The brother of Joseph and the uncle of Yeshua, Alpheus earned his living through
the sale of wool from his flocks, as well as the sale of meat which his sheep provided.
When Yeshua was a boy, he would go with his cousins to take the sheep into the hills
of Galilee for summer grazing.
Alpheus was always skeptical of his religious faith. During the days of Yeshua, Galilee
was a mixture of many nationalities and languages, and Alpheus was often embarrassed
that Jews should think themselves superior to Gentiles. He thought that the claim
of Jews to be a “chosen people” was arrogant and divisive. To combat this attitude,
Alpheus proved eager to do business with anyone who had money, be they Roman, Greek,
Parthian or Jewish.
The greatest tragedy in the life of Alpheus was the senseless death of his brother
Joseph. He blamed the Zealots for that more than he blamed the Romans. With the death
of Joseph, Alpheus ceased to believe in God. He spent a great part of his life helping
to take care of and provide for Joseph’s family.
Azrael’s Commentary — Joseph
[...] Joseph was idolized by his younger brother Alpheus. They lived in the same
town and their families enjoyed a close relationship which interacted well together.
And there were of John’s disciples who followed after Yeshua, Andrew Bar Jonas, the
brother of Simon; John Bar Zebedee, the brother of James; Philip of Bethsaida, the
son of Jabesh the fisherman; and James Ben Alpheus, the brother of Levi.
And James the son of Alpheus spoke unto him, saying: “My Lord, I will forsake all
things to follow after you, for I know that you are the very Anointed One of God,
even the hope of Israel.”