Alphaeus

Alphae'us (Α᾿λφαῖος), the name of two men.

1. The putative father of James the Less (Mt 10:3; Mr 3:18; Lu 6:15; Ac 1:13), and husband of Mary, the sister-in-law of our Lord's mother (Joh 19:25) SEE MARY; for which reason James is called "the Lord's brother" (Ga 1:19). SEE JAMES. A.D. ante 26. It seems that he was a (perhaps elder) brother of Joseph, to whom, on his decease without issue, his widow was married according to the Levirate Law (q.v.). By comparing Joh 19:25, with Lu 24:10, and Mt 10:3, it appears that Alphaeus is the Greek, and Cleophas or Clopas (q.v.) the Hebrew or Syriac name of the same person, according to the custom of the provinces or of the time, when men had often two names, by one of which they were known to their friends and countrymen, and by the other to the Romans or strangers. More probably, however, the double name in Greek arises, in this instance, from a diversity in pronouncing the ִח in his Aramaean name, חִלפִי (chalphay', changing, as in the Talmudists, Lightfoot, ad Acts, 1, 13), a diversity which is common also in the Septuagint (Kuinol, Comment. on Joh 19:25). SEE NAME. Or rather, perhaps, Clopas was a Greek name adopted out of resemblance to the Jewish form of Alpheus (like "Paul" for "Saul"), if, indeed, the former be not the original from which the latter was derived by corruption.

2. The father of the evangelist Levi or Matthew (Mr 2:14). A.D. ante 26.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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