion, that this Matthias was Zacchaeus (c),

(x) T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 12. 3. & Trumot. fol. 48. 1. & Erubin, fol. 19. 3. & 23. 3. T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 99. 1. & Juchasin, fol. 95. 2. & 96. 1. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 17. 4. (y) Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 2.((z) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c. 23. (a) Zohar in Exod. fol. 104. 1.((b) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 61. 2. & Juchasin, fol. 108. 1.((c) Stromat, l. 4. p. 488.

{9} And they {x} appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

(9) The Apostles must be chosen immediately from God: and therefore after praying, Matthias is chose by lot, which is as it were God's own voice.

(x) Openly, and by the voices of the entire company.

Acts 1:23. Ἔστησαν] The subject is, as in Acts 1:24; Acts 1:26, all those assembled. They had recognised in these two the conditions required by Acts 5:21 f. “Ideo hic demum sors incipit, qua res gravis divinae decisioni committitur et immediata apostoli peragitur vocatio,” Bengel. For this solemn act they are put forward.

Ἰωσήφ τ. καλ. Βαρσαβᾶν] Concerning him nothing further is known. For he is not identical (in opposition to Heinrichs and others, also Ullmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1828, p. 377 ff.) with Joses Barnabas, Acts 4:36, against which opinion that very passage itself testifies; from it have arisen the name Ἰωσήν in B and Βαρνάβαν in D (so Bornemann). See also Mynster in the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 326 f. Barsabas is a patronymic (son of Saba); Justus is a Roman surname (יוסטי), adopted according to the custom then usual, see Schoettgen.

Nor is anything historically certain as to Matthias. Traditional notices in Cave, Antiq. ap. p. 735 ff. According to Eus. 1:12. 1, he was one of the Seventy. Concerning the apocryphal Gospel under his name, already mentioned by Origen, see Fabric. Cod. apocr. N. T. p. 782 ff. apocryphal Acta Andreae et Matthiae may be seen in Tischend. Act. apocr. p. 132 ff.Acts 1:23. ἔστησαν, not ἔστησεν: the latter reading, “nimium Petro dat, nihil concilio relinquit” (Blass). “They put forward,” R.V., not “appointed,” A.V., for the appointment had not yet been made.—Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλ. Βαρσαβᾶν, “Joseph called Barsabbas”. We cannot identify him with Joseph Barnabas (Acts 4:36), or with Judas Barsabbas (Acts 15:22). Barsabbas may have been a patronymic “son of Sabba,” but cf. Enc. Bibl., I., 487, 1899. It is only a conjecture that he was the brother of Judas Barsabbas just mentioned. The name Justus is probably a Roman surname, as Ἰοῦστος indicates, adopted after the custom of the time, just as the second Evangelist took the Roman name Marcus in addition to the Hebrew John. Nothing more is said of him in the N.T. Eusebius ranks him with Matthias as one of the Seventy, H.E., i., 12, and Papias is said to have related concerning him that he drank deadly poison but escaped all harm, Euseb., H.E., iii., 39. On the connection of this tradition with Aristion see Nestle, Einführung in das G. N. T., p. 240, and Zahn, Einleitung, ii., p. 231. If the reading of Blass in [110], supported by the Latin, τὸν καὶ Ἰοῦστον (qui et Justus) may claim acceptance, it affords, as Belser notes, an interesting parallel with the Σαῦλος ὁ καὶ Παῦλος of Acts 13:8. On the spelling of the word, see W.H[111] Appendix p. 166, and also Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 56, 57.—Ματθίαν. Nothing more is known of him with certainty than that he must have fulfilled the qualifications required by St. Peter. Both Eusebius and Epiphanius rank him in the Seventy, and he is said to have suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. An apocryphal Gospel was ascribed to him, Euseb., H.E., iii., 25, and from Clem. Alex., Strom., iv., 6, 35, we find that the words of Zacchæus, Luke 19:8, were supposed to be his; so too Hilgenfeld, Actus Apost., p. 202, 1899.

[110] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[111] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.23. they appointed two] Thus exercising their own judgment to a certain degree in the appointment, as they could rightly do from their three years intimacy with those who had been disciples from the beginning.

Joseph called Barsabas [Barsabbas in the best MSS.] who was surnamed Justus] From the identity of the names Joseph and Joses (see note on Acts 1:14) it has been thought that this Joseph is identical with Joses surnamed Barnabas, mentioned Acts 4:36. But Barsabbas is apparently a patronymic like Bartimæus, while Barnabas is interpreted as a significant appellation in Acts 4:36 (see note there), so that there is no sufficient ground for the identification. The name Justus, being of Latin origin, was probably used by Joseph in his intercourse with the Gentile inhabitants of the country. Thus Saul takes a Latin name, Paulus, at the commencement of his missionary labours. So Simon had a Greek name, Peter (and may not Christ have given it to him as the name by which he should be known over all the world?), and Thomas was called Didymus. To judge from the mention of Joseph’s three names, and from his standing first in order in the mention of the chosen pair, he was of more account among the Apostles than Matthias. Of his previous or future history we know nothing.

and Matthias] He is said by Eusebius (H. E. 1. 12. 1) and Epiphanius (i. 20) to have been one of the Seventy, and there was an apocryphal Gospel which passed by his name (Euseb. iii. 23).Acts 1:23. Δύο, two) The faithful may have arrived at this number by consultation; they went (could go) no farther. Therefore at this point, and not before, the recourse to lots begins, whereby a weighty matter is committed to the Divine decision, and the immediate call [the call direct from God] of the apostle is accomplished. Justus Jonas, on this passage, thinks that in our day also there is possibly room (scope) for the use of lots in the choice of bishops; and a memorable instance of it is related by Comenius in the Hist. of the Slav. Church, § 60. The same also occurs in Rieger’s Böhm. Br. vol. iii. p. 36.—ὃς ἐπεκλήθη, who was surnamed) It might seem, because of this surname, that he ought to have been preferred; but perhaps it was not until afterwards that he obtained this surname, in order that he might perceive, that, although Matthias had been chosen, he notwithstanding did not lose the credit due to his merits.Verse 23. - Put forward for appointed, A.V.; Barsabbas for Barsabas, A.V. and T.R. Joseph called Barsabbas (or Barsabas). Nothing more is really known of him. His work for Christ has no earthly record, except that Papias (Euseb., 'H.E.,' 3:39) says that, having drunk some deadly poison, by the grace of God he sustained no harm. Eusebius elsewhere (Acts 1:12) says that he and Matthias were reported to be of the seventy, which is not improbable. The derivation of the name Barsabas, or Barsabbas, is unknown; it seems to be a patronymic (son of Sabas, or Sabbas), like Bar-Tholomew, Bar-Jonas, Bar-Jesus, etc. But it might also be descriptive of his qualities, like Barnabas, Son of Consolation (Acts 4:36), in which case one would expect it to mean the same as Justus, as in the case of "Thomas called Didymus" (John 20:4; where Thomas and Di-dymus both mean "a twin"); but no Aramean word of this signification is forthcoming. The surname Justus, with its derivatives Justinus and Justinianus, was not an uncommon Roman name. It was also borne by a Jewish historian contemporary with Josephus, Justus of Tiberias, the son of Pistus (see 'Life of Josephus,'§§ 35, 65) and was the surname of James the Less. Matthias not otherwise known, but said by Nicephorus to have preached and suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. Eusebius ('H. E.,'3:24) mentions spurious Gospels "of Peter, Thomas, Matthias, and others," as quoted by heretics. A work called 'The Traditions of Matthias'is referred to by Clemens Alexandrinus ('Strom.,' 2:163). Barsabas

A patronymic, son of Saba: like Bar Jona, Matthew 16:17.

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