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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Acts 21

 

 

Verse 1

Acts 21:1. ἀναχθῆναι, see above on Acts 13:13.— ἀποσ., cf. Acts 20:30, “were parted from them,” R.V. The word expresses a separation difficult and painful; it adds to the pathos of the scene, and marks the close affection which could not bear the thought of a parting, “divulsi ab eorum complexu,” Blass (see Chrys., comment, in loco).— εὐθυδ., see on Acts 16:11.— κῶν, Stanchio or Stanko, an island of great trading importance off the coast of Caria, south of Miletus and Samos, and north of Rhodes. Historically it had several points of connection with the Jews, cf. 1 Maccabees 15:23, Jos., Ant., xiv., 7, 2, and 10, 15, B. J., i., 21, 11, and owing to its commerce it became one of the centres of Jewish life in the Ægean. It lay about forty nautical miles from Miletus, and it was famous as the birthplace not only of Hippocrates, but of Apelles, and as being one of the great medical schools of the ancient world. See further “Cos” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., and B.D.2; Farrar, Saint Paul, ii. 284; Lewin, St. Paul, ii. 96; cf. Strabo, xiv., 2, Hor., Od., iv., 13, 13, Tac., Ann., xii., 61. C. and H. think that the chief town of the same name at the east of the island is referred to in the narrative before us. The place must have had, as C. and H. note, a special interest for St. Luke.— ῥόδον: off the south coast of Caria. According to the proverb the sun shone every day on Rhodes, and it might well be called the sunny island of roses. Her coins, stamped on one side with Apollo’s head radiated, and on the other with the rose-flower, bear their witness to the brightness and fertility of the island. Moreover, it was a seat not only of commerce but of learning. St. Paul does not appear to have landed, but only to have touched at the island. The great Colossus representing the sun, counted as one of the wonders of the world, lay prostrate, having been broken down by an earthquake, Pliny, N. H., xxxiv., 18; Strabo, xiv., 2. In the time of the Peloponnesian War Rhodes had been famous for its strong navy, as its timber was abundant. A notice of Jewish residents in Rhodes meets us in 1 Maccabees 15:23. On subsequent history see the excellent account in C. and H., small edit., p. 357; Farrar, Saint Paul, 2, p. 285.— πάταρα: a seaport on the Lycian coast, now in ruins, but probably a place of some importance and splendour. C. and H. say that Patara was to the city Xanthus what the Piræus was to Athens. On the modern discoveries in Patara see C. and H., small edit., note p. 560, cf. Herod., i., 182, Hor., Od., iii., 4, 64, Lewin, St. Paul, ii. 99, O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 101. “The voyage may be taken as typical of the course which hundreds of ships took every year,” Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 297, and cf. the illustrations from Roman history in C. and H., p. 560 note.


Verse 2

Acts 21:2. They went at Patara on board a ship about to start on the direct Syrian course, ἐπιβ., cf. Acts 20:18.


Verse 3

Acts 21:3. ἀναφ.: “when we had come in sight of,” R.V., Doric form of 1st aorist active, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 112, here a technical word (only in Luke, cf. Luke 19:11, but in a different sense), i.e., after we had rendered Cyprus visible (to us) = facere ut appareat (Blass); Virgil, Æneid, iii., 275, 291, see also Rendall’s note in loco (for the opposite idiom, ἀποκρύπτειν, cf. Thuc., v., 65).— καταλιπόντες αὐτὴν εὐώ.: sailing southeast they would have passed close to Paphos in Cyprus.— ἐπλέομεν: “imperf. cursum, aorist. κατήλθομεν finem denotat” (Blass).— εἰς τύρον: now a free town of the R. province of Syria, Strabo, xvi., 2, in honour of its ancient greatness; it is still a place of considerable commerce and consequence, still famous for its fabrics and its architecture. At present it numbers amongst its five thousand inhabitants a few Jews, the rest being Mohammedans and Christians. Besides O.T. references, see 1 Maccabees 11:59, 2 Maccabees 4:18; 2 Maccabees 4:44, and further for its history, C. H., small edit., p. 563, Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, i., 7, 998, Schaff-Herzog, Encyclopædia, iv., “Tyre”.— ἐκεῖσε: the adverb may be used here with something of its proper force, but in Acts 22:5, the only other place in which it occurs in N.T., simply = ἐκεῖ, Simcox, Language of the New Testament, p. 179. Page (in loco) renders “for there the ship was unlading her cargo,” ἐκεῖσε being used because of the idea of movement and carrying into the town contained in the “unloading”.— ἦν ἀποφ.: taken sometimes as the present for the future, Burton, p. 59, but see also Winer-Moulton, xlv., 5, and Wendt (1888) in loco (Philo, De Præm, et Pæn., 5; and Athenæus, ii., 5, of lightening a ship in a storm).— γόμον ( γέμω): so in classical Greek, Herod., Dem., etc., in LXX of the load of a beast of burden, Exodus 23:5, 2 Kings 5:17; in N.T. only elsewhere in Revelation 18:11, of any merchandise.


Verse 4

Acts 21:4. ἀνευρόντες τοὺς μ.: more than simply to find, quærendo reperire, Blass; “having found out,” as colloquially “having looked up”; only in Luke, cf. Luke 2:16, but in middle, 4 Maccabees 3:14.— τοὺς μαθ.: W.H(349) The article indicates that the existence of the disciples was known, but it was difficult to find out their whereabouts in a great town, cf. Acts 15:3; Acts 15:41.— ἐπεμείναμεν, see on Acts 10:48.— ἡμέρας ἑπτά: the period would at all events enable Paul to enjoy a first day of the week with the Church. Apparently he and his went on in the same ship, Acts 21:6, evidently it was a trading vessel of the larger size, as it took this time to unload; on the genuineness of the narration here see Salmon, Introd., p. 300.— διὰ τοῦ π.: there it no contradiction between this statement and St. Paul’s assertion that he was proceeding to Jerusalem under the same divine guidance. That the prophets at Tyre should foresee the Apostle’s danger was only in accordance with his own words in Acts 20:23, and their affectionate regard for him might well prompt them to dissuade him from such perilous risks. There is therefore no occasion to suppose that the clause has been interpolated into the “We” source. Hilgenfeld refers οἵτινεςἱερ. (Acts 21:4), as also the whole of Acts 21:9, τούτῳ δὲπροφ. to his “author to Theophilus,” on the ground that this writer had already spoken of Paul’s tribulations as awaiting him in city by city, Acts 20:23, and that the notices in Acts 21:4; Acts 21:9 here are added by him in confirmation. But Hilgenfeld (with Clemen and Jüngst) retains Acts 21:10-14, the episode of Agabus, as belonging to the “We” source, and sees a fitness in the prophecy of Agabus foretelling, after the manner of the O.T. prophets, in the last station before Jerusalem, the imprisonment of the Apostle, whilst Paul in spite of all entreaties is unmoved in his determination. But (1) it is quite arbitrary to refer the whole speech at Miletus (see above, chap. 20) to the “author to Theophilus,” and (2) although it was quite fitting that the warning of danger should be more vivid on its approach, yet one fails to see why the more definite symbolical act of Agabus should exclude previous intimations of danger on the part of affectionate friends speaking of the Holy Ghost. In Acts 21:9 nothing is said as to the prophecies of the daughter of Philip and Paul’s imprisonment, but see below.


Verse 5

Acts 21:5. ἐξαρτίσαι: here in the sense of accomplishing the days, i.e., finishing the time, the seven days during which we had to remain for the cargo to be unloaded or for other business = ἀπαρτίζειν (and cf. Luke 14:28), Vulgate, “expletis diebus,” Chrys., πληρῶσαι, so Oecum., Theoph. The verb is only used once elsewhere in N.T., and there by St. Paul, 2 Timothy 3:17 = furnishing, completing, so Jos., Ant., iii., 2, 2, where the verb is used as in 2 Tim., l. c., and some have thought that here the verb means that the ship was completely prepared for the continuance of her voyage. So Rendall who takes ἡμᾶς (reading ἐξαρ. ἡμᾶς) as the object, and renders “and when it proved that the days furnished us”; on St. Paul’s stay and its reason see Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 300, and for other explanations, Nösgen and Weiss, in loco. There is no reason to interpret the words as meaning that the Apostle found that his desire, Acts 20:16, could not be fulfilled, and that so he was content to remain the seven days.— προπεμ., see above: πάντων. The clause has been taken (Wendt) to intimate that the number of disciples at Tyre was small; this was probably the case, but it is not clear from the words here. σὺν γυν. καὶ τέκ., a descriptive touch of an eyewitness (Zöckler); on this local use of ἕως as characteristic of Luke, cf. Friedrich, p. 20.— θέντεςαἰγ., see Acts 20:36. αἰγ., a smooth shore in distinction to one precipitous and rocky, Acts 27:39, also found in Matthew 13:2; Matthew 13:48, John 21:4. In LXX, Judges 5:17, Sirach 24:14 (al(350), and cf. note in Speaker’s Commentary, in loco). See Hackett’s note on this accurate description of the beach on both sides of the site of the ancient Tyre, and also a parallel to the scene described in this passage from modern missionary life.


Verse 6

Acts 21:6. R.V. ἀπησπασάμεθα ἀλλ. “bade each other farewell,” see critical note. ἀπασπάζομαι: only here in N.T., in Tobit 10:13 ((351) (352) al(353)); Himerius, p. 194; here of salutations at departure as simple verb in Acts 21:7, of salutations on arrival (1 Maccabees 12:17).— τὸ πλοῖον: article indicates that it was the same ship (Acts 21:2 without the article) which was going on to Ptolemais.— εἰς τὰ ἴδια, cf. John 16:32; John 19:27, cf. (354) text Acts 5:18, Acts 14:18 ( τὰ ἴδια not in Synoptists, but cf. Luke 18:28), in LXX, Esther 5:10; Esther 6:12, 3 Maccabees 6:27; 3 Maccabees 6:37; 3 Maccabees 7:8.


Verse 7

Acts 21:7. διανύσαντες: “and when we had finished the voyage from Tyre we arrived at Ptolemais,” R.V. (so in effect A.V.), but Page (so Wendt) renders “but we having (thereby) completed our voyage (i.e., from Macedonia, Acts 20:6), came from Tyre to Ptolemais,” on the ground that διανύω would not be used of the short journey to Ptolemais from Tyre.— πτολεμαΐδα: the ancient Accho and the modern Acre, Arab. Akka; St. Jean d’Acre, mentioned here for the last time in Scripture. About thirty miles south of Tyre. In Judges 1:31 it was assigned to Asher, but it was never taken by Israel, and was always reckoned as belonging to the Philistine towns, and later by the Greeks as belonging to Phœnicia. In its stormy history it was held in succession by Babylonians and Persians (Strabo, xvi., 2, 25), and on the first division of Alexander’s kingdom it was assigned to Ptolemy Soter (Ptolemy I.), from whom it may have derived its name (so Hamburger). Schürer however refers the name to Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus), and others to Ptolemy Lathurus. In the Syro-Egyptian wars its importance as a military station was manifested, since the power which held it could close the road down the Syrian coast to Egypt. To the Jews it was always hostile, 1 Maccabees 5:15, Jos., Ant., xii., 8, 2, 1 Maccabees 12:45, Jos., Ant., xiii., 6, 2, and later in history when the Jewish War broke out against Rome, the Jews, two thousand in number, were slaughtered in Ptolemais, Jos., B.J., ii., 18, 5. After falling to the Parthians, it finally passed under the dominion of Rome, but although it was called colonia Ptolemais under the Emperor Claudius, Pliny, v., 19, it does not seem to have possessed the actual privileges of a colony (Schürer). See on its earlier and modern history, Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, i., 1, p. 41; “Acco,” Hastings’ B.D., “Accho,” B.D.2; Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., p. 90, E.T. It was only separated from Tyre by a short day’s voyage, if the wind was favourable. Here Herod landed on his return from Italy to Syria, Jos., Ant., xiv., 15, 1.— τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς: a Christian Church at Ptolemais; founded perhaps by Philip the Evangelist. It is also very possible that a Church may have existed there ever since the dispersion after the death of St. Stephen, Acts 11:19. On the times which St. Paul probably visited it see “Ptolemais” B.D.1.


Verse 8

Acts 21:8. φ. τοῦ εὐαγγ.: the title, as Wendt and Hilgenfeld think, may have been given to Philip on account of his evangelising work, cf. Acts 8:12; Acts 8:40; “the Evangelist”: the honourable title gained by some signal service to the Gospel; and the two incidents noted in his career, his preaching to the Samaritans, and to the Ethiopian eunuch, each mark an advance in the free development of the Church (Lightfoot, Galatians, p. 299). He had originally been set apart for other work, Acts 6:2, but both he and St. Stephen had been called to higher duties, and it is not sufficient to say that he was called an “evangelist” to distinguish him from Philip the Apostle, for that would have been done sufficiently by calling him “one of the Seven”. The word only occurs twice elsewhere in the N.T., Ephesians 4:11, 2 Timothy 4:5. In the former passage the Evangelists are placed between the Apostles and Prophets on the one hand, and the Pastors and Teachers on the other. The latter two offices suggested those who were attached to a settled community, whilst the Apostles and Prophets were non-local. Between the two pairs stood the Evangelists, whose work like that of Philip was to preach the Word. But it is to be carefully noted that as the title is used of the work of Philip, “one of the Seven,” and of that of Timothy, an Apostolic delegate, 2 Timothy 4:5, it may have denoted an employment rather than an office, “a work rather than an order,” and it might be truly said that every Apostle was an Evangelist, but that not every Evangelist was an Apostle. At the same time their work may well have been more restricted locally than that of the Apostles, cf. Theodoret on Ephesians 4:11, and also Eusebius, H.E., ii., 3, iii., 37, itinerant work of an Evangelist, “Evangelist,” B.D.2. The title is not found in the Apostolic Fathers or in the Didaché, and the latter omission Harnack would explain on the ground that the “Apostles” in the Didaché were just Evangelists; but it would seem, if we admit the reference to 2 Timothy 4:5, that the title was already in general use, and that it was not limited to Apostles. Meyer sees in the Evangelists those who transmitted orally the facts of our Lord’s life and teaching, before the existence of written Gospels; but however tempting this view may be, we can scarcely define the Evangelists’ work so precisely, and still less thus distinguish it from that of the Apostles; but see, however, as favouring Meyer’s view, “Evangelist,” Hastings’ B.D. Ewald’s remarks on Philip as an Evangelist are still of interest, Die drei ersten Evangelien, i., 48 ff.; on the mistake which confused this Philip with Philip the Apostle, see Salmon, Introd., 313.— εἰς κ.: on two occasions St. Paul had already visited Cæsarea, Acts 9:30, Acts 18:22, and he would probably have met Philip previously; but we have no knowledge of any previous meeting between St. Luke and Philip. We can conceive something of the importance of such a meeting when we remember the advantage which the latter’s knowledge of the events in the early history of the Church would possess for the future historian. Philip’s presence in Cæsarea at once connects itself with the notice in Acts 8:40, and thus indicates a unity of authorship in the whole book.— ὄντος ἐκ τῶν ἑπτά: the notice shows us how the early part of the book is taken for granted by the writer of the latter part (so Lightfoot and Salmon). This is surely more intelligible and satisfactory than to refer the words to the “author to Theophilus,” or to regard it with Clemen as a later addition perhaps by his R., who already betrayed, Acts 14:8, a knowledge of the sources of the first part of the book, or perhaps by R.J., who then connected Historia Petri and Historia Pauli. Jüngst refers the notice in Acts 8:40 to a Reviser who thus seeks to connect the Philip of chap. 8 with Cæsarea, and so to identify him with the Philip here.


Verse 9

Acts 21:9. παρθένοι: an unwedded life might enable them to wait on the Lord without distraction, and thus to be more free for the exercise of their gift of prophecy, but nothing is said of any separate order, or anything to lead us to suppose that they did not share the home life of their father, or that they had devoted themselves to God by any special vow (see however in support of this latter view Felten, Knabenbauer, Plumptre, C. and H.). St. Jerome, Epist., v., 8, cviii., 8, in relating the story of Paula mentions how she saw at Cæsarea the house of Cornelius now turned into a Christian church, and the humble abode of Philip, and the chambers of his daughters, the four virgins “which did prophesy”.— προφητεύουσαι, cf. Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17; Acts 19:6, 1 Corinthians 11:5; 1 Corinthians 14:24, although nothing is said of their possessing the power of prediction, or foretelling anything concerning Paul. Since women were forbidden to teach it would seem that the prophet as such was not a teacher; Bigg, Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, p. 29. But whilst there is no reason to suppose that they prophesied in the church, although even Felten supposes that in Churches not founded by Paul different rules might have prevailed, they would be able to speak and to teach in private or at home especially amongst the women both Jews and Gentiles, to whom in the East men would have had no access (Luckock, Footprints of the Apostles as traced by St. Luke, ii., p. 214). This verse is regarded by Hilgenfeld as an addition made by the “author to Theophilus” (so Renan). Spitta however thinks that something ought to have been said as to the nature of the prophecies uttered by the four daughters, but that instead of this we have the notice of Agabus in Acts 21:10. He therefore believes that the “We” section was interrupted at Acts 21:10, and that the verses following are interpolated from his inferior source B. The reference to weeping in Acts 21:13 is much more natural if we presuppose the presence of women, so he therefore reads “they prophesied with tears over the fate of Paul” (p. 339); so somewhat similarly Jüngst (p. 177).


Verse 10

Acts 21:10. ἡμέρας πλείους: “many days,” R.V., “some” margin; literally “more days,” the phrase is used vaguely with what Ramsay calls Luke’s usual defective sense of time, cf. Acts 13:31, Acts 25:14. The phrase is also found in Acts 27:20, so that it occurs twice in the “We” sections and twice in the rest of Acts, but nowhere else in N.T., see Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 151, Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ, p. 53. Often in LXX. Weiss thinks that the phrase here, cf. Acts 21:4, shows that Paul had given up all idea of reaching Jerusalem for Pentecost; but see on the other hand Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 297, and Salmon, Introd., p. 300: probably the Apostle had several days to spare when he reached Cæsarea, and he would naturally calculate his time differently when he had made a prosperous voyage, so that there is no contradiction with Acts 20:16.— προφ. ὀνόμ. .: probably the same who is mentioned in Acts 11:25, since he too came from Jerusalem. It has seemed strange to Blass and to others that St. Luke mentions Agabus here so indefinitely, but in this “We” section it would seem that St. Luke refers to Agabus in this vague way because this was the first time that he had seen the prophet (unless we accept (355) in Acts 11:28). It is therefore quite unnecessary to regard the mention of his name in Acts 11:28 as an interpolation. Agabus is evidently enabled not only to declare the will of God, but also to predict the future.


Verse 11

Acts 21:11. ἄρας τὴν ζώνην: the symbolic action by Agabus reminds us of the O.T. prophets, cf. 1 Kings 22:11, Isaiah 20:2, Jeremiah 13:1, Ezekiel 4, 5 Agabus as a dweller in Jerusalem would know something of that bitter feeling against Paul, and would wish to warn him.— παραδώσ. εἰς χ., cf. the words of our Lord, Luke 9:44; Luke 24:7; phrase frequent in LXX both in Psalms and Prophets, cf. Sirach 4:19; Sirach 11:6; 1 Maccabees 4:30.


Verse 12

Acts 21:12. παρεκ. ἡμεῖς: St. Luke joins in the entreaty.— ἐντόπ., i.e., the Christians of Cæsarea, including of course the inmates of Philip’s house; not in LXX or Apocr., but in classical Greek.— τοῦ μὴ ἀναβ., Burton, p. 159.


Verse 13

Acts 21:13. τί ποιεῖτε κλαί.: what do ye, weeping? (as we might say “what are you about?” etc.), cf. Mark 11:5 (Acts 14:15).— συνθ.: in Attic Greek, to break, to break in pieces, and so ἀποθρύπτω is used of (1) breaking in pieces, (2) breaking in spirit, enervating τὰς ψυχάς, cf. Plat., Rep., 495 E.; here συνθ. means to weaken the Apostle’s purpose rather than to break his heart in sorrow.— ἐγὼ, emphatic, I for my part.— οὐ μόνον in N.T., rather than μὴ μόνον with the infinitive, Burton, p. 183.— ἑτοίμως ἔχω: the exact phrase only once elsewhere in N.T., and there used by St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:14 (cf. 1 Peter 4:5): “qui paratus est, ei leve onus est,” Bengel. Ewald compares this firm determination and courage of St. Paul with our Lord’s last journey to Jerusalem, cf. Luke 9:51.


Verse 14

Acts 21:14. ἡσυχάσαμεν: only in Luke and Paul, cf. Luke 14:3, Acts 11:18. In LXX, Job 32:6, Nehemiah 5:8.— τὸ θέλ. τοῦ κ., cf. Matthew 6:10, Luke 22:42, and also St. Paul’s own expression in Acts 18:21, 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:7 (Hebrews 6:3), cf. Mayor’s note on James 4:15 for similar phrases amongst Greeks and Romans, as also amongst Jews and Arabians, Taylor’s Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, pp. 29, 95, 128, 2nd edit.


Verse 15

Acts 21:15. ἀποσ.: A.V., “took up our carriages,” but the latter word is not used now in a passive sense for luggage or impedimenta, as in O.T., Judges 18:21, 1 Samuel 17:22, Isaiah 10:18, cf. Shakes., Tempest, Acts 21:1; Acts 21:3 : “Time goes upright with his carriage” (burden); see also Plumptre’s interesting note on the word. R.V., reading ἐπισ., renders “we took up our baggage,” margin “made ready our baggage,” τὰ πρὸς τὴν ὁδοιπορίαν λαβόντες, Chrys., Ramsay renders “having equipped horses,” Xen., Hell., v., 3, 1, and see St. Paul, p. 302: the journey on foot, some sixty-four miles, was scarcely probable for Paul, especially if, as it would seem from , it was accomplished in two days. Grotius took it as = “sarcinas jumentis imponere,” as if ὑποζύγια, Xen., Hell., vii, 2, 18. Hackett and Rendall refer the word to the packing up of the valuable alms which St. Paul was carrying to Jerusalem, but this interpretation seems fanciful, although Hackett supposes that the contribution might have consisted in part of raiment or provisions. Belser still more curiously refers it to getting change in the current money of Palestine for the alms collected in the coin of various lands.— ἀνεβ.: imperfect, to denote the start on the journey (cf. Acts 8:25 : ὑπέστρεφον, R.V.). Both A. and R.V. here render “went up,” but it should be rendered “we set about the journey to Jerusalem,” end of third m. j.


Verse 16

Acts 21:16. ἄγοντες παρʼ ξενισ.: A. and R.V. render “bringing with them Mnason with whom we should lodge,” but Meyer—Wendt, so Page and Rendall, render “bringing us to the house of Mnason,” etc., cf. also Spitta, Apostelgeschichte, p. 234. This is more in accordance with Codex (356), on which see critical note = ἄγ. πρὸς ΄νάσ. ἵνα ξενισθῶμεν παρʼ αὐτῷ κ. τ. λ., see Blass, Gram., pp. 171, 213, and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 229. Vulgate (so Erasmus, Calvin) renders “adducentes secum apud quem hospitaremur Mnasonem,” but harsh, and presupposes that Mnason was at Cæsarea.— ΄νάσωνι, Att. ΄νήσων, in late MS., νάσων and ἰάσων, a name common among the Greeks, and Mnason was probably a Hellenist.— ἀρχαίῳ, cf. Acts 15:7, may mean that he was an early disciple, R.V., or even from the beginning, the great Pentecost, Acts 11:15 (Humphrey), see also Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 303; he may have been converted by his fellow-countryman Barnabas. If Blass is right in (357), Acts 11:2, he may have been a convert instructed by St. Peter (and in this sense ἀρχαῖος).


Verse 17

Acts 21:17. There is no good reason to doubt that they were in time for the Feast; it is a legitimate inference from their tarrying at Cæsarea that they were easily able to reach Jerusalem: possibly the presence of Jews from Asia may be taken, as Rendall points out, to indicate that the time of the Feast was near at hand.— ἀσμένως: only here, significantly; omitted in Acts 2:41 (R.V., W.H(358)); 2 Maccabees 4:12; 2 Maccabees 10:33 A, 3 Maccabees 3:15; 3 Maccabees 5:21, so in classical Greek. Even if the welcome only came, as Wendt supposes, from those who were comparatively few amongst many in Jerusalem, St. Paul found himself a brother amongst brethren.— ἐδέξ., see on Acts 18:27, ἀποδέχομαι.


Verse 18

Acts 21:18. τῇ ἐπιούσῃ, three times in “We” sections, twice in rest of Acts; nowhere else in N.T. (in Acts 7:26 with ἡμέρᾳ), Hawkins, u. s.σὺν ἡμῖν: the writer thus again claims to be an eyewitness of what passed; it may well have been the occasion for the reception of the alms collected from the Churches.— ἰάκωβον: on the authoritative position of St. James as further shown here see Hort, Ecclesia, p. 105, and Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, p. 147. Nothing is said of the Apostles, and they may have been absent from Jerusalem on missionary work, or at least the chief of them. They would scarcely have been included under the term πρεσβ. as Wendt supposes.


Verse 19

Acts 21:19. ἀσπαζ.: used of farewell greetings, Acts 20:1, Acts 21:6, and of greetings on arrival, Acts 18:22, Acts 21:7, for its use here cf. 1 Maccabees 11:6.— ἐξηγ., see on Acts 10:8, etc.— καθʼ ἕν ἕκαστον: “one by one,” R.V., cf. Ephesians 5:33.— διακονίας, see note on Acts 6:1-2.


Verse 20

Acts 21:20. ἐδόξ.: “recte imperf. quia finis verbo εἶπαν indicatur,” Blass.— θεωρεῖς: the word seems to imply that Paul had already become cognisant of the fact by his own observations in his ministerial work.— ἀδελφέ: St. Paul is recognised as an ἀδελφός not only by St. James but by the assembled elders (see also Weiss, in loco).— ἰουδ., see critical note.— μυριάδες, cf. Luke 12:1, of a large but indefinite number (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15), referring to the number of believers not only in Jerusalem but in Judæa present in large numbers for the Feast. The word cannot refer to Jewish Christians in a wider sense, as Overbeck took it, because they would not need to be informed of Paul’s teaching relative to the Mosaic law.— ζηλωταὶ τοῦ ν., cf. Galatians 1:14, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 3:13 (2 Maccabees 4:2, we have the same phrase, cf. 4 Maccabees 18:12). The extreme party of the Pharisees prided themselves on the title “zealots of the law, zealots of God”; it was a title which St. Paul himself had claimed, Lightfoot, Galatians 1:14.


Verse 21

Acts 21:21. κατηχήθησαν: the word seems to imply definite instruction, not merely audierunt, Vulgate. Hort refers to the term as implying here assiduous talking and lecturing, Judaistic Christianity, p. 107.— ἀποστασίαν, cf. 1 Maccabees 2:15 ( ἀπόστασιν) when the officers of Antiochus Epiphanes, in the time of Mattathias, tried to compel the people of Modin to forsake the law and to sacrifice upon the idol altar.— μὴ περιτέμνειν: these words and those which follow were an entire perversion of St. Paul’s teaching, just as his enemies gave a perverted view of the Apostle’s supposed intrusion with Trophimus into the temple, Acts 21:29. The exemption from the Mosaic law was confined to Jewish converts, Acts 16:3, 1 Corinthians 7:18.— τοῖς ἔθεσι, cf. Acts 6:14, Acts 15:1.— περιπατεῖν: only here in Luke, but often in the Epistles in this sense, cf. Mark 7:5.


Verse 22

Acts 21:22. τί οὖν ἐστι; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:3 in (359) text.— δεῖ πλῆθος συνελθεῖν, see critical note.— ἀκούσονται, i.e., the Judaising Christians referred to in κατηχήθησαν, Acts 21:26. The words refer, not to an assembly of the whole Church, or to a tumultuary assembly, Acts 21:27, but to an assembly of the Judaising Christians as above.


Verse 23

Acts 21:23. εἰσὶν ἡμῖν, cf. Acts 18:10. The four men certainly seem to have been members of the Church at Jerusalem, i.e., Jewish Christians.— εὐχὴν ἔχοντες: a temporary Nazirite vow, Numbers 6:1 ff. The length of time was optional, but thirty days seems to have been the shortest time, Jos., B.J., ii., 15, 1.— ἐφʼ ἑαυτῶν, see critical note, the Nazirite vow lies upon them as an unfulfilled obligation. If we read ἀφʼ it would mean him to affirm that the vow had been taken by them of their own will, on their own initiation, cf. Luke 12:57, 2 Corinthians 3:5, John 5:19; John 5:30, etc., see further Grimm-Thayer, sub v. ἀπό, ii., 2 d, aa; and Rendall, in loco. Blass however renders ἐφʼ “quia votum in se receperunt,” so that it is difficult to distinguish very definitely.


Verse 24

Acts 21:24. παραλαβὼν, cf. Acts 21:26, Acts 15:39 (Acts 16:33): take in a friendly way, associate thyself with them as a companion.— ἁγνίσθητι σὺν αὐτοῖς: the advice is characteristic of the Apostle who had lived as St. James had lived, Eusebius, H.E., ii., 23, and it certainly seems to demand that St. Paul should place himself on a level with the four men and take upon himself the Nazirite vow, cf. Numbers 6:3. The σὺν αὐτοῖς can hardly be explained otherwise. But how far the obligation of the vow extended in such a case is not clear (Edersheim, Temple and its Services, p. 326), and the time specified does not seem to allow for the commencement and completion of a vow on the part of the Apostle, although we cannot satisfactorily explain such expressions as the one before us, cf. ἡγνισμένον, Acts 24:18, on the supposition that St. Paul only associated himself with the company of the four votaries and incurred the expenses of their sacrifices. Dr. Hort suggests that the Apostle may have been himself about to offer sacrifices in the Temple in connection with some previous vow, or that in connection with the Gentile offerings which he had brought to Jerusalem and safely delivered (as it would seem) he may have proposed to offer a solemn peace-offering in the Temple, cf. καὶ προσφοράς, Acts 24:17, and Romans 15:16, Judaistic Christianity, pp. 109, 110; on the verb ἁγνίζω see also Hort’s First Epistle of St. Peter, p. 87.— δαπάνησον ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς: “be at charges for them,” R.V., spend money upon them. It was considered a meritorious act thus to defray the expenses of their sacrifices for poor Nazirites; Josephus, Ant., xix., 6, 1, how King Agrippa on his arrival at Jerusalem acted thus with a view to conciliate popular favour, Edersheim, u. s., p. 326, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 519, Kypke, Observ., ii., 113; cf. Mishna, Nazir, ii., 6. J. Weiss supposed that the money would have been furnished out of the contributions brought by Paul, and that such employed for the poor members of the Jerusalem Church would have been quite in accordance with the objects for which the contributions were made; but on the other hand, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 310.— ἵνα ξυρήσ., see critical note; at the conclusion of their vow, Numbers 6:18, when the sacrifice was offered by the Nazirites, Numbers 6:14.—On the future indicative with ἵνα in N.T. in pure final clauses see Burton, p. 86, if we adopt R.V. If we read γνώσονται, see critical note, the future is not dependent on ἵνα, “and all shall know,” R.V., viz., by this act of thine. On this independent future see Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 81 (1893).— καὶ αὐτὸς, i.e., as well as other Jewish Christians.— στοιχεῖς: a neutral word, as the walk might be right or wrong, but here to be taken with φυλάσσων, “so walkest as to keep the law,” Grimm-Thayer, sub v., no need for “orderly”.


Verse 25

Acts 21:25. ἡμεῖς, cf. reading in (360) text, but in any case ἡμεῖς is emphatic, intimating that St. James and the Church at Jerusalem could not condemn St. Paul’s attitude towards Gentile Christians, since they had themselves consented to place these Gentile Christians on a different footing from that of the born Jews who became Christians.— ἐπεστείλαμεν, see critical note, cf. Acts 15:20 (Zöckler).— μηδὲν τοιοῦτον τηρ., see critical note.—Wendt with Schürer objects to the whole reference to the Apostolic Conference, and sees in the verse the hand of a Redactor, as in Acts 16:4 (see note, p. 346, edit. 1899). But the reference may well imply that St. James on his part was quite prepared to adhere to the compact entered into at the Conference with regard to Gentile Christians, and that he expects St. Paul on his side to show that he has no desire to disparage the law in the eyes of Jewish Christians.


Verse 26

Acts 21:26. τότε παῦλος: St. Paul’s conduct was another illustration of the rule laid down for himself when writing to Corinth, cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20. This is in itself an answer to the captious criticism which doubts the truth of his action on this occasion, so amongst recent writers Hilgenfeld (1896). The vow of Acts 18:18 is sufficient to show us that there is no reason to suppose that the Apostle was merely acting a part in following the advice of St. James. McGiffert discusses the question at length, p. 340 ff., and concludes that the Apostle may well have done just what he is reported to have done; and further, that as a simpler explanation of Paul’s arrest would have answered every purpose, the explanation given may fairly be assumed to be the true one. Renan, Saint Paul, p. 517, also accepts the narrative as an illustration of St. Paul’s own principle referred to above in 1 Corinthians 9:20, so too Wendt, J. Weiss, Pfleiderer. It seems strange that Wesley should have gone so far in the opposite direction as to believe that the Apostle actually suffered for his compliance with the wishes of James, Acts 21:33, cf. Speaker’s Commentary, in loco.τῇ ἐχομ. ἡμέρᾳ, taken either with παραλ. or with σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁγν., so R.V.; only in Luke, cf. Luke 13:33, Acts 20:15, without ἡμέρᾳ (so in Polybius); cf. Acts 13:44, W. H. margin. In LXX 1 Chronicles 10:8; 2 Maccabees 12:39 (1 Maccabees 4:28).— εἰσῄει: according to our interpretation of the passage, the word means that Paul entered into the Temple, and stayed there for seven days with the four poor men until the period of their vow was fulfilled, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 520; but the expression need not mean more than that he entered into the Temple to give notice, or rather, giving notice, for the convenience of the priests of the day when the vow would be ended, and the necessary offerings brought— διαγγέλλων: “declaring,” R.V., i.e., to the priests, not omnibus edicens (Grotius, so Grimm), “to signify” as in A.V., makes the participle future; verb only used by St. Luke in N.T. (Romans 11:17, quotation from LXX), 2 Maccabees 1:33 (cf. its use in the sense of publication, Ps. 2:7, 58:13, cf. 2 Maccabees 1:33; 2 Maccabees 3:34, Sirach 43:2).— τὴν ἐκπ. τῶν τοῦ ἁγ., i.e., the seven days, Acts 21:27, which remained until the period of the vow was fulfilled, when the sacrifice was offered. Others however take ἕως οὗ with εἰσῄει, “he entered in … (and remained) until the offering,” etc.— ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου αὐτῶν: there is no need to suppose with Nösgen that these words mean that the period of the full accomplishment of the vow was different in each of the four cases—at all events the whole period of “purification” did not extend over more than seven days.


Verse 27

Acts 21:27. αἱ ἑπτὰ ἡμέραι: it does not appear that the seven days were enjoined by the law—not even in Numbers 6:9; indeed it would appear from Jos., B.J., ii., 15, that a period of thirty days was customary before the sacrifice could be offered. The seven days cannot therefore include the whole period of the vow, although they might well include the period of the Apostle’s partnership with the four men. Wendt and Weiss suppose that a reference is here made to a rule that the interval between the announcement to the priest and the conclusion of the Nazirite vow should include a period of seven days, but as there is admittedly no reference to any such ordinance elsewhere, it is precarious to depend too much upon it. It seems impossible to refer the expression to the seven days observed as the Feast of Pentecost; the article before ἑπτὰ ἡμ. refers to the “days of purification” just mentioned, see further critical note and Knabenbauer for summary of different views.— οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς . .: “the Jews from Asia,” R.V., cf. Acts 6:9, where we read of the Jews of Cilicia, etc., who disputed with Stephen.— θεασάμ., cf. Acts 24:18, where St. Paul tells us how these Jews had found him in the Temple purified, i.e., with the Nazirite vow upon him, and in the act of presenting offerings—not of creating a disturbance, as his enemies alleged. These Jews, who were of course not believers, may have come from Ephesus, and were full of enmity against the Apostle for escaping them there, cf. Acts 20:3—they had come up to worship at Pentecost.— συνέχεον, see on Acts 9:22.— ἐπέβ. τὰς χ., cf. Acts 12:1.


Verse 28

Acts 21:28. ἄνδρες ἰσ.: the title which would remind them of the special dignity and glory of their nation, of its hopes and obligations.— βοηθεῖτε: as if against some outrage, or perhaps as if to apprehend Paul, or to attack him—in doing anything to admit the Gentiles, ἔθνη, to God’s fold, St. Paul was exposing himself to the hatred of these unbelievers amongst his countrymen, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 107.— οὖτός: contemptuous.— κατὰ τοῦ λαοῦ: the name for Israel, see on Acts 4:25, the same charge in almost the same words had been brought against St. Stephen, Acts 6:13; “before the Jewish authorities blasphemy was alleged, before the Roman, sedition”.— πάντας πανταχοῦ, πανταχῆ or - , W.H(361), cf. Acts 17:30, 1 Corinthians 4:17.— πανταχῇ: only here. The three words show the exaggerated nature of the charge; on St. Luke’s characteristic use of πᾶς and kindred words see p. 51.— ἔτι τε καὶ, connecting thus closely the alleged act of introducing Gentiles into the Temple with the foregoing, as an illustration that Paul did not confine himself to preaching against the Holy Place, but had proceeded to defile it by his action; but cf. Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 163, “and further hath brought Greeks also,” cf. Acts 19:27.— έλληνας: only one man, Trophimus, had been actually seen with Paul, so that we again note the exaggerated charge, and even with regard to Trophimus, ἐνόμιζον, they only conjectured—they had no positive proof.— κεκοίνωκε: perfect, “sed manet pollutio,” Blass, in loco, see also Gram., p. 194.


Verse 29

Acts 21:29. τὸν ἐφέσ.: if some of these Jews, as is very probable, came from Ephesus, they would have recognised Trophimus. The latter had not only come “as far as Asia,” Acts 20:4, but had evidently accompanied Paul to Jerusalem; on the statement and its bearing upon 2 Timothy 4:20, see Salmon, Introd., p. 401, and Weiss, Die Briefe Pauli an Timotheus und Titus, p. 354.— προεωρακότες: antea videre; in classical Greek nowhere as here, but referring to future, or space, not to past time; Blass, in loco, compares 1 Thessalonians 2:2, Romans 3:9, for πρό.— εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν, i.e., from the Court of the Gentiles (into which the uncircumcised Greeks like Trophimus and others might enter) into the inner Court, open to Jews only. The punishment for such transgression by a Gentile was death, even if he was a Roman citizen, Jos., B.J., vi., 2, 4. At the foot of the stair by which “the Court” in the strict sense of the word was approached there was a railing bearing notice in Greek and Latin with the prohibition and the punishment due to its violation. For one of these inscriptions discovered and published in 1871 by Clermont-Ganneau see Revue archéologique, xxiii., 1872, Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 74, and div. ii., vol. i., p. 266. E.T. (where other references are given), Edersheim, Temple and its Services, p. 24, Plumptre, Acts, in loco, Blass, in loco, cf. Jos., Ant., xv., 11, 5, B.J., v., 5, 2.


Verse 30

Acts 21:30. ἐκινήθη, as in Acts 6:12, cf. Acts 24:5.— συνδρομὴ τοῦ λ., Judges 3:18, 3 Maccabees 3:8, used of a tumultuous concourse of people, Arist., Rhet., iii., 10, 7, Polyb., i., 67, 2.— ἐπιλ. τοῦ π.: see p. 368, here of violent seizing; they wanted to get Paul outside the Temple precincts, so that the latter might not be polluted with his blood, Acts 21:31.— ἐκλείσθησαν αἱ θ.: no doubt by the Levitical guard, perhaps lest Paul should return, and so gain a place of safety in the Temple, or more probably to save the sacred precincts from any further pollution and uproar.


Verse 31

Acts 21:31. ἀνέβη φάσις: “tidings came up,” R.V., vividly, of the report which would reach the Roman officer in the tower of Antonia, overlooking and connected with the Temple at two points by stairs. The ἀνέβη seems to indicate that the writer was well acquainted with the locality. Stier supposes that a report was brought to the Roman authorities by the Christians, or the word may refer to an official report. The troops would be in readiness as always during the Festivals in case of riot, Jos., Ant., xx., 5, 3, B.J., v., 5, 8, etc. φάσις: only here in N.T. Blass and Grimm derive it from φαίνω (in classical Greek, especially of information against smugglers, and also quite generally), but in Susannah ver. 55 (Theod.) φάσις is derived by some from φημί, see Speaker’s Commentary, in loco, while Grimm classes it there also under the same derivation as here.— τῷ χιλ.: “military tribune,” R.V. margin; his thousand men consisted of 760 infantry and 240 cavalry, cf. Acts 23:23, Blass, in loco. This officer who was evidently in command at Fort Antonia is called by Josephus φρούραρχος, Ant., xv., 11, 4, xviii., 4, 3; Schürer, Jewish People, div, ii., vol. ii., p. 55, E.T.— τῆς σπείρης, cf. Acts 10:1, “cohort,” R.V. margin.— συγκέχυται, see p. 238, and also critical note, “was in confusion,” R.V., lit(362) (so Rhem.).


Verse 32

Acts 21:32. ἐξαυτῆς, cf. Acts 10:33.— παραλ. στρ. καὶ ἑκατοντ., indicating that he thought the tumult considerable.— κατέδραμεν ἐπʼ αὐτούς, “ran down upon them” from Antonia, so R.V. vividly; verb found only here in N.T. In Job 16:10 (11) A we have the verb with accusative and ἐπί.— ἐπαύσαντο τύπτοντες after παύομαι: the act or state desisted from, indicated by the addition of a present participle, frequent in Luke, cf. Luke 5:4, Acts 5:42; Acts 6:13; Acts 13:10; Acts 20:31; cf. also Ephesians 1:16, Colossians 1:9, so in LXX, Grimm, sub v., Winer-Moulton, xlv. 4.


Verse 33

Acts 21:33. ἐπελ. αὐτοῦ: with a hostile intention, see Acts 17:19.— δεθ. ἁλύσεσι δυσὶ: as a malefactor and seditious person, Acts 21:38, to be guarded securely as the cause of the tumult, cf. Acts 12:6.— τίς ἂν εἴη, καὶ τί ἐστι πεποιηκώς: the difference in the moods in dependent sentences after τις may be noted: the centurion had no clear idea as to who Paul was, but he feels sure that he had committed some crime, Winer-Moulton, xli., 4c, Weiss, Wendt, in loco, on the other hand Page. On Luke’s thus mingling the optative obliqua with direct narrative alone among the N.T. writers, Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 225 (1893).


Verse 34

Acts 21:34. ἐβόων: if we read ἐπεφώνουν, see critical note, a verb peculiar to St. Luke, Luke 23:21, Acts 12:22; Acts 22:24 = “shouted,” R.V., cf. Acts 19:31.— μὴ δυνάμ., see critical note.— τὸ ἀσφαλὲς: adjective, three times in St. Luke with this same shade of meaning, Acts 22:30, Acts 25:26 (cf. Acts 2:36, and Wisdom of Solomon 18:6, ἀσφαλῶς).— παρεμ.: the word may mean an army, Hebrews 11:34, or the camp which it occupies (so in LXX = Heb. מַחֲנֶה Judges 4:16; Judges 8:10, 1 Maccabees 5:28). In this passage may = the castle itself, as A. and R.V., or perhaps the barracks in the castle. A Macedonian word according to Phryn., but see Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Greek, pp. 15, 16, and also for its meaning here, Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 55, E.T.


Verse 35

Acts 21:35. ἐγέν. ἐπὶ, cf. Acts 21:17, and Luke 24:22, Grimm, sub γίν., 5, g. ἀναβ.: the steps which led up to the fortress from the Temple area. B.J., v., 5, 8, describes the surroundings of the scene vividly, and the καταβάσεις which led down from Antonia to the Temple; see above on Acts 21:31, and O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 138.— συνέβη βαστάζ.: the σύν is not superfluous (see Meyer—Wendt and Hackett), it indicates the peril of the situation; the pressure of the people became increasingly violent as they saw that St. Paul would escape them, and compelled the soldiers to carry him, that he might not be torn from them altogether, so that the carrying was not merely “propter angustias loci”. βαστάζ., cf. Acts 3:2, see Schürer, u. s.


Verse 36

Acts 21:36. ἠκολούθει, imperfect, “kept following”.— αἶρε αὐτόυ: the cry was continuous; it was the same cry which had been raised against another and a greater prisoner Who had been delivered to the Romans as a malefactor, cf. Luke 23:18, John 19:15, and also Polycarp, Martyr, iii., 19.


Verse 37

Acts 21:37. παρεμβ., see on Acts 21:34.— εἰ, cf. Acts 1:6.— ἑλλη. γινώσκεις; no need to supply λαλεῖν, cf. Xen., Cyr., vii., 5, 31; so in Latin, Græcè nescire, Cic., Pro Flacco, iv., Vulgate, literally, Græcè nosti?


Verse 38

Acts 21:38. οὐκ ἄρα σὺ εἶ: mirantis est, cf. Arist., Av., 280 (Blass). Vulgate, Eras, render Nonne tu es …? but emphasis on οὐκ “Thou art not then” (as I supposed). No doubt the false prophet to whom reference is made by Josephus. Whilst Felix was governor he gathered the people around him on the Mount of Olives to the number of 30,000, and foretold that at his word the walls of the city would fall. But Felix attacked him and the impostor fled although the majority ( πλεῖστοι) of his followers were captured or slain, Jos., B.J., ii., 13, 5. In another account, Ant., xx., 8, 6, Josephus states that 400 were killed and 200 wounded, so that he evidently contradicts himself and his numbers are untrustworthy. For the various attempts to reconcile these different notices, cf. Krenkel, Josephus und Lukas, p. 243. But apart from this, there is no positive discrepancy with St. Luke. It is possible that the chiliarch as a soldier only reckoned those who were armed, whilst Josephus spoke of the whole crowd of followers. Evidently the Roman officer thought that the Egyptian had returned after his flight, and that he was now set upon by the people as an impostor (so also Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 180, note, E.T.). There is no sign whatever that St. Luke was dependent upon Josephus, as Krenkel maintains, but it is of course quite possible that both writers followed a different tradition of the same event. But St. Luke differs from Josephus in his numbers, there is no connection in the Jewish historian, as in St. Luke, between the Egyptian and the Sicarii, and whilst Josephus mentions the Mount of Olives, St. Luke speaks of the wilderness; Belser, Theol. Quartalschrift, pp. 68, 69, Heft i., 1896, “Egyptian, The” (A. C. Headlam), Hastings’ B.D.— ἀναστ. καὶ ἐξαγ.: “stirred up to sedition and led out,” R.V., this rendering makes the first verb (used only in Luke and Paul) also active, as in other cases in N.T. where it occurs, Acts 18:6, Galatians 5:12. The verb is not known in classical writers, but cf. LXX, Daniel 7:23, and also in the O.T. fragments, Aquila and Symm., Psalms 10:1; Psalms 58:11, Isaiah 22:3 (Grimm-Thayer).— τοὺς: “the 4000,” R.V., as of some well-known number.— τῶν σικαρίων: “of the Assassins,” R.V. The word sicarius is the common designation of a number, A.V., cf., e.g., the law passed under Sulla against murderers, “Lex Cornelia de Sicariis et Veneficis”; so in the Mishna in this general sense, but here it is used of the Sicarii or fanatical Jewish faction (and we note that the writer is evidently aware of their existence as a political party) which arose in Judæa after Felix had rid the country of the robbers of whom Josephus speaks, Ant., xx., 8, 5, B.J., ii., 13, 2, so called from the short daggers, sicæ, which they wore under their clothes. They mingled with the crowds at the Festivals, stabbed their political opponents unobserved, and drew suspicion from themselves by apparent indignation at such crimes, “Assassin” (A. C. Headlam), Hastings’ B.D., Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 178, E.T.


Verse 39

Acts 21:39. ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος μέν εἰμι .… δέομαι δέ …: there is no strict antithesis, “I am indeed a Jew of Tarsus” (and therefore free from your suspicion); but without speaking further of this, and proceeding perhaps to demand a legal process, the Apostle adds “but I pray you,” etc. Mr. Page explains, from the position of μέν: “I ( ἐγώ) as regards your question to me, am a man ( ἄνθρωπος μέν), etc., but, as regards my question to you, I ask ( δέομαι δέ …),” see reading in (363). On St. Paul’s citizenship see note below on Acts 22:28. St. Paul uses ἄνθρωπος here, but ἀνήρ, the more dignified term, Acts 22:3, in addressing his fellow-countrymen; but according to Blass, “vix recte distinguitur quasi illud ( ἄνθρωπος) ut ap. att. sit humilius,” cf. Matthew 18:23; Matthew 22:2.— λαλῆσαι: Blass has a striking note on Paul’s hopefulness for his people, and the proof apparent here of a man “qui populi sui summo amore imbutus nunquam de eo desperare potuit,” Romans 9-11— ἰουδ. not only ταρ., which would have distinguished him from ἀιγ., but ἰουδ., otherwise the chiliarch from his speaking Greek might have regarded him as no Jew, and so guilty of death for profaning the Temple.— οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλεως: litotes, Acts 20:29, on Tarsus see Acts 9:11. The city had on its coins the titles μητρόπολις αὐτόνομος. For ἄσημος, cf. 3 Maccabees 3:1, and in classical Greek, Eurip., Ion., 8. οὐκ ἄσ. ἑλλήνων πόλις, i.e., Athens (Wetstein), see further Acts 22:27. Hobart (so too Zahn) mentions ἄσημος as one of the words which show that Luke, when dealing with unprofessional subjects, shows a leaning to the use of professional language; ἄσημος is the technical term for “a disease without distinctive symptoms,” and Hippocrates, just as Luke, says, μία πόλεων οὐκ ἄσημος, Epis., 1273. So again in Acts 23:13, ἀναδιδόναι, a word applied to the distribution of nourishment throughout the body, or of blood throughout the veins, is used by Hippocrates, as by Luke, l.c., of a messenger delivering a letter, Epis., 1275 (see Hobart and Zahn); but it must be admitted that the same phrase is found in Polybius and Plutarch. Still the fact remains that the phraseology of St. Luke is here illustrated by a use of two similar expressions in Hippocrates, and it should be also remembered that the verb with which St. Luke opens his Gospel, ἐπιχειρεῖν, was frequently used by medical men, and that too in its secondary sense, just as by St. Luke, e.g., Hippocrates begins his treatise De Prisca Med., ὁκόσοι ἐπειχείρησαν περὶ ἰατρικῆς λέγειν γράφειν (see J. Weiss on Luke 1:1); so too Galen uses the word similarly, although it must be admitted that the same use is found in classical Greek and in Josephus, c. Apion., 2


Verse 40

Acts 21:40. ἐπιτρέψ.: because he no doubt saw that Paul’s purpose was to inform and pacify the people, so that there is nothing strange in such permission to speak.— κατέσεισε, see on Acts 12:17. “What nobler spectacle than that of Paul at this moment! There he stands bound with two chains, ready to make his defence to the people. The Roman commander sits by to enforce order by his presence. An enraged populace look up to him from below. Yet in the midst of so many dangers, how self-possessed is he, how tranquil!” Chrys., Hom, xlvii.— πολλῆς δὲ σιγῆς γεν., cf. Virg., Aen., i., 148–152, ii., 1; but probably the phrase means not “a great silence,” but rather “aliquantum silentii” (Blass), Acts 22:2, cf. Xen., Cyr., vii., 1, 25.— ἐβραΐδι: in W.H(364) ἐβ., see Introd., 408; so as to gain the attention, and if possible the hearts, of the people, by using the language of the people, the Aramaic dialect of Palestine (Grimm-Thayer however points out that this is not rightly described as Syro-Chaldaic, it was rather Chaldee): see also Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., E.T., pp. 47, 48.

 


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 21:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-21.html. 1897-1910.

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