Buni ben Gurion (Hebrew: בּוּנִי בֶּן־גּוּרְיוֹן, Būnī ben-Gūryōn), also called Nicodemus (Hebrew: נַקְדִּימוֹן Naqdīmōn), was a wealthy Jewish man who lived in Jerusalem in the 1st century AD. He is believed by some to be identical to the Nicodemus mentioned in the Gospel of John.[1] Elsewhere he is discussed in Josephus' history, The Jewish War,[2] and later, rabbinic works: Lamentations Rabbah,[3] Ecclesiastes Rabbah,[4] the Babylonian Talmud,[5][6] and Avot of Rabbi Natan.[7]

Ben Gurion means "son of Gurion", the Hebrew patronymic, and his personal name was apparently Buni or Bunai.[8] He acquired the nickname Nicodemus, meaning "conqueror of the people" (from νίκη and δῆμος), or alternate Semitic etymology Naqdimon, signifying "to break through" (from Hebrew: דֶּקֶר) because of a miraculous answer to a prayer he made ("the sun broke through for him").[9][1]

Nicodemus appears to have been a wealthy and respected figure, known for his holiness and generosity. He was an opponent of the Zealots and of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire which led to the destruction of Jerusalem.[10]

When Vespasian became emperor, Nicodemus sought peace with the emperor's son Titus, who was conducting the war. He agitated against the prosecution of the war by the Zealots. In retaliation, they destroyed the stores of provisions that he and his friends had accumulated for the use of pilgrims.[10]


  1. ^ a b Titchmarsh, E. H. (1906–1918). "Nicodemus". Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament.
  2. ^ Josephus. The Jewish War. 2.17.10., Perseus Project BJ2.17.10, . (cf. note, Steve Mason[permanent dead link])
  3. ^ i. 5;
  4. ^ vii. 11
  5. ^ Ta'anit 19b pdf; Ktubot 65a-b, 66b, 67a; Gittin 56a (cf. Josephus, Jewish War, v. 1, § 4); Avodah Zarah 25a. All links to Isidore Epstein's translation.
  6. ^ "NAKDIMON BEN GURYON". Encyclopedia Judaica. 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2015 – via Jewish Virtual Library.
  7. ^ vi. 3
  8. ^ note 52:1 of Tractate of Babylonian Ta'anit at 21a (scroll to page 52) Jewish Virtual Library
  9. ^ Taanit 19b-20a. Sefaria. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Nicodemus (Naḳdimon) ben Gorion". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906.