mur'-ku-ri, mer-ku'ri-us: The translation of Hermes, in Ac 14:12: "They called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker." Hermes was the god of eloquence (and also of theft), the attendant, messenger and spokesman of the gods. The more commanding presence of Barnabas (compare 2Co 10:10) probably caused him to be identified with Zeus (the Roman Jupiter), while his gift of eloquence suggested the identification of Paul with Hermes (the Roman Mercury). The temple of Jupiter was before Lystra, and to him the Lycaonians paid their chief worship. Compare the legend of Baucis and Philemon (Ovid, Metam. viii.611 f).
M. O. Evans