836. Jupiter and Mercury

Acts 14:12  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Acts 14:1212And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. (Acts 14:12). They called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
Jupiter, called Ζεύς by the Greeks, was the supreme head of all the heathen divinities. He had a temple at Lystra. Mercury, called Ερμῆς by the Greeks, was a son of Jupiter, and the herald or messenger of all the gods. Hence he was the god of eloquence. These two deities were supposed to travel together. Thus the people, having decided that Paul, by reason of his eloquence, must be Mercury, inferred that his traveling companion was Jupiter. This renders unnecessary the suggestion of Chrysostom, that Barnabas was probably of more majestic mien than Paul, and therefore was thought to be Jupiter.