Simon of Cyrene (Mk 15:21-15:21)

“They compelled

A passer-by,

Who was coming in

From the country,

To carry his cross.

It was

Simon of Cyrene,

The father

Of Alexander

And Rufus.”

 

καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ, τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου, ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:32, and Luke, chapter 23:26, but who had no mention of Simon being the father of Alexander and Rufus.  John, chapter 19:17, on the other hand, had no mention of Simon at all, since he said that Jesus carried his cross by himself.  Mark said that they compelled a passer-by who was coming from the country (καὶ ἀγγαρεύουσιν παράγοντά τινα…ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ) to carry the cross for Jesus (ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ).  This passerby was Simon of Cyrene (Σίμωνα Κυρηναῖον), the father of Alexander and Rufus (τὸν πατέρα Ἀλεξάνδρου καὶ Ῥούφου).  Cyrene had a large Jewish community in current day Libya.  This Simon may have been in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Mark seemed to indicate that this Simon was well known with two sons, but Matthew and Luke did not mention the sons.  However, there was a Rufus mentioned at the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapter 16:13, that could be this son of Simon.

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Similar letters to the other kings (1 Macc 15:22-15:24)

“The Roman Consul wrote the same thing to King Demetrius, King Attalus, King Ariarathes, King Arsaces, and to all the countries. He also wrote the same to Sampsames, the Spartans, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Halicarnassus. He also wrote the same to Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus and Cyrene. They also sent a copy of these things to the high priest Simon.”

The Roman Consul wrote a similar letter to a whole lot of people and countries. Who are all these people and places? Remember that King Demetrius II is still the king of the Seleucid Empire, but he is a captive in Persia. King Attalus II was the king of Pergammum, an ancient Greek city, from 159-138 BCE. King Ariarathes V was the king of Cappadocia from 162-130 BCE. King Arsaces IV (171-138 BCE) was the ruler of Persia that held King Demetrius II as a prisoner. Outside of the Egyptian kingdom, these were the major kingdoms. Most of the other places were the islands in the Mediterranean Sea (Delos, Samos, Rhodes, and Cyprus) or the Greek city states (Sampsames, Spartans, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, and Cyrene). Obviously, he also sent a copy to Simon.