Aristobulus’s Home Group
And give my greetings to the believers from the household of Aristobulus.Romans 16:10
Aristobulus was a Greek name, though in use among the Jews. There was an Aristobulus who was master of Ptolomy, king of Egypt, who was of Jewish extract, and of the priesthood. This person was recorded in 2 Maccabees: “In the hundred fourscore and eighth year, the people that were at Jerusalem and in Judea, and the council, and Judas, sent greeting and health unto Aristobulus, King Ptolemeus’ master, who was of the stock of the anointed priests, and to the Jews that were in Egypt:” (2 Maccabees 1:10)
Also one of the sons of Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, was called by this name. Herod also had a son of this name, and it was a name much in use in his family, and among his descendants. Specifically who this man Aristobulus was is not known. He is not himself greeted by the apostle, only those in his household. Notice in the case of Priscilla and Aquila Paul first greeted them and then greeted the church that met in their home. That is natural. In this case there are no greetings for Aristobulus himself, only the believers in his household. This infers he was either dead, or was absent from Rome at this time. Some say he was sent into Britain to preach the Gospel, of which he is said to be bishop, and one of the seventy disciples. Others think he was not a believer.
The believers in his household meant his wider family, including the household servants and anyone else who worked at the house or had connection with his household. For many of these landed gentry the group of people connected with them was considerably large, including his family, his slaves and his entourage. The wealthier the person the larger the number of hangers-on. We don’t know if all of his household were believers or just some of them. Often times when the head of the house was saved then all the household became believers too. Like in the case of the Philippian jailer, there was a challenge for him to believe along with his whole household. In the province of Asia that was how it worked. It still works that way culturally today.
I tend toward thinking of Aristobulus as a believer and can go with the thought that he was absent on a “mission”. It can only be conjecture at best. We just don’t know enough about him to determine exactly who this Aristobulus was. But I think that because his name means “best counsellor” which infers to me there is some godly wisdom in the man. I think Aristobulus probably took an active part with his household of believers but of course I can’t prove it. One day I may meet him if he is in heaven. We will have all eternity to ask all the questions we like.
May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.George Carlin
Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.F.P. Jones