Hitchcock's Bible NamesAlexander
one who assists men
Smith's Bible DictionaryAlexander
- Son of Simon the Cyrenian, who was compelled to bear the cross for our Lord. (Mark 15:21)
- One of the kindred of Annas the high priest. (Acts 4:6)
- A Jew at Ephesus whom his countrymen put forward during the tumult raised by Demetrius the silversmith, (Acts 19:33) to plead their cause with the mob.
- An Ephesian Christian reprobated by St. Paul in (1 Timothy 1:20) as having, together with one Hymenaeus, put from him faith and a good conscience, and so made shipwreck concerning the faith. This may be the same with
- Alexander the coppersmith, mentioned by the same apostle, (2 Timothy 4:14) as having done him many mischiefs.
ATS Bible DictionaryAlexander
1. The Great, the famous son and successor of Philip, king of Macedon. He is alluded to in Daniel 7:6 8:4-7, under the figures of a leopard with four wings, and a one-horned he-goat, representing the swiftness of his conquests and his great strength. He was appointed by God to destroy the Persian Empire and substitute the Grecian. In the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, Daniel 2:39, the belly of brass was the emblem of Alexander. He succeeded his father B. C. 336, and within twelve years overran Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, founded Alexandria, conquered the Persians, and penetrated far into the Indies. He died at the age of thirty-two, from the effects of intemperance, and left his vast empire to be divided among his four generals.
2. Son of Simon the Cyrenian, Mark 15:21, apparently one of the more prominent early Christians.
3. One of the council who condemned Peter and John, Acts 4:6
4. A Jew of Ephesus, who sought in vain to quiet the popular commotion respecting Paul, Acts 4:6
5. A coppersmith, and apostate from Christianity, 1 Timothy 1:20 2 Timothy 4:14.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaALEXANDER
al-eg-zan'-der Alexandros, literal meaning "defender of men." This word occurs five times in the New Testament, (Mark 15:21 Acts 4:6; Acts 19:33 1 Timothy 1:19, 20, 2_timothy 4:14): It is not certain whether the third, fourth and fifth of these passages refer to the same man.
1. A Son of Simon of Cyrene:
The first of these Alexanders is referred to in the passage in Mk, where he is said to have been one of the sons of Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried the cross of Christ. Alexander therefore may have been a North African by birth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record the fact, with varying detail, that Simon happened to be passing at the time when Christ was being led out of the city, to be crucified on Calvary. Mark alone tells that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. From this statement of the evangelist, it is apparent that at the time the Second Gospel was written, Alexander and Rufus were Christians, and that they were well known in the Christian community. Mark takes it for granted that the first readers of his Gospel will at once understand whom he means.
There is no other mention of Alexander in the New Testament, but it is usually thought that his brother Rufus is the person mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:13, "Salute Rufus the chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." If this identification is correct, then it follows, not only that the sons of Simon were Christians, but that his wife also was a Christian, and that they had all continued faithful to Christ for many years. It would also follow that the households were among the intimate friends of Paul, so much so that the mother of the family is affectionately addressed by him as "Rufus' mother and mine." The meaning of this is, that in time past this lady had treated Paul with the tender care which a mother feels and shows to her own son.
This mention of Rufus and his mother is in the list of names of Christians resident in Rome. Lightfoot (Comm. on Phil, 176) writes: "There seems no reason to doubt the tradition that Mark wrote especially for the Romans; and if so, it is worth remarking that he alone of the evangelists describes Simon of Cyrene, as `the father of Alexander and Rufus.' A person of this name therefore (Rufus) seems to have held a prominent place among the Roman Christians; and thus there is at least fair ground for identifying the Rufus of Paul with the Rufus of Mark. The inscriptions exhibit several members of the household (of the emperor) bearing the names Rufus and Alexander, but this fact is of no value where both names are so common."
To sum up, Alexander was probably by birth a North African Jew; he became a Christian, and was a well-known member of the church, probably the church in Rome. His chief claim to recollection is that he was a son of the man who carried the cross of the Saviour of the world.
2. A Relative of Annas:
The second Alexander, referred to in Acts 4:6, was a relative of Annas the Jewish high priest. He is mentioned by Luke, as having been present as a member of the Sanhedrin, before which Peter and John were brought to be examined, for what they had done in the cure of the lame man at the gate of the temple. Nothing more is known of this Alexander than is here given by Luke. It has been conjectured that he may have been the Alexander who was a brother of Philo, and who was also the alabarch or magistrate of the city of Alexandria. But this conjecture is unsupported by any evidence at all.
3. Alexander and the Riot at Ephesus:
The third Alexander is mentioned in Acts 19:33: "And some of the multitude instructed Alexander, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made defense unto the people. But when they perceived that he was a Jew, all with one voice," etc., the Revised Version, margin. In the matter of the riot in Ephesus the whole responsibility rested with Demetrius the silversmith. In his anger against the Christians generally, but specially against Paul, because of his successful preaching of the gospel, he called together a meeting of the craftsmen; the trade of the manufacture of idols was in jeopardy. From this meeting there arose the riot, in which the whole city was in commotion. The Jews were wholly innocent in the matter: they had done nothing to cause any disturbance. But the riot had taken place, and no one could tell what would happen. Modern anti-Semitism, in Russia and other European countries, gives an idea of an excited mob stirred on by hatred of the Jews. Instantly recognizing that the fury of the Ephesian people might expend itself in violence and bloodshed, and that in that fury they would be the sufferers, the Jews "put forward" Alexander, so that by his skill as a speaker he might clear them, either of having instigated the riot, or of being in complicity with Paul. "A certain Alexander was put forward by the Jews to address the mob; but this merely increased the clamor and confusion. There was no clear idea among the rioters what they wanted: an anti-Jewish and an anti-Christian demonstration were mixed up, and probably Alexander's retention was to turn the general feeling away from the Jews. It is possible that he was the worker in bronze, who afterward did Paul much harm" (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, etc., 279).
4. Alexander an Ephesian Heretic:
The fourth of the New Testament Alexanders is one of two heretical teachers at Ephesus-the other being Hymeneus: see article under the word-against whom Paul warns Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:19, 20. The teaching of Hymeneus and Alexander was to the effect that Christian morality was not required-antinomianism. They put away-"thrust from them," the Revised Version (British and American)-faith and a good conscience; they willfully abandoned the great central facts regarding Christ, and so they "made shipwreck concerning the faith."
5. His Heresy Incipient Gnosticism:
In 2 Timothy 2:17, 18, Hymeneus is associated with Philetus, and further details are there given regarding their false teaching. What they taught is described by Paul as "profane babblings," as leading to more ungodliness, and as eating "as doth a gangrene." Their heresy consisted in saying that the resurrection was past already, and it had been so far successful, that it had overthrown the faith of some. The doctrine of these three heretical teachers, Hymeneus, Alexander and Philetus, was accordingly one of the early forms of Gnosticism. It held that matter was originally and essentially evil; that for this reason the body was not an essential part of human nature; that the only resurrection was that of each man as he awoke from the death of sin to a righteous life; that thus in the case of everyone who has repented of sin, "the resurrection was past already," and that the body did not participate in the blessedness of the future life, but that salvation consisted in the soul's complete deliverance from all contact with a material world and a material body.
So pernicious were these teachings of incipient Gnosticism in the Christian church, that they quickly spread, eating like a gangrene. The denial of the future resurrection of the body involved also the dental of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and even the fact of the incarnation. The way in which therefore the apostle dealt with those who taught such deadly error, was that he resorted to the same extreme measures as he had employed in the case of the immoral person at Corinth; he delivered Hymeneus and Alexander to Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. Compare 1 Corinthians 5:5.
6. Alexander the Coppersmith:
The fifth and last occurrence of the name Alexander is in 2 Timothy 4:14, 15, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will render to him according to his works: of whom do thou also beware (the King James Version "of whom be thou ware also"); for he greatly withstood our words." This Alexander was a worker in copper or iron, a smith. It is quite uncertain whether Alexander number 5 should be identified with Alexander number 4, and even with Alexander number 3. In regard to this, it should be remembered that all three of these Alexanders were resident in Ephesus; and it is specially to be noticed that the fourth and the fifth of that name resided in that city at much the same time; the interval between Paul's references to these two being not more than a year or two, as not more than that time elapsed between his writing 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. It is therefore quite possible these two Alexanders may be one and the same person.
In any case, what is stud of this last Alexander is that he had shown the evil which was in him by doing many evil deeds to the apostle, evidently on the occasion of a recent visit paid by Paul to Ephesus. These evil deeds had taken the form of personally opposing the apostle's preaching. The personal antagonism of Alexander manifested itself by his greatly withstanding the proclamation of the gospel by Paul. As Timothy was now in Ephesus, in charge of the church there, he is strongly cautioned by the apostle to be on his guard against this opponent.
Alexander ba'-las (Alexandros ho Balas legomenos): He contended against Demetrius I of Syria for the throne and succeeded in obtaining it. He was a youth of mean origin, but he was put forth by the enemies of Demetrius as being Alexander, the son and heir of Antiochus Epiphanes. He received the support of the Roman Senate and of Ptolemy VI of Egypt, and on account of the tyranny of Demetrius, was favored by many of the Syrians. The country was thrown into civil war and Demetrius was defeated by Alexander II took up the cause of his father and in 147 B.C., Alexander fled from his kingdom and was soon after assassinated.
Our chief interest in Alexander is his connection with the Maccabees. Jonathan was the leader of the Maccabean forces and both Alexander and Demetrius sought his aid. Demetrius granted Jonathan the right to raise and maintain an army. Alexander, not to be outdone, appointed Jonathan high priest, and as a token of his new office sent him a purple robe and a diadem (Ant., XIII, ii, 2). This was an important step in the rise of the Maccabean house, for it insured them the support of the Chasidim. In 153 B.C., Jonathan officiated as high priest at the altar (1 Maccabees 10:1-14; Ant, XIII, ii, 1). This made him the legal head of Judea and thus the movement of the Maccabees became closely identified with Judaism. In 1 Maccabees 10:1, he is called Alexander Epiphanes.
A. W. Fortune
ALEXANDER, THE GREAT
(Alexandros). 1. Parentage and Early Life:
Alexander, of Macedon, commonly called "the Great" (born 356 B.C.), was the son of Philip, king of Macedon, and of Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemos, an Epeirote king. Although Alexander is not mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures, in Daniel he is designated by a transparent symbol (8:5, 21). In 1 Maccabees 1:1 he is expressly named as the overthrower of the Persian empire, and the founder of that of the Greeks. As with Frederick the Great, the career of Alexander would have been impossible had his father been other than he was. Philip had been for some years a hostage in Thebes: while there he had learned to appreciate the changes introduced into military discipline and tactics by Epaminondas. Partly no doubt from the family claim to Heracleid descent, deepened by contact in earlier days with Athenians like Iphicrates, and the personal influence of Epaminondas, Philip seems to have united to his admiration for Greek tactics a tincture of Hellenistic culture, and something like a reverence for Athens, the great center of this culture. In military matters his admiration led him to introduce the Theban discipline to the rough peasant levies of Macedon, and the Macedonian phalanx proved the most formidable military weapon that had yet been devised. The veneer of Greek culture which he had taken on led him, on the one hand, laying stress on his Hellenistic descent, to claim admission to the comity of Hellas, and on the other, to appoint Aristotle to be a tutor to his son. By a combination of force and fraud, favored by circumstances, Philip got himself appointed generalissimo of the Hellenistic states; and further induced them to proclaim war against the "Great King." In all this he was preparing the way for his son, so soon to be his successor.
2. His Preparation for His Career:
He was also preparing his son for his career. Alexander was, partly no doubt from being the pupil of Aristotle, yet more imbued with Greek feelings and ideas than was Preparation his father. He was early introduced into the cares of government and the practice of war. While Philip was engaged in the siege of Byzantium he sent his son to replace Antipater in the regency; during his occupancy of this post, Alexander, then only a youth of sixteen, had to undertake a campaign against the Illyrians, probably a punitive expedition. Two years later, at the decisive battle of Chaeroneia, which fixed the doom of the Greek autonomous city, Alexander commanded the feudal cavalry of Macedon, the "Companions." He not only saved his father's life, but by his timely and vehement charge materially contributed to the victory.
3. His Accession to the Hegemony of Greece:
When all his plans for the invasion of Persia were complete, and a portion of his troops was already across the Hellespont, Philip was assassinated. Having secured his succession, Alexander proceeded to Corinth, where he was confirmed in his father's position of leader of Hellas against Darius. Before he could cross into Asia he had to secure his northern frontier against possible raids of barbarian tribes. He invaded Thrace with his army and overthrew the Triballi, then crossed the Danube and inflicted a defeat on the Getae. During his absence in these but slightly known regions, the rumor spread that he had been killed, and Thebes began a movement to throw off the Macedonian yoke. On his return to Greece he wreaked terrible vengeance on Thebes, not only as promoter of this revolt, but also as the most powerful of the Greek states.
4. Campaign in Asia Minor:
Having thus secured his rear, Alexander collected his army at Pella to cross the Hellespont, that he might exact the vengeance of Greece on Persia for indignities suffered at the hands of Xerxes, who "by his strength through his riches" had stirred, up "all against the realm of Grecia" (Daniel 11:2, the King James Version). Steeped as he was in the romance of the Iliad, Alexander, when he came to the site of Troy, honored Achilles, whom he claimed as his ancestor, with games and sacrifices. This may have been the outflow of his own romantic nature, but there was also wise policy in it; the Greeks were more readily reconciled to the loss of their freedom when it was yielded up to one who revived in his own person the heroes of the Iliad. It may be noted how exactly the point of Alexander's invasion is indicated in Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 8:5). From Troy he advanced southward, and encountered the Persian forces at the Granicus. While in the conflict Alexander exhibited all the reckless bravery of a Homeric hero. He at the same time showed the skill of a consummate general. The Persian army was dispersed with great slaughter.
Before proceeding farther into Persia, by rapid marches and vigorously pressed sieges, he completed the conquest of Asia Minor. Here, too, he showed his knowledge of the sensitiveness of Asiatic peoples to omens, by visiting Gordium, and cutting the knot on which, according to legend, depended the empire of Asia.
5. Battle of Issus and March through Syria to Egypt:
What he had done in symbol he had to make a reality; he had to settle the question of supremacy in Asia by the sword. He learned that Darius had collected an immense army and was coming to meet him. Although the Persian host was estimated at a half-million men, Alexander hastened to encounter it. Rapidity of motion, as symbolized in Daniel by the "he-goat" that "came from the west. and touched not the ground" (Daniel 8:5), was Alexander's great characteristic. The two armies met in the relatively narrow plain of Issus, where the Persians lost, to a great extent, the advantage of their numbers; they were defeated with tremendous slaughter, Darius himself setting the example of flight. Alexander only pursued the defeated army far enough to break it up utterly. He began his march southward along the seacoast of Syria toward Egypt, a country that had always impressed the Greek imagination. Though most of the cities, on his march, opened their gates to the conqueror, Tyre and Gaza only yielded after a prolonged siege.
In the case of the latter of these, enraged at the delay occasioned by the resistance, and emulous of his ancestor, Alexander dragged its gallant defender Batis alive behind his chariot as Achilles had dragged the dead Hector. It ought to be noted that this episode does not appear in Arrian, usually regarded as the most authentic historian of Alexander. Josephus relates that after he had taken Gaza, Alexander went up to Jerusalem, and saw Jaddua the high priest, who showed him the prophecy of Daniel concerning him. The fact that none of the classic historians take any notice of such a detour renders the narrative doubtful: still it contains no element of improbability that the pupil of Aristotle, in the pursuit of knowledge, might, during the prosecution of the siege of Gaza, with a small company press into the hill country of Judea, at once to secure the submission of Jerusalem which occupied a threatening position in regard to his communications, and to see something of that mysterious nation who worshipped one God and had no idols.
6. Founding of Alexandria and Visit to the Shrine of Jupiter Ammon:
When he entered Egypt, the whole country submitted without a struggle. Moved at once by the fact that Pharos is mentioned in the Odyssey, and that he could best rule Egypt from the seacoast, he founded Alexandria on the strip of land opposite Pharos, which separated Lake Mareotis from the Mediterranean. The island Pharos formed a natural breakwater which made possible a spacious double harbor; the lake, communicating with the Nile, opened the way for inland navigation. As usual with Alexander, romance and policy went hand in hand. The city thus founded became the capital of the Ptolemies, and the largest city of the Hellenistic world. He spent his time visiting shrines, in the intervals of arranging for the government of the country. The most memorable event of his stay in Egypt was his expedition to the oracle or Jupiter Ammon (Amen-Ra) where he was declared the son of the god. To the Egyptians this meant no more than that he was regarded a lawful monarch, but he pretended to take this declaration as assigning to him a Divine origin like so many Homeric heroes. Henceforward, there appeared on coins Alexander's head adorned with the ram's horn of Amen-Ra. This impressed the eastern imagination so deeply that Mohammed, a thousand years after, calls him in the Quran Iskander dhu al-qarnain, "Alexander the lord of the two horns." It is impossible to believe that the writer of Daniel could, in the face of the universal attribution of the two ram's horns to Alexander, represent Persia, the power he overthrew, as a two-horned ram (Daniel 8:3, 20), unless he had written before the expedition into Egypt.
7. The Last Battle with Darius:
Having arranged the affairs of Egypt, Alexander set out for his last encounter with Darius. In vain had Darius sent to Alexander offering to share the empire with him; the "king of Javan" (Revised Version margin) "was moved with anger against him" (Daniel 8:7) and would have nothing but absolute submission. There was nothing left for Darius but to prepare for the final conflict. He collected a yet huger host than that he had had under him at Issus, and assembled it on the plain east of the Tigris. Alexander hastened to meet him. Although the plain around Gaugamela was much more suitable for the movements of the Persian troops, which consisted largely of cavalry, and gave them better opportunity of making use of their great numerical superiority to outflank the small Greek army, the result was the same as at Issus-overwhelming defeat and immense slaughter. The consequence of this victory was the submission of the greater portion of the Persian empire.
After making some arrangements for the government of the new provinces, Alexander set out in the pursuit of Darius, who had fled in the care or custody of Bessus, satrap of Bactria. Bessus, at last, to gain the favor of Alexander, or, failing that, to maintain a more successful resistance, murdered Darius. Alexander hurried on to the conquest of Bactria and Sogdiana, in the course of his expedition capturing Bessus and putting him to death. In imitation of Bacchus, he proceeded now to invade India. He conquered all before him till he reached the Sutlej; at this point his Macedonian veterans refused to follow him farther.
8. Close of His Life:
Thus compelled to give up hopes of conquests in the farther East, he returned to Babylon, which he purposed to make the supreme capital of his empire, and set himself, with all his superabundant energy, to organize his dominions, and fit Babylon for its new destiny. While engaged in this work he was seized with malaria, which, aggravated by his recklessness in eating and drinking, carried him off in his 33rd year.
9. His Influence:
Alexander is not to be estimated merely as a military conqueror. If he had been only this, he would have left no deeper impress on the world than Tamerlane or Attila. While he conquered Asia, he endeavored also to Hellenize her. He everywhere founded Greek cities that enjoyed at all events a municipal autonomy. With these, Hellenistic thought and the Hellenistic language were spread all over southwestern Asia, so that philosophers from the banks of the Euphrates taught in the schools of Athens. It was through the conquests of Alexander that Greek became the language of literature and commerce from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Tigris. It is impossible to estimate the effect of this spread of Greek on the promulgation of the gospel.
J. E. H. Thomson
Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) A relative of Annas the high priest, present when Peter and John were examined before the Sanhedrim (Acts 4:6).
(2.) A man whose father, Simon the Cyrenian, bore the cross of Christ (Mark 15:21).
(3.) A Jew of Ephesus who took a prominent part in the uproar raised there by the preaching of Paul (Acts 19:33). The Jews put him forward to plead their cause before the mob. It was probably intended that he should show that he and the other Jews had no sympathy with Paul any more than the Ephesians had. It is possible that this man was the same as the following.
(4.) A coppersmith who, with Hymenaeus and others, promulgated certain heresies regarding the resurrection (1 Timothy 1:19; 2 Timothy 4:14), and made shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience. Paul excommunicated him (1 Timothy 1:20; Comp. 1 Corinthians 5:5).
Alexander the Great
The king of Macedonia, the great conqueror; probably represented in Daniel by the "belly of brass" (Dan. 2:32), and the leopard and the he-goat (7:6; 11:3, 4). He succeeded his father Philip, and died at the age of thirty-two from the effects of intemperance, B.C. 323. His empire was divided among his four generals.