2 Timothy 3:8 mentions two men who opposed Moses. Extra biblical literature associates these two as Pharaoh’s magicians during the Exodus narrative. Is there any research or other evidence toward the origin of these names (Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, etc)?

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    – agarza
    Commented Jun 11 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


A Link from the Pulpit Commentary, maybe helpful.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Verse 8. - And like for now, A.V.; withstand for resist, A.V.; corrupted in mind for of corrupt minds, A.V. And; but would be better. Jannes and Jambres; the traditional names of the magicians who opposed Moses; and, if Origen can be trusted, there was an apocryphal book called by their names. But Theodoret ascribes their names to an unwritten Jewish tradition. Their names are found in the Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11; Exodus 22:22; and are also mentioned, in conjunction with Moses, with some variation in the name of Jambres, by Pliny ('Hist. Nat.,' 31:2), who probably got his information from a work of Sergius Paulus off magic, of which the materials were furnished by Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:6-8). Withstood (ἀντέστησαν); the same word as is used of Elymas in Acts 13:8 (so ch. 4:15 and elsewhere). Corrupted in mind (κατεφθαρμένα τὸν νοῦν); elsewhere only in 2 Peter 2:12, in the sense of" perishing," being "utterly destroyed," which is the proper meaning of καταφθείρομαι Here in a moral sense κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν means men whose understanding is gone, and perished, as διεφθαρμένος τὴν ἀκοήν means one whose hearing has perished - who is deaf. In 1 Timothy 6:5 St. Paul uses the more common διεφθαρμένων. Reprobate (ἀδόκιμα); as Titus 1:16, and elsewhere frequently in St. Paul's Epistles. It is just the contrary to δόκιμος (2 Timothy 2:15, note).

As for myself, I could find nothing about them; I searched through Josephus' writings hoping to learn more about them, but no luck.


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