In Hebrew MIRIAM,
1. "The Mother of Jesus," Ac 1:14. Her amiable and lovely character, and her remarkable history in connection with the wonders relating to the birth of Christ, are recorded in Mt 1-2; Lu 1-2. The genealogy of the Savior through her, in the line of David and Abraham, is preserved in Lu 3, to prove that he was born "as concerning the flesh" according to ancient prophecies. After the return from Egypt to Nazareth, she is but five times mentioned in the gospel history: three on the part of Christ, Mt 12:46-50; Lu 2:49-50; Joh 2:4; one when he commended her to the care of John, Joh 19:26; and lastly as among the disciples at Jerusalem after his ascension, Ac 1:14. Thenceforth, throughout the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Revelation, no allusions made to her. Manifestly the worship of Mary had not then commenced. The inventions of the Romish church in after-centuries are wholly destitute of foundation in Scripture, and subversive of the gospel. One of these unauthorized inventions is the alleged immaculate conception and spotless holiness of Mary. See Ro 3:10,23; Ga 3:22; 1Jo 1:8; and compare also the reproofs above alluded to, and her own confession of her need of a Savior, Lu 1:47. Another unauthorized invention is her alleged virginity after the birth of Jesus, Mt 1:25; Lu 2:7. No case can be found in Scripture where "firstborn son" is used of an only child. In other passages the brethren, sisters, and mother of Christ are mentioned together, apparently as one family, Mt 13:55-56; and she was known as the wife of Joseph probably for almost thirty ears, Joh 6:42. To adore her as the "queen of heaven," and the "mother of God," is, in the light of the Bible, blasphemous idolatry; and to pray to her as divine, or even as a mediator with God implies that she possesses the attribute of omnipresence, and degrades the only and sufficient Mediator, 1Ti 2:5; Heb 4:16. She was "blessed" or signally favored "among women," as Jael was "blessed above women," Jg 5:24; Lu 1:28; but Christ himself declares that a higher blessing belongs to those "that hear the word of God and keep it ," Lu 11:27-28.
2. The mother of Mark the Evangelist. She had a house in Jerusalem, where the followers of Jesus were wont to convene. Hither Peter, when delivered from prison by the angel, came and knocked at the gate, Ac 12:12. Many such hospitable Christian homes, and places of social prayer, even in troublous times, are forever enshrined in the remembrances of the people of God.
3. The wife of Cleophas, and mother of James the Less and Joses, Mt 27:56,61; Lu 24:10; Joh 19:25. This last passage leaves it uncertain whether this Mary was sister to Mary our Lord's mother, or not. Some suppose that four persons are there named: Christ's mother, his mother's sister, Mary of Cleaophas, and Salome. See MARY 1 and JAMES 3. She believed early on Jesus Christ, and accompanied him in some of his journeys, to minister to him, followed him to Calvary, and was with his mother at the foot of his cross. She was also present at his burial, prepared perfumes to embalm him, and was early at his sepulchre on the morning of his resurrection. See CLEOPHAS.
4. The sister of Lazarus, whom our Lord raised from the dead. Her character presents a beautiful companion-picture to that of her more active and impulsive sister Martha. Contemplative, confiding, and affectionate, it was like heaven to her to sit at the feet of her adored Teacher and Lord, Lu 10:39-42. The character of the two sisters was well contrasted at the supper in Bethany, after the resurrection of Lazarus. No service was too humble for Martha to render, and no offering too costly for Mary to pour out, in honor of their Savior, Joh 11; 12:1-8. This occurrence should not be confounded with that described in Lu 7:37-50.
5. The Magdalene, or native of Magdala on the Sea of Galilee. She was foremost among the honorable women of substance who ministered unto Christ and his disciples, Mt 28:1-10; Mr 15:47; 16:1-10; Lu 24:1-12; Joh 20:1-2,10-18. She was especially devoted to Christ, for his mercy in casting out from her seven evil spirits, Lu 8:2-3. She was early at his tomb; and lingering there when the disciples had retired, she was the first to throw herself at the feet of the risen Savior. There is no evidence that she was ever a profligate.
6. A benevolent and useful Christian at Rome, saluted in Paul's epistle, Ro 16:6.
Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in Scripture (Mt 2:11; Ac 1:14). Little is known of her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Lu 3. She was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps 132:11; Lu 1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron (Lu 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Lu 1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Jos 15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Lu 1:46-56; comp. 1Sa 2:1-10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Mt 1:18-25) of her condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus (Lu 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Mic 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Lu 2:6-7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Mt 1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins. This was followed by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Mt 2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened to her. During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being found among the doctors in the temple (Lu 2:41-52). Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum (Mt 12:46,48-49), where Christ uttered the memorable words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other women (Joh 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Ac 1:14). From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death are unknown.
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Lu 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last journey to Jerusalem (Mt 27:55; Mr 15:41; Lu 23:55). They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Mt 28:1; Mr 16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices, that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Mt 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living together at this time (Joh 20:1-2), and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully, weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether groundless.
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection with the death of her brother (Joh 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Mt 26:6; Mr 14:3; Joh 12:2-3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (Joh 11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them on the death of Lazarus (Joh 11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people. (See Martha.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (Joh 19:25) as standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus. By comparing Mt 27:56 and Mr 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little" are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Mt 27:61; Mr 15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Mt 28:1; Mr 16:1; Lu 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col 4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Ac 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Ro 16:6).
A Roman Christian greeted in Ro 16:16 as one "who bestowed much labour on you" (so the Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts read for "us".) The only Jewish name in the list. Christianity binds all in one brotherhood; a Jewess labors much for the good of Rome, Judah's oppressor.
The Gr. form of Heb. Miriam.
1. Mary, mother of James and Joses, was one of the company of women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him, and who beheld from afar the crucifixion (Mt 27:56); she is spoken of as 'the other Mary' (Mt 27:61; 28:1), as 'the mother of James the little and Joses' (Mr 15:40), as 'Mary the [mother] of Joses' (Mr 15:47), and as 'Mary the [mother] of James' (Mr 16:1; Lu 24:10). That she is identical with 'Mary the [wife] of Clopas' (Joh 19:25) is almost, though not absolutely, certain; the uncertainty arising from the fact that as 'many women' (Mt 27:55) were present, St. John may have mentioned a Mary who was distinct from the Mary mentioned as present by the Synoptists. It is very doubtful whether this 'Mary of Clopas' was sister to the Virgin Mary. The words of St. John, 'There were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene,' are ambiguous; for He may have intended to name four women as present
1. Mother of Mark. She is only mentioned as having a house at Jerusalem, in which a meeting for prayer was held when Peter was in prison. Ac 12:12.
2. A Christian at Rome to whom Paul sent greetings: she had bestowed much labour on him and on others. Ro 16:6.
a Roman Christian who is greeted by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, ch.
as having toiled hard for him.
MARY, the mother of Jesus, and wife of Joseph. She is called by the Jews the daughter of Eli; and by the early Christian writers, the daughter of Joakim and Anna: but Joakim and Eliakim are sometimes interchanged, 2Ch 36:4; and Eli, or Heli, is therefore the abridgment of Eliakim, Lu 3:23. She was of the royal race of David, as was also Joseph her husband; and she was also cousin to Elizabeth, the wife of Zacharias the priest, Lu 1:5,36. Mary being espoused to Joseph, the Angel Gabriel appeared to her, to announce to her that she should be the mother of the Messiah, Lu 1:26-27, &c. To confirm his message, and to show that nothing is impossible to God, he added that her cousin Elizabeth, who was old, and had been hitherto barren, was then in the sixth month of her pregnancy. Mary answered, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word;" and presently she conceived. She set out for Hebron, a city in the mountains of Judah, to visit her cousin Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard the voice of Mary, her child, John the Baptist, leaped in her womb; and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with a loud voice, saying, "Blessed art thou among women," &c. Then Mary praised God, saying, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour," &c. Mary continued with Elizabeth about three months, and then returned to her own house. An edict of Caesar Augustus having decreed, that all subjects of the empire should go to their own cities, to register their names according to their families, Joseph and Mary, who were both of the lineage of David, went to Bethlehem, from whence sprung their family. But while they were here, the time being fulfilled in which Mary was to be delivered, she brought forth her first-born son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in the manger of the stable or cavern whither they had retired, because there was no room in the inn. Angels made this event known to shepherds, who were in the fields near Bethlehem, and these came in the night to Joseph and Mary and saw the child laying in the manger, and paid him their adoration. The presentation of Christ in the temple, the flight into Egypt, the slaughter of the innocents, and other events connected with the birth and infancy of our Lord, are plainly related in the Gospels.
Mary and Joseph went every year to Jerusalem to the passover; and when Jesus was twelve years of age, they took him with them. When they were returning, the youth continued at Jerusalem, without their perceiving it. Three days after, they found him in the temple, sitting among the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. Afterward, he returned with them to Nazareth, and lived in filial submission to them. But his mother laid up all these things in her heart, Lu 2:51, &c. The Gospel speaks nothing more of the Virgin Mary till the marriage at Cana of Galilee, at which she was present with her son Jesus. She was at Jerusalem at the last passover our Saviour celebrated there. There she saw all that was transacted; followed him to Calvary; and stood at the foot of his cross with an admirable constancy and courage. Jesus seeing his mother, and his beloved disciple near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold thy son; and to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her home to his own house." No farther particulars of this favoured woman are mentioned, except that she was a witness of Christ's resurrection. A veil is drawn over her character and history; as though with the design to reprove that wretched idolatry of which she was made the subject when Christianity became corrupt and paganized.
2. MARY, the another of John Mark, a disciple of the Apostles. She had a house in Jerusalem, whither, it is thought, the Apostles retired after the ascension of our Lord, and where they received the Holy Ghost. After the imprisonment of St. Peter, the faithful assembled in this house, and were praying there when Peter, delivered by the ministry of an angel, knocked at the door of the house, Ac 12:12.
3. MARY, of Cleophas. St. Jerom says, she bore the name of Cleophas, either because of her father, or for some other reason which cannot now be known. Others believe, with greater probability, that she was wife of Cleophas, as our version of the New Testament makes her, by supplying the word wife, Joh 19:25, and mother of James the less, and of Simon, brethren of our Lord. These last mentioned authors take Mary mother of James, and Mary wife of Cleophas, to be the same person, Mt 27:56; Mr 15:40-41; Lu 24:10; Joh 19:25. St. John gives her the name of Mary of Cleophas; and the other evangelists, the name of Mary, mother of James. Cleophas and Alpheus are the same person; as James, son of Mary, wife of Cleophas, is the same as James, son of Alpheus. It is thought she was the sister of the Virgin Mary, and that she was the mother of James the less, of Joses, of Simon, and of Judas, who in the Gospel are named the brethren of Jesus Christ, Mt 13:55; 27:56; Mr 6:3; that is, his cousin-germans. She was an early believer in Jesus Christ, and attended him on his journeys, to minister to him. She was present at the last passover, and at the death of our Saviour she followed him to Calvary; and during his passion she was with the mother of Jesus at the foot of the cross. She was also present at his burial; and on the Friday before had, in union with others, prepared the perfumes to embalm him, Lu 23:56. But going to his tomb very early on the Sunday morning, with other women, they there learned from the mouth of an angel, that he was risen; of which they carried the news to the Apostles, Lu 24:1-5; Mt 28:9. By the way, Jesus appeared to them; and they embraced his feet, worshipping him. This is all we know with certainty concerning Mary, the wife of Cleophas.
4. MARY, sister of Lazarus, who has been preposterously confounded with that female sinner spoken of, Lu 7:37-39. She lived with her brother and her sister Martha at Bethany; and Jesus Christ, having a particular affection for this family, often retired to their house with his disciples. Six days before the passover, after having raised Lazarus from the dead, he came to Bethany with his disciples, and was invited to sup with Simon the leper, Joh 12:1, &c; Mt 26:6, &c; Mr 14:3, &c. Martha attended at the table, and Lazarus was one of the guests. Upon this occasion, Mary, taking a pound of spikenard, which is the most precious perfume of its kind, poured it upon the head and feet of Jesus. She wiped his feet with her hair, and the whole house was filled with the odour of the perfume. Judas Iscariot murmured at this; but Jesus justified Mary in what she had done, saying, that by this action she had prevented his embalmment, and in a manner had declared his death and burial, which were at hand. From this period the Scriptures make no mention of either Mary or Martha.
5. MARY MAGDALENE, so called, it is probable, from Magdala, a town of Galilee, of which she was a native, or where she had resided during the early part of her life. Out of her, St. Luke tells us, Jesus had cast seven devils, Lu 8:2. He informs us, also, in the same place, that Jesus, in company with his Apostles, preached the Gospel from city to city; and that there were several women with them, whom he had delivered from evil spirits, and healed of their infirmities; among whom was this Mary, whom some, without a shadow of proof, have supposed to be the sinful woman spoken of, Lu 7:37-39; as others have as erroneously imagined her to be Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Mary Magdalene, is mentioned by the evangelists as being one of those women that followed our Saviour to minister to him according to the custom of the Jews. She attended him in the last journey he made from Galilee to Jerusalem, and was at the foot of the cross with the holy virgin, Joh 19:25; Mr 15:47; after which she returned to Jerusalem, to buy and prepare with others certain perfumes, that she might embalm him after the Sabbath was over, which was then about to begin. All the Sabbath day she remained in the city; and the next day, early in the morning, went to the sepulch