Barcochebas - Encyclopedia


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BARCOCHEBAS, BAR-COCHAB, or BAR Kokba ("son of a star"), the name given in Christian sources to one Simeon, the leader in the Jewish revolt against Rome in the time of Hadrian (A.D. 132-135). The name does not appear in the Roman historians. In Rabbinic sources he is called Bar (Ben) Coziba, "son of deceit," which perhaps reflects the later verdict of condemnation recorded after his failure (root "to be false"). Cochab is, therefore, the name either of his father or of his home. But it is recorded that the Rabbi 'Agiba, who recognized him as Messiah, applied Num. xxiv. 17 to him, reading not Cochab (" a star"), but Cosiba (" goes forth from Jacob"); thus Bar-cochab is a Messianic title of the "man of Cozeba" (cf. Chron. iv. whose original name was recalled by later Rabbis with sinister intention. At first the Romans paid little attention to the insurgents, who were able to strike coins in the name of Simeon, prince of Israel, and Eleazar the priest, and to persecute the Christians, who refused to join the revolt. But troops were collected and the various fortresses occupied by the Jews were successively reduced. The end came with the fall of Beth-thar (Bethar). Extraordinary stories were told of the prowess of Barcochebas and of the ordeals to which he subjected his soldiers in the way of training.

See Eusebius H.E. iv. 6; Dio Cassius xix. 12-14; Scharer Gesch. d. jud. Volkes, 3rd ed. i. 682 ff.; Derenbourg Hist. de la Palest. 423 ff. (distinguishes Barcochebas from Simeon); Schlattler Gesch. Israels, 2nd ed. 303 ff.; articles JEws and History; also art. s.v. " Bar Kokba" in Jewish Encyc. (S. Krauss).

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