Zeus and Hermes (Acts 14:12)

“They called Barnabas

Zeus.

They called Paul

Hermes,

Because he was the chief speaker.”

ἐκάλουν τε τὸν Βαρνάβαν Δία, τὸν δὲ Παῦλον Ἑρμῆν, ἐπειδὴ αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου.

The author of Acts indicated that the Lycaonians called (ἐκάλουν τε) Barnabas (τὸν Βαρνάβαν) Zeus (Δία), and Paul (τὸν δὲ Παῦλον) Hermes (Ἑρμῆν), because (ἐπειδὴ) he was the lead or chief speaker (αὐτὸς ἦν ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου) of this group.  The Greek god Zeus was the chief of the Greek gods, the father of gods and men, the greatest of all the pagan Greek gods.  He was the Greek god of the sky in all its manifestations, based on Mount Olympus, corresponding to the Roman god Jupiter.  Homer’s Iliad mentioned Zeus more than ten times.  Thus, Zeus was the leading god of the native Lycaonians.  Interesting enough, they named Barnabas as Zeus, the chief god, and not Paul.  Hermes was the Greek god son of Zeus, the herald or messenger of god, another Greek god for the Lycaonians, corresponding to the Roman god Mercury.  Barnabas and Paul were considered Greek gods by these people in Lystra, with Barnabas the more important god, while Paul was the more vocal god.  Has anyone ever said that you resembled a Greek god or goddess?

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