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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

( Acts 14:12-13 [Revised Version margin ‘Zeus’ ] 19:35 [Authorized Versionand Revised Version‘the image which fell down from Jupiter’; Revised Version margin ‘from heaven’])

The Oriental setting of the events which took place at Lystra is strongly evident in the first of these passages. The miracle of healing at once causes the barbarians to suppose that the gods had come to pay them a visit, and the impassive Barnabas is regarded as the chief. ‘True to the oriental character, the Lycaonians regarded the active and energetic preacher as the inferior, and the more silent and statuesque figure as the leader and principal’ (W. M. Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire , 1893, p. 57 n.[Note: . note.]). It was not that such visits were supposed to be common, but a well-known legend (Ovid, Metam . viii. 626 ff.; cf. Fasti , v. 495ff.) told of such a visit, when the aged couple Philemon and Baucis had alone received the august visitors and had been suitably rewarded; this had been localized in several districts. The people cried out in the speech of Lycaonia, and the original name of the local god given by them to Barnabas has been here replaced by the Greek equivalent, Zeus. In v. 13 Codex Bezae has a slightly different phrase which reads, ‘the temple of Zeus-before-the-city.’ The participle in the phrase τοῦ ὄντος Διὸς Προπόλεως is used in a way characteristic of Acts, viz. to introduce some title or particular phrase, and we must consider that D is correct here. Zöckler ( ad loc .) and Ramsay ( op. cit. p. 51f.) compare an inscription at Claudiopolis which has Zeus Proastios ( i.e. ‘Jupiter-before-the-town’). The title here, then, is Propoleôs, which is actually found in an inscription at Smyrna. The Temple would be outside the city proper, and it is not quite clear whether ‘the gates’ where the sacrifice was prepared were those of the Temple, or of the city, or of the dwelling-house of the apostles. It is most probable that the Temple is referred to, the gates being chosen as a special place for the offering of a special sacrifice (Ramsay).

Baur, Zeller, Overbeck, and Wendt regard the whole incident as unhistorical, since such people would rather have considered that the miracle-workers were magicians or demons. But the local legends give ample support to the text.

In 19:35 the translation should follow Revised Version margin: ‘the Image which fell down from the clear sky.’

Literature.-See R. J. Knowling, Expositor’s Greek Testament , 1900, ad loc .; A. C. McGiffert, Apostolic Age , 1897, p. 189f.

F. W. Worsley.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

JUPITER. This god is not really referred to in the Bible. The Roman god Iuppiter (‘Father of Light’ or ‘of the sky’) was recognized by the Romans as corresponding in attributes to the Greek god Zeus, and hence in modern times the term ‘Zeus’ in the Bible ( 2Ma 6:2 ) has been loosely translated ‘Jupiter.’ The name Zeus is itself cognate with the first part of the word Jupiter , and suggests the ruler of the firmament, who gives light and sends rain, thunder, and other natural phenomena from the sky. He was conceived as having usurped the authority of his father Kronos and become the chief and ruler of all the other gods. As such he was worshipped all over the Greek world in the widest sense of that term. The case of   Acts 14:12-13 is further complicated, because there it is not even the Greek Zeus who is referred to, but the native supreme god of the Lycaonians, who was recognized by the author of Acts to correspond, as their chief god, to the Greek Zeus. All that we know of this god is that his temple at Lystra was without the city wall (  Acts 14:13 ), and that Barnabas, as the big silent man, was taken for him. In   Acts 19:35 the phrase ‘from Jupiter’ simply means ‘from the sky’ (cf. what is said above).

A. Souter.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Jupiter ( Jû'Pt-Ter ). The heathen god worshipped by the Greeks under the name of Zeus. He was supposed to exercise supreme power; but the actions attributed to him were frequently in the highest degree sensual and abominable. Antiochus Epiphanes dedicated the temple at Jerusalem to this deity as Zeus Olympius, that on Gerizim to him as Zeus Xenius, the "defender of strangers."  2 Maccabees 6:2. He is two or three times mentioned in the New Testament.  Acts 14:12-13;  Acts 19:35.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Ju'piter. (A Father That Helps). The Greek Zeus. The Olympian Zeus was the national god of the Hellenic race, as well as the supreme ruler of the heathen world, and as such formed the true opposite to Jehovah . Jupiter or Zeus is mentioned in two passages of the New Testament, on the occasion of St. Paul's visit to Lystra,  Acts 14:12-13, where the expression "Jupiter, which was before their city," means that his temple was outside the city. Also in  Acts 19:35.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(1): ( n.) The supreme deity, king of gods and men, and reputed to be the son of Saturn and Rhea; Jove. He corresponds to the Greek Zeus.

(2): ( n.) One of the planets, being the brightest except Venus, and the largest of them all, its mean diameter being about 85,000 miles. It revolves about the sun in 4,332.6 days, at a mean distance of 5.2028 from the sun, the earth's mean distance being taken as unity.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

The supreme god of the heathen Greeks and Romans. He was called the son of Saturn and Ops, and was said to have been born in Crete. The character attributed to him in pagan mythology was a compound of all that is wicked, obscene, and beastly in the catalogue of human crime. Still he was ever described as of noble and dignified appearance and bearing. Barnabas was supposed by the people of Lystra to represent him,  Acts 14:12,13;  19:35 .

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [7]

The Greek and Roman supreme god. After the cure of the impotent man the people of Lystra called Barnabas (the more commanding in appearance) Jupiter and Paul (the speaker) Mercury, the god of eloquence ( Acts 14:12-13, "Jupiter before the city," i.e. his temple was in front of the city). Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 8, 11), the Old Testament antichrist, to subvert the Jewish religion, dedicated the temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem to the Greek Olympian Jupiter. (2 Maccabees 6)

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Ζεύς.Supreme god of Greece and Rome, though the religious ideas of the two nations differed considerably. At Lystra the heathen inhabitants supposed Jupiter was impersonated by Barnabas, and at Ephesus they professed that the image of Diana had fallen from Jupiter, or heaven.  Acts 14:12,13;  Acts 19:35 .

King James Dictionary [9]

JU'PITER, n. L. the air or heavens Jovis pater.

1. The supreme deity among the Greeks and Romans. 2. One of the superior planets, remarkable for its brightness. Its diameter is about eighty-nine thousand miles its distance from the sun, four hundred and ninety millions of miles, and its revolution round the sun a little less than twelve years.

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

Pagan GodsGreece

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Acts 14:12

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jupiter'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/j/jupiter.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

jōō´pi - tẽr , jū´pi - tẽr ( Ζεύς , Zeús ): "Jupiter" is mentioned in   2 Maccabees 6:2;  Acts 14:12 ,  Acts 14:13 , with "Zeus" in the Revised Version margin in all cases. In addition the Greek stem appears in διοπετοῦς , diopetoús , in  Acts 19:35 , English Versions of the Bible "which fell down from Jupiter"; but the word means "from the clear sky" (compare "from heaven" in the Revised Version margin). "Jupiter" was considered the Latin equivalent of the Greek "Zeus," the highest god in the developed Greek pantheon, and Zeus in turn, in accord with the syncretism of the period, was identified with countless deities in the local cults of Asia Minor and elsewhere. So in  Acts 14:12 ,  Acts 14:13 , "Zeus" and "Hermes" are local deities that had been renamed. On the other hand, the Zeus of 2 Macc 6:2 is the genuine Greek deity, who had been adopted as a special patron by Antiochus Epiphanes and to whose temple in Athens Antiochus had contributed largely. The title "Olympius" (2 Macc 6:2) is derived from the early worship on Mt. Olympus, but had come to be thought one of the god's highest appellations; Xenios, "protector of strangers," was a title in a cult particularly popular with travelers. See Abomination Of Desolation , and Smith, HGHL , 333-34.