Mark 3:17. James and John he surnamed Boanerges “This word,” says Dr. Hammond, “is the corruption of the Hebrew בני רעשּׁ , benei ragnash, sons of earthquake, tempest, or any other commotion, such as is here styled, βροντη , thunder. And the meaning of this title may seem to be, that those two sons of Zebedee were to be special, eminent ministers of the gospel, which is called, Hebrews 12:26, φονη την γην γαλευουσα , a voice shaking the earth, taken from Haggai 2:7, which is directly the periphrasis of רעשּׁ , which is here rendered thunder, in the notion wherein φονη , voice, and βροντη , thunder, are promiscuously used for the same thing.” If the learned reader will consult Dr. Lightfoot and Grotius, he will receive further information concerning the derivation of the word Boanerges. Whitby thinks, “Christ gave James and John this name from a foresight of the heat and zeal of their temper, of which they quickly gave an instance in their desire to call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans. Hence we find, in the Acts, Peter and John are the chief speakers and actors in the defence and propagation of the gospel; and the zeal of James and Peter seems to be the reason why the one was slain by Herod, and the other imprisoned in order to the like execution.” Doubtless our Lord, in giving them this name, had respect to three things: the warmth and impetuosity of their spirits, their fervent manner of preaching, and the power of their word.
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