A term originally referring to one who spoke a foreign language. Herodotus, the Greek historian who lived in the fifth century BCE, called Egyptians “barbarians,” i.e., alien speakers. (1Cor 14:11) and (Ps 113:1) carry the same nuance. From “alien tongue,” barbarian came to mean “alien race, region, or people,” i.e., non-Greeks - see, e.g., (Acts 28:2); (Acts 28:4). Used pejoratively, “barbarian” demeaned those lacking Hellenistic culture as crude, coarse, boorish, savage, or bestial (2Macc 4:25); (2Macc 15:2). Somewhat milder is Paul’s reference to “barbarians” as “foolish” (Rom 1:14).

1Cor 14:11

11If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.

Ps 113:1

God the Helper of the Needy
1Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.

Acts 28:2

2The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it.

Acts 28:4

4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “This man must be a murderer; though he has escaped from the sea, justice ha ... View more

2Macc 4:25

25After receiving the king's orders he returned, possessing no qualification for the high priesthood, but having the hot temper of a cruel tyrant and the rage o ... View more

2Macc 15:2

2When the Jews who were compelled to follow him said, “Do not destroy so savagely and barbarously, but show respect for the day that he who sees all things has ... View more

Rom 1:14

14I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish

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