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Reference: Jannes And Jambres


Two magicians. "Withstood Moses" (2Ti 3:8-9). They could "proceed no further," though for a time they simulated Moses' miracles (Ex 7:11). At last "their folly was manifested unto all," when not only could they no longer rival Moses and send boils but were themselves smitten with boils. So as to the lice, the magicians confessed," this is the finger of God" (Ex 8:18-19; 9:11). An or unrra is Egyptian for "scribe." It is the name of a writer in papyri of the reign of Rameses II Jambres may mean "scribe of the S." (Speaker's Commentary, note at end of Exodus 7) The Targum of Jonathan mentions Jannes and Jannes as "chiefs of the magicians." Numenius, a Pythagorean (in Eusebius, Proep. Evang., 9:8) wrote, "Jannes and Jannes were sacred scribes, deemed inferior to none in magic." Paul by inspiration endorses the names given them in secular history, though not mentioned in the inspired Exodus. Pliny (H. N. 30:1) makes Moses, Jamnes, and Jotape, heads of magic factions.

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In 2Ti 3:8 these names are given as those of Moses' opponents; the Egyptian magicians of Ex 7:11,22 are doubtless referred to, though their names are not given in OT. They are traditional, and we find them in the Targumic literature (which, however, is late). Both there and in 2Ti 3:8 we find the various reading 'Mambres' (or 'Mamre'). 'Jannes' is probably a corruption of 'Johannes' (John); 'Jambres' is almost certainly derived from a Semitic root meaning 'to oppose' (imperfect tense), the participle of which would give 'Mambres.' The names were even known to the beathen. Pliny the Elder (a.d. 23

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