2 Tim 3:6-9 Jannes and Jambres

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RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Simple question that probably has an obvious answer that I am not seeing. I was reading in personal study this morning and came accross a passage that I was confused by. In 2 Tim 3:6-9 mentions Jannes and Jambres linked to Moses. When I looked this up it points to the section when magicians perform magic tricks to convince Pharaoh. It never mentions their names in the bible as far as I am aware. Where do these names come from? How do they know its linked to Exodus 7:10-13?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Simple question that probably has an obvious answer that I am not seeing. I was reading in personal study this morning and came accross a passage that I was confused by. In 2 Tim 3:6-9 mentions Jannes and Jambres linked to Moses. When I looked this up it points to the section when magicians perform magic tricks to convince Pharaoh. It never mentions their names in the bible as far as I am aware. Where do these names come from? How do they know its linked to Exodus 7:10-13?

It's a theme in some Second Temple Judaism texts. I did some intense research and it said the Testament of Solomon, so you might find that in modern day editions of the Qumran texts or maybe the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs in the ANF series.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Where do they come from? It comes from the Bible in the passage you just read: 2 Tim. 3:6-9. Or do you think Paul is not being carried by the Holy Spirit? Scripture interprets Scripture.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Where do they come from? It comes from the Bible in the passage you just read: 2 Tim. 3:6-9. Or do you think Paul is not being carried by the Holy Spirit? Scripture interprets Scripture.

Paul is obviously citing another source such as tradition or other sources. Where do you get from 2 Tim 3 that the event he references is Exodus 7?

My point being that Jannes and Jambres is never mentioned in the Old Testament. Where is Paul deriving these names from? How do we know he means Exodus 7 and not somewhere else.
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I would identify this as such case as a NT writer using a popular reference (something most of his original audience would "get" fairly easily) for a colloquialism. The underlying Bible-story is the primary referent, the apocryphal names are technically supplied elements from a later story-teller. None in the 1C who divided between the Exodus account proper and a popular retelling would mistake the names for belonging to the inspired Hebrew text. We're reminded of the utility to hermeneutics of historical background knowledge (in this case, to Paul's letters).

If I recall, the names are Hebrew, and thus may have identified to the popular audience that (in the retelling) these men standing by Pharaoh against Moses were basically traitors to their fellow Israelites. This could have been a true supposition or inference, even without the benefit of Hebrew names; but the names solidify the idea. Paul could also have this interpretation in mind, given the warning-context of his letter.

The Christian interpreter has an extra layer to negotiate, due to the presence of the names now included in his inspired NT. He could go with the idea that these must be their actual names preserved outside Scripture until such time as the HS saw fit to confirm them for all time after a millenia-and-a-half by apostolic sanction. Or, he could regard their names as "supposed," and as placeholders bringing to mind the whole multi-chapter episode in which these (originally unnamed) men played a part. This, after all, is Paul's use of them in his letter. A man's name all by itself seldom gives us significant relevant data about his importance in the narrative.

Names are one method of realizing or historicizing a literary figure. In the story of Moses and Pharaoh, these magicians have a small supporting role behind Pharaoh. Refer to "Pharaoh's magicians," and maybe the allusion is lost on the audience. WHICH Pharaoh? There were at least two in Moses' lifetime, possibly three (birth, flight, and exodus). Assigning these magicians names (even taking names from popular culture) definitely characterizes them, lifts them off the page and stands them in front of Moses (a fully-fleshed out figure) as if to do him battle.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Christian interpreter has an extra layer to negotiate, due to the presence of the names now included in his inspired NT.

Thank you for your thoughtful and gracious reply Contra. I am not questioning his use of the name just the association to Exodus 7. I believe there was a Jannes & Jambres but was curious to know where he pulled the names from. It's not in the Old Testament nor mentioned in the New Testament outside the names. With the text alone we only know there was these two individuals that interacted with Moses in some way.

I guess at the root of the question is linked to interpretation. We would have to rely on extra biblical sources to interpret the text to know Exodus 7. Would that be in the confines of good and necessary consequence or are we getting into dangerous territory?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Thank you for your thoughtful and gracious reply Contra. I am not questioning his use of the name just the association to Exodus 7. I believe there was a Jannes & Jambres but was curious to know where he pulled the names from. It's not in the Old Testament nor mentioned in the New Testament outside the names. With the text alone we only know there was these two individuals that interacted with Moses in some way

Second Temple sources.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Thank you for your thoughtful and gracious reply Contra. I am not questioning his use of the name just the association to Exodus 7. I believe there was a Jannes & Jambres but was curious to know where he pulled the names from. It's not in the Old Testament nor mentioned in the New Testament outside the names. With the text alone we only know there was these two individuals that interacted with Moses in some way.

I guess at the root of the question is linked to interpretation. We would have to rely on extra biblical sources to interpret the text to know Exodus 7. Would that be in the confines of good and necessary consequence or are we getting into dangerous territory?
We don't need the names of these men to get everything necessary from Ex.7 that needs getting. The only question is whether we need to know the names of these men to appreciate the connection between what Paul says and an earlier biblical text. As long as the names assist the interpreter in getting to the right OT passage and making the connection Paul intends, the names have done their job. I don't see how his use of these names says something generally qualitative about his sources, if those are beside the inspired Scriptures.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Paul is obviously citing another source such as tradition or other sources. Where do you get from 2 Tim 3 that the event he references is Exodus 7?

My point being that Jannes and Jambres is never mentioned in the Old Testament. Where is Paul deriving these names from? How do we know he means Exodus 7 and not somewhere else.
Is it obvious? No it is not at all. You are eisegeting. Obvious would be: “Now as the _____(writing source)_____ says, Jannes and Jambres…”
That’s obvious. Jannes and Jambres are not mentioned in the OT they don’t need to be. You assume from outside the text that Paul is deriving these names from outside the text and denying the possibility of simple inspiration of the Lord. And then how do we know this refers to the plague accounts? Who else would it refer to?

Are you telling me there is no information revealed in the NT about the OT that wasn’t in the OT? There are plenty of examples. Are you saying that in all those examples the NT writers obviously were citing some outside source? That’s ridiculous. But that’s what you imply by your statement. Now I’m not denying the possibility of Paul quoting an outside source. But it certainly is not obvious from the text. The conclusion youve come to comes alone from outside the text.
Now do we need to know these names? That question is answered by itself, the names appear in Scripture and therefore we need to know them.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I found some of the web based interpretations of passages and christian events to be modern/liberal. To say it only comes from 2nd Temple may be true but I prefer to ask all the experts on board. :wave:
Either the documents say the names of Jannes and Jambres or they don't. Being liberal doesn't matter. I see no logical contradiction between there being two individuals named such and 2nd Temple sources also name them as such. Both propositions can (and I dare say are) be true.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is it obvious? No it is not at all. You are eisegeting. Obvious would be: “Now as the _____(writing source)_____ says, Jannes and Jambres…”
That’s obvious. Jannes and Jambres are not mentioned in the OT they don’t need to be. You assume from outside the text that Paul is deriving these names from outside the text and denying the possibility of simple inspiration of the Lord. And then how do we know this refers to the plague accounts? Who else would it refer to?

Wouldn't eisegesis be assuming that Jannes and Jambres were the characters found in Exodus 7 by simply looking at Old and New Testaments? Paul was inspired to write this then it must be true but he seems to be referring to tradition. Its similar to how Paul references secular works in Titus 1:12. I guess it's a question on how far we should take interpretation in these instances. I searched commentaries since our last interaction and one says the following:


The use of these names reflects Paul’s (and presumably Timothy’s) familiarity with Jewish traditions from outside the OT because the OT never records a conflict between Moses and men named Jannes and Jambres. Jewish tradition identifies the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses and Aaron in Exod 7:11–12 with these names. The Damascus Document says that Moses and Aaron were opposed by “Yohanah and his brother” (CD col. v, lines 17b–19 and 6Q15 Frag. 3 in Garcia Martinez and Tigchelaar 1997).
 
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