Holman Bible Dictionary


(jyoo' duhss) Greek transliteration of Hebrew personal name Judah meaning, “Praise Yahweh.” The proper name Judas was very common in the time of Christ because it was not only the Greek form of one of the twelve patriarchs, but it was also made popular by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabaeus who led the nation in their fight for independence from Syria in 166 B.C. The New Testament mentions seven men named Judas. Most of them are only mentioned in passing. 1. One of Jesus' ancestors (Luke 3:30). 2. A brother of the Lord (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3).

Acts speaks of five others named Judas. 3. Judas of Galilee was one of those who led a revolt against the Romans and died as a result. The exact year of this revolt is uncertain, perhaps 6 A.D. (Acts 5:37). 4. After his experience on the road to Damascus Paul went to the house of a man named Judas who lived on Straight Street. Ananias found him there three days later. 5. Judas, surnamed Barsabas, was one of those chosen by the Church of Jerusalem to go with Paul and Barnabas to deliver the letter from James to the church at Antioch concerning the important matter of Gentile salvation (Acts 15:22).

6. Jesus' twelve disciples include two named Judas. The first is always listed after James the son of Alphaeus, and is called the brother of James (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13). He appears to have been known also by the name Lebbaeus Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18). His only recorded words are found in John 14:22.

7. The last of these was Judas Iscariot. All of the Gospels place him at the end of the list of disciples because of his role as betrayer. Iscariot is an Aramaic word which means “man of Kerioth”, a town near Hebron. He was the only disciple from Judea. He acted as treasurer for the disciples but was known as a miser and a thief (John 12:5-6). He was present at the Last Supper, during which Jesus predicted his betrayal (Luke 22:21; Matthew 26:20-21). The price of the betrayal was 30 pieces of silver, which Judas returned to Jewish leaders; then he went out and hanged himself. He died in sorrow but without repentance. The money, which could not be returned to the treasury because it was blood money, was used to buy a potter's field in Judas' name (Matthew 27:3-10; compare Acts 1:18-19).

Gerald Cowen

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'JUDAS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T3524>. 1991.