bar-sab'-as Barsabbas, or Barsabas; the King James Version Barsabas, bar'-sa-bas; for etymology, etc., of Joseph, see general article on JOSEPH): Joseph Barsabbas was surnamed Justus (Ac 1:23). Barsabbas was probably a patronymic, i.e. son of Sabba or Seba. Other interpretations given are "son of an oath," "son of an old man," "son of conversion," "son of quiet." It is likely that the "Judas called Barsabbas" of Ac 15:22 was his brother. Ewald considers that both names refer to the same person, but this is improbable.
Joseph was one of those who accompanied the apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us" (Ac 1:21-22). At the meeting of the brethren under the presidency of Peter in Jerusalem shortly after the crucifixion, he was, therefore, proposed along with Matthias as a suitable candidate for the place in the apostleship left vacant by the treachery and death of Judas Iscariot; but was unsuccessful (Ac 1:15-26).
According to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 12), Joseph was one of the 70 (Lu 10:1), and Papias records the oral tradition that he drank a cup of poison without harm (compare Mr 16:18). The Acts of Paul, a work belonging to the 2nd century and first mentioned by Origen, relates that Barsabbas, Justus the Flatfoot and others were imprisoned by Nero for protesting their faith in Christ, but that upon a vision of the newly martyred Paul appearing to the emperor, he ordered their immediate release.
C. M. Kerr