Legends abound as to who exactly this fellow was, however one of the more popular can be found in The Chronicles of St Albans from 1228, in which it is recorded that a door keeper to Pontius Pilate hit Jesus as he emerged while saying, "Go on faster!" In reply, Jesus said something like, "I shall go, but thou shalt tarry till I come again." An alternative legend is that offered by dem bones--that the Wandering Jew was named Ahasuerus, and he was a cobbler. Another still claims that the Wandering Jew was some guy who was standing around when Jesus said, "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27) and that for some reason or another, said guy was made to walk the earth until the Second Coming.

But beyond that one quote from Luke, which, of course, offers nothing beyond perhaps maybe vague implication of something or other, nothing in the Bible suggests such a figure (at least in the New Testament; the Old Testament has, of course, such figures as Enoch and Cain who supposedly go on to tread the Earth forever). The Wandering Jew legend is essentially a product of the Middle Ages and anti-Semitism.
The Wandering Jew
Edwin Arlington Robinson

I saw by looking in his eyes
That they remembered everything;
And this was how I came to know
That he was here, still wandering.
For though the figure and the scene
Were never to be reconciled,
I knew the man as I had known
His image when I was a child.

With evidence at every turn,
I should have held it safe to guess
That all the newness of New York
Had nothing new in loneliness;
Yet here was one who might be Noah,
Or Nathan, or Abimelech,
Or Lamech, out of ages lost, --
Or, more than all, Melchizedek.

Assured that he was none of these,
I gave them back their names again,
To scan once more those endless eyes
Where all my questions ended then.
I found in them what they revealed
That I shall not live to forget,
And wondered if they found in mine
Compassion that I might regret.

Pity, I learned, was not the least
Of time's offending benefits
That had now for so long impugned
The conservation of his wits:
Rather it was that I should yield,
Alone, the fealty that presents
The tribute of a tempered ear
To an untempered eloquence.

Before I pondered long enough
On whence he came and who he was,
I trembled at his ringing wealth
Of manifold anathemas;
I wondered, while he seared the world,
What new defection ailed the race,
And if it mattered how remote
Our fathers were from such a place.

Before there was an hour for me
To contemplate with less concern
The crumbling realm awaiting us
Than his that was beyond return,
A dawning on the dust of years
Had shaped with an elusive light
Mirages of remembered scenes
That were no longer for the sight.

For now the gloom that hid the man
Became a daylight on his wrath,
And one wherein my fancy viewed
New lions ramping in his path.
The old were dead and had no fangs,
Wherefore he loved them -- seeing not
They were the same that in their time
Had eaten everything they caught.

The world around him was a gift
Of anguish to his eyes and ears,
And one that he had long reviled
As fit for devils, not for seers.
Where, then, was there a place for him
That on this other side of death
Saw nothing good, as he had seen
No good come out of Nazareth?

Yet here there was a reticence,
And I believe his only one,
That hushed him as if he beheld
A Presence that would not be gone.
In such a silence he confessed
How much there was to be denied;
And he would look at me and live,
As others might have looked and died.

As if at last he knew again
That he had always known, his eyes
Were like to those of one who gazed
On those of One who never dies.
For such a moment he revealed
What life has in it to be lost;
And I could ask if what I saw,
Before me there, was man or ghost.

He may have died so many times
That all there was of him to see
Was pride, that kept itself alive
As too rebellious to be free;
He may have told, when more than once
Humility seemed imminent,
How many a lonely time in vain
The Second Coming came and went.

Whether he still defies or not
The failure of an angry task
That relegates him out of time
To chaos, I can only ask.
But as I knew him, so he was;
And somewhere among men to-day
Those old, unyielding eyes may flash,
And flinch -- and look the other way.

Gleaned from...

and helpful /msg's from hotthamir

Wandering jew is also a colloquial name for one of three species of plants in the spiderwort family. Two of them (Tradesecantia albiflora and Tradesecantia fluminensis) have long green leaves with purple flowers, while the third (Zebrina pendula) has silvery leaves. They grow well in medium light, and in strong light will develop attractive purplish tinged leaves with a striped upper surface. They are commonly grown indoors in hanging pots, at least here in Canada; their trailing habits are presumably the reason they are called Wandering Jew. These plants are native to South America, and thus in warmer areas - for example Florida - can grow outdoors, where they are invading flood plain habitats and choking out native plants.

These are relatively easy plants to grow. It's best if you keep the soil evenly moist, for if you forget to water them, like I often do, the stems near the soil line may shrivel, and though the tip of the branch will appear normal for some time, eventually it will dry up and fall off. The plant grows well from cuttings, so the best solution if you have this problem is to cut off the still-growing tip and stick it in a glass of water. Within a few weeks it will develop roots, at which time you can plant the cutting again. Pinching off growing tips will encourage the plant to develop side-shoots and thus look fuller, but this is more a long trailing plant than a big bushy one.

The Wandering Jew goes by a huge number of names, like Botodeo, Malchus, Cartaphilus, Ahasuerus (or Ahasverus) and even John!

One thought is he is the soldier who struck Jesus in John 18:20-22* and received immortality as a punishment. Another thought is that he was not mortal before... but struck Christ as he had the chance- because in that thinking the Wandering Jew was one of the first men ever- Cain; this is due to the fact he is banshed to the Land of Nod. Nod literally means "Wandering", and cain is meant to wander forever, unless he's killed by a man. (When said man will be revenged upon 7 times).

However, many argue that Cain cannot be the wandering Jew as Abraham was technically the first real Jew. The reply is normally that all that worship G-d were Jews; Abraham just was the first priest.
It should be noted that Abraham came a few dozen generations after Cain aswell, and that he comes from a long way down the lineage of Seth, Cain and Abel's youngest brother.

It's not the only myth of Immortality in the Hebrewic trinity of Religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity); The Koran, the Muslim holy book features the tale of Sameri the Samaritan, cursed by Moses to wander forever because he helped make the golden calf.

*The version shown is the Prince James version; Different versions differently identify him as a man at the gates and a cobbler, like Dem's version.

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