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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Patriarch

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(πατριάρχης, from πατριά, ‘clan,’ and ἀρχή, ‘rule’)

A patriarch is the father or head of a πατριά or clan. As applied to Bible characters, the term usually denotes either the forefathers of the human race or the progenitors of Israel-Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his twelve sons. In the LXX_ of 1 Chronicles 24:31; 1 Chronicles 27:22, 2 Chronicles 19:8; 2 Chronicles 26:12 πατριάρχαι renders various Hebrew terms, which appear in our EV_ as ‘principal fathers,’ ‘heads of fathers’ houses,’ and ‘captains.’ In 4 Maccabees 7:19 reference is made to ‘our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ (cf. 4 Maccabees 16:25). In the NT the term is applied to Abraham (Hebrews 7:4), to the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8 f.), and also to David, in a text (Acts 2:29) where it has greater dignity than the ordinary ‘king’ would have had. It was of David that St. Peter, speaking μετὰ παῤῥησίας, ‘had to say something not altogether favourable, in order that thereby the glory of Christ might be the more enhanced. There is therefore in this passage a προθεραπεία, or previous mitigation of what he is about to say’ (Bengel, in loco).

James Strahan.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Patriarch'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/p/patriarch.html. 1906-1918.

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