Hitchcock's Bible NamesLysias
Smith's Bible DictionaryLysias
(dissolving), a nobleman of the blood-royal, 1Macc 3:32; 2Macc 11:1, who was entrusted he Antiochus Epiphanes (cir. B.C. 166) with the government of southern Syria and the guardianship of his son Antiochus Eupator. 1Macc 3:32; 2Macc. 10:11. After the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 184, Lysias assumed the government as guardian of his son, who was pet a child. 1Macc 6:17. In B.C. 164 he, together with his ward, fell into the hands of Demetrius Soter, who put them both to death. 1Macc 7:2-4; 2Macc 14:2.
ATS Bible DictionaryLysias
Or Claudius Lysias, commander of the Roman guard at Jerusalem during Paul's last visit there. In the honorable discharge of his duty, he repeatedly saved Paul from the malice of the Jews, Acts 21:27-40 22:1-23:35.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaCLAUDIUS LYSIAS
klo'-di-us lis'-i-as (Klaudios Lysias): A chief captain who intervened when the Jews sought to do violence to Paul at Jerusalem (Acts 21:31; Acts 24:22). Lysias, who was probably a Greek by birth (compare Acts 21:37), and who had probably assumed the Roman forename Claudius (Acts 23:26) when he purchased the citizenship (Acts 22:28), was a military tribune or chiliarch (i.e. leader of 1,000 men) in command of the garrison stationed in the castle overlooking the temple at Jerusalem. Upon learning of the riot instigated by the Asiatic Jews, he hastened down with his soldiers, and succeeded in rescuing Paul from the hands of the mob. As Paul was the apparent malefactor, Lysias bound him with two chains, and demanded to know who he was, and what was the cause of the disturbance. Failing amid the general tumult to get any satisfactory reply, he conducted Paul to the castle, and there questioned him as to whether he was the "Egyptian," an postor that had lately been defeated by Felix (Josephus, BJ, II, xiii, 5; Ant, XX, viii, 6). Upon receiving the answer of Paul that he was a "Jew of Tarsus," he gave him permission to address the people from the stairs which connected the castle and the temple. As the speech of Paul had no pacifying effect, Lysias purposed examining him by scourging; but on learning that his prisoner was a Roman citizen, he desisted from the attempt and released him from his bonds. The meeting of the Sanhedrin which Lysias then summoned also ended in an uproar, and having rescued Paul with difficulty he conducted him back to the castle. The news of the plot against the life of one whom he now knew to be a Roman citizen decided for Lysias that he could not hope to cope alone with so grave a situation. He therefore dispatched Paul under the protection of a bodyguard to Felix at Caesarea, along with a letter explaining the circumstances (Acts 23:26-30. The genuineness of this letter has been questioned by some, but without sufficient reason.) In this letter he took care to safeguard his own conduct, and to shield his hastiness in binding Paul. There is evidence (compare Acts 24:22) that Lysias was also summoned to Caesarea at a later date to give his testimony, but no mention is made of his arrival there. It is probable, however, that he was among the chief captains who attended the trial of Paul before King Agrippa and Festus (compare Acts 25:22). For the reference to him in the speech of Tertullus (see Acts 24:7 the Revised Version, margin), see TERTULLUS.
C. M. Kerr
(1) "A noble man, and one of the blood royal" whom Antiochus Epiphanes (circa 166 B.C.) left with the government of Southern Syria and the guardianship of his son, while he went in person into Persia to collect the revenues which were. not coming in satisfactorily (1 Maccabees 3:32; 2 Maccabees 10:11). According to Josephus (Ant., XII, vii, 2), the instructions of Lysias were' "to conquer Judea, enslave its inhabitants, utterly destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole nation." Lysias, accordingly, armed against Judas Maccabeus a large force under Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, Nicanor and Gorgias. Of this force Judas defeated the two divisions under Nicanor and Gorgias near Emmaus (166 B.C.), and in the following year Lysias himself at Bethsura (1 Maccabees 4), after which he proceeded to the purification of the temple. In the narration of these campaigns there are considerable differences between the writers of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees which scholars have not found easy to explain. Antiochus died at Babylon on his Persian expedition (164 B.C.), and Lysias assumed the office of regent during the minority of his son, who was yet a child (1 Maccabees 6:17). He collected another army at Antioch, and after the recapture of Bethsura was besieging Jerusalem when he learned of the approach of Philip to whom Antiochus, on his deathbed, had entrusted the guardianship of the prince (1 Maccabees 6:15; 2 Maccabees 13). He defeated Philip in 163 B.C. and was supported at Rome, but in the following year he fell with his ward Antiochus into the hands of Demetrius I (Soter), who put both of them to death (1 Maccabees 7:1-23).
(2) See CLAUDIUS LYSIAS (Acts 23:26).
Easton's Bible Dictionary
The chief captain (chiliarch) who commanded the Roman troops in Jerusalem, and sent Paul under guard to the procurator Felix at Caesarea (Acts 21:31-38; 22:24-30). His letter to his superior officer is an interesting specimen of Roman military correspondence (23:26-30). He obtained his Roman citizenship by purchase, and was therefore probably a Greek. (see CLAUDIUS.)