|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
See JOSEPH BARSABBAS; JUDAS BARSABBAS.
bar-sab'-as Barsabbas, or Barsabas; the King James Version Barsabas, bar'-sa-bas; for etymology, etc., of Joseph, see general article on JOSEPH): Joseph Barsabbas was surnamed Justus (Acts 1:23). Barsabbas was probably a patronymic, i.e. son of Sabba or Seba. Other interpretations given are "son of an oath," "son of an old man," "son of conversion," "son of quiet." It is likely that the "Judas called Barsabbas" of Acts 15:22 was his brother. Ewald considers that both names refer to the same person, but this is improbable.
Joseph was one of those who accompanied the apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us" (Acts 1:21, 22). At the meeting of the brethren under the presidency of Peter in Jerusalem shortly after the crucifixion, he was, therefore, proposed along with Matthias as a suitable candidate for the place in the apostleship left vacant by the treachery and death of Judas Iscariot; but was unsuccessful (Acts 1:15-26).
According to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 12), Joseph was one of the 70 (Luke 10:1), and Papias records the oral tradition that he drank a cup of poison without harm (compare Mark 16:18). The Acts of Paul, a work belonging to the 2nd century and first mentioned by Origen, relates that Barsabbas, Justus the Flatfoot and others were imprisoned by Nero for protesting their faith in Christ, but that upon a vision of the newly martyred Paul appearing to the emperor, he ordered their immediate release.
C. M. Kerr
bar-sab-'as (Ioudas Barsabbas): Judas was, with Silas, a delegate from the church in Jerusalem to the GentileChristians of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. They were appointed to convey the letter containing the decision of "the apostles and the elders, with the whole church" regarding the attitude to be taken by GentileChristians toward the Mosaic law, and also to explain "the same things by word of mouth." They accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, and, "being themselves also prophets," i.e. preachers, they not only handed over the epistle but stayed some time in the city preaching and teaching. They seem to have gone no farther than Antioch, for "they were dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent them forth," and it was Paul and Silas who some time afterward strengthened the churches in Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:40, 41).
According to Acts 15:34 the King James Version, Judas returned to Jerusalem without Silas, who remained at Antioch and afterward became Paul's companion (Acts 15:40). The oldest manuscripts, however, omit Acts 15:34, and it is therefore omitted from the Revised Version (British and American). It was probably a marginal note to explain Acts 15:40, and in time it crept into the text. Judas and Silas are called "chief men among the brethren" (15:22), probably elders, and "prophets" (15:32).
Barsabbas being a patronymic, Judas was probably the brother of Joseph Barsabbas. He cannot be identified with any other Judas, e.g. "Judas not Iscariot" (John 14:22). We hear no more of Judas after his return to Jerusalem (Acts 15:22).
S. F. Hunter
Barsabbas (2 Occurrences)
Acts 1:23 They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. (WEB ASV BBE NAS NIV)
Acts 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers. (WEB ASV BBE NAS NIV)