The name of two men in the New Testament. The Greek form of the name, Λάζαρος, is based on an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name, ’el'āzār (God has helped).
Lazarus of Bethany. He is mentioned only in John (ch. 11–12). He was the brother of Mary and Martha (the former distinct from St. mary magdalene) and a friend of Jesus (Jn 11.1–2, 11). Jesus had a special affection for
him (11.3, 36), and often received hospitality at his house (Lk 10.38–40). Shortly before Our Lord's last visit to Jerusalem Lazarus died; when Jesus was informed of his death He delayed two days; He then came to Bethany and raised Lazarus from the dead, although Lazarus had been four days in the tomb (Jn 11.1–44). This resulted both in the conversion to Christ of many who had witnessed the miracle (11.45), and in the determination of the enemies of Jesus to do away with both Jesus and Lazarus (11.46–53; 12.10–11). Lazarus last appears at a banquet given in honor of Jesus (12.1–8), apparently the same banquet that Matthew and Mark place at the house of Simon the Leper six days before the Crucifixion (Mt 26.6–13; Mk 14.3–9). There is no trustworthy evidence on the later life or on the death of Lazarus. Some scholars[e.g., F. V. Filson, Journal of Biblical Literature 68 (1949) 83–88] have made futile attempts to identify Lazarus with "the disciple whom Jesus loved" of the Fourth Gospel, even though Lazarus was not one of the twelve, to whom the "beloved disciple" obviously belonged.
In his customary fashion John surrounds the Lazarus incident with symbolism. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is the seventh and last of the Johannine "signs." Jesus had shown Himself to be the light of the world by restoring sight to the blind (John ch. 9); now He appears as the life of the world by restoring Lazarus to life: "I am the resurrection and the life …" (Jn 11.25). Natural life is the pledge of the supernatural life that is bestowed by the glorified Christ after His own death and Resurrection. It is noteworthy that the Synoptic Gospels make no mention of Lazarus, although they describe other raisings from the dead (Mk 5.21–43; Lk 7.11–17;.)
Modern Bethany is called El-‘Azariyeh, the Arabic form of the Latin word Lazarium, which became the fourth-century Christian name for the little village that gradually surrounded the church built above the reputed tomb of Lazarus.
Lazarus the Poor Man. In one of His parables (Lk 16.19–31) Jesus gave the name Lazarus to the man who lay sick and miserable at the rich man's gate, longing in vain for "the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table"; when both men died, Lazarus was borne by angels to abraham's bosom, to dine at the messianic banquet table, but the rich man went to torments in hades. This is the only New Testament parable in which a character is given a name. Perhaps Jesus did so here to show that Lazarus put his trust in God's help, as the name signifies. The rich man is popularly called Dives, which is merely the Latin word for "rich man." He is called Neues (Ninive?) in the early MS P 75, and Phinees in the Sahidic (Coptic) version. Despite the use of a personal name in this parable, the characters in it were obviously not historical. However, in the Middle Ages the poor man of the parable became St. Lazarus, the patron of beggars and lepers (known also as lazars).
Bibliography: Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963) 1315. j. michl, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 6:845–846. g. stÄhlin, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 4:246–247. p. renard, Dictionnaire de la Bible, ed. f. vigouroux (Paris 1895–1912) 4.1:137–141. r. dunkerley, New Testament Studies 5 (1958–59) 321–327. w. cadman, "The Raising of Lazarus," Studia Evangelica, ed. k. aland (Berlin 1959) 423–434. w. wilkins, "Die Erweckung des Lazarus," Theologische Zeitschrift 15 (1959) 22–39. j. martin, "History and Eschatology in the Lazarus Narrative," Scottish Journal of Theology 17 (1964) 332–343. h. j. cadbury, "A Proper Name for Dives," Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (1962) 399–402.
Lazarus (in Greek, Lazaros or Eleazaros, meaning "God hath helped") is the name of a person in the New Testament of the Bible who was resurrected in one of Jesus' most spectacular miracles and certainly the most poignant one. According solely to the Gospel of John (John 11–12), when their brother Lazarus fell deathly ill, Mary and Martha of Bethany send for their friend Jesus. Four days later, upon his arrival, Jesus finds that Lazarus has already died. Weeping, the sisters insist that had Jesus been there, their brother would not have died. Jesus goes to the tomb where Lazarus is buried and weeps. Then he asks that the stone of the tomb be removed and cries: "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man comes out and is freed from his burial cloth. Soon thereafter, on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, Lazarus takes part in the banquet that Simon the Leper gives for Jesus in Bethany (John 12:1–11). No other mention of Lazarus is made in the Gospels. According to a tradition in the Orthodox Church, however, Lazarus later became Bishop of Cyprus.
Although enigmatic (experts do not know much of him before or after his resurrection), the figure of Lazarus is of paramount importance in Christianity. This miracle definitely established the "divinity" of Christ (only a God or a son of God could resurrect someone), which later is confirmed by Christ's own resurrection. Lazarus has since become a metaphor not only for resurrection but also for rebirth, recovery (e.g., the Lazarus Data Recovery company), and rehabilitation.
See also: Jesus; Necromancy; Reincarnation
Broderick, Robert C., ed. Catholic Encyclopedia. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Incorporated, 1987.
LAZARUS , U.S. family of department store owners. In 1851 simon lazarus (d. 1877) emigrated from north Germany and opened a store in Columbus, Ohio. He also served the local Congregation B'nai Jeshurun as a volunteer rabbi. His sons fred (d. 1917) and ralph (d. 1903) founded F. and R. Lazarus and Co., which sold men's and later also women's clothing. After Fred's death, his sons simon (1882–1947) and fred jr. (1884–1973) took charge, joined by their brother robert (1890–1973) in 1926, when the business became a full-line department store. A subsidiary in Cincinnati was added in 1928, managed by the youngest brother, jeffrey (1894–?). A holding company – Federated Department Stores, Inc. – was established in 1929 by the Lazarus family, together with Filene's, Abraham and Straus, and Bloomingdale's. It was transformed into an operating company in 1945, with Fred Jr. as president. Expanding into the southern and western United States, the company operated 119 department stores, 12 specialty and discount stores, and 63 supermarkets by 1970, with $2.1 billion consolidated annual net sales. Fred Jr., Robert, Fred Jr.'s son ralph (1914–1988), and other fourth-generation sons held the executive positions.
Fred Jr., a Republican, served on presidential committees under the Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations and participated in local civic affairs, including the Cincinnati Conference of Christians and Jews and the Jewish Orphan Home in Cleveland. He was long an executive committee member of the American Jewish Committee. His brother Simon served on the board of governors of Hebrew Union College and of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
[Hanns G. Reissner]
In the New Testament, Lazarus is the brother of Martha and Mary, raised from the dead by Jesus. According to the story in John, ch. 11, Lazarus had died and been buried before Jesus reached him; he was raised not just from the dead, but from the tomb, and has thus become a type for an unlooked-for resurrection.
In Luke 16:20, Lazarus is also the name of a beggar covered with sores, who was refused help by the rich man Dives, but who on death entered heaven when Dives was denied. The archaic term for a leper, lazar, comes from his name.