Mark 3:18
And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
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(18) Simon the Canaanite.—Better, Cananite, or, following many MSS., Cananœan, i.e., the Aramaic equivalent of Zelotes. (See Note on Matthew 10:2-4)

3:13-21 Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. He had called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd, and they came unto him. He now gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils. May the Lord send forth more and more of those who have been with him, and have learned of him to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work. Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good. Those who go on with zeal in the work of God, must expect hinderances, both from the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affections of friends, and need to guard against both.Boanerges - This word is made up of two Hebrew words signifying "sons of thunder," meaning that they, on some accounts, "resembled" thunder. See the notes at Matthew 1:1. It is not known why this name was given to James and John. They are nowhere else called by it. Some suppose it was because they wished to call down fire from heaven and consume a certain village of the Samaritans, Luke 9:54. It is, however, more probable that it was on account of something fervid, and glowing, and powerful in their genius and eloquence. Mr 3:13-19. The Twelve Apostles Chosen.

See on [1412]Lu 6:12-19.

See Poole on "Mark 3:16" And Andrew,.... The brother of Peter;

and Philip, who was of Bethsaida;

and Bartholomew, whom Dr. Lightfoot thinks is the same with Nathaniel: the name may be the same with , "Bar Talmion", with the Jews (y); See Gill on Matthew 10:3. See Gill on John 1:41.

and Matthew, the publican, who was called Levi;

and Thomas, who was called Didymus, from his being a twin;

and James, the son of Alphaeus, to distinguish him from the other James, the son of Zebedee, and who is sometimes called "the less";

and Thaddaeus, whose name was also Lebbaeus, and likewise Jude, the author of the Epistle that bears that name;

and Simon the Canaanite, or Zelotes; of these men, and their several names; see Gill on Matthew 10:2. See Gill on Matthew 10:3. See Gill on Matthew 10:4.

(y) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 6. fol. 151. 1.

And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and {l} Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

(l) Whom Luke also calls Judas: and to make a distinction the other Judas is called Iscariot.

Mark 3:18. Ματθαῖον. One wonders why Mk. did not here say: Levi, to whom He gave the name Matthew. Or did this disciple get his new name independently of Jesus? This list of names shows the importance of the act of selecting the Twelve. He gives the names, says Victor Ant., that you may not err as to the designations, lest any one should call himself an apostle (ἵνα μὴ ὁ τυχὼν εἴπῃ ἀπόστολος γεγονέναι).

Mark 3:19-21. The friends of Jesus think Him out of His senses; peculiar to Mk. One of his realisms which Mt. and Lk. pass over in silence.

Mark 3:19 b. καὶ ἔρχεται εἶς οἶκον, and He cometh home (“nach Haus,” Weizs.) to house-life as distinct from hill-life (εἰς τὸ ὄρος, Mark 3:13). The formal manner in which this is stated suggests a sojourn on the hill of appreciable length, say, for some days. How occupied there? Probably in giving a course of instruction to the disciple-circle; say, that reproduced in the “Sermon on the Mount” = the “Teaching on the Hill,” vide introductory notes on Matthew 5.18. iv. Andrew] a brother of St Peter (Matthew 4:18), and like him a native of Bethsaida, and a former disciple of the Baptist (John 1:40). By his means his brother Simon was brought to Jesus (John 1:41). In the lists of the Apostles given by St Matthew and St Luke he appears second; but in St Mark and Acts 1:13, fourth. We have three notices of him in the Gospels, (i) On the occasion of the feeding of the Five Thousand it is he who points out the little lad with the five barley loaves and the two fishes; (ii) when certain Greeks desired to see Jesus, it was he in conjunction with Philip who introduced them to the Lord (John 12:22); (iii) together with Peter, James, and John he inquired privately of our Lord respecting His future coming (Mark 13:3).

(b) Group ii

v. Philip] He also was a native of Bethsaida and one of the earliest disciples (John 1:43). To him first of the whole circle of the Apostles were spoken the solemn words “Follow Me.” It was to him the question was put “to prove him,” “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5-9); together with his friend and fellow townsman, St Andrew, he brought the inquiring Greeks to the Saviour (John 12:20-22); it was he who asked “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (John 14:8).

vi. Bartholomew] i. e. Bar-Tolmai, the “Song of Solomon of Tolmai,” and probably identical with Nathanael = “gift of God” For (i) St John twice mentions Nathanael, never Bartholomew (John 1:45; John 21:2); (ii) the other Evangelists all speak of Bartholomew, never of Nathanael; (iii) Philip first brought Nathanael to Jesus, and Bartholomew is mentioned by each of the Synoptic Evangelists immediately after Philip; (iv) St John couples Philip with Nathanael precisely in the same way that Simon is coupled with his brother Andrew. Respecting him, at least under the name Nathanael, we learn from the Gospels little more than (a) his birth-place, Cana of Galilee (John 21:2); (b) his simple, guileless character (John 1:47); and (c) that he was one of the seven, to whom our Lord shewed Himself by the lake of Gennesaret after His resurrection (John 21:2).

vii. Matthew] or Levi, whose call has just been described. See above, on Mark 2:14.

viii. Thomas] or Didymus= a twin (John 11:16; John 21:2), whose character was marked by a deep attachment to his Master and a readiness even to die with Him (John 11:16), but at the same time by a tendency to misgiving and despondency, which made him ever ready to take the darker view of things, and to distrust other evidence than that of sight (John 14:5; John 20:25).

(c) Group iii

ix. James] or “James the Less” (see note below, Mark 15:40), the son of Alphæus, so called to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee, mentioned above. He is probably a distinct person from James the Lord’s brother (Galatians 1:19), and author of the Epistle, which bears his name.

x. Thaddæus] i. e. Judas, a brother, or possibly a son of James, bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 1:13). He was surnamed Thaddæus and Lebbæus (Matthew 10:3), which some interpret as = “cordatus or animosus” = “a man of energy and courage.” He is the author of the Epistle which bears his name. Once only in the Gospels do we find any act or saying of his recorded, viz., in John 14:22, “Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

xi. Simon] the Cananite, or Cananœan (Matthew 10:4), in Greek Zelotes (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). The spelling of the English Version here is misleading. The word does not signify a native of Canaan, or of Cana, but comes from a Chaldee or Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, by which the Jewish sect or faction of “the Zealots” was designated. To this sect Simon had probably belonged before his call.Verses 18, 19. - Andrew is next mentioned after these eminent apostles, as the first called. The word is from the Greek, and means "manly." Bartholomew, that is, Bar-tolmai, the son of Tolmay. This is a patronymic, and not a proper name. It has been with good reason supposed that he is identical with Nathanael, of whom we first read in John 1:46, as having been found by Philip and brought to Christ. In the three synoptic Gospels we find Philip and Bartholomew enumerated together in the lists of the apostles; and certainly the mode in which Nathanael is mentioned in John 21:2 would seem to show that he was an apostle. His birthplace, too, Cana of Galilee, would point to the same conclusion. If this be so, then the name Nathanael, the "gift of God," would bear the same relation to Bartholomew that Simon does to Bar-jona. Matthew. In St Matthew's own list of the apostles (Matthew 10:3) the epithet "the publican" is added to his name, and he places himself after Thomas. This marks the humility of the apostle, that he does not scruple to place on record what he was before he was called. The word Matthew, a contraction of Mattathias, means the "gift of Jehovah," according to Gesenius, which in Greek would be "Theodore." Thomas. Eusebius says that his real name was Judas. It is possible that Thomas may have been a surname. The word is Hebrew meaning a twin, and it is so rendered in Greek in John 11:16. James the son of Alphaeus, or Clopas (not Cleophas): called" the Less," either because he was junior in age, or rather in his call, to James the Great, the brother of John. This James, the son of Alphaeus, is called the brother of our Lord. St. Jerome says that his father Alphaeus, or Clopas, married Mary, a sister of the blessed Virgin Mary, which would make him the cousin of our Lord. This view is confirmed by Bishop Pearson (Art. 3:on the Creed). He was the writer of the Epistle which bears his name, and he became Bishop of Jerusalem. Thaddaeus, called also Lebbaeus and Judas; whence St. Jerome describes him as "trionimus," i.e. having three names. Judas would be his proper name. Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus have a kind of etymological affinity, the root of Lebbaeus being "heart," and of Thaddaeus, "breast." These names are probably recorded to distinguish him from Judas the traitor. Simon the Canaanite. The word in the Greek, according to the best authorities, is, both here and in St. Matthew (Matthew 10:4), Καναναῖος, from a Chaldean or Syriac word, Kanean, or Kanenieh. The Greek equivalent is Ζηλωτής, which we find preserved in St. Luke (Luke 6:15). It is possible, however, that Simon may have been born in Cana of Galilee. St. Jerome says that he was called a Cananaean or Zealot, by a double reference to the place of his birth and to his zeal. Judas Iscariot. Iscariot. The most probable derivation is from the Hebrew lsh-Kerioth, "a man of Kerioth,' a city of the tribe of Judah. St. John (John 6:7) describes him as the son of Simon. If it be asked why our Lord should have chosen Judas Iscariot, the answer is that he chose him, although he knew that he would betray him, because it was his will that he should be betrayed by one that had been "his own familiar friend," and that had "eaten bread with him." Bengel says well here that "there is an election of grace from which men may fall." How far our Lord knew from the first the results of his choice of Judas belongs to the profound, unfathomable mystery of the union of the Godhead and the manhood in his sacred Person. We may notice generally, with regard to this choice by our Lord of his apostles, the germ of the principle of sending them forth by two and two. Here are Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, and so on. Then, again, our Lord chose three pairs of brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John, James the Less and Jude, that he might teach us how powerful an influence is brotherly love. We may also observe that Christ, in selecting his apostles, chose some of his kinsmen according to the flesh. When he took upon him our flesh, he recognized those who were near to him by nature, and he would unite them yet mere closely by grace to his Divine nature. Three of the apostles took the lead, namely, Peter and James and John, who were admitted to be witnesses of his transfiguration, of one of his greatest miracles, and of his passion. Andrew (Ὰνδρέαν)

A name of Greek origin though in use among the Jews, from ἀνήρ, man, and signifying manly. He was one of the two who came earliest to Christ (Matthew 4:18, Matthew 4:20; compare John 1:40, John 1:41); and hence is always styled by the Greek fathers πρωτόκλητος, first called.

Philip (Φίλιππον)

Another Greek name, meaning fond of horses. In ecclesiastical legend he is said to have been a chariot-driver.


A Hebrew name - Bar Tolmai, son of Tolmai. Almost certainly identical with Nathanael. Philip and Nathanael are associated by John, as are Philip and Bartholomew in the parallel passages of the synoptics. Bartholomew is not mentioned in John's list of the twelve (John 21:2), but Nathanael is; while the synoptists do not mention Nathanael in their lists, but do mention Bartholomew. Probably he had two names.


See on the superscription of Matthew's Gospel.


A Hebrew name, meaning twin, and translated by the Greek Didymus (John 11:16).

Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus, as in Matthew 10:3

He is the Judas of John 14:22. Luther calls him der fromme Judas (the good Judas). The two surnames, Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus, mean the same thing - beloved child.

Simon the Canaanite

Properly, Cananaean. See on Matthew 10:4 : "No name is more striking in the list than that of Simon the Zealot, for to none of the twelve could the contrast be so vivid between their former and their new position. What revolution of thought and heart could be greater than that which had thus changed into a follower of Jesus one of the fierce war-party of the day, which looked on the presence of Rome in the Holy Land as treason against the majesty of Jehovah, a party who were fanatical in their Jewish strictures and exclusiveness ?" (Geikie, "Life and Words of Christ").

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