Matthi'as (Ματθίας, a contraction of Matithiah or Matthew, a form frequently met with in Josephus [see below]), one of the constant attendants from the first upon our Lord's ministry, who was chosen by lot, in preference to Joseph Barsabas, into the number of the apostles, to supply the vacancy caused by the treachery and suicide of Judas (Ac 1:23-26). A.D. 29. We may accept as probable the opinion which is shared by Eusebius (H. E. lib. 1:12) and Epiphanius (1:20) that he was one of the seventy disciples. He is said to have preached the Gospel in Ethiopia (Niceph. 2:40; according to Sophronius, "in altera Ethiopia," i.e. Colchis; comp. Cellar. Notit. 2:309), or Cappadocia according to Cave, and to have at last suffered martyrdom (comp. Menalog. Graec. 3:198). According to another tradition, he preached in Judlea, and was stoned to death by the Jews (see Prionii Vitae Apostol. p. 178; Acta Sanctomrum, Feb. 24; comp. Augusti, Denkwuidiqgk. 3:241). There was early an apocryphal gospel bearing his name (Eusebius, H. E. 3:25, 3; Clemens Alex. Strom. 2:163; 7:318; Grabii Spicileg. patr. 2:1, p. 117; Fabric. Cod. apocr. N.T. 1:782 sq.).
"Different opinions have prevailed as to the manner of the election of Matthias. The most natural construction of the words of Scripture seems to be this: After the address of Peter, the whole assembled body of the brethren, amounting in number to about 120 (Ac 1:15), proceeded to nominate two, namely, Joseph, surnamed Barsabas, and Matthias, who answered the requirements of an apostle: the subsequent selection between the two was referred in prayer to him who, knowing the hearts of men, knew which of them was the fitter to be his witness and apostle. The brethren then, under the heavenly guidance which they had invoked, proceeded to give forth their lots, probably by each writing the name of one of the candidates on a tablet, and casting it into the urn. The urn was then shaken, and the name that first came out decided the election. Lightfoot (Hor. Heb. Luc. 1:9) describes another way of casting lots which was used in assigning to the priests their several parts in the service of the Temple. The apostles, it will be remembered, had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and this solemn mode of casting the lots, in accordance with a practice enjoined in the Levitical law (Le 16:8), is to be regarded as a way of referring the decision to God (comp. Pr 16:33). Chrysostom remarks that it was never repeated after the descent of the Holy Spirit. The election of Matthias is discussed by bishop Beveridge (Works, vol. 1, serm. 2)." It would seem, however, that Paul was the divine appointee to fill the vacancy in the college of the apostles. Monographs in Latin on his election have been written by Scharff (Viteb. 1652), Bittelmaier (ib. 1676), and Hammerschmid (Prag. 1760).