Clopas

CLOPAS (klō'păs). Mentioned in John.19.25 (kjv, Cleophas) as the husband of Mary, one of the women who stood beside the cross and who is described as a sister of the mother of Jesus. He is not the same as the Cleopas who walked with Jesus to Emmaus (Luke.24.18).


CLOPAS klō’ pəs (Κλωπα̂ς, G3116, prob. of Sem. origin, possibly a transliterated form of חלפי, cf. Gr. ̔Αλφαι̂ος, G271). Clopas was the husband, or possibly the son or father, of one of the women who stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified (John 19:25). His wife’s name was Mary, and she was distinguished from Mary Magdalene and from Jesus’ mother. It is not certain whether or not she should be distinguished from Jesus’ aunt. If “Mary the wife of Clopas” is in apposition with “his mother’s sister” in this v. Clopas could be a brother of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is more likely, however, that John intends to identify four separate women at the cross.

Matthew and Mark both mention a “Mary the mother of James and Joseph” among the women who were at the cross (Matt 27:56; Mark 15:40). Mark identifies this James as “James the younger” as if to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee. It is interesting that in all four lists of the twelve disciples given in the gospels and Acts, there is a James the son of Alphaeus (Matt 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). If the James mentioned in Matthew 27 and Mark 15 is James, the son of Alphaeus, then Clopas is the same as Alphaeus.

Some of the later Church Fathers identified Clopas with Cleopas, one of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus after His Resurrection (Luke 24:18; see Cleopas), but the latter is clearly a Gr. name while Clopas is Aram. Other Fathers identified Clopas with Alphaeus. Hegesippus mentions a brother of Joseph named Clopas. If he is the same Clopas mentioned in John 19, his wife might be referred to as the sister of Jesus’ mother (actually her sister-in-law). All that is certain is that Clopas had two sons, James and Joseph, and that his wife was among the women at the cross.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The former in the Revised Version (British and American), the latter in the King James Version, of Joh 19:25, for the name of the husband of one of the women who stood by the cross of Christ. Upon the philological ground of a variety in pronunciation of the Hebrew root, sometimes identified with Alpheus, the father of James the Less. Said by tradition to have been the brother of Joseph, the husband of Mary; see Brethren of the Lord. Distinguished from Cleopas, a Greek word, while Clopas is Aramaic