The Glossary of Terms

Jannes and Jambres (or Mambres)


Dictionary of the Bible, Second Edition

Edited by James Hastings, revised by Frederick C. Grant & H.H. Rowley (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1963, page 459)

JANNES AND JAMBRES (or MAMBRES). These names appear in 2 Ti 3:8 as those of two of the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses, and so were symbolic of all who resisted and opposed the truth. In the Exodus story (7:11f, 22; 8:7, 18f; 9:11) no names are mentioned, but these two names appear in various forms in the Talmud, Targums, and Rabbinic writings... Rabbinic tradition regarded them as sons and assistants of Balaam, famous for their power of flying through the air, who came to Egypt to be Pharaoh's magicians, opposed Moses in Egypt and at the Red Sea cross, and distressed the Israelites during their desert wandering, where they were responsible for the incident of the golden calf. One tradition, which Muhammad later adopted into the Qur'an, told how the power of Moses and Aaron induced them to become proselytes. Christian tradition, both eastern and western, is largely dependent on 2 Timothy, and has used them as figures symbolic of Satanic arts and opposition to the truth...

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible

edited by George Arthur Buttrick (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1976, Volume 2, pages 800-801)

JANNES AND JAMBRES. The legendary Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses and Aaron and duplicated their miracles to discredit them. ( Exod. 7:11-12, 22), and who came to typify heretical opponents to truth in Jewish and Christian circles (cf. II Tim 3:8). In Exodus they are anonymous, and the names do not occur in the OT, Philo, or Josephus. But they are in common in late Jewish and in Christian sources, and are partly attested in pagan writers...


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Edited for by Robert Nguyen Cramer
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