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Judas of Gamala


Pronunciation:  DZHOO-duhs [of] guh-MAHL-luh

Occurrences:  2

First Reference:  Yeshua 2:3


For there had arisen aforetime, Judas of Gamala, the Galilean who refused the census of Quirinius, and in great wrath he caused that many should lift the sword against Caesar, and there was crucified of his followers some two thousand souls.



See:  Marcus Galerius, Joseph (father of Yeshua), Jotapata, Zealots


Summary:  The father and founder of the Zealots, Judas of Gamala was opposed to Rome, the Herodians, and the High Priest in Jerusalem. The goals of Judas and the Zealots encompassed: throwing Rome out Israel, killing the Herodians, overtaking Jerusalem and purging the Temple. Judas and the Zealots desired a theocracy and campaigned against paying taxes to Rome.



Azrael’s Commentary — Judas of Gamala


Rebel, insurrectionist, Zealot and bandit —Judas of Gamala proclaimed himself the messiah prophesied in the biblical Old Testament. He eventually had as many as three thousand armed men who terrorized the regions of Palestine, often attacking small Roman detachments and trade caravans. The Romans finally built a fortress-city called Jotapata to handle the problems posed by the national fervor of Jews in Galilee. It should be noted that it was the actions of Judas of Gamala which led to the death of Joseph, the father of Yeshua.


Judas of Gamala was eventually betrayed by his friends and neighbors who were being made to pay for his actions. For every time Judas of Gamala would attack a Roman detachment, the Roman commander of Jotapata would take innocent men from neighboring towns and crucify them.


In 21 CE, Judas of Gamala was eventually trapped between two large Roman forces commanded by Marcus Galerius (Yeshua 5:8-9).


Azrael’s Commentary — Joseph


[...] In the year 17 CE, Joseph [the father of Yeshua] was crucified by Roman soldiers as an object lesson to the Jews of Nazareth. This came about because of Judas of Gamala who had attacked and killed about twenty Romans which were garrisoned at Jotapata. In an act of revenge, the Romans went to the nearest town, which was Nazareth, and gathering all the men of Nazareth together, picked out twenty men at random and crucified them. Joseph was one of those men.


The death of Joseph and other innocent men turned Jews against Judas of Gamala. With Joseph gone, Yeshua became the head of the family.





But Galerius, hearing this, said with great anger: “You Jews are a troublesome people, ever looking for a deliverer. Have there not come many messiahs already, and have they not all perished?

How long will you suffer the Jews to perish for the sake of another Galilean?

Are you so stiffnecked that you cannot remember Judas of Gamala and the two thousand crucified?

Yeshua 5:11-13


Judas Maccabee
Judas of Kerioth