Ju'piter (the Latin form of the Greek name Zeus, Ζεύς Genit. Διός), the principal deity of the Greek and Roman mythology, in which he is fabled to have been the son of Saturn and Ops. He is supposed to represent the fertilizing power of the heavens (see Creuzer, Symbolik, 2, 518, 522), and was worshipped under various epithets. See Walch, Dissert in Acta Apost. 3, 173; compare Horace, Odyssey, 1, 10, 5; Ovid, Fasti, 5, 495; Metamorph. 8, 626; Tzetz. in Lycophr. 481; "Hermes κήρυξΔιός," Apollod. Bibl. 3, 10, 2; Homer, Iliad. 2, 402; Virg. AEn. 3, 21; 9, 627; Xen. Cyrop. 8, 3, 31; Senec. Herc. Fur. 299. SEE MERCURY; SEE DIANA. (See Schmebel, De Jove πολιούχῳ ad Ac. Altdorf, 1740). This deity is alluded to in several passages of the Bible, and Josephus frequently refers to his worship. The following statements are chiefly from Kitto's Cyclopoedia, s.v.:
1. It is stated in 2 Macc. 6:1, 2, that "the king sent an old man of Athens (Sept. Α᾿θηναῖον; Vulg. Antiochenum) (some say 'an old man, Atheneas,' but Grotius, following the Latin, suggests instead of Α᾿θηναῖον to read Α᾿ντιόχειον) to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God; and to pollute also the Temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius (Atob Διὸς Ο᾿λυμπίου), and that in Gerizim, of Jupiter the defender of strangers (Sept. Διὸς Ξενίου; Vulg. hospitalis), as they did desire that dwelt in the place." Olympius was a very common epithet of Zeus, and he is sometimes simply called Ο᾿λύμπιος (Homer, 2. 19, 108). Olympia, in Greece, was the seat of the temple and sacred grove of Zeus Olympius, and it was here that the famous statue of gold and ivory, the work of Phidias, was erected. Caligula attempted to have this statue removed to Rome, and it was only preserved in its place by the assurance that it would not bear removal (Josephus, Ant. 19, 1, 1). Antiochus Epiphanes, as related by Athenaeus, surpassed all other kings in his worship and veneration of the gods, so that it was impossible to count the number of the statues he erected. His especial favorite was Zeus. The Olympian Zeus was the national god of the Hellenic race (Thucydides, 3, 14), as well as the supreme ruler of the heathen world, and, as such, formed the true opposite to Jehovah, who had revealed himself as the God of Abraham. Antiochus commenced, in B.C. 174, the completion of the temple of Zeus Olympius at Athens (Polybius, Reliq. 26, 10; Livy, Hist. 41, 20), and associated the worship of Jupiter with that of Apollo at Daphne, erecting a statue to the former god resembling that of Phidias at Olympia (Amm. Marcell. 22, 13, 1). Games were celebrated at Daphne by Antiochus, of which there is a long account in Polybius (Reliq. 31, 3) and Atheneus (5, 5). Coins also were struck referring to the god and the games (Mionnet, 5, 215; Muller, Antiq. Antioch. p. 62-64). On the coins of Elis, the wreath of wild olive (κότινος) distinguishes Zeus Olympius from the Dodonaean Zeus, who has an oak wreath.
Antiochus, after compelling the Jews to call the Temple of Jerusalem the temple of Jupiter Olympius, built an idol altar upon the altar of God. Upon this altar swine were offered every day, and the broth of their flesh was sprinkled about the Temple (1 Macc. 1:46; 2 Macc. 6:5; Josephus, Ant. 12, 5, 4; 13, 8, 2; War, 1, 1, 2). The idol altar which was upon the altar of God (τὁν βωμὸν ὃς ην ἐπὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου) was considered by the Jews to be the "abomination of desolation" (βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως, 1 Macc. 1:54) foretold by Daniel (11:31; 12:11) and mentioned by our Lord (Mt 24:15). Many interpretations of the meaning of this prophecy have been given. SEE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.
The grove of Daphne was not far from Antioch ( Δάφνη ἡ πρὸς Α᾿ντιόχειαν, 2 Macc. 4:33; Josephus, War, 1, 12, 15), and at this city Antiochus Epiphanes erected a temple for the worship of Jupiter Capitolinus. SEE DAPHNE. It is described by Livy as having its walls entirely adorned with gold (41, 20). To Jupiter Capitolinus the Jews, after the taking of Jerusalem, in whatever country they might be, were compelled by Vespasian to pay two drachmae, as they used to pay to the Temple at Jerusalem (Josephus, War, 7, 6, 6; Dion Cass. 66, 7). Hadrian, after the second revolt of the Jews, erected a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus in the place where the temple of God formerly stood (Dion Cass. 69, 12). There is, probably, reference made to Jupiter Capitolinus in Da 11:38, alluding to Antiochus Epiphanes: "But in his estate shall he worship the god of forces" (fortresses,אֵֹלהֵי מָעֻזַּי, see Gesenius, Thesaur. s.v. מָעוֹז, p. 1011), for under this name Jupiter was worshipped by the victorious general on his return from a campaign, and it was in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus that he celebrated his triumph. Other conjectures have been made relative to this passage, but the opinion of Gesenius seems most probable. SEE MAUZZIM.
In the passage from 2 Macc. above quoted a temple was also ordered to be set up to Zeus Xenius on Mount Gerizim. Josephus gives a different account. He relates that the Samaritans, who, when it pleased them, denied that they were of the kindred of the Jews, wrote to Antiochus, the god (θεός on coins) Epiphanes, begging him to allow the temple on, Mount Gerizim, which had no name (ἀνώνυμον ἱερόν; comp. "Ye worship ye know not what," Joh 4:22), to be called the temple of Jupiter Hellenius (Ant. 12, 5, 5). This petition is said to have been granted. The epithet Ξένιος is given to Zeus as the supporter of hospitality and the friend of strangers (Plutarch, Amator. 20; Xenoph. Anab. 3 2, 4; Virgil, AEneid, 1, 735, etc.), and it is explained in 2 Macc. by the clause "as they did desire (Greek καθώς ἐτύγχανον, as they were; Vulg. prout erant hi, [as they were]) who dwelt in the place." Ewald supposes that Jupiter was so called on account of the hospitable disposition of the Samaritans (Geschichte, 4, 339, note), while Jahn suggests that it was because the Samaritans, in their letter to Antiochus Epiphanes, said that they were strangers in that country (Hebrew Commonwealth, 1, 319); Grotius says because the dwellers of the place were pilgrims from the regions of Mysia and Mesopotamia, specially referring to their idolatrous practices (2Ki 17:24 sq.).
2. The appearance of the gods upon earth was very commonly believed among the ancients. Accordingly we find that Jupiter and Mercury are said to have wandered in Phrygia, and to have been entertained by Baucis and Philemon (Ovid, Met. 8, 611 sq.). Hence the people of Lycaonia, as recorded in Acts (Ac 14:11), cried out, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men; and they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker." Barnabas was probably identified with Jupiter not only because Jupiter and Mercury were companions (Ovid. Fast. 5, 495), but because his personal appearance was majestic (Chrysostom, Hom. 30; Alford, on Ac 14:12; comp. 2Co 10:1,10). Paul was identified with Mercury as the speaker, for this god was the god of eloquence (Horace, lib. 1, od. 10:5, etc.). The temple of Jupiter at Lystra appears to have been outside the gates (τοῦ Διὸς τοῦ ὄντος πρὸ τῆς πόλεως, Ac 14:13), as was frequently the custom (Strabo, 14, 4; Herod. 1, 26), and the priest being summoned, oxen and garlands were brought, in order to do sacrifice with the people to Paul and Barnabas, who, filled with horror, restrained the people with great difficulty. It is well known that oxen were wont to be sacrificed to Jupiter (Homer, Il. 2, 402; Virgil, AEn. 3, 21; 9, 627; Xenoph. Cyrop. 7, 3, 11, etc.). According to the interpretation of others, however, the sacrifice was about to be offered before the doors of the house where the apostles were (ἐπὶ τοὺς πυλῶνας). Alford (Comment. ad loc.) denies that there is any ellipsis of τοῦ ναοῦ in the phrase ἱερεὺς τοῦ Διός his references, however, do not sustain his position; for Ζεὺς προπύλωνος would not necessarily be πρὸτῆς πόλεως, but merely the tulelary deity of a private mansion.
3. The word Εùδία (fair or fine weather) is derived from ευ and Δία. Jupiter, as lord of heaven, had power over all the changes of the weather. The Latins even used his name to signify the air — sub Dio (Horace, lib. 2, od. 3, 23), sub Jove frigido (Horace, lib. 1, od. 1, 25, etc. comp. "the image which fell down from Jupiter," A. Vers.; καὶ τοῦ διοπετοῦς, Ac 19:35). The word εὐδία occurs in Mt 16:2, and in Ecclus. 3, 15. (For a full account of Jupiter and Zeus, see Smith's Dict. of Biography, s.v.; and for a list of the epithets applied to this god, see Rawlinson, Herod. vol. 1, Appendix, p. 680.)