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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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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.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jupiter'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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