Hermes

HERMES (hûr'mēz, Gr. Hermēs)

One of the Greek mythological gods, a messenger of the gods (Acts.14.12); the Romans called him “Mercury” (as in asv, kjv, and neb).One, otherwise unknown, to whom Paul sends greetings in Rom.16.14.


HERMES hûr’ mez (̔Ερμη̂ς, G2258). Hermes was a Gr. god, originally the spirit of the ἕρμα, or cairn, set up as a guidepost or boundary. Thus he came to be the guide of travelers and the giver of good luck, fertility, and cunning. Hermes became the patron of thieves and traders. In Gr. mythology Hermes was the son of Zeus and Maia, and best known as the messenger of the gods and the god of oratory. This is important to the reference to Hermes in Acts 14:12 (Mercurias in KJV and ASV was the equivalent Rom. god, as Jupiter was the counterpart of Zeus). When Barnabas and Paul were taken to be gods, Paul was designated Hermes “because he was the chief speaker.” In relation to this incident it is significant that Ovid wrote of a couple who entertained Jupiter and Mercury unawares. (For this, and for the worship of Zeus and Hermes in this area, see F. F. Bruce, New London Commentary on the Book of Acts [1965], 291f.)

A Christian named Hermes is mentioned (Rom. 16:14). This was a common name, esp. among slaves, prob. because Hermes was the god of good fortune.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

In the Revised Version margin of Ac 14:12 for "Mercury" in text (the King James Version "Mercurius").


The name of a Roman Christian, otherwise unknown, to whom Paul sent greetings (Ro 16:14). "Hermes is among the commonest slave names. In the household alone probably not less than a score of persons might be counted up from the inscriptions, who bore this name at or about the time when Paul wrote" (Lightfoot, Philippians, 176).