Joseph Barsabbas


Joseph Barsabbas is introduced as one of the two men nominated by the disciples as a candidate to take the place of Judas Iscariot in the group of the twelve apostles (Acts 1). Through the lot, the Lord’s choice was indicated as Matthias (1:26). Joseph’s other name was a Gr. name, ̓Ιου̂στος, G2688. It is possible that the Judas Barsabbas of Acts 15:22 was a brother of this Joseph.

A companion of Christ in His earthly ministry (Acts 1:21, 22), Joseph Barsabbas may have been one of the seventy (Luke 10:1) as stated by Eusebius (Euseb. Hist. I, 12).

Bibliography

F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles (1965), 79, 80.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Barsabbas, or Barsabas; the King James Version Barsabas, bar’-sa-bas; for etymology, etc., of Joseph, see general article on JOSEPH): nodetitle was surnamed Justus (Ac 1:23). Barsabbas was probably a patronymic, i.e. son of Sabba or Seba. Other interpretations given are "son of an oath," "son of an old man," "son of conversion," "son of quiet." It is likely that the "Judas called Barsabbas" of Ac 15:22 was his brother. Ewald considers that both names refer to the same person, but this is improbable.

Joseph was one of those who accompanied the apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us" (Ac 1:21,22). At the meeting of the brethren under the presidency of Peter in Jerusalem shortly after the crucifixion, he was, therefore, proposed along with Matthias as a suitable candidate for the place in the apostleship left vacant by the treachery and death of nodetitle; but was unsuccessful (Ac 1:15-26).

According to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 12), Joseph was one of the 70 (Lu 10:1), and Papias records the oral tradition that he drank a cup of poison without harm (compare Mr 16:18). The Ac of Paul, a work belonging to the 2nd century and first mentioned by Origen, relates that Barsabbas, Justus the Flatfoot and others were imprisoned by Nero for protesting their faith in Christ, but that upon a vision of the newly martyred Paul appearing to the emperor, he ordered their immediate release.