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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Acts 23

 

 

Verses 12-35

SECTION III

PAUL IS CONVEYED FROM JERUSALEM TO CESAREA, AND THERE SPEAKS IN DEFENCE OF HIMSELF BEFORE THE ROMAN PROCURATOR FELIX, AND, SUBSEQUENTLY, BEFORE HIS SUCCESSOR FESTUS, AS WELL AS BEFORE KING AGRIPPA II

Acts 23:12 to Acts 26:32

A.—A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE LIFE OF PAUL HAVING BEEN DISCOVERED, HE IS SENT, FOR THE SAFETY OF HIS PERSON, TO CESAREA, WHERE HE IS PLACED IN THE CHARGE OF FELIX, THE ROMAN PROCURATOR

Acts 23:12-35

12 And [But] when it was day, certain of the Jews [day, the Jews[FN6]] banded together [combined], and bound themselves under a curse [themselves by an oath[FN7]], saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had [should have] killed Paul 13 And they [But there] were more than forty which had [forty men who] made this conspiracy 14 And they [These] came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great [solemn] curse, that we will eat [taste] nothing until we have slain Paul 15 Now therefore ye with the council signify [give notice] to the chief captain [the tribune] that he [should] bring him down unto you to morrow [om. to morrow[FN8]], as though ye would inquire something more perfectly [as if ye were about to inquire more thoroughly] concerning him [into his case]: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him [but we are ready to kill him, before he comes near.] 16And when [However (δὲ),] Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he [of the plot, and] went and entered into the castle [barracks], and told Paul 17 Then [But] Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain [tribune]: for he hath a certain thing [something] to tell him 18 So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain [tribune], and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed [asked] me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee 19 Then [But] the chief captain [tribune] took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately [withdrew to a private place], and asked him, What is [it] that thou hast to tell me? 20And [But] he said, The [That the] Jews have agreed [together] to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into [before] the council [chief council, τὸ συνέδριον], as though they would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly [as if the council would[FN9] institute a more thorough investigation concerning him]. 21But do not thou yield unto [thou be persuaded thereto by] them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which [who] have bound themselves with an oath [as in Acts 23:12], that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee [waiting for thy promise]. 22So the chief captain then let the young man depart [Then ( μὲν οὖν χ.) the tribune dismissed the young man], and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me [charged him to tell no one, that he had disclosed this to him, πρός με]. And he called unto him two [of the, δύο τινὰς τῶν ἐχ.] centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Cesarea, and horsemen three score and ten [seventy horsemen], and spearmen [and of light-armed men] two hundred, at the third hour of the night; 24And provide them, [And they were also to provide] beasts, that they may [might] set Paul on, and [to] bring him safe [in safety] unto Felix the governor 25 And he wrote a letter after this manner: 26Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent [the noble] governor Felix sendeth greeting 27 This man was taken of [seized by] the Jews, and should have been killed of [and was on the point of being killed by] them: then came I with an army [with the soldiery (τῷ στρατεύματι, as in Acts 23:10)], and rescued him, having understood [learned] that he was a Roman [citizen]. 28And when I would have known the cause wherefore [And as I wished to ascertain the grounds on which] they accused him, I brought him forth [down, κατήγαγον] into their council: 29Whom I perceived to be accused [only on account] of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds [imprisonment]. 30And [But] when it was told me how [om. how] that the Jews laid [that they[FN10] would lay] wait for the Prayer of Manasseh, I sent [him] straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his [gave notice to the] accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell [that they should speak before thee (om. what they … … Farewell)[FN11]].

31Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by [during the, διὰ τῆς ν.] night to Antipatris32[But] On the morrow [next day] they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle [barracks]: 33Who [But these], when they came to Cesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him 34 And when the governor [But when he[FN12]] had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood [learned] that he was of Cilicia; 35I will hear thee, said Hebrews, when thine accusers are also come [also here]. And he commanded[FN13] him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall [in Herod’s palace].

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Acts 23:12-13. And when it was day.—Οἱ Ιουδαῖοιi.e., the Jewish party; the details are given in Acts 23:13. Συστροφή, Isaiah, here, an unauthorized and lawless combination, a conspiracy. Ἀναθεματίζειν ἑαυτ., they pronounced a curse, an imprecation on themselves (חֵרֶם) if they should taste any thing before they had slain Paul. [See ἀνάθεμα, etc, in Schleusner: Thes. sive Lex. in LXX. I:221.—“Bound themselves under a curse, in Greek, anathematized themselves … Anathema—among the Jews seems to have been used to represent a Hebrew word denoting an irrevocable vow, or something consecrated either to God’s special service or to irremissible destruction .… These Jews invoked the curse upon themselves if they should prove false to the pledge which they had given.” (Alex).—Tr.]. It may, at the same time, be remarked that the Talmud provided a loop-hole, that Isaiah, furnished the means for releasing an individual from the vow and the curse, if the performance of the former became impossible; the wise Jewish teachers could free him from his vow. Lightfoot has quoted the passage from Abodah Zarah [in Horæ Hebr. et. Talm. ad loc., where he gives the following version: Homini qui vovit se abstenturum a cibo, væ si edat, væ si non edat. Si edat, peccat in votum suum: si non edat, peccat in vitam suam. Quid ei hic faciendum? Adeat sapientes, et illi solvent ei votum suum. Sicut scribitur: Lingua sapientum est sanitas, Proverbs 12:18.Tr.]. Ἕως οὖ with the subjunctive [Winer, § 413] indicates their belief that the result which they desired, would inevitably follow.

Acts 23:14-15. And they came to the chief priests.—The conspirators, in order to gain their object, applied to the authorities—doubtless, primarily, to the chief priests and members of the Great Council who entertained Sadducean views. It was their wish that the whole Sanhedrin (ὑμεῖς σὺν τῷ συνεδρίῳ) would request the Roman commander to bring the prisoner before them, so that they themselves might way-lay him, and thus find an opportunity to assassinate him before he could reach the assembly (πρὸ τοῦ ἐγγίσαι). [Ἔτοιμοί—τοῦ ἀνελεῖν—for the genitive of the design and the result (τοῦ with the infin.) see Winer, § 444.—Tr.]

Acts 23:16. And when Paul’s sister’s son heard.—We have no other information respecting this young man; Bengel explains his discovery of the murderous design, by assuming that strict secrecy had not been observed, as none suspected that tidings of it could possibly reach Paul or the Roman tribune. [Alford supposes that the young man was, like Paul himself at an earlier period, receiving instruction in the schools in Jerusalem, and may there have heard the scheme mentioned.—Tr.]. The circumstance shows that the apostle was not so rigorously confined, as to prevent the approach of a third person. Still, he was a δέσμιος, Acts 23:18, and was probably held, as at Rome, Acts 28:16, in custodia militaris, chained to a soldier who guarded him.

Acts 23:17-22. Paul called one of the centurions.—In order to keep the matter as secret as possible, Paul simply requests the centurion, without explaining his purpose, to conduct the young man to the tribune, to whom the information was to be given. The latter courteously received the young Prayer of Manasseh, took him by the hand in a manner which inspired confidence, and led him to a spot where they could converse without witnesses (κατʼ ἰδίαν, confidentially). [“The English version changes the construction for the sake of uniformity, the Greek abruptly passing from the third to the first and second persons, (literally translated): charging him to tell no one, that thou hast disclosed these things unto me. The same end might have been secured by inserting saith he, as in Acts 1:4.” (Alex.).—On this and other instances of a transition from the oratio obliqua to the recta, see Winer: Gram. § 63. II:2.—Tr.]

Acts 23:23-24. Make ready two hundred soldiers.—A military force, consisting of470 men, was directed to escort the prisoner, in order to protect him not only against the plots of assassins, but also against any open attempt on his life. The force consisted of heavy-armed foot soldiers (which signification the context assigns to στρατιῶται), a small squadron of cavalry, and a body of light-armed foot-soldiers. Δεξιολάβοι is a word not found in any classic Greek writer [“perhaps frequently occurring at that period in the popular language, but not adopted by writers.” (Meyer).—Tr.], and occurs only in two passages of later writers [mentioned in Rob. Lex. ad verb.—Tr.], in one of which [quoted by Grotius, Meyer and Alford], the word is introduced in connection with bowmen and men armed with a light shield. The explanation that, the δεξιολάβοι were halberdiers, or life-guardsmen (protecting the right side of the commander), cannot be accepted; they were, on the contrary, soldiers who seized the weapon with the right hand, whether it was a javelin or sling, and who were, accordingly, either javelinmen or slingers. Ewald’s conjecture that the slingers were Arabian auxiliary troops, Isaiah, very probably, in accordance with the fact, as those regions had, from early times, been celebrated for their slingers. The reading in Cod. Alexand. [A.], which Lachmann preferred, viz, δεξιοβόλους, accords with this view, although that reading itself is doubtless a later correction. [Meyer also regards the latter (δεξιός and βάλλω), as a correct interpretation of the original word, δεξιολάβ. (δεξιός and λαμβάνω). The reading of the text. rec. is sustained by B (e sil). E. G. H, also Cod. Sin.—Tr.]. Ἀπὸ τρίτ ὥρ., at the third hour of the night, i.e., the men. were to be ready to march at nine o’clock in the evening, or as soon afterwards as the order that they should proceed, arrived; it was intended that their movements should be concealed by the darkness of the night. It was also ordered that several beasts of burden, i.e., horses or mules, should be in readiness, so that they might relieve one another. [They were not intended, as Kuinoel says, in usum Pauli et militis ipsius custodis, but solely in usum Pauli, as the words ἵνα ἐπιβ. τ. Παῦλ. plainly show (Meyer).—Tr.]. Διασώζειν is equivalent to: to conduct to a place of safety. Bengel makes an exceedingly ingenious and happy remark on the transition from the direct [oratio recta] to the indirect [or. obliqua—comp. Exeg. note on Acts 23:17-22, ult.—Tr.] form of speech, Acts 23:24 : παραστῆσαι, ἵναδιασώσωσι: namely, this change of construction corresponds to the facts themselves, for the tribune did not at first announce that the object of the march was to furnish Paul with a military escort. Hence the design of the whole expedition, which was at first kept secret, is stated in ἵναδιασώσωσι, and, in order to express this plainly, the transition already begins with παραστῆσαι.

Acts 23:25-30. a. Felix.—[“Since the death of Herod Agrippa, recorded in Acts 12:23, Judea had again become a part of the great Roman province of Syria, and was governed by deputies (or procurators) of the Syrian proconsul.” (Alex.).—Tr.]. He was at that time the procurator of Judea, and is mentioned by Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius. His full name was Antonius Felix. He was a freedman of the emperor Claudius (Tac. Hist. V:9), and a brother of Pallas, one of the favorites of Nero, and was appointed procurator by Claudius in the year A. D53, after the deposition of Cumanus. But, as Tacitus says (loc. cit.), he exercised the power of a king in the spirit of a slave [jus regium servili ingenio exercuit], and was, hence, subsequently recalled, about A. D60 or61; the imperial favor, however, which his brother Pallas enjoyed, protected him against the accusations of the Jews.—Grammatically, γράψας, in Acts 23:25, belongs to εἶπεν in Acts 23:23; but, as a matter of fact, the letter, which was intended to state the case to the procurator, may possibly have been written at a somewhat later period. Τύπος, exemplum, indicates that the contents of the letter are given in their original form and extent. [“Luke with his inquisitive habits (see his Gospel Acts 1:1) would find an opportunity to copy the letter during his abode of two years at Cesarea.” (Hackett).—Tr.]

b. Having understood that he was a Roman.—Ἀυτόν after ἐξειλόμην, is pleonastic. Μαθών implies, in the connection in which it stands, that Claudius Lysias had ascertained, before Paul’s life was in danger, that he was a Roman citizen, and that it was precisely this circumstance which had induced him to interfere, in order to rescue him. But this statement is entirely inconsistent with the facts themselves, Acts 21:31 ff, and comp. Acts 22:25 ff. The attempt has, therefore, been made to reconcile the two by assuming that μαθών is used without any reference to a particular time (Grotius), or else, that the writer of the letter alludes to the second rescue, Acts 23:10 (Du Bois). But all such explanations are instances of art perversely applied. The tribune undoubtedly intended, for the sake of exhibiting his zeal in the public service in a favorable light, to say that he had rescued the man from death, because he knew that he was a Roman citizen. Personal considerations induced him to give a distorted view of the facts that had occurred. And this comparatively trivial circumstance affords evidence, as Meyer correctly observes, of the genuineness of the letter. The words μηνυθείσηςμέλλειν ἔσεσθαι exhibit negligence in the arrangement of the terms of the sentence, as two different constructions are combined. [“He writes hastily, and mixes two constructions together: 1. μηνυθείσης δέ μοι ἐπιβουλῆς τῆς μελλούσης ἔσεσθαι, and, 2. μηνυθέντος δέ μοι ἐπιβουλὴν μέλλειν ἔσεσθαι.—See Winer, § 63. I:1.” (Meyer).—Tr.]

Acts 23:31-33. Took Paul, and brought him.—Ἀναλαβόντες is descriptive of the act of placing Paul on a beast of burden. After a rapid night march, he and the escort reached Antipatris, a city which Herod the Great had built, and named after his father Antipater. It was situated in a plain, at a distance of 42 Roman, that Isaiah, 7 or8 [German] geographical miles from Jerusalem. Hence the escort, which had commenced the march at9 o’clock on the previous evening, must have reached this station in the course of the forenoon. The foot-soldiers proceeded no further than Antipatris, but returned to Jerusalem [where their aid might possibly be needed, if any tumult should occur, while the safety of Paul no longer required so strong a force (Meyer).—Tr.]. The horsemen continued to escort the prisoner until they reached Cesarea, which was26 Roman miles distant from Antipatris. [See the full account of the road, etc, in Conyb. and Howson’s Life, etc, of St. Paul, Acts 21, where Mr. Howson says, in the text, and a note: “It is to the quick journey and energetic researches of an American traveller, that we owe the power of following the exact course of this night march from Jerusalem to Cesarea.—See ‘A visit to Antipatris,’ by the Rev. Eli Smith, missionary in Palestine, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. I. p478–496.” (Conyb., etc, II:275).—Tr.]

Acts 23:34-35, And when the governor [when he] had read the letter.—Felix addressed only one question to Paul, which referred to the latter personally, as the epistle stated that he was a Roman citizen, without mentioning his residence. Διακούειν means ad finem usque audire, to give a full hearing, Τὸ πραιτώριον Ἡρώδου was the name which the palace, built by Herod the Great, received only after it was occupied by the Roman governors. The apostle was, as it here appears, not confined in a public prison [probably in consequence of the favorable statement made in the letter,—Tr.], but was placed in an apartment of the same palace in which the procurator resided.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. The promise of divine protection which was conveyed by the word θάρσει, Acts 23:11, was very speedily fulfilled. The enemies of the apostle pursued him with a deadly hatred; the number of the conspirators was large, their plot was carefully arranged; and yet the almighty protection of the Redeemer secured His servant from harm. That which was concerted in secret, He made manifest; the designs of wicked men were frustrated by a superior military force. Thus the exalted Redeemer rules in the midst of His enemies [ Psalm 110:2.].

2. A body-guard, consisting of nearly500 men, accompanies the apostle; he had never before been attended by such a force, or appeared with such a large retinue. For the consideration which was thus paid to him, he was, no doubt, primarily indebted to his Roman citizenship. Still, it is equally true that his personal safety required such a strong force. Christ not only protects, but also honor’s His people. And the unsought honor which a child of God in this manner often obtains, reflects its rays of glory on Him, by whose grace a converted sinner is what he is [ 1 Corinthians 15:10].

3. The personal innocence of Paul is attested by the Roman tribune; the latter, however, at the same time employs language which shows that he regarded the whole case, and the faith, with very little respect, Acts 23:29. He was a man of the world, and looked on religion and its concerns as matters of secondary importance. And yet he is influenced to employ a considerable part of the military force which he commanded, in the service of Paul. Thus the world, even when entertaining designs of an opposite nature, is so controlled as to serve the kingdom of God, and exalt the honor of Christ.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Acts 23:12. Bound themselves … that they would neither eat nor drink.—What burdens men are willing to assume, for the purpose of opposing the kingdom of God! What happy results would have already followed, if its friends were equally willing to make sacrifices in promoting its interests, and were as firmly united together!

Acts 23:13. And they were more than forty.—What a bundle [Mtt. Acts 13:30] these tares will hereafter make, when they shall be bound together! (Rieger).

Acts 23:14. And they came to the chief priests.—The high priest, who, when he performed the duties of his office, exhibited on his mitre the words: ‘Holiness to the Lord,’ and on his breastplate ‘Lights and Perfections’ [ Exodus 28:30-36], allows himself to be made the leader of a band of sworn assassins. Such is the result of a false religious zeal, and such the fruit of an unrenewed heart. O that it had been the only example of this kind! (Ap. Past.).

Acts 23:15. As though ye would inquire … and we are ready.—These are Cain’s saints, who conceal the murderer’s club behind the veil of the law. (Starke).

Acts 23:16. And when Paul’s sister’s son heard.—We know not whether this youth was already a Christian, or still a Jew, nor do we know the means by which he discovered the plot; it is enough for us that God was pleased to employ him as the guardian angel of the apostle.—The Lord, who rules over the angels, and can command the earthquake, employs a lad on this occasion, in executing His purpose, so that the words in Psalm 7:14-16 might be fulfilled. (Besser).

Acts 23:17. Then Paul called one of the centurions.—He had received Christ’s own promise of protection, Acts 23:11, but he did not on that account neglect to avail himself of ordinary means of protecting himself; these means were, on the contrary, in his eyes the stretched-out saving hand of the Lord.—Observe that, while Paul trusts in God, he does not neglect the use of ordinary means.—Here, too, Luther resembles him. He submitted to the circumstances after his interview with Cajetan, escaped from the city of Augsburg by night, and rode eight [German, nearly forty English] miles, until he reached a place of safety. (Besser).

Acts 23:19. Then the chief captain took him by the hand, etc.—Thus heaven gave additional signs; for these men had the time and the inclination to listen to the young man kindly, which was not their usual manner. (Williger).—Even pagans exhibit a certain natural uprightness and fidelity; but, alas! how rare have such qualities become among Christians! Hosea 4:1. (Starke).

Acts 23:23. Make ready two hundred soldiers, etc.—Here Paul travels in state, like a great lord; he is now great in the eyes of God, for he that feareth the Lord, is greater than he that taketh a city [ Proverbs 16:32], At other times he travelled wearily on foot, but now he rides. He doubtless reflected on the truth that all things, even the beasts of the field, are the Lord’s, and are bound to serve Him. (Bogatzky).—This escort of pagan soldiers is a striking emblem of the soldiers of the Lord, who “encamp round about them that fear him” [ Psalm 34:7]. God is the God of hosts in the kingdom of spirits and of men, and he employs them, according to His own good pleasure, in protecting His people. By his providential care, five hundred men protect His apostle against forty bandits. (Ap. Past.).

Acts 23:24. And bring him safe unto Felix.—Who that reads of Paul, attended by his military guard, does not at once think of Luther, his brother in spirit, his successor in office, the partner of his fortunes—how he was taken by armed men, and safely conducted to the castle of Wart-burg?

Acts 23:25. Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent, etc.—Lysias does not, in the faintest manner, conceive of the value of the present which he bestows on Felix, when he sends Paul to him. It is true that Felix did not appreciate the gift, Acts 24. Still, Paul’s countenance presented another letter of commendation, for it was there written ‘Governor Felix! God saluteth thee with salvation and peace!’ O that he had understood this letter! (Williger).

Acts 23:27. This man was taken of the Jews, etc.—When we examine this letter, we perceive that the pagan writes with more honesty and equity than the orthodox Jews speak. And even in our day, Paul fares better with Lysias and Felix, than he does with those who profess to adhere to the letter, but who deny the spirit. (Gossner).

Acts 23:29. Accused of questions of the law.—This is the language of a heathen, who thinks that the religious disputes of the Jews are entitled to no consideration. But this opinion was the means, in the providence of God, of rescuing Paul from the hands of murderers. (Starke).

Acts 23:35. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.—We have here another instance of God’s tender care for his servant, in granting him repose, and a favorable season for prayer, so that he might be strengthened in the Lord, and prepare himself for the witness which he was to bear in Jerusalem. He was protected not only by the guard of the governor, but also by the good hand of his faithful Lord and Saviour. He was thus enabled, after escaping the perils of the road, to perceive the evidence of the divine protection which he enjoyed, and he saw that he was conducted more and more nearly to Rome, his point of destination, and, indeed, to his own happy end. He was strong in faith, and glorified God. He became more and more firm in his resolution to deliver his apostolical testimony, and he was well prepared for any future event. The pauses which the Lord sometimes allows us in our labors and sufferings, are intended to render us similar services. (Ap. Past.).

ON THE WHOLE SECTION, Acts 23:12-35The Lord protects his people: I. They need His protection against the insidious designs of enemies; (a) these enemies form combinations against righteous men, Acts 23:12-13; (b) and, at the same time, often assume the mask of religion, Acts 23:14-15. II. The protection of the Lord is extended to them; (a) He exposes the malice of their enemies, Acts 23:16; (b) and influences the hearts of men with a view to the welfare of His people, Acts 23:17-22. (Lisco).

The murderous plot of Paul’s enemies, and the gracious covenant of his Lord: I. Those enemies were powerful, in consequence of (a) their number—forty against one; (b) their ultimate design—they were bound by an oath to kill him; (c) the means which they employed—cunning and deceit. But, II. The Lord, who made a covenant with His servant, was far more powerful (“Be of good cheer, etc,” Acts 23:11); (a) He exposed the plot formed by those enemies; (b) He raised up for the apostle protectors, who were more powerful than his enemies—against the high priest, the Roman commander; against the40 conspirators, more than400 soldiers; (c) He led him forth, unharmed, out of the toils of his enemies.

Rejoice, ye righteous, for the Lord is with His people! I. He gives them inward strength by the assurance of His grace, Acts 23:14; II. He exposes the devices of his enemies, Acts 23:16; III. He raises up for them active friends (Paul’s sister’s son), and powerful protectors (Lysias);. IV. He conducts them safely through the midst of their enemies (Paul’s military escort on leaving the city); V. He furnishes them with honorable credentials (the letter of Lysias to Felix);

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them,’ Psalm 34:7. The protecting angel approaches the apostle in a threefold form: I. As a comforting vision, in the prison, Acts 23:11; II. As a tender friend, in the person of his sister’s Song of Solomon, Acts 23:16 ff.; III. As a powerful body-guard, in the form of Roman soldiers, Acts 23:23 ff.(Comp. 2 Kings 6:17 : “Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”).

Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19 : I. The afflictions of the righteous; II. The divine deliverance —‘Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.’ 2 Kings 6:16 : I. With them are (a) wicked designs to commit murder, Acts 23:12 : (b) numerous confederates, Acts 23:13; (c) powerful assistants, Acts 23:14-15. But, II. With us are (a) divine promises of peace, Acts 23:11; (b) the hearts of praying friends, Acts 23:16; (c) the protecting hosts of the Lord, Acts 23:22 ff.

The hearts of men are in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, and are turned unto the welfare of His people [ Proverbs 21:1]: I. He smites artful foes with blindness, so that their murderous plot is divulged, Acts 23:16. II. He arms the timid youth—Paul’s sister’s son—with resolution and firmness, so that he reaches the presence of the commanding officer; III. He touches the conscience of the Roman commander, so that he provides for the safety of the apostle, as if a crowned head were in danger.

Paul’s final departure from Jerusalem: viewed, I. As the mournful departure of a witness of the truth, whose message of salvation was rejected by his deluded people; II. As the brilliant triumphal march of an anointed servant of God, whom the Lord conducts as a victor through the midst of his enemies; III. As the solemn homeward journey of a soldier of Christ, who is drawing near to his last battle, his last victory, and his last reward.

Footnotes:

FN#6 - as in text. rec.], which is a correction, as it was assumed [by the copyists, in view of Acts 23:13] that only some were engaged in the plot. [Vulg. quidam ex Judæis; recent editors generally read ποιήσ. συστ. οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι.—Tr.]

FN#7 - Acts 23:12. b. [In place of: under a curse (or: with an oath, as the same Greek words are rendered in Acts 23:21), the translators of the Engl. Bible here propose in the margin: with an oath of execration; literally, anathematized themselves; see the Exeg. note.—Tr.]

FN#8 - Acts 23:15. αὔριον [of text. rec.] after ὅπως is attested only by the two latest manuscripts [G. H.]; it must be regarded as a gloss from Acts 23:20, as it is wanting alike in the greater number, and in the best, of the manuscripts [A. B. C. E. Cod. Sin, Vulg.—Tr.]

FN#9 - Acts 23:20. ὡς μέλλων is undoubtedly the original reading, and is also sustained by external testimony [A. B. E.], whereas μέλλοντες [of text. rec., with some minuscules, but derived from Acts 23:15 (Meyer)], μέλλοντα [in G. H.], and μελλόντων, [in some minuscules], are merely attempts to correct the original. [Μέλλων is adopted by Lach, Tisch, Born, and Alf.—Cod. Sin, (original) exhibits μέλλον which was afterwards corrected by C to μέλλοντων.—Tr.]

FN#10 - Acts 23:30. a. The words ὑπὸ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, after ἔσεσθαι, are wanting in the Vatican manuscript [B.], and in several minuscules: they are, without doubt, a later addition. [They are found in G. H, Syr. but not in Vulg, nor Cod. Sin.—For ἐξαυτῆς A. and E. substitute ἐξ αὐτῶν, which reading is adopted by Lach, and has since been found in Cod. Sin.—Tisch. and Alf. cancel ὑπο τ. Ἰ.—Ἐξαυτῆς, of text. rec., found in B. G. H, is omitted in A. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg, and is dropped by Lach, but retained by Tisch. and Alf.—Tr.]

FN#11 - Acts 23:30. b. τὰ πρὸς αὐτὸν, and ἔῤῥωσο [of text. rec.], are also to be suspected, on critical grounds, and must be regarded as glosses. [The words τὰ πρὸς αὐτὸν are found, with some variations (B. omitting τὰ; E.G. adding αὐτοὺς) in B. E. G. H.; they are retained by Alf.—Lach. and Tisch, with A, read simply αὐτοὺς after λεγειν, which is also the reading of Cod. Sin.—Ἔῤῥωσο is found in E. G. and Cod. Sin.; ἐῤῥώσθε in H.; the word is omitted in A. B, and is dropped by Lach, Tisch, and Alt. The Vulg. has Vale in the common printed editions, but Cod. Amiatinus omits the word.—Tr.]

FN#12 - Acts 23:34. ἡγεμών after ἀναγνοὺς δὲ is a spurious addition. [It is found in G. H, but omitted in A. B. E. Cod. Sin. Vulg, and is dropped by recent editors generally.—Tr.]

FN#13 - Acts 23:35. κελεύσας [without τε, found in A. B. E. Syr, and adopted by Lach, Tisch, Born, and Alf.] is better attested than ἐκέλευσέ τε [of text. rec., with G. H.—Cod. Sin. originally read κελεύσαντος, which was afterwards corrected by C to κελεύσας.—Vulg. jussitque.—Tr.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Acts 23:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/acts-23.html. 1857-84.

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