Who were Jannes and Jambres? (2 Timothy 3:8-9)

2 Timothy 3:8-9 (NKJV)

8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.


Paul here compares unrestrained, sinful men in the last days to two historical figures Jannes and Jambres who resisted Moses. They would resist the Truth just like these two resisted Moses. Interesting, however, is the fact that neither of these individuals are mentioned in the Old Testament text. So, who were they? Historical criticism would help us here. Historically, Jannes and Jambres were Egyptian sorcerers who dueled Moses in Exodus 7.


Exodus 7:10-11 (NKJV)

10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.

11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and THE SORCERERS; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.


Jewish Targums and traditions preserved the names of the sorcerers as Jannes and Jambres. Their names also appear in Jewish apocryphal literature. Paul, probably learned in the Jewish traditions, alluded to these figures in comparison.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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