za-ke'-us (Zakchaios, from zakkay, "pure"):
(1) A publican with whom Jesus lodged during His stay in Jericho (Lu 19:1-10). He is not mentioned in the other Gospels. Being a chief publican, or overseer, among the tax-gatherers, Zaccheus had additional opportunity, by farming the taxes, of increasing that wealth for which his class was famous. Yet his mind was not entirely engrossed by material considerations, for he joined the throng which gathered to see Jesus on His entrance into the city. Of little stature, he was unable either to see over or to make his way through the press, and therefore scaled a sycomore tree. There he was singled out by Jesus, who said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house" (Lu 19:5). The offer thus frankly made by Jesus was accepted eagerly and gladly by Zaccheus; and the murmurings of the crowd marred the happiness of neither. How completely the new birth was accomplished in Zaccheus is testified by his vow to give half of his goods to the poor, and to make fourfold restitution where he had wrongfully exacted. The incident reveals the Christian truth that just as the publican Zaccheus was regarded by the rest of the Jews as a sinner and renegade who was unworthy to be numbered among the sons of Abraham, and was yet chosen by our Lord to be His host, so the social outcast of modern life is still a son of God, within whose heart the spirit of Christ is longing to make its abode. "For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lu 19:10).
(2) An officer of Judas Maccabeus (2 Macc 10:19).
(3) A Zaccheus is mentioned in the Clementine Homilies (iii.63) as having been a companion of Peter and appointed bishop of Caesarea.
(4) According to the Gospel of the Childhood, by Thomas, Zaccheus was also the name of the teacher of the boy Jesus.
C. M. Kerr