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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Acts 24

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 24

Acts 24:1. τῶν πρεσβ.] Lachm. and Born. read πρεσβ. τινῶν, according to A B E א, min. Sahid. Arm. Syr. p. Vulg. Theophyl. τινῶν was written on the margin as a gloss (see the exegetical remarks).

Acts 24:3. κατορθωμάτων] Lachm. and Born. (following A B E א) read διορθωμάτων, which already Griesb. recommended. Neither occurs elsewhere in the N.T. The decision is given by the preponderance of evidence in favour of διορθ., which, besides, is the less usual word.

Acts 24:5. στάσιν] A B E א, min. Copt. Vulg. Chrys. Theophyl. Oec. have στάσεις . Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm and Born. And rightly; στάσιν was easily enough occasioned by the writing of στάσις instead of σιάσεις (comp. א ).

Acts 24:6-8. From καὶ κατά to ἐπὶ σέ is wanting in A B G H א, min. vss. Beda. And there are many variations in detail. Condemned by Mill, Beng., Griesb., and deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly; it is a completion of the narrative of the orator. Had the words been original (Matth. and Born. defend them), no reason can be assigned for their omission. For κατὰ τ. ἡμετ. νόμ. ἠθελ. κρίνειν in the mouth of the advocate who speaks in the name of his clients could be as little offensive as the preceding ἐκρατήσαμεν; and the indirect complaint against Lysias, Acts 24:7, was very natural in the relation of the Jews to this tribune, who had twice protected Paul against them. But even assuming that this complaint had really caused offence to the transcribers, it would nave occasioned the omission of the passage merely from παρελθών, not from καὶ κατά.

Acts 24:9. συνεπέθεντο] is decidedly attested, in opposition to the Recepta συνέθεντο.

Acts 24:10. εὐθυμότερον] A B E א, min. Vulg. Ath. have εὐθύμως . Approved by Griesb., following Mill and Bengel; adopted by Lachm. Tisch. Born. But how much easier it is to assume that the reference of the comparative remained unrecognised, than that it should have been added by a reflection of the transcribers!

Acts 24:11. ἐν ἱερουσ.] Lachm. Tisch. Born. have, and also Griesb. approved, εἰς ἱερουσ., according to A E H א, min. This weight of evidence is decisive, as according to the difference in the relation either preposition might be used.

Acts 24:12. ἐπισύστασιν] Lachm. reads, ἐπίστασιν according to A B E א, min. A transcriber’s error.

Acts 24:13. After δύνανται Lachm. and Born. have σοι, according to A B E א, min., and several vss. Some have it before δύν .; others have, also before δύν., sometimes μοι and sometimes με (so Mill and Matth.). Various supplementary additions.

Acts 24:14. τοῖς ἐν τοῖς] Elz. has merely ἐν τοῖς. But against this the witnesses are decisive, which have either τοῖς ἐν τοῖς (so Griesb., Scholz, and others) or simply τοῖς (so Lachm. Tisch. Born., following Matth.). If τοῖς ἐν τοῖς were original (so א **), then it is easy to explain how the other two readings might have originated through copyists—in the first instance, by oversight, the simple τοῖς (A G H א * vss. Theophyl. Oec.), and then by way of explanation ἐν τοῖς (B). If, on the other hand, τοῖς were original, then indeed the resolution of the dative construction of the passive by ἐν might easily come into the text, but there would be no reason for the addition of τοῖς before ἐν.

Acts 24:15. After ἔσεσθαι Elz. Scholz have νεκρῶν, which, in deference to very important evidence, was suspected by Griesb. and deleted by Lachm. Tisch. Born. A supplementary addition.

Acts 24:16. καὶ αὐτός] so A B C E G א, min. vss. Approved by Griesb., and adopted by Lachm. Tisch. Born. But Elz. Scholz have δὲ αὐτός. The reference of καί was not understood, and therefore sometimes δέ, sometimes δέ καί was put.

Acts 24:18. ἐν σἷς] A B C E א, min. have ἐν αἷς, which Griesb. recommended, and Lachm., Scholz, Born. adopted. But the fem., in spite of the preponderance of its attestation, betrays its having originated through the preceding προσφοράς.

τινὲς δέ] Elz. has merely τινές, against decisive testimony. The δέ was perplexing.

Acts 24:19. ἔδει] B G H, min. Sahid. Aeth. Slav. Chrys. 1, Oec. have δεῖ. Recommended by Griesb., and adopted by Beng. and Matth. But ἔδει is preponderantly attested by A C E א, min. Syr. utr. Copt. Vulg. Chrys. 1, Theoph., and is much more delicate and suitable than the demanding δεῑ .

Acts 24:20. τί] Elz. has εἴ τι, against decisive witnesses. From Acts 24:19.

Acts 24:22. ἀνεβάλ. δὲ αὐτ. φῆλιξ] Adopted, according to decisive testimony, by Griesb. and all modern critics except Matth. But Elz. has ἀκούσας δὲ ταῦτα φ. ἀνεβ. αὐτούς, which Rinck defends. An amplifying gloss.

Acts 24:23. αὐτόν] Elz. has τὸν παῦλον, against decisive attestation.

προσέρχεσθαι] wanting in A B C E א, min., and several vss.; amplifying addition, perhaps after Acts 10:28 .

Acts 24:24. After τῇ γυναικί Elz. has αὐτοῦ, and Lachm.: τῇ ἰδίᾳ γυναικί. The critical witnesses are much divided between these three readings; indeed several, like A, have even ἰδίᾳ and αὐτοῦ. But in view of this diversity, both ἰδίᾳ and αὐτοῦ appear as additions, in order to fix the meaning conjux on τῇ γυναικί.

After χριστόν B E G א * min. Chrys. and several vss. have ʼιησοῦν, which Rinck has approved, and Lachm., Scholz, Born, adopted. A frequent addition, which some vss. have before χριστόν.

Acts 24:25. τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίματος] τοῦ κρίματος τοῦ μέλλοντος (Lachm. Tisch. Born.) is preponderantly attested, and therefore to be adopted. So also Elz., which, however, adds ἔσεσθαι (deleted by Scholz); and Tisch. has again inserted it, following G H min. and some Fathers. The word, just as being in itself quite superfluous, would have to be received, if it were more strongly attested.

Acts 24:26. After παύλου Elz. has ὅπως λύσῃ αὐτόν, against preponderating testimony. A gloss.

Acts 24:27. χάριτας] Lachm. and Born. read χάριτα, according to A B C א * and some min.; E G א** min. have χάριν. Thus for χάριτας there remains only a very weak attestation (H, min. and some Fathers; no vss.). The best attested reading, χάριτα, is the more to be adopted, as this accusative form, not elsewhere used in the N.T. (although to be read also in Jude 1:4), could not but occasion offence.


Verse 1

Acts 24:1. ΄ετὰ δὲ πέντε ἡμέρ.] The point of commencement is not to be reckoned, with Cajetanus, Basnage, Michaelis, Stolz, Rosenmüller, Morus, Hildebrand, as the arrest of Paul in Jerusalem,—an opinion which has arisen from an erroneous computation of the twelve days in Acts 24:11,—nor yet with Calovius, Wetstein, and others, as the arrival of Paul at Caesarea, but as (see on Acts 24:11) his departure for Caesarea. We may add that the popular mode of expression does not necessarily denote that the fifth day had already elapsed, but may just as well denote on the fifth day (comp. Matthew 27:63, and see on Matthew 12:40). That the latter view is to be assumed here, see on Acts 24:11.

μετὰ τῶν πρεσβ.] of course, not the whole Sanhedrists, but deputies who represented the council. It is obvious, withal, that the two parties in the Sanhedrim, after the variance temporarily aroused between them (Acts 23:6 ff.), had in the interval bethought themselves of the matter, and united against the common enemy, in order to avert his eventual acquittal by the Roman authority.

Tertullus (a common Roman name, see Wetstein) was an orator forensis (see Barth, ad Claudian. p. 76), a public causidicus. Such speakers, who were very numerous in Rome and in the provinces, bore the classical name of the public orators: ῥήτορες (see Photius, p. 488, 12; Thomas Mag., Suidas), in the older Greek συνήγοροι (Dem. 1137. 5, 1349. pen.; Lucian. Tox. 26; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 142, 14),the advocates of the accusers.

ἐνεφ. τῷ ἡγ. κατὰ τοῦ π.] they laid information before the procurator against Paul. That this took place in writing, by a libel of accusation (Camerarius, Grotius), is not affirmed by the text, which, by κατέβη and the κληθέντος δὲ αὐτοῦ immediately following, does not point to more than oral accusation. Comp. Acts 23:15, Acts 25:2; Acts 25:15. The reciprocal rendering, comparuerunt (Beza, Luther, Castalio, Wolf, and others, following the Vulgate), is an unnecessary deviation from the usage in the N.T., Acts 23:15; Acts 23:22, Acts 25:2; Acts 25:15; John 14:21 f.; Hebrews 11:14, and elsewhere also not capable of being made good. Comp. Borne-mann in Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 271; Krebs, p. 252 f.


Verse 2-3

Acts 24:2-3. After the accusation brought against Paul the accused is summoned to appear, and now Tertullus commences the address of accusation itself, and that (after the manner of orators, see Grotius in loc.) with a captatio benevolentiae (yet basely flattering) to the judge.

The speech, embellished with rhetorical elegance, is to be rendered thus: As we are partaking (continuously) of much peace through thee, and as improvements have taken place for this people on all sides and in all places through thy care, we acknowledge it, most excellent Felix, with all thanksgiving. Observe here, (1) that the orator with πολλῆς εἰρήνης κ. τ. λ. praises Felix as pacator provinciae, which it was a peculiar glory of procurators to be, see Wetstein; (2) that the object of ἀποδεχόμεθα is evident of itself from what precedes; (3) that πάντῃ τε καὶ πανταχοῦ is not to be referred, as usually, to ἀποδεχ., but, with Lachmann, to γινομένων, because, according to the flattering character of the speech, διορθωμ. γινομ. requires a definition of degree, and it is arbitrary mentally to supply πολλῶν.

διορθώματα (see the critical remarks) are improved arrangements in the state and nation. Comp. Polyb. iii. 118. 12 : αἱ τῶν πολιτευμάτων διορθώσεις, Arist. Pol. iii. 13; Plut. Numbers 17, al. On the Greek idiom of the word, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 250 f. κατορθώματα would be successes, successful accomplishments; see Raphel, Polyb. in loc.; Lobeck, l.c.

πάντῃ] only here in the N.T., not semper (Vulgate and others), but towards all sides, quoquoversus, as in all classical writers; with iota subscriptum (in opposition to Buttmann and others), see Ellendt Lex. Soph. II. p. 493.

On ἀποδέχεσθαι, probare, “admittere cum assensu, gaudio, congratulatione,” Reiske, Ind. Dem. p. 66; see Loesner, p. 229; Krebs in loc.

How little, we may add, Felix, although he waged various conflicts with sicarii, sorcerers, and rebels (Joseph. Bell. ii. 13. 2, Antt. xx. 8. 5 f.), merited this praise on the whole, may be seen in Tac. Hist. v. 9, Ann. xii. 54; and what a contrast to it was the complaint raised against him after his departure by the Jews before the emperor (Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 9 f.)!


Verse 4

Acts 24:4. That, however, I may not longer (by a more lengthened discourse than I shall hold) detain thee, keep thee from thy business. On ἐγκόπτειν, see Valckenaer, Schol. p. 600 f. ἐπὶ πλεῖον, as in Acts 20:9; Judith 13:1. See on Acts 4:17. Comp. Plat. Rep. p. 572 B: ἐπὶ πλέον ἐξήχθημεν εἰπεῖν.

λεξόντων is not to be supplied with συντόμως (Kuinoel, Olshausen, and others), but it contains the definition of measure to ἀκοῦσαι. The request for a hearing of brief duration is, at the same time, the promise of a concise discourse.

τῇ σῇ ἐπιεικ.] with thy (thine own peculiar) clemency (see on 2 Corinthians 10:1).


Verses 5-8

Acts 24:5-8. καὶ κατὰἐπὶ σέ is to be deleted. See the critical remarks.

εὑρόντες γὰρ κ. τ. λ.] The structure of the sentence is anacoluthic, as Grotius already saw. Luke has departed from the construction; instead of continuing, Acts 24:6, with ἐκρατήσαμεν αὐτόν, he, led astray by the preceding relative construction, brings the principal verb also into connection with the relative. Comp. Winer, pp. 330, 528 [E. T. 442, 710]; Buttmann, p. 252 [E. T. 293]. Comp. on Romans 16:27. The γάρ is namely; see on Matthew 1:18.

Examples of λοιμός and pestis, as designating men bringing destruction, may be seen in Grotius and Wetstein. Grimm on 1 Maccabees 10:61.

τὴν οἰκουμ.] is here, in the mouth of a Roman, before a Roman tribunal, to be understood of the Roman orbis terrarum. See on Luke 2:1.

πρωτοστάτην] front-rank man, file-leader. Thuc. v. 71. 2, and Krüger in loc.

τῶν ναζωραίων] a contemptuous appellation of Christians as the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, whose presumed descent from Nazareth stamped Him as a false Messiah (John 7:42).

ὃς καὶ τ. ἱερὸν κ. τ. λ.] who even the temple, etc. Comp. ἔτι τε καί, Acts 21:28.

Acts 24:8. παρʼ οὗ] refers, as the preceding mention of Lysias is spurious, to Paul, to whom, however, it could not have been referred, were the preceding portion genuine, in opposition to Cornelius a Lapide, Grotius, Limborch, Rosenmüller, who have, moreover, arbitrarily understood ἀνακρίνας of a quaestio per tormenta; it denotes judicial examination generally.

ὧν] = a by attraction.

That we have not before us the speech of Tertullus in a quite exact reproduction is obvious of itself, as the source of the narrative could only be the communication of Paul. The beginning, so much in contrast with the rest, is doubtless most faithfully reproduced, impressing itself, as it naturally did, alike as the commencement of the imposing trial and by reason of the singularly pompous flattery, with the most literal precision on the recollection of the apostle and, through his communication, on the memory of Luke.


Verse 9

Acts 24:9. συνεπέθεντο κ. τ. λ.] but the Jews also jointly set upon him; they united their attack against Paul with that of their advocate, inasmuch as they indicated the contents of his statements to be the true state of the case. Comp. on συνεπιτίθεμαι, Plat. Phil. p. 16 A Xen. Cyrop. iv. 2. 3; Polyb. i. 31. 2, ii. 3. 6; also in the LXX.

φάσκοντες] comp. Acts 25:19; and see on Romans 1:22.


Verse 10

Acts 24:10. In what a dignified, calm, and wise manner does Paul open his address!

ἐκ πολλῶν ἐτῶν] therefore thou hast an ample judicial experience as regards the circumstances of the nation and their character. “Novus aliquis praeses propter inscitiam forte perculsus esset tam atroci delatione,” Calvin.

Felix entered on the procuratorship after the banishment of his predecessor Cumanus, in the year 52 (according to Wieseler, 53); see Joseph. Antt. xx. 7.1. Even in the time of Cumanus he had great influence, particularly in Samaria, without, however, being actually governor of that country, as is incorrectly stated in Tac. Ann. xii. 54 in contradiction to Josephus, or of Upper Galilee (as is erroneously inferred by Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Hildebrand, and others, from Joseph. Bell. ii. 12. 8). See Anger, de temp. rat. p. 88; Wieseler, p. 67 f.; comp. also Gerlach, l.c., p. 75; Ewald, p. 549. He was thus at this time (see Introduction, § 4) probably in the seventh year of his procuratorship.(153)

κριτήν] is not, with Beza, Grotius, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, and others (after שׁפט ), to be taken generally as praefectus, rector, but specially as judge; for the judicial position of Felix in his procuratorship was the point here concerned. On the participle with ἐπιστά΄., see Winer, p. 324 [E. T. 435].

εὐθυ΄ότερον] the more cheerfully, namely, than I would be able to do if thou wert still new in this judicial office.

τὰ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ ἀπολογοῦμαι] I bring forward in defence the things concerning myself. Comp. Plat. Crit. p. 54 B, Phaed. p. 69 D, Conv. p. 174 D, and Stallb. in loc., Pol. iv. p. 420 B, 453 C Dem. 227. 13, 407. 19; Thuc. iii. 62. 4.


Verse 11

Acts 24:11. Paul adds a more special reason subordinate to the general one (Acts 24:10), for his εὐθυμότερονἀπολογοῦμαι. Since he had returned from abroad only twelve days ago, and accordingly the ground of facts on which they wished him condemned ( τὸ ἱερὸν ἐπείρασε βεβηλῶσαι, comp. Acts 21:28) was still quite new, the procurator, with his long judicial experience among the Jewish people, could the less avoid the most thorough examination of the matter.

οὐ πλείουςἡμέραι δεκαδύο] without , which Elz. has as a gloss. See on Acts 4:22.

ἀφʼ ἧς ἀνέβην] from the day on which ( ἀφʼ ἧς, sc. ἡμέρας, comp. on Acts 1:2; Acts 1:22) I had come up. This is the day of the accomplished ἀναβαίνειν, the day of the arrival, not of the departure from Caesarea (Wieseler). Comp. Acts 11:2; Kühner, § 444; Winer, p. 258 [E. T. 343]. As to the reckoning of the twelve days, it is to be observed: (1) That by the present εἰσι the inclusion of the days already spent at Caesarea is imperatively required. Hence the assumption of Heinrichs, Hildebrand, and others is to be rejected as decidedly erroneous: “Dies, quibus P. jam Caesareae fuerat, non numerantur; ibi enim (!!) in custodia tumultum movere non poterat” (Kuinoel). (2) That οὐ πλείους εἰσι permits us to regard as the current day on which the discussion occurred, either the twelfth or the (not yet elapsed) thirteenth; as, however, Paul wished to express as short a period as possible, the latter view is to be preferred. There accordingly results the following calculation:—

I.

Day of arrival in Jerusalem, Acts 21:15-17.

II.

Meeting with James, Acts 21:18 ff.

III.

Undertaking of the Nazarite vow and offerings, Acts 21:26.

IV.

V.

The seven days’ time of offering broken off by the arrest, Acts 21:27.

VI.

VII.

Arrest of the apostle, Acts 21:27 ff.

VIII.

Paul before the Sanhedrim, Acts 22:30, Acts 23:1-10.

IX.

Jewish conspiracy and its disclosure, Acts 23:12 ff. On the same day Paul, before midnight, is brought away from Jerusalem, Acts 23:23; Acts 23:31.

X.

΄ετὰ δὲ πέντε ἡμέρας κ. τ. λ., Acts 24:1.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

The current day.

It further serves to justify this calculation: (1) that it sufficiently agrees with the vague statement in Acts 21:27 : ὡς δὲ ἔμελλον αἱ ἑπτὰ ἡμέραι συντελεῖσθαι, to place the arrest on the fifth day of that week; (2) that, as terminus a quo for μετὰ πέντε ἡμέρας, Acts 24:1, the ninth day may not only be assumed generally (because the immediately preceding section of the narrative, Acts 23:31 ff., commences with the departure of Paul from Jerusalem), but is also specially indicated by the connection, inasmuch as this μετὰ πέντε ἡμέρ. so corresponds to the τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον, Acts 23:32, that there is presented for both statements of time one and the same point of commencement, namely, the day on which the convoy (after nine in the evening) left Jerusalem. Anger (de temp. rat. p. 110) deviates from this reckoning in the two points, that he places as the first of the five days, Acts 24:1, the day of the arrival at Caesarea; and he does not include at all in the reckoning the day on which Paul came to Jerusalem (because Paul reached it, perhaps, only after sunset). But the former is unnecessary (see above), and the latter would not only be at variance with Paul’s own words, ἀφʼ ἧς ἀνέβην προσκυνήσ. ἐν ἱερουσ., Acts 24:11 (by which the day of arrival is included), but also would bring the reckoning of the apostle into contradiction with Acts 21:17-18 ( τῇ δὲ ἐπιούσῃ). Wieseler, p. 103 f., and on Gal. p. 588, has reckoned the days in an entirely different manner—but in connection with his opinion (not to be approved) that the ἑπτὰ ἡμέπαι in Acts 21:27 are to be understood of the Pentecostal week—namely: two days for the journey to Jerusalem; the third day, interview with James; the fourth, his arrest in the temple (Pentecost); the fifth, the sitting of the Sanhedrim; the sixth, his removal to Caesarea; the seventh, his arrival there; the twelfth, the departure of Ananias from Jerusalem, Acts 24:1; the thirteenth, the hearing before Felix.

προσκυνήσων] thus with quite an innocent and legally religious design.

εἰς ἱερουσ.] (see the critical remarks), belongs to ἀνέβην.


Verse 12-13

Acts 24:12-13. ἐπισύστασιν] uproar. LXX. Numbers 26:9; Numbers 17:5; Joseph. c. Ap. i. 20.

Both after οὔτε ἐν ταῖς συναγ. and after οὔτε κατὰ τὴν πόλιν (throughout the city) εὗρόν με πρός τινα διαλεγόμενον, ἐπισύστασιν ποιοῦντα ὂχλου is mentally to be supplied.

See examples of παραοτῆσαι, to present, i.e. to make good, to prove, in Kypke, II. p. 121 f.; Morus, ad Longin. p. 43; and from Philo in Loesner, p. 230 f.


Verses 12-21

Acts 24:12-21. In the following speech Paul first disclaims the accusations of his opponents generally and on the whole as groundless (Acts 24:12-13); then gives a justifying explanation of the expression πρωτοστάτην τῆς τῶν ναζωρ. αἱρέσ., by which they had maliciously wished to bring him into suspicion (Acts 24:14-16); and lastly refutes the special accusation καὶ τὸ ἱερὸν ἐπείρ. βεβηλῶσαι (Acts 24:17-21).


Verse 14-15

Acts 24:14-15. δέ] opposes the positive confession, which now follows, to the preceding merely negative assurance (Acts 24:12-13): but, doubtless, I confess: “As a Christian I reverence the same God with the Jews, follow the same rule of faith, and I have the same hope on God, that there shall be a resurrection,” etc. Thus, notwithstanding that malicious πρωτοστάτην τῆς τῶν ναζ. αἱρ., I am in nowise an enemy of the existing religion (protected by the roman laws!). And with full truth could this “confessio ingenua, voluntaria, plena” (Bengel) be furnished by Paul (in opposition to Baur and Zeller; also Schneckenburger, p. 147 f.), as he recognised in Christianity the completion of the divine law and the fulfilment of the prophets; and this recognition, as regards the law, necessarily presupposes the belief in all that is written in the law, namely, in its connection with the fulfilment effected by Christ (comp. Romans 3:31; Romans 13:8 ff.; Galatians 3:24), although the law as a rule of justification has reached its end in Christ (Romans 10:4).

κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν κ. τ. λ.] according to the way, which, etc., according to the Christian mode of life (Acts 22:4, Acts 9:2, Acts 19:23).

ἣν λέγ. αἵρεσιν] for Tertullus had, Acts 24:5, used αἵρεσις, in itself a vox media (school, party, see Wetstein on 1 Corinthians 11:19), in a bad sense (a schismatic party, sect).

τῷ πατρῴῳ θεῷ] the God worshipped by the ancestors of my nation and from them received (Acts 22:3). How inviolable were even to the heathen their ancestral gods! See Wetstein and Kypke, II. p. 122 f.; and on the expression very common also among the Greeks, Lobeck, Aglaoph. p. 1206, 769 ff.; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. 533 f.

πιστεύων κ. τ. λ] is now that which is emphatically indicated by οὕτω: in this way: (namely) believing all things, etc. Comp. Bornemann in Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 277; Bernhardy, p. 284.

κατὰ τὸν νόμον] throughout the law (-book).

ἐλπίδα ἔχων] contains a characteristic circumstance accompanying πιστεύων πᾶσι κ. τ. λ.

καὶ αὐτοὶ οὗτοι] even they themselves there, is spoken δεικτικῶς to those present as the representatives of the nation in the transaction. It was natural that this point of view in its generality should admit no reference to the Sadducean deviation from the national belief of the resurrection, or at all to special differences concerning this dogma. It is just as certain that Paul understood δικαίων and ἀδίκων morally, and not according to the sense of the self-conceit of the descendants of Abraham (Bertholdt, Christol. pp. 176 ff., 203 ff.). Comp. on Luke 14:14.

προσδέχονται] expectant. The hope is treated as objective (see on Romans 8:24). Comp. Eur. Alc. 131; Job 2:9; Isaiah 28:10; Titus 2:13; and comp. on Galatians 5:5.


Verse 16

Acts 24:16. ἐν τούτῳ] on this account, as in John 16:30. It refers to the whole contents of the confession just expressed in Acts 24:14-15, as that on which the moral striving, which Paul constantly ( διαπαντ.) has, has its causal basis.

καὶ αὐτός] et ipse, like other true confessors of this faith and this hope.

ἀσκῶ] I exercise myself, i.e. in eo laboro, studeo (Stallb. ad Plat. Rep. p. 389 C); often also in classical writers with the infinitive. See Sturz, Lex. Xen. I. p. 439.

πρὸς τὸν θεὸν κ. τ. λ.] ethical reference (Romans 5:1). The good conscience (Acts 23:1) is conceived as having suffered no offence ( ἀπρόσκ., here passive, comp. on Philippians 1:10), i.e. as unshaken, preserved in its unimpaired equilibrium.


Verse 17

Acts 24:17. δἰ ἐτῶν δὲ πλειόνων] interjectis autem pluribus annis. The δέ leads over to the defence on the special point of accusation in Acts 24:6. Regarding διά, after,(154) see on Galatians 2:1. Paul means the four years, which had elapsed since his last visit to Jerusalem, Acts 18:22. How does the very fact of this long alibi, preceding the short period of my present visit, witness against that accusation!

εἰς τὸ ἔθνος μου] for my nation. What a contrast in this patriotic love to the hostile calumnies of his accusers! And Paul might so speak, for the Greek and Asiatic contributions which he had brought (1 Corinthians 16:1 ff.; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 15:25) were destined for the support of the Jerusalem Christians, who for the most part consisted of native Jews. If he conveyed alms for these, he assisted in them his nation, in doing which he cherished the national point of view, that the Gentiles, having become partakers of the spiritual blessings of the Jews, owed corporeal aid to these in turn (Romans 15:27).

προσφοράς] i.e. festival offerings. The performance of these had been among the objects of the journey. The taking on him the Nazarite offerings was only induced after his arrival by circumstances. Whether Paul defrayed the expenses of the Nazarite offerings from the contribution-moneys (Baumgarten), is neither here nor elsewhere said, and cannot be determined.


Verse 18-19

Acts 24:18-19. ἐν οἷς, during which (applies to the προσφοράς), during which sacrificial occupations. “Graeci, licet alius generis nomen praecesserit, saepe neutro plurali pronominis utuntur, generalem vocabuli notionem respicientes,” Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. vii. 7. 14. Comp. Matthiae, p. 987; Poppo, ad Thuc. iii. 97. 3.

ἡγνισμένον] purified, as a Nazarite (see Acts 21:27), thus, in an unobjectionable and holy condition, without multitude and without tumult.

A point is not, with Griesbach, Scholz, and de Wette, to be placed after θορύβου, because otherwise τινὲς δὲ κ. τ. λ. would be an imperfect sentence, which the simplicity of the structure of the discourse (it is otherwise in Acts 24:5 f.) does not justify our assuming. Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Bornemann have correctly put only a comma. It is accordingly to be explained in such a way, that Paul with εὗροντινὲς δὲ κ. τ. λ. glances back to what was said in Acts 24:5 f., which had sounded as if the Sanhedrists had found him. On the other hand, τινὲς δέ forms the contrast, introducing the actual position of the matter, in which δέ withal refers to suppressam aliquam partem sententiae (Hermann, ad Philoctet. 16), thus: Thereupon there found me—not these, as they asserted, Acts 24:5,—but doubtless certain Asiatic Jews. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luk. p. 184, and in Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 278.

ἔδει] The sense of the praeterite, and that without ἄν, is here essential; for the Asiatics must have appeared, like the Sanhedrists, before the procurator, if they, etc. That this did not happen, is a fact of the past. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 187 [E. T. 216 f.].

εἴ τι ἔχοιεν, in so far as they should have ought (subjective possibility). On εἰ with the optative, and in the following sentence the indicative, see Bernhardy, p. 386 f.; Winer, p. 276 [E. T. 367].


Verse 20-21

Acts 24:20-21. Or else (as certainly those absent can make no statement, comp. Baeumlein, Partik. p. 126 f.) let these there (pointing to the Sanhedrists present) say what wrong they found in me, while I stood before the Sanhedrim, unless in respect to this one exclamation, which I made, etc.

στάντος μου κ. τ. λ. forbids us to refer οὗτοι to the Asiatic Jews, Acts 24:18 (Ewald). Comp. Acts 24:15.

περὶ μιᾶς ταύτης φωνῆς] The comparative after τί without ἄλλο is found also in the classics, Alciphr. Ep. iii. 21; Plat. Crit. p. 53 E Kühner, § 747, A. 1. Comp. on John 13:10. The article is not placed before φωνῆς, because the sense is: περὶ ταύτης μιᾶς οὔσης φωνῆς (Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 7. 5). Comp. Stallb. ad Plat. Apol. 18 A, Gorg. p. 510 D. The exclamation, Acts 23:6, was really the only one which Paul had made in the Sanhedrim. περί refers back to ἀδίκημα. In respect of this exclamation I must have offended, if they have found an ἀδίκημα in me! In this one exclamation must lie the crime discovered in me! A holy irony.

ἧς instead of ἥν, attracted by φωνῆς, Buttmann, neut. Gr. 247 [E. T. 287].


Verse 22

Acts 24:22. With the frank challenge to his accusers (Acts 24:20-21) Paul closes his speech. But Felix, who declares that he wished still to institute a further examination of the matter with the assistance of Lysias, decides for the present on an adjournment: ἀνεβάλετο αὐτούς, ampliavit eos (both parties). He pronounced until further investigation the non liquet (Cic. Cluent. 28, Brisson. formul.), and for the time being adjourned the settlement of the accusation. See on the judicial term ἀναβάλλεσθαι (Dem. 1042 ult.), Wetstein, and Kypke, II. p. 123 f.

ἀκριβέστερον εἰδὼς τὰ περὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ] The only correct interpretation is: because he knew more exactly what referred to Christianity (Acts 24:14). As Felix had been procurator for more than six years, and as Christianity was diffused everywhere in Judaea, even in Caesarea itself, it was natural that he should have an ἀκριβέστερον knowledge of the circumstances of that religion than was given to him in the present discussion; therefore he considered it the most fitting course to leave the matter still in suspense. In doing so he prudently satisfied, on the one hand, his regard for the favour of the Jews (comp. Acts 24:27) by not giving Paul his liberty; while, on the other hand, he satisfied his better intelligence about Christianity, by which, notwithstanding his badness in other respects, he felt himself precluded from pleasing the Jews and condemning the apostle. This connection, which in essentials the Vulgate, Chrysostom, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Wolf, and others (comp. Bengel: “consilia dilatoria, tuta mundo in rebus divinis”) have expressed, has been often mistaken. Beza and Grotius, followed by Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, and Ewald, regard ἀκριβέστερονὁδοῦ as part of the speech of Felix: “Ubi exactius didicero, quid sit de hac secta, et ubi Lysias venerit, causam illam terminabo” (Grotius). But so late a bringing in of the εἰπών is entirely without precedent in the N.T. (see also Bornemann, and Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 281 f.). Michaelis and Morus resolve εἰδώς by quamquam; notwithstanding his better knowledge of Christianity, Felix did not release Paul. But this resolution is the less suggested by the relation of the participle to the verb, as afterwards, Acts 24:23, the specially mild treatment of the apostle is expressly stated. According to de Wette (comp. Wetstein), the sense is: “As he needed no further hearing of the accused, and it was only necessary now to hear the tribune.” But the reference to the tribune is only to be regarded as a welcome pretext and evasion; an actual hearing of Lysias would have been reported in the sequel of the history. Lastly, Kuinoel erroneously renders: when he had inquired more exactly, which εἰδώς does not mean.

τὰ καθʼ ὑμᾶς] your matters, not: your misdeeds (so Böttger, Beitr. II. p. 12, as a threat to the Jews), as if it were τὰ καθʼ ὑμῶν. On διαγνώσ., comp. Acts 23:15.


Verse 23

Acts 24:23. διαταξ.] belongs, like εἰπών, to ἀνεβάλετο, and (yet τέ has preponderant testimony against it) having given orders. Comp. κελεύσας, Acts 23:35.

τηρεῖσθαι αὐτὸν κ. τ. λ.] that he should be kept in custody and should have relaxation. He was to have rest (“requiem,” Vulgate), to be spared all annoyance. Comp. Plat. Pol. ix. p. 590 B: χαλάσει τε καὶ ἀνέσει. Polyb. i. 66. 10 : ἄνεσις καὶ σχολή. Joseph. Antt. xviii. 6. 10 : φυλακὴ μὲν γὰρ καὶ τήρησις ἦν, μετὰ μέντοι ἀνέσεως τῆς εἰς τὴν δίαιταν. So correctly also Wieseler, p. 381. Usually ἄνεσιν is understood of release from chains, custodia libera, φυλακὴ ἄδεσμος (Arrian. ii. 15. 7; see on it, Geib, Gesch. d. Rôm. Criminalprocesses, p. 562 f.); but without indication of this special reference in the text, and against Acts 24:27. From τῷ ἑκατοντάρχῃ it is rather to be inferred that the present custody was the usual custodia militaris, in which, however, Paul was to be treated with mildness and to be left without other molestation.

καὶ μηδένα κωλύειν] the construction is active: and that he (the centurion) should hinder no one.

τῶν ἰδίων αὐτοῦ] is not to be understood of the Jewish servants of the procurator, but of those belonging to the apostle. They were his friends and disciples, among whom were perhaps also relatives (Acts 23:16). They were allowed to be at hand and serviceable for the satisfaction of his wants.


Verse 24

Acts 24:24. παραγεν.] denotes the coming along of Felix and Drusilla to the prison (Acts 23:35), where they wished to hear Paul. Grotius thinks that it refers to the fetching of Drusilla as his wife, which took place at this time. But this must have been more precisely indicated, and is also not chronologically suitable, as the marriage of Felix with Drusilla occurred much earlier (53 or 54). See Wieseler, p. 80.

On the beautiful Drusilla, the third wife of Felix (Suet. Claud. 28), the daughter of Agrippa I. and sister of Agrippa II., who was at first betrothed to Antiochus Epiphanes, the prince of Commagene, but afterwards, because the latter would not allow himself to be circumcised, was married to Azizus, king of Emesa (Joseph. Antt. xx. 7. 1), and lastly was, with the help of the sorcerer Simon, estranged from her husband and married by Felix (whose first wife, according to Tac. Hist. v. 9 the granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra,(155) is said to have been also called Drusilla), see Gerlach in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1869, p. 68 f.; Ewald, p. 556 ff.

μετεπέμψ. τ. π.] certainly at the desire of his Jewish wife, whose curiosity was interested about so well known a preacher of Christ.


Verse 25-26

Acts 24:25-26. What a sacredly bold fidelity to his calling! Before one, who practised all manner of unrighteousness and incontinence (the victim of his lust sat beside him!), “cuncta malefacta sibi impune ratus” (Tac. Ann. xii. 54), Paul, his defenceless prisoner, discoursed on righteousness, continence, and the impending last judgment. Such is the majesty of the apostolic spirit in its ἀπόδειξις (1 Corinthians 2:4). The extraordinary phenomenon strikes even the heart of Felix; he trembles. But his ruling worldliness quickly suppresses the disturbing promptings of his conscience; with the address of a man of the world, the conference is broken off; Paul is sent back to his prison; and Felix—remains reprobate enough to expect from such a man, and in spite of the Lex Julia de repetundis, a bribe, and for this purpose in fact subsequently to hold several conversations with him.

τὸ νῦν ἔχον] for the present. See Kypke, II. p. 124; Bornemann and Rosenmüller, Repert. II. p. 282.

καιρὸν δὲ μεταλ.] tempus opportunum nactus. Here consequently Paul had spoken ἀκαίρως, 2 Timothy 4:2.

A comma only is to be placed after μετακαλ. σε, as ἐλπίζων, Acts 24:26, does not stand for the finite verb, but is a further definition to ἀπεκρίθη. Also before διό (wherefore) a comma only is to be placed.

χρήματα] Certainly Felix had not remained in ignorance how the love of the Christians had their money in readiness for Paul. “Sic thesaurum evangelii omisit infelix Felix,” Bengel.


Verse 27

Acts 24:27. διετίας δὲ πληρωθ.] namely, from the commencement of the imprisonment at Caesarea.

On the time of the accession of Festus (61), see Introd. § 4.(156)

χάριτα (see the critical remarks) καταθέσθαι, to lay down (deposit) thanks for himself, i.e. to earn for himself thanks (Acts 25:9), to establish claims to their gratitude. An old classical expression (Herod. vi. 41). See Krüger on Thuc. i. 33. 1. Grotius aptly says: “Est locutio bene Graeca … quales locutiones non paucas habet Lucas, ubi non alios inducit loquentes, sed ipse loquitur, et quidem de rebus ad religionem non pertinentibus.” The form χάριτα, only here and in Jude 1:4 in the N.T., is also found in classical poets and prose writers, although less common than χάριν.

δεδεμένον] According to what was remarked on Acts 24:23, Paul had not hitherto been released from chains; and therefore we have not to suppose that Felix on his departure changed the captivity of the apostle, which was previously free from chains (but see on Acts 24:23), into the custodia militaris allowable even in the case of Roman citizens, in which the prisoner was bound by a chain to the soldier who kept him. This period of two years in the life of the apostle, we may add, remains to us, as far as the Book of Acts goes, so completely unknown, that we are not in a position (with Ewald and Otto) to maintain that no letters of his from that interval could be in existence.

Of Porcius Festus, the better successor of Felix, little is known except his energetic measures against the sicarii. See Joseph. Antt. xx. 8. 9 f. to xx. 9. 1, Bell. ii. 14. 1. He died in the following year, and was succeeded by Albinus, whose knavery was yet surpassed by that of his successor, Gessius Florus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 24:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-24.html. 1832.

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