A celebrated Pharisee in the generation after Christ, a doctor of the law, and member of the Sanhedrin. He possessed great influence among the Jews, and is said by some to have presided over the Sanhedrin during the reigns of Tiberius, Cains, and Claudius. The Talmundists say that he was the son of Rabbi Simeon, and grandson of Hillel, the celebrated teacher of the law, and that upon his death the glory of the law departed. His noble intervention before the Sanhedrin saved the apostles from an ignominious death, and shows that he was gifted with great wisdom and tolerance, if not strongly inclined towards the gospel, Ac 5:33-40. The apostle Paul thought it a high honor to have been one of his pupils, Ac 22:3, and no doubt received from him not only a zealous enthusiasm for the Jewish law, but many lessons of candor, impartiality, and liberality. His high renown, however, among the Jewish rabbins of later ages, seems inconsistent with the tradition that he embraced Christianity.
(2.) The son of rabbi Simeon, and grandson of the famous rabbi Hillel. He was a Pharisse, and therefore the opponent of the party of the Sadducees. He was noted for his learning, and was president of the Sanhedrim during the regins of Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, and died, it is said, about eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem.
When the apostles were brought before the council, charged with preaching the resurrection of Jesus, as a zealous Pharisee Gamaliel councelled moderation and calmness. By a reference to well-known events, he advised them to "refrain from these men." If their work or counsel was of man, it would come to nothing; but if it was of God, they could not destroy it, and therefore ought to be on their guard lest they should be "found fighting against God" (Ac 5:34-40). Paul was one of his disciples (Ac 22:3).
2. A Pharisee and eminent doctor of the law, who advised the council wisely to let the apostles alone (Ac 5:34, etc.), "for if this counsel or work be of men it will come to nought; but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." He was Paul's teacher, "at whose feet he was brought up and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers" (Ac 22:3). The Jews celebrated him as "the glory of the law," the first designated Rabban "our master."
Son of rabbi Simeon, and grandson of Hillel; president of the Sanhedrin under Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius; he died 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem. His counsel as to the apostles was not from any leaning to Christianity, but from opposition to Sadduceeism in a case where the resurrection was the point at issue, and from seeing the folly of unreasoning bigotry (Ac 23:6-9). Saul his pupil was a leading persecutor when Stephen opposed Pharisaism; and probably Gamaliel would not altogether disapprove of his zeal in such a cause, though his own tendency was to leave the claims of Christianity to be tested by time.
1. The son of Pedahzur, and 'prince of the children of Manasseh' (Nu 1:10; 2:20, etc.). 2. Gamaliel i., the grandson of Hillel, was a Pharisee, and regarded as one of the most distinguished doctors of the Law of his age. He was a member of the Sanhedrin during the years of our Lord's ministry. His views were tolerant and large-hearted; he emphasized the humaner side of the Law, relaxing somewhat the rigour of Sabbatical observance, regulating the customs of divorce so as the more to protect helpless woman, and inculcating kindness on the part of Jews towards surrounding heathen. The advice given by him to the chief priests (Ac 5:34-40) in reference to their dealing with the Apostles shows similar tolerance and wisdom. At his feet St. Paul was brought up (Ac 22:3).
The Clementine Recognitions absurdly state that by the advice of the Apostles he remained among the Jews as a secret believer in Christ. The Mishna deplores that 'with the death of Gamaliel i. the reverence for Divine Law ceased, and the observance of purity and piety became extinct.'
Charles T. P. Grierson.
2. Renowned doctor of the law, and member of the Sanhedrim, under whom Paul was educated. He gave the wise advice in the council that if the work of the apostles was of God it was useless to resist it; and if not, it would come to naught of itself. The Jews say he died a Pharisee, but ecclesiastical tradition records that he became a Christian. Ac 5:34; 22:3.
(recompense of God).
1. Son of Pedahzur; prince or captain of the tribe of Manasseh at the census at Sinai,
and at starting on the march through the wilderness. ch.
2. A pharisee and celebrated doctor of the law, who gave prudent worldly advice in the Sanhedrin respecting the treatment of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
ff. (A.D. 29.) We learn from
that he was the preceptor of St. Paul. He is generally identified with the very celebrated Jewish doctor Gamaliel, grandson of Hillel, and who is referred to as authority in the Jewish Mishna.
GAMALIEL, a celebrated rabbi, and doctor of the Jewish law, under whose tuition the great Apostle of the Gentiles was brought up, Ac 22:3. Barnabas and Stephen are also supposed to have been among the number of his pupils. Soon after the day of pentecost, when the Jewish sanhedrim began to be alarmed at the progress the Gospel was making in Jerusalem, and consequently wished to put to death the Apostles, in the hope of checking its farther progress, they were apprehended and brought before the national council, of which Gamaliel seems to have been a leading member. It is very probable that many zealots among them would have despatched the affair in a very summary manner, but their impetuosity was checked by the cool and prudent advice of Gamaliel; for, having requested the Apostles to withdraw for a while, he represented to the sanhedrim that, if the Apostles were no better than impostors, their fallacy would quickly be discovered; but on the other hand, if what they were engaged in was from God, it was vain for them to attempt to frustrate it, since it was the height of folly to contend with the Almighty. The assembly saw the wisdom of his counsel, and very prudently changed the sentence, upon which they were originally bent against the Apostles' lives, into that of corporal punishment.
2. It may here also be remarked, that the sanhedrim could not themselves believe that tale which they had diligently circulated among the people, that the disciples had stolen away the body of Jesus, and then pretended that he had arisen from the dead. If the Jewish council had thought this, it would have been very absurd in Gamaliel to exhort them to wait to see whether "the counsel and work" was of God, that is, whether the Apostles related a fact when they preached the resurrection, and grounded the divine authority of their religion upon that fact. Gamaliel's advice was wholly based upon the admission, that an extraordinary, and to them an inexplicable, event had happened.