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Gamaliel

Meaning: reward of God.

  1. A chief of the tribe of Manasseh at the census at Sinai (Num. 1:10; 2:20; 7:54, 59).

  2. The son of rabbi Simeon, and grandson of the famous rabbi Hillel. He was a Pharisee, and therefore the opponent of the party of the Sadducees. He was noted for his learning, and was president of the Sanhedrim during the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, and died, it is said, about eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem.

When the apostles were brought before the council, charged with preaching the resurrection of Jesus, as a zealous Pharisee Gamaliel councelled moderation and calmness. By a reference to well-known events, he advised them to “refrain from these men.” If their work or counsel was of man, it would come to nothing; but if it was of God, they could not destroy it, and therefore ought to be on their guard lest they should be “found fighting against God” (Acts 5:34-40). Paul was one of his disciples (22:3).