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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Jesus

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(Ι᾿ησοῦς , Gen., Dat., and Voc. οῦ, Acc. οῦν; from the Heb. יֵשׁוִּ , Yeshu'a, "Jeshua" or "Joshua;" Syr. Yeshu), the name of several persons (besides our Savior) in the New Testament, the Apocrypha, and Josephus. For a discussion of the full import and application of the name, (See JESUS CHRIST).

1. JOSHUA (See JOSHUA) (q.v.) the son of Nun (2 Esdras 7:37; Ecclesiastes 46:1; 1 Maccabees 2:55; Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8; so also Josephus, passim).

2. JOSHUA, or JESHUA (See JESHUA) (q.v.) the priest, the son of Jehozadak (1 Esdras 5:5; 1 Esdras 5:8; 1 Esdras 5:24; 1 Esdras 5:48; 1 Esdras 5:56; 1 Esdras 5:68; 1 Esdras 5:70; 1 Esdras 6:2; 1 Esdras 9:19; Ecclesiastes 49:12; so also Josephus, Ant. 11, 3, 10 sq.).

3. JESHUA (See JESHUA) (q.v.) the Levite (1 Esdras 5:58; 1 Esdras 9:48). 4. JESUS, THE SON OF SIRACH (Ι᾿ησοῦς υἱὸς Σειράχ; Vulgate Jesus filius Sirach), is described in the text of Ecclesiasticus (1, 27) as the author of that book, which in the Sept., and generally in the Eastern Church, is called by his name the Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, or simply the Wisdom of Sirach, but in the Western churches, after the Vulgate, the Book of Ecclesiasticus. The same passage speaks of him as a native of Jerusalem, and the internal character of the book confirms its Palestinian origin. The name JESUS was of frequent occurrence (see above), and was often represented by the Greek Jason (see Josephus, Ant. 12, 5, 1). In the apocryphal list of the seventy-two commissioners sent by Eleazar to Ptolemy it occurs twice (Aristophanes, Hist. ap. Hody, De Text. p. 7), but there is not the slightest ground for connecting the author of Ecclesiasticus with either of the persons there mentioned. The various conjectures which have been made as to the position of the son of Sirach from the contents of his book as, for instance, that he was a priest (from 7, 29 sq.; 45; 49, 1), or a physician (from 38, 1 sq.) are equally unfounded. The evidences of a date B.C. cir. 310-270, are as follows: 1. In ch. 44, 1-1,21. the praises of the ancient worthies are extolled down to the time of Simon, who is doubtless Simon I, or "the Just" (B.C. 370-300). 2. The Talmud most distinctly describes the work of Ben-Sira as the oldest of the apocryphal books (comp. Tosefoth Idaim, ch. 2). 3. It had a general currency, and was quoted at least as early as the 2d century B.C. (comp. Aboth, 1, 5; Jerusalem Nazier, 5, 3), which shows that it must have existed a considerable period to have obtained such circulation and respect; and, 4. In the description of these great men, and throughout the whole of the book, there is not the slightest trace of those Hagadic legends about the national worthies which were so rife and numerous in the second century before Christ. On the other hand, the mention of the "38th year of king Euergetes" (translator's prologue) argues a later date. (See ECCLESIACTICUS).

Among the later Jews the "Son of Sirach" was celebrated under the name of Ben-Sira as a writer of proverbs, and some of those which have been preserved offer a close resemblance to passages in Ecclesiasticus; but in the course of time a later compilation was substituted for the original work of Ben-Sira (Zunz).

According to the first prologue to the book of Ecclesiasticus, taken from the Synopsis of the Pseudo-Athanasius (4, 377, ed. Migne), the translator of the book bore the same name as the author of it. If this conjecture were true, a genealogy of the following form would result: 1. Sirach 2. Jesus, son (father) of Sirach (author of the book). 3. Sirach 4. Jesus, son of Sirach (translator of the book). It is, however, most likely that the last chapter, "The prayer of Jesus, the Son of Sirach," gave occasion to this conjecture. The prayer was attributed to the translator, and then the table of succession followed necessarily from the title attached to it.

As to the history and personal character of Ben-Sira, this must be gathered from his book, as it is the only source of information which we possess upon the subject. Like all his coreligionists, he was trained from his early life to fear and love the God of his fathers. He traveled much both by land and sea when he grew up, and was in frequent perils (Sirach 34:11-12). Being a diligent student, and having acquired much practical knowledge from his extensive travels, he was intrusted with some office at court, and his enemies, who were jealous of him, maligned him before the king, which nearly cost him his life (Sirach 51:6-7). To us, however, his religious life and sentiments are of the utmost importance, inasmuch as they describe the opinions of the Jews during the period elapsing between the O.T. and N. Test. Though deeply penetrated with the fear of God, which he declared was the only glory of man, rich, noble, or poor (Sirach 10:22-24), still the whole of Ben-Sira's tenets may be described as limited, and are as follows: Resignation to the dealings of Providence (Sirach 11:21-25); to seek truth at the cost of life (4, 28); not to use much babbling in prayer (7, 14); absolute obedience to parents, which in the sight of God atones for sins (Sirach 3:1-16; Sirach 7:27-28); humility (Sirach 3:17-19; Sirach 10:7-18; Sirach 10:28); kindness to domestics (Sirach 4:30; Sirach 7:20-21; Sirach 33:30-31); to relieve the poor (Sirach 4:1-9); to act as a father to the fatherless, and a husband to the widow (Sirach 4:10); to visit the sick (Sirach 7:35); to weep with them that weep (Sirach 7:34); not to rejoice over the death of even the greatest enemy (Sirach 7:7), and to forgive sins as we would be forgiven (Sirach 28:2-3). He has nothing in the whole of his book about the immortality of the soul, a future judgment, the existence of spirits, or the expectation of a Messiah. (See SIRACH).

5. (See BARABBAS).

6. (Col. 4, 11). (See JUSTUS). JESUS is also the name of several persons mentioned by Josephus, especially in the pontifical ranks. (See HIGH PRIEST).

1. A high priest displaced by Antiochus Epiphanes to make room for Onias (Ant. 12, 5, 1; 15, 3, 1). 2. The son of Phabet, deprived by Herod of the high priesthood in order to make way for his own father-in-law Simon (Ant. 15, 9,4).

3. Son of Sie, successor of Eleazar (Ant. 17, 13, 1).

4. The son of Damnaeus, made high priest by Agrippa in place of Ananus (Ant. 20, 9, 1).

5. The son of Gamaliel, and successor of the preceding in the high priesthood (Ant. 20, 9, 4; compare War, 4, 4,3).

6. Son of Ananus, a plebeian, and the utterer of the remarkable doom against Jerusalem, which was fulfilled during the last siege simultaneously with his own death (War, 6, 5, 3).

7. A priest, son of Thebuthus, who surrendered to Titus the sacred utensils of the Temple (War, 6, 8, 3).

8. Son of Sepphias, one of the chief priests and governor of Tiberias (War, 2, 20, 4).

9. Son of Saphat, a ringleader of the Sicarii during the last war with the Romans (War, 3, 9, 7).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jesus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/j/jesus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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