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The Twelve
James, son of Alphaeus
James, son of Zebedee
John, son of Zebedee
Judas Iscariot
Lebbaeus Thaddaeus
Simon Peter
Simon Zelotes

Meaning: gift of God - a common Jewish name after the Exile.

He was the son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became his disciple (Mt 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was known was Levi (Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27); he now changed it, possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast" (Lk 5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was afterwards selected as one of the twelve (Lk 6:15).

His name does not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13.

It is believed that Matthew preached the gospel to the Hebrews for fifteen years and then went to Ethiopia, south of the Caspian Sea, Persia, Macedonia and Syria where he evangelized in their native tongues. There are conflicting details as to when, where or how he died but Ethiopia is listed in the Roman Martyrology. It is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded.

See also, Book of Matthew

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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