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Matthew

Gift of God. Known before his conversion as Levi, son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). He was a tax gatherer at Capernaum, probably in the service of Herod Antipas, in whose tetrarchy Capernaum was. Soon after his call he gave a feast to his old associates (Matt. 9:9–13; Mark 2:14–17; Luke 5:27–32) at which the Lord was present, and was in consequence blamed by the Pharisees. Matthew was probably a thorough Jew with a wide knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures and able to see in every detail of the Lord’s life the fulfillment of prophecy. His Gospel (see Gospels) was written for the use of Jewish persons in Palestine and uses many quotations from the Old Testament. His chief object is to show that Jesus is the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke. He also emphasizes that Jesus is the King and Judge of men. His Gospel was probably written in Aramaic but is known to us by a Greek translation. Of the Apostle’s later life little is known for certain. A tradition asserts that he died a martyr’s death.