Grecians

gre’-shanz, greks: In the Old Testament the word "Grecians" occurs but once (Joe 3 (4):6). For references to Greece in the Old Testament see JAVAN. In the King James Version of the Old Testament Apocrypha "Grecians" and "Greeks" are used without distinction, e.g. 1 Macc 1:10; 6:2; 8:9; 2 Macc 4:15,36. Thus, in 1 Macc 1:1, Alexander the Great is spoken of as king of Greece, and in 1 Macc 1:10 the Macedonian empire is called "the kingdom of the Greeks" (basileia Hellenon). In 2 Macc 13:2 the army of Antiochus, king of Syria, is called "Grecian" (dunamis Hellenike), and in 2 Macc 6:8 the "Greek cities" (poleis Hellenides) are Macedonian colonies. Reference is made in 2 Macc 6:1 to an aged Athenian who was sent by Antiochus the king charged with the duty of Hellenizing the Jews; in 2 Macc 9:15 Antiochus vows that he will make the Jews equal to the Athenians; in 1 Macc 12-14, reference is made to negotiations of Jonathan, the high priest, with the Spartans, whom he calls brethren, seeking the renewal of a treaty of alliance and amity against the Syrians. With the spread of Greek power and influence, everything not specifically Jewish was called Greek; thus in 2 Macc 4:36; 11:2; 3 Macc 3:3,1 the "Greeks" contrasted with the Jews are simply non-Jews, so called because of the prevalence of Greek institutions and culture, and "Greek" even came to be used in the sense of "anti-Jewish" (2 Macc 4:10,15; 6:9; 11:24).

In Isa 9:12 the Septuagint reads tous Hellenas, for Pelishtim, "Philistines"; but we are not therefore justified in assuming a racial connection between the Philistines and the Greeks. Further light on the ethnography of the Mediterranean

may in time show that there was actually such a connection; but the rendering in question proves nothing, since "the oppressing sword" of Jer 46:16 and 50:16 is likewise rendered in the Septuagint with "the sword of the Greeks" (machaira Hellenike). In all these cases the translators were influenced by the conditions existing in their own day, and were certainly not disclosing obscure relations long forgotten and newly discovered.


In Ac 11:20 the manuscripts vary between Hellenistas, and Hellenas (the King James Version "Grecians," the Revised Version (British and American) "Greeks"), with the preponderance of authority in favor of the former; but even if one adopts the latter, it is not clear whether true Greeks or Gentiles are intended.