James (the Greek form of Jacob, supplanter).
1. James the son of Zebedee, one of the twelve apostles. He was elder brother of the evangelist John. His mother’s name was Salome. We first hear of him in a.d. 27, Mark 1:20, when at the call of the Master he left all, and became, once and forever, his disciple, in the spring of 28. Matt. 10:2; Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:13. It would seem to have been at the time of the appointment of the twelve apostles that the name of Boanerges was given to the sons of Zebedee. The “sons of thunder” had a burning and impetuous spirit, which twice exhibits itself. Mark 10:37; Luke 9:54. On the night before the crucifixion James was present at the agony in the garden. On the day of the ascension he is mentioned as persevering, with the rest of the apostles and disciples, in prayer. Acts 1:13. Shortly before the day of the passover, in the year 44, he was put to death by Herod Agrippa I. Acts 12:1, 2.
2. James the son of Alphæus, one of the twelve apostles. Matt. 10:3. Whether or not this James is to be identified with James the Less, the son of Alphæus, the brother of our Lord, is one of the most difficult questions in the gospel history. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40 with John 19:25, we find that the Virgin Mary had a sister named, like herself, Mary, who was the wife of Clopas or Alphæus (varieties of the same name), and who had two sons, James the Less and Joses. By referring to Matt. 13:55 and Mark 6:3 we find that a James and a Joses, with two other brethren called Jude and Simon, and at least three sisters, were living with the Virgin Mary at Nazareth. By referring to Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 we find that there were two brethren named James and Jude among the apostles. It would certainly be natural to think that we had here but one family of four brothers and three or more sisters, the children of Clopas and Mary, nephews and nieces of the Virgin Mary. There are difficulties, however, in the way of this conclusion into which we cannot here enter; but in reply to the objection that the four brethren in Matt. 13:55 are described as the brothers of Jesus, not as his cousins, it must be recollected that ̓αδελφόι, which is here translated “brethren,” may also signify cousins.