gift of God, a common Jewish name after the Exile. He was the
son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at
Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the
lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said
to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became
his disciple (Matt. 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was
known was Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he now changed it,
possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same
day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast" (Luke
5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his
disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was
afterwards selected as one of the twelve (6:15). His name does
not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the
apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13. The time and
manner of his death are unknown.