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Page 10, line three from bottom, read " sacred" instead of " second." 

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Page 147, line four from bottom, read "Stoa Poecile" for "Stoic 

Page 244, line two from top, read " Matthsei" for " Matthiae." 
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Section 1, Paul in Cyprus— Ch. xiii. 1-12, ... 1 

,, 2.^ Paul's Discourse at Pisidian Antioch— Ch. xiii. 13-41, 17 
„ 3. Effects of Paul's Speech at Pisidian Antioch — Ch. xiii. 

42-52, 34 

„ 4. Paul at Iconium and Lystra — Ch. xiv. 1-20, . 44 

,, 5. Paul's Return to Antioch— Ch. xiv. 21-28, . . 58 

,, 6. The Council of Jerusalem — Ch. xv. 1-21, . . 65 
On the Identity of this Visit to Jerusalem with 

the Visit mentioned in Gal. ii. 1-10, . . 80 

7. The Synodical Letter— Ch. xv. 22-35, . . 85 


8. Paul's Journey through Asia Minor — Ch. xv. 36-xvi. 8, 96 

9. Paul at Philippi— Ch. xvi. 9-40, . . .110 
10. Paul at Thessalonica and Berea — Ch. xvii. 1-15, . 131 
11* Paul at Athens— Ch. xvii. 16-34, . . .144 

12. Paul at Corinth: Close of Paul's Second Missionary 

Journey — Ch. xviii. 1-22, . '. . 165 

13. On Apollos— Ch. xviii. 23-28, . . .183 

14. Paul at Ephesus— Ch. xix. 1-20, . . .192 

15. The Tumult at Ephesus— Ch. xix. 2i-41, . . 209 

16. Paul's Journey through Macedonia and Proconsular 

Asia— Ch. xx. 1-16, . . . .226 


Section 17. Paul's Address to the Ephesian Elders— Ch. xx 

18. Paul's Journey to Jerusalem — Ch. xxi. 1-16, 

19. Occasion of Paul's Imprisonment — Ch. xxi. 17-40, 

20. Paul's Defence before the Jews — Ch. xxii. 1-29, 

21. Paul before the Sanhedrim — Ch. xxii. 30-xxiii. 11, 

22. Paul sent Prisoner to Csesarea — Ch. xxiii. 12-35, 

23. Paul before Felix— Ch. xxiv. 1-27, . 

24. Paul's Appeal to Caesar — Ch. xxv. 1-12, 

25. Paul brought before Agrippa — Ch. xxv. 13-27, 

26. Paul's Defence before Agrippa — Ch. xxvi. 1-32, 

27. Paul's Voyage to Rome : Arrival at Crete — Ch. xxvii. 
1-12, .... 

28. Paul's Shipwreck— Ch. xxvii. 13-44, 

29. Paul at Malta— Ch. xxviii. 1-10, . 

30. Paul's Journey from Malta to Rome — Ch 
11-16, . . 

31. Paul at Rome— Ch. xxviii. 17-31, . 
On Paul's Second Roman Imprisonment 







PAUL IN CYPRUS— Acts xiii. 1-12. 

1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church which was there, prophets 
and teachers, both Barnabas and Symeon called Niger, and Lucius the 
Cyrenian, and Manaen the comrade of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 
2 And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, 
Separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called 
them. 3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands 
on them, they sent them away. 

4 They, therefore, having been sent forth by the Holy Ghost, came 
down to Seleucia, and from that they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when 
they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues 
of the Jews : and they had also John as an attendant. 6 And when 
they had gone through the whole island unto Paphos, they found a cer- 
tain man, a Magian, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus ; 
7 Who was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man : the 
same having called for Barnabas and Saul, desired to hear the word of 
God. 8 But Elymas the Magian (for so is his name by interpretation) 
withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith. 
9 But Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, gazing 
stedfastly on him, said, 10 thou who art full of all deceit and all 
mischief, thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt 
thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, 
behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not 
seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist 
and darkness ; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 
12 Then the proconsul, when he saw what had happened, believed, being 
astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. 




Ver. 1. Tives after rjcrav Be, found in E, G, H, is wanting 
in A, B, D, a, and is rejected by most recent critics. Yer. 6. 
r/ 0\r]v before rr)v vrjaov is wanting in G, H, but is undoubt- 
edly genuine, being found in A, B, C, D, E, X. "AvBpa 
before tlvo, is omitted in G, H, but is fully attested, being 
found in A, B, C, D, E, «. It might easily have been 
omitted, being considered superfluous. 


The second part of the Acts of the Apostles commences 
with this section. Hitherto Luke had given an account of 
the progress of Christianity in general, and had narrated 
the labours of several evangelists ; but from this thirteenth 
chapter and onwards, he confines himself almost exclusively 
to the missionary labours of the new apostle Paul. 1 

Several critics suppose that the thirteenth and fourteenth 
chapters form a separate document, which Luke has incor- 
porated into his history. In proof of this hypothesis, they 
appeal to the form, the completeness, and the independence 
of the narrative. Bleek and Meyer suppose that this docu- 
ment proceeded from the church of Antioch, and was founded 
on the oral communications made to that church by the two 
missionaries. 2 Olshausen thinks that it is an extract from a 
fuller report sent directly to the mother church by Paul and 
Barnabas, which Luke has inserted in his narrative just as 
he had received it ; so that, as he observes, in reading the 
discourses of Paul, we may be reading the very notes of Paul 
himself. 3 Schwanbeck thinks that the two chapters are part 
of a biography of Barnabas which the compiler of the Acts 
freely adopted. 4 But there do not seem to be sufficient 
grounds for any of these suppositions. The narrative is per- 

1 See introductory chapters, articles v. and vii. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 260. 

8 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 390. 
4 Schwanbeck's Quellen der Apostelgeschichte, p. 244. 


vaded throughout with Luke's peculiar style, and is not so 
unconnected with the preceding history as is asa eted. In 
Acts xii. 25 we are informed that Paul and Barnabas, accom- 
panied by Mark, returned from Jerusalem ; and now here 
we find these three persons present at Antioch. In a former 
part of the history we learned how Christianity was planted 
in Antioch ; and here a flourishing church in that city is 
presupposed. Perhaps also Lucius is said to be a Cyrenian 
(ver. 1), because Cyrenian teachers were among the first 
preachers at Antioch (Acts xi. 20) ; and Herod is called the 
tetrarch, to distinguish him from Herod the king (Acts xii. 1). 

The church is here seen in a new and important aspect as 
a missionary church. Hitherto Christianity had been pro- 
pagated in a measure by informal efforts and casual occur- 
rences ; the persecution at Jerusalem having given rise to 
the dispersion of the Christians, and the diffusion of their 
opinions. But now the church at Antioch plans measures 
and makes regular efforts to extend the gospel among the 
heathen. Paul and Barnabas are sent forth as the first 
Christian missionaries — the forerunners of that noble band 
of Christian heroes who sacrifice everything in order to 
diffuse the unsearchable riches of Christ among the Gentiles. 

Yer. 1. IIpo(f>rJTaL koa h&daKakoi — prophets and teachers. 
The mention of prophets and teachers presupposes the 
existence of a flourishing church at Antioch ; a church, as 
we have elsewhere inferred, composed rather of Gentile than 
of Jewish Christians. We were already told that there came 
prophets down from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts xi. 27). 
By prophets are meant those who were gifted with inspira- 
tion, and delivered divine communications to the church ; 
and by teachers, those who devoted themselves to the work 
of instruction. We are not informed who of the five men 
here mentioned were prophets, and who were teachers. 
Meyer infers from the arrangement of the conjunctions, re, 
/cai, t€, that the three first, Barnabas, Symeon, and Lucius, 
were prophets; and the two last, Manaen and Saul, were 
teachers. 1 

1 Meyer's ApostvlgesGMchte, p. 260. 


O re Bapvdftas — both Barnabas — Barnabas is here men- 
tioned first, as being the most prominent person in the church 
of Antioch : he also formed the bond of connection between 
that church and the church of Jerusalem. Hvpeow 6 koXov- 
lievos Niyep — Symeon called Niger. Niger was a common 
Roman name, and therefore there is no reason to suppose 
that he was an African, and was called Niger on account 
of his dark complexion. Some have made the unfounded 
conjecture that he was the same as Simon the Cyrenian 
who carried the cross of Christ. Aoviclos 6 Kvpnvaios — 
Lucius the Cyrenian, i.e. a native of Cyrene, an important 
city in Africa. (See note to Acts vi. 9.) Among those 
who preached the gospel at > Antioch were men of Cyrene; 
and hence probably this Lucius was one of them. Some 
have identified him with the Lucius mentioned in the Epistle 
to the Romans, and whom Paul calls his kinsman (Rom. 
xvi. 21); but for this identification no reason can be assigned. 
Certainly he is not the same as Luke the author of the Acts, 
as the names Lucius and Lucas are distinct. Mavarjv 
'HpcoBov tov Terpap^ov (tvvt po(f>o<; — Manaen, the comrade 
of Herod the tetrarch. The Herod here mentioned is not 
Herod Agrippa I. (Acts xii. 1), for he received the royal 
title from the first; nor his son Herod Agrippa n. (Acts 
xxv. 13), for he was then only seventeen, and a comrade of 
his would be too young to be mentioned among the prophets 
and teachers of Antioch ; and besides, although he received 
the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias, yet, like his father, 
he was not called tetrarch, but king. Herod Antipas, 
tetrarch of Galilee, who never received the royal title, is 
here meant, the same who slew John the Baptist, and who 
is called in the Gospels "Herod the tetrarch " (Luke iii. 1) : 
he was at this time in banishment at Lyons. A comrade of 
his must have been a man advanced in life. Two meanings 
have been given to avvrpo(f>o<;. Some (Walch, Kuinoel, 
Olshausen, De Wette, Tholuck, Alford, Wordsworth) under- 
stand by it a foster-brother (collactaneus, Vulgate; 6/nojd- 
Xa/cTos), so that the mother of Manaen was the nurse of 
Herod Antipas. Others (Luther, Calvin, Castalio, Grotius, 


Schott, Baumgarten, Ewald, Lechler) translate it, one who 
has been brought up with another, a comrade (nutritus). 
Against this meaning, Walch objects that Manaen might 
with equal propriety be called the comrade of Archelans, 
because, as we learn from Josephus, Herod Antipas and his 
brother Archelaus were educated together at Rome {Ant. 
xvii. 1. 3). But Herod Antipas may be here mentioned, 
because he was the best known, ^vvrpocfro? has both mean- 
ings — a foster-brother and a comrade — but the latter is the 
more usual. Josephus mentions a Manaen, belonging to the 
sect of the Essenes, who predicted to Herod the Great, when 
a child, that he would be king of the Jews ; and he says that 
when Herod became king, he favoured the sect of the Essenes 
on his account (Ant. xv. 10. 5). It has accordingly been 
plausibly conjectured that Herod may have received a son 
or nephew of this Manaen into his court, and made him the 
comrade of his own son Herod Antipas. At all events, this 
Manaen must have been a person of considerable rank, and 
a courtier. 1 HavXos. Saul is mentioned last, according to 
some, because he was then a teacher, and not a prophet ; 
according to others, because he stood last in the document 
from which Luke drew his information ; and according to 
others, because at this time he occupied the lowest position 
among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch. 

Yer. 2. AetTovpyovvTGov — ministering. AecTovpyecv is the 
usual word in the Old Testament for the performance of 
the priestly office : here it is used for the performance of 
Christian worship. 2 It is not to be restricted to preaching 
(Chrysostom), nor to prayer (Grotius), but is to be understood 
as including all the acts of worship. Elirev to Ilvevfia to 
arycov—the Holy Ghost said. Perhaps by means of one of 
the prophets, who delivered the communication as a command 
of the Holy Ghost. f A(f>op{aare fioc — Separate to me. Hence 
Paul speaks of himself as atopic p,evo<; eh evayyeXiov ©eov — 

1 See Lightfoot's Horse, Talmudicx, vol. iv. p. 109. The Talmudists 
mention a Manaen who, in the time of Herod the Great, was vice-presi- 
dent of the Sanhedrim. See Biscoe on the Acts, pp. 73, 74. 

2 Hence our English word liturgy. 


" separated to the gospel of God " (Rom. i. 1). Here we 
have a new mode of appointment. The church does not, 
as a body, elect its own missionaries ; but the Holy Ghost 
nominates those whom it was to send. The language im- 
plies the personality and divinity of the Holy Ghost. He is 
represented as an agent acting directly — " the Holy Ghost 
said" — and hence His personality. He constitutes Paul 
and Barnabas to be ministers to Himself, and hence His 
divinity. They were the ministers neither of men nor of 
angels, but of Jesus Christ and of God the Father (Gal. i. 1), 
and of the Holy Ghost. Tov Bapvafiav teal Xavkov — Bar- 
nabas and Saul. Some suppose that Barnabas and Saul 
were chosen to fill up the vacancies in the apostleship caused 
by the deaths of Judas Iscariot and James the brother of 
John. Els to epyov b irpoGnkKkn^iai avroix; — for the work 
to which I have called them ; namely, to be my instruments 
in the spread of the gospel. Perhaps the words refer to a 
former call made personally to Paul and Barnabas, and now 
publicly repeated to the church. 

Ver. 3. Tore vno-revaavres ical irpoaev^afxevoi — and having 
fasted and prayed. This refers not to the ministration and 
fasting mentioned in ver. 2, when the announcement of the 
Holy Ghost was made, but to a special act of fasting and 
prayer when Paul and Barnabas were set apart to their work 
as missionaries. 

Ver. 4. Karrj\6ov eh rrjv SeXevKecay — they went down to 
Seleucia. Went down from Antioch, which was inland, to 
Seleucia, which was near the coast. Seleucia, built by 
Seleucus Nicator about B.C. 300, was a strong and almost 
impregnable city on the Orontes, about four miles from its 
mouth. It was the port of Antioch, and was about sixteen 
miles distant from it by land, and, according to Colonel 
Chesney, about forty by the river, on account of its wind- 
ings. The Orontes in the time of the apostles was navigable 
up to Antioch (Strabo, xvi. 2. 7), but its channel is now 
partially filled up. This Seleucia, to distinguish it from 
other Syrian cities of the same name, was called Seleucia- 
ad-Mare, and Seleucia Pieria, from Mount Pierius on which 


it was built. On the fall of the Mngdom of the Seleucidae 
it fell into the hands of the Romans, and received the pri- 
vileges of a free city from Pompey (Strabo, xvi. 2. 8). 
Its ruins are considerable, and of an interesting description. 
There is a large excavated way, partly in the form of deep 
cuttings, and partly in the form of tunnels, from north-east 
to south-west, leading from the upper part of the city to the 
coast, and which is supposed to be the remarkable excavation 
of which Polybius takes notice (Polyb. v. 59). Some of the 
piers of the ancient harbour are also still standing ; in all 
probability the same which stood when Paul embarked for 
Cyprus. The harbour itself is now choked up with sand 
and mud ; but it is said that its masonry is so good, that a 
Turkish pasha entertained the design of clearing out and 
repairing it. 1 

'E/ceWev re aireirKevaav ei? ttjv Kvirpov — and from that 
they sailed to Cyprus. This large and fertile island, situated 
off Syria, nearly opposite to Seleucia, is about forty-eight 
miles distant from the coast, and may be seen from the 
mouth of the Orontes. It is about 130 miles in length, and 
fifty in its greatest breadth. In ancient times it was re- 
markable for its fruitfulness, being celebrated for its wine, 
wheat, oil, pomegranates, figs, and honey. In the time of 
the apostles it had many considerable cities, of which Citium, 
Salamis, and Paphos were the principal. The first inha- 
bitants of Cyprus were Phoenicians ancf Greeks. It formed 
part of the Persian empire, and after the conquests of Alex- 
ander fell to the share of the kings of Egypt, to whom it 
belonged until it was subjected to the Romans by Marcus 
Cato, B.C. 58 (Strabo, xiv. 6. 6). At first it was attached 
to Cilicia ; but after the battle of Actium it was constituted 
a separate province. In the ninth century it fell into the 
hands of the Saracens, but was reconquered by the Cru- 
saders in the twelfth, and became a dependency of the re- 

1 See Winer's RealworterbucJi ; Smith's Dictionary of the Bible ; Cony- 
beare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. i. pp. 165-169 ; Lewin's St. Pa»* 
vol. i. pp. 129-131. Lewin gives a plan of ancient Seleucia ixikerofthe 
Pococke's Travels. „ Cyprus. 


public of Venice. The Turks took it in the sixteenth century, 
and it is now part of their dominions. 

Several reasons may be assigned why Paul and Barnabas 
sailed first to Cyprus. 1. It was in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of Antioch, and no doubt there was frequent 
communication between the two plaoes. 2. It was the birth- 
place of Barnabas, and he might be anxious to preach the 
gospel in his native land. 3. There were in it numerous 
Jews, who, according to Merivale, constituted a half of its 
population. 4. Christianity had already made some progress 
in Cyprus ; for men of Cyprus were among the number of 
those who preached the gospel at Antioch. Indeed, as has 
been remarked, " no place out of Palestine, with the excep- 
tion of Antioch, had been so honourably associated with the 
work of successful evangelization." 1 

Ver. 5. Kal yevofievoi ev SaXa/juvv — and being at Salamis. 
Salamis was a large town on the east coast of Cyprus, situated 
at the mouth of the river Pedaeus. Formerly a royal resi- 
dence, it was at this time the mercantile city of the island. 
It was destroyed by an earthquake in the reign of Constan- 
tine the Great, but rebuilt by that emperor, and called by 
him Constantia. Afterwards it was finally destroyed by the 
Saracens. The rise of Famagusta, the Venetian capital of 
the island, about three miles distant, probably helped to com- 
plete its desolation. Its ruins are known by the name of 
Old Famagusta. 2 

'Ev Tals avvaycoyaU tup 'lovhaioav — in the synagogues of 
the Jews. Although Paul was eminently the apostle of the 
Gentiles, yet it was his usual custom first to go to the Jewish 
synagogues, and there preach the gospel, before he turned 
to the Gentiles. Various reasons may be assigned for this 
course. 1. It appears to have been the order laid down by 
Christ, first to preach to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. 
2. Paul himself was a Jew, actuated by a patriotic love to 
his countrymen, which moved him to make special efforts 
pfyr their conversion. 3. The Jewish synagogues were the 

othe. i Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. i. p. 1G4. 

ad-Mar*. 2 Winer's biblisches Worterbuch. 


best channels of communication to the Gentiles : they were 
attended not only by Jews, but by Jewish proselytes from 
among the Gentiles, and by many who, like Cornelius, dis- 
satisfied with their own religion, had not yet become actual 
proselytes to Judaism. 4. Thus in the synagogues the sus- 
ceptible both among the Jews and Gentiles assembled, and 
therefore it was the most likely place to meet with success ; 
and hence, even although Paul felt that his peculiar mission 
was to the Gentiles, yet, in order to fulfil that mission, he 
would in the first place go to the synagogues. 5. The syna- 
gogues were the most convenient places for assemblies : they 
were open to all, and Paul as a Jew had liberty to speak in 

It would seem, from the word being in the plural (crw/o- 
7oyyat<?), that there were several synagogues, and consequently 
numerous Jews, in Salamis ; and from other authorities we 
learn that the Jews were very numerous in Cyprus. The 
Jews were patronized by the Ptolemies ; and Cyprus being 
one of their possessions, they might reside there without the 
molestations to which they were subjected in the dominions 
of the Seleucidae princes. Josephus and Philo mention the 
Jews of Cyprus (Philo, Legat. ad Caium). Augustus made 
Herod the Great a present of half the revenue of the copper 
mines of Cyprus, and committed the other half to his care 
{Ant. xvi. 4. 5) ; so that numerous Jewish families would 
then be settled in that island. And in the reign of Trajan, 
the Jews were so numerous and powerful in Cyprus, that 
when they rose in rebellion under the leadership of one 
Artemio, they took possession of the whole island, and mas- 
sacred 240,000 of its Greek inhabitants. When the rebellion 
was extinguished by Hadrian, afterwards emperor, the Jews 
were either slain or banished ; and were forbidden, under 
pain of death, thenceforth to approach the island l (Dio 
Cass, lxviii. 31). 

El%ov Be Kal 'Icodvvrjp vTrrjpeTrjv — and they had also John 
as an attendant ; that is, John surnamed Mark, the nephew 

1 Merivale's History of the Romans, ch. lxv. ; Milman's History of the 
Jews. At present, we are informed, that there is only one Jew in Cyprus. 


of Barnabas, who had accompanied Paul and Barnabas from 
Jerusalem. c T7T7;/36t^? refers to his inferior position with 
reference to the two missionaries. He acted under their 
direction, and attended to external matters, and perhaps to 
the baptism of the converts (1 Cor. i. 14), so that Paul and 
Barnabas might give their undivided attention to the preach- 
ing of the word. 

Ver. 6. Aiekdovres Se oknv tt)v vrjaov — and having gone 
through the whole island. Salamis was on the east coast, and 
Paphos on the west, so that they had to traverse the whole 
length of the island. The distance between the two cities 
was about 110 miles. ""Ayjpi TLafyov — unto Paphos. Paphos, 
then the capital of the island, and the residence of the pro- 
consul, was situated on the south-west coast. New Paphos 
is here meant, four miles distant from Old Paphos, where 
stood the famous temple of Venus. New Paphos had also a 
beautiful temple (Strabo, xiv. 6. 3). In the time of Augustus 
Paphos was destroyed by an earthquake, but had been rebuilt 
by the emperor (Dio Cass. liv. 23). It was then a place of 
great resort on account of the worship of the Paphian Venus 
(Strabo, xiv. 6. 3). Tacitus gives an account of a pilgrimage 
which Titus made to it shortly before the Jewish war (Tac. 
Hist. ii. 2. 3). The city is now known by the name Baffa. 1 

Evpov avhpa rcva fidyov — they found a certain man, a 
Magian. Magician is hardly a suitable translation, as that 
word is used by us in a bad sense, whereas fidyos is a neutral 
term (Matt. ii. 1). The evangelist, by adding the words " a 
false prophet," intimates what kind of a Magian he meant. 
Bapi7)(TovS) i.e. the son of Jesus— Jesus being a common 
name among the Jews. The other names found in some 
manuscripts — Barjoshua, Barsuma, Barjehu, Barjesuban — 
have their origin from respect to the name of Jesus, the 
transcribers being averse to apply this second name to a false 
prophet. 2 The educated Komans were infidels with regard 
to their own religion ; and hence those among them who 

1 Winer's biblisches Worterbuch. 

2 See remarks on the prevalence of magicians and sorcerers in note to 
Acts viii. 9. 


were religiously inclined sought after men who claimed to 
be prophets, and too often became the dupes of such impostors 
as Simon Magus and Barjesus. No words can describe 
more forcibly at once the infamy and the influence of such 
sorcerers than those of Tacitus : " a class of men who will be 
always discarded and always cherished " {Hist. i. 22). 1 It is 
worthy of remark that Simon the magician, whom Felix 
employed, was a Jew, and by birth a Cyprian (Ant. xx. 7. 2). 
Ver. 7. °0? rjv avv tc5 dvOvirdrcp — who was with the pro- 
consul. 'AvOvTraro? is the Greek term for proconsul. The 
consuls were called by the Greeks vttcltol, because they were 
the chief magistrates at Rome ; hence dvOviraro^, compounded 
of dvrl and vTraros, a proconsul. So also the Greeks called 
the praetors arpdriiyoi,, and the propraetor avTia-Tpdj^o^. 
Augustus, when he made an arrangement of the empire, 
divided the provinces into two classes : the one class he 
made over to the senate, and the other he retained for the 
emperor. The governor of a senatorial province, although 
he may never have been a consul, was called" a proconsul 
(dvOvirciTos;). He had no military power, and at first held 
his office only for a year. The governor of an imperial pro- 
vince, although he may never have been a praetor, was called 
a propraetor (dvTiarpaTrjyo^). He was entrusted with an 
army, and held his office during the pleasure of the emperor. 
Now Luke in the Acts is attentive to this distinction. Thus 
he speaks of Gallio as proconsul of Achaia (Acts xviii. 12), 
and we know that Achaia was a senatorial province ; whereas 
this title is never assigned to Felix or Festus, who were only 
deputy-governors of the propraetor of Syria. The word he 
uses with reference to them is rjyefMov, a general term, cor- 
responding to our English word governor. By employing 
here the term dvOvTraros, it would follow that he regarded 
Cyprus as a senatorial province governed by a proconsul. 
Now, how stands the matter? Strabo informs us that 
Augustus reserved Cyprus for himself (Strabo, xiv. 6. 6), 
and consequently governed it by a propraetor ; and hence it 

1 Genus hominum potentibus injidum, sperantibus fallax, quod in civitale 
nostra et vetabitur semper et retinebitur. 


has been asserted that Luke has committed a mistake, and 
should have used the term dvTLcrTpdrrjyof; (Grotius, Hammond, 
Beza). Subsequent research, however, has fully justified 
Luke. A passage has been discovered in Dio Cassius, where 
he tells us that Augustus subsequently restored the provinces 
of Cyprus and Gallia Narbonensis to the senate, and took 
instead of them Dalmatia ; and he states that thenceforth 
these provinces were governed by proconsuls x (Dio Cass. liii. 
12, liv. 4). And not only so, but coins have been found of 
the reign of Claudius (the very time when Paul paid this 
visit to Cyprus), which declare that Cyprus was at this time 
a proconsulate. In one of these coins there is on the obverse 
the head and name of Claudius, and on the reverse the 
inscription Cyprus, with the name Cominius Proclus, and the 
title avdviraros. This Proclus must have been one of the 
immediate successors or predecessors of Sergius Paulus. 2 

Sepyia) FLavXfp) dvBpl <rvveT<p — Sergius Paulus , an intelligent 
man. Nothing is known of Sergius Paulus. He is called an 
intelligent man ; and his admitting Elymas the sorcerer 
into his company is not at variance with this. He appears 
to have been one of that numerous class of Gentiles who, 
dissatisfied with idolatry, sought a purer religion. Elymas 
recommended himself to him as being a Jew, and he had 
partially yielded to his counsels ; but only partially, because 
his desire to hear Barnabas and Paul proved that he was not 
completely under his sway. 

Ver. 8. 'EAi^as 6 ^709, etc. — But Elymas the Magian, 
for so is his name by interpretation. Elymas is an Arabic 
word signifying a vnse man : so that 6 fidr/os, the Magian, 

1 Koil ovrag dvdvTrxroi x.xl lg sksIuoc to. e0»n TreftTreadoti %p£xvT0. The 
same word as that used by Luke is here applied by Dio Cassius to the 
governor of Cyprus. 

2 See Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations of the New Testament, pp. 
39-42. From coins and monumental evidence he gives the names of four 
proconsuls {dudv^droi) of Cyprus : namely, Aulus Plautus, in the reign 
of Augustus and Tiberius ; Aquius Scaura, in the reign of Caligula ; 
Cominius Proclus and Quadratus, in the reign of Claudius. See also 
Lardner's Works, vol. i. p. 19 ; Marsh's Lectures, Lect. xxvi. Eckhel's 
Doctrina Numorum, vol. iii. p. 84. 


is a word of a somewhat similar import. (See Matt. ii. 1.) 
ZrjTcov SiaaTpeyfrat top avOvirarov airb tt)s 7tl<tt€G)<; — seeking 
to turn away the proconsul from the faith. Probably he was 
influenced by selfish motives ; for if Sergius Paulus became 
a convert to Paul and Barnabas, his influence over him was 

Ver. 9. HavXo? Se 6 kol IIav\o<; — But Saul, who also is 
called Paul. Here the name Paul occurs for the first time 
in the Acts. Before this he is always called by his Hebrew 
name Saul ; after this, the name Paul is constantly employed, 
except when there is a reference to the earlier period of his 
life (Acts xxii. 7, 13, xxvi. 14). In the decrees of the 
Council of Jerusalem he receives the name of Paul, and 
when Peter writes of him he calls him " his beloved brother 
Paul " (2 Pet. iii. 15). Various reasons have been assigned 
for this change of name. We may pass over the reason 
assigned by Augustine as wholly inadmissible, that he called 
himself Paul, which signifies little, out of humility, conceiv- 
ing himself to be less than the least of all saints l (De Spir. 
et Lit. c. vii.). The opinion of Jerome is worthy of more 
attention. As the name Paul occurs in the narrative of the 
conversion of Sergius Paulus, he supposes that the change 
of name is connected with that event. Saulus ad prwdica- 
tionem gentium missus, a primo ecclesice spolio Proconsule 
Sergio Paulo victoria sum tropoea retulit, erexitque vexillum 
ut Paulus diceretur e Saulo (in Ep. Philem.). The same 
opinion is adopted with some variations by Bengel, Olshausen, 
Baumgarten, Meyer, Ewald, Stier, and Baur. According 
to Jerome, Paul adopted the name himself ; according to 
Meyer, he was so called by his fellow-Christians ; according 
to Ewald, he took the name at the request of the proconsul. 
This hypothesis is, however, liable to various objections. It 
seems at variance with the modesty of the apostle. It is, be- 
sides, highly improbable that Sergius Paulus was Paul's first 
Gentile convert, as he had already preached for at least two 

1 Paulus apostolus, cum Saulus prius vocaretur, non ob aliud, quantum 
mihi videtur, hoc nomen elegit, nisi ut se ostenderet parvum, tanquam 
minimum apostolorum. 


years in Cilicia and Antioch ; nor did he pay such extreme 
deference to rank as this hypothesis wouio. imply. It was 
customary for the pupil to adopt the name of the teacher, 
but not for the teacher to adopt the name of the pupil. Be- 
sides, it is to be observed that Luke introduces the change of 
name before he mentions the conversion of Sergius PaulUs. 

The more probable opinion is, that Paul, as a Hellenistic 
Jew and a Roman citizen, had two names — Saul being his 
Jewish name, and Paul his Roman. So Lightfoot, Schrader, 
Winer, Wieseler, Du Veil, Henrichs, De Wette, Lechler, 
Neander, Alford. It was then a usual thing for Hellenistic 
Jews to have two names; the one Hebrew, and the other 
Greek or Latin. We have several instances of this in 
Scripture : John surnamed Marcus, Symeon called Niger, 
Joseph Barsabas surnamed Justus, and Jesus who is called 
Justus. Sometimes these Greek or Latin names were trans- 
lations of Hebrew names ; as Peter of Cephas, and Didymus 
of Thomas. Sometimes there was a similarity between them, 
as here : Saul, who is also called Paul. But still the ques- 
tion arises, Why does Luke at this particular moment intro- 
duce the Roman name of Saul? It cannot be accidental, 
as Heinrichs supposes : u Luke having mentioned Sergius 
Paulus, recollects that Saul also was called Paul;" because 
at the time Luke wrote, the name Paul was used universally, 
whereas the name Saul was long out of use. The change 
must have been intentional ; and the common reason assigned 
seems sufficient, that Paul now came prominently forward as 
the apostle of the Gentiles. Hitherto his labours had been 
chiefly confined to the Jews, and hence Luke retained the 
name by which he was then best known among them ; but 
now he addresses himself to the Gentiles, and henceforth 
Luke mentions him only by his Gentile name. 

Ver. 10. e Pa$wvpyia<; — mischief. The word primarily 
signifies indolence, effeminacy ; in a secondary sense, knavery, 
mischief. Tie huaftoXov — son of the devil. It is far-fetched 
to suppose, with Meyer, any allusion to the name Barjesus, 
son of Jesus. Ov Travarj Siao-rpecpcov ras o8ov? Kvpiov t<z? 
evdeias — Wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the 


Lord'? Not merely the ways of the Lord, as then provi- 
dentially displayed : God would lead Sergius Paulus to the 
salvation in Christ by means of Paul and Barnabas, but 
Ely mas set himself to prevent this (Meyer). But it refers to 
the ceaseless opposition of Elymas to righteousness and truth 
in general : he sought to pervert the ways in which man 
should walk before God (De Wette). 

Ver. 11. Xelp Kvplov — the hand of the Lord ; according 
to the usual meaning of the phrase in the Old Testament, 
the judgments of God. "-4%/9t tccupov — for a season. Judg- 
ment was mingled with mercy. Elymas was to be struck 
with blindness ; but he was not to be blind for life, but only 
for a season. The first miracle which Paul performed was 
the infliction of a judgment ; and that judgment the same 
which befell himself when arrested on his way to Damascus. 
napa^prj/jba Be iireirea-ev eV avrbv, etc. — And immediately 
there fell on him a mist arid a darkness. The denunciation 
of the apostle was fulfilled : Elymas became instantaneously 
blind. We are not, however, to suppose that the apostles 
possessed the power of working miracles at pleasure, but 
only when they felt a divine impulse urging them to perform 
one. Paul struck Elymas with blindness because he felt 
inspired to perform that miracle ; but he could not cure 
Epaphroditus of his sickness, or remove from himself the 
thorn in the flesh. The miraculous power with which he 
was invested was not under his own control, but under the 
control and direction of Him who bestowed that power. 

Several attempts have been made to explain away this 
miracle. Heinrichs supposes that Elymas was naturally dis- 
posed to blindness, and that, frightened by the rebuke of 
Paul, the disease reached its climax. But this is not to 
explain, but to contradict the text. It is evident that Luke 
represents this blindness as a divine punishment, effected 
without the intervention of any natural cause. Accordingly 
Baur and Zeller adopt the mythical explanation : they sup- 
pose that Paul's encounter with Elymas is but the counter- 
part and the copy of Peter's encounter with Simon Magus. 1 
1 Baur's Paulus, vol. i. p. 105 ; Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 212. 


Baur dwells upon the points of resemblance between these 
two. Both were magicians, both were opponents of the 
apostles, and both were ignominiously discomfited. Elymas 
was addressed by Paul in terms similar to those with which 
Peter addressed Simon Magus. But all this only proves 
that the apostles came in contact with the powers of dark- 
ness ; and as sorcerers and magicians were then numerous, 
it was by no means improbable that both Peter and Paul 
would encounter one of them. And while there are points 
of resemblance, there are also points of difference, which 
prove that the one narrative could not have been taken 
from the other. Simon Magus professed to be a convert, 
and was baptized by Philip ; he was inside the church — 
he was a type of heretics. Elymas never professed to be 
a Christian ; he was outside the church — he was a type of 
infidels. Simon Magus was punished by Peter with exclu- 
sion from the church ; Elymas was struck with blindness. 
Simon Magus did not avowedly oppose himself to the Chris- 
tians ; whereas Elymas did all he could to withstand Paul, 
and to turn away the proconsul from the faith. 1 

Ver. 12. 'ETritTTevaev — believed. The proconsul became a 
convert to Christianity. He was convinced of the truth of 
the gospel by the miracle wrought upon Elymas. He was 
one of those few great men after the flesh who in the days 
of the apostles were converted to Christ. 'E/cTfXijcro-ofievos 
iffl rfj SlSccxj} tov Kvpiov — being astonished at the doctrine 
of the Lord : that is, the doctrine of Christ preached by the 
apostles. The miracle wrought by Paul confirmed this 

1 Lange's apostolisches Zeitalter, vol. i. p. 168. 



13 Now Paul and his companions, having set sail from Paphos, came 
to Perga in Pamphylia : and John, departing from them, returned to 

14 But they, proceeding from Perga, came to Antioch in Pisidia ; 
and entering into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, they sat down. 
15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of 
the synagogue sent to them, saying, Men and brethren, if ye have any 
word of exhortation for the people, say on. 16 Then Paul arose, and 
beckoning with his hand, said, Men of Israel, and ye who fear God, 
hearken. 17 The God of this people chose our fathers, and exalted the 
people in their sojourn in the land of Egypt, and with a high arm 
brought them out of it. 18 And about the space of forty years, He 
cherished them in the wilderness. 19 And having destroyed seven 
nations in the land of Canaan, He gave them their land to inherit. 20 And 
after this, for about four hundred and fifty years, He gave them judges, 
until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they requested a king : 
and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of 
Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And having removed him, He raised up 
to them David to be their king ; to whom also He gave testimony, and 
said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, 
who will do all my will. 23 Of this man's seed has God, according to 
promise, brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus : 24 John having preached 
before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 
25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am ? 
I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me, the shoes of 
whose feet I am not worthy to loose. 26 Men and brethren, children 
of the race of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to 
you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem, and their rulers, not knowing Him, nor the voices of the 
prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them by con- 
demning Him. 28 And though they found no cause of death, yet they 
desired Pilate that He should be slain. 29 And when they had fulfilled 
all things that were written concerning Him, having taken Him down 
from the tree, they laid Him in a sepulchre. 30 But God raised Him 



from the dead : 31 And He was seen many days by them who came 
up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses unto 
the people. 32 And we preach unto you the promise made to the 
fathers, that God has fulfilled the same to us their children, having 
raised up Jesus ; 33 As it is also written in the first Psalm, Thou art 
my Son, this day have I begotten Thee. 34 And that He raised Him 
from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has thus spoken : I 
will give you the sure holy things of David. 35 Wherefore He saith 
also in another place, Thou shalt not suffer Thy Holy One to see cor- 
ruption. 36 For David, after he had served his own generation by 
the will of God, fell asleep, and was gathered to his fathers, and saw 
corruption : 37 But He, whom God raised from the dead, saw no cor- 
ruptiou. 38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that 
through this man is announced to you the forgiveness of sins : 39 And 
from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of 
Moses, in Him every one that believes is justified. 40 Beware, therefore, 
lest that come upon you which is spoken in the prophets ; 41 Behold, 
ye despisers, and wonder, and perish : because I work a work in your 
days, a work which ye will in no wise believe, though one should declare 
it to you. 


Ver. 17. 'IaparjX, found in A, B, 0, D, N, and adopted 
by Lachmann and Bornemann, is wanting in E, G, H, and 
rejected by Tischendorf and Meyer. Ver. 18. 'Erpoiro- 
(j)6pr]<76v is found in B, D, G, H, K ; whereas A, C, E 
have irpocjxxfroprjaev, the reading adopted by Lachmann and 
Tischendorf. Ver. 19. KareKXi^poBoTrjaev, the reading of 
the textus receptus, is found in no uncial MS. A, B, C, D, 
E, G, H, K have KaTeKk7]povopi,rj(Tev 1 the reading adopted 
by all recent editors. ;Ver. 20. In A, B, C, N, &>? ereac 
T6TpaKO(rcoi<; zeal irevTrjicovTa precede kolI fiera ravra, the 
reading adopted by Lachmann ; whereas in E, G,* H they 
follow, as in the textus receptus, the reading adopted by 
Tischendorf, Meyer, and Alford. In D, the words /xera 
Tavra are omitted. (See Exegetical Remarks.) Ver. 23. 
"Hyayev, found in A, B, E, G, H, K, is to be preferred to 
Tjyetpe, found only in C, D. Ver. 26. 'EgaTrecrTaXr}, found 
in A, B, 0, D, X, is more strongly attested than the simple] 
verb aTreaTokr], found in E, G, H. Ver. 31. Nvv after 


otTtz/e? is wanting in B, E, G, H, but found in A, C, K, and 
inserted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Ver. 33. Aevrepa) 
of the textus receptus is the reading of A, B, 0, E, Gr, H, k, 
and is accordingly externally the better attested reading, and 
is adopted by Scholz and De Wette. IIpdoTO) is only found 
in pne uncial MS. (D), but is also supported by the Fathers, 
Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Hilary, and is adopted by 
Tischendorf, Lachmann, Meyer, and Alford, as being the 
more difficult reading. 


Ver. 13. 01 irepl TLavKov — Paul and his companions. This 
phrase is used to denote the leader of a party (Winer's 
Grammar, p. 425). Paul now takes the precedence : for- 
merly it was Barnabas and Paul, henceforth it is in general 
Paul and Barnabas. Ilepynv rrjs Uafityvklas — Perga of 
Pamphylia. We cannot assign the reasons which induced 
them to go to Pamphylia. It was the country opposite to 
Paphos in Cyprus : communication would be frequent, and 
the distance was not great. Pamphylia was a small district, 
extending along the shores of the Mediterranean, situated 
between Cilicia and the Lycian part of proconsular Asia. 
Under the Romans, after the battle of Actium, on the divi- 
sion of the provinces by Augustus, it became an imperial 
province, governed by a propraetor. At this time, in the 
reign of Claudius, it was united with Lycia and Pisidia; 
afterwards we find it united with Galatia (Tac. Hist. ii. 9). 
Perga, its capital, was a large and flourishing town situated 
on the river Cestrus, about seven miles from its mouth. It 
was chiefly remarkable for a famous temple dedicated to 
Diana. Perga? fanum antiquissimum et sanctissimum Diana 
scimus esse (Cic. Verr. i. 20). " There is," says Strabo, " the 
river Cestrus, up which when one has sailed sixty furlongs, 
he comes to the city Perga, near which is the temple of 
Diana of Perga, where every year there is a solemn conven- 
tion" (Strabo, xiv. 4. 2). The city is now in ruins, and is 
known by the name Eski-Kalessi. 


, Iadvv7]<; Be a7ro^oop^(Ta<; am avrwv — but John departed 
from them. At Perga, John surnamed Mark left the mis- 
sion, and returned to Jerusalem. We are not informed 
what induced him to do so. Some suppose that it was be- 
cause he was opposed to the freeness with which the gospel 
was preached to the Gentiles; others, that he was jealous 
of Paul taking the lead instead of his uncle Barnabas ; and 
others, with greater probability, that he shrank from the 
dangers' and difficulties of the mission. That the reason of 
his return was blameable, is evident from Paul's afterwards 
refusing to take him on his second missionary journey (Acts 
xv. 37-39). Ewald supposes that the place of Mark was 
now supplied by Titus (Ewald's Geschichte, p. 421). Titus 
is not mentioned in the Acts, and yet we know that he 
accompanied Paul to the Council of Jerusalem (Gal. ii. 1). 
Hence the probability is that he was with the apostle before 
Luke, the author of the Acts, joined him. 

Ver. 14. 'AvTtbyeiav rrjv Uia&iav — Antioch of Pisidia. 
Pisidia was a mountainous district lying to the north of Pam- 
phylia, stretching along the range of Mount Taurus. It 
seems never to have been a separate country, and was at this 
time united to Pamphylia. Antioch, called by Pliny Antioch 
of Pisidia, by Strabo Antioch of Phrygia, and by Ptolemy 
Antioch of Pamphylia, was its chief town. It was one of 
those numerous cities which were built by Seleucus Nicator, 
B.C. 300; under Augustus, it was raised to the dignity of 
a Roman colony, and called Caesarea : Pisidiarum colonia 
Ccesarea eadem Antiocheia (Plin. v. 24). Its situation is 
minutely described by Strabo : " In the district of Phrygia, 
called Paroreia, there is a mountainous ridge stretching from 
east to west. On each side there is a large plain, and two 
cities in the neighbourhood. Philomelium lies on the north 
side of the ridge, and Antioch, called Antioch near Pisidia, 
on the south ; the former standing on a plain, and the latter 
on a hill, and occupied by a Roman colony" (Strabo, xii. 
8. 14). This situation has been identified by Arundell as 
the site of the modern town Jalobatch or Yalobatch ; and an \ 
inscription has been found there by Hamilton, containing^ 


the words Antiochese Caesare, — the remainder having been 
entirely effaced. 1 

Ver. 15. Mera Be tt\v avdyvcoaiv rod vofiov kcll t<wi> 
7rpo(pr}Tcbv — but after the reading of the law and the prophets. 
(See note upon the synagogue and its worship attached to 
Section XII. vol. i.) Probably the reading of the law com- 
menced in the days of Ezra, if not during the captivity. 
When Antiochus Epiphanes forbade the reading of the law, 
sections from the prophets were substituted ; and after the 
restoration of the Jewish religion by the Maccabees, both 
the law and the prophets were read. Bengel supposes that 
the particular Sabbath lesson which was on this day read 
can be determined. In Paul's discourse, the words ifycoaev, 
irpo^o^oprjaev, and KaT€K\r}pov6/jLr)(Tev, rarely used in Scrip- 
ture, occur ; of which the first is in Isa. i. 2, and the second 
and third in Deut. i. 31, 38. He therefore infers that these 
two chapters, Deut. i. and Isa. i., were read on this very 
Sabbath ; and it is a singular fact that these two chapters 
are even at the present day read together on one Sabbath. 2 
The inference, however, rests on insufficient ground, the 
allusions to these two chapters (especially to Isa. i.) being 
very slight ; and besides, it is now generally agreed that the 
modern division of the law and the prophets into sections is 
more recent than the days of the apostles. 

9 Aireareikav ol ap^iavva.'ywyoL Trphs avrovs — The rulers of 
the synagogue sent to them, saying, Men and brethren, if ye have 
any word of exhortation for the people, say on. After the law 
and the prophets were read, any qualified teacher who hap- 
pened to be present was asked by the elders of the synagogue 
to address the assembly. Such a request was now made to 
Paul and Barnabas. Some (Wetstein, Kuinoel) suppose that 
they had sat down on the rabbinical seats, thus announcing 

1 Arundell's Discoveries in Asia Minor, vol. i. p. 269 ; Hamilton's 
Asia Minor, vol. i. pp. 472-474. 

2 Bengel's Gnomon, vol. ii. p. C27, Clark's translation. The forty- 
fourth section of the Parashioth (the law) and Haphtaroth (the pro- 
phets) is now Deut. i.-iii. 22, Isa. i. 1-27. Wordsworth on the Acts, 
p. 105. 


that they were teachers. The probability, however, is that 
they had already been some days in Pisidian Antioch, and 
had already taught the people, and were thus recognised as 
teachers. The curiosity of the members of the synagogue 
would be aroused to know what new doctrine this was which 
these strangers came from such a distance to proclaim. 

Ver. 16. "AvSpes 'laparjkelTai, koX ol fyofiovfjuevoi rbv Beov 
— Men of Israel, and ye who fear God. By "men of Israel" 
Paul means the Jews and Jewish proselytes then present ; 
and by " those who fear God," the devout Gentiles who had 
renounced idolatry, and worshipped God in the synagogues, 
without however becoming proselytes to Judaism by submit- 
ting to the rite of circumcision — the so-called proselytes of 
the gate. 

Ver. 17. 'O @eo? rod Xaov rovrov — the God of this people. 
( \aos, restricted in the Acts to the Jewish nation. (See, 
however, Acts xviii.10.) Kal rbv \abv v^rcoaev — and exalted 
the people. Different meanings have been attached to this 
phrase. Some (Beza, Grotius) refer it to the prosperity of 
the Israelites in the days of Joseph. Others (Calvin, Eisner, 
and Heinrichs) refer it to the deliverance from Egypt ; but 
according to the text, the exaltation took place during their 
sojourn in Egypt. Meyer supposes that it alludes both to 
the increase of the people in Egypt, and to their exaltation 
in consequence of the miracles of Moses ; but those miracles 
are afterwards indicated by fiera ^pa^iovo^ vtyrjkov. The 
allusion, then, is to the increase of the people. The children 
of Israel increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed 
exceeding mighty (Ex. i. 7). So Kuinoel, Olshausen, De 
Wette, Lechler, Stier, and Alford. Mera ^pa^Lovo? vyfrnXov 
— with a high arm, i.e. with mighty power. God is here 
represented as the leader of His people, with His arm up- 
lifted for their defence against their enemies. The allu- 
sion is evidently to the miracles wrought by Moses for their 

Ver. 18. 'Erpo(f)0(f)6p7)aev avrovs — cherished them. The 
reference is to Deut. i. 31 : u The Lord thy God bare thee 
{rpo$o($)opr}o-ei, Septuagint), as a man doth bear his son, in 


all the way that ye went, until ye came to this place." The 
metaphor is taken not from the care of a nurse, but from the 
protecting and nourishing care of a father. 

Ver. 20. Kal fiera ravra, &)? erecrw Terpaicoaiois real irev- 
TijfcovTa,) eScotcev KpuTas — And after this, for about four hun- 
dred and fifty years, He gave them judges. These words have 
given rise to considerable difficulty. According to them, it 
would appear that the period assigned for the rale of the 
judges after the settlement of Israel in Canaan amounted 
to 450 years. Now this agrees exactly with the years of the 
judges, and of the servitudes as mentioned in the book of 
Judges : the years of the judges from Othniel to Eli are 
339, and of the servitudes 111 ; in all, 450. 1 It also corre- 
sponds with the chronology of Josephus. He observes that 
Solomon began to build his temple in the fourth year of his 
reign, 592 years after the departure of the Israelites from 
Egypt {Ant. vii. 3. 1). This number is made up as follows : 
40 years' sojourn in the wilderness ; 25 years under Joshua 
( Ant. v. 1. 29) ; 443 as the period of the judges, including the 
rule of Samuel; 40 years under Saul {Ant. vi. 4. 9); 40 years 
under David; and 4 years of Solomon's own reign, — thus 
giving 443 years as the period of the judges, which in round 
numbers agrees with the reckoning of Paul. But whilst 
there is this agreement, there is a decided disagreement 
between, this number and 1 Kings vi. 1 : there we are told 
that " in the four hundred and eightieth year after the chil- 
dren of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the 
fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, he began to 
build the house of the Lord." This would give only 331 
years as the period assigned to the judges, being 119 years 
less than the number here given by Paul. Various attempts 
have been made at reconciliation. 1. Perizonius supposes 
that in 1 Kings vi. 1 the years of the judges only are 
enumerated, whilst the years of servitude are omitted ; but 
this is evidently erroneous, as it is the time from the de- 
parture from Egypt that is mentioned. 2. Others (Mill, 
Calovius, Doddridge) supply yepofjueva after irevTriKovra, and 
1 See Biscoe on the Acts, p. 605. 


translate the verse as follows : u After these things which 
happened in the space of 450 years, He gave them judges." 
And they calculate this period from the birth of Isaac to the 
acquisition of the land of Canaan under Joshua, a period of 
450 years in round numbers. The words, however, will not 
admit of such a construction. 3. Others (Lange, etc.) sup- 
pose that the word judges is here used in a wide sense, in- 
cluding the rule both of Moses and Joshua, so that the period 
is to be reckoned from the departure of the Israelites out of 
Egypt. But this is at variance with the text, as the period 
is there calculated from their settlement in Canaan (fiera 
Tavra). 4. Others attempt critical emendations, but against 
the authority of MSS. Luther and Beza read 350 years ; 
Vitringa and Heinrichs think that a>? erecrv rerpaKocrio^ /cat 
irevTrjKovra is a gloss which has found its way into the text ; 
Michaelis supposes that there is an interpolation in 1 Kings 
vi. 1 ; and Kuinoel, that the text in the book of Kings is 
corrupt. It must be candidly admitted that all these attempts 
at reconciliation have failed. 5. If, however, we adopt the 
other reading of the text, which has the support of the four 
oldest MSS. (A, B, C, K), also of D, which omits /nera ravTa, 
and is approved of by critics so eminent as Lachmann and 
Bornemann, then the discrepancy disappears. 1 (See Critical 
Note.) According to this reading, the words are to be trans- 
lated as follows : " He gave them their land to inherit for 
about 450 years. And after these things He gave judges." 
There is, however, an obvious difficulty in fixing on the 
time when this 450 years commenced. , The most plausible 
opinion is, that the period is to be dated from the gift of the 
land of Canaan to Abraham : Bengel dates it from the birth 
of Isaac, when God chose their fathers for the possession of 
the land. If this reading be not adopted, then the only other 
alternative is, that Paul uses a chronology distinct from 
1 Kings vi. 1, but, as appears from Josephus, in use at that 
time among the Jews. 2 

1 This reading is decidedly the best attested by external testimony, 
and is in all probability the correct one. 

2 See Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 271, 272; Kuincel's Libri Historici, 


Ver. 21. "Ettj reaaepaKovra — forty years. These forty 
years evidently refer to the period of the reign of Saul. 
It is contrary to the text to suppose (Beza, Heinrichs, 
Doddridge) that they include also the government of Samuel. 
The duration of the reign of Saul is not given in Scripture ; 
but Josephus tells us that he reigned eighteen years during 
the life of Samuel, and two-and-twenty after his death {Ant. 
vi. 14. 9). It is, however, extremely improbable, indeed utterly 
incredible, that Saul survived Samuel two-and-twenty years. 
David was only thirty when he succeeded to the throne of 
Judah (2 Sam. v. 4), and consequently according to this 
he would not have been eight when he was anointed by 
Samuel, slew Goliath, married the daughter of Saul, and was 
persecuted by Saul; for we find that David, after these 
events, fled to Samuel (1 Sam. xix. 18). This, however, 
does not militate against the statement that Saul reigned 
forty years over Israel, but only against the division of that 
period as given by Josephus. 1 

Ver. 22. Merao-Trjcras avrov — having removed him. This 
removal refers to the death of Saul, not to his deposition 
(Kuincel) ; for it was only after his death that David suc- 
ceeded to the throne. Evpov AavelS, etc. — I have found David 
the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. These words 
do not occur in the Old Testament, but are made up from 
two passages : Ps. Ixxxix. 20, where God testifies, " I have 
found David my servant ; " and 1 Sam. xiii. 14, where 
Samuel, addressing Saul, says, " The Lord hath sought Him 
a man after His own heart." Kara ttjv icaphLav fiov — after 
my own heart ; referring to the general character of David. 
He was not, like Saul, a bad man, who had occasional fits of 
piety ; but a good man, who occasionally committed acts of 

vol. iii. p. 207 ; Bengel's Gnomon, vol. i. pp. 627, 628 ; Biscoe on the Acts, 
pp. 605, 606 ; Stier's Words of the Apostles, p. 190, Clark's translation. 
1 " Saul's youngest son Ishbosheth," observes Biscoe, " was forty years 
of age at the time of his father's death ; and yet his father is said to be 
but a young man when he was first inaugurated by Samuel " {Acts, p. 
560). So that a reign of forty years is highly probable. 


Vers. 23-25. Kclt' i7rajje\lav — according to promise ; 
not referring to any particular promise, but to the Messianic 
promises in general, made to the fathers by the prophets. 
IIpofcwpvgavTos ^Iwavvov — John having preached before. The 
apostle mentions the preaching of the Baptist in this inci- 
dental manner, as a thing already known. It created so 
great an excitement throughout all Judea, that it might 
be heard of in countries at least as remote as Pisidia. 
Mention is afterwards made of John's disciples in Ephesus 
(Acts xix. 3). II pb irpoo-QiiTov t% elaoSov avrov — literally, 
before the face of His coming — -a Hebraism : not before His 
coming into the world — His incarnation ; but before His 
entrance upon His public ministry. Tlva fie virovoelre elvai ; 
ovk elfu iyco — Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. 
Some (Luther, Grotius, Kuincel) understand these words as 
a relative sentence : I am not He whom ye think me to be, — a 
translation which is perhaps allowable. 1 Still, however, the 
liveliness of the discourse decides in favour of understanding 
rlva as an interrogative. Ov ovk elfil afyos to vwoSw/JLa rcov 
irohwv Xvaai — the shoes of whose feet I am not worthy to loose. 
It was considered the office of the lowest slaves to unbind the 
sandals of their masters. Thus Suetonius says of Vitellius, 
the father of the emperor, that, to leave no artifice untried 
to secure the favour of Claudius, he requested as the greatest 
favour from Messalina, that she would be pleased to allow 
him to take off her shoes (Suet. Vitellius, ii.). 

Ver. 27. 01 yap KaroiKovpres far 'IepovaaXrjfi — for the 
dwellers in Jerusalem. The force of the conjunction yap 
has been differently understood. Some (De Wette, Winer 
Hackett, Lechler) suppose that it refers to the fulfilment of 
prophecy ; that it is not causal, but explanatory : To you is 
the word of this salvation sent ; for the Jews, by putting 
Jesus to death, have fulfilled the prophecies, and thus proved 
Him to be the Messiah. It is, however, more natural, with 
Meyer, to suppose that there is here a contrast between the 
Jews of the dispersion (vficv) and the Jews in Jerusalem : 

1 Winer's Grammar, p. 182. So also Tischendorf reads the clause, as 
is evident from his punctuation. 



The gospel is sent to you, because the Jews in Jerusalem have 
rejected it. This affirms, not the universal, but the general 
rejection of Christ by the Jews at Jerusalem, and is an in- 
dication of the righteous judgment of God in sending the 
apostles away from Jerusalem to foreign countries. The 
expression is somewhat similar to ver. 46 : " Seeing ye put 
it from yourselves, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal 
life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (compare Matt. xxi. 43). 
'AyvorjaavTes — not knowing. This sentence has also been 
differently translated. Some (Castalio, Meyer, Alford) ren- 
der it, " Not knowing Him, or in their ignorance of Him, by 
condemning Him, they have fulfilled the voices of the pro- 
phets." The insertion of ical after ayvotfaavTes is an objec- 
tion to this rendering. Others apply tovtov not to Jesus, 
but to the word of this salvation : " Being ignorant of this 
word," etc. The usual, and perhaps the most natural, in- 
terpretation is, to refer ayvorjaavTes not only to tovtov, but 
to tcls <f>(0va<; Toiv 7rpo(f)7]T€ov : " Not knowing Him, nor the 
voices of the prophets." So Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Kuinoel, 
and Hackett. 

Ver. 29. "Edn/cav els pLv^fxelov — they laid Him in a sepulchre; 
that is, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and their rulers did so. 
Although it was the enemies of Jesus who crucified Him, 
and His friends who buried Him, yet in this summary nar- 
rative it was not necessary to make any distinction between 
friends and foes ; as it was only the facts of the crucifixion 
and the burial that were of importance to the hearers. And 
yet the statement was literally correct; for both Joseph of 
Arimathea and Nicodemus were rulers of the Jews, being 
members of the Sanhedrim. 

Vers. 30, 31. 'O Be Seos—but God. The deed of God is 
here contrasted with the deed of men. Men crucified Him, 
but God raised Him from the dead. The resurrection from the 
dead was the great proof of the Messiahship of Jesus, and the 
great fact of the apostolic testimony. *'0? axpdw iirl fjpepas 
irXelov ? — ivho was seen many days, — namely, the forty days 
which intervened between the resurrection and the ascension 
(Acts i. 4). OtTives vvv elcriv /JbdpTvpes — who now are His 


witnesses : now, at this moment. The resurrection of Jesus 
was not a fact which rested on tradition, or could only be 
proved from the testimony of men who were dead : the wit- 
nesses of it were still alive. 

Ver. 32. Kal 97/uet? vyLta? evcvy*y€\i%6fjLeda — and we preach to 
you. They, the apostles, are now witnessing to His resur- 
rection ; we, Paul and Barnabas, are preaching this great 
fact to you. ' ] Avaarrjaas 'Irjaovv — having raised up Jesus. 
Some (Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Kuinoel, Olshausen, 
Stier, Lechler) refer this not to the resurrection of Christ, 
but to His appearance in this world as the Messiah : having 
raised up Jesus as the Saviour. They assert that avaarrjaa^ 
can only refer to the resurrection when i/c vercpwv or some 
similar words are added. The context, however, proves 
that it is to the resurrection of Christ to which the apostle 
refers. The Jews have put Jesus to death, and buried Him; 
God has raised Him from the dead : we proclaim then to 
you that the promise of the Messiahship is now fulfilled by 
raising up Jesus ; for it is His resurrection that is the great 
proof of His Messiahship (Meyer). So Luther, De Wette, 
Meyer, Baumgarten, Lange, Hackett, and Alford. 

Ver. 33. 'Ev to> irpoaTw yjraXfup — in the first Psalm. This 
is the only quotation from the Old Testament so circum- 
stantially made in the New. The majority of MSS. are in 
favour of Bevrepa) ; but critics have in general preferred the 
reading irpcor^ as being the more difficult, and adverted to by 
the Fathers. (See Critical Note.) It is accounted for on the 
supposition that our first Psalm was not numbered, but was 
composed as an introduction to the Psalter, and that the 
second Psalm was properly the first : in some Hebrew MSS. 
this order occurs. Tlos fiov el av, etc. — Thou art my Son, 
this day have I begotten Thee: taken verbatim from the Septua- 
gint, and agreeing with the Hebrew text. For the Messianic 
character of this psalm, see notes to Acts iv. 25, 26. Some 
refer these words to the incarnation of Christ, but here they 
are introduced as a prediction of His resurrection. Although 
He was the Son of God from eternity, yet by His resurrec- 
tion He was openly declared to be so : it was the inauguration 


of His Sonship. u He was," says Paul, " declared to be 
the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the 
dead" (Rom. i. 4). 

Ver. 34. *'Oti Scoo-co v/uv tcl oata AavelB tcl ttkttcl — I will 
give you the sure holy things of David. A second quotation 
in proof of the resurrection and immortal life of the Messiah. 
The quotation is from Isa. lv. 3. There is a slight variation 
between these words and the Septuagint : instead of on 8coo~(o 
v/jllV) the Septuagint has SiaOrfo-ofiai v/ilv BtaOrjfcrjv aloaviav — 
" I will establish an everlasting covenant with you," wherein 
it agrees with the Hebrew. On the other hand, the words 
rd ocria AavelS tcl ttlo-tol are taken from the Septuagint, and 
differ slightly from the Hebrew, where it is " the sure mercies 
of David." 'Tfilv here refers to believers — those who accepted 
the salvation. By oaia is meant the gracious blessings which 
God has promised and bestowed on the Messiah — the bless- 
ings of the Messiah's reign. And Aaveih is used either be- 
cause these blessings were promised to that prince, or more 
probably the name David is here employed for the Messiah, 
whose ancestor He was. The connection between the pre- 
diction and the resurrection of the Messiah is not at first 
sight obvious. The force of the expression seems to lie in 
the word ttlcttcl : If the mercies bestowed by the Messiah on 
His people are sure ; if among them there is the gift of an 
eternal life ; then they must be bestowed by a living Messiah. 
" This place of Isaiah," observes Calvin, u which is here cited, 
seemeth to make but little for proof of Christ's immortality. 
But it is not so. For, seeing Isaiah speaketh of the redemp- 
tion promised to David, and affirmeth that the same shall be 
firm and stable, we do well gather by this the immortal 
kingdom of Christ, wherein the eternity of salvation is 
grounded. If the grace be eternal which God saith He will 
give in His Son, the life of His Son must be eternal, and not 
subject to corruption." * 

Yer. 35. Aeyet, — He saith. The subject is necessarily God, 
as in the former quotations; not David (Bengel, Lechler) 
nor the Scripture. It is true that the words quoted are the 
1 Calvin on Acts xiii. 34. 


words of David addressed to God ; but David is to be con- 
sidered as inspired by God, who put this prayer into his 
mouth. Ov 8a)(T€L<z tov ogiov aov chew Bta(j>0opdv — Thou 
slialt not suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption. This quota- 
tion is from Ps. xvi. 10 (LXX. xv. 10), taken verbatim from 
the Septuagint. It is an evident prediction of the Messiah, 
and cannot possibly apply to David himself. It is the same 
quotation which is made by Peter in his discourse on the day 
of Pentecost, but for a different purpose. Peter wishes to 
prove that Christ must rise from the dead, because it was 
foretold that He should do so. Paul asserts that Jesus has 
risen from the dead, and in doing so has fulfilled the predic- 
tion of the Psalmist. For the interpretation of the passage, 
and its application to the Messiah, see notes to Acts ii. 25-31. 

Yer. 36. Interpreters differ as to the translation of this 
verse. Some (Luther, Bengel, Kuincel, Olshausen, Lechler, 
Baumgarten, Meyer) render the passage, u after he had in 
his own generation served the will of God." The objection 
to this is, that it gives to the verb " served " an abstract 
object, whereas it is more natural to give it a personal object. 
Others (Erasmus, Castalio, Calvin) connect ry tov Qeov 
ftovkfj with €KOL/jbr)dr} : u After he had served his own genera- 
tion, he fell asleep by the will of God." But this weakens 
the sentence, and renders the remark unimportant. It is 
better to connect the words with vTnjperrjo-as. Accordingly 
we adopt the translation : " But David, after he had served 
his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep." So 
Alford, Hackett, Robinson. The chief thought is, that David, 
like other men, only served his own generation ; whereas the 
Messiah was appointed to serve all generations : on Him an 
endless life was bestowed. 

Vers. 38, 39. "Afyeais d/maprtcov — the forgiveness of sins. 
Justification is in these verses regarded in a negative point of 
view, as consisting in the forgiveness of sins ; not in its full 
meaning, as a declaration of righteousness. Kal diro irdvrwv 
<bv ovk rjSvvrjdnTe iv v6fi(j> MwvcrecDS SiKCua>6r}vai — from all 
things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 
These words do not mean that in Christ men are justified 


even from those sins from which there was no justification in 
the law (Schwegler) ; which would imply that by the law 
men could be justified from some sins ; that there are two 
justifications, — an imperfect one under the law, and a perfect 
one under the gospel : a statement directly contrary to the 
Pauline doctrine of justification. Paul knows only one 
justification, and that through Christ; and asserts that by 
the law there is no justification at all. The relative &v refers 
to iravTwv : so that the full meaning is, " from all things, 
from which (all things) ye could not be justified by the law of 
Moses;" thus excluding justification completely from the law. 

Yer. 41. "Ihere ol (caracfrpovrjTai — Behold, ye despisers. The 
quotation is from Hab. i. 5, according to the Septuagint, 
with some unimportant variations. The words refer to the 
invasion of the land by the Chaldeans, as a judgment brought 
upon the Jews on account of their sins. But the language 
here employed is applicable to all ages, and denounces the 
wrath of God upon unbelief and rebellion : u I will work a 
work in your days," — namely, a work of judgment ; u a work 
which ye will in no wise believe, though one should declare it 
to you : " even although warned of the judgment, you will 
be so hardened and insensible as not to believe in it : you 
will cling to delusive hopes of safety, even when danger is 
at the door. Well might Paul apply these words as a warning 
to those who rejected the gospel. 

Such is the discourse of Paul in Pisidian Antioch — 
the first discourse of the apostle on record. Yery different 
judgments have been formed concerning it. Some (Baur, 
Paulus, Zeller, Schneckenburger) suppose it to be unhis- 
torical, and a mere imitation and repetition of the speech of 
Peter. " This speech," observes Schneckenburger, a is but 
an echo of the discourses of Peter and Stephen. The same 
glorification of the Jewish fathers in the introduction (xiii. 
17-22, compare vii. 2). The Messiah is David's son, borne 
witness to by John (xiii. 23-26, compare iii. 13). His 
rejection by the Jews at Jerusalem from ignorance fulfilled 
the divine counsel (xiii. 27, compare iii. 14). Those who 
lived with Him are the witnesses of His resurrection (xiii. 


31, compare i. 22). The same Old Testament proof (xiii. 
34-38, compare ii. 25-32) to show that the words of the 
psalm cannot refer to David, but to Christ. The exhorta- 
tions and threatenings are entirely the same with those in 
the speech of Peter (xiii. 40, compare ii. 19). If we call 
to mind the well-known doctrine of Paul, we cannot but be 
surprised to find that here, like Peter, he lays the emphasis 
on the resurrection, not on the death ; indeed, he connects 
the forgiveness of sins itself, not indeed directly with the 
resurrection, but with the Messiahship, which is proved by the 
resurrection." 1 Now there is certainly a similarity between 
the speeches of Peter and Paul, but not greater than is to be 
expected in two discourses on the same subject addressed to 
similar audiences. The only minute point of agreement is, 
that they both refer to Ps. xvi. in proof of the resurrection ; 
but then this is the most remarkable prediction of that event 
in the Old Testament, and to it they would naturally allude. 
It must also be considered that Paul here is addressing 
the unbelieving Jews — not believers, as in his epistles ; and 
therefore it is that he dwells chiefly upon the resurrection of 
Christ, because that is the crowning evidence of Christianity. 
Further, there is nothing un-Pauline either in the form or in 
the contents of the discourse ; on the contrary, the reference 
to the doctrine of justification is a strong presumption in 
favour of its genuineness. And we must also remember 
that it is uncertain whether we have the whole of Paul's 
discourse, or merely an outline of it. The discourse is 
worthy of Paul : it bears the impress of his character. He 
first wins the attention of the Jews, by referring to the 
glories of their nation and the promises of the Messiah : he 
traces their history to David, from whose posterity the 
Messiah should spring ; he asserts that Jesus is that Messiah : 
rejected by the Jews in Jerusalem, He is now preached to 
them ; in Him the prophecies are fulfilled : God has raised 
Him from the dead, and has thus declared Him to be the 
Messiah in accordance with the voices of the prophets : for- 
giveness is proclaimed to all who believe on Him, — a for- 
1 Quoted in Zeller's ApostelgescMchte, p. 301. 


giveness which the law is unable to procure ; but those who 
reject this salvation must beware lest they should expose 
themselves to the judgments of God. u Paul's discourse in 
the synagogue," observes Neander, "is a specimen of the 
peculiar wisdom and skill of the great apostle in the manage- 
ment of men's dispositions, and of his peculiar antithetical 
mode of developing Christian truth." 1 

1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 108. 



Acts xiii. 42-52. 

42 And as they were going out, they requested that these words might 
be spoken to them on the next Sabbath. 43 And when the congrega- 
tion was dispersed, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed 
Paul and Barnabas ; who, speaking, exhorted them to continue in the 
grace of God. 44 And on the next Sabbath, almost the whole city 
assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But the Jews, seeing the 
multitudes, were filled with envy, and contradicted those things which 
were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 46 Then Paul 
and Barnabas spoke boldly, and said, It was necessary that the word 
of God should first have been spoken to you ; but since you reject it, 
and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the 
Gentiles : 47 For thus has the Lord commanded us, I have set Thee 
as a light of the Gentiles, that Thou mightest be for salvation unto the 
end of the earth. 48 But when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced, 
and glorified the word of the Lord ; and as many as were appointed to 
eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was published 
throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout 
and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised a 
persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their 
coasts. 51 But they, shaking off the dust of their feet against them, 
came to Iconium. 52 But the disciples were filled with joy and the 
Holy Ghost. 


Ver. 42. 'Ek -ny? o-vvaycoyf]*; rcov TouSajW of the textus 
receptus, found in G, is an interpolation, being inserted be- 
cause a church lesson began at this place. Instead of these 
words, A, B, C, D, E, K have only airr&v. After irapeica- 
Xovv the textus receptus has ra eOvr), with G ; but it is 
omitted in A, B, C, D, E, X, and regarded by recent critics 
as spurious. Ver. 43. Avrols after irpoaXdkovvTes, found 
in A, B, C ? D ? K, is wanting in E, G 7 and is omitted by 



Teschendorf. Ver. 45. 'Avrikeyovres real are wanting in A, 
B, C, G, K, and are erased by Lachmann. They are found 
in D, and are retained by Tischendorf, Meyer, and De Wette. 
Ver. 51. Avrcov after iroBcov (textus receptus) is found in 
D, E, G, but omitted in A, B, C, K, and is rejected by 
Lachmann and Tischendorf. 


Ver. 42. 'Ef;i6vrcov Be avrcov rrapeicakovv — And as they 
xoere going out, they requested. The reading of the textus 
receptus is, e^iovrcov Be i/c rrj<; trvvaycoyrjs rcov *IovBaicov 
rrapeicakovv ra edvtj — " As the Jews were going out of the 
synagogue, the Gentiles requested." (See Critical Note.) 
The probable reason of this interpolation was to remove the 
ambiguity in avrcov, and to supply a subject to rrapeicaXovv 
(Alford). Avrcov is certainly ambiguous. According to 
Alford, the meaning is : " As they (the congregation) were 
going out, they (the same) requested." But the dismissal 
of the congregation is not mentioned until the next verse. 
Others (Meyer, De Wette, Lechler, Neander, Olshausen), 
with greater probability, understand by those who were 
going out, Paul and Barnabas ; and by those who requested 
additional instruction, either the congregation in general, 
or the rulers of the synagogue who had asked Paul and 
Barnabas to preach (ver. 15). The Jews had not as yet 
become hostile. From this it would follow that Paul and 
Barnabas went out before the meeting was ended, perhaps 
because they were strangers. Olshausen indeed thinks that 
" the words i^iovrcov avrcov are not placed historically before 
the phrase \vdeians Be rrj<; avvaycoyrjs ; but the fact is only 
anticipated because it was the occasion of the leading circum- 
stance in the narrative, — namely, the request that they would 
appear again." l But the evident order of the narrative is, 
jthat the dismissal of the congregation took place afterwards. 

JEtV to fieragv aaftftarov — on the next Sabbath. Mera^v 
ordinarily signifies intervening, intermediate. Accordingly 
1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 401. 


some (Calvin, Beza, Kosenmiiller) render it, "between the 
Sabbaths," or " during the intervening week." The Jews 
were accustomed to meet on Mondays and Thursdays as 
well as on Saturdays. 1 Bat ver. 44, tg3 re e^o/^eW aa/3- 
ftdrG), determines the meaning of fierajjv in this passage — 
the next or following Sabbath. So Meyer, De Wette, 
Lechler, Neander. There is certainly no other example in 
the New Testament of fiera^v being so used, nor is it so em- 
ployed in classical Greek ; but critics have shown that such 
a meaning is not uncommon in the later Greek. Examples of 
it have been found in the writings of Plutarch and Josephus. 2 
Yer. 43. AvOelarjs he rr)$ o-vvaycoyr)*;, etc. — But the congre- 
gation being dissolved, many of the Jews and devout proselytes 
followed Paul and Barnabas. The order of events seems to be 
as follows : — As Paul and Barnabas were going out of the 
synagogue before the close of the service, they were requested 
by the rulers to discourse again next Sabbath ; and when 
the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and prose- 
lytes, impressed by the preaching of Paul, followed Paul 
and Barnabas in order to receive further instruction. Ta>v 
arefto/jLevoov irpoarfKvTCDv — of the devout proselytes ; i.e. those 
among the Gentiles who had become proselytes to Judaism. 
The epithet devout does not here refer to their pious dispo- 
sition, but merely implies that, whereas they were formerly 
idolaters, they were now the worshippers of God (see ver. 50). 
The term proselytes, as used in the Acts, refers to those who 
had fully embraced Judaism by being circumcised, not to 
the so-called "proselytes of the gate." Ofoives 7rpoa\a- 
Xovvres e7r6L0ov avrovs — who speaking, exhorted them. Calvin 
strangely refers otrtves to the Jews and proselytes, and 
avTov<; to Paul and Barnabas: "They exhorted Paul and 
Barnabas that they should not faint, but stand stoutly in the 
grace of God." But omi/e? evidently refers to Paul and 
Barnabas, the nearest antecedent: "who (Paul and Barnabas) 
speaking, exhorted them (the Jews and proselytes)." 

1 Lightfoot's Horss Hebraicx, vol. iv. p. 124. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 283, 284 ; Neander's Planting, vol. ij| 
p. 109, note. 


Ver. 44. Tg> re i^ofjiiva) <TafifiaT<p — but on the next Sabbath, 
During the week Paul and Barnabas would be engaged in 
teaching the people ; and in consequence of this, the report 
of the new doctrine would be spread throughout the whole 
city, and all would be anxious to hear it. ^^eBbv iraaa rj 
7roXt? — almost the whole city. Not only the Jews, the prose- 
lytes, and the devout Gentiles, but the heathen inhabitants 
of Pisidian Antioch, flocked into the synagogue. Xwrj^drj — 
assembled : namely, in the synagogue. 

Ver. 45. ' E7r\rjcr6r}o-av tyXov — were filled with zeal. When 
the Jews saw such numbers of Gentiles coming to their place 
of worship, they were filled with indignation and envy. 
Their spiritual pride and national bigotry were aroused. 
They envied the growing popularity of the new preachers. 
Hitherto they had treated Paul and Barnabas with respect ; 
but now their zeal for Judaism is excited : they cannot 
bear to think that the Gentiles should be admitted to equal 
privileges with themselves. 'AvreXeyov , . . avrikiyovTes — 
contradicted those things which were spoken by Paul, contra- 
dicting. The repetition of the word here is for the sake of 
emphasis. 1 y AvrCKe<yovTe^ is also strengthened by /S\ao-(f>r)- 
fjLovvTe? — contradicting and blaspheming. They not only 
called in question what was spoken by Paul and Barnabas, 
but they blasphemed — used abusive language ; perhaps even 
blasphemed that Holy One whom Paul and Barnabas pro- 
claimed to be the Messiah. 

Ver. 46. Happwo-LaaafxevoL — spoke boldly : not merely, as 
in our version, " waxed bold ;" but spoke out boldly, freely. 
'TpZv rjv avwy/caiov rrpojTov \a\rj6rjvai, tov \6yov rod Geov — 
It was necessary that the word of God should first have been 
spoken to you. This necessity was founded on the order laid 
down by Christ : the gospel was first to be preached to the 
Jews, the theocratic nation, and then to the Gentiles. See 
Acts i. 8, iii. 26 ; Rom. i. 16. The order was merely one of 
priority : the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles did not 
depend on its rejection by the Jews. Ovk a%Lovs /cptvere 
eavrovs tt}? alaivlov far}? — and judge yourselves unworthy 
1 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 372. 


of eternal life. Nothing was further from the thoughts of 
the Jews than declaring themselves unworthy of eternal life 
because they had rejected the gospel. But they did so in 
point of fact : by contradicting and blaspheming the gospel, 
they furnished matter for their own condemnation. Xrpe- 
(f>6{ie6a ek ra edvn — we turn to the Gentiles. Paul and 
Barnabas do not assert their determination never again to 
preach the gospel to the Jews, and henceforth to confine 
themselves to the Gentiles ; but they address themselves 
solely to the Jews of Pisidian Antioch, and assert that so 
long as they, the apostles, continued in that city, they would 
not waste their time in preaching to them : they would turn 
to the Gentiles, who would give them a better reception. 
Non de omnibus Judceis Paulus hcec intelligi voluit, tradidit 
enim postea quoque Judceis doctrinam Christianam, sed spec- 
tabat his verbis Judceos Antiochenos doctrinam Christi reji- 
cientes (Kuincel). 

Ver. 47. Ovtq>$ <yap ivreTaXrai rjfilv 6 Kvpio<$ — for thus 
has the Lord commanded us. Paul and Barnabas fortify 
their resolution to preach the gospel to the Gentiles by an 
appeal to the prophets : it was not from irritation of spirit, 
nor from mere wilfulness, that they now turned to the 
Gentiles, but it was in accordance with the counsel of God. 
TeOeuca ere eh $<*><; e6vcov — / have set Thee as a light to the 
Gentiles, that Thou mightest be for salvation unto the end of 
the earth. The quotation is from Isa. xlix. 6. It differs but 
slightly from the Septuagint. Instead of reOeiKa o-e, the 
Septuagint has ihov BeScofcd ae eU BiadiJKrjv fyevov?. The 
words are addressed to the Servant of Jehovah, and are a 
promise that His salvation would extend to the Gentiles. 
Hence, then, Paul rightly argues from these words that his 
preaching Christ to the Gentiles was not a mere arbitrary 
work on his part, opposed to the divine plans, but was an 
event already determined by God, and predicted by the 
prophets : the salvation which the Messiah came to effect 
was not to be restricted to the Jews, but was to embrace the 
Gentiles. He refers not to Paul nor to the Christ in the 
apostles (Ewald), but to the Messiah. 


Ver. 48. Kal eirlaTevaav oaOi rjaav reray/jLevoc eh ^cojjp 
alcovcov — And as many as ivere appointed to eternal life believed. 
This verse has given rise to much discussion, both in a critical 
and in a dogmatical point of view. The interpretations 
which have been given to it are numerous, and so different 
that it has been adduced in proof of opposite doctrines. The 
literal meaning of the verb racra-elv is to put in order, to 
arrange. It is generally used in a military sense, to signify 
to arrange in order of battle ; hence, in a secondary sense, 
to appoint, to constitute. It has been variously translated in 
our English version. It is rendered ordained only in the 
text and in Rom. xiii. 1 ; elsewhere it is rendered appointed 
(Matt, xxviii. 16 ; Acts xxii. 10, xxviii. 23), determined 
(Acts xv. 2), addicted (1 Cor. xvi. 15), set (Luke vii. 8). 
Its meaning here is to be determined by the context. 

The principal interpretations are the following : 1. Some 
unite ek farjv amviov to iiriarevaav, and render the phrase 
either " As many as were met together believed to eternal 
life" (Knatchbull), or " As many as were destined, believed to 
eternal life " (Heinrichs) ; but the order in which the words 
are placed will not admit of these translations. 2. Others 
(Rosenmiiller, Kuinoel) suppose that the meaning is, that 
eternal life was made certain to them, provided they had 
faith — quibus, dum Jidem doctrince divince habebant, certa erat 
felicitas futura ; but this is not to explain TeTa<y[ikvoi y but to 
explain it away. 3. Others ^(Calovius, etc.) suppose that 
rdao-etv here denotes the order of God, the plan of salvation : 
qui juxta ordinem a Deo institutum dispositi erant — "who 
were disposed, according to the order instituted by God;" 
a rendering which wants simplicity. 4. Others take the 
word in a military sense. Thus Mede and others render 
the phrase, qui de agmine et classe erant sperantium vel con- 
tendentium ad vitam wternam — " who were of the company of 
those who hoped, or earnestly endeavoured, to obtain eternal 
life." Similarly Bishop Wordsworth : u Those who were set 
in order to eternal life, believed, made profession of their 
faith, in the gospel." 1 But, as Meyer observes, the context 
1 Wordsworth on the Acts, p. 107. 


affords no ground for adopting the sensus mililaris. 5. Others 
(Grotius, Krebs) suppose Teray^kvoi. to be used not in a pas- 
sive, but in a middle sense, and hence render the phrase, 
"Such as had ordained themselves to eternal life," i.e. as 
had resolved upon it. This meaning is supported by Acts 
xx. 13, ovrco yap rjv oWeT07/zei>o9 — u for so had he himself 
appointed or resolved." * It is, however, inadmissible to under- 
stand rjcrav reTayfiivoi in a middle sense. 6. Bretschneider 
renders it : " Such as were disposed, inclined — that is, made 
fit by the preaching of Paul — to obtain eternal life." And 
so similarly Whitby, Alford, Stier, etc. : u As many as were 
disposed to eternal life believed." 2 7. Perhaps the most natu- 
ral meaning, keeping in view the primary sense of the word 
and the context, is appointed, determined : u As many as were 
appointed to eternal life believed." So similarly Doddridge, 
Meyer, De Wette, Lechler, Hackett. 3 Calvin refers it to the 
decretum absolution: "We need not doubt that Luke calls 
those Terayfievov? who w r ere chosen by the free adoption of 
God. Por it is a ridiculous cavil to refer this unto the affec- 
tion of those who believed, as if those received the gospel 
whose minds were well-disposed. For this ordaining must 
be understood of the eternal counsel of God alone." 4 But 
this is pressing the word too far, more especially as its exact 
meaning is somewhat doubtful. Luke merely mentions a 
historical fact — that those believed who were appointed to 
eternal life ; a statement similar to Acts ii. 47 : " The Lord 
added to the church daily tov$ aco&fievovs" (See note.) 
Bengel supposes that the reference is to the present operation 
of grace by the gospel. The ordaining took place at the 
time of the hearing. The historian speaks not of God's 
eternal purpose, but of His present efficacious grace. 5 

1 See Humphry on the Acts, p. 116. 

2 Stier's Words of the Apostles, pp. 209-212. 

3 The Vulgate translates it prxordinati, and hence our English version 

4 Calvin, in loco. 

5 For a list of the different interpretations given to this obscure pas- 
sage, see Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 284, 285 ; and Kuincel, Novi 
Testamenti Libri Historici, vol. iii. pp. 217, 218. 


Ver. 49. Aiefyepejo Be 6 X0705 rod Kvplov — But the word 
of the Lord was published throughout the whole region. It is 
not stated how long Paul and Barnabas remained in Pisidian 
Antioch ; but probably it was for some time, during which 
they would preach the gospel in the neighbourhood. Chris- 
tianity would also be diffused throughout the region by the 
zeal of their converts. 

Ver. 50. 01 Be 'IovBaioi Trapcorpvvav ra$ cre^ofMeva^ ryvvcu- 
/cas Ta? eva^rjfiova^i — But the Jews stirred up the devout and 
honourable women. These women were Jewish proselytes, 
and for this reason are called devout (ae^ofjLeva<i) : they had 
renounced idolatry, and were the worshippers of the true 
God. The epithet honourable (eva^fiova 1 ;) applies to their 
rank : they were among the chief people in Pisidian Antioch. 
At this time many women among the Gentiles embraced 
Judaism. Thus Josephus tells us that almost all the mar- 
ried women in Damascus were attached to the Jewish reli- 
gion (Bell. Jud. ii. 20. 2). These women, having resisted 
the preaching of Paul and Barnabas, would, as proselytes, 
be more zealous than others for their adopted religion, and 
were therefore fit instruments for the enraged Jews to work 
upon. Kal tov<? 7rpcoTOV<z T?)? 7r6\eco<; — and the chief men of 
the city. These were probably the husbands and relatives of 
those devout and honourable women, and would be instigated 
by them. Kal eirryyeipav Bccoyfiov — and raised a persecution 
against Paul and Barnabas. As Pisidian Antioch was a 
Roman colony, it is improbable that any legal proceedings 
were taken against Paul and Barnabas which ended in their 
banishment. There seems merely to have been a tumult 
excited : the place was made too hot for them ; and for the 
sake of peace they felt constrained to retire. We find them 
revisiting Antioch (Acts xiv. 21), which they could not have 
done had there been a legal expulsion. 

Ver. 51. 01 Be e/cTLvagajjievoL rov KoviopTov twv iroBiov fat' 
avrovs — But they, shaking off the dust of their feet against 
them. This proceeding was in conformity with the direc- 
tions of Christ : a Whosoever will not receive you, when 
you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your 


feet for a testimony against them" (Luke ix. 5). This was 
not a sign of contempt (Meyer), but of rejection and con- 
demnation: that they renounced all fellowship with them, 
and that even the dust of their city was a witness against 

*H\6ov eh ^Ikovlov — They came to Iconium. Iconium, 
about fifty miles to the east of Pisidian Antioch, on the high 
road between Ephesus and Syrian Antioch, was situated on 
a large fertile plateau at the foot of Mount Taurus. On 
account of the many variations in the division of the Asiatic 
provinces, it has been assigned by different writers to different 
countries. According to Xenophon (Anab. i. 2. 19), it be- 
longed to Phrygia; according to Strabo (xii. 6. 1), Cicero 
(ad Fam. v. 4), and the elder Pliny (Nat. Hist. v. 25), to 
Lycaonia ; and according to Ammianus Marcellinus (xiv. 2), 
to Pisidia. Strabo describes it as a small town, well built, 
and situated on a fertile plain. In the time of the apostles 
it was the capital of a small tetrarchy, governed by a tetrarch 
subject to the Romans : " There is," observes the elder Pliny, 
w given a tetrarchy out of Lycaonia, where it borders on 
Galatia, composed of fourteen states, the capital of which 
is Iconium" (Nat. Hist. v. 25). At a later period of the 
empire it became a Eoman colony. 1 In after ages it was 
celebrated as the capital of the Seljukian Sultans. At pre- 
sent it is a considerable town, retaining its ancient name 
Konieh, and containing a population of upwards of 30,000 : 
it is the capital of the Turkish province of Caramania. The 
city is about four miles in circumference, but much waste 
land is included within these limits. According to Hamilton, 
it is a scene of destruction and decay, with heaps of ruins 
and dilapidated mosques. 2 

Ver. 52. OX re fiaOrjral eifkr}povvTO xapas teal IIvevfiaTOS 
ayiov — But the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy 
Ghost, i.e. with joy proceeding from the Holy Ghost. Ae — 

1 Eckhers Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. iii. p. 33. No colonial 
coins have been found of Iconium earlier than the reign of Gordian. 

2 Hamilton's Asia Minor, vol. ii. pp. 197-210 ; Ainsworth's 1 ravels 
in Asia Minor, vol. ii. pp. 65-67. 



but. Notwithstanding the departure of their teachers, the 
disciples, far from being discouraged or depressed, were filled 
with the joy of the Holy Ghost, — a joy arising from a con- 
sciousness of the privileges and happiness which they pos- 
sessed as Christians. 



1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into 
the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke, that a great multitude both 
of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who believed not stirred 
up and incensed the minds of the Gentiles against the brethren. 3 Long 
time therefore abode they speaking boldly in reliance on the Lord, who 
gave testimony to the word of His grace, by granting signs and wonders 
to be done by their hands. 4 But the multitude of the city was divided ; 
and some were with the Jews, and others with the apostles. 5 And 
when there was a movement both of the Gentiles and of the Jews, with 
their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 They became aware of it, and 
fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the neighbourhood : 
7 And they were there evangelizing. 

8 And a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, lame from his 
mother's womb, who never had walked, sat there : 9 This man heard 
Paul speak ; who, gazing on him, and perceiving that he had faith to be 
healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And 
he leaped and walked. 11 And the multitude seeing what Paul had 
done, lifted up their voices, saying in the Lycaonic dialect, The gods in 
the likeness of men are come down to us. 12 And they called Bar- 
nabas, Jupiter ; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker. 
13 Then the priest of Jupiter, whose (temple) was before the city, hav- 
ing brought oxen and garlands to the gates, would have done sacrifice 
with the multitude. 14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, 
heard that, they rent their clothes and rushed forth unto the multitude, 
crying out, and saying, 15 Men, why do ye these things? We also are 
men of like nature with yourselves, and preach to you that ye should 
turn from these vanities to the living God, who made heaven, and the 
earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them : 16 Who in past 
generations suffered all nations to walk in their own ways ; 17 Although 
He left not Himself without witness, doing good, and giving you rain 
from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and 
gladness. 18 And with these words with difficulty they restrained the 
multitude from offering sacrifice to them. 

19 And Jews from Antioch and Iconium came thither, who persuaded 




the multitude, and, having stoned Paul, dragged him out of the city, 
supposing that he was dead. 20 But as the disciples stood around him, 
he arose and came into the city ; and on the morrow he departed with 
Barnabas to Derbe. 


Ver. 2. ' ATTeidrjcravTes, found in .A, B, C, K, is preferred 
by Tischendorf and Lachmann to anreiQovvTe?, found in G, 
H. Ver. 3. Kal before SlSovti, found in C, G, is omitted 
in A, B, D, E, N, and rejected by Tischendorf and Lach- 
mann. Ver. 8. 'Tirapxcov, found in G, H, but wanting in 
A, B, C, D, E, X, is an evident insertion. Ver. 9. The 
aorist rj/covae, A, D, E, G, H, tf, is by Lachmann, Tischendorf, 
and Bornemann preferred to the imperfect 77/eoue, B, C, 
which however is adopted by Meyer, De Wette, and Alford. 
Ver. 13. Avtcov after 7ro\e&)?, found in E, G, H, and omitted 
in A, B, C, D, K, is rejected by recent critics. Ver. 17. 
'AyaOovpycov (A, B, C, tf) is preferred by Tischendorf and 
Lachmann to ayadoiroicov (D, E, G, H). 'Hfiiv, rjficov, iextus 
receptus, are by Tischendorf and Lachmann replaced by v/uv, 
v/jl&Vj found in B, C, D, E, N. 


Ver. 1. 'IZyevero Be iv 'Ikovico — And it came to pass in 
Iconium. For Iconium, see note to Acts xiii. 51. Kara to 
avro — together : simul (Vulgate). This phrase occurs only 
here in the New Testament. Elsewhere it is M to avro 
(Acts ii. 1, iii. 1). 'EWrfvav — of the Greeks. Meyer restricts 
this term here to the Gentiles, who were proselytes of the 
gate, as distinguished both from those who were proselytes 
by circumcision, and from those who were heathens. 1 There 
does not, however, seem to be any reason for this restriction. 
There is no apparent contrast between 'EWrjvcov and idv&v 
(ver. 2). Nor is the argument, founded on these Greeks 
being present in the Jewish synagogue, conclusive ; for the 
fame of Paul's preaching would attract numbers of the in- 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 288. 


habitants of Iconium to the synagogue, as was the case in 
Pisidian Antioch. 

Ver. 2. 01 Be aireiOrjaavTes 'IovBahi, etc. — But the Jews 
who believed not, stirred up and exasperated the minds of the 
Gentiles. At this time the persecutions against the Chris- 
tians were caused by the unbelieving Jews. Their jealousy 
and bigotry were excited against the gospel. They were 
especially grieved that their peculiar privileges, as the special 
people of God, should be attacked, and that the Gentiles 
should be admitted to equal privileges ; and hence they 
looked upon Christianity as antagonistic to Judaism, and 
were greatly provoked at its success. Justin Martyr tells 
us that the Jews went about the world propagating false- 
hoods concerning the Christians, and stirring up the Gentiles 
against them. Of the numerous persecutions recorded in 
the Acts, there were only two which were not occasioned by 
the Jews. 

Ver. 3. Ovv — therefore :] in consequence of the success 
which Paul and Barnabas had in the conversion of both Jews 
and Greeks (ver. 1). 'Ikovov yjpovov — a long time. The 
whole missionary journey may have occupied from three to 
four years ; so that " a long time " may have included many 
months (see note to ver. 26). 'EttI tw Kvpl(p- — upon the 
Lord; i.e. in reliance on the Lord. Some (Kuinoel, Meyer) 
refer Kvplcp to God, others (Henrichs, Olshausen) to Jesus. 
The latter is the more probable, as being the usual meaning 
of the word in the Acts. AiBovn — by granting — without 
icaL (see Critical Note) : the manner in which the testimony 
was given, ^nfiela teal repara yiveaOaL — signs and wonders 
to be done. Miracles were a proof of a divine commission 
to the Gentiles ; whereas, in reasoning with the Jews, the 
appeal was to the prophecies of the Old Testament, as when 
Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and when Paul 
preached to them in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch. 

Ver. 5. '/2? Be iyevero opfjurj — But when there was a move- 
ment. 'OpfArj literally signifies a rushing on, an onset, an 
assault ; and is so rendered by Luther, Calvin, and our Eng- 
lish version. This, however, cannot be its meaning here, as 


any open violence was prevented by the timely flight of the 
apostles. On the other hand, the meaning plot (Kuincel, De 
Wette) is contrary to the usage of the word. In a secon- 
dary sense, when applied to the mind, it signifies impulse, 
movement, purpose, strong inclination (Jas. iii. 4) ; and this 
seems to be its meaning in this passage. So Meyer, Lechler, 
Alford : a There was a strong feeling among them." 'Edv&v 
re /cat 'IovSdicov — both of the Gentiles and of the Jews, i.e. the 
Jewish faction in the city (ver. 4). Xvv roh dp^ovaiv avTcov 
— with their rulers. Some restrict this to the rulers of the 
Gentiles, others to the rulers of the Jews ; and others suppose 
that the rulers of both parties are intended. It is probable 
that the Jewish rulers — that is, the elders of the synagogue 
— are here meant, as it is unlikely that the rulers of the city 
would lend themselves to a tumultuary movement. It is, 
however, to be observed that Iconium was not at this time 
under the Roman rule, but was under the government of a 
tetrarch, who would have the civil power in his own hands. 
Ai6of3o\r t acu ai>Tov<; — to stone them. What the Jews of 
Iconium intended, the Jews of Lystra effected. u Once," 
says Paul, " was I stoned " (2 Cor. xi. 25), namely at Lystra. 
" Had, then," as Paley observes, u this assault at Iconium 
been completed ; had the history related that a stone was 
thrown, as it relates that preparations were made both by 
Jews and Gentiles to stone Paul and his companions; or 
even had the account of this transaction stopped, without 
going on to inform us that Paul and his companions ' were 
aware of their danger, and fled,' a contradiction between the 
history and the epistle would have ensued. Truth is neces- 
sarily consistent ; but it is scarcely possible that independent 
accounts, not having truth to guide them, should thus advance 
to the very brink of contradiction without falling into it." * 

Ver. 6. SwiSovre? — having become aware of it. Therefore 
the assault was not made, but only threatened. Ek ra<; 
7roXet? t?;? Avicaovias — to the cities of Lycaonia. Lycaonia 
is used rather in an ethnological than in a political sense : it 
never seems to have been a distinct country. It was bounded 

1 Faley's Horse Paulinx, on X Cor. xi. 24, 25. 



on the north by Galatia, on the east by Cappadocia, on the 
south by Cilicia, and on the west by Pisidia and Phrygia. 
This district was a plateau between two ranges of mountains 
to the north of Mount Taurus, watered by few streams, but 
still, on account of its high situation, affording excellent 
pasturage for sheep. At this time Lycaonia. was subject to 
the Romans, and formed part of the imperial province of 
Galatia, governed by a proprietor (Piiny, v. 42 ; Strabo, 
xii. 6. 1-5). 

Avarpav — Lystra. Lystra was situated about thirty miles 
to the south of Iconium, near to a singular mountain, now 
called Kara-dagh, or the Black Mountain. According to 
Pliny it belonged to Galatia (v. 42), and according to Ptolemy 
to Isauria (v. 4. 12) ; but neither of these statements con- 
tradict the statement of Luke, that it was a city of Lycaonia, 
as Lycaonia was then a part of the Roman province of 
Galatia, and as Strabo expressly says that Isauria belongs to 
Lycaonia (Strabo, xii. 6. 2). The Isaurian range appears 
to have stretched to Lystra. Under the Roman emperors 
it never appears to have been a town of any importance ; 
but under the Byzantine emperors it became the seat of a 
bishopric, and the names of its bishops appear on the records 
of several councils. It is now in ruins, and its former 
situation has not yet been ascertained. Formerly the vil- 
lage Lutik was supposed to be the ancient Lystra ; but 
it is now generally agreed that the more probable conjecture 
is that advanced by Hamilton, 1 who identifies it with ruins 
called Bin-bir-Killisseh, at the foot of Kara-dagh. These 
ruins consist of about twenty Byzantine churches, — thus 
proving that the place was once of ecclesiastical importance, 
which agrees with the description of Lystra as an episcopal 
see of some note. 

Aepfirjv — Derbe. Derbe could not have been far from 
Lystra. According to Winer, it lay south of Iconium, and 
south-east of Lystra. It is mentioned by Cicero in his 
Letters (Epist. xiii. Ep. 73). Its situation is doubtful ; but 

1 Hamilton's Asia Minor, vol. ii. pp. 316-319 ; and inscription, No. 


It must have been somewhere in the south-eastern extremity 
of the great Lycaonian plain (Strabo, xii. 6. 3). It is also 
doubtful to whom it belonged in apostolic times : according 
to some, it was comprised in the Roman province of Galatia ; 
whereas, according to others, it formed part of the dominion of 
Antiochus king of Commagene, a small dependent monarchy. 
Its site is uncertain. Some suppose it to be Bin-bir-Killisseh ; 
but it is now generally agreed that this is probably the ruins 
of Lystra. Hamilton fixes upon the modern Divl£, near the 
lake of Ak Ghieul, as the ancient Derbe. 1 

Kal ttjv Trepl')((opov — and the neighbourhood. Uepi'xwpos 
denotes the places in the vicinity of Lystra and Derbe ; 
hence the adjacent parts of Lycaonia. Some extend the 
term to Galatia, and suppose that it was then that Paul first 
preached the gospel to the Galatians ; and in the wide sense 
of the term Galatia, as meaning the Roman province, Paul 
certainly at this time did preach the gospel in that country. 
But in Scripture the name Galatia appears to be used in a 
narrow sense, denoting the original country of that name, 
without its appendages ; and in this sense it does not appear 
that Paul visited Galatia on his first missionary journey. 

Ver. 7. Ka/cel fjo~av evayyeXi^o/jLat, — And there they were 
evangelizing. It does not appear that there were any syna- 
gogues at Lystra, to which Paul and Barnabas could repair 
to preach the gospel. They would therefore preach in the 
market-place, and in other places of public resort, as is the 
practice of modern missionaries in the East. 

Vers. 8-10. In these verses we have an account of an 
illustrious miracle performed by Paul at Lystra. 'E/cddrjTo 
— sat: not dwelt (Kuinoel), but sat, as being unable to 
walk, in the market-place, or some other place of public 
resort. Xa>Xo9 e/c tcotXlas pnTpos avrov — lame from his 
mother's womb. His lameness was not caused by some 
accident which might be remedied, but arose from some 
natural defect. 'Areviaas avro) — gazing on him : fixing his 
eyes steadily upon him, to see whether he had faith to be 
healed. Paul was attracted to him by the eagerness with 
1 Hamilton's Asia Minor, vol. ii. p. 313. 



which he saw him listening to his discourses. 'IScop ore e^a 
iTLGTiv tov o-co0rjvac — and perceiving that he had faith to be 
healed : that is, confidence in the saving and healing power 
of the gospel ; or perhaps rather faith in Jesus as the 
Messiah and Saviour. In general, faith was required of 
those upon whom miracles were wrought ; and such faith 
was possessed by the lame man. 'Avclo-ttjOi, inl rov<; 7ro$a$ 
crov opdos — Stand upright on thy feet. There is here no 
mention of Christ, in whose name and by whose power the 
miracle was performed ; but this is presupposed, as the faith 
of the lame man was faith in Christ. 

Baur and Zeller consider this miracle to be devoid of his- 
torical authority, and to be a mere repetition of the miracle 
performed by Peter, when he cured the lame man in the 
temple. * The connection between both narratives," observes 
Zeller, " is certainly surprising : not only is the principal 
incident the same in both cases ; but the subordinate matters, 
and even the very expressions, are for the most part the same. 
This agreement would excite suspicion, even if it referred to 
an event in itself credible ; but as, instead of this, we have 
an account of an incredible incident, a miracle, so it proves 
that this narrative has no historical foundation, and is merely 
a repetition of the early narrative of the miracle performed 
by Peter." 1 But these two miracles, when closely examined, 
are not found to be so similar as they at first sight appear. 
There are at least three important variations. This lame 
man had faith to be healed ; whereas the lame man whom 
Peter healed expected nothing but to receive an alms. It 
is not here said that Paul invoked the name of Jesus ; 
whereas this omission is supplied in the narrative of the 
Petrine miracle. Here the lame man of his own accord 
leaped up and walked; whereas there we are informed 
that Peter took the lame man by the hand and lifted him 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 214. So also Dr. Davidson observes : 
" The cure of the lame man at Lystra is so similar to the cure performed! 
by Peter, that it seems modelled after it. The very language employed] 
by the writer in both cases is alike." — New Introduction to the New\ 
Testament, ii. 251. 


up. 1 Indeed, except the simple fact that Peter and Paul 
both cured a man lame from his birth, there is not much 
resemblance between the two narratives ; at least certainly 
not such a resemblance as to justify the suspicion that they 
are both derived from the same incident. 

Ver. 11. Avkclovigti XeyovTe? — saying in the Lycaonic 
dialect. Hitherto Paul and Barnabas had conversed with 
them in Greek ; but now the multitude cry out in Lycaonic 
— the dialect of the district — which perhaps bore as little 
resemblance to Greek as Gaelic or Welsh does to English. 
The dialect is mentioned probably to intimate that Paul 
and Barnabas did not understand what was said, and to 
assign the reason why they did not interfere until the oxen 
and garlands were brought for the sacrifice. Zeller thinks 
this mention of the Lycaonic dialect invented; but, on the 
contrary, it is entirely natural : the more the people were 
taken by surprise, so much the more natural was it to express 
their surprise in the popular dialect of the district, than in 
an acquired language. Different opinions have been formed 
concerning the nature of the Lycaonic dialect. Grotius and 
Stier think that it was the same as the language spoken in 
the neighbouring country of Cappadocia — a mixture of Greek 
and Syriac. Jablonsky, in his learned dissertation de lingua 
Lycaonica, infers that it was a mixture of Greek and Chal- 
daic. Guhling thinks that it was merely a corrupt Greek. 
Nothing certain can be determined, as no remains of such 
a dialect have come down to us; although its existence is 
mentioned by Stephanus Byzantinus, who lived in the fifth 
century. 2 

01 6eol 6fJLOLoa6ivT6<; avQptoTrois Karkfincav irpos rj/JLas — The 
gods in the likeness of men are come down to us. Here Baur 
and Zeller object that such an exclamation is an anachronism; 
that it transfers the opinions which prevailed in the Homeric 
times to the days of the apostles ; that there was then a be- 

j 1 Lange's Bibelwerk : Apostelgeschichte. Von Lechler, pp. 239, 240. 
i 2 Might it not be the Galatian dialect, a language allied to the Celtic ? 
jLycaonia adjoined to the Galatian territory, and indeed formed part of 
the Roman province of Galatia. 



lief in demoniacal possessions, but not in the manifestations 
of the gods in the likeness of men ; and hence they conclude 
that this exclamation of the Lycaonians must be unhistorical. 1 
But such a statement is not borne out by fact. Apollonius 
Tyanseus, who lived in the apostolic times, was regarded as 
a god in human form. 2 Although such notions might have 
been rejected by the learned, and the heathen mythology 
disbelieved by them, yet there is nothing to lead us to sup- 
pose that they were in general discredited by the multitude ; 
and there was no place where we would have expected them 
to be more deeply rooted than among a rude and uncivilised 
people, as the Lycaonians seem to have been. 

Ver. 12. 'EkclXow re rov Bapvaftav Alav, rov Be Tlavkov 
'Epfirjv — And they called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul Mercury, 
Luke gives us the reason why Paul was called Mercury : 
€7r€i$r} avrbs r\v 6 rjyovfievo? rod \6yov — literally, because he 
was the leader of the discourse. So Jamblichus (a.d. 310) 
speaks of Mercury in terms precisely similar: 0eo<? 6 rwv 
Xoyoov rjye/jubv. This god was represented as the messenger 
of Jupiter — the interpreter of the gods. Perhaps also Paul 
had a more youthful appearance than Barnabas ; but he was 
not called Mercury on account of his mean appearance 
(Neander), as that god is always represented as a graceful 
young man. Barnabas may have been called Jupiter be- 
cause he was the older of the two, and had a more venerable 
appearance. 'JE/xot Bo/cel koX cltto 77)9 oiJreG)? a^Loirpenrrj^ elvai 
6 BapvdfBas (Chrysostom, Horn. xxx.). 

The reason why the Lycaonians fixed upon Jupiter and< 
Mercury, in preference to other gods, may have been because 
the city of Lystra was under the special protection of Jupiter. 
He had a temple before the city ; and it was a heathen notion 
that the gods sometimes appeared in those cities of which 
they were the tutelar deities (Dio Chrysostom, Orat. xxxiii.). 
Mercury is added because he was regarded as the inseparable 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschiclite, p. 215 ; Baur's Apostel Paulas, vol. i 
p. 112. 

2 See Kenan's Saint Paul, p. 44, where the contrary opinion to Zellel 
and Baur is maintained. 


attendant of Jupiter. Besides, there was a tradition that 
Jupiter and Mercury once came down and visited the neigh- 
bouring country of Phrygia, where they were received and 
entertained by Philemon and Baucis (Ovid, Met. viii.). This 
fable may have suggested to the Lycaonians, that those 
strangers who now performed this wonderful miracle were 
Jupiter and Mercury, who again visited the district. Ewald 
supposes that the memory of this myth might be kept up 
at Lystra by an annual festival in honour of these two gods, 
and that therefore the people arrived the more readily at 
their conjecture concerning Paul and Barnabas. 1 

Ver. 13. "0 re lepevs tov Alos tov ovtos irpb tt}? 7ro\.ea>? — 
Then the priest of Jupiter who icas before the city. Tov Aios 
is directly connected with tov ovtos irpb t?}? wokem — Jupiter 
who was before the city. There is no ellipsis of lepov (Kuinoel). 
The meaning is, that the temple of Jupiter was erected at 
the entrance into the city ; and, according to the notions 
of the heathen, the god was considered as resident within 
his temple. The heathens built the temples to their patron 
gods in front of their cities ; so that Jupiter was probably 
the tutelar deity of Lystra — Zevs irpoirvkos. Tavpovs koX 
(TTe/jL/iaTci — oxen and garlands. This is not to be taken for 
ravpovs io-T€/j,fjLevovs, u oxen adorned with garlands " (Beza, 
Heinrichs), according to the figure of speech termed a 
hendiadys. The design of the garlands was not to crown 
Paul and Barnabas (Grotius), but the oxen ; perhaps also the 
images of the deities, the altars, and the priests. Garlands 
were also worn by the sacrificers. They were made of various 
trees and flowers, such as were peculiar to their several gods. 

y Eirl tou? 7rv\oova^ — to the gates. It is doubtful whether 
the gates of the city are here meant, or the doors of the 
house in which Paul and Barnabas resided. Some (Neander, 
Meyer, Lechler, Hackett) refer the expression to the gates of 
the city. This reference is supposed to be required because 
the temple of Jupiter stood before the city, because irvk&vas 
standing by itself is most naturally to be understood of the 
city gates, and because the plural would hardly have been 
1 Ewald's Geschichte des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 426. 


used to denote the house in which Paul and Barnabas were 
staying. Others (De Wette, Biscoe, Alford, Wordsworth, 
Conybeare and Howson) refer the expression to the doors of 
the house where the apostles were ; perhaps the outer door 
which led into the court. It is argued that if the priest had 
only brought the victims to sacrifice them at the city gates, 
it would have been no offering to Paul and Barnabas. The 
former opinion seems the more probable, as the preparations 
for sacrifice were first known to the apostles by report. 

Ver. 14. 'Akovctovt^ — having heard. They were informed 
of it ; so that it is unlikely that the preparations for the 
sacrifice took place at their own doors, before their eyes. 
01 clttogtoXoi Bapvafias koX ZTauXo? — the apostles Barnabas 
and Paul, Both Barnabas and Paul are expressly called 
apostles ; and, singularly enough, Barnabas here precedes 
Paul. They are also called apostles in ver. 4. There is no 
reason to suppose that the word is employed in a wide or lax 
sense. Barnabas then, it would seem, was an apostle. He 
was called to the apostolic office not by man, but directly by 
God, when the Holy Ghost said, "Separate me Barnabas 
and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them " (see 
note to Acts xiii. 2). Aiapprj^avres ra IfiaTia avrcov — having 
rent their clothes. It was the custom among the Jews to 
rend their clothes on occasions of grief. The apostles do so 
here, as an expression of their sorrow and abhorrence at th( 
conduct of the multitude. They act a part directly the 
reverse of the conduct of Herod Agrippa I. when he receivec 
the impious homage of the assembly. 

Ver. 15. 'OfioioiraOel^ — of like nature, i.e, obnoxious or 
liable to the same infirmities ; whereas the gods were repre- 
sented as immortal, of a superior nature. Compare Jas. 
v. 17 : " Elias was a man of like nature (ofjLonradrjs) to us." 
Tovtcov twv fiaralcov — these vanities ; referring to the idea 
that they were Jupiter and Mercury, who yet themselves 
were no gods, but vanities and nonentities. Qeov tyvra — 
the living God, in contrast to the vanities (fidraia) of the 

Ver. 16. 'Ev rah 7rapa)^7}fievaL<i <yeveai<; — in past generations 


suffered all nations to ivalk in their own ways, A mitigation 
of the guilt of heathenism, but not an excuse, because God 
had not left Himself without a witness. This suffering them 
to walk in their own ways was a judgment inflicted on them 
for their perversion of the truths of natural religion : God 
forsook them, because they first forsook God (Rom. i. 24). 

Ver. 17. Katroiye ovk dfjudprvpov eavrbv d(f>rj/cev — although 
He left not Himself without witness. Although the Gentiles in 
past generations had no written revelation, yet they were not 
left in complete darkness : God left among them the witnesses 
of His existence and perfections in the works of creation, 
and in His benevolent dealings with them. And accord- 
ingly we find that several of the heathen philosophers became 
acquainted with God through the light of nature. Socrates 
and Plato, for example, though in a certain sense heathens, 
yet were in another sense the worshippers of the true God. 
And this knowledge of the true God was perhaps more ex- 
tensive than is generally supposed. ' AyaOovpywv, ovpavoOev 
v/jllv veroix; BiBovs — doing good, and giving us rain from heaven, 
and fruitful seasons. With these words the apostle would 
turn the attention of the Lystrians from the false gods they 
worshipped to the real Giver of every good. They were in- 
debted for the blessings of life, which they ascribed to Jupiter 
and Mercury, to the living God. Jupiter was regarded as 
the giver of rain and fruitful seasons ; and Mercury, as the 
god of merchandise, was looked upon as the dispenser of 
food. 1 There is a striking resemblance between this short 
discourse of Paul at Lystra, and his longer discourse at 
Athens (Acts xvii. 23-31), and the development of the 
same ideas in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. i. 19-25). 
A Pauline character runs through the whole three, which, 
if it does not demonstrate that they proceeded from one 
mind, yet renders it highly probable. It is also to be ob- 
served that Paul in this discourse, as well as in that to the 

1 The mention of rain from heaven as a proof of the divine benevo- 
lence, as Lechler observes, was so much the more appropriate, as there 
was a scarcity of water in Lycaonia. Strabo mentions that in Soatra, 
a Lycaonian city, water was sold (Strabo, xii. C. 1). 


Athenians, dwells upon those truths which his hearers could 
appreciate : he builds upon the principles of natural religion, 
— thus affording to all succeeding missionaries an example 
for imitation in their reasoning with the heathen. Egre- 
giam hie habemns formam orationis, quam imitari debeant, 
qui apud populos in idololatria evangelium educatos predi- 
cant (Grotius). 

Ver. 19. 'Eirrfkdav Se airb ' ' Avrioyeias /cal ''Ikovlov 'Iov- 
Baiot — But there came from Antioch and Iconium Jews, The 
arrival of these Jews from the neighbouring city of Iconium 
and the more distant city of Pisidian Antioch was certainly 
not accidental. They had heard of the success of Paul and 
Barnabas at Lystra, and they had come on purpose to oppose 
them. Kal ireiaavre^ roi'9 oyXov? xal XiOdaavre? top Havkov 
— and having persuaded the multitude and stoned Paul. We 
have here an example of the proverbial fickleness of the 
multitude. In the same city where they were with difficulty 
restrained from worshipping Paul as a god, they stoned him 
until they thought that he was dead. Christ Himself expe- 
rienced the same inconstancy : the multitude who had received 
Him with hosannas, a few days afterwards cried, Crucify 
him, crucify him. This popular fickleness was shown to Paul 
at Malta in an opposite manner. The barbarous people there 
at first regarded him as a murderer, whom vengeance suffered 
not to live ; and shortly after they changed their minds, and 
said that he was a god. It is observable that we read of no 
injury being offered to Barnabas. It is probable that it was 
Paul's superior zeal, as being the chief speaker, that marked 
him out as the special object of persecution. 

Ver. 20. KvKkeocrdvTwv Be rcov fiaOi^rcov avrov — But the 
disciples sta?idi?ig around him. "The disciples" — that is, 
those whom he had converted at Lystra — "stood around 
him," not in order to bury him (Kuincel, Bengel), but to 
express their sympathy, to see if he were yet alive, and if 
so to assist in restoring him. y Avao~Ta<$ — having risen up. 
The impression which the narrative leaves is certainly that 
Paul recovered from his stoning through a miracle ; for it 
could have been nothing less than a miracle, that he who 



was stoned until his enemies were satisfied that he was dead, 
should be able to rise up of his own accord, walk into the 
city, and the next day depart for Derbe. ElcrfjXOev eh rrjv 
ttoXlv — he came into the city, in order to show himself alive 
to the disciples, and to confirm them in the faith. 'E^rjkOev 
et? Aepfirjv — he ivent to Derbe, another city of Lycaonia, at 
no great distance. 


PAUL'S RETURN TO ANTIOCH.— Acts xiv. 21-28. 

21 And preaching the gospel in that city, and having made many- 
disciples, they returned to Lystra, and Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Con- 
firming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the 
faith, and that " through many afflictions we must enter into the king- 
dom of God." 23 And when they had chosen them elders in every 
church, they commended them by prayer and fasting to the Lord, on 
whom they had believed. 24 And having passed through Pisidia, they 
came to Pamphylia. 25 And having preached the word in Perga, they 
went down to Attaleia ; 26 And thence sailed to Antioch, whence 
they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they 
had fulfilled. 27 And when they had arrived and assembled the church, 
they related how much God had done with them, and how He had 
opened to the Gentiles a door of faith. 28 And they remained long 
time with the disciples. 


Ver. 21. EvayyeXco-d/jLevoL is found in B, C, G, N, whereas 
the present participle evajyeXi^ofjuevoi, is found in A, D, E, H, 
and is preferred by Tischendorf and Lachmann. Ver. 28. 
After hieTpiftov 8e the textus receptus has e/ea, found in 
E, G, H. It is, however, omitted in A, B, 0, D, K, and is 
rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Meyer. 


Ver. 21. EvayryeXt^ofievoL re tt]v ttoXiv eKeivnv — And 
preaching the gospel in that city, and having made many dis- 
ciples. Paul and Barnabas were successful in their ministry 
at Derbe : they made many disciples. They appear to have 
been allowed to preach unmolested : no mention is made of 
their being persecuted. Accordingly Paul omits Derbe, when 



enumerating, years afterwards to Timothy, the places where 
he suffered persecution during his first missionary journey : 
" Thou hast fully known the persecutions, afflictions, which 
came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra " (2 Tim. iii. 
11). There is here, as Paley remarks, an undesigned coinci- 
dence between the history and the epistle. " In the apostolic 
history," he observes, " Lystra and Derbe are commonly 
mentioned together. In the quotation from the epistle, 
Lystra is mentioned, and not Derbe. And the distinction 
will appear on this occasion to be accurate : for Paul is here 
enumerating his persecutions; and although he underwent 
grievous persecutions in each of the three cities through which 
he passed to Derbe, at Derbe itself he met with none. The 
epistle, therefore, in the names of the cities, in the order in 
which they are enumerated, and in the place at which the 
enumeration stops, corresponds exactly with the history." 

'TireaTpe-tyav eh ttjv Avarpav — They returned to Lystra, and 
Iconium, and Antioch. In journeying from Pisidian Antioch 
to Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, Paul and Barnabas were on 
their way to Syrian Antioch ; and at Derbe they had arrived 
near the well-known pass called the Cilician Gates, which 
led down from the Lycaonian plateau, through the Isaurian 
range, to Tarsus, whence they could proceed by a short 
voyage to Antioch. 1 But instead of proceeding on their 
journey, they retrace their steps, and traverse the road they 
had formerly taken. The reason of this was evidently to 
revisit their converts, to confirm them in the faith, and to 
establish among them a regular ministry. From each of 
the cities where they had preached the gospel they had de- 
parted suddenly, before the churches had been properly 
settled in the faith, and before arrangements had been made 
for their government; and hence they felt constrained to 
revisit them. We do not read that the persecutions were 
renewed on their return. 

Ver. 22. 'EirLGrnpi^ovTes Ta? ^v^as twv fjLaOnrwv irapa- 
/caXovvres — confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting 
them. UapaicaXovvTes denotes the manner in which the 
1 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. i. p. 240. 


apostles confirmed the disciples; not by any outward rite, 
but by exhortation. Kal or i— and that. r/ Ort . . . Beov de- 
pends on TrapafcakGvvTes, and denotes the nature of the ex- 
hortation which was given. Hence Xeyovre^ or some similar 
verb, requires to be supplied : " Exhorting them to continue 
in the faith, and saying that," etc. Ael rjfias elaekOelv — 
we must enter, Ael refers to the divine decree, the appoint- 
ment of God ; perhaps also to the necessity of the case, as 
the will of God is not arbitrary. Man can only be purified 
through suffering. 'H/nas — we ; that is, we Christians. Al- 
ford supposes that there is here an intimation of the presence 
of Luke, the historian of the Acts. " Is not this," he ob- 
serves, " a token of the presence of the narrator ? My own 
conjecture would be, that he remained in Antioch (of Pisidia) 
during the journey to Iconium, etc., and back. The events 
between these two limits are much more summarily related 
than those before or after." * But such a supposition rests 
on doubtful grounds. 'Hfjuas here is not part of the mere 
narrative, but part of the words of the apostles. It is not 
Luke who writes these words as an observation of his own ; 
it is Paul and Barnabas who speak them in an address to 
their converts. And if this is the case, as Alford admits, 
we cannot see how there is any indication of the presence of 
the author. EU rrjv ftacrCkeiav rov Oeov — into the kingdom 
of God; namely, the Messianic kingdom. As these converts 
had already entered the church of Christ, and so were mem- 
bers of Christ's visible kingdom, "the kingdom of God" here 
must refer to the state of the redeemed in heaven. 

Ver. 23. XeipoTovrjaavre? — having chosen. The meaning 
of this word has been much disputed. The primary meaning 
of xeLporoveoi) (compounded of yelp and reivco) is to stretch 
out the hand ; hence to vote, to elect by voting. The word, 
however, occurs where it means simply to choose, without 
any voting : as in Josephus ( Ant. xiii. 2. 2), ^eiporovovfiev 
Be ere o-qfjuepov apyiepea — u but we appoint thee to-day high 
priest." It is only employed once again in the New Testa- 
ment, where it is probably used in its primary sense, to choose 
1 Alford's Greek Testament, vol. ii. p. 146. 


by voting (2 Cor. viii. 19). The word, then, admits of two 
meanings — "to choose by election," or simply " to choose :" 
according to the one meaning, the churches themselves chose 
their elders ; according to the other, Paul and Barnabas 
selected them. The context must decide which meaning is 
the more suitable. Meyer adopts the first meaning, that 
the election was made by the churches — suffragiis delectos 
(Erasmus) ; and for this he appeals to the manner in which 
the deacons were chosen, and to the meaning of the word in 
2 Cor. viii. 19. But whereas ^eipoTovrjaavre^ is not repre- 
sented as the act of the churches, but of Paul and Barnabas, 
he supposes the meaning to be, that the apostles conducted 
or guided the election of the churches. 1 This, however, is 
an arbitrary supposition, for which there is no ground in the 
context. We prefer, then, to take the word in its secondary 
signification, meaning to choose, to select. The apostles 
themselves appointed the elders. This is more in accordance 
with the state of these churches, as newly formed commu- 
nities. So Olshausen, De Wette, Stier, Wordsworth. There 
does not appear in primitive times to have been any uniform 
mode of electing the office-bearers of the church. The 
deacons were elected by the whole church; here it would 
appear that Paul and Barnabas chose elders ; and Titus was 
empowered to ordain elders in every city (Tit. i. 5). Clemens 
Romanus gives the following rule as the one handed down 
by tradition from the apostles : u that persons should be 
appointed to ecclesiastical offices by approved men, the whole 
church consenting." (See Neander's Church History, vol. i. 
p. 263.) 

npeo-ffvTepovs — elders. This is the second mention of 
elders in the Acts. Allusion was formerly made to the 
elders of the churches in Judea (Acts xi. 30) . 2 The mini- 
sters of the church were called irpeo-fivrepoL, with refer- 
ence to the Jewish element in the church ; and iirlcrKoiroiy 
with reference to the Greek element. u The bishops," says 
Spanheim, " were so called from the care of overseeing : and 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 295. 

2 For the nature of the eldership, see note to Acts xi. 30. 


the same were also called Trpeo-fivrepot,, from their age and 
gravity ; iroifieve^ from their office of feeding ; huhaaicaXoi, 
from their office of teaching ; and rffovfjuevot,, from their right 
of governing." 1 It would appear that there were several 
elders appointed to each church (tear eKKkTjalav) : and this 
is in accordance with the fact that there were several elders 
attached to each synagogue. Hence we read of the elders 
of the church of Ephesus (Acts xx. 17), and of the bishops 
and deacons of the church of Philippi (Phil. i. 1). Schrader 
objects to this appointment of the elders, that it anticipates 
an arrangement which took place only at a later period. 
But it is evident that office-bearers were essential for these 
churches: they were far removed from Syrian Antioch, 
their mother church ; and were cut off from the synagogues, 
owing to the hostility of the Jews : and hence it was essential 
for their preservation that they should have a government 
of their own. 

Ver. 25. Kal XaXrjo-avTes ev iHpyy tov Xoyov—'and having 
spoken the word in Perga, Perga, a city of Pamphylia on 
the river Cestrus. (See note to Acts xiii. 13.) Paul and 
Barnabas had formerly visited it, when they came from 
Cyprus, but they appear then merely to have passed through : 
now, however, they preach the gospel in it, but with what 
success we are not informed. KaT&/3r)crav eh "'ArTaXeuiv — 
they came down to Attaleia. Attaleia was a seaport of Pam- 
phylia, at the mouth of the river Catarrhactes, not far from 
the boundary of Lycia, and about sixteen miles to the south- 
west of Perga. It was built by Attalus Philadelphus, king 
of Pergamos, as a port for the trade between Syria and 
Egypt (Strabo, xiv. 4. 1). It seems to have been a place 
of minor importance, as its name seldom occurs in ancient 
history. It is now known by the name of Adala or Adalia. 

Ver. 26. Ka/ceWev airkifXevaav eh ^ Avnoyeiav — and thence 
they sailed to Antioch : that is, the famous Antioch, the 
capital of Syria. Eh to epyov 6 eTrX^pcoaav — for the work 
which they had fulfilled. Thus closed the first great mis- 
sionary journey of Paul. On this occasion he was accom- 
1 Quoted by Du Veil, Acts of the Apostles, p. 311. 


panied by Barnabas. They had preached the gospel in the 
island of Cyprus, and had visited the three Asiatic districts 
of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. Besides individual 
conversions, they had founded at least four Christian churches 
in the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. 
They had thus materially extended the gospel, although the 
space traversed was small compared with the countries 
visited by Paul in his second and third missionary journeys. 
The time spent in this journey is a matter of uncertainty. 
Wieseler supposes that it must have occupied some years. 
It was at the close of the year 44 that Paul returned 
from Jerusalem to Antioch ; and it was about the year 51 
(fourteen years after his conversion, Gal. ii. 1) that he again 
went up to Jerusalem (Acts xv. 2). Six years, then, were 
spent in Antioch, and in this missionary journey ; but how 
the time is to be divided is uncertain. It would appear that 
the greater part of it was spent in the journey. They 
traversed the whole of Cyprus ; they continued so long in 
Pisidian Antioch, that we are informed the word of the Lord 
was diffused throughout the whole region; at Iconium we 
are told that they remained a long time ; at Lystra their stay 
must have been considerable, for time must be allowed for 
their success, for its fame to have reached the cities of Pisidian 
Antioch and Iconium, and for the hostile Jews to come from 
these cities. Nor could their stay at Derbe have been short, 
for there they made many disciples. Although, then, the 
space traversed was not extensive, yet, considering the length 
of their residences in each city, and the time which the his- 
tory allows us, the period occupied might be about three or 
four years (a.d. 45-48). 1 

Vers. 27, 28. ^vvaywy6vre<; tt)v eKick^alav avrjyyeWov — 
And having assembled the church, they reported. Paul and 
Barnabas were sent forth by the church of Antioch, and now 
on their return they give in their report. Mer avrcov — 

1 Wieseler's Chronologie, p. 224. Renan supposes the time occupied 
to have been four or five years (Saint Paul, p. 53). During this period 
Paul would support himself, as he afterwards did at Corinth and 
Ephesus, by the labour of his hands. 


with them* i.e. in connection with them, assisting them : not 
by them (Beza, Heinrichs), nor to them (Calvin, Grotius, 
Kuinoel). "Hvoi^ev Ovpav 7r/<rTea>? — had opened a door of 
faith. This refers not merely to the external call and oppor- 
tunity to believe the gospel afforded them by the preaching 
of Paul and Barnabas, but to the internal call and opening 
which the Holy Ghost made to them ; the reference being 
to the numerous conversions among the Gentiles. Xpovov 
ovk okvyov — long time ; literally, not a little time. How 
long is uncertain, depending on the time occupied by the 
missionary journey ; but probably two or three years (a.d. 
49, 50). 



1 And certain men, having come down from Judea, taught the 
brethren, If ye be not circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot 
be saved. 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension 
and dispute with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and certain 
others of them, to go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders 
about this question. 3 And being sent forward by the church, they 
passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the 
Gentiles : and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And 
when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church, 
and the apostles and elders ; and they declared what things God had 
done with them. 

5 But there arose certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, 
saying, That it was necessary to circumcise them, and to command them 
to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders were gathered 
together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much 
dispute, Peter arose, and said to them, Men and brethren, ye know that 
a long time ago God made choice among you, that the Gentiles by my 
mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, 
who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy 
Ghost, even as unto us ; 9 And put no difference between us and them, 
purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, 
to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers 
nor we were able to bear ? 11 But we believe that, through the grace of 
the Lord Jesus, we shall be saved in the same manner as they. 12 Then 
all the multitude were silent, and hearkened to Barnabas and Paul, 
declaring what signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles 
by them. 13 And when they had ceased speaking, James answered, 
saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me : 14 Symeon has declared 
how at first God did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for 
His name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets ; as it is 
written, 16 After this I will return, and will rebuild the tabernacle 
of David, which is fallen ; and I will rebuild its ruins, and will set 
it up : 17 That the remnant of men might seek after the Lord, and 
all the Gentiles, upon whom my name has been called, saith the Lord, 
who doeth these things, 18 Which were known from the beginning. 


19 Wherefore I judge, that we trouble not those from among the Gen- 
tiles who are turned to God : 20 But that we enjoin them to abstain 
from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, 
and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every 
city them who preach him in the synagogues, being read every Sabbath. 


Ver. 2. ZrjT^a-eeo^ found in A, B, C, D, G, H, K, is 

preferred by all recent critics to o-vfyrrfo-ecD*; of the textus 
receptus, which is found in no uncial MS. Ver. 7. 'Ei> vjuv, 
found in A, B, C, X, is preferred by Tischendorf and Lach- 
mann to iv f)iuv, found in E, G, H, which, however, is 
adopted by Meyer. Ver. 11. Xpcarov is omitted by Tischen- 
dorf and Lachmann, being wanting in A, B, E, G, H, K, 
and found only in C, D. Ver. 17. After ravra the textus 
receptus reads iravra, along with E, G, H : it is, however, 
rejected by recent critics, being wanting in A, B, 0, D, n. 
Ver. 18. The reading of this verse has been disputed. 
Griesbach, Tischendorf, Meyer, De Wette, and Alford read 
only yvaxrra air aloovos, along with B, C, X. The reading of 
the textus receptus, yvaya-ra air alwvos eari tg5 &eS iravra 
to, epya avrov, is found in E, G, H. Lachmann, Lange, and 
Bornemann adopt the reading, yvwarbv air aloovo? rat Kvpup 
to epyov avTov, found in A, D, which, however, too much 
resembles a correction. 


We have here an account of the famous controversy which 
arose within the primitive church, and threatened its disrup- 
tion into two branches — a Jewish Christian church, and a 
Gentile Christian church. Ever since the admission of the 
Gentiles, in the person of Cornelius, without circumcision, 
there was a strong Jewish party among believers who held 
fast to their peculiar privileges as God's people, and wished 
to enforce circumcision and the other rites of Judaism upon 
the Gentile Christians. The defence of Peter (Actsxi. 1-18) 
only quieted for a time the complaints of these Judaizers ; 


but on the report of the success of Paul and Barnabas 
among the Gentiles, and of the free gospel which they 
preached, these complaints broke out afresh. The church 
was now passing through a great crisis. The subject to be 
decided was, whether Christianity should be engrafted upon 
Judaism, or whether it should be freed from the restrictions 
of the Jewish law ; whether, in fact, it should be confined to 
the narrowness of a Jewish sect, or be propagated as the 
religion of the world. Even the decision of the question by 
the apostles and elders at Jerusalem did not settle the dispute. 
The controversy reappeared in various forms, and greatly 
disturbed the peace of the primitive church, until at length 
in the second century these Judaizing Christians finally 
separated from the great body of believers, and propagated 
their opinions under the names of Ebionites and Nazarites. 

Ver. 1. Kai Ttve? KarekOovTe? airo -n}? 'IovSaia? — And 
certain men having come down from Judea, These men came 
from Judea, the headquarters of those who held these 
Judaizing opinions, pretending perhaps to have been sent by 
the apostles at Jerusalem. They came to Antioch, because 
that was the headquarters of those who preached the gospel 
to the Gentiles, and the chief seat of Gentile Christianity. 
It is evident that they did not come accidentally, but with 
the design of inculcating their opinions. Paul calls them 
" false brethren, unawares brought in, who came in privily 
to spy out the liberty which the Gentile Christians had in 
Christ Jesus, that they might bring them into bondage" 
(Gal. ii. 4). 

'ESl&aafcov tovs dBe\(f>ov<; — They taught the brethren. If ye 
be not circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be 
saved. The doctrine which they taught was, that circum- 
cision was essential for the salvation of the Gentiles. Of 
course, obedience to the law of Moses followed : he who was 
circumcised became a proselyte to Judaism (Gal. v. 3). The 
opinions of the Jews themselves were divided on this point. 
Thus, in the case of the convert Izates king of Adiabene, we 
find that one Jewish teacher, Ananias, taught him that he 
might worship God without being circumcised, and that the 


worship of God was superior to circumcision ; whereas 
another teacher, Eleazer, told him, that by being uncircum- 
cised he broke the chief of the Mosaic laws, and was offensive 
to God (Joseph. Ant. xx. 2. 3, 4). 1 In general, the Jews 
held that circumcision was essential to salvation. It was a 
common saying among them, that all uncircumcised persons 
went to hell ; and others asserted that no uncircumcised 
person would rise at the last day. 

It is to be observed, that such extreme views were then 
more plausible than they now appear to us. The Jewish 
religion was of divine origin ; circumcision was the badge 
of the covenant ; and hence it was not easy for Jews to 
admit that its observance was to be abolished, or at least to 
be regarded as unessential. The apostles themselves could 
with difficulty be induced to embrace this opinion : all the 
attachment of a Jew to his national religion, and all his 
pride in his peculiar privileges as the favourite of Heaven, 
were opposed to it ; and therefore we are not to wonder at 
the extreme conservatism of a large body of the Jewish 
converts. The question, however, was of vital importance : 
if circumcision were held to be essential to salvation, the 
whole gospel system would be overthrown. These Jewish 
teachers do not seem to have denied that salvation was 
only through Christ; but with the work of Christ they 
connected circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic 
law as essential conditions, — thus destroying the freeness of 
the gospel : in a word, substituting the law of works for free 

Ver. 2. TevoixevT)? Be cn-acreo)? koX tyiTijaecos ov/c 0X6777? — 
there being no small dissension and dispute. Perhaps these 
Judaizing teachers succeeded in persuading some of th 
Jewish Christians at Antioch to adopt their views. 'Avafiai 
veiv Tlavkov koI Bapvdj3av—that Paul and Barnabas should 
go up. We here take for granted that this journey of Paul 

1 Eleazer is represented as saying to Izates, " How long wilt thoii 
continue uncircumcised ? Hast thou not read what the law says abou 
circumcision?] Dost thou not know of what great impiety thou ar, 
guilty by neglecting it ?" 



to Jerusalem is the same as that to which he refers in his 
Epistle to the Galatians (Gal. ii. 1-10), reserving the full 
discussion of this subject until the end of the section. In 
Gal. ii. 2, Paul says that he went up by revelation ; here 
we are informed that he was appointed by the church of 
Antioch. Between these statements there is no discrepancy : 
the brethren may have been divinely directed to send Paul 
and Barnabas ; or Paul himself may have, through the 
Spirit, made the proposal. Luke, in recording the history 
of the church, mentions only the appointment, not Paul's 
feelings on the matter. So, in a similar manner, on Paul's 
departure from Jerusalem on his first visit, the same two 
motives are mentioned — the human and the divine : we are 
informed by Luke, that the brethren, learning of a con- 
spiracy against his life, persuaded him to retire ; whereas he 
himself tells us, that he was induced to depart in conse- 
quence of a revelation (Acts ix. 30, xxii. 17, 18). The one 
motive, then, does not exclude the other. Tivas aWovs 
— certain others. Certain others of the brethren of the 
church of Antioch, among whom, as we learn from the 
Epistle to the Galatians, was Titus (Gal. ii. 1). Eh 'Iepov- 
o-aXrjjj, — to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the mother church 
of Christianity : it was the stated residence of the apostles, 
and therefore was regarded with veneration by the other 
churches. The dispute, which could not be settled at An- 
tioch, was rightly transferred to Jerusalem. The time when 
this journey occurred is thus stated by Paul : " Fourteen 
years after I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas" (Gal. 
ii. 1). This, according to some, signifies fourteen years 
after the three years previously mentioned (Gal. i. 18), that 
is, seventeen years after the apostle's conversion. But others, 
with greater probability, think that the apostle dates both 
periods from his conversion, as the great epoch of his life. 
According to the most approved chronology of the apostle's 
life, this visit occurred a.d. 51. 1 

Ver. 3. II poire fAcfrdevres vtto ttj? etf/cA/^crta? — Being sent 
forward by the church; that is, the church escorted them 
1 See Lardner's Works, vol. iii. p. 271. 


part of the way, thus conferring honour upon them. This 
is a proof that the church of Antioch in general agreed 
with Paul and Barnabas in their disputes with the Judaizing 
teachers : they gave them this testimony of their approba- 
tion. *&oiviicr)v Kol Safidpeiav — Phoenicia and Samaria, the 
two countries or districts which intervened between Antioch 
and Jerusalem. 'Eiroiovv x a P° LV peyaXrjv iraaiv tol? dSe\- 
<j)o2s — caused great joy to alt the brethren, namely, by their 
visit, and their information concerning the conversion of the 
Gentiles; thus proving that the disciples of Phoenicia and 
Samaria sympathized with Paul and Barnabas, and not with 
the Judaizers. 

Ver. 4. napehk^Oriaav — they were received. Not merely 
they were received as deputies of the church of Antioch; 
but the words imply the favourable reception which Paul 
and Barnabas, as the great missionaries of Christianity, 
received from the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. 

Yer. 5. 'EgavecrTrjaav Be — but there arose. Some (Beza, 
Heinrichs) suppose that these are the words of the depu- 
tation, and that there is here a change from the oblique to 
the direct form of expression, ekeyov being understood. 
The reason of this supposition is, because there is otherwise 
no mention that the deputation stated the design of their 
mission. But it is to be taken for granted that, in declaring 
what things God had done with them, they mentioned the 
reason why they came to Jerusalem. Twe? twv airh tj}? 
alpecreco? tgov Qapicratcov — certain of the sect of the Pharisees. 
For the peculiar views of the Pharisees, see note to Acts 
xxiii. 6. The Pharisees were the strictest adherents to the 
law of Moses : they were the representatives of an extreme 
Judaism. Paul himself had belonged to this sect, but he 
had cast off their narrow-mindedness. Although these 
Pharisees were, like him, believers in Jesus as the Christ, 
yet they had not become liberal as he : they still retained 
their extreme Jewish notions ; they held fast the indispens- 
able obligation of the Mosaic law, and wished to make the 
Gentiles, through the medium of Christianity, Jews. 

Ver. 6. 01 airoaToXok — the apostles. We do not know 


how many of the apostles were present. Mention is only 
here made of Peter, and James the Lord's brother. Else- 
where we learn that John was also there (Gal. ii. 9). More 
might be present, but it is scarcely probable that all the 
apostles were then in Jerusalem. Kal ol irpea-^vrepot, — 
and elders. Besides the apostles and elders, the disciples 
in general were present. This appears from what is after- 
wards said. We read of "all the multitude" (ver. 12) ; we 
are told that "it pleased the apostles and elders, and the 
whole church, to send chosen men " (ver. 22) ; and the 
decree was in the name of "the apostles, and elders, and 
brethren" (ver. 23). Some (Mosheim, Kuinoel, Neander) 
think that it was only the apostles and elders who delibe- 
rated, and that afterwards their decision was- approved of by 
the church. The objection that the whole church was far 
too numerous to allow of its members meeting for consulta- 
tion (Neander) is without weight, as we are not informed of 
the place of meeting ; and though there might be a general 
meeting of the disciples, it is unnecessary to suppose that 
all were present. There were in this assembly some of the 
most distinguished men in the Christian church : the two 
most illustrious of the original apostles, Peter and John, 
James the Lord's brother, the two apostles of the Gentiles, 
Paul and Barnabas, and of apostolic men, Silas and Judas. 
This assembly has been denominated the Council of Jeru- 
salem, and yet it bears little resemblance to the general 
councils of the church. It was not composed of deputies 
from all countries, but included only the church of Jeru- 
salem, with those sent from Antioch. And it does not 
appear to have been a representative assembly, but a general 
meeting of the church. 

Ver. 7. IToXXt)? he crvvtyiTriaew yevofievrjs — but when there 
had been much dispute. From this it would appear that the 
Judaizing party had their supporters in the assembly. This 
would naturally be the case, as the church of Jerusalem was 
chiefly composed of Jewish Christians ; and not only so, but 
of Hebrews, who were in general stricter Jews than the 
Hellenists. Tlerpos eiTrev 7rpb<; clvtovs — Peter said to them. 


Peter addresses the meeting, probably on account of his 
eminent position in the assembly, and also because it was he 
who first preached the gospel to the Gentiles, and admitted 
them without circumcision into the Christian church. It is 
evident, however, that there are no signs of Peter's head- 
ship over the apostles ; for although he first addressed the 
assembly, yet it would seem that it was not he, but James, 
who presided, and delivered the judgment of the meeting. 

Vers. 7-11. In these verses we have the substance of 
Peter's speech. '^4</>' rj/j,epa)v ap%aicov — a long time ago ; 
literally, from ancient days. The reference is evidently to 
the conversion of Cornelius. That was a long time ago, 
when viewed in relation to the existence of Christianity. 
Seventeen years had elapsed since the memorable day of 
Pentecost, and perhaps ten since Peter first preached the 
gospel to the Gentiles. Peter, in alluding to the time, intends 
to say that it was not a new thing about which they were 
contending : the reception of the believing Gentiles without 
circumcision was a matter which had been settled by God 
years ago. 'Ev vfuv eijeXeljaro 6 ®eo? — God made choice 
among you. There is no necessity to supply e/ie (Olshausen), 
or to conceive that ev rjfuv {textus receptus) is equivalent to 
rjiJLas in the sense of me (Kuinoel). If the reading be ev 
vfMcv, the meaning is, among you, Christians ; if ev tj/jllv, the 
meaning is, among us, the apostles. (See Critical Note.) 
Tov \oyov rod evayye\iov — the word of the gospel. This 
phrase is only employed in this passage ; and only once more 
is the word evayryiXiov used in the Acts (ch. xx. 24). 
'Efiaprvprjaev avTols — bear them witness : testified that they 
should be admitted into the Christian church by bestowing 
upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Trj Trlarei /caOaplaas 
ra? icaphicv; avrcov — purifying their hearts by faith. God 
purified the hearts of the Gentiles, whereas according to the 
notions of the Judaizers it was their bodies which were 
unclean; and the instrument of this purification was not 
circumcision, but faith. Tl ireipd^ere tov Qeov—Why tempt 
ye God t By insisting on circumcision as an essential prere- 
quisite for salvation, they tempted God; because they opposed 


His intentions, shown by the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, of 
receiving the Gentiles without circumcision into the church. 
'EiriOeivai ^vybv — to put a yoke. Peter does not here call 
circumcision, but the Mosaic law in general, and that viewed 
chiefly as a condition of salvation, a yoke which neither 
they themselves nor their fathers were able to bear. He 
does not so much refer to the outward ceremonies which he 
and the other Jewish Christians still observed, as to the law 
as a ground of justification. 1 The law, indeed, itself was a 
heavy burden, but it was insupportable when regarded as a 
condition of salvation. Ovre 01 irarepe^ r/ficov — neither our 
fathers ; that is, not Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — for circum- 
cision was not a yoke to them, but a promise — but the fathers 
since the time of Moses. Kanelvoi, — even as they. 'E/ceLvoi, 
does not refer to the fathers (Calvin, Calovius, Melancthon), 
but to the Gentile Christians, about whose salvation the 
question was in debate. As they were saved not by circum- 
cision, but by faith in Christ, so shall we be saved in the 
same manner. 

Peter's argument is plainly this : Circumcision and the 
observance of the law of Moses cannot be necessary for the 
Gentile converts, because God by the effusion of His Spirit 
has declared His acceptance of the uncircumcised Gentiles 
in the person of Cornelius and his company. The argument 
was conclusive, even if the Gentiles be taken in the most 
extensive sense, that is, for all who are neither by birth nor 
by proselytism Jews. 

Ver. 12. Hav to 7r\f}6o$ — all the multitude ; that is, either 
the assembly of apostles and elders, or more probably the 
multitude of disciples — the church of Jerusalem (see ver. 6). 
'Ealyncrev — were silent. The dispute was quieted : the 
Judaizing Christians for the time yielded to the authority 
of Peter. Kal tjkovov Bapvdffa zeal Uavkov — and heard 
Barnabas and Paul. Barnabas is mentioned first, because, 
as the elder and better known, he probably first addressed 
the assembly. By relating the signs and wonders which God 
had done among the Gentiles by them, they confirmed the 
1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 117. 


remarks of Peter, proving that in numerous instances the 
uncircumcised Gentiles had received the gift of the Holy 
Ghost : that the conversion of Cornelius and his company- 
was by no means a solitary instance. 

Ver. 13. James next addresses the assembly. He is the 
same as James the Lord's brother (Gal. i. 19), and the 
writer of the epistle which bears his name. (See note to 
Section xxv.) He seems to have remained in Jerusalem,' 
and is called in ecclesiastical history the bishop of Jerusalem. 
It is generally supposed that he was the president of this 
council ; at least he was the last to speak, and he delivers 
the judgment of the assembly. He is described in ecclesi- 
astical history as having strong legal propensities, being a 
strict observer of the Mosaic law. We are informed that, 
like the ancient Nazarites, he drank neither wine nor strong 
drink, and abstained from animal food. No razor ever came 
upon his head. And he was continually in the temple in- 
terceding for the people (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. ii. 23). The 
judgment, then, of such a person must have had great weight 
with the Judaizing party ; and when it was declared in favour 
of the freedom of the Gentiles, the dispute was settled. It 
has been inferred that James was at the head of the Judaiz- 
ing party, 1 because mention is made in Galatians of certain 
Judaizing teachers who carne from him (rtm? airo ^latcwftov, 
Gal. ii. 12). But it is not there said that they were sent by 
him, nor that he approved of their conduct ; and it is evident 
from the proceedings of the council, that he was one in 
sentiment with Peter and Paul. The compromise which he 
proposed for the sake of peace infringed but little upon the 
liberty of the Gentiles, and certainly bore no resemblance to 
the demands of the pharisaical party in the church. 

Ver. 14. Xvfxechv — Symeon: a Jewish form of the name 
Simon, used by Peter himself (2 Pet. i. 1). Peter's original 
name Simon seems to have been still current in the church 
of Jerusalem (Luke xxiv. 34). Aa^elv e£ idv&p \aov—to 
take from the Gentiles a people. Aao^ used generally for 
the people of Israel — the people of God ; whereas ra Wvi), 
1 Kenan's Saint Paul, pp. 78-86. 


in the Jewish sense, signifies the Gentiles, all those who are 
not Israelites. T£> ovo/miti clvtov — for His name, i.e. for the 
glory of His name. 

Vers. 16, 17. The quotation contained in these verses is 
from Amos ix. 11, 12. It is taken, with some variations, 
from the Septuagint. In the sixteenth verse the difference 
is considerable. The reading of the Septuagint is as fol- 
lows : *Ev rfj rj^epa i/celvr] avao-Trjaw rrjv crK7)vr)V Aavlh ttjv 


KareaKa/jifieva avTrj? avaaTrjarob) teal dvoiKoBofiya-ay avrrjv 
tcaOcos al fjfjiepcu tov alwvos. The seventeenth verse agrees 
almost exactly with Amos ix. 12. The words of the 
eighteenth verse, according to the most approved reading 
yvcoara air al&vo^ are not in the Septuagint. But whilst 
the text agrees generally, and the sense precisely, with the 
Septuagint, there is a remarkable difference between it and 
the Hebrew : instead of the words, u that the remnant of 
men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon 
whom my name is called," the Hebrew text has, " that they 
may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the Gentiles 
that are called by my name." The Septuagint translators 
seem to have possessed a different text from that which we 
now possess. James either delivered his address in Greek, 
or quoted from a Hebrew text resembling it ; or Luke, or 
the Greek document employed by him, gave the words 
according to the Septuagint. 1 

The royal house of David is here represented as a taber- 
nacle that had fallen into decay. It was weakened by the 
revolt of the ten tribes, and reduced by repeated disasters. 
God promises to restore it, and rebuild its ruins, so that the 
kingdom would again flourish as in the days of David and 
Solomon. The remnant of men — that is, the Gentiles — would 
become members of the theocracy. God's name would be 
called upon them : they also, as well as the Israelites, would 
be His people. This prophecy may be said to have received 
a partial fulfilment when Zerubbabel restored the kingdom 
of Judea, and when, in the time of the Maccabees, several 
1 Meyer's Apostelgescliichte } p. 305. 


of the surrounding nations, and especially the Edomites, 
were incorporated among the Jews. But certainly such a 
fulfilment was very partial ; and it can only receive its full 
accomplishment in the Messiah. Viewed as a Messianic 
prediction, the tabernacle of David represented the church 
f God — the theocracy; and hence this prophecy foretells 
that the Gentiles shall be brought within the pale of the 
visible church ; that they, as well as the Jews, shall become 
the people of God. 

James, with good reason, applies this prophecy to exist- 
ing circumstances. According to it, the Gentiles should 
be called into the church of God. On them as well as 
on the Jews the name of God was to be set ; and in the 
conversions of the Gentiles there was a fulfilment of the 
prediction. But in the prophecy there is no mention of 
circumcision, nor of the observance of the law of Moses ; 
and therefore, seeing that the Gentiles had already become 
believers, it was not for the assembly to impose these burdens 
upon them. 

Ver. 18. TvQdGTa air alxovos — which were known from the 
beginning. The reading of the text is doubtful. (See Criti- 
cal Note.) According to the reading of the textus receptus, 
tl known unto God are all His works from the beginning," 
the words are a reflection of James. The calling of the 
Gentiles \s a certain truth founded on the omniscience of 
God. It is not an unexpected event : it is what He Himself 
had foretold. According to the altered reading, " which 
were known from the beginning," some (Lechler, etc.) sup- 
pose that they are an addition to the prophecy by James, as 
if he had said, " What has happened to-day, God has from 
the beginning known and determined to do : what we live 
to see, is only the fulfilment of an eternal counsel of God ; " j 
whilst others (Teschendorf, Meyer, Alford) regard them as 
part of the prophecy itself. The words, however, are now 
found neither in the original Hebrew nor in the Septuagint. 
TvwGTa — known; that is, those things above mentioned — 
the call of the Gentiles into the church of Christ — are 
1 Lange's Bibelwerk: Apostelgeschichte. Von Lechler, p. 253. 


known. The context decides by whom these things were 
known, — namely, by God, who doeth these things (o iromv 
ravra) ; not, as De Wette renders the clause, " known by 
means of the prophets from of old." y Air alwvos can only 
mean tC from the beginning " (Luke i. 70). 

Ver. 19. Aib iyco /eplvco — therefore I judge. There does 
not appear to be any weight attached to Kpivo), as if James 
here gave judgment, acting as president of the meeting. It 
merely signifies, " I give my opinion." Mrj Trapevo^Xetv — 
that we trouble not, by imposing upon them circumcision and 
the ceremonies of the Mosaic law. 

Ver. 20. 'AWa eTno-relXcu clvtols — but that we enjoin them. 
'Eirio-TeWGi) signifies to send word by letter ; hence, to enjoin 
by an epistle. James proposes, for the sake of peace, the 
abstinence from certain things on the part of the Gentiles ; 
namely, from these four particulars — the pollutions of idols, 
fornication, things strangled, and blood. 

'Atto to»v aXKTyrjfidTcov twv elBcoXcov — from pollutions of 
idols. 'AXio-yrjfjLa is not found in classical Greek, and only 
occurs here in the New Testament. It is derived from the 
Hellenistic verb aXiayeLv, to pollute, which occurs twice in 
the Septuagint (Dan. i. 8 ; Mai. i. 7), and in both instances 
in the sense of to defile by means of food. Some (Meyer, 
Lechler, Stier) extend the word aXMryrj/jLaTcov to all the 
following particulars, because the preposition airo is not 
repeated. Others restrict it to tg>v elBcokcov. The Greek 
admits of both renderings ; but probably the latter is the 
more correct, as "pollutions of idols" is a definite act, inas- 
much as what is here called " pollutions of idols " is in the 
decree termed " meats offered to idols " (elBooXoOvTcov, ver. 29). 
The heathen ate the flesh of their sacrifices partly in feasts 
in their temples, and partly in their own houses (1 Cor. x. 
27, 28). What was not eaten by the worshippers, or given 
to the priests, was sold in their markets (1 Cor. x. 25). 
Hence Paul, in writing on the same subject, distinguishes 
between that which was partaken of in the temples — eating 
which would be idolatry — and that which was sold in the 
markets, or eaten in private houses — eating which was in 


itself a matter of indifference. The Jews were strictly pro- 
hibited from eating anything which had been offered to an 
idol (Ex. xxxiv. 15) ; and here, for the sake of peace, the 
Gentiles are also enjoined to abstain. 

Kal rrjs iropvelas — and from fornication. The word here 
given without any explanation is to -be taken in its strictly 
literal sense, however strange it may appear that a moral 
prohibition should be mixed up with things indifferent. In 
consequence of this strange connection, various meanings 
have been attached to iropvdas. Some (Beza, Selden) un- 
derstand by it, spiritual fornication, or idolatry ; but if so, 
there would be little difference between it and the pollutions 
of idols. Heinrichs understands by it, fornication committed 
at the religious rites of the heathen. Others refer it to 
concubinage (Calvin, Calovius) ; others, to marriage within 
forbidden degrees (Lightfoot, Gieseler) ; others, to marriage 
with a heathen (Teller, Lardner), or to a second marriage 
(Schwegler). Bentley, against the authority of all manu- 
scripts, would substitute yoipdafy swine's flesh, for Tropveia?} 
But if the word must be taken in its literal sense, how is it 
that a moral action, namely, abstinence from fornication, 
should be placed in the same category with things indifferent, 
— the eating of meats offered to idols, of things strangled, 
and of blood? The answer to this question seems to be, 
that the moral sense of the heathen was so perverted, and 
their natures so corrupt, that they looked upon fornication 
as a thing indifferent. The moral evil of fornication is not 
the point here in question, but its prevalence among the 
Gentiles : elsewhere it is repeatedly prohibited in the Scrip- 
tures as a heinous offence in the sight of God (Alford, 

Kal tov TTvitcTov — and from things strangled. The flesh 
of such animals as were killed in snares, and whose blood 
was not poured forth, was forbidden to the Israelites. Hence 
all strangled animals were regarded as unclean. Kal tov 
a r i[xaTo<; — and from blood. Nothing was more strictly pro- 

1 For these and other meanings, see Meyer's AposlelgeschicJite, p. 307 ; 
and De Wette's ApostelgescMchte, p. 122. 


hibited to the Jews than blood ; because in the blood was 
the life of the animal, and because it was the blood that was 
consecrated to make an atonement (Lev. xvii. 10-14). The 
heathen were accustomed to drink the blood of the animate 
at their sacrifices. Cyprian, Tertullian, and others, interpret 
aifia u homicide," but certainly in contradiction to the text. 

Ver. 21. Tap— for. James gives as a reason why the 
Gentiles should abstain, that Moses from a remote period of 
antiquity has in every city, where there are Jews, those who 
preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day. 
It is not, however, obvious what is here intended : different 
meanings have been assigned to it. (1.) Some (Grotius, 
Hammond) think the meaning to be, that the Jews cannot 
complain that Moses is despised by the Gentile Christians, 
seeing that he is read in the Christian assemblies every 
Sabbath-day, even as is done from ancient times by the 
Jews themselves. But evidently James speaks of Moses 
being preached, not in the Christian assemblies, but in the 
Jewish synagogues. (2.) Others (Chrysostom,. Neander, 
Whitby, Wordsworth) suppose the meaning to be, that those 
instructions were for the Gentile Christians ; but that no 
special instructions were necessary for the Jewish Christians, 
because they already knew what to practise as Jews, Moses 
being read every Sabbath in their synagogues. But no 
dispute was raised about the conduct of the Jewish Chris- 
tians. (3.) Others (Erasmus, Wetstein, Schneckenburger, 
Thiersch, Ewald) think that James argues that there is no 
reason to fear that the Mosaic law should be neglected or 
despised, because it is read in every city on the Sabbath- 
day : a meaning not to be despised, as it tended to remove 
the objections of the Jewish Christians, and perhaps corre- 
sponded with the sentiments of James, but yet not sufficiently 
natural and simple. (4.) Lange adopts the strange meaning : 
" As for Moses, we have nothing to do with him : he has 
his own preachers : we are preachers, not of Moses, but of 
Christ." 1 (5.) Baur and Gieseler suppose the meaning to 
be : Although the law of Moses is preached in every city, yet 
1 Lange's apostolisches Zeitalter, vol. ii. p. 189. 


it has completely failed in the conversion of the Gentiles : it 
is an obstacle in the way which must be removed : let us then 
try the preaching of the gospel without circumcision. But 
this is a sentiment hardly appropriate in the mouth of James. 
(6.) The true meaning appears to be, that the Gentiles 
should abstain from these things, in order to avoid giving 
offence to the Jews ; for in every city the law is preached 
every Sabbath, and so these matters are brought prominently 
forward ; and thus, unless there be an abstinence from these 
particulars, the preaching of the law would perpetuate the 
offence of the Jewish to the Gentile Christians. In order 
then to maintain peace, let the Gentile Christians abstain 
from those actions which are regarded by the Jews as causing 
pollution. So approximately Meyer, Winer, Olshausen, De 
Wette, Stier, Schaff, Alford. 


In the Acts of the Apostles, five visits of Paul to Jeru- 
salem are mentioned : — 1. When he escaped from Damascus 
(Acts ix. 26). 2. When he came with the collection from 
Antioch (Acts xi. 30, xii. 25). 3. The visit at the Council 
of Jerusalem (Acts xv.). 4. On his return from his second 
missionary journey (Acts xviii. 22). 5. His last visit to 
Jerusalem (Acts xxi.). In the Epistle to the Galatians two 
visits are mentioned : the one three years after his con- ; 
version (Gal. i. 18), and the other fourteen years after that 
event (Gal. ii. 1). There is no difficulty in identifying the ] 
first visit mentioned in the Galatians with the first visit men- 
tioned in the Acts. The identification of the second visit 
with any of these visits in the Acts is a subject of greater 

There are four opinions: 1. That it is a journey not 
mentioned in the Acts. 2. That it is identical with Paul's 
second visit. 3. That it is identical with Paul's fourth 


visit. 4. That it is identical with Paul's third visit. All 
admit that it could neither be the first nor the fifth. 

1. The first opinion is, that the journey in the Epistle to 
the Galatians is not mentioned in the Acts. This opinion is 
adopted by Beza, Paley, Schrader, and Tate. u To me/' 
observes Paley, " it appears more probable that Paul and 
Barnabas had taken some journey to Jerusalem, the mention 
of which is omitted in the Acts." According to Paley and 
Tate, this visit occurred between the second and third re- 
corded visits of Paul during his long residence at Antioch 
(Acts xiv. 28). For this, however, Paley assigns no reason, 
merely saying, " Is it unlikely that, during this long abode, 
they might go up to Jerusalem and return to Antioch ? " 
Schrader inserts it between the fourth and fifth visits during 
Paul's protracted residence at Ephesus (Acts xix. 10, 22). 
The ground of this opinion depends entirely on the impossi- 
bility of showing that this visit can be identified with any 
of those recorded, — an impossibility which we think does not 

2. The second opinion is, that the journey mentioned in 
the epistle is identical with Paul's second visit, when he 
went up with Barnabas from Antioch to Jerusalem with 
the collection to the saints. This opinion is adopted by 
Calvin, Paiilus, Kuinoel, Bottger, and Fritzsche. The great 
reason on which it rests is the supposition that Paul, in the 
Galatian epistle, relates his visits in the order in which they 
occurred, and that therefore the second visit mentioned in 
the epistle is also the second mentioned in the Acts. But, 
as we have already seen, it does not appear that the apostle 
mentions all his visits to Jerusalem in their order ; but only 
those which he judged of importance for the object he had 
in view, — namely, the establishment of his apostolic office. 
(See note to Acts xii. 30.) And, not to mention other ob- 
jections, the difference in time is an insurmountable obstacle 
against the identification of the Galatian journey with the 
second visit recorded in the Acts. Paul's second visit oc- 
curred about the year 44 or 45, shortly after the death of 
Herod Agrippa I., which by no calculation can be fourteen 



years after his conversion, when the journey mentioned in 
the epistle took place. 

3. The third opinion is, that the visit mentioned in the 
Galatian epistle is identical with Paul's fourth visit, on his 
return from his second missionary journey (Acts xviii. 22). 
This opinion only claims our regard because it has been 
adopted by the distinguished Wieseler (Chronologie des 
apostolischen Zeitalter, pp. 180-208). The argument on 
which he chiefly rests is of a negative description : that in 
the epistle there is no mention of the Council of Jerusalem, 
and the decrees which were then issued ; whilst in Acts xv. 
no notice is taken of the interview between Paul and the 
three apostles. But this opinion is exposed to several objec- 
tions. 1. In Gal. ii. 1, Barnabas is said to have accom- 
panied Paul to Jerusalem ; whereas, according to the Acts, 
Barnabas had previously separated from Paul and gone to 
Cyprus (Acts xv. 39). The only answer which Wieseler gives 
to this, is the arbitrary supposition that Barnabas joined Paul 
during his second missionary journey, perhaps at Cyprus or 
in Csesarea. 2. In recording his journeys to Jerusalem, in 
the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul would hardly have omitted 
his visit on the occasion of the council ; because such a visit 
had a strong bearing upon his argument, for then he had 
conferences with the apostles : he met at least with Peter, 
and James the Lord's brother. 3. According to the Acts, 
the fourth visit seems to have been unimportant: many 
readers would hardly suspect from the words of the historian 
that such a visit was made. He merely writes : " And when 
he had landed at Csesarea, and gone up, and saluted the 
church, he went down to Antioch." 

4. The fourth opinion, which we regard as correct, is; 
that this visit, recorded in the epistle, is identical with the 
third visit on the occasion of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 
xv.). This opinion is adopted by Irenseus, Pearson, Eich- 
horn, Winer, Olshausen, Anger, Schneckenburger, Neander, 
De Wette, Ewald, Meyer, Lechler, Stier, Lange, Lardner, 
Lightfoot, Burton, Davidson, Alford, Wordsworth, Cony- 
beare and Howson, etc. There is a correspondence in 


several particulars. In both cases there is a journey of Paul 
and Barnabas to Jerusalem on the question of the relation 
of the Gentile Christians to the law of Moses ; in both cases, 
Peter and James take an active part in the conference ; 
and so far as we can judge, the dates correspond. The 
objections raised to the identity of these visits are not, we 
think, insuperable. 1. In Gal. ii. 2, it is said that Paul 
went up by revelation ; whereas in the Acts he was sent by 
the church. But, as we have already observed, there is no 
contradiction between these statements : the church might 
have been directed to send him. 2. In Gal. ii. 1, Titus is 
mentioned as accompanying the apostle, whereas there is no 
mention of him in the Acts. But he may well be included 
in the "certain others" who, we are informed, were sent 
along with Paul and Barnabas. 3. The objects of the 
journey in the two cases are said to be dissimilar : according 
to the Acts, it was to settle the question whether the Gentiles 
should be circumcised; according to the epistle, it was to 
have Paul's apostleship recognised. But here also there is 
no discrepancy ; on the contrary, the recognition of Paul's 
apostleship depended on the question concerning the circum- 
cision of the Gentiles. 4. In the Acts there is no mention 
made of the private meeting which Paul had with James, 
Peter, and John (Gal. ii. 2). But it is not to be expected 
that there should have been, because the Acts, as a history, 
deals chiefly with public transactions. In private (kclt 
IBiav) Paul communicated the nature of the gospel which 
he preached to those in reputation (Gal. ii, 2) ; whereas in 
public he declared the signs and wonders which God had 
done by him among the Gentiles (Acts xv. 2). 5. In the 
epistle there is no mention of the apostolic decree. But the 
apostolic decree had only an indirect reference to the subject 
under discussion, — namely, the recognition of Paul's apostle- 
ship by the other apostles; whereas, in the result of this 
private conference with them, the reference was direct and 

The result of the whole discussion is thus concisely and 
well stated by Conybeare : " The Galatian visit could not 


have happened before the third visit; because if so, the 
apostles at Jerusalem had already granted to Paul and 
Barnabas the liberty which was sought for the evar/yeXiov 
t??9 aKpofivo-Tias (Gal. ii. 8) : therefore there would have 
been no need for the church to send them again to Jerusalem 
upon the same cause. And again, the Galatian visit could 
not have happened after the third visit; because almost 
immediately after that period Paul and Barnabas ceased to 
work together as missionaries to the Gentiles ; whereas, up 
to the time of the Galatian visit, they had been working 
together." 1 

1 For discussions on this subject, see Davidson's former Introduction to 
the New Testament, vol. ii. pp. 112-122 ; Alford's Greek Testament, vol. 
ii. pp. 26, 27 ; Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. i. pp. 539-547 ; 
and, as already mentioned, Wieseler's Chronologie, pp. 180-208; also 
Schaff's Apostolic History, vol. i. pp. 289-291. In his New Introduction, 
vol. ii. pp. 214-222, Dr. Davidson considerably alters his opinion, but 
he still asserts the identity of the Galatian visit with this visit at the 
Council of Jerusalem. 


THE SYNODICAL LETTER.— Acts xv. 22-35. 

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and elders, with the whole 
church, having chosen men from themselves, to send them to Antioch 
with Paul and Barnabas ; namely, Judas named Barsabbas, and Silas, 
leading men among the brethren : 23 Having written by their hands : 
The apostles, and elders, and brethren, to the brethren from among the 
Gentiles throughout Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, greeting : 24 Since 
we have heard that certain having come from us have troubled you 
with words, subverting your souls, whom we did not authorize ; 25 It 
seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to choose and send 
men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul ; 26 Men who have 
hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We 
have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who also shall declare the same 
things by word. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to 
us, to lay upon you no further burden than these necessary things; 
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and 
from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep 
yourselves, ye shall do well. Farewell. 

30 They therefore, being dismissed, came to Antioch; and having 
assembled the multitude, they delivered the epistle. 31 And having 
read it, they rejoiced for the consolation. 32 And Judas and Silas, 
being themselves also prophets, exhorted the brethren with many 
words, and confirmed them. 33 But after they had tarried some time, 
they were dismissed in peace from the brethren to those who had sent 
them. 34, 35 But Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching 
and preaching the word of the Lord with many others. 


Ver. 23. Kal ol before ahek<\>oi is found in E, G, H, but 
omitted in A, B, 0, D, K. Lachmann has cancelled the 
words; but Meyer and Tischendorf retain them, because 
their omission was probably the result of a hierarchical feel- 
ing. Ver. 24. The words Xeyovres Trepire/JLveaOat kol rrjpelv 



tov vofxov (textus receptus) are found in C, E, but omitted in 
A, B, D, K. They are rejected as spurious by Lachmann, 
Teschendorf, and Bornemann, but retained by Meyer and 
De Wette. Ver. 33. Instead of airocrTokov^ found in E, 
G, H, Tischendorf, Lachmann, and Meyer read airoaTei- 
\avra<i avTovs, found in A, B, C, D, K. Ver. 34. This 
verse, e'So£e Se tg3 %l\a hriiielvai avrov, is contained in C, 
D, but is omitted in A, B, E, G, H, K, and is accordingly 
rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Meyer. It was 
probably interpolated in order to account for the presence of 
Silas at Antioch (ver. 40). 


Yer. 22. "E&oge — It seemed good. "ESofe is used to express 
the formal resolution of a senate or an assembly ; and hence 
the resolutions themselves are termed Boyfiara (Acts xvi. 4). 
Tot9 airoGTokois /cat rot? nrpeafivrepois avv o\rj ry i/ackrjala 
— to the apostles and elders, with the whole church. The 
three classes of which the assembly was composed : — 1. The 
apostles — those of the original twelve then in Jerusalem. 

2. The presbyters — the elders of the church of Jerusalem. 

3. The members of the church: thus proving that the 
disciples in general were present, not merely to listen, but 
to deliberate. 'EfcXe^ajjuevovs avSpas — having chosen men. 
We have here (airoo-Tokois — i/c\ei;afievov<; — ypatydvTes) an 
example of what grammarians call an anacoluthon — a loose- 
ness of construction — as regards the cases of these participles. 
'E/cXegafjuevovs is not to be taken for e/eXep^eWa? (Kuinoel), 
for the first aorist middle never has a passive signification. 1 
The correct translation is, having chosen men; i.e. tt the apostles 
and elders, with the whole church, resolved to choose and to 
send men." 'IovSav tov KaXovfievov Bapaafifiav — Judas 
called Barsabbas. Ewald supposes that this Judas was the 
same with Joseph called Barsabbas, the candidate with 
Matthias for the apostleship (Acts i. 23). 2 But this is im- 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 314. 

2 Ewald's GescMchte des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 440. 


probable, as the name of the one was Judas, and of the 
other Joseph. Grotius supposes that the two were brothers, 
the sons of one Sabba (Bar Sabbas). Kal 2l\av — And 
Silas. Silas — or, as he is elsewhere called, Silvanus — was 
afterwards the companion of Paul during the greater part 
of his second missionary journey. He is honourably men- 
tioned in the Epistles to the Thessalonians, and in the second 
Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Thess. i. 1 ; 2 Thess. i. 1 ; 2 Cor. 
i. 19). It is doubtful whether he was the Silvanus by whom 
the first Epistle of Peter was conveyed to the churches of 
Asia (1 Pet. v. 12). His Latin name renders it probable 
that he was a Hellenistic Jew, and we are informed that he 
as well as Paul was a Roman citizen (Acts xvi. 37). Accord- 
ing to tradition, he became bishop of Corinth. 1 "AvSpas 
r)yov/j,evov<; ivTocs a8e\<f)OL<; — leading men among the brethren, 
i.e. men of influence in the church of Jerusalem. The 
words do not necessarily imply that they were office-bearers 
{irpeo-^vrepot) of the church. 

Ver. 23. Tpatyavres Bca %et/3o? avrwv — having written by 
them, i.e. by Judas and Silas. This, as Neander observes, is 
the earliest public document of the Christian church known 
to us. Clemens Alexandrinus calls it 17 iiriaToXrj 17 icaOo- 
Xiktj twv aTTocrroXcQV diravrcov — the catholic epistle of all the 
apostles. This epistle proves that the church of Jerusalem, 
as the mother church, still exercised a superintendence over 
the other churches. It was also a testimony to the unity of 
the church. The Christian church was to be a united body, 
not split up into separate factions, but to be regulated by the 
same general rules, and animated by a spirit of love and 
forbearance. It is probable that Luke has inserted the 
original document verbatim. Copies of it would be distri- 
buted throughout the churches, and would be easily obtained 
by the historian. It was doubtless originally written in 
Greek, both because it was addressed to the Gentiles, and 
because its beginning, ^alpeiv, and its close, eppcoo-Oe, are in 
the usual form of the Greek epistolary style. Some (BengeJ, 

1 For a refutation of Schwanbeck's hypothesis, that Silas was the 
author of the Acts, see Introductory Observations. 


Bleek, Baumgarten, Stier) suppose that it was composed by 
James the Lord's brother, because it agrees with his senti- 
ments as stated in the council, and because the salutation 
Xalpeiv is only found in the beginning of his epistle (Jas. i. 1). 
But these are insufficient grounds on which to rest such an 
opinion. Kal ol aZekfyoi — and the brethren. In some MSS. 
kol ol are omitted (see Critical Note), and accordingly some 
consider aZek<f>ol as the designation of the apostles and elders : 
the apostles and elders, brethren, to the brethren. 

Kara rrjv ' Avno^eiav Kal Hvpiav /cal KCkiKiav — through- 
out Antiochy and Syria, and Cilicia. In Antioch the dispute 
arose, and probably the same dissension prevailed throughout 
Syria and Cilicia. We here learn that there were churches 
in Cilicia, probably founded by Paul when at Tarsus (Acts 
ix. 30) * Paul and Barnabas had also established churches in 
the districts of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia ; but they 
are not named in the epistle, perhaps because the Judaizing 
teachers had not as yet propagated their doctrines in these 
churches. The decrees, however, included them, and were 
delivered to them (Acts xvi. 4). Indeed, the letter was 
designed for the regulation of the conduct of all Christians, 
wherever there were both Gentile and Jewish converts ; 
is evident from the words of James, uttered several ye* 
afterwards : " As touching the Gentiles which believe, we 
have written, and concluded that they observe no such thing, 
save only that they keep themselves from things offered to 
idols, and from strangled, and from fornication" (Acts 
xxi. 25). 

Ver. 24. TW9 if r/fiwv e|eA.0<We? — certain having come 
from us. The Judaizers not only came from Jerusalem, 
but, as it appears, pretended that they came authorized by 
the church. 'Avaaiceva^ovTes — subverting; only used here 
in the New Testament. 'Avao-icevateiv, to subvert, to destroy; 
the opposite of oIkoSo/jlclv, to build, to edify. Aeyovres irepi- 
refiveo-dau koX rnpelv rbv vo/jlov (textus receptus) — saying, Ye 
must be circumcised, and keep the law. These words are re- 
jected by Tischendorf, but retained by Meyer and De Wette. 
1 For Cilicia, see note to Acts vi. 8. 


The internal evidence is in favour of their genuineness, as 
otherwise the question in dispute would not have been men- 
tioned in the epistle. The external evidence is strongly 
against their reception. Oh ov hteaTeCKafMeOa — whom we did 
not authorize ; thus charging the Judaizing Christians with 
falsehood, if they pretended to use the names of the apostles. 

Ver. 25. revofiivoi? SfioOvfiaBov — being assembled with 
one accord. Some (Grotius, Bengel, Baumgarten, Lechler, 
Meyer, Stier, Hackett) render these words, being unanimous ; 
implying that the Judaizing party was silenced, and that 
the council was unanimous in its decision. This, how- 
ever, is not the usual meaning of ofioOv/jLa&ov in the Acts 
(Acts i. 14, ii. 1, iv. 24, v. 12). The meaning adopted by 
Alford is to be preferred, being assembled with one accord. 
The unanimity of the council cannot with certainty be in- 
ferred from these words. At first it was not unanimous 
(ver. 7) ; and hence Wieseler and De Wette suppose that 
the decree was passed by a majority of votes. It is, however, 
not improbable that unanimity prevailed at last. The reso- 
lution of the council was of the nature of a compromise. 
The advocates for the freedom of the Gentiles would be 
satisfied, seeing that circumcision and the rites of the Mosaic 
law were not to be insisted on ; whilst the Judaizing Chris- 
tians might, for the time, be persuaded by the address of 
James, the apostle of the circumcision, seeing that some 
allowance was made for their scruples. But this unanimity, 
if it did exist, was temporary. The Judaizing teachers did 
not relinquish their opinions : they were more active than 
ever in propagating them ; they followed the footsteps of 
Paul ; and hence we find in his epistles a continual protest 
against their views, and earnest warnings to his converts not 
to be led astray by such teaching ; and to beware of relin- 
quishing that liberty which they had in Christ Jesus, and of 
being brought into bondage under the law. 

Bapvdfia Kol JJavXcp — Barnabas and Paul. Here, as in 
ver. 12, Barnabas has the precedence of Paul ; whereas, 
since ch. xiii. 9, Paul is generally placed first. This position 
of the names is not to be considered purely accidental 


(Zeller), but arises from the relation of both to the church 
of Jerusalem. Barnabas is placed first, because, as already 
stated, he was the elder and better known, and once occupied 
an influential position in the apostolic church. It is therefore 
not without reason that Bleek considers this unusual arrange- 
ment as an internal proof of the genuineness of the epistle, — 
a remark in which Meyer, Baumgarten, and De Wette concur. 
Ver. 26. 'AvdpcoTrocs 7rapa$€$a)/c6o~iv ra? i/rtr^a? avrwv, etc. 
— men who have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Zeller finds fault with this commendation of 
Paul and Barnabas, as being inappropriate. " To what 
purpose," he observes, u this commendation of Paul and 
Barnabas, which contrasts so strikingly with the meagre 
contents of the epistle? Those commended required no 
such recommendation, as they stood in a much nearer rela- 
tion to the disciples of Antioch, as being the authors of their 
Christianity, than did the apostles at Jerusalem ; and not a 
hint of personal attack against them occurs in the preceding 
narrative. Even in a case where this did occur (2 Cor. iii. 1), 
Paul says expressly that he disdained such letters of com- 
mendation. Our author indeed thought otherwise, whose 
entire work is nothing else than an epistle of commendation 
(i7riaTo\r) o-vaTariKT]) for the apostle, and who had in view 
readers with whom a recommendation by the original apostles 
might be neither superfluous nor ineffective." 1 But it is 
highly probable that there was a Judaizing party even in 
the church of Antioch (ver. 2) ; and the Judaizers from 
Jerusalem would do all in their power to depreciate the 
character and the labours of the Gentile apostles, represent- 
ing them as falsifiers of Christianity. There was then a 
special reason for the church in Jerusalem testifying to the 
integrity of the two deputies from Antioch : it would serve 
to counteract whatever impressions had been made by the 

ver. 27. Kai avTovs Bta Xoyov a7rayye\ovra<; ra avrd — 
themselves also declaring the same things by word. Ta avrd — 
the same things contained in the letter ; not the same things 
1 Zeller's ApostelgescMchte, pp. 246, 247. 


which Paul and Barnabas taught (Neander). Aid \6yov — 
by word. The church of Antioch would thus have oral and 
written testimony. The letter would inform them of the 
resolution of the council ; and Judas and Silas would testify 
to the genuineness of the letter, and corroborate its state- 
ments. This was the more necessary, as forged letters were 
then not unusual (2 Thess. ii. 2.) 

Ver. 28. "EBogev yap tg3 ayt<p HvevpLari real rj/uv — for it 
seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us. These words are 
not to be weakened, as if they were equivalent to the Holy 
Ghost in us (Olshausen), or to us by the Holy Ghost (Grotius). 
The Holy Ghost and the church are to be regarded as dis- 
tinct. He bore witness by means of the miraculous in- 
fluences conferred on the disciples. Or perhaps the effusion 
of the Spirit on Cornelius and his company was the declara- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, that the Gentiles without circum- 
cision should be admitted into the Christian church. JJXrjv 
reap €7rdvayK6<s — except these necessary things. The necessity 
here referred to was conditioned by the circumstances of the 
case. Abstinence from the things mentioned in the decree 
was undoubtedly necessary to promote the free converse 
between the Jewish and the Gentile Christians, and espe- 
cially to secure communion among them at the Lord's table. 

Ver. 29. The articles of abstinence here mentioned are 
the same as those stated in the address of James (ver. 20). 
ElScoXodvTcov, meats offered to idols, is the equivalent of 
dXiayrjfidTcov tcop elBcoXcov, pollutions of idols. Ev Trpd^ere 
— ye shall do well. Not equivalent to o-wdrjaeo-de, ye shall 
be saved (Kuincel), as if the decree were the exact counter- 
part of the doctrine of the Judaizers, " Except ye be cir- 
cumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved ;" 
but merely, Ye shall act properly. "Eppooade — Farewell: 
the customary conclusion of epistles among, the Greeks. 
Compare the epistle of Claudius Lysias to Festus, which 
also begins with xalpeiv, and closes with eppcoao (Acts xxiii. 

Some suppose that these four articles — meats offered to 
idols, things strangled, blood, and fornication — were for- 


bidden, because they were included in the seven so-called 
precepts of Noah, and which were binding on " the proselytes 
of the gate;" 1 so that the intention of the injunction was 
to convert the Gentiles, not into "proselytes of righteous- 
ness " by circumcision, as the Judaizers demanded, but, as 
a compromise, into " proselytes of the gate." But all this is 
entirely fanciful. Of the four articles, only one, " the eating 
of blood," is directly named in the so-called precepts of 
Noah. And besides, as already stated, this distinction of 
proselytes into u proselytes of righteousness " and " proselytes 
of the gate," rests on doubtful authority. The evident 
object of the decree was to remove, as far as possible, those 
obstacles which prevented free intercourse and communion 
between the believing Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish 
Christians, so long as they adhered to the law of Moses, 
could not partake of food with the Gentile Christians with- 
out contracting ceremonial uncleanness ; unless the Gentile 
Christians would agree to abstain from those articles of food 
which the Jews regarded as unclean. By this means the 
barrier which still separated the Jewish from the Gentile 
Christians would be in a great measure broken down. The 
reason why only these four articles are specified in the decree, 
was because, next to circumcision, they were the greatest 
obstacles to friendly intercourse between Jews and Gentiles. 
From this, it follows that the decree of the Council of 
Jerusalem was only of temporary obligation. It was merely 
an article of peace, and was only in force so long as the 
circumstances of the case lasted; that is, so long as the 
Jewish Christians persevered in their legal strictness, and 
held it unlawful to partake of certain kinds of food. As 
soon as they were enabled to entertain more enlightened 
notions, and to perceive that in Christ the distinction be- 
tween clean and unclean meats was abolished, and that there 
was no kind of food unclean of itself, the obligation of the 
decree terminated. The moral part of it — abstinence from 
fornication — is elsewhere abundantly inculcated in the word 
of God. Perhaps the decree was only local, extending to 
1 For the seven precepts of Noah, see note to Acts x. 2. 


Syria, Cilicia, and the adjoining provinces ; at least there 
would be no reason for its observance where there were no 
Jewish Christians. We find that Paul, in his first Epistle 
to the Corinthians, when writing on the distinction of clean 
and unclean meats, makes no allusion to it ; but whilst he 
asserts the lawfulness of all kinds of meats, he exhorts the 
Gentile Christians to abstain from meats offered to idols, not 
because they were expressly forbidden in this decree, but 
from the principle of charity, lest by partaking they should 
offend their weaker brethren (1 Cor. x. 23-33). It would, 
however, seem that the primitive church in general con- 
sidered the decree as binding upon all Christians. Augustine 
appears to have been the first who asserted its temporary 
obligation {Contra Manich. 32, 13). In the Western churches 
generally the opinion of Augnstine is adopted, whilst the 
Greek Church regards the decree as still binding upon 
Christians. Several distinguished modern critics, as Grotius, 
Salmasius, Curcellaeus, and Du Veil, also assert its permanent 
obligation. 1 

The decision of the Council of Jerusalem was a great step 
in advance. Had it been otherwise, had the council decided 
that circumcision and the observance of the law of Moses 
were necessary, the progress of Christianity would have been 
impeded. But now Gentile Christianity could be freely 
propagated without let or hindrance : all the obstacles which 
stood in the way of its diffusion were removed ; and the 
apostolic church was delivered from legal bondage. We 
see the immediate effects of this decision in the joy and 
confidence which the reading of the decree imparted to the 
Christians at Antioch, and in the great success of Paul on 
his second missionary journey. Christian churches soon be- 
gan to arise in all the principal cities of the Roman empire. 
The triumph of the free Christian over the Judaizing party 
was one great element in the success of the gospel. 

Ver. 30. 01 fiev ovv airo\vdivT€<z — Tliey therefore, being dis- 
missed. Probably there was a formal and solemn dismissal 

1 See this subject discussed at great length by Lardner (Lardner's 
Works, vol. v. pp. 494-519). 


on the part of the church, as when Paul and Barnabas were 
sent forth on their missionary journey (Acts xiii. 3). 

Yer. 31. HapaKkfaei — consolation. Meyer renders it ex- 
hortation, because in the next verse irapeicakecrav must neces- 
sarily signify exhorted. But this is an insufficient reason. 
The exhortation contained in the letter was not the cause of 
the joy; but the consolation that the Gentiles were to be 
freed from the yoke of the Mosaic services. It must have 
been a great comfort for them to hear that these carnal 
ordinances were not to be imposed, and that the cause of 
Christian liberty had triumphed. 

Yer. 32. Kal avrol 7rpo(j)r}Tcu 6We? — Being themselves pro- 
phets. The term prophets is here used, not to signify that 
they foretold the future, but to denote that they were in- 
spired men ; the reference being to their capability to exhort 
(TrapcucaXeLv) and to confirm (hrurrrjpiljeaj) the brethren. 

Yer. 33. ' AirehvOrjo-av fjuer elprjvr)*; — They were dismissed 
with peace; in a solemn assembly, with prayer and fasting 
(ver. 30). There is a probable reference to the form of 
dismissal, vTrdyere iv elprjvy (Jas. ii. 16). It would appear 
that both Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem, to give 
in their report to the church, but that Silas came back to 
Antioch. Yer. 34 is considered by the best critics as an in- 
terpolation, designed to account for the presence of Silas in 
Antioch. The Codex Bezse (D), which contains the clause, 
has also the addition, /jlovos Be 'IovBa-s eiropevOr). 

Yer. 35. Ilavkos Be Kal Bapvdftas Bierpifiov iv ^ AvTioyela 
— But Paul and Barnabas continued in Antioch. Critics are 
in general agreed that it was at this time that the dispute 
between Paul and Peter, mentioned in Gal. ii. 11-16, 
occurred. From the order of events as given in the epistle, 
it evidently occurred after the Council of Jerusalem. And 
this is the only place where we are told that Paul, after the 
council, remained for any length of time at Antioch. Peter, 
it would appear, went down from Jerusalem to Antioch. At 
first, acting upon the decrees of the council, he associated 
freely with the Gentile Christians. Some Judaizing Chris- 
tians, however, having come down from Jerusalem, Peter, 


from fear of offending them, withdrew from the Gentiles : 
he manifested an inconsistency of character — a sinful com- 
pliance with the prejudices of the Jews. Other Jewish 
Christians were influenced by the conduct of the great 
apostle ; and even Barnabas, one of the apostles of the uncir- 
cumcision, was carried away with their dissimulation. Such 
conduct, sanctioned by an apostle, evidently tended to foster 
the opinions of the Judaizing Christians; and therefore it 
met with a firm resistance from Paul : the younger apostle 
rebuked the elder ; and no doubt the rebuke was well taken, 
and the fault corrected. It is to be observed that no change 
of opinion is ascribed to Peter, but an inconsistency of con- 
duck — an act of dissimulation : he displayed the same want of 
moral courage and decision which he formerly showed when 
he denied his Master ; and as then, so now, the fault com- 
mitted was doubtless followed by a speedy repentance. The 
dispute is omitted by Luke, not because he would conceal 
the important difference which there was between Paul and 
Peter (Baur, Schrader, Schneckenburger), but because it 
had no reference to the history of the church — it was fol- 
lowed by no important consequences ; whereas, on the other 
hand, the subsequent dispute between Paul and Barnabas 
resulted in the separation of these two missionaries, and in 
their occupation of different fields of missionary labour. As 
already stated, the Acts of the Apostles is not a biography 
of Paul, but a history of the diffusion of the gospel. 

Mera teal erepwv ttoWwv — With many others also. There 
was a flourishing church at Antioch. At this time it con- 
tained more Christians than any other city in the world, 
except Jerusalem. We do not know who the other teachers 
were ; but among them were Mark and Silas. 



36 And after certain days, Paul said to Barnabas, Let us return and 
visit the brethren in every city in which we have preached the word of 
the Lord, and see how they do. 37 But Barnabas was minded to take 
with them John, surnamed Mark. 38 But Paul thought it not right to 
take him with them, who had fallen away from them from Pamphylia, 
and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there was a sharp 
contention, so that they separated from each other ; and Barnabas 
took Mark, and sailed to Cyprus. 40 But Paul having chosen Silas, 
departed, being recommended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 

41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches. 
Ch. xvi. 1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And, behold, a certain 
disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a Jewish woman who 
believed, but of a Greek father ; 2 Who was well reported of by the 
brethren in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him Paul wished to go forth with 
him ; and he took and circumcised him, because of the Jews who were 
in these quarters : for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 
4 And as they journeyed through the cities, they delivered to them the 
decrees to keep, which had been determined on by the apostles and 
elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 Therefore were the churches estab- 
lished in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6 Now when they 
had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were pre- 
vented by the Holy Ghost from speaking the word in Asia, 7 After 
they were come toward Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia : and 
the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not. 8 Then, having passed by Mysia, 
they came down to Troas. 


Ver. 36. 'Hpcov after aSeXfov? is found in G, H, but 
wanting in A, B, 0, D, E, K, and is therefore omitted by 
all recent critics. Ver. 40. Kvptov, found in A, B, D, K, is 



preferred by Lachmann and Teschendorf to &eov, found in 
0, E, G, H. Ch. xvi. 1. After yvvai/cos the textus receptus 
has twos, found in G, H ; but it is rejected by all recent 
critics, being wanting in A, B, C, D, E, K. Ver. 6. Jte\- 
66vre<i (textus receptus) only occurs in G, H ; but still it 
is preferred by Tischendorf to BirfkOov, A, B, C, D, E, K, 
which is considered as an emendation, to avoid the repetition 
of so many participles. Ver. 7. Eh rrjv BiQvvLav, A, B, C, 
D, E, N, is much better attested than Kara rrjv Btdvvtav, 
G, H. [Irjaov after to IIvevfJLa is found in A, B, D, E, K, 
and is adopted by all recent critics. 


Ver. 36. Mera Be riva? rjfiepas — But after certain days. 
The time of the commencement of Paul's second missionary 
journey is stated indefinitely : it was u after certain days," 
that is, certain days after the return of Judas and Silas to 
Jerusalem (ver. 33)* Elirev 7rpb<; Bapvdfiav IIav\o$ — Paul 
said to Barnabas. This missionary journey was not suggested 
by the church, but arose from a proposal made by Paul to 
Barnabas. It was designed to be a journey of visitation to 
the churches in those cities where these apostles had already 
preached the gospel. 

Ver. 37. Bapvdftas Be iftovXevaaTo avinrapaXajSelv — But 
Barnabas was minded to take with them John, surnamed 
Mark. Barnabas was anxious to take Mark, because he was 
his relative (Col. iv. 10), and felt a warm interest in him ; 
and also, as we may well suppose, because he had a favour- 
able opinion of him, and judged that he would be serviceable 
to the mission. His conduct here was in accordance with 
his benevolent spirit (Acts xi. 24), which led him to judge 
favourably of his fellow-believers, and which was formerly 
exercised toward Paul himself, when he introduced him to 
the apostles in Jerusalem, at a time when the other disciples 
regarded him with jealousy. 

Ver. 38. Paul judged otherwise : he considered that Mark's 
conduct in departing from them in Pamphylia (Acts xiii. 13) 



had rendered him unworthy to accompany them. The word 
which Paul employs in censuring his conduct is strong — rbv 
airoo-TavTa, who had apostatized; yet it is to be observed 
that he does not accuse him of having apostatized from 
Christ, but from them {air avr&v), the missionaries of 
Christ. We are not then to conceive that Mark departed in 
obedience to the call of the apostles, who required his aid for 
the conversion of the inhabitants of Palestine (Benson) ; or, 
as others think, that he left on account of the feeble state of 
his health : for if so, Paul would not have so severely cen- 
sured his conduct. The probable reason was, that he shrank 
from the labours and dangers of the mission. Inconstancy 
in the service of Christ was, in the eyes of such a man as 
Paul, a heinous offence, deserving of severe censure. 

Ver. 39. 'Eyevero Be 7rapo$jvo~fi6<; — And there was a sharp 
contention, napogva/JLos signifies a sharp contention, an 
angry dispute : hence our English word paroxysm. It would 
appear that sharp words passed between them. There is 
here an instance of the imperfections of good men, which 
the word of God does not conceal. Barnabas was actuated 
by the mildness of his disposition, which caused him to 
extenuate the fault of Mark ; Paul was actuated by a holy 
severity and zeal, which led him to regard Mark's desertion 
as disqualifying him for missionary work. Barnabas per- 
haps saw in Mark the germs of that spirit which afterwards 
rendered him a distinguished preacher of the gospel ; Paul 
felt that preaching the gospel would be accompanied with 
great labours and sufferings, and he judged that Mark had 
already proved himself unequal for them. Barnabas was 
loath to reject a relative who might be disheartened, if re 
pelled ; Paul was afraid lest, by accepting him, the interests 
of the mission would suffer. A benevolent spirit actuated 
the one; a just severity influenced the other. Probably 
there were faults on both sides, though we do not agre< 
with Olshausen in conceiving that, wherever there is a con-< 
tention, this must necessarily be the case. 1 Paul, however* 
seems to have been most in the right: with Barnabas th^ 
1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 423. 


natural love of a relation may have caused him in a mea- 
sure to overlook the higher interests of the gospel ; though 
perhaps Paul's severity was also carried to excess. Paulus 
severior Barnabas clementior : uterque in suo sense abundat. 
Et tamen dissensio habet aliquid humance fragilitatis (Jerome). 
Ewald supposes that Paul's confidence even in Barnabas 
may before this have been somewhat shaken, and that this 
dispute about Mark was augmented by reason of a previous y i i 

misunderstanding. The dispute between Peter and Paul \ y**SV**^' 
had occurred shortly before this ; and at that time Barnabas 1 u^, &*r*' 
had been " carried away with their dissimulation " (Gal. ii. [ ^L^K M' 
13) ; he also had been guilty of temporizing, and was at \ (£— /^ l * 
least indirectly censured by Paul; and perhaps, in con- \ " 
sequence, a degree of coolness may have arisen between ) 
them. 1 

"flare airo^copLadrivai avrovs dnr d\Xrj\(ov — so that they 

separated from each other. Since they could not agree about 

Mark, they thought it better to part. And this separation was 

highly conducive to the progress of the gospel. Barnabas 

and Paul could now work with greater freedom. Barnabas 

would be delivered from a somewhat false position, in which 

he might, from the increasing importance of Paul, feel that 

his own influence was diminishing ; and Paul would, on the 

other hand, feel more thoroughly independent. Besides, 

(instead of one mission, now there were two : Barnabas and 

Mark labouring in one quarter, and Paul and Silas in 

mother ; and thus double work would be performed. u The 

me stream of missionary labour thus became divided into 

wo parts, and the more regions were in consequence supplied 

frfcrith the water of life" (Olshausen). But although Bar- 

• IS labas and Paul separated, yet we are not to suppose that 

1 Ewald's Geschichte des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 443. Renan takes 
he part of Barnabas, and accuses Paul of pride and ingratitude : " but 
he exigencies of the work," he observes, "imposed this on Paul; and 
rhat man of action has not once in his lifetime committed a great crime 
f the heart?" — Renan's Saint Paul, p. 120. But there is nothing in 
he narrative to justify this opinion. Paul felt that his companions in 
he mission must sacrifice themselves entirely. 


they did so in anger. Paul, in his epistles, speaks of Bar- 
nabas with the greatest respect and affection (1 Cor. ix. 6 ; 
Gal. ii. 9). And he was afterwards not only fully reconciled 
to Mark, but employed him as a companion in his labours. 
He recommends him to the favourable regard of the church 
of Colosse (Col. iv. 10) ; mentions him among the number 
of his fellow-labourers (Philem. 24) ; and in the last epistle 
which he wrote, directs Timothy to bring Mark with him, 
because he was profitable for the ministry (2 Tim. iv. 11). 
And doubtless also this dissension resulted in good to Mark 
himself : the severity of Paul would lead him to repentance 
and renewed activity; whilst the mildness of Barnabas would 
preserve him from despondency, and strengthen the good 
which was in him (Lechler). There is no reason to doubt 
that this is the same Mark whose praise is now in all the 
churches as the author of the second Gospel, and who has 
thus so nobly made amends for the fault committed in his 

Tov re Bapvdftav irapaXafiovja tov Mdp/cov — And Barna- 
bas took Markj and sailed ivith him to Cyprus. Barnabas, in 
going to Cyprus, acted on the proposal of Paul, to revisit the 
places where they had formerly preached the gospel. This 
is the last mention of Barnabas in the Acts. Of his future 
career we know nothing. Tradition varies in its accounts. 
According to one tradition, he went to Milan, and was the 
first bishop of the church in that city. According to 
another, he preached the gospel in Eome and Alexandria, 
and at length was put to death by the Jews in Cyprus. 

Ver. 40. IlavXos Be eirCKe^dfievo^ 2l\av — but Paul having 
chosen Silas. Silas was in every respect qualified to be the 
companion of Paul. He was one of the deputies sent fron 
Jerusalem to Antioch ; he was highly esteemed by th^ 
apostles; and he could from personal knowledge testify 
the agreement in doctrine between Paul and the origina 
apostles, being himself present at the Council of Jerusalem! 
This was also a proof of the high standing which Paul noJ 
occupied in the Christian church, that a man of the positiof 
of Silas should consent, as a subordinate, to accompany hirl 


on his missionary journeys. IlapaSodeh rfj xapiri rov 
Kvpiov inro t&v a$e\<j><ov — being recommended by the brethren 
to the grace of the Lord. Some (Calvin, Meyer, De Wette, 
Lechler, Alford, Cook) suppose that there is here an inti- 
mation that the church of Antioch took part with Paul in the 
dispute : he departed with the prayers of the church, whereas 
Barnabas left without any expression of their sympathy. 
" We may," observes Calvin, " from the context collect that 
in i this contest Paul's conduct was most approved of by the 
church : for when Barnabas went away with his companion, 
there is no mention of the brethren, as if he had privately 
withdrawn himself, without taking leave of them ; but Paul 
is recommended by the brethren to the grace of God : 
whence it appears that the church rather took part with him 
than with Barnabas in this matter." But too much is made 
of this statement. It was not the design of Luke to pursue 
the history of Barnabas further, and therefore he had no 
occasion to state his departure more minutely than he has 

Ver. 41. Airjp^ero Be rrjv Svpiav real KCkiiciav — And he 
went through Syria and Cilicia. It is to be observed that 
both Barnabas and Paul go first to their native countries — 
Barnabas to Cyprus, and Paul to Cilicia. The disciples in 
Syria and Cilicia seem to have been disturbed by the doc- 
trines of the Judaizers : to them the apostolic decree was 
specially directed (Acts xv. 23) ; and hence Paul's work 
would be to quiet these disturbances, and to establish the 
Gentile Christians in their freedom from Jewish observ- 
ances. By these means he would confirm the churches 
(iTriarripi&v ra<; i/c/ekrjcrias) ; and as formerly, at Antioch, 
the reading of the decrees caused great joy among the 
brethren, the same would be the case in Syria and Cilicia. 

Ch. xvi. 1. KaTT}VT7)a-6v Be eh Aep^rjv teal Avarpav — Then 
he came to Derbe and Lystra. In journeying from Cilicia to 
Lycaonia, Paul would have to cross the mountain range 
of Taurus by the well-known defile called the Cilician 
Gates, " a rent or fissure in the mountain chain, extend- 
ing from north to south, through a distance of eighty 


miles." 1 Paul came first to Derbe, the city he visited last 
in his former journey, because he was now travelling in the 
opposite direction. 

Kal l&ov iia67]Tr}s rt9 rjv ifcel bvofiaTi TifioOeos — And, behold, 
a certain disciple icas there, named Timotheus. It is disputed 
whether Timothy was a native of Derbe or Lystra. Wieseler 
and Olshausen fix on Derbe. They found this opinion on 
Acts xx. 4, which they render : u Of the Thessalonians, 
Aristarchus, and Secundus, and Gaius ; also Timotheus of 
Derbe ; and of the Asiatics, Tychicus and Trophimus." 
But this is an unnatural rendering of Tafo? Aepfiaios Kal 
TifioOeos : the Kal intervening shows that Aepftaios refers 
not to Timothy, but to Gaius. On the other hand, in our 
passage, rjv exec, was there, refers most naturally to Lystra, 
the place last mentioned ; and when in the next verse mention 
is made of the cities where Timothy was favourably known, 
Lystra is named, and the neighbouring city of Iconium, 
whilst Derbe is omitted. Hence the more probable opinion 
is, that Lystra was the birth-place of Timothy. So Meyer, 
De Wette, Lechler, Baumgarten, Neander, Alford, and 
Wordsworth. Wieseler attempts to remove these objections, 
by supposing that although Timothy was a native of Derbe, 
he was at present residing in Lystra.? Timothy was already 
a disciple (yLtafl^-nfc T49), ancl, as we are elsewhere informed, 
a convert of Paul (1 Tim. i. 2) ; so that in all probability he 
was converted during the previous visit of Paul to Lystra. 

T/09 yvvai/cbs 'Iovbaias ttlo-ttj^, irarpb^ Be "EWrjvos — The 
son of a Jewish woman who believed, but of a Greek father. 
Timothy was the offspring of a mixed marriage. His mother, 
whose name was Eunice (2 Tim. i. 5), was a Jewish Christian. 
His father was a Greek : as it is not said that he was also a 
believer, it is probable that he remained a heathen, or per- 
haps was by this time deceased. Such mixed marriages were 
not uncommon at this time. Grotius asserts that whilst the 
law strictly prohibited Jews marrying Gentile women, it did 

1 For a description of this route, see Conybeare and Howson, vol 
pp. 301-306. 

2 "Wieseler's Chronologie, pp. 25, 26. 


not forbid a Jewess to marry a Gentile; and he appeals 
to the case of Esther. But Josephus, on the other hand, 
in mentioning the marriage of Drusilla to Felix, expressly 
says that Drusilla married Felix in contempt of the law 
(Ant. xx. 7. 2). According to the notions of the strict 
Jews, the children of such mixed marriages were regarded 
as illegitimate (Ewald). Timothy, although the son of a 
Jewess, was at this time uncircumcised : hence he would be 
regarded by the Jews as a Gentile, or perhaps as an apostate 
from Judaism, and not in any sense a proselyte. We are in- 
formed that he was religiously brought up by the pious care 
of his mother, so that he had never been an idolater, but, 
like many devout Gentiles, had embraced the principles of 
Judaism, though not actually a proselyte ; and under the 
preaching of Paul, he and his mother had become Christians. 

Ver. 3. Tovtov rjOekrjaev 6 IlavXos avv avra> i^ekOeiv — 
Him Paul wished to go forth with him. Besides Timothy's 
personal qualifications and good report, the peculiarity of his 
birth rendered him a suitable companion to the apostle : he 
was related both to the Jews and to the Greeks. He was 
now to Paul and Silas what Mark was on the former mis- 
sionary journey to Barnabas and Paul. 

Kal Xafioov 7repi6T6fi6v avrbv, Bca tovs 'JTouoWof?, etc. — 
And took and circumcised him, because of the Jews who were 
in these quarters. Paul circumcised Timothy, not, as Ewald 
supposes, to remove the reproach of illegitimacy, 1 but to 
remove the offence of the Jews against the gospel. The 
Jews here mentioned are the unbelieving Jews. They would 
regard Timothy not merely as an uncircumcised Gentile, but 
as an apostate from Judaism ; and hence it would excite great 
offence if he, being uncircumcised, assisted Paul in preach- 
ing the gospel : it would perhaps have completely closed the 
door of access to them. Baur objects that such conduct in 
Paul is inconceivable. "That the same Paul who opposed 
with all his might the circumcision of Titus out of regard to 
the Jews, should, not long afterwards, from the same regard 
to the Jews, cause Timothy to be circumcised, belongs 
1 Ewald's Geschichte des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 445. 


certainly to those things in the Acts of the Apostles which 
are incredible. It would be a denial of his principles." 1 
But the cases are not similar; there are at least three 
points of difference : 1. Titus was a pure Gentile ; whereas 
Timothy was a Jew by the mother's side. 2. It was the 
Jewish Christians who demanded the circumcision of Titus ; 
whereas it was for the sake of the unbelieving Jews that 
Paul circumcised Timothy. 3. A principle of doctrine was 
involved in the case of Titus, — namely, that circumcision 
was essential to salvation ; whereas in the case of Timothy 
there was no question of doctrine, but merely a question of 
prudence. Paul here acted according to his principles of 
becoming in matters of indifference all things to all men, 
in order to promote the gospel of Christ ; acting as a Jew 
among the Jews that he might gain the Jews, and as a 
Gentile among the Gentiles that he might gain the Gentiles 
(1 Cor. ix. 20-22) ; but certainly not in compliance with the 
doctrine of the Judaizers, that circumcision was necessary to 
salvation. It is easy to see how the want of circumcision in 
Timothy would have hindered the entrance of the gospel 
among the Jews, whilst his circumcision would promote that 
object. We thus recognise in the apostle a grand liberal 
spirit, which made all external circumstances subservient to 
the advancement of the gospel ; whilst in matters of principle 
he would not yield one iota. He acted on the principle 
which Luther promulgates when he says : "Just as I myself 
in the present day, if I were to go among the Jews, and had 
to preach the gospel, but saw that they were weak, should 
be willing and ready to submit to circumcision, and to eat 
and abstain as they did. For in whatever respect I did not 
adapt myself to them, I should shut the door against myself, 
and against the gospel that I preached." 2 

ver. 4. 'fl? Be hteiropevovTo ra9 7roX«9 — And as they 
journeyed through the cities. Paul revisited Derbe, Lystra, 

1 Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. p. 147. 

f For discussions on this question, see Neander's Planting, vol. ii. 
p. 119 ; Lekebusch's Quellen der Apostelgeschichte, p. 273 ; Meyer's 
Apostelgeschichte, p. 322 5 Biscoe on the Acts, pp. 566-577. 


and Iconium : no mention is made of Pisidian Antioch ; and 
it is improbab je_ that he revisited it, as it was out of the 
route which he now took. From Iconium he would proceed 
by the direct road to Phrygia. 

Ver. 5. A I jiev ovv eKKkr\Giai earepeovvro rfj irlcrTei — 
Therefore were the churches established in the faith, and in- 
creased in number daily. Ovv — therefore; in consequence 
of the decrees of the Council of Jerusalem, a great hindrance 
to the reception of the gospel by the Gentiles had been 
removed. The churches prospered both externally and in- 
ternally; externally by the increase of their numbers, and 
internally by their establishment in the faith. Rarum incre- 
mentum, numero simul et gradu (Bengel). 

Ver. 6. AceXOovTes Be ttjv $pvylav — And having gone 
through Phrygia. Phrygia is used in an ethnological rather 
than in a political sense ; as there was at this time no 
country, strictly speaking, so called. The name resembles 
the old names of certain districts of Germany, such as 
Westphalia, Swabia, Franconia, the Palatinate, etc., which 
have ceased to have any political import. There were two 
Phrygias: Phrygia Major, situated to the north of the 
Taurian range ; and Phrygia Minor, along the shores of the 
Hellespont (Livy, xxxviii. 39 ; Strabo, xii. 8. 1). It is 
Phrygia Major that is here meant. This district cannot be 
exactly defined : in the south it was separated from Pisidia 
by the range of Taurus ; on the west it was bounded by 
Caria, Mysia, and the other districts of proconsular Asia ; on 
the north by Bithynia ; and on the east by Galatia. Its prin- 
cipal cities, mentioned in the New Testament, are Colosse, 
Laodicea, and Hierapolis, situated in the south of the dis- 
trict. According to Josephus, numerous Jews were settled 
in Phrygia in the time of the Maccabees (Ant. xii. 3. 4). 
Phrygia at this time belonged to two provinces : its southern 
portion was attached to proconsular Asia, and its northern 
portion to Galatia. 

TaXarLKr)v x^P av — Galatian region. Galatia, or, as it is 
called, Gallo-Graecia, was at this time a Roman province, 
bounded on the north by Bithynia, on the east by Pontus and 


Cappadocia, on the south by Pamphylia, and on the west by 
proconsular Asia. Besides Galatia proper, it included the 
districts of Lycaonia and the northern portion of Phrygia. 
It would, however, appear that the term Galatia in the Acts 
is not used politically to denote the Roman province, but 
ethnologically to denote the district inhabited by the Gala- 
tians, as it is in this chapter distinguished from Lycaonia 
and Phrygia. 1 The Galatians were the descendants of Gauls 
who invaded Greece and Asia about B.C. 280, and after 
various adventures settled down in that part of Asia. They 
were reduced to a nominal dependence on the Romans by 
Cneius Manlius B.C. 189 (Livy, xxxviii. 12), but were ruled 
by their own princes, called at first tetrarchs, and afterwards 
kings. Their last king, Amyntas, was rewarded by Augustas 
for his desertion of Antony with a large extension of terri- 
tory. On his death (B.C. 26), Augustus converted his king- 
dom into a province (Strabo, xii. 5. 1). The language of 
the Galatians was at first Celtic, but they soon learned 
Greek, and hence were called Gallo-Grecians. Jerome tells 
us that even in his time a dialect was spoken at Ancyra, the 
capital of Galatia, similar to that spoken at Treves. May 
there not have been some relation between this and the 
dialect of the Lycaonians? (Acts xiv. II.) 2 

From the incidental manner in which it is here mentioned 
that Paul passed through Phrygia and Galatia, we would be 
led to suppose that it was merely a flying visit which he paid 
to these two districts ; but we learn from the Epistle to the 
Galatians that this was not the case. Concerning his labours 
in Phrygia, indeed, we have no further account. It is im- 
probable that he then, as some suppose, preached the gospel 
in Colosse and Laodicea ; as these cities lay too far to the 
south, and indeed it is doubtful if he ever visited them 
(Col. ii. 1). But it was at this time that the churches in 
Galatia were founded. What cities he visited, and how 

1 De Wette's Apostelgeschichte, p. 127; Meyer's Brief an die Galater, 
pp. 2, 3. 

2 Winer's Worterbuch ; Lange's apostolisches Zeitalter ; Smith's Dic- 
tionary; Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul. 


long he tarried, is not mentioned; yet we infer from the 
epistle that he remained in the district for a considerable 
time. He speaks of having preached to them the gospel 
at the first through infirmity of the flesh (oY aaOeveiav t?}? 
<rapico<$, Gal. iv. 13), probably some bodily affliction under 
which he then laboured. No country embraced the gospel 
so readily and cordially: Paul was received and welcomed 
by them as if he were an angel sent from heaven (Gal. iv. 
14, 15). It is difficult to account for the omission by Luke 
of these important and successful evangelistic labours of 
Paul in Galatia. Meyer supposes that it was on account 
of the imperfection of the records which he employed; 
Olshausen and Lange think that he hastened to record the 
labours of the apostle in Europe ; Baumgarten thinks that 
it was outside of his plan, which was to trace the develop- 
ment of Christianity from Jerusalem to Rome ; Schnecken- 
burger, that it was because there were no Jews in these 
quarters; and Alford, because the narrator was not with 
the apostle during this part of his route. Whatever be the 
reason, the omission shows that the Acts contains only an 
imperfect account of the missionary labours of Paul. 

KcoXvOivres vtto tov cvyiov TLvevfiarof; — being prevented by 
the Holy Ghost. From Galatia Paul intended to go south 
to proconsular Asia, but was prevented preaching there by 
the Holy Ghost. By the Holy Ghost we are not to under- 
stand " the spirit of prudence, which judged correctly of 
circumstances" (De Wette), or " the internal tact of the 
apostle, which he regarded as the voice of the Spirit" 
(Zeller), but the objective Spirit of God. The Spirit spoke 
to him either through one of the prophets, or by an internal 
impression. The reason why he was prevented preaching in 
Asia cannot be referred to the absolute decrees of God 
(Calvin), but because he was now to pass over to Europe — 
to the very centre of heathenism. Afterwards Paul fully 
preached the gospel of Christ in Asia. 

y Ev rjj y Acrla — in Asia. By Asia, in the Acts of the 
Apostles, as already observed, we are to understand neither 
the continent of Asia nor the peninsula of Asia Minor, but 


the proconsular province of Asia, including the districts of 
Lydia, Caria, and Mysia — the ancient kingdom of Pergamus 1 
(see note to Acts ii. 9). 

Ver. 7. 'EXOovre? Kara ttjv Mvalav — after they were come 
toward Mysia, i.e. to the borders of Mysia. Mysia was a 
district of proconsular Asia, lying along the shores of the 
Hellespont, adjoining to Bithynia (Strabo, xii. 4, 5). This is 
the only place where the word occurs in the New Testament. 
^Eirelpa^ov eh ttjv BiOvvlav Tropevdfjvai, — they attempted to 
go into Bithynia. Bithynia was a Roman province adjoining 
proconsular Asia, and situated along the south-western shores 
of the Black Sea (Strabo, xii. 4. 1). It was left as a legacy 
to the Romans by its last king, Nicomedes in., B.C. 73 
(Eutrop. vi. 6). In the reign of Augustus, Bithynia and 
Pontus constituted one province (Dio, liii. 12) ; but under 
Nero, Pontus was converted into a separate province. It 
was over Bithynia that Pliny was governor, when he wrote 
his remarkable letter concerning the purity and constancy of 
the Christians to the Emperor Trajan. At that time, as 
Pliny states, many of all ages, and of every rank, had 
embraced the gospel, and the temples were almost forsaken 
(Plin. x. 96, 97). Nicomedia, the residence of the emperors 
of the East before the building of Constantinople, and Nicaea 
and Chalcedon, celebrated for their ecclesiastical councils, 
were cities in Bithynia. Kal ov/c elaaev avTovs to Ilvev/Jba 
'Irjo-ov — and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not. This 
remarkable expression, " the Spirit of Jesus," which does not 
elsewhere occur in Scripture, is the unquestionable reading 
of the text. 

Ver. 8. IlapeXdovTes Be ttjv Mvalav — and having passed by 
Mysia. " Passed by," not in the sense of avoiding it, for 
Paul could not get to Troas without traversing Mysia ; but 
in the sense of hastily passing through it. They did not 
preach the gospel there, because they had been prevented by 
the Holy Ghost from preaching the word in Asia. KaTe- 
firjaav — they came down, descended to the coast. 

1 Perhaps here the term is employed in a still more limited sense, and 
is restricted to Lydian Asia, as it is distinguished from Mysia. 


Eh Tpcod&a — to Troas, Troas, or, according to its full 
name, Alexandria Troas, was a seaport on the Hellespont, 
between the promontories of Lectum and Sigeum, about four 
miles distant from the site of ancient Troy. It was situated 
in the Mysian district of proconsular Asia, and was, as we 
find in the Acts, a frequent point of embarkation to Greece 
from proconsular Asia (Acts xx. 5). It was built by Anti- 
gonus, one of the successors of Alexander, and called by him 
Antigoneia Troas ; but this name was afterwards changed 
by Lysimachus into Alexandria Troas, in honour of Alexander 
the Great (Strabo, xiii. 1. 26). 1 Under the Komans it became 
one of the most important cities of proconsular Asia : it 
received from Augustus the privilege of being a Roman 
colony (Plin. v. 30). According to Suetonius, Julius Caesar 
once contemplated to transfer to it the capital of the empire 
(Julius Cses. Ixxix.) : and Constantine had still more serious 
thoughts of doing so ; for before he ultimately fixed on the 
site of Constantinople, he commenced to build at Alexandria 
Troas (Gibbon, ch. xvii.) : the name which it still bears 
among the Turks is Eski-Stamboul, or Old Constantinople. 
Troas is now in ruins ; but these are extensive and magni- 
ficent, proving the importance that it once possessed. " The 
ground in every direction," observes Fellows, " within the 
walls, was strewn with carvings, mouldings, and pedestals 
in marble, some of which had inscriptions, generally in the 
Greek language." The harbour is still traceable, though 
now shut out from the sea by a narrow strip of land. 2 

1 The full name on the coins is Col. Alexandria Augusta Troas. See 
Eckhel, Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. ii. p. 481. 

2 Fellows' Asia Minor, pp. 59-75. 


PAUL AT PHILIPPL— Acts xvi. 9-40. 

9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night : There stood a certain 
Macedonian, beseeching him, and saying, Come over into Macedonia, 
and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we 
sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to 
preach the gospel to them. 11 Then, having sailed from Troas, we came 
by a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis ; 

12 And thence to Philippi, which is the first city of the district of 
Macedonia, and a colony : and we were in that city abiding certain days. 

13 And on the Sabbath-day we went out of the gate to a river, where 
a place of prayer was wont to be ; and we sat down, and spoke to the 
women who were assembled. 14 And a certain woman named Lydia, 
a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God, heard 
us : whose heart the Lord opened, to attend to the things spoken by 
Paul. 15 And when she was baptized, and her house, she besought us, 
saying, If ye have judged me to be a believer in the Lord, come into 
my house, and abide. And she constrained us. 

16 And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer, a 
certain female slave having a Pythonic spirit met us, who brought her 
masters much gain by soothsaying : 17 The same, following Paul and 
us, cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, who 
announce to you the way of salvation. 18 And this she did many days. 
But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee, 
in the name of Jesus Christ, to come out of her. And he came out the 
same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains 
was gone, they seized on Paul and Silas, and drew them to the market- 
place to the rulers, 20 And brought them to the praetors, saying, 
These men, being Jews, create disturbance in our city, 21 And teach 
customs which are not lawful for us to receive, nor to practise, being 
Romans. 22 And the multitude rose up together against them : and the 
praetors having rent off their clothes, commanded to beat them with 
rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast 
them into prison, having charged the jailor to keep them safely: 
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner 
prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight 
Paul and Silas praying, sang praises unto God : and the prisoners heard 



them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the 
foundations of the prison were shaken : and immediately all the doors 
were opened, and the bands of all were loosened. 27 And the jailor 
awaking from sleep, and seeing the doors of the prison open, drew his 
sword, and would have killed himself, thinking that the prisoners had 
fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, Do thyself no harm : for we 
are all here. 29 Then he called for lights, and sprang in, and came 
trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them 
out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, 
Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 
32 And they spake to him the word of the Lord, with all who were in 
his house. 33 And he took them at that hour of the night, and washed 
their stripes ; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately. 34 And 
when he had brought them into the house, he set meat before them, and 
rejoiced, that he with all his house had believed on God. 

35 But when it was day, the praetors sent the lictors, saying, Release 
these men. 36 And the jailor told these words to Paul, The praetors 
have sent that ye may be released : now therefore depart, and go in 
peace. 37 But Paul said to them, They have beaten us openly uncon- 
demned, men who are Romans, and have cast us into prison : and now 
do they thrust us out secretly ? Nay verily ; but let them come them- 
selves and fetch us out. 38 And the lictors told these words to the 
praetors : and they were afraid, when they heard that they were Romans. 
39 And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and 
desired them to depart from the city. 40 And having come out of 
prison, they went into the house of Lydia : and having seen the brethren, 
they exhorted them, and departed. 


Ver. 13. JToXew? is the reading of E, G, H ; whereas A, B, 
C, D, K read TrvKys, the reading adopted by Lachmann and 
Tischendorf. Ver. 16. IIvOcdvos (textus receptee) is found 
in D, E, G, H ; whereas A, B, C, N read irvOwva^ the 
reading adopted by almost all recent critics. Ver. 17. 
*Tiuv after fcarayyeWovaiv is adopted by Lachmann and 
Tischendorf, according to B, D, E, N ; rjfuv is the reading 
of A, C, G, H, and is preferred by Meyer and Alford. 
Ver. 31. XpLOTov, found in C, D, E, G, H, is wanting in 
A, B, X, and is rejected by Tischendorf, Lachmann, and 
Meyer. Ver. 32. Kal iraai occurs in E, G, H ; whereas 
<jvv 7racrt is the reading of A, B, C, D, K, and is adopted by 


all recent critics. Ver. 40. Ilpbs is decidedly to be pre- 
ferred to efc, which is found in no uncial MS. 


Yer. 9. Kal opap,a Bid vvkto? tco UavXco GKpOrj — And a 
vision appeared to Paul in the night. The expression does 
not necessarily suppose that the revelation was imparted to 
Paul in a dream (Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Zeller) ; for if so, it 
would have been more definitely stated (Matt. ii. 22). 'Avrjp 
Ma/ceBcbv tj? rjv Icto)? — there was standing a certain Mace- 
donian. Paul recognised his country from the words of the 
vision. Grotius arbitrarily supposes that it was the guardian 
angel of Macedonia who now appeared. Perhaps it might 
be the form of the Philippian jailor, as Tt9 implies a certain 
definiteness. 1 We are not to suppose anything real, but 
merely a representation to the mind. 'Avrjp Ma/ceBcov, the 
well-known expression of Demosthenes referring to Philip. 
" The Macedonian spirit once, as a proud conqueror, crossed 
the Hellespont, and filled Asia with his glory ; but now he 
stands as a suppliant before a man who has no other weapon 
than the sword of the Spirit" (Lange). 2 

Aiaftas eh MaiceBoviav — having passed over to Macedonia. 
This most celebrated country lay to the north of Greece. 
Its boundaries varied at different periods. Under Philip and 
his more distinguished son it reached the climax of its glory. 
Macedonia was conquered by the Romans B.C. 167, when 
Perseus, the last of its kings, was defeated by Paulus 
JEmilius. It was then converted into a Roman province, 
and divided into four parts, each district having a capital of 
its own. Capita regionum, ubi concilia jierent, prima? regionis 
Amphipolin, secundos Thessalonicen, tertice Pelliam, quarto? 
Pelagoniam fecit (Li v. xlv. 29). 3 Thessalonica was the 

1 Just as the high priest Jaddua is said to have been seen by Alex- 
ander in a vision, inviting him to come over to Asia (Joseph. Ant. xi. 8. 5). 

2 Lange's das apostolische Zeitalter, p. 202. 

3 Akerman, in his Numismatic Illustrations, gives examples of coins 
of each of these four divisions, pp. 43, 44. 


general capital of the whole province, and the residence of 
the Roman governor. Macedonia had numerous flourishing 
cities : of these, Philippi, Thessalonica, Amphipolis, Apollonia, 
and Berea, are mentioned in the Acts. 1 It now constitutes 
part of Turkey ; and notwithstanding the oppression of the 
Turks, Christianity, though in a poor condition, exists to this 

Ver. 10. *Ety)T7i<7a/j,€v — we sought. After the vision, Paul 
and his companions immediately sought to go to Macedonia, 
namely, by inquiry after a ship to cross the -ZEgean Sea. 
It is observable that the first person is here introduced for 
the first time, the author thus intimating his presence. From 
this, it appears that Luke joined Paul's company at Troas. 
Wieseler fancifully supposes that he did so as a physician, on 
account of the state of Paul's health. With regard to the 
reasons why Luke never mentions his own name throughout 
the whole history, Meyer supposes that it was because it 
was well known to Theophilus; 2 whereas Olshausen, with 
more probability, suggests a feeling of modesty. Though 
Paul mentions him in honourable terms in his epistles, yet 
he himself omits any relation of what he did in the cause 
of Christianity. With regard to the other suppositions, as 
to the authorship of those portions of the Acts where the 
author includes himself — that they were written by Timothy 
(Schleiermacher, Mayerhoff, Ulrich, Bleek, De Wette) or by 
Silas (Schwanbeck) — see introductory chapter. 

2vfj,f3i{3d£ovT€<; otv irpo(TKeK\7)T(u r)iia<$ 6 Kvpio? evayyeki- 
<raa0cu avrovs — concluding that the Lord had called us to 
preach the gospel to them, Paul and his companions had 
been prevented by the Spirit preaching the gospel in pro- 
consular Asia and Bithynia : they had now arrived at Troas, 
tui the JEgean Sea, directly opposite to Macedonia; and now 
a vision appears to Paul, calling him to come over to Mace- 
donia and help them : hence they rightly conclude that the 
call proceeded from Christ Himself. 

1 The Eoman province of Macedonia comprised Macedonia proper, 
Epirus, Thessaly, and part of Illyricum. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 325. 



Ver. 11. Ev6vBpoiJ,rjcrafiev — we came by a straight course : 
a nautical expression, referring to the favourable nature of 
the voyage — " we sailed before the wind." Two days were 
occupied in sailing from Troas to Neapolis; whereas five 
days were consumed in sailing in a contrary direction from 
Neapolis to Troas (Acts xx. 6). 

2afjLodpafcr]v. Samothracia, a small island, eight miles 
long, and six broad, in the iEgean Sea, was so called because 
it lay off the coast of Thrace, and to distinguish it from the 
island of Samos, off the coast of Ionia (Acts xx. 15). In 
ancient times it was celebrated for its religious mysteries — 
a mixture of Grecian and Oriental mythology (Strabo, x. 
3. 20, 21). Its modern name is Samotraki. 

Ek NeaTrdXiv. Neapolis was a seaport on the Gulf of 
Strymon (Strabo, Fragm. 32), opposite the island of Thasos, 
about ten miles from Philippi. At this period it was a town 
of Thrace, Philippi being the frontier town of Macedonia 
(Pliny, iv. 18). In the time of Vespasian, Neapolis, along 
with the whole country of Thrace, was united to the Macedo- 
nian province (Suetonius, Vesp. 8). It is now known by the 
name of Cavallo, a small seaport belonging to the Turkish 
province of Macedonia. 1 A few ruins and inscriptions serve 
to point out the site. It must ever be illustrious as the first; 
place in Europe visited by Paul, the greatest missionary of 
the Christian faith. 

Ver. 12. Ek QCklirirovs — to Philippi. Philippi was 
situated about ten miles from the sea, with which it com- 
municated by its port Neapolis. Its original name was 
Crenides, or the Fountains, so called from its numerous 
springs : afterwards it was known by the name of Datum.'' 
Datum was a Thracian town, but was conquered by Philip 
who rebuilt and fortified it, giving it the name of Philipp 

1 The identity of the modern Cavallo with the ancient Neapolis ha 
been proved by Dr. Hackett, who visited it and Philippi in Decembe 
1858. See also Clark's Travels, ch. xii. and xiii. 

2 " Philippi," observes Strabo, " was formerly called Crenides : il 
was a small settlement, but increased after the defeat of Brutus anf 
Cassius " (Strabo, Fragm. 41, 43). 


after himself (b.c. 358). In the neighbourhood were gold 
mines, which Philip worked to such advantage that he is said 
to have acquired the supremacy of Greece by the treasures 
which he thus obtained. Philippi is celebrated in history 
as the battle-field where the Roman republic received its 
death-blow, when Brutus and Cassius were totally over- 
thrown by Augustus and Antony. But to Christians it is 
still more interesting, as the city where Paul first preached 
the gospel in Europe, and to the church of which he wrote 
his epistle. Its site is now occupied by an insignificant 
village called Filiba. The ruins are extensive, though the 
only remains of importance are two gateways, supposed to 
belong to the age of Claudius. 

"Htis idTiv 7rp(t)Tr) t?}? /ie/u'So? tt)? Ma/cebovia? 7ro\£? — 
which is the first city of the district of Macedonia. Mepfc, a 
part or district. Some suppose that the reference is to the 
division of Macedonia into four parts, made two hundred 
years before this by Paulus JEmilius ; but this division was 
in all probability temporary. It may refer to the district or 
country of Macedonia, as distinguished from the province, 
which included also Epirus and Thessaly. Several meanings 
have been given to this description of Philippi. 1. Some 
suppose that TrpooTr) iroXis signifies the capital, the chief city, 
— a translation of which the words easily admit, but which 
does not accord with history. Ewald thinks that Philippi 
was the capital of the whole province, and the residence 
of the Eoman proconsul ; but these distinctions belonged to 
Thessalonica. Others suppose that it was the capital of that 
part of Macedonia, Macedonia Prima, where Paul then was ; 
but we learn from Livy that this was Amphipolis. It is, 
however, maintained that Amphipolis had by this time 
decayed, and that Philippi, by reason of its increasing im- 
portance, was now esteemed the chief city of Macedonia 
Prima. This assertion, however, is not confirmed by history ; 
and besides, the division of Macedonia into four parts had pro- 
bably long before this ceased. 2. Other interpreters suppose 
that the true reading is not irpoyrrj tt}?, but 7rpcoT7j<; (Pierce, 
Doddridge), a city of the first part of Macedonia ; but this is 


a critical emendation unsupported by the authority of mss., 
and is therefore to be rejected. 3. Others (Kuincel, Hug, 
Stier, Humphry) take 7rpd)T7j 7roXfc? in the sense of a chief 
town — a town dignified by the title irpmrT] ; and for this they 
appeal to inscriptions on coins in which certain Greek cities, 
although not capitals, are styled irp(mT}. This title is found 
on the coins of Pergamus and Smyrna, cities of proconsular 
Asia, as well as of Ephesus, the capital of the province. 
But there is no proof from coins that this title was con- 
ferred on Philippi ; and, so far as has yet been discovered, 
it is restricted to the cities of proconsular Asia. 4. Others 
(Grotius, Baumgarten, Meyer, Lange) combine irpoarrj iroki$ 
with KoXcovia — the first colonial city of the district : either 
in point of importance the most distinguished (Meyer), or 
of geographical situation the first at which Paul arrived 
(Grotius). But it is more natural to consider /co\covca as an 
independent predicate. 5. Others (Bengel, Olshausen, De 
Wette, Winer, Lechler, Wieseler, Davidson, Alford, Cony- 
beare and Howson) render it, the first city of the district 
of Macedonia — that is, of Macedonia proper, at which Paul 
arrived. The expression irpwrr] 7roXt? is thus understood in 
a topographical sense. This appears to be the correct mean- 
ing, especially as it has been rendered probable that Neapolis 
was not only the mere port of Philippi (Olshausen), but at 
that time a town of Thrace, and not of Macedonia. The 
objection to this rendering is, that the verb earl, is, denotes 
a permanent distinction ; whereas, had Luke meant to de- 
note the first city at which they arrived, he would have used 
rjvj was. But this is hypercriticism : Luke might well say, 
"which is the first city of Macedonia," meaning the first city 
to which they came. 

KoXwvia — a colony. Augustus bestowed upon Philippi 
the privilege of a colony, with the Jus Italicum (Plin. iv. 18 ; 
Dio Cass. li. 4). Its full name on its coins is, Colonia 
Augusta Julia Philippensis. 1 The Eoman colonies are not 
to be understood as similar to our colonies. They were 

1 According to Akerman, there are colonial coins of Philippi from the 
reign of Augustus to that of Caracalla. He gives an example of a coir 


rather an extension of Rome itself. The colonists were not 
only governed by Roman laws, but they had their rulers — 
their senate and magistrates — similar to those which Rome 
possessed, and were recognised as the full citizens of the 
empire, with the right of voting at Rome. Only the de- 
scendants of ^the colonists, and not the i original inhabitants 
of the city, had the privilege of Roman citizens. The 
privileges of these colonial cities varied. Some had to pay 
a tax for the land, as being provincial ground ; others re- 
ceived the additional privilege of Jus Italicum, by which 
they were freed from such taxation. Ager Italicus immurds 
est : ager provincialis vectigalis est. Philippi was one of 
those colonies which enjoyed the Jus Italicum (Dion Cassius, 
li. 4). 1 

Ver. 13. Hapa irora/jibv — by a river. This river was not 
the Strymon (De Wette, Neander), which was nearly a day's 
journey from Philippi, and between which and the town was 
the plain where the celebrated battle was fought ; but pro- 
bably the Gangas, or Gangites, a small rivulet which flows 
close by Philippi, generally dry in summer, but swollen in 
winter (Hackett). Ov ivofii&ro irpoaev^rj elvai — where a 
place of prayer (proseucha) was wont to be. The proseucliai 
were places of prayer, which the Jews had in cities where, 
either on account of the smallness of their numbers, or the 
prohibition of the magistrates, they had no synagogues. 
Sometimes they were buildings, and at other times they were 
open places, such as groves, gardens, etc. Sometimes they 
were within the walls of cities, but in general without the 
gates. Here it would seem from the word ivofii^ero that the 
proseucha at Philippi was an open place. The Jews gene- 
rally had these places of prayer by the sea-side, or near 
rivers, for the sake of purification. Thus Josephus states 
one of the terms of the decree of the city of Halicarnassus 

of Claudius, which is contemporary with the visit of Paul to Philippi. 
See Eckhel's Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. ii. pp. 75, 76. 

1 For further information, see Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, pp. 
331 and 344, and works on Roman antiquities; also Biscoe on the 
Acts, pp. 120-122 ; and Alford's New Testament, vol. ii. p. 162. 


in favour of the Jews to be, " that they may make their 
proseuchce at the sea-side, according to the customs of their 
forefathers" {Ant. xiv. 10. 23). And Tertullian mentions, 
among other Jewish rites and customs, orationes littorales, 
i.e. prayers offered up on the shores (adv. Nationes, i. 13). 1 
It would appear that there was no synagogue at Philippi. 
The number of Jews seems to have been small, as it was not 
a mercantile, but a military town. We do not read of oppo- 
sition from the Jews, as in other places ; and the proseucha 
by the river-side was frequented only by women. Tats 
crvvekOovcraLs yvvcui;LV — to the women assembled. Calvin sup- 
poses that the reason why there were only women, was be- 
cause they were more susceptible of religion than the men. 
Schrader thinks that the Jews had been banished. These 
are mere arbitrary suppositions. Most probably these women 
were chiefly Jewish proselytes, as we learn elsewhere that 
Judaism was embraced by many women among the Greeks. 
Lydia, here mentioned, was a proselyte. 

Ver. 14. AvBla — Lydia. Lydia was a common female 
name among the Greeks and Romans ; and therefore it is 
improbable that she was so called merely because she was 
a Lydian by birth (Grotius). TIop^vpoircoKi^ — a seller of 
purple: either of the colouring matter, or what is more 
likely, of the fabric already dyed. JToXew? Gvaretpcov — of 
the city of Tliyatira. Thyatira was a city of the Lydian 
district of proconsular Asia. It is one of the seven churches 
mentioned in the Apocalypse. We are informed that it w r as 
a Macedonian colony (Strabo, xiii. 4. 4) ; but what is a still 
more remarkable coincidence, we learn from authentic records 
that the district of Lydia, and the city of Thyatira in par- 
ticular, was famous for its purple dyes. Thus Claudian : non 
sic decus ardet erburnum Lydia Sidonia quod foemina tinxerit 
ostro (Rapt. Proserp. i. 270). See also Homer's Iliad, iv. 
141, 142. And among the ruins of Thyatira an inscription 
has been found relating to the guild of dyers (ol fiafyeh). 2 

1 Lardner's Works, vol. i. pp. 61, 62. 

2 It is said that the art of dyeing is still practised in the modern town 
called Akhissar (Cook on the Acts, p. 195). 

PAUL AT PHILIPPI. — XVI. 15, 16. 119 

Heftofievrj tov ©eov — who worshipped God; a proselyte to 
Judaism — a convert from heathenism. 

Yer. 15. Kal 6 oiko? avrrjq — and her house. It has been 
disputed whether this phrase includes the children of Lydia, 
and can be adduced as an argument in favour of infant 
baptism. Meyer, De Wette, Neander, and Olshausen deny 
that infants are here included; Bengel, Wordsworth, and 
Alford take the opposite view of the subject. Evidently the 
passage in itself cannot be adduced as a proof either for or 
against infant baptism : there is in it no indication whether 
there were or were not children in the household of Lydia. 
The argument rests not on any solitary passage, but on the 
number of instances in which it is said that households were 
baptized. Quis credat, in tot familiis nullum fuisse infantem f 
(Bengel.) The subject, however, belongs to dogmatical, and 
not to exegetical theology. El fce/cpl/care fie 7narr}v tw Kvpla* 
elvai — if ye have judged me to be a believer in the Lord : not 
faithful to the Lord, for that judgment would have been 
precipitate ; but a believer in the Lord, The perfect here 
is entirely correct, and is not to be taken for the present 
(Kuincel) ; because Paul, by administering the sacrament of 
baptism, had already pronounced the judgment that she was 
a believer in the Lord. 

Ver. 16. 'Eyivero Be — But it came to pass: not on 
the same day (Kuincel), but evidently some time after. 
Paul and his companions continued for several Sabbaths to 
frequent the proseucha by the river-side, and to discourse 
there to the women assembled. Ilvevfia irvBwva — a Pythonic 
spirit. Python was the serpent that guarded Delphi, which 
was slain by Apollo ; and hence that god was called Pythius. 
In the temple of Apollo the organ of the oracle was always 
a woman, said to be inspired by the god. The heathen 
inhabitants of Philippi accordingly regarded this woman as 
inspired by Apollo ; and Luke here uses the term in accom- 
modation to their views. In later times a Pythonic spirit 
was regarded as the same as a ventriloquist {e^axTrpifivdoi, ; 
Plutarch, de oracul, defectu, p. 414). 1 Hence some suppose 
1 Augustine calls this female slave ventriloquafcemina (de Civ. Dei, ii. 23). 


that this female slave possessed the gift of ventriloquism, but 
lost it through alarm at the sudden address of Paul. The 
manner, however, in which Luke relates the history, plainly 
implies that she was one of those who in early Christian 
times were possessed with a devil : in other words, that she 
was a demoniac, and not an impostor. Paul addresses the 
evil spirit, and commands him to come out of her ; and we 
are informed that he came out of her the same hour. We 
are not, however, to suppose that Paul adopted the super- 
stitious notions of the heathen, that this woman was inspired 
by Apollo. He himself asserts that an idol is nothing in the 
world (1 Cor. viii. 4). To him the individual deity Apollo 
was a nonentity — a mere phantom of the imagination. Apollo 
did not actuate this slave, but some evil spirit did. Accord- 
ing to the views of the heathen, she had a Pythonic spirit ; 
according to the views of Paul, she was a demoniac, similar 
to those who are so frequently mentioned in the Gospels. 
We reserve the discussion of demoniacal possession until we 
come to consider Acts xix. 13-16. Tot? tcvpiois avrrjs — to 
her masters. It would appear from this that she was the 
property of several masters. She was a valuable possession 
to them, because her soothsaying, which was supposed to 
emanate from Apollo, was a source of great gain ; just as 
fortune-telling is, when men are credulous and superstitious. 

Ver. 17. Omoi ol avOpwiroi Bovkot tov Geov. etc. — These 
men are the servants of the most high God. It is unnecessary 
to suppose that she merely uttered what she had heard spoken 
by others ; but the case is similar to the testimonies of evil 
spirits in favour of Christ recorded in the Gospels, however 
such testimonies are to be explained (Matt. viii. 29 ; Mark 
iii. 11 ; Luke viii. 28). Either the evil spirits were con- 
strained, against their will, to bear this testimony to Christ 
and His disciples, or they wished to make it appear that they 
were confederate with them. Certainly not, as Walch sup- 
poses, " the damsel so called after Paul, in order to obtain 
money from him." 

Ver. 18. Aiairovr)Qii^ — being grieved. The word involves 
the idea both of grief and indignation : grief for the unfor- 

PAUL AT PHILIPPI.-— XVI. 19, 20. 121 

tunate condition of the slave ; indignation at the evil spirit 
by whom she was possessed. TS Trvev/jLarc elirev — said to the 
spirit : thus distinguishing the evil spirit from the woman. 
Neither Christ nor His apostles would receive testimony 
from devils. 'Ev ovo/jLaro 'Irjaov Xpcarodj e^ekdelv air avrrjs 
— In the name of Jesus Christy come out of her. Christ per- 
formed miracles in His own name ; the apostles did so in 
the name of Christ. The one was the Son ; the others were 
the servants of the household. " In my name shall they 
cast out devils" (Mark xvi. 17). 

Ver. 19. "'EirCKa^ofievot top Uavkov ical Xtkav — seizing on 
Paul and Silas, as being the principal persons. Timothy 
and Luke were left unmolested. Efc rrjv cvyopav — to the 
market-place : the chief place of concourse, where the courts 
of justice were held. 'Eiri tow apyovTas — to the rulers : a 
generic term, the same as the arpar^ol in the next verse. 

Ver. 20. Tols arpaTTjyol^ — to the praetors. The usual 
name of the two chief magistrates of a Roman colony was 
duumviri, answering to the consuls of Rome. They, how- 
ever, took a pride in calling themselves by the Roman title, 
pratores, as being a more honourable appellation. Thus 
Cicero, speaking of the magistrates of Capua, says: Cum 
in ceteris coloniis Duumviri appellentur, hi se Pro3tores ap- 
pellari volebant (De Leg. Agr. c. 34) } And no doubt the 
example set by Capua was followed by other colonial cities. 
HrpaTTjyot, then, is an appropriate term to denote the magis- 
trates of Philippi, a Roman colony, being the Greek equi- 
valent for the Latin praitores. Wetstein informs us that 
even in the present day (1754) the inhabitants of Messina 
call the prefect of their city Stradigo. 2 'IovSaloi virdp^ovre^ 
— being Jews ; used in a contemptuous manner, to excite the 
praetors and the multitude against the disciples. The Jews 
were despised and hated by the Gentiles, and were at this 
time in special disgrace, as they had lately been banished 
from Rome by Claudius. The magistrates would be espe- 
cially enraged if they found that Jews were propagating 

1 Biscoe on the Acts, p. 317. 

2 Lewin's St. Paul, vol. i. p. 246. 



their noxious opinions among the citizens. The distinction 
between Christians and Jews does not appear to have been 
recognised at Philippi. 

Ver. 21. Kal /carayeWovaiv $0f) — and teach customs which 
are not lawful for us to receive or practise, being Romans. As 
Calvin strikingly remarks: "The accusation was craftily 
composed: on the one hand, they boast of the name of 
Eomans, than which no name was more honourable ; on the 
other hand, they excite hatred against the apostles, and bring 
them into contempt by calling them Jews, which name was 
at that time infamous : for, as regards religion, the Eomans 
had less affinity to the Jews than to any other nation." It 
is not clear how far the teaching . of strange religious customs 
was then punishable by the Eoman law. The Eomans 
granted absolute toleration to the nations whom they con- 
quered to follow their own religious customs : they took the 
gods of these countries under their protection. But, on the 
other hand, there were laws which forbade the introduction 
of strange deities among the Eomans themselves (Liv. xxxix. 
16). For example, the Jews were allowed the unrestricted 
observance of their own religion, but it was contrary to the 
strict Eoman law to propagate their opinions among the 
Eomans : they might make proselytes of other nations, but 
not of the Eomans : hence the force of the w T ords *P co flavor 
ovaiv. "Judaism," observes Neander, "was a religio licita 
for the Jews. Nevertheless they were not allowed to pro- 
pagate their religion among the Eoman pagans, who were 
expressly forbidden under heavy penalties to undergo cir- 
cumcision." 1 These laws were perhaps not generally acted 
upon, but they might at any time be put into execution. 
And on the ground of these laws, Christianity was afterwards 
systematically persecuted by the Eoman government : it was 
regarded as a religio illicita, especially as it was the religion 
of no particular country. 

Ver. 22. Kal avveirea-Trj 6 o^Xo? icar avr&v — And the 
multitude rose up together against them. The multitude made 
common cause with the masters of the female slave against 
1 Neander's Church History, vol. i. p. 123, Bonn's edition. 


the Christians : there was a popular tumult ; and the praetors, 
terrified thereby, without examining into the case, hastily 
commanded Paul and Silas to be beaten, in order to appease 
the clamours of the people. Hepiprj%avTe<; avT<ov ra IfiaTia 
— having rent off their clothes. Not that the praetors rent 
their own clothes from indignation, as Erasmus strangely 
imagines ; or that they rent off the clothes of Paul and Silas 
with their own hands, as Bengel thinks ; but that they com- 
manded the lictors to do so. When persons were ordered to 
be scourged, the clothes were violently pulled off by the 
executioners : lacere vestem (Liv., Tac). 'E/ceXevov pa^Bl^eiv 
— they commanded to beat them with rods. In 2 Cor. xi. 25 
Paul says, u Thrice was I beaten with rods :" this was one 
of the instances ; the other two are not recorded. 'PafiSi&v 
— "to beat with a rod:" the mode in which scourging was 
administered by the Romans. 

Ver. 24. Ek rrjv iacorepav <j)v\a/cr)v — into the inner prison. 
The jailor having received the order to keep them safely, 
adopted a double precaution : he thrust them into the inner 
prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. The stocks 
(%v\6p, Latin nervus) was an instrument not only of deten- 
tion, but of torture. It consisted of a wooden block, furnished 
with holes, into which the legs of the prisoner were put, and 
which could be stretched from each other. Potter, in his 
Roman Antiquities, tells us that not unfrequently they dis- 
located the joints. Eusebius informs us that Origen, in 
his old age, was put to this torture : u For many days he 
was extended and stretched to the distance of four holes on 
the rack" (Hist. Eccl. vi. 39). 

It is to be observed that here, for the first time, mention 
is made of a persecution of the Christians caused by the 
Roman authority. In other places, as at Jerusalem, Pisidian 
Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra, either the Jews were the sole 
persecutors, or else the multitude was stirred up by them : 
there was no interference on the part of the Roman govern- 
ment. But here the Jews do not seem to have been con- 
cerned at all ; on the contrary, the Christians are punished 
on the mistaken notion that they were propagating Jewish 


opinions. The charge brought against them was, that they 
were disturbers of the peace. The mob was excited against 
them, and the magistrates yielded to their clamours. And 
this was a prelude to those frequent persecutions to which, 
during the first three centuries, the Eoman government 
subjected the Christians. 

Ver. 25. JJpoa-ev^ofJLevoi, v/jlvovv top Qeov — Praying, they 
sang hymns to God : not, as in our version, " prayed, and 
sang praises to God." Their singing of hymns was their 
prayer : probably the Psalms of David, many of which were 
appropriate to their situation. Nihil crus sentit in nervo, 
quum animus in ccelo est (Tertullian) : " The limb feels 
nothing in the stocks, when the mind is in heaven." 

Ver. 26. "A<fivco Be creto-/xo<? iyevero fieyas — And suddenly 
there was a great earthquake. There is no doubt that this is 
represented by the historian as a miraculous interposition. 
Whilst Paul and Silas are singing praises to God, an earth- 
quake shakes the prison, all the doors are thrown open, and 
the chains of all the prisoners are loosened. Natural ex- 
planations are inadmissible. The objections which Baur 
and Zeller advance, arise solely from the supposed incredi- 
bility of the miracle, and therefore can have no weight with 
those who believe in the reality of miraculous interven- 
tion. Zeller observes: "The entire miracle is superfluous, 
as the deliverance of the two prisoners was effected not by 
the miracle, but by the order of the duumviri." * But it is 
not our province to judge of the use or uselessness of par- 
ticular miracles: and besides, the conversion of the jailor 
was the result of the miracle. 

Yer. 27. "EpeWev eaurov avaipeiv — would have hilled him- 
self. The jailor, awaking from his sleep, seeing the prison 
doors open, drew his sword, and in the excitement of the 
moment would have killed himself, naturally concluding that 
the prisoners had escaped. If the prisoners had escaped, he 
was liable to the same punishment which they were to suffer. 
Suicide was then prevalent among the Eomans, and was not 
regarded as a crime. On the contrary, it was at that time 
1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 253. 

PAUL AT PHILIPPI. — XVI. 28-30. 125 

even looked upon as an honourable action. 1 It had been 
sanctioned by the illustrious example of Cato ; and even at 
this very place, in Philippi, Brutus and Cassius, and many 
of the conspirators of Caesar, put an end to their lives. It 
has been asked why the jailor, before he proceeded to such 
a desperate act, "did not first go and see if things were 
really as bad as he feared" (Baur). But the answer is 
obvious : men will do those things in the excitement of the 
moment, which they would refrain from doing in their 
calmer moods. 

Ver. 28. f, AiravTe^ yap ea-fiev evOdBe — for we are all here* 
Most probably the terrified jailor might give vent to loud 
expressions of despair; for we are not to suppose that he 
could have remained silent under the circumstances. And 
from these exclamations Paul would become aware of the 
desperate deed which he was about to commit. The other 
prisoners, although their chains were loosened, and the prison 
doors open, had made no attempt to escape. They would 
remain panic-struck at what had happened, and would feel 
a deep sense of the presence of God. The example and 
authority of Paul and Silas would also exercise a powerful 
influence upon them. They must have felt that there was 
something supernatural about these men, seeing that Heaven 
itself had interposed on their behalf. The supposition of 
Chrysostom, that the prisoners did not see that the doors 
were open, is wholly unnecessary. 

Ver. 29. Alrrjo-as Be <f>a>Ta — then having called for lights. 
Not a light, as in our version, but lights ; several of them, 
to examine everything closely. TIpoaeTreaev rat TIav\(o /cat 
Hl\a — he fell down before Paul and Silas. Although several 
of the attendants would come in with lights, the jailor does 
not scruple to throw himself, in their presence, at the feet of 
his prisoners. He no longer regarded Paul and Silas as 
criminals, but as the favourites of Heaven. 

Ver. 30. npoaywycov avrov? efa> — having brought them 
out; namely, from the inner prison into the court of the 
prison. Tl fie Bel iroielv Xva o-codca — What must I do to be 
1 Biscoe on the Acts, p. 320. 


saved? The salvation after which he inquires is not freedom 
from the wrath of the rulers, as if he had said, What 
methods shall I take for my security ? The prisoners were 
all safe, and he was in no danger on that point. And, 
besides, even if he felt exposed to such danger, his prisoners 
could not help him. Nor are the words to be rendered as 
if he had said, How shall I escape the punishment of the 
gods on account of my cruelty towards you I The jailor, in 
imprisoning Paul and Silas, was only the instrument in the 
hands of the magistrates of Philippi: he was obeying his 
superiors. It is the gospel salvation after which he inquires, 
the salvation which Paul and Silas had proclaimed ; and so 
Paul understood the question. Paul and Silas had probably 
been for several weeks in Philippi preaching the gospel before 
they had been arrested. Their preaching must have created 
excitement in the city ; and, without doubt, reports of it had 
reached the jailor, even if he himself had not heard them. 
And thus awakened in his conscience, and believing in some 
confused manner that these men were " the servants of the 
most high God, who announce the way of salvation," he asks 
the most momentous question which can be put by any 
human being. 

Vers. 31, 32. Hiarevaov eiu tov Kvpiov 'Irjaovv, real acoO^arj 
— u Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved." 
Paul places before him faith in Jesus as the condition of his 
salvation. He calls upon him to embrace the religion of 
Christ. Paul would of course explain to him more fully the 
nature of Christianity ; for we read that u he spoke the word 
of the Lord to him, and to all who were in his house." Hv 
Kal 6 oIko<$ gov — thou and thy house. These words refer 
both to irlo-revaov and to acodrjarj (Meyer). They do not 
mean that his faith would save his household as w r ell as him- 
self ; but that the same way of salvation was open both to 
him and to his household. 

Ver. 33. "EXovaev dirb tcov 7r\r)<y<ov — washed their stripes. 
'Atto has an emphatic sense. He washed and cleansed them 
from their stripes ; that is, from the blood caused by their 
stripes, with which they were covered. See Winer's Grammar, 

PAUL AT PHILIPPI— XVI. 34, 35. 127 

p. 389. Kal ifiairTiaOri — and was baptized; apparently at 
the same time, and perhaps in the same pool in which he had 
washed their stripes in the court of the prison. As Chrysostom 
beautifully expresses it : eXovaev avrovs /cal eXovdrj' eiceivovs 
fjbev airo rcav irX^wv eXovaev, avrbs Be anrb rcov afiaprcwv 
iXovOrj — " He washed them, and he was washed ; he washed 
them from their stripes, he himself was washed from his 
sins." Avtos Kal oi avrov Travres — he and all his. From the 
baptism of himself and his household, Chrysostom conjec- 
tures that the jailor is the person called Stephanas alluded 
to in 1 Cor. i. 16, xvi. 15, 17. But Stephanas was the first- 
fruits of Achaia, and not of Macedonia ; he was a native of 
Corinth, and not of Philippi. 

Ver. 34. 'Avayaycov avrovs — having brought them up. This 
does not necessarily imply that the dwelling of the jailor 
was above the prison (Meyer), but only that it was above 
the court of the prison, where they then were. TLapedrjicev 
Tpaire^av — apposuit mensam : set meat before them. Uavoucel 
— with all his house ; equivalent to crvv oX<a tw olkg), and to 
be connected with ireTTio-Teviccbs. Heirio-Teviccbs tg> ©eat : not 
U believing in God" (Eng. ver.), but that he had believed on 
God, assigning a reason for his joy. That he believed also 
in Jesus is implied. 

Ver. 35. Tov$ paj3$oi>xov<; — the lictors. f PayS8ou^ot — those 
who hold the rod, lictors : hence the same who had scourged 
Paul and Silas the day before. The lictors accompanied the 
duumviri of the colonial cities, as they did the consuls at 
Rome, to execute their decrees. Aeyovre?, ^AiroXvo-ov tov? 
avOpcoTrovs i/ceivovs — saying, Release these men. This change 
in the disposition of the praetors has been differently ac- 
counted for. Some (Olshausen, Meyer, De Wette, Neander) 
suppose that the report of the earthquake and the mira- 
culous deliverance may have terrified them ; others, that 
they may have made themselves better informed as to 
the character of Paul and Silas, and may have discovered 
the selfish motives of their accusers ; others, that they may 
have had their suspicions that they were Romans. But the 
most natural reason is, that they had formerly acted in the 


excitement of the moment, under the influence of popular 
commotion, and that on reflection they found that they had 
acted rashly and illegally ; and therefore they thought it the 
wisest course to hush up the matter as quietly as possible. 

Ver. 37. IZpo? avrovs — to them : namely, to the lictors. 
'AKarraKpiTovs — uncondemned. Paul here accuses the praetors 
of two violations of the law : they had beaten those who 
were uncondemned (Acts xxv. 16) ; and they had beaten 
those who were Koman citizens. 'Pcofialov^ virdp^ovra^ — 
being Romans. Paul on another occasion asserts that he was 
a Roman citizen ; and it appears from this that Silas also 
possessed the same privilege. How Silas obtained his free- 
dom we do not know. Paul says of himself that he was free 
born. (See, on this subject, notes to Acts xxii. 25-28.) The 
privilege of Roman citizenship was not so uncommon among 
the Jews as some suppose. It is frequently adverted to by 
Josephus : he mentions those who were by birth Jews, and 
yet were Eomans, and that even of the equestrian order 
(Bell. Jud. ii. 14. 9). Among the privileges of the Roman 
citizen, one was freedom from scourging. There were two 
laws which forbade a Roman citizen to be scourged : the 
Valerian law, passed B.C. 508 ; and the Sempronian or 
Porcian law, passed B.C. 300 (Liv. x. 9). The former for- 
bade its infliction until an appeal to the people was decided ; 
the latter forbade it absolutely. Lex Porcia virgas ab omnium 
civium Romanorum corpore amovit (Cicero, Pro Rabirio) : 
" The Porcian law removes the rod from the bodies of all 
Roman citizens." There are many references to this privi- 
lege of the Roman citizen. u It is," says Cicero, " a mis- 
deed to bind a Roman citizen — a crime to scourge him — 
almost parricide to put him to death." 1 " How often has 
this exclamation, 'lama Roman citizen,' brought aid and 
safety, even among barbarians, in the remotest part of the 
earth ! " " There was a Roman citizen scourged with rods in 
the market-place of Messina. In the midst of his pain and 
the noise of the rods, nothing was heard from this wretched 

Facinus est vinciri civem Romanum, scelus verberari, prope parri- 
cidium necari. 


man than the words, I am a Roman citizen" (Cicero, in 
Verrem), 1 

Addpa rjfias eicpaXkovcnv — Do they thrust us out secretly ? 
AdOpa opposed to Brjfioala. As the punishment was public, 
so must the reparation be public. It has been often asked, 
Why Paul did not make this appeal to his privilege as a 
Roman citizen before, when the praetors ordered him to be 
scourged ? Why did he not then stop the proceedings with 
the exclamation, Civis Romanus sum f The common opinion 
is, either that he was not heard in the tumult, or that he 
knew that he would not be heard. u The execution," ob- 
serves Biscoe, u was so hasty, that he had not time to say 
anything that might make for his defence ; and the noise 
and confusion were so great, that had he cried out with never 
so loud a voice that he was a Roman, he might reasonably 
believe that he should not be regarded." 2 Others suppose 
that he did not appeal because he was not questioned, and 
had no opportunity of asserting his privilege. But neither of 
these seems to be the correct reason. On a somewhat similar 
occasion Paul avoided scourging, by appealing to his Roman 
citizenship (Acts xxii. 25-28). Paul seems here voluntarily 
to have waived his rights, for some reasons with which we 
are unacquainted : he perhaps felt that the cause of the 
gospel .would be more benefited by his endurance than by 
his avoidance of suffering : and this we find was actually the 
case. Ov yap' aWa i\06vre<; avrol 17/xa? igayayeTaxrav — 
Nay verily; but let them come and fetch us out. In the answer 
which Paul now made, he had respect not merely to his own 
honour, but to the honour and interest of Christianity in 
Philippi. They had been publicly scourged and imprisoned : 
if, therefore, they had departed without a public declaration 
of their innocence, a stain would have rested on their repu- 
tation, and thus the cause of the gospel would have been 
injured. Besides, such a public declaration of the illegality 

1 For these and other references, see Kuincel's Novi Testamenti libri 
historici, vol. iii. pp. 253, 254 ; Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. i. 
pp. 364, 365, etc. 

2 Biscoe on the Acts of the Apostles, p. 321. 


of their punishment on the part of the magistrates would 
undoubtedly encourage the new converts, and at the same 
time shield them from popular violence. 

Ver. 38. ^E^o^rjOrjaav — they feared. The praetors were 
afraid, because they had violated the rights of Roman citi- 
zens. Heavy penalties were denounced against those who 
did so : it was regarded as an injury inflicted on the majesty 
of Rome. 

Ver. 39. TlapeKaXeaav avrovs — besought them; that is, 
entreated them not to make any legal complaint — apologized 
for their conduct, and implored forgiveness. ^AirekOelv airo 
tt)9 irokem — to depart out of the city, lest there should be any 
further disturbance among the people. 

Ver. 40. Kal i^rj\0ov — and departed. Though many cir- 
cumstances might have invited their continuance at Philippi, 
yet, from respect to the authorities, they comply with the 
request of the praetors, and depart. But although Paul and 
Silas depart, Luke seems to have remained, in order to in- 
struct and strengthen the infant church. The direct style of 
narrative is here dropped, and is not resumed until some years 
afterwards, when Paul revisited Macedonia, and Luke again 
joined him (Acts xx. 5). Whether Timothy also remained, 
cannot be determined. He is not again mentioned until 
Acts xvii. 14, when he was left with Silas at Berea ;< but it 
cannot from this be determined whether he departed with 
Paul and Silas from Philippi, or, remaining behind, joined 
them again at Berea. 



1 And after passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came 
to Thessalonica, where was the synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul, 
according to his custom, went in unto them, and for three Sabbaths 
reasoned with them from the Scriptures ; 3 Opening and propounding 
that the Christ must suffer, and rise from the dead ; and that this is 
the Christ, even Jesus, whom I preach unto you. 4 And some of them 
were convinced, and were added to Paul and Silas ; also a great multi- 
tude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the chief women. 5 But 
the Jews who did not believe, having taken to themselves certain wicked 
men of the market loungers, and having raised a mob, set the city in an 
uproar ; and having beset the house of Jason, they sought to bring them 
out to the people. • 6 But when they did not find them, they drew Jason 
and certain brethren to the city rulers, crying, These who have disturbed 
the world, are come hither also ; 7 Whom Jason has received : and these 
all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another 
king, Jesus. 8 And they troubled the people and the city rulers when 
they heard these things. 9 And after taking security from Jason and 
the others, they let them go. 

10 And the brethren immediately, by night, sent away Paul and 
Silas to Berea : who on their arrival went into the synagogue of the 
Jews. 11 These were nobler than those in Thessalonica, inasmuch as 
they received the word with all readiness of mind, searching the Scrip- 
tures daily, whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them 
believed ; and of honourable Greek women and men, not a few. 13 But 
when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was 
also preached by Paul in Berea, they came and stirred up the populace 
there also. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go 
toward the sea : but Silas and Timotheus remained there. 15 And they 
who conducted Paul brought him to Athens ; and after receiving a com- 
mandment to Silas and Timotheus, that they should come to him as 
quickly as possible, they departed. 


Ver. 1. 'H before avvaryayyr) is found in E, G, H, but is 
wanting in A, B, D, tf : Teschendorf, De Wette, Meyer, and 



Alford retain it as genuine. Ver. 5. The reading of the 
textus receptus, fyXcbo-avre? Be ol aireidovvTes 'lovBaioi koX 
7Tpo(r\afi6fjL6voi, is found only in a few cursive MSS. The 
reading adopted by Tischendorf is, irpoa\a^6fievoc Be ol 
'IovSafoi ol cLTreiBovvre^ found in G, H : Meyer and Alford 
read only irpoaXapofievoi Be ol 'IovBaioi. The reading best 
attested by external authority is that adopted by Lachmann, 
tyfkGdo-avTes Be ol 'lovBaloi teal irpoaka^ofievo^ found in 
A, B, E, x. 


Ver. 1. AioBevo-avre^ Be — And having passed through. 
The road which Paul and his companions traversed from 
Philippi to Thessalonica was the Via Egnatia, the Greek 
extension of the Via Appia. It led from Dyrrhachium in 
Epirus to Cypselus on the Hebrus in Thrace, a distance, 
according to Strabo, of 535 miles (Strabo, vii. 7. 4), and was 
afterwards continued to Constantinople. The distances be- 
tween the towns mentioned are stated in the different itine- 
raries. The Itinerarium Antonini Augusti gives them as 
follows : From Philippi to Amphipolis, thirty-two Roman 
miles ; from Amphipolis to Apollonia, thirty-two miles ; 
from Apollonia to Thessalonica, thirty-six miles — in all, a 
hundred miles. The Peutinger table gives a slight difference 
of two miles, stating the distance between Apollonia and 
Thessalonica to be thirty-eight miles. 1 Thus, then, the dis- 
tance between Philippi and Thessalonica is about a hundred 
miles, — a journey which Paul, as he did not tarry at Amphi- 
polis and Apollonia, might have accomplished in five days. 

Trjv , Afjb(j>t'7ro\iv — Amphipolis. This town was situated on 
the Strymon, at the lower end of the lake Cercinitis, formed 
by the river, and at a short distance from the Strymonic 
Gulf. It commanded the only easy entrance from the coast 
into the great Macedonian plain ; and hence its position was 
important in a military point of view. Amphipolis quo? 
objecta claudit omnes ab oriente sole in Macedonium aditus 
1 Wieseler's Chronologie, p. 40. 


(Livy, xlv. 30). Its former name was iwea 6Sol, or the 
u Nine ways," on account of the number of roads which met 
at this point (Herod, vii. 114). The Athenians under 
Cimon colonized it, and called it Amphipolis, because it 
was completely surrounded by the Strymon (Thuc. iv. 102). 
When Paulus ^Emilius conquered Macedonia, and divided 
it into four districts, Amphipolis was made the capital of 
Macedonia Prima (Livy, xlv. 29). It would, however, seem 
in the days of the apostles to have declined in importance, 
whilst Philippi flourished at its expense. It is now known 
by the modern name of Emboli. 

Kal 'AiroXkcoviav — and Apollonia. There were several 
places of this name, of which three were in the province of 
Macedonia. The Apollonia through which Paul now passed 
was a colony of the Corinthians in the district of Mygdonia 
(Pliny, iv. 7). It was a place of small importance, and 
must not be confounded with a much more celebrated 
Apollonia in Illyrian Macedonia, near Dyrrhachium. Its 
situation is uncertain : some identify it with Klisali, a modern 
post-station, and others with a village called Pollina. 

*H\6ov eh OeaaaXovU^v — They came to Thessalonica. 
This celebrated city was beautifully situated on the slope of 
a hill at the northern end of the Thermaic Gulf, now called 
the Gulf of Salonika. Its original name was Therma. 
Cassander, the son of Antipater, rebuilt and fortified it, 
calling it after his wife Thessalonica, the sister of Alexander 
the Great (Strabo, vii., Frag. 24) ; Thessalonica herself 
having obtained her name on account of a victory which her 
father Philip gained over the Thessalians on the day of her 
birth. Under the Romans, Thessalonica became a great 
commercial city. During the temporary division of Mace- 
donia into four districts, it was the capital of Macedonia 
Secunda (Liv. xlv. 29) ; and afterwards, when the province 
of Macedonia was formed, it became the metropolis, and the 
residence of the proconsul. It received the privilege of a 
" free city " after the battle of Philippi, on account of its 
attachment to the cause of Augustus and Antony. Strabo, 
in the first century, mentions it as the largest city of Mace- 


donia (Strabo, vii. 7. 4) ; and the same fact is asserted by 
Lucian in the second century (Lucian, Asinus Aureus, xlvi.). 
Since then it has always been a city of great importance ; 
and at present it is considered the second city of European 
Turkey, having a population of 70,000. Its modern name 
is Saloniki. 1 

"Oirov rjv 7] o-vvaycoyrj tcov 'IovSaicov — where was the syna- 
gogue of the Jews. Critics are in general agreed that the 
article before avvaycoyr} is genuine. (See Critical Note.) 
This signifies that it was the chief, if not the only synagogue 
of the district. At Philippi there was no synagogue, but 
only a proseucha ; and probably this was also the case with 
Amphipolis and Apollonia. 2 Thessalonica, being a large 
commercial city, would be much frequented by Jews. In 
the present day there is no town in Europe which has such 
a large proportion of Jews. They are said to amount to 
35,000, or nearly one-half of the population, and to have no 
fewer than 36 synagogues. 3 Most of these Jews are the 
descendants of refugees from Spain. 

Ver. 2. Kara Be to elcoOos ra> Uavka — and, Paul, according 
to his custom ; literally, " according to the custom with Paul." 
Paul's custom was first to preach to the Jews, and then, 
when these had either received or rejected the gospel, to 
turn to the Gentiles. We never find him omitting the Jews, 
and preaching only to the Gentiles. (See on this point, note 
to Acts xiii. 5.) 'Enl o-a$$ara rpla — for three Sabbaths. 
From this it has been concluded that Paul continued only 
three weeks in Thessalonica ; but from statements in the first 
Epistle to the Thessalonians, this opinion is seen to be highly 
improbable. We find that a large and flourishing church, 

1 The authorities for these geographical notices are Winer's Ublisches 
Worterbuch; Wieseler's Chronologie, pp. 40, 41; Smith's Biblical Dic- 
tionary; Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul; and Lewin's Life and 
Epistles of St. Paul. 

2 *' Articulus addiius signifcat. Philippis, Amphipoli et Apollonise nullas 
fuisse synagogas, sed si qui ibi essent Judsei, eos synagogam adiisse Thes- 
salon icensem ' ' (Grotius) . 

3 Jewish Intelligence for 1849, quoted in a note by Conybeare and 
Howson, vol. i. p. 383. 


chiefly composed of Gentile converts, was formed (1 Thess. 
i. 8) ; that Paul wrought with his own hands for his support 
(1 Thess. ii. 9) ; and that the Philippians sent twice to his 
necessities (Phil. iv. 16), the distance between these two 
cities being a hundred miles ; so that he must have remained 
in Thessalonica a considerable time. Perhaps Paul preached 
for three successive Sabbaths in the synagogue ; but finding 
the Jews obstinate, he desisted and turned to the Gentiles. 
AceXeyero avrois — he reasoned with them. The word primarily 
denotes to carry on a discussion in the form of a dialogue ; 
and we elsewhere learn that this mode of discussion was not 
regarded as unsuitable in the synagogues (Luke iv. 16-27 ; 
John vi. 25-59). 'Airo r&v ypacjxnv — from the Scriptures. 
It is disputed whether these words are to be connected with 
BieKeyero avrol<; (Tischendorf, Winer, De Wette) or with 
Biavocycov /cal irapaTi6efievo<; (Ewald, Kuincel, Meyer) : the 
former opinion seems the more natural. 

Ver. 3. Acavolyayv /ecu wapaTidefAevo? — opening and pro- 
pounding. As formerly remarked, the apostles, in reasoning 
with the Jews, appealed to the Old Testament, proving from 
the Scriptures that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah ; 
whereas with the Gentiles the appeal was to miracles. 
Paul's argument here is : there are various prophecies in the 
Old Testament, whose divinity you admit, which declare 
that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead; all 
these prophecies are fulfilled in the person of Jesus of 
Nazareth ; therefore this Jesus whom I preach to you is the 
Messiah. Kal ore outo? Igtiv 6 Xpioros, 'Irjaovs ov iya) 
Karar/yeXXxo vpXv — and that this is the Christ, (riamely) Jesus 
whom I preach to you. These words have been variously 
rendered, although the difference in meaning is immaterial. 
The rendering here given seems the most natural, and is 
that adopted by Tischendorf, Bengel, Lechler, and Hackett. 
Meyer and Lange render it, " and that this Messiah is Jesus, 
whom I preach to you." Others (Castalio, De Wette, 
Baumgarten, Alexander) omit the comma between XpLVTos 
and 'Irjaovs, and render the clause, u this is the Jesus Christ," 
or, " this is the Christ Jesus whom I preach to you." Alford 


renders it, " That Jesus whom I preach to you is ovtos 6 
Xpio-Tos, the Christ." The meaning is obvious : the person 
Jesus is the Messiah who, according to the Scriptures, was 
to suffer and rise again. 'Eyo* KarayyeWco — / preach ; 
emphatic, — a change from the indirect to the direct form of 
speech. See Acts i. 4. 

Ver. 4. Kal rives ii; avTtov eireiaOrjcrav — And some of them 
were convinced ; namely, of the Jews of Thessalonica. Kal 
7rpo(7eK\7]p(o07](rav — and were added; not in a middle sense, 
a attached themselves to" (Castalio, Bengel), but in a pas- 
sive sense, "were added," — as disciples, namely, by God. 1 
npocr/cXrjpoa), used only here in the New Testament, literally 
signifies a to give by lot," Cl to allot," " to choose in addition 
by lot." T&v re o-efiofiivcov 'EWrjvcov — and of the devout 
Greeks; partly proselytes, and partly those among the re- 
ligious Gentiles who attended the Jewish synagogues, al- 
though they had not actually embraced Judaism. TvvaiKwtv 
tcov TTpcorcov — of the chief women — female proselytes to Juda- 
ism : these were the wives or daughters of the chief people 
in Thessalonica. This gives us an account of the success of 
the gospel chiefly among the Jews and Jewish proselytes, 
the result of the preaching for three Sabbaths in the syna- 
gogue ; but we learn from the First Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians, that Paul met with still greater success among the 
Gentiles (1 Thess. i. 5-10). 

Ver. 5. Twv ayopaiow avhpa? tivcls irovnpovs — certain 
wicked men of the market loungers. 'Ayopaloi are the market 
\oungers, the rabble, those who have no settled business, but 
who crowd about the market and other frequented places, 
like the Lazzaroni at Naples. Such men are called by 
Aristophanes, irovwpo? kcl\; ayopas; by Xenophon, rbv ayopalov 
6%\ov ; by Cicero, subrostrani ; and by Plautus, subbasilicani 
(Alford). Tfi oIkicl 'lacrovo? — the house of Jason, where 
Paul and Silas lodged. It is doubtful whether Jason was 
a pure Gentile or a Hellenistic Jew, who changed his 
Hebrew name Jesus, or Joshua, into the Greek form Jason, 
as was the case with one of the apostate Jewish high priests 
1 Winer's Grammar, p. 277. 


(2 Mace. i. 7 ; Joseph. Ant. xii. 5. 1). He has been identified 
with Jason, mentioned in Rom. xvi. 21, whom Paul calls 
one of his kinsmen. If so, he must have removed to Corinth, 
from which city the Epistle to the Romans was written. 
The name, however, was common, so that such an identifica- 
tion is extremely doubtful ; and as a general rule, all such 
identifications are to be discountenanced. 

Ver. 6. Mr) evpovres Be avrov? — but not finding them. The 
absence of Paul and Silas was either accidental, or more 
probably designed, they having received information of the 
attack. 'EttI tow? TroXirap'xas — to the city rulers ; literally, 
"to the politarchs." This word, in the form TroXhap^o^ 
has also been found in ^Eneas Tacticus (B.C. 366) ; its usual 
form is iro\iapj(p<;. It is to be observed that the chief 
magistrates of Thessalonica are here called by a title dif- 
ferent from that of the chief magistrates of Philippi ; and 
nhis difference corresponds with the different characters of 
the cities. Philippi was a Roman colony (colonia), and 
hence its magistrates resembled those at Rome, and were 
called aTparrjyolj pi*o?tores, duumviri ; whereas Thessalonica 
was not a Roman colony, but a " free city " (urbs libera), 
and was governed by its own rulers; and hence its chief 
magistrates were called, not orpaTrjyol, but irdXiTapyai, city 
rulers. It is a very remarkable and striking coincidence, that 
this rare word is seen to this day on an inscription upon an 
arch at Thessalonica. There the names of the politarchs of 
Thessalonica are mentioned, seven in number ; thus proving 
the extreme accuracy of Luke, in using this term to denote 
the magistrates of that city. The arch is by competent 
antiquarians thought to have been built in commemoration 
of the victory of Philippi ; and if so, was standing when Paul 
was at Thessalonica. 1 We have had frequently occasion to 
notice Luke's extreme accuracy; as when he calls Herod 
Agrippa I. the king (6 /3aai\€v<;) ; Sergius Paulus the pro- 
consul of Cyprus (avdxrrraTos;) ; Philippi a colony (fcoXcovia), 
and its magistrates praetors (a-TpaTrjyol) ; and here the 

1 Bockh, No. 1967. According to Bockh, this inscription is not older 
than the reign of Vespasian, a.d. 69-70. 


magistrates of Thessalonica are called by the most unusual 
title, politarchs (iro\iTapx<u\-—& strong argument in favour 
of the genuineness of his history. 1 

01 tt)v oIkov/jl€vt]v avcKTTCLTteaavTes — these who have dis- 
turbed the world: an exaggerated expression, the language 
of passion. Trjv ol/eov/jLevnv — probably the Roman world — 
the empire (Kuinoel). 

Ver. 7. 'AirivavTi twv Boyfidrwv Kaiaapos — contrary to 
the decrees of Cassar. Under the republic the law was, " that 
whoever excited an enemy against the state, or betrayed a 
citizen to an enemy, was to be punished with death ;" but 
under the emperors it was declared high treason to violate 
the majesty of the state — crimen majestatis. It was on this 
accusation that the tyrannical emperors condemned those 
whom they wished to put to death : it admitted of an extreme 
latitude of interpretation (Tac. Ann. i. 72; Merivale's History, 
ch. xxxi. 4). Here also the difference of the accusation 
brought against the disciples at Thessalonica, from that 
brought against them at Philippi, is observable. In Philippi 
they were accused of introducing new customs (illicita religio) 
which Koman citizens were not permitted to observe; but 
Thessalonica was not a colony, and therefore such an accu- 
sation could have no force there: accordingly the charge 
here preferred against them is treason against Caesar (crimen 
majestatis). The accusation was artfully made ; it was one 
into which it behoved the city rulers to inquire : whereas if 
the Jews had accused them merely of disturbing their mode 
of worship, the complaint would probably not have been 
listened to. Baur and Zeller object that the whole accusa- 
tion is anticipatory, because it was not until the second century 
that the Christian religion was regarded as dangerous to the 
state. 2 But it is very natural that the excited mob should 
state their charge in the language of exaggeration ; and the 
Romans were exceedingly jealous of any invasion of their 
authority. No accusation was at this time more common 

1 For these and other incidents of Luke's accuracy, see Conybeare 
and Howson, vol. i. 396. 

2 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 259. 


than that of crimen majestatis : Jesus Himself was similarly 
accused before Pilate. 

BacriXea XeyovTes erepov elvai 'Irjcrovv — saying that there 
was another king, Jesus. Jesus Christ was accused by the 
Jews of the crime of making Himself a king in opposition to 
Caesar (John xix. 12) ; and so now His disciples are accused 
of asserting His claims to the kingly office. It is not impro- 
bable that the title Lord, so frequently given by Christians 
to their great Master, may have given occasion to such a 
charge. It would also appear from the Epistles to the Thes- 
salonians, that Paul when at Thessalonica dwelt much upon 
the kingdom of Christ and His second coming as the Judge 
of the world ; and hence certain expressions of his might be 
perverted, as if he taught that Jesus was an earthly monarch. 
BaaCkea erepov — another king. The Latin title rex was not 
given to the Roman emperor — he was called by the military 
title imperator; but the Greeks were accustomed to apply 
the title ftao-iXevs to him. And although the title f3ao-i\ev$ 
was not restricted to the emperor, yet in all conquered or 
dependent countries no one could be called king without 
his permission. 

Ver. 9. Aaftovre? to Ikclvov — having taken security — satis- 
datione acceptd : a legal phrase. The security might either 
be personal bail or a deposit of money. Chrysostom thinks 
that Jason became surety in person ; but as he was permitted 
to depart, the security was probably a deposit of money. 
Opinions vary as to the purpose for which the security was 
given. According to Grotius, it was that Paul and Silas 
should appear before the court; according to others (Ewald, 
Michaelis, Heinrichs), that Jason should no longer entertain 
them ; and according to others (Kuincel, Lange), that they 
should depart immediately from the city. But the evident 
purpose was that the peace should be kept — -that there should 
be no violation of the majesty of the state — nothing done 
contrary to the decrees of Caesar (Meyer, De Wette). Neauder 
supposes the two objects combined : that there should be no 
violation of the public peace, and that those persons who had 
been alleged as the cause of this disturbance should quit the 


city. 1 The conduct of the magistrates of Thessalonica ap- 
pears in a favourable light, when compared with that of the 
magistrates of Philippi in similar circumstances. 

Ver. 10. Aia vvktos e^eirefju-^av, etc. — sent away Paul 
and Silas by night Although Paul and Silas were not 
compelled to depart, yet the safety of the Christians at 
Thessalonica, who had become surety for them, would be 
endangered by their presence, as the disturbance might be 
renewed by the Jewish faction. Eh Bipotav — to Berea. 
According to the Itinerarium Antonini, Berea was sixty-one 
miles from Thessalonica, and according to the Peutinger 
table fifty-seven miles. 2 It was situated in Macedonia Tertia, 
according to the division made by Paulus ^Emilius. Tertia 
regio nobiles urbes Edessam et Berazam et Pellam habet (Livy, 
xlv. 30). Its former name was Pheraea, but pronounced by 
the Macedonians Berea : afterwards it was called Irenopolis, 
" the city of peace." Little noticed by ancient writers, it 
does not appear to have been a place of much consequence. 
It is now a town of the second rank in European Turkey, 
containing a population of about 20,000, and is known by its 
most ancient name, Pheraea, corrupted into Verria, or Kara- 
Verria. Although we are informed that Paul met with 
unusual success in Berea, yet there is no mention of this 
church in any of his epistles. Baumgarten accordingly 
thinks that it soon decayed, or was destroyed ; but this is a 
mere arbitrary supposition. When we think of the many 
places where Paul preached the gospel, and the numerous 
churches which he founded, it ought not to be reckoned as 
anything surprising that he does not mention Berea. 

Ver. 11. Ovtol Be rjaav evyeviarepot, tcjv iv QeaaaXoviKn 
— These were nobler than those in Thessalonica. Luther and 
Calvin apply eVyeveo-Tepot to the Thessalonians : " These 
were the more noble of the Thessalonians who received the 
word ;" intimating, as they suppose, that it was the chief 
men in Thessalonica who embraced the gospel. 3 But such a 

1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 185. 

2 Wieseler's Chronologie, p. 41. 

3 Calvin on the Acts, in loco. 


remark would be here out of its proper place. The historian 
here compares the conduct of the Jews of Berea with that of 
the Jews of Thessalonica. The Berean Jews were not so pre- 
judiced or bigoted as the Thessalonian Jews : they did not 
prejudge the case, nor were they actuated with envy against 
the disciples, but gave Paul and Silas a fair and impartial 
hearing. Evyeveo-repoi — not spoken of rank, but of cha- 
racter — of a nobler disposition. * Avcucpivovres tcls ypatyds — 
searching the Scriptures. They compared what Paul said 
with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and especially the 
life and sufferings of Jesus with the words of the prophets ; 
and seeing the correspondence, they came to the conclusion 
that this Jesus whom Paul preached unto them was the 

Ver. 12. Ovv — therefore : in consequence of this impartial 
spirit and diligent examination of the Scriptures. Twv 
'EWijvlScov yvvai/CGOv twv evayrjfiovwv zeal avBpwv — of honour- 
able Greek women and men. ' EWijvldcov construed with 
yvvai/cwv also refers to avBpwv. The epithet honourable 
(evo-)(7)fjL6v(j*v), restricted to yvvai/cwv, applies to their rank : 
they were among the chief people in Berea. (See note to 
Acts xiii. 50.) These were not, as some think, Hellenistic 
Jews, but partly proselytes and devout Gentiles who heard 
Paul preach in the synagogue, and partly heathens con- 
verted to Christianity by the more private discourses of the 
apostle. 1 Wieseler supposes that Paul remained a consi- 
derable time in Berea ; and Ewald that he made it a centre 
from which to preach the gospel in the neighbouring cities. 

Ver. 13. 01 diro ttj<$ GeacraXoviKTis 'IovBalot, — the Jews 
from Thessalonica. As the Jews of Pisidian Antioch and 
Iconium came to Lystra to incense the multitude against the 
disciples (Acts xiv. 19), so the Jews of Thessalonica came 
for a similar purpose to Berea. Kaicec — there also : to be 
connected, not with rfkOov, " came thither also," but with 
o-a\evovre<;, " stirred up the populace there also," i.e. as they 
formerly did in Thessalonica. 

1 Among those converted, mention is elsewhere made of Sopater of 
Berea (Acts xx. 4). 


Ver. 14. UopeveaBai &>? eVt rr)v OaXaacrav — to go toward 
the sea. These words have been differently rendered. Some 
(Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Olshausen, Lange) translate them, 
to go as if to the sea ; and suppose that Paul and his com- 
panions, in order to escape his enemies, pretended to go 
away by sea, whereas in reality they went by land from 
Berea to Athens. 1 The words do certainly admit of this 
translation. But if Paul journeyed by land to Athens, we 
would have expected from Luke some account of this 
journey, and the mention of some of the important cities 
through which he passed, as in ver. 1 ; though it is admitted 
that not much stress can be laid on this, on account of the 
fragmentary nature of the Acts. The distance between 
Berea and Athens by land is 250 Roman miles, and would 
have occupied about twelve days ; whereas three days would 
have sufficed for the voyage by sea : and it is natural to 
suppose that Paul would take the most expeditious mode 
of travelling. Accordingly others (Kuincel, Lechler, Meyer, 
De Wette, Winer, Wieseler, Stier, Alford, Conybeare and 
Howson) render the passage, to go toward the sea. Winer 
remarks that &><? joined to eirl denotes either the actual pur- 
pose of following a certain direction, or even the mere pre- 
tence or assumed appearance of doing so ; and that the 
former acceptation is simpler and more suited to the context. 2 
We are not, however, to consider &>? as redundant: it denotes 
the definite intention of the direction, eirl ttjv Oakao-aav. 

'O TifAoOeos — Timotheus. This is the first time Timothy 
is mentioned since Paul's departure from Philippi. But 
we are not from this to suppose that he first rejoined the 
apostle at Berea. The probability is, that he was with the 
apostle at Thessalonica, as he appears to have been inti- 
mately connected with that church. Paul sent him to it 
as his messenger, and he is joined with Paul and Silas in 
both epistles to the Thessalonians. 

Ver. 15. Oi Se KaOiaravovTes tov UavKov — and they who 
conducted Paul. A different word from that used in ch. 

1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 437. 

2 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 640. 


xv. 3, and implying a different mode of convoy. There 
the word employed is irpoirefx^OevTe^ and implies that the 
disciples gave Paul a convoy to do him honour. Here the 
word is tcadiaTdvovres, and implies that the disciples went 
with Paul throughout the journey for the sake of guidance 
and protection : they brought him to Athens. AajSovres 
ivToXrjv 7T/30? top X'Ckav kcli TifioOeov — receiving a command- 
ment to Silas and Timotheus, that they should come to him as 
quickly as possible. It would seem, according to Luke, that 
Paul was alone at Athens, and that Silas and Timothy 
did not join him until he came to Corinth (Acts xviii. 5). 
In the Epistle to the Thessalonians, however, Paul says : 
u Wherefore, when we could no longer forbear, we thought 
it good to be left at Athens alone, and sent Timotheus, our 
brother and minister of God, and our fellow-labourer in the 
gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you con- 
cerning your faith" (1 Thess. iii. 1, 2). Prom this some infer 
that Timothy joined Paul at Athens, but was sent back to 
Thessalonica to inquire into the state of the converts in that 
city. Hence Meyer and De Wette suppose that there is a 
mistake in Luke's narrative, which is to be acknowledged, 
and not to be reconciled by attempts at agreement. 1 But 
certainly the mere omission by Luke of Timothy's visit to 
Athens and return to Thessalonica is no discrepancy, as 
the circumstance had no bearing upon his narrative. If 
Timothy had remained with the apostle, and thus had not 
rejoined him at Corinth, the case would have been different. 
But, after all, the fact that Timothy came to Athens at all is 
a mere supposition : it is not asserted in 1 Thess. iii. 1. The 
probability is, that he was sent by Paul to Thessalonica from 
Berea, and not from Athens ; and that after his return, he 
and Silas went directly from Berea to Corinth. 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 346 ; De Wette's ApostelgeschicJite, 
p. 134. 


PAUL AT ATHENS.— Acts xvii. 16-34. 

16 Now, while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was aroused 
within him, when he observed that the city was full of idols. 17 There- 
fore he disputed in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout 
persons, and in the market-place daily with those who met with him. 
18 And certain of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered 
him. And some said, What will this babbler say ? others, He appears 
to be an announcer of strange divinities : because he preached Jesus 
and the resurrection. 19 And they took him, and brought him to the 
Areopagus, saying, Can we know what is this new doctrine, which thou 
announcest ? 20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears : 
we wish therefore to know what these things mean. 21 For all the 
Athenians and resident strangers spent their time in nothing else than 
either to tell or to hear some new thing. 

22 Then Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said, Ye 
men of Athens, I perceive that in all respects ye are more God-fearing 
(than others). 23 For as I passed by, and observed your sacred things, 
I found also an altar on which was inscribed, To an Unknown God. 
What therefore you ignorantly worship, that do I declare unto you. 
24 God, who made the world, and all things therein, as He is Lord of 
heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands ; 25 Neither 
is ministered to by human hands, as if He needed anything, seeing He 
giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. 26 And He made of one 
blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having 
fixed their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation ; 
27 That they should seek God, if perchance they might feel after Him, 
and find Him, although He is not far off from any one of us : 28 For in 
Him we live, and move, and are ; as also certain of your own poets have 
said, For we are also His offspring. 29 Being therefore the offspring 
of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or 
silver, or stone, to an image of art and of man's device. 30 And the 
times of ignorance God has overlooked ; but now He commands all men 
everywhere to repent : 31 Inasmuch as He has appointed a day in which 
He is about to judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has 
ordained, having given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead. 

32 But when they heard of a resurrection of the dead, some mocked ; 


PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 16. 145 

but others said, We will hear thee again concerning this. 33 So Paul 
departed from the midst of them. 34 But certain men joined them- 
selves to him, and believed : among whom were Dionysius the Areopa- 
gite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. 


Ver. 23. Instead of ov . . . tovtov, found in E, G, H, 
Teschendorf and Lachmann read o . . . tovto, found in A, 
B, D, N. Ver. 25. 'Avdpayrrtvcov, found in A, B, D, N, is by 
modern critics preferred to dvdp(07ra>v, the reading' of E, G, H. 
Ver. 26. IIpocrTeTay/jLevovs, found in A, B, E, G, H, K, is 
by Tischendorf and Lachmann preferred to irporeTcuy^evov^, 
found in D. Ver. 27, Oebv, in A, B, G, H, «, is by Tischen- 

Idorf preferred to Kvpcov, found in E. Ver. 31. KaOort, in 
_ A, B, D, E, K, is far better attested than Snort, in G, H. 


Ver. 16. *Ev Be reus "'AOrjvai? — and in Athens. Athens, 
in an intellectual point of view the most notable city in early 
times, was the great seat of learning among the ancients, 
and might well be called the university of the world. Its 
philosophers, orators, poets, and historians have been the 
wonder of all ages ; and its books of genius have been read 
with admiration by the scholar of every time. It merits the 
eulogium of Cicero : Athence omnium doctrinarwn inventrices 
(Cic. de Oral. i. 4). Athens received its name from Minerva 
^ABr\vn\ its tutelar goddess. Situated about five miles from 
the iEgean Sea, it was connected with it by its port Piraeus. 
Four small hills rose within its walls. The highest was the 
celebrated Acropolis, or the citadel, being a rock about 150 
feet high. On it were the most famous temples, statues, 
arches, and monuments; and towering above all stood the 
colossal statue of Minerva Polias, the defender of the city. 
At a little distance from the Acropolis were three smaller 
hills : the Areopagus, where the celebrated court held its 
sittings, and to Christians still more memorable as the place 
where Paul delivered his address ; the Pnyx, on which the 



assemblies of the people were held ; and the Museum. In 
the time of Paul, Athens belonged to the province of Achaia, 
whose capital was Corinth, and was, like Thessalonica, a free 
city of the empire, governed by its own laws. It is still an 
important city, being the capital of modern Greece ; but the 
traveller is chiefly attracted to it by the remarkable ruins still 
remaining as the monuments of its former greatness. 1 

'E/cSexpfAevov avroix; rod UavXov — Paul waiting for them, 
i.e. for Silas and Timothy, whom he had left at Berea, and who 
rejoined him not at Athens, but at Corinth (Acts xviii. 5). 
Uaptofyuvero — was aroused: a verb, from which our word 
paroxysm is derived. Paul was filled with holy indignation 
on account of the emblems of idolatry which met him at 
every turn. Instead of being inspired with admiration at 
those splendid monuments of genius and art, for which 
Athens was so celebrated, he looked upon them with grief 
and abhorrence, because he regarded them as the emblems 
of idolatry, the creations of an impure religion. He could 
not detach those works of art from the purpose for which 
they were made : these beautiful temples and glorious statues 
were designed for the worship of false gods. 

KarelBcoXov — full of idols. This word occurs only in this 
passage ; but according to the analogy of words similarly 
formed, its meaning is obvious : as KardSevSpos, full of trees 
(Diod. Sic. xvi. 31) ; KardinreXos, full of vines (Strabo, iv. 
1. 5) ; /cddvypos, full of water (Soph. Col. 158), etc. Hence 
KarelBcoXov is not given to idolatry, as in our version, but full 
of idols : it applies primarily to the city, and only indirectly to 
the inhabitants. This epithet appears from various testimo- 
nies to have been peculiarly appropriate. Thus Xenophon 
calls Athens one great altar, one great sacrifice to the gods : 
oXrj /3o>/«to9 oXrj Ovfia 6eol<$ kuI avadrjfia (De Repub. Ath.). 
Livy says that in Athens there were to be seen images of 
gods and men, of all kinds and of all materials : simulacra 
deorum Jwminumque omni genere et materia et artium insignia 

1 The reader is referred, for a full description of Athens as it was when- 
Paul visited it, to Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, ch. x. ; Lewin's 
St. Paul, vol. i. pp. 270-275 ; and Kenan's Saint Paul, pp. 170-172. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 17, 18. 147 

(Liv. xlv. 27). Pausanias observes that Athens had more 
images than all the rest of Greece put together (Attic, ch. 
xvii. 24). Strabo says : " As in other things, the Athenians 
always showed their admiration of foreign customs ; so they 
displayed it in what respected the gods. They adopted many 
sacred ceremonies, particularly those of Thrace and Phrygia, 
for which they were ridiculed in comedies" (Strabo, x. 3. 18); 
and Petronius observes that it was easier to find a god at 
Athens than a man (Sat. ch. xvii.). 

Ver. 17. Ovv — therefore: that is, not merely in conse- 
quence of his being at Athens (De Wette), but because he 
was stirred up to indignation by the sight of so much 
idolatry (Meyer). He felt himself impelled to depart from 
his usual practice of preaching first to the Jews, and then 
to the Gentiles, and to preach to both at the same time. 
Tot9 (refto/jLevoLs — to the devout persons ; that is, those Gentiles, 
whether proselytes to Judaism or not, who, having renounced 
idolatry, were the worshippers of the true God, and attended 
the synagogue. Even in Athens, the stronghold of idolatry, 
there were such devout persons. 'Ev rf) cuyopa — in the 
market-place. Paul disputed every Sabbath in the synagogue 
with the Jews and religious Gentiles, and in the market- 
place daily with those who happened to meet with him. 
Some suppose that there were two market-places in Athens, 
an old and a new — the old in the district of the town called 
the Ceramicus, and the new, called the Eretrian place 
(Epirpa) — and that the latter at this time received the 
exclusive name of rj ayopa. The opinion now, however, 
most generally adopted is, that there was never more than 
one market-place in Athens, although it frequently varied 
in size. It was situated in the valley, bounded by the four 
hills — the Acropolis, the Areopagus, the Pnyx, and the 
Museum. In the immediate neighbourhood, or forming a 
part of it, was the celebrated porch or colonnade called the 
Stoic Pcecile, or painted cloister, and from which the Stoics 
derived their name. 

Ver. 18. Toov 'EiriicovpeicDV tcai StoIkoov <f>iko<ro(f>Q)v — of 
the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Besides these, there 


were two other sects at Athens — the Peripatetics, or the 
disciples of Aristotle, and the Academicians, or the disciples 
of Plato. These are not mentioned, probably because they 
did not frequent the market-place, and thus did not meet 
with Paul ; the Academy of the Platonists and the Lyceum 
of the Aristotelians being situated without the city. Others 
suggest as the reason, that their opinions were not so much 
opposed to Christianity as those of the Epicureans and 
Stoics, or that they had then diminished in number. 1 The 
Epicureans, or the disciples of Epicurus, were in reality 
atheists. Although in words they acknowledged God, yet 
they denied His providence and His active superintendence 
over the world. The soul, according to their notions, was ma- 
terial, and annihilated at death. Pleasure was regarded as the 
chief good ; and although it is said that their founder meant 
only that pleasure was the inseparable attendant of virtue, 
yet his disciples in the days of the apostle made sensual 
pleasure the great end of their existence. If the Epicureans 
were atheists, the Stoics were pantheists. According to 
them, God was either the soul of the world, or the world 
was God. His nature resembled fire, which diffused itself 
through all parts of the world. There was no providence ; 
everything was governed by unbending fate, to which God 
Himself was subject. They denied the universal and per- 
sonal immortality of the soul, though they differed in their 
opinions as to its condition after death. Some supposed that 
the soul was swallowed up in the soul of the Deity ; others 
restricted immortality to the wise and the good ; and others 
taught that the soul survived only until the final conflagra- 
tion. They looked upon virtue as its own reward, and vice 
as its own punishment ; and taught that pleasure was noi 
good, and pain no evil. They were so inflated with pride, 
that they regarded themselves as the equals of the gods. 
" Jupiter," observes Seneca, " does not excel a good man 
Jupiter is longer good ; and a wise man does not think the 
less of himself because his virtues are bounded within a short 
space of time" (EpisU 73). In the days of the apostle, the 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 346. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 18. 149 

Epicurean system was the more popular among the Greeks, 
whereas Stoicism was more conformable to the Roman mind. 
It would be hard to say which system was more opposed to 
Christianity. The ruling principle of the one w T as love of 
pleasure, and the ruling principle of the other was pride : 
the former resembled the Sadducees in their infidelity, and 
the latter the Pharisees in their self-righteousness. It must, 
however, be acknowledged, that some of the most estimable 
characters of antiquity belonged to the school of the Stoics, 
whose philosophy involved a certain moral earnestness con- 
spicuously wanting among the Epicureans. 

STTepfiokoyos — a babbler. The primary meaning of this 
word is a sparrow, or rook, or other bird which frequents the 
streets and markets, picking up seeds-^-a seed-picker. It is 
so used by Aristophanes (Aw. 232). From this a variety of 
secondary meanings are derived : such as a beggar or worth- 
less person, who lives by picking up refuse ; a flatterer or 
parasite, who lives upon others; and a babbler, who picks 
up and retails scraps of knowledge or of news — a garrulous 
person. The same epithet was employed by Demosthenes 
concerning his lival -ZEschines (Pro Corona). The philo- 
sophers of Athens were remarkable for their haughtiness 
and self-sufficiency ; and hence they regarded Paul as a 
vain babbler. And yet the doctrines which Paul taught 
confounded the wisdom of the Grecian schools, and in the 
end destroyed and superseded the philosophy both of Stoics 
and Epicureans. 

Bevcov Baifiovi<ov — of strange gods ; that is, foreign divini- 
ties. The Jews used the word Baifiovca in a bad sense — 
devils ; but by the Greeks it was employed in a good sense — 
divinities. The introduction of strange gods was a part of 
the charge brought against Socrates : u that he acknowledged 
not the gods whom the city acknowledges, but introduced 
other strange divinities :" "Erepa Be icaiva BaifAovia elafyepcav 
(Xen. Mem. i. 1.1). Different meanings have been attached 
to the phrase f eva>v Baifiovlcov. Some (Kuinoel, Meyer) sup- 
pose that Jesus only is here referred to, and that the plural 
is employed either instead of the singular, or to designate 


the class. Others (De Wette, Alford, Hackett) think that 
Jesus and the living God are the strange gods whom Paul was 
supposed to announce. And others (Chrysostom, Heinrichs, 
Baur, Lange, Baumgarten) imagine that the Athenians took 
Jesus for a deified man, and the Resurrection, or the Ana- 
stasis, for a goddess. It is objected to this latter view, that 
we cannot conceive that Paul would have expressed himself 
so obscurely as to give occasion to such a mistake, or that 
the philosophers w r ould have fallen into so gross an error. 
But it must be remembered that the heathen not only deified 
heroes and great men, but also abstract ideas : there were 
altars in Athens to Fame, Desire, Shame, Pity, etc. ; and 
hence there is nothing so very improbable in the supposition 
that they might also regard the resurrection as a goddess. 
The words which follow appear to confirm this opinion : u for 
he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection." If it were 
not the intention of the historian to denote that these were 
the strange gods whom Paul announced, we do not see the 
reason of the addition of ttjv dvd<TTa<nv. If the meaning 
were only that Paul preached Jesus as the Risen One, the 
pronoun avrov would have been added. 

r Oti top ''Irjaovv fcal rrjv dvdcnaGiv evrjyyeXl^ero — because 
he preached Jesus and the resurrection. a They supposed," 
observes Chrysostom, " the Anastasis to be some deity, being 
accustomed to worship female divinities also." Some restrict 
u the resurrection" to Jesus : he preached to them Jesus as 
the Risen One ; but if so, Luke would have written " Jesus 
and His resurrection." The word, then, denotes the re- 
surrection generally; and hence, as an abstract idea, the 
Athenians regarded it as a goddess. 

Ver. 19. 'E7rt rov "Apeiov irdyov — to the Areopagus. The 
Areopagus, or Mars Hill, was a rocky eminence to the west 
of the Acropolis. It was so called from the legend of the 
trial of Mars for the murder of the son of Neptune. It is 
much lower than the Acropolis, being only sixty feet above 
the valley. This was the meeting-place of the illustrious 
senate of Athens, who were in consequence called Areopagites. 
They sat in the open air, and their stone seats may still be 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 19-21. 151 

discerned on the Areopagus. The court was composed of 
the noblest and most virtuous men in Athens. Although the 
city had now lost in a great measure its independence, yet 
being a free city, it was governed by its own laws ; so that 
under the Eomans the council of the Areopagus was still a 
constituted court, invested with considerable powers. It was 
before this court that Socrates was tried and condemned. 

Some (Hemsen, Zeller, Wordsworth) suppose that Paul 
was forcibly taken to the Areopagus, and was there tried by 
the court on the charge of introducing strange gods (illicita 
religio). But such a supposition rests on no foundation. 
There is nothing in the narrative to countenance, but, on 
the contrary, much to oppose it. The reason Luke assigns 
for bringing Paul to the Areopagus was not to accuse him, 
but merely to satisfy curiosity. Nor is there mention of a 
judicial process being entered into against the apostle. His 
address bears no resemblance to an apology or defence ; 
and his dismissal does not resemble that of a person who had 
been accused. The simple reason why he was led to the 
Areopagus was, that it was of easy access from the market- 
place, and that he would be there better heard, and able to 
speak without interruption. 

Vers. 19-21. AvvdfieOa <yvwvai — Can we know? A polite 
request, thus contradicting the notion that there was a 
judicial trial. The Athenians were celebrated for their 
politeness. 'AOrjvaiot, Be 7rdvT€$ — but all Athenians. A 
remark introduced by the historian giving the reason why 
the Athenians made this request : it was to gratify their 
curiosity. The omission of the article denotes that this was 
their national character. Kal oi eiriZr)^ovvre<; %kvoi — and 
the resident strangers. The youth of Italy repaired to Athens 
for their education. This was especially the fashion at this 
time : the philosophers of Athens were in high repute 
throughout the world. Hvicaipovv — spent their time. A 
word belonging to the later Greek : vaeare alicui rei (Kuincel). 
The imperfect does not refer to a past time, but denotes that 
they were still engaged in doing so — were spending their 
time. *H Xeyeiv tl fj dfcoveiv Kaworepov — either to tell or to 


hear some new thing. The comparative fcaworepov renders 
the expression emphatic : it denotes that they wished to hear 
something newer than what was new — the latest news ; or, as 
Bengel happily expresses it, Nova statim sordebant ; noviora 
quoerebantur : " new things became immediately depreciated ; 
newer things were sought for." Demosthenes reproaches 
the Athenians with the same feelings of curiosity — trifling 
their time in the market-place, inquiring after the news: 
" Tell me, is it all your care to go about up and down the 
market, asking each other, Is there any news?" {Phil. 1. 
p. 43.) " Philip acts the part of a soldier, endures fatigue, 
faces danger without any regard to the seasons of the year, 
and neglects no opportunity ; whilst we Athenians sit at home 
doing nothing, always delaying, and making decrees, and ask- 
ing in the market if there be anything new "• {Phil. Epist.). 

Ver. 22. SraOel? Be 6 IlavXos ev fiecrq) rov 'Apeiov ird^ov 
— But Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus. Paul is 
led to Mars Hill, a place famous in Grecian history, where 
the most celebrated of all their courts assembled, in the open 
air. Here Paul would find himself surrounded with all the 
most splendid monuments of art. The Acropolis was directly 
above him, and the city of Athens lay at his feet. " He 
stood," observes Bishop Wordsworth, "on that hill in the 
centre of Athens, with its statues and altars and temples 
around him. The temple of the Eumenides was immediately 
below him ; behind him was the temple of Theseus ; and he 
beheld the Parthenon of the Acropolis fronting him from 
above. The temple of Victory was on his right, and a count- 
less multitude of temples and altars in the Agora and Cera- 
micus below him. Above him, towering over the city from 
its pedestal on the rock of the Acropolis, was the bronze 
colossus of Minerva, the champion of Athens." * 

The remarkable speech which follows can only be fully 
understood by taking into consideration the position in which 
Paul was placed. His audience consisted of * the wise and 
learned of Athens — the philosophers of the Grecian schools. 
He takes as his text the inscription on an altar which he saw, 
1 Wordsworth on the Acts, p. 126. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 22. 153 

" To an Unknown God ;" and from this he proclaims the true 
God as the Creator and Preserver of the world, and of all 
things therein. Surrounded with splendid temples, he asserts 
the folly of thinking that the Godhead resides in temples 
made with hands ; and pointing to those magnificent statues 
in his immediate neighbourhood, he exclaims, " We ought 
not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or 
stone, to an image of art, or the device of a man." And 
having thus asserted the majesty of God, and man's depend- 
ence upon Him — the great truths of natural religion — he 
proceeds to proclaim the message with which he was peculiarly 
entrusted, the call to repentance, the future judgment and 
the resurrection, when he is interrupted, and his speech left 

"Av&pe? 'AOrjvaioi, — Ye men of Athens; the usual form 
of address employed by their orators. Kara iravra — in 
all respects. r /2?, as, does not belong to the comparative 
Seio-L&aifiovecrTepovs as an intensive particle, but denotes that 
Paul recognised them as such. AetaiBaifjLoveo-Tepovs — more 
God-fearing, the comparative of Beiai&alfiow. It is difficult 
to give a correct translation of thi3 word ; no single word 
in English contains the full meaning : " more religious " 
approaches nearest to it. Aeio-iSal/JLcov (BelBco Sallow) — 
fearing the gods. The word, similar to the " fear of God " 
with us, is used both in a good and in a bad sense, signifying 
in some places religious, and in other places superstitious, the 
meaning being determined by the context. Our version 
renders it too superstitious ; x but it cannot be supposed that 
Paul would commence his discourse with an appellation 
which would incense his audience against him. It is used 
five times by Josephus, and always in a good sense. Chry- 
sostom employs the word in a good sense, as equal to evkafte- 
aripovs, " more religious." The word heiaiZainovias occurs 
in Acts xxv. 19, rendered in our version superstition, but 
evidently signifying religion ; for Festus would not call the 
Jewish religion a superstition before Agrippa, who was him- 

1 So also the Vulgate, which our version here follows, renders it super- 
stitiosiores, and Luther translates it allzu ueberglaubig. 


self a Jew. The comparative is not to be here taken as 
expressing a high degree, but implies that the Athenians were 
more actuated by the fear of the gods than others. German 
critics in general translate it by the word gottesfurchtig, 
or still more appropriately, gottesfurchtiger. English critics 
have translated the word by different phrases. Lardner 
renders it " very devout ; " Hackett, " more religious ; " 
Humphry, "exceeding scrupulous in your religion ;" Alford, 
"carrying your religious reverence very far;" Doddridge, 
" exceedingly addicted to the worship of invisible powers ; " 
Conybeare, " careful in your religion ; " Wordsworth, u more 
fearful of the gods." In most of these translations the force 
of the comparative is overlooked. The literal meaning is 
evidently more demon-fearing, the word " demon " being 
used in a good sense. That this was the character of the 
Athenians, is abundantly confirmed by Greek writers. 
Josephus says that " the Athenians are the most religious of 
the Greeks" {Against A'pion, ii. 12); Xenophon, that they 
observed twice as many festivals as any other people (Be 
Repub. Athen.) ; Pausanias, that they exceeded all others in 
their piety toward the gods, and that they only of all the 
Greeks had an altar to Mercy (Paus. Attic.) ; Sophocles, that 
they went beyond all the world in the honours they paid 
to the gods ((Ed. Col. 1060) ; and Philostratus calls the 
Athenians faXoOvrai, "addicted to sacrificing" (Vit. Apoll.). 1 

Ver. 23. Ta ae^dafiara vficov — your sacred tilings; not, 
as in our version, " your devotions." The word denotes all 
objects of their worship — their temples, altars, and images. 

'Ayvcoo-TG) 6ea> — to an unknown god ; not, as in our version, 
" To the unknown God," the article being wanting. " That 
there was at least one altar at Athens with this inscription," 
observes Meyer, " would appear historically certain from this 
passage itself, even though other testimonies were wanting, 
since Paul appeals to a fact of his own observation, and that, 
too, in the presence of the Athenians themselves." 2 But 
there are other proofs that there were such altars at Athens. 

1 See Biscoe on the Acts, p. 293 ; Kuinoel, Libri Historic^ vol. iii. p. 262. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 350. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 23. 155 

Thus Pausanias, who lived a.d. 174, in his description of 
Athens, tells us that there were such altars at Phalerus, the 
port of Athens : ficofAol Oeoov re ovo/Jba^ofievcov ayvwcrTcov (Paus. 
i. 1. 4). And Philostratus, who lived about a.d. 244, in 
his Life of Apollonius, says : u It is more discreet to speak 
well of all the gods, especially at Athens, where there are 
erected altars of unknown gods " (ov Kal ayvaxTToov BcufjLovcQv 
fico/Aol iSpwrcu, 1 Vit. Apoll. vi. 2). It is to be observed 
that in our history it is asserted that the inscription on the 
altar was, a To an unknown god ; " whereas Pausanias and 
Philostratus assert that there were u altars of unknown gods." 
Some accordingly suppose that the true inscription was, 
u To the unknown gods," but that Paul for his own purpose 
changed it from the plural to the singular. Thus Jerome 
observes : " The inscription on the altar was not, as Paul 
asserted, ' To the unknown God,' but thus, ' To the gods of 
Asia, and Europe, and Africa — to unknown and foreign 
gods.' But because Paul required not many unknown gods, 
but only one unknown God, he used the word in the singular " 
(Jerome on Tit. i. 12). But there is no historical trace 
of such an inscription. As Winer observes : u It does not 
follow from the language of Pausanias and Philostratus that 
every altar had the inscription ayvcocrToi,*; Oeofc in the plural ; 
but more naturally, that each altar was dedicated to a^vcaarco 
0ec5, but that the writers were obliged to change the sin- 
gular into the plural, because they spoke of the altars taken 
collectively." 2 

The origin of these altars has been variously explained. 
Eichhorn supposes that the altars were very ancient, erected 
before writing was known, and therefore without inscription ; 
and that the Athenians, ignorant of the god to whom they 
were originally dedicated, and lest they should offend any 

1 The passage from (Pseudo) Lucian, in his Philopatris, where it is 
asserted that the unknown god is worshipped at Athens, cannot be 
cited as an authority, as it is now generally agreed that the dialogue is 
spurious, and the reference is only an allusion to the statement in the 

2 Winer's biblisches Worterbuch — Athens. 


particular god, inscribed on each, ayvcocrTG* 0eq). But this 
is improbable, as tradition would have preserved the names 
of these gods. Others give the following account of their 
origin. Diogenes Laertius, in his Life of Epimenides, in- 
forms us, that when the Athenians at one time suffered 
under a pestilence, Epimenides arrested the plague in this 
manner : he ordered the Athenians to let go white and black 
sheep from the Areopagus, and on the spots where they lay 
down to sacrifice them roS Trpoo-tf/tovri, Sew, that is, to the 
appropriate god, the unknown god who sent the pestilence ; 
and Diogenes adds, " Therefore there are at Athens ftcofiovs 
avmvvfjLovs" that is, not altars without inscriptions, but 
anonymous or unnamed altars (Vit. Epim,). 1 From this 
then, it appears probable that, in the times of pestilence or 
public calamities, altars were erected in honour of the un- 
known god who sent the deliverance. Another supposition 
is, that the Athenians erected such altars from superstitious 
motives, in case that, in the multiplicity of gods, they had 
overlooked any (Chrysostom). 

Another opinion, but more improbable, is, that the altar 
with the inscription "To an unknown god," was actually 
erected in honour of Jehovah the God of the Jews. 2 The 
reasons for this conjecture are, that the Athenians erected 
altars to the gods of other nations, and that therefore it is not 
improbable that there should have been at Athens an altar 
to Jehovah. The Jews, however, religiously abstained from 
pronouncing the name of God to the Greeks, and hence He 
was called " The Unknown." The Emperor Caligula speaks 
of Him as " the unnamed God " (Philo, Leg. ad Caium) ; and 
Lucan calls Him incertus Deus (Phars. ii. 593). And thus 
it is supposed that the inscription on the altar to the God 
of the Jews was "To the unknown God," because His 
appropriate name was unknown. It is not, however, to be 
supposed that the Athenians would be so ignorant of the 
Jewish religion as this opinion supposes, especially as the 
Jews were so numerous at Athens as to have a synagogue. 

1 See Lardner's Works, vol. iv. pp. 171-176. 

2 Biscoe on the Acts, pp. 295-297. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 24, 25. 157 

*0 ovv ayvoovvre? evaefteiTe, tovto iyco KaTwyyeWco vfuv — 
What therefore ye ivorship without knowing, that declare I unto 
you. The neuters o . . . tovto are critically to be preferred 
to the masculines ov . . . tovtov of the textus receptus. (See 
Critical Note.) Paul does not exactly identify the true God 
with the unknown god to whom the altar was inscribed; 
but draws the inference that the Athenians, besides the known 
gods, recognised something divine to be worshipped which 
was different from them. And justly might Paul make this 
application : Ye worship an unknown god : ye thus acknow- 
ledge that there is a divinity whom you know not : now such 
a divinity do I declare to you. The Athenians, it may be 
said, did not understand the inscription in the sense given by 
the apostle, but according to their heathen notions ; but still, 
underneath their religious errors there was, especially among 
their philosophers, some dim idea of God. 1 'Ayvoovvres — 
without knowing. The apostle, in using this term, does not 
directly find fault with the Athenians ; but the reference is 
to the inscription on the altar — "an unknown god:" they 
confessed themselves to be ignorant of the god whom they 

Ver. 24. 'O ©eo? 6 iroLrjaa^ tov /cocrfiov — God who made 
the world. The apostle here announces God as the Creator 
of the world. This fundamental doctrine of natural religion 
was lost sight of by the Epicureans and the Stoics. The 
idea of an absolute Creator was not recognised by them. 
The Epicureans either supposed the world eternal, or ascribed 
its formation to chance ; and the Stoics supposed that God 
animated the world, or that the world itself was God : they 
admitted an organization, but not a creation of the world by 
God. The recognition of the one Creator is antagonistic to 
polytheism ; and hence this doctrine of creation was in general 
overlooked or denied by the ancient schools of philosophy. 

Ver. 25. OvBe irrrb ^etpcov avOpwrrivoav OepanreveTai — 

neither is ministered to by human hands ; namely, by sacrifices, 

etc. The heathen were accustomed to clothe the images of 

their gods with splendid garments, and to minister to them 

1 See Note to ch. xiv. 17. 


in various ways. IIpoo-SeofjLevos twos — as if He needed any- 
thing. The heathen certainly had on striking occasions their 
expiatory sacrifices, where the idea of an atonement was 
brought forward ; but in general, they regarded their sacri- 
fices as if they were gifts to their deities — presents to pro- 
pitiate their favour— as if the friendship of the gods could be 
purchased by gifts. Zcorjv nai irvor\v — life and breath ; not 
merely life, but the breath by which it is continued : God 
is the Preserver as well as the Creator. Others take the 
words as synonymous, u life, namely breath" — as in the 
Old Testament, " the breath of life ; " but this is a feeble 

Ver. 26. 'Eiroino-ev re e£ evos aXfxaro^ irav edvos avOpdmcov 
— And He made of one blood all nations of men. Paul here 
asserts the unity of the human race. Olshausen supposes 
that this statement was designed to represent the contempt in 
which the Jews were held among the Greeks as absurd ; but 
there is no allusion to the Jews in the whole of the discourse. 1 
Kuinoel thinks that it was especially directed against the pride 
of the Athenians, who boasted that they were avro^Oove^ 
or the children of the soil ; 2 but such an allusion appears far- 
fetched. Paul introduces this remark in opposition to the 
polytheism of the heathen, who regarded the different nations 
as derived from different sources, and as consequently under 
the superintendence of different divinities. a On the poly- 
theistic standpoint," observes Neander, " a knowledge of the 
unity of human nature is wanting, because it is closely con- 
nected with a knowledge of the unity of God. Polytheism 
prefers the idea of distinct races, over whom their respective 
gods preside, to the idea of one race proceeding from one origin. 
As the idea of one God is divided into a multiplicity of gods, 
so the idea of one human race is divided into the multiplicity 
of national character, over each of which a god is supposed to 
preside, corresponding to the particular nation. On the other 
hand, the idea of one human race, and their descent from 
one man, is connected with the idea of one God. Thus Paul 

1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 442. 

2 Kuinosl's Libri Historic^ vol. iii. pp. 270, 271. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 27, 28. 159 

sets the unity of the theistic conceptions in contrast with the 
multiplicity existing in the deification of nature." 1 

'Oplaa^ Trpoo-TeTayfiivovs /ccupovs, etc. — having fixed their 
appointed times ^ and the boundaries of their habitation. God 
has appointed the residence of the nations both according to 
their duration and according to their boundaries. He is not 
only the Creator and Preserver, but also the Governor of 
the nations. This statement is made in opposition to the 
doctrine of the Epicureans, who denied God's superintend- 
ence of the world, and to the notion of the Stoics, who 
supposed that all things were subject to fate. 

Ver. 27. Znrelv rbv Seov — to seek God; the intention of 
God's providential government. It does not necessarily de- 
note a previous acquaintance with God, and a subsequent 
apostasy (Olshausen), but rather a present ignorance of Him. 
El apa 76 — if perchance : implying a contingency in the 
result of the search. WrfkafyrjcreLav avrov — that they might 
feel after Him, as one who gropes in the dark. Kalye ov 
/juaKpav, etc. — although lie is not far from any one of us. 
It is not God who is distant from us, so that He requires to 
be sought and found: it is we who are ignorant of God. 
God is near to us, but we know it not. 

Ver. 28. 'Ev avra) yap ^wfiev real KivovfieOa teal icr/juev — 
for in Him we live, and move, and are. 'Ev avrw, not by 
Him or on Him, but in Him as the element of life. Some 
understand these words as a climax ; and others as an anti- 
climax. Thus Olshausen supposes that they contain a climax, 
— tflv denoting the life of the body (acofia), Ktveiadac the 
activity of the soul (^u^), and dvai the true life of the 
spirit {irvevfia). Meyer, on the other hand, supposes an 
anti-climax : " Without God we can have no life : not even 
motion, which many lifeless things have, as plants, water, 
etc. ; not even bare existence, such as a stone has." 2 Evi- 
dently what is here stated is something peculiar to man, and 
which is not shared in by the inferior animals ; because the 
apostle adds as an illustration of the statement, the saying of 
the poet, " We are also His offspring." Still, however, the 
1 Neander's Planting \ i. p. 192. 2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 356. 


words are not to be interpreted in a pantheistic sense, as if we 
were emanations from God. The apostle had already suffi- 
ciently guarded against such a sense, by asserting the majesty, 
independence, and moral government of God — His supe- 
riority to the world as its Creator and Preserver. There is, 
however, a deep truth that lies at the bottom of the error of 
pantheism — the relation of the human spirit to the divine, 
and its dependence on it ; keeping always in view the per- 
sonality of God, and the essential difference which there is 
between Him and the creature. In a true and deep sense, 
all things, and especially all men, are in God. 

f i2? icai rives twv fcad* vjjlcls ttoltjtwv elprjiccMnv, etc. — as 
some of your poets have said. For we are also His offspring. 
The words rod yap koi yevo? ecr/iev are an exact quotation 
from the poet Aratus : iravTrj Be J to? fC€%prjfJLe6a iravrer rov 
yap /cal yevos io-fiev (Aratus, Pkcenomena, 5). Aratus was a 
native of Soli in Cilicia, and hence a countryman of Paul : 
he flourished about B.C. 270, and wrote several astronomical 
poems, of which two remain. A similar expression is found 
in the hymn of Cleanthes to Jupiter, one of the noblest 
pieces of antiquity : i/c aov yap yevos ia/nev — u For from 
Thee we are the offspring" (Hymn, in Jov. 5). Cleanthes 
was a native of Assos in Troas, and a contemporary of Aratus : 
he was one of the most celebrated of the Stoic philosophers, 
and taught at Athens. The apostle, in using the plural 
iroirjTwv, had perhaps several poets in view. The extent of 
Paul's knowledge of Greek literature has been often dis- 
cussed ; some asserting that his quotations from the Greek 
poets are no proofs of a Grecian education, and others 
maintaining the opposite view. But although such quota- 
tions are in themselves no decisive proofs of his learning, yet 
when we recollect that Paul was a native of Tarsus, a city 
celebrated for its schools, it is by no means unlikely that he 
had a liberal, and not a mere rabbinical education. Besides 
this quotation, he elsewhere quotes from Menander (1 Cor. 
xv. 33), and from Epimenides (Tit. i. 12). The apostle, in 
giving this quotation from Aratus, evidently approves of the 
sentiment it contains. 

PAUL AT ATHENS. — XVII. 29-31. 161 

Ver. 29. Tevo<$ ovv virdp^ovre^ tov Qeov — being therefore 
the offspring of God, The apostle proceeds to infer from 
this the absurdity of image-worship. We cannot conceive 
that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone : to do so 
would be to call in question our divine origin. These words 
must have made a deep impression upon his hearers. The 
most splendid images of the gods stood before them — the 
masterpieces of ancient sculpture ; and in sight of them Paul 
asserts the contrast which there must be between them and 
God. It is true that the thinkers among the Greeks had 
risen above such a degraded view of the gods as to suppose 
that they resembled their images ; but anthropomorphism 
was very prevalent among the people, and in all probability 
Paul's audience was not entirely composed of philosophers. 

Ver. 30. Paul having shown the unreasonableness of 
idolatry, now proceeds to discourse on the doctrines of Chris- 
tianity. Hitherto he has dwelt on the truths of natural 
religion ; now he turns to those of revelation. 'Tirep&cbv — 
having overlooked: that is, did not appear to take notice 
of them, by sending express messages to them, as He for- 
merly did to the Jews ; or did not observe them with a 
view to punishment : God in His mercy passed them by. 
But now the time of forbearance is past, there is a uni- 
versal call to repentance. The ignorance of the heathen 
is not an excuse, but an extenuation of their guilt. TJaaiv 
Travra^ov — all men everywhere : thus emphatically asserting 
the universal character of Christianity. Meravoecv — to 
repent : to change their mind and their views, to renounce 
their idolatries. 

Ver. 31. KaOoTL — inasmuch as : the reason given why God 
now commands all men to repent. The day of judgment 
is appointed ; and if they do not repent, they will be con- 
demned. 'Ev avhpi — in a man : i.e. in the person of a man 
who will be God's representative. TllarLv izapacryibv iraaiv — 
having given assurance to all ; or, as others render it, " having 
rendered faith possible to all." Until Christ came, a belief 
in a future state of retribution was hardly possible ; and 
hence the greater number of philosophers denied it. As we 



have seen, it formed no part of the creed of Epicurus ; and 
the notions of the Stoics regarding it were very confused. 
1 'Avao-Trjo-a? avrov i/c vetcpwv — having raised Him from the 
dead. The resurrection of Christ is the proof which God 
has given of the certainty of a future state. 

Yer. 32. '' * AKOvcrawres Se avaaracnv ve/cpwv — but when they 
heard of a resurrection of the dead. Whenever Paul spoke 
of the resurrection he was interrupted, and thus his speech 
remains unfinished. He had not as yet even named Jesus, 
but had directed attention to His person ; and evidently, had 
he been allowed to proceed, he would have discoursed upon 
His life and sufferings. 'Avdarao-iv veicpwv — a resurrection 
of the dead : not specifically the resurrection of Christ, but 
the resurrection generally. 01 fxev . . . ol he — some . . . others. 
If we be permitted to distinguish between these two parties, 
we would refer the some who mocked to the Epicureans, and 
the others who deferred the further hearing of the apostle 
to the Stoics ; but there are not sufficient grounds for thi3 
distinction. 'A/covo-ofieOa, gov irepl tovtov koi iraKw — We 
will hear thee again concerning this. Some (Calvin, Grotius, 
Eosenmiiller, Alford) suppose that these words were spoken 
in earnest ; but if so, we would have expected an account of 
the apostle's continuance and further labours in Athens : 
instead of this, we are informed that he soon afterwards 
departed. The words contain merely a polite dismissal, 
although those who spoke them might for the time be im- 
pressed, perhaps feeling that there was some truth in what 
Paul said. 

Ver. 33. Ovtcos — thus : with such a result. Paul seems 
to have had less success in Athens than in any other city ; 
whereas we might have supposed that the superior education 
of its inhabitants would have prepared them for the recep- 
tion of the gospel. The pride of philosophy was here the 
great obstacle to the success of the gospel. But " though 
the immediate effect of the apostle's sermon was not great, 
the Parthenon in time became a Christian church. Athens 
ceased to be KaTelB(oko<; 7roXfc? ; and the repugnance of the 
Greeks to images became so great, as to be a principal cause 


of the schism between the churches of the East and West in 
the eighth century." 1 

Ver. 34. Aiovvaio? 6 ' 'ApeoTrcvyecTr)? — Dionysius the Areo- 
pagite. The members of the court of the Areopagus were 
chosen from among the best and noblest families in Athens, 
and therefore Dionysius must have been a man of distinction. 
Nothing certain is known about him. According to the 
statement of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, he became bishop 
of Athens (Euseb. Hist, Eccl. iv. 23), where, according to 
another tradition, he suffered martyrdom (Niceph. iii. 11). 
The mystical writings ascribed to him are beyond question 
spurious. KaX yvvrj ovofiari, A&tiapis — and a woman named 
Damaris. Probably a woman of distinction in Athens. 
Chrysostom supposes that she was the wife of Dionysius, but 
only on the ground that she is named along with him. 
Grotius* conjectures that her proper name was Ad/j,a\i<;, a 
common female name among the Greeks. The names differ 
only in one letter ; and the interchange of the letters p and 
X was not without example. The supposition, however, is 
entirely arbitrary. 

Such is the memorable speech of Paul at Athens. It is 
a specimen of eloquence at once dignified and sublime. 
The prudence which he displays in not needlessly offend- 
ing his auditors, the art he shows in the application of the 
inscription to an unknown god, the lofty views he expresses 
of the nature of God, the great principle of the unity of the 
human race which he advances in opposition to polytheism, 
are all proofs of the eloquence and wisdom of the apostle. 
He did not denounce the philosophy of his opponents ; he 
endeavoured calmly to convince them, not harshly to censure 
them; he does not so much confute error as establish truth. 
j "The address of Paul before this assembly," observes Neander, 
f l is a living proof of his apostolic wisdom and eloquence : we 
perceive here how the apostle, according to his own expres- 
sion, could become a Gentile to the Gentiles, to win the 
Gentiles to the gospel." On the other hand, Zeller supposes 
that the whole discourse is only a counterpart to the defence 
1 Humphry on the Acts, p. 139. 


of Stephen in Jerusalem, and differs chiefly in the tragical 
end of Stephen, and the free dismissal of Paul. 1 But the 
resemblance between these discourses is certainly very slight, 
and hardly traceable. Indeed, there is rather a contrast; 
Stephen's speech being an apology, and Paul's a simple ad- 
dress. The ideas are purely Pauline, and bear the internal 
impress of Paul's mind. The speech is incomplete : it was 
interrupted before it was finished ; but there is no reason to 
consider that it is a meagre abridgment of what Paul said, 
though in the opinion of some it is more fully given at the 
beginning than at the conclusion. If it be inquired how 
Luke obtained it, seeing he was certainly not present, nor 
indeed any other Christian, for Paul was alone at Athens, 
the reply is obvious : Paul himself communicated it ; and in 
this portion of the Acts we have, it may be, a document 
composed by the apostle himself. ♦ 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte^ p. 26L 


JOURNEY.— Acts xviii. 1-22. 

1 And after these things, having departed from Athens, he came to 
Corinth ; 2 And finding a certain Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, 
lately come from Italy, and his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had 
commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome, he came to them. 
3 And because he was of the same trade, he abode with them, and 
wrought : for by trade they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in 
the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. 

5 And when Silas and Timotheus came from Macedonia, Paul was 
engrossed with the word, testifying to the Jews Jesus as the Christ. 

6 And when they opposed, and blasphemed, he shook his garments, 
and said to them, Your blood be upon your own heads ; I, pure, shall 
henceforth go to the Gentiles. 7 And having departed thence, he 
came into the house of one named Justus, a worshipper of God, whose 
house adjoined the synagogue. 8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the 
synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house : and many of the 
Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said 
to Paul in the night by a vision, Fear not, but speak, and be not 
silent : 10 Because I am with thee, and no one shall set on thee to 
hurt thee ; because I have much people in this city. 11 And he con- 
tinued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among 
them. 12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one 
accord assaulted Paul, and brought him to the judgment- seat, 13 Say- 
ing, This person persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. 
14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the 
Jews, If it were a wrong or a vile crime, ye Jews, I should then 
reasonably bear with you : 15 But if it be questions concerning a word 
and names, and your law, look ye to it yourselves ; I will be no judge 
of such matters. 16 And he drove them from the judgment-seat. 
17 Then all seized on Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and 
beat him before the judgment-seat : and Gallio cared for none of these 

18 And Paul remained there yet a considerable time; and having 



taken leave of the brethren, he sailed to Syria, and -with him Priscilla 
and Aquila, having shaved his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. 
19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there ; but he himself 
entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 But when 
they desired him to remain longer time with them, he consented not : 
21 But taking leave of them, and saying, I will return to you, if God 
will, he sailed from Ephesus. 22 And when he had landed at Csesarea, 
and gone up and saluted the church, he came down to Antioch. 


Ver. 1. r O Ilavkos is found in A, E, but omitted in B, 
D, x : it is rejected by Tischendorf and Lachmann, being 
inserted as the commencement of a church lesson. Yer. 5. 
The reading tg5 TrvevfjuaTi is found in only one uncial MS. (H), 
whereas A, B, D, E, G, K read tgj X070), which is adopted 
by all the recent critics. Ver. 7. The reading Titov, or 
Titlov 'Iovarovj is found in B, D (corrected), E, K, and the 
Vulgate; whereas A, D (original), G, H read simply 
'Iovarov, which is the reading adopted by Tischendorf. 
Yer. 17. After Travres the textus receptus has oVE\\7]ve^ 
found in D, E : the words are wanting in A, B, K, and are 
rejected by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Meyer. Yer. 19. 
The plural KaT^vrrjaav, found in A, B, E, K, is by recent 
critics preferred to the singular, found in G, H. Yer. 21. 
The sentence, Bel fxe iravTtos tt)v kopTqv rr\v ip^ofievrjv Troirjaat, 
efc 'lepoaokvfia (textus receptus), is found in D, G, H, but 
is omitted in A, B, E, K : it is rejected by Tischendorf and 
Lachmann, but retained by Meyer and Alford. 


Yer. 1. *H\6ev eh KopivOov — He came to Corinth. Paul, 
in going from Athens to Corinth, came in contact with a 
very different society. Athens was the great seat of philo- 
sophy ; Corinth was celebrated for its commerce and luxury. 
Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, was the tutelar divinity of 
the one ; Yenus, the goddess of love, was the chief object of 
the worship of the other. And yet Paul was more successful 


in sensual Corinth than in intellectual Athens. In Hid urbe, 
liter w et philosophia ; in hac, mercatura maxime florebat. hide 
utriusque urbis habitus ad evangelium pulcre inter se conferri 
possit. MuUo majorem fructum Corinthi Paulus habuit, quam 
Athenis (Bengel). Corinth, originally called Ephyra, was 
situated on the isthmus which connects the Peloponnesus 
with the rest of Greece, and separates the iEgean from the 
Ionian Sea. In a military point of view it was of great im- 
portance, as it commanded the entrance into the peninsula, 
and hence was called by Xenophon " the gate of the Pelo- 
ponnesus." It was also most favourably situated for the 
commerce both of the East and the West. It had two 
ports ; of which the eastern, Cenchrak, on the iEgean Sea 
toward Asia, was about eight miles distant ; and the western, 
Lechseum, on the Ionian Sea toward Italy, was about a mile 
and a half from the city (Strabo, viii. 6. 20). In its imme- 
diate neighbourhood was the citadel, or Acrocorinthus, a hill 
rising to the height of 2000 feet, and so difficult of ascent 
that it was almost impregnable. It was to Corinth what the 
Acropolis was to Athens. The Greek town of Corinth was 
completely destroyed by the Romans under Lucius Mum- 
mius, B.C. 146, about the same time that Carthage was 
destroyed. After lying in ruins about a hundred years, 
Corinth was rebuilt by Julius Caesar, and converted into a 
Roman colony (Strabo, viii. 6. 23). Its proper name was 
Colonia Laus Julia Corinthus. 1 Under the Romans it 
speedily recovered its former prosperity : it became a great 
commercial city, and was constituted the capital of the pro- 
vince of Achaia. It was celebrated for its wealth and 
magnificence, as well as for the refinement of its inhabitants. 
Cicero calls it "the light of all Greece" (totius Gracia 
lumen) , and Florus " the capital of Achaia, and the glory of 
Greece" (Aehaias caput Grcecias decus). It was, however, 
infamous for its licentiousness: Venus, whose temple was 
on the Acrocorinthus, was its favourite goddess; and im- 
purity prevailed to such an extent, that /copivOcd&w, u to live 
like a Corinthian," was equivalent to scortari, Dio Chry- 
1 See EckheVs Doctrina numorum veterum, voL ii. p. 237. 


sostom terms it a city " the most licentious of all that are or 
have been." Corinth is now a miserable village, still bearing 
its ancient name. 1 

Ver. 2. 'A/cvXav, Hovtikov tg3 yevei, — Aquila, bom in Pontus, 
Some suppose that Hovtikov tS yevei is an error of the 
transcriber, and that the name of Aquila was Pontius. A 
Pontius Aquila is mentioned by Suetonius as an opponent 
of Julius Caesar (Cses. 78) ; and it has been supposed that 
the Aquila of the Acts may have been one of his freemen. 
This, however, is a mere conjecture, which rests on no 
foundation, and is unsupported by the reading of any MS. 2 
It has been disputed whether Aquila and Priscilla were 
already Christians when Paul met with them. Some (Meyer, 
De Wette, Lechler, Alford) consider that they were not at 
that time Christians. The reasons for this supposition are : 
that Aquila is called only a Jew, and not a disciple or a 
believer; that he is classed among the Jews who were 
expelled from Rome; and that Paul joined him, not on 
account of their common Christianity, but on account of 
their common trade. Others (Kuinoel, Neander, Wieseler, 
Olshausen, Lange, Ewald), with greater probability, suppose 
that they were already disciples. There is no mention of 
their conversion ; and Paul's companionship affords a pre- 
sumption in favour of their Christianity. Only among 
Christians could the apostle feel himself at home. They 
are frequently noticed in Paul's epistles: they were with 
him at Ephesus when he wrote the first Epistle to the 
Corinthians (1 Cor. xvi. 19); and we find them again at 
Rome when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. xvi. 
3, 4). On some occasion they rendered Paul very important 
service ; for in the Epistle to the Romans he speaks of them 
as having for his life laid down their own necks. Pontus, 
where Aquila was born, was situated along the shores of the 
Black Sea. Christianity was early introduced into it, pro- 

1 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, ch. xii. ; Lange's apostolisches 
Zeitalter, pp. 233, 234 ; Kuinoel's Novi Testamenti Libri Historici, p. 
275 ; Kenan's Saint Paul, pp. 212-214. 

2 Lange's Bibelwerk : ApostelgescMchte. Von Lechler, p. 299. 


bably by some Jews, natives of Pontus, who were converted 
on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 9). It is a singular coin- 
cidence that the Aquila who translated the Old Testament 
into Greek was also a native of Pontus. 

A lcl to BLarera^evac KXavBcov ^copl^eadai, irdvra^ tov$ 
'IovSalovs airo t?}? 'Poofirj^ — because Claudius had commanded 
all Jews to depart from Home. The Jews were very numerous 
at Rome, and inhabited a separate district of the town, on the 
banks of the Tiber. They were often very troublesome, and 
were several times expelled from Rome. Suetonius expressly 
informs us that they were banished by the Emperor Claudius. 
His words are remarkable : Judoeos impulsore Chresto assidue 
tumultuantes Roma expulit — u He banished the Jews from 
Rome, who were continually making disturbances at the 
instigation of Chrestus" (Claudius, 25). Meyer supposes 
Chrestus to have been some unknown Jewish demagogue at 
Rome, whose treasonable attempts led to this decree of expul- 
sion. But it is more probable that Chrestus is a mistake for 
Christus, especially as, according to Tertullian, the word was 
often thus wrongly pronounced (Apol. 3). Some (Kuincel, 
Gieseler) accordingly suppose that the cause of the disturb- 
ance was a tumult raised by the Jews against the Christians, 
as we find from the Acts was their frequent practice, and 
that Claudius, without examining which party was in the 
wrong, banished them all from Rome. The most probable 
opinion is, that the Jews were excited to rebellion by the 
expectation of the Messiah, perhaps by a false Christ, as was 
frequently the case in Judea. The Jewish expectation of 
the Messiah was known to the Romans, and is mentioned 
both by Tacitus and Suetonius. The statement of Suetonius 
concerning the expulsion of the Jews is, however, apparently 
at variance with another statement of Dio Cassius, who tells 
us that Claudius was afraid to expel so vast a multitude, and 
only prohibited their assemblies (Dio Cassius, lx. 6). But it 
is probable that Dio Cassius refers to a decree which pre- 
ceded the edict of expulsion, and may have been the cause of 
the disturbances among the Jews. At all events, the fact of 
the expulsion mentioned by Luke is corroborated by the 


testimony of Suetonius. It would appear that this edict of 
Claudius was soon reversed, or at least ceased to be acted 
upon ; for when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans, 
Aquila and Priscilla had returned to Rome; and when he 
himself came to Rome, he found numerous Jews. Some 
suppose that the edict was reversed when Nero ascended the 
imperial throne. 

Ver. 3. ^Haav yap (tktjvottoloI rf} re^vy — for they were tent- 
makers by trade. It was the custom of the Jews, even of the 
richest families among them, to train up their children to 
some useful trade. The reasons of this were probably the 
esteem which the Jews had for trade, and their prudence in 
providing against the changes of fortune. " He," says Rabbi 
J udah, " that teaches not his son a trade, does the same as if 
he taught him to be a thief." The word cnc^voiroios has been 
variously translated. Luther renders it Teppichmacher, a 
carpet manufacturer. Michaelis thinks that Paul and Aquila 
were makers of instruments. De Dieu thinks the word si<j- 
nifies a worker in leather, a saddler, because tents were in 
general made of leather. Hug supposes that Paul was a 
maker of tent-cloth ; and he adverts to the fact that in Cilicia, 
Paul's native country, there was a manufactory of tent-cloth 
from the hair of the Cilician goats, and which was called 
KikUia (Cilician cloth). 1 The word literally signifies a tent- 
maker, and probably refers to the manufactory of tent-cloth, 
a trade which Paul may have learned in his native country ; 
or to the making of the cloth into tents. This passage is 
peculiarly interesting, as it informs us of the trade by which 
Paul supported himself and his companions when he preached 
the gospel. " Paul," observes St. Chrysostom, "after working 
miracles, stood in his workshop at Corinth, and stitched 
hides of leather together with his hands; and the angels 
regarded him with love, and the devils with fear." We learn 
that Paul supported himself by his trade at Thessalonica 
(1 Thess. ii. 9 ; 2 Thess. hi. 8) and Ephesus (Acts xx. 34), 
as well as at Corinth (1 Cor. iv. 12). 

1 For other opinions, see KuinceFs Libri Historic^ vol. iii. p. 276, and 
Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 365. 


Ver. 5. 2l\a$ real 6 TifAoOeos — Silas and Timotheus. Paul 
had left Silas and Timothy at Berea, with directions to follow 
him to Athens. Timothy had, however, been sent by Paul 
to Thessalonica to confirm the church there ; and in conse- 
quence of this delay, they did not rejoin the apostle until he 
came to Corinth, ^wel^ero to3 \6y(p 6 Havkos — Paul was 
engrossed with the word. There is a variety in the reading. 
(See Critical Note.) In the textus receptus it is crvvdyerro 
T(p IIvevfiaTL — was pressed by the Spirit ; that is, was power- 
fully excited by the Holy Spirit. The reading tw Xoyw, 
however, is to be preferred. 'Svve^co signifies to hold 
together, to press together, to constrain, to urge. Such is 
the evident meaning of the word in 2 Cor. v. 14, u The love 
of Christ constrains (avvi^ei) us." Hence in the passive it 
signifies to be constrained, to be pressed, to be much occupied 
— Paid was engrossed by the word. So Kuinoel, Olshausen, 
De Wette, and Meyer. The meaning is not, that when Silas 
and Timothy came they found Paul thus occupied ; but that 
their arrival imparted a new impulse to him : he felt that he 
was no longer alone, that he had fellow-workers in the great 
cause, and therefore he devoted himself to it with greater 
earnestness. He himself tells us, that when he first came to 
Corinth he was with them " in weakness and in fear, and in 
much trembling" (1 Cor. ii. 3) ; and we can easily conceive 
how the arrival of such associates as Silas and Timothy must 
have encouraged him. 

Ver. 6. ' 'EfCTivaI;afjLevos tcl Ifiaria — shaking his garments, 
A symbol of similar import with shaking off the dust from 
the feet (Acts xiii. 51), denoting his entire separation from 
them. To alfjua vfiwv eirl rrjv K€(f>aXr)v vfiwv — your blood be 
upon your heads ; not an imprecation, but a statement of 
fact, that by their resistance they brought destruction upon 
themselves. The expression has no reference to the custom 
of laying the hand on the head of the sacrifice (Eisner), or of 
witnesses laying their hands on the head of the accused (Pis- 
cator) ; but is a proverbial expression, denoting the destruc- 
tion which one brings upon himself, the head being here 
used for the person. The destruction here alluded to is the 


eternal destruction which will come upon all who reject the 
gospel. 1 Kadapb? i<yco — I pure ; that is, I with a pure con- 
science. There is a probable reference to Ezek. xxxiii. 1-9. 
Paul, in warning the Jews in Corinth of their danger, had 
delivered his own soul — their blood was upon their own 

Ver. 7. Kal tieTafias eiceWev — and having departed thence : 
that is, from the synagogue, the nearest and most natural 
antecedent ; not from the house of Aquila (Heinrichs, Alford). 
'Iovgtov — Justus, There is a variety in the reading here. 
(See Critical Note.) Some MSS. read, Titus Justus. If this 
be the correct reading, then Titus is here mentioned, who, 
as we otherwise learn, was with the apostle in some part of 
his missionary journeys (Gal. ii. 1). 

Ver. 8. Kplairos Be 6 ap%i(rvva<yco<yo<; hriGTevcrev — But 
Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed. Probably 
Paul's separation from the synagogue brought matters to 
a crisis, so that many waverers became avowed disciples. 
Crispus was one of those who in Corinth received the ordi- 
nance of baptism at the hands of the apostle. u I thank 
God," says he, " that I baptized none of you but Crispus 
and Gaius " (1 Cor. i. 14). 

Vers. 9, 10. AC opdfiaTos ev vvktI — by a vision at night. 
(See note to Acts xvi. 9.) At Troas, a man of Macedonia 
appeared to Paul in a vision at night, entreating him to come 
over to Macedonia and help them ; but here we learn that 
this call to Macedonia was not to be restricted to that par- 
ticular country, but was intended to embrace the adjoining 
countries. Jesus Himself appears in a vision, and enjoins 
Paul to remain for some time in Corinth. Alotl Xao9 icrrl fiot 
7ro\v<; — because I have much people. Aao<s, the word employed 
for Israel, the people of God, in contrast to eOvrj. This does 
not include those who were already converted, but refers 
to those who should be converted by the preaching of the 
apostle. Even in this wicked and abandoned city of Corinth, 
Christ had a people : the gospel met with great success. 
Perhaps Paul may have been somewhat discouraged with his 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 366. 


comparative want of success at Athens ; and hence the en- 
couragement now given to him was opportune and needful. 

Ver. 11. 'Efcddio-ev re eviavrov koX /irjva? If — and he con- 
tinued a year and six months. Some (Riickert, Meyer, De 
Wette) suppose that this denotes only his residence in Corinth 
until the disturbance occasioned by the Jews arose. They 
think that, according to the Lord's promise, Paul continued 
in quiet for a year and a half, but that afterwards dis- 
turbances arose. So that to denote the whole period of his 
residence, the time which Paul remained after the tumult 
must be added to the year and a half. But the fruitless 
attempt of the Jews against Paul, the complete failure of 
the assault which they made upon him, was a remarkable 
fulfilment of Christ's promise to him, "that no one would 
attack him to hurt him." Others ( Wieseler, Anger, Lechler, 
Alford) suppose that the whole period of Paul's residence in 
Corinth is mentioned, both the period before and the many 
days which he remained after the tumult. u This opinion," 
observes Wieseler, u appears to me to be undoubtedly correct, 
for several reasons. The particle re connects this verse in 
the closest manner with the preceding : 6 The Lord said, 
Fear not, but speak, and be not silent ; and so he con- 
tinued a year and six months teaching among them the word 
of God.' The main thought of the words which the Lord 
spoke to Paul in the vision is undoubtedly, i Speak in this 
city, and be not silent ; ' and accordingly the period of time 
during which the apostle obeys this command of Christ must 
refer to the whole time in which he spoke at Corinth, and 
therefore must include the time until his departure. The 
same conclusion follows from the general expression itcddio-e, 
he continued in Corinth. Meyer, indeed, understands the 
expression in the sense of 4 he remained in quiet ; ' but I can- 
not see how the word can have that meaning." l AcBdaKcov 
iv avroh tov \6<yov rov Seov — teaching among them the word 
of God. Corinth being a commercial and maritime city, 
visited by strangers from all parts, Paul had an opportunity 
of preaching the gospel to the natives of many countries. 
1 Wieseler's Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 46. 


It was during his long residence in Corinth that he wrote 
the two Epistles to the Thessalonians. 

Ver. 12. raWidovo? — Gallio. Gallio belonged to an 
illustrious family. His father was the rhetorician Marcus 
Anngeus Seneca, and his brothers were Lucius Annaeus 
Seneca, the celebrated philosopher and tutor of Nero, and 
Anngeus Mela, the father of the poet Lucan. His original 
name was Marcus Annaeus Novatus ; but being adopted by 
the rhetorician Lucius Junius Gallio, he took the name of 
Junius Annaeus Gallio. Tacitus alludes to him several 
times in his Annals : once when he was rebuked by Tiberius, 
whom he attempted to flatter (Ann. vi. 3) ; and another 
time on the occasion of the death of his more distinguished 
brother Seneca, when he showed some degree of cowardice, 
"being terrified at the death of his brother, and earnestly 
praying that his life might be spared" {Ann. xv. 73). Seneca 
speaks of him in the highest terms as a man of a most 
amiable disposition, and greatly beloved by all : Gallionem 
fratrem meum, quern nemo non parum amat, etiam qui amare 
plus non potest — "My brother Gallio, whom every one 
loves too little, even he who loves him to the utmost." And 
again : Nemo enim mortalium mihi tarn dulcis est, quam hie 
omnibus — " No one is so delightful to me, as he is to all " 
(Nat Ques. iv.). Statius calls him dulcis Gallio (Silv. ii. 
7. 32). His fate is doubtful : according to one account, he 
committed suicide (Euseb.) ; according to another, he was 
put to death by Nero (Dio Cassius), whereas according to 
Tacitus he seems to have been spared. 

'Avdv7raT€vovTo<; t?5? 'Ayatwt — being proconsid of Achaia. 
The province of Achaia was almost of the same extent with 
the modern kingdom of Greece: it included the Peloponnesus 
and the rest of Greece proper ; whereas Macedonia, Epirus, 
Thessaly, and part of Illyria formed the province of Mace- 
donia. These two provinces were granted by Augustus to 
the senate ; but Tacitus informs us that Tiberius, at the 
entreaty of the provinces themselves, converted them into 
imperial provinces, so that they would then be governed not 
by proconsuls, but by propraetors (Ann. i. 76). Suetonius, 

PAUL AT CORINTH.— XVIII. 13-15. 175 

however, tells us that u Claudius gave up to the senate the 
provinces of Achaia and Macedonia, which Tiberius had 
transferred to his own administration " (Claud, xxv.). And 
it was toward the latter end of the reign of Claudius that 
Paul was at Corinth. This is another remarkable confirma- 
tion of the extreme accuracy of Luke. As Tholuck well 
remarks, if only the passage of Tacitus were extant, and the 
passage of Suetonius wanting, it might have been supposed 
that Luke had committed a mistake, whereas his accuracy 
is now undoubted. 1 We have no precise information from 
other authorities that Gallio was the proconsul of Achaia ; 
but in one of Seneca's epistles mention is made of his being 
forced to leave Achaia on account of his health. u The say- 
ing of Gallio occurred to me, who, when he was taken ill of 
a fever in Achaia, immediately embarked, saying it was the 
disorder not of the body, but of the place" (Epist. 104). 

KareireaTrjaav tg3 IIavXa> — assaulted Paul. The verb 
Kar€<pL(TTrjfiL only occurs here in the New Testament ; it is 
not found in the Septuagint. Probably the change of 
government on the arrival of Gallio encouraged the unbe- 
lieving Jews to make this assault on Paul. 

Ver. ld/'Ornrapa tovvo^ov^ etc. — This person persuadeth 
men to worship God contrary to the law. The law here 
spoken of is not so much the Roman as the Jewish law. 
It is evident, from the answer of Gallio, that the accusers 
mentioned wherein Paul had violated the law. The Romans 
had granted the Jews full liberty to practise their own 
religion ; and therefore Paul's accusers hoped that Gallio 
would interfere and punish him for teaching doctrines 
which they asserted were in opposition to the law of Moses. 
According to their views, it was the duty of the Roman 
government to prevent any attempt to pervert or overturn 
their religion. 

Vers. 14, 15. MeKkovTos Be rod TIavXov avolyeiv to aTopa 

— but when Paid was about to open his mouth. Gallio does 

not permit Paul to reply, — not from any disrespect to the 

apostle, but because he did not think it necessary for him to 

1 Tholuck's Glaubwiirdigkeit, p. 173. 


enter upon his defence. He was accused of no crime which 
came under the cognizance of the Roman law. Although 
the Romans protected the Jews in the performance of their 
religion, yet it belonged to the Jews themselves to regulate 
their own affairs. 'ABUnfJLa — a wrong; an act of injustice, 
an infringement of private rights, which might be the ground 
of a civil action. t VaBiovpyn\ia irovnpov — a wicked crime, 
which might be the ground of a criminal action. Kara 
\6yov — according to reason — reasonably. u If it were either 
of these, I should have given you a patient hearing." El Be 
ty)Tr}jjLaTa eari irepl \6yov, etc. — but if it is a question con- 
cerning a word, and names, and your law. The accusers had 
doubtless mentioned the names of the Messiah, and of Jesus 
of Nazareth ; for Paul's assertion that Jesus was the Messiah 
was the main cause of the opposition of the Jews. No/nov 
rod tca& vfAas — your law. The special law of the Jews, and 
not the law of the Romans. Kara, with the accusative of 
the personal pronoun, is to be considered as a circumlocution 
for the possessive pronoun. 1 "Oyjreade avroi — look ye to it 
yourselves ; i.e. decide upon it according to your own laws. 
KpiTrjs iyoo tovtcov ov /SovXofUU eivai — / will be no judge 
of such matters. Gallio here acted the part of a wise and 
equitable judge. Had the charge referred to an act of dis- 
honesty or to a criminal action, he would have examined into 
it ; but as it referred merely to a question of the Jewish law, 
he declined to interfere, as it did not fall under his jurisdic- 
tion. This conduct entirely agrees with the character of 
Gallio given by his brother Seneca — that of an amiable and 
upright man. 

Ver. 16. Kal airrjKaaev avTOvs airo rov firj/jLaros — And he 
drove them from the tribunal. ^ Airrjkaa-ev implies that some 
force had to be employed to expel the Jews from the court. 

Yer. 17. 'EiriXa^ofievoi Be iravres ^cocrdevnv rov apyi- 
arvvdycoyov — And all seized on Sosthenes, the ruler of the 
synagogue. This Sosthenes was evidently the leader of 
the Jewish party opposed to Paul. He was the ruler of 
the synagogue, having, as some suppose, succeeded Crispus, 
1 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 167. 


who was expelled when he became a Christian ; or, as others 
think, being along with Crispus among the chief rulers ; or, 
according to Grotius, the chief ruler of another synagogue, 
there being probably several in the large commercial city of 
Corinth. There is no reason for identifying him with the 
Sosthenes who is united with Paul in the salutation of the 
first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. i. 1). But who are 
the iravre? who beat Sosthenes before the judgment-seat ? 
The reading of the MSS. here varies. Some mss. read ol 
'IovSaloi, the Jews, — a gloss arising probably from mistaking 
this Sosthenes with the person mentioned in 1 Cor. i. 1, and 
supposing that he was a Christian. But it is very improbable 
that, after judgment had been given against the Jews, they 
would have been permitted to beat one of their opponents. 
Other mss. read ol ''EWrjves, the Greeks. This also is a 
gloss, but approaches nearer the truth, ndvre? are those 
round the tribunal — the officers of the governor. Enraged 
at the pertinacity of the Jews, they took their leader and 
beat him. Calvin strangely imagines that Sosthenes was 
one of Paul's companions whom the Greeks beat, although 
the Jews were the acknowledged authors of the tumult, and 
the defeated party. 1 

Kal ovBev tovtcov tg> TaXkUovt epekev — And Gallio cared 
for none of these things. This is usually charged upon Gallio 
as a matter of reproach, as if he were indifferent to religion ; 
and hence a Gallio is often used to denote an indifferent 
person : we speak of religious Gallios and political Gallios. 
But this charge arises from a complete misunderstanding of 
the passage. That Gallio was indifferent to religious matters 
is possible, but this is not the fact which is here stated. All 
that is asserted is that Gallio did not choose to interfere. 
He was wrong in not interfering ; he should have prevented 
this assault on Sosthenes : he should have kept the peace ; 
but no doubt he was incensed at the intolerance and pertinacity 
of the Jews. Perhaps also the beating took place when the 
Jews were forcibly driven from the judgment-seat. "The 
object of this remark," observes Meyer, "is to represent 
1 Calvin, in loco. 



the complete failure of the attempt of the Jews. So little 
did the charge against Paul prosper, that the accusers were 
themselves beaten without the interference of the judge, 
who by this indifference declared himself on the side of the 
accused." x 

Ver. 18. 'E^kifkeu eh ttjv Xvpiav — he sailed to Syria, 
Paul, after the tumult, remained for a considerable time 
longer (rjfiepa? l/cavas;) in Corinth, and afterwards set sail 
for Antioch, in Syria, as his ultimate destination. As there 
is no mention of Silas and Timothy accompanying him, it is 
probable that he left them to minister to the church at 

Keipdfievos ttjv Ke^aiXrjv — having shaved the head. It is 
disputed whether this shaving of the head refers to Aquila 
or Paul. Some (Castalio, Grotius, Heinrichs, Kuincel, 
Schneckenburger, Meyer, Wieseler, and Howson) suppose 
that it was Aquila who shaved his head. The reasons of 
this supposition are because Aquila is last named, and that 
in a noticeable manner, after his wife Priscilla : a position 
supposed to be designedly chosen by Luke for the purpose 
of making the reference of /ceipdfJLevos to Aquila more evi- 
dent. Besides, it is argued that it is contrary to Paul's 
character to suppose that he was still so bound to Judaism 
as voluntarily, and without any purpose, to submit to the 
ceremony of shaving his head. When afterwards in Jeru- 
salem, he took upon himself the vow of the Nazarites, he 
regarded it as a matter of indifference, and did so for a 
particular purpose. Nothing, however, can be inferred 
from Priscilla being named before Aquila, as they are else- 
where thrice named in the same order (Rom. xvi. 3 ; 1 Cor. 
xvi. 9 ; 2 Tim. iv. 19). Besides, Paul is the important 
person, and Aquila and Priscilla are entirely subordinate, 
so that it is more natural to refer the shaving of the head 
to Paul. That Aquila shaved his head cannot possibly be 
a matter of any moment, and would not have been noticed 
by the historian. 

Accordingly the other opinion, adopted by Augustine, 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 370. 


Luther, Beza, Calvin, Bengel, De Wette, Baumgarten, 
Olshausen, Neander, kange, Lechler, ZelJer, Hackett, 
Alford, Wordsworth, referring the shaving of the head to 
Paul, is the more correct. Meyer, indeed, objects that this 
opinion is at variance with Paul's character, and incon- 
sistent with his principles concerning the abrogation of the 
Jewish law. But although Paul held that the Jewish law 
was not binding on the Gentile Christians, and not essential 
to the Jewish Christians, yet he was far from forbidding the 
Jewish Christians to observe it. He himself, as a Jew, no 
doubt would keep the law in many particulars, otherwise 
his influence among the Jews would have been gone : " To 
the Jews he became as a Jew, that he might gain the Jews." 
He did not renounce the ceremonies of Judaism ; but, on 
the contrary, James could testify that he walked orderly, 
and kept the law (Acts xxi. 24). The objection, then, arises 
from a misconception of Paul's character and conduct. 

'Ev Keyxpecus — in Cenchrcea. Cenchraea was the eastern 
harbour of Corinth, on the JEgean Sea, the emporium of its 
trade with the East. u The port of Cenchraea," observes 
Strabo, u was about seventy stadia from the city : it served 
for the commerce of Asia ; whereas the other port Lechaeum 
served for the commerce of Italy " (Strabo, viii. 6. 22). There 
was a church in Cenchraea which was probably planted at 
this time by the apostle (Rom. xvi. 1). It is now known 
by the modern name Kikries. Paul went from Corinth to 
Cenchraea for the purpose of taking his passage in some 
vessel bound for Ephesus. 

El%€v yap zvyr)v — for lie had a vow. We are not informed 
what was the precise nature of this vow. Most critics sup- 
pose that it was the vow of the Nazarites, called by Philo 
the great vow (ev^h fieyakrf), according to which a man 
abstained from shaving his head. It was either taken for life, 
as in the case of Samson, or for a definite period : if for a 
period, the Nazarite at its termination shaved his hair. Such 
a vow was frequently taken by the Jews at this time. We 
have an example of it in the case of the four men who had 
a vow on them, whom Paul accompanied into the temple to 


be at charges with them, that they might shave their heads 
(Acts xxi. 23, 24). Josephus observes, that it was usual 
with those that had been either afflicted with a distemper or 
with any other distress to make vows ; to abstain from wine 
for thirty days before they offered their sacrifices, and to 
shave their heads {Bell. Jud. ii. 15. 1). It does not, how- 
ever, appear that this vow of Paul was precisely similar to 
that of the Nazarites, because the loosening of the vow could 
only be effected in the tabernacle or temple, and there is no 
account of any relaxation of the law for the sake of foreign 
Jews (Num. vi. 1-21). Some suppose that Paul's vow had 
been broken by some ceremonial impurity, as contact with a 
dead body, or intercourse with the Gentiles ; and that the 
shaving of his head represented the renewal of his vow. 
But not to insist that the text refers to the termination of 
his vow, such a renewal could only be made in the temple. 
Others accordingly (Salmasius, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Meyer) 
suppose that it was a private vow ; that Paul made a vow, on 
the occasion of some remarkable deliverance, that he would 
not shave his head for a certain period. Permitting the hair 
to grow was with the Nazarites a sign of consecration to God ; 
and hence a vow to do so was a similar symbol. The opinion 
of Neander seems to be the most correct, that although this 
vow was not precisely the same as the Nazarite vow, yet it 
was a modification of it, practised by those Jews who were 
abroad, and who were necessarily prevented from strictly 
observing the conditions of the law. 1 This vow was probably 
an expression of gratitude on the part of the apostle for the 
divine goodness in preserving him from imminent danger 
during his long abode at Corinth. 

Ver. 19. KaTrjvT7)<rav 8e ek "Efaaov — and they came to 
Ephesus. Paul crossed the iEgean Sea from Corinth to 
Ephesus. Means of communication between these large cities 
would at this time be frequent. For a description of Ephesus, 
see note to Acts xix. 1. Kaicelvovs KareKiTrev avrov — and he 
left them there. Mentioned by anticipation that Paul left 
Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, when he journeyed to 
1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 207. 


Caesarea. The Syriac version inserts this clause at the be- 
ginning of ver. 21, which seems its most natural place : 
" And he left Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, and he him- 
self sailed and came to Caesarea." 

Ver. 21. The reading of this verse has been disputed. See 
Critical Note. Critics are nearly equally divided in their 
opinions. The clause, 8el fie iravTws ttjv ioprrju ttjv ep^ofjLevrjv 
Troirjo-ai eh 'lepoaokvfia — / must by all means keep the coming 
feast at Jerusalem — is rejected by Bengel, Griesbach, Kuincel, 
Neander, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Lechler ; but retained 
by Bornemann, Meyer, De Wette, Olshausen, Wieseler, 
Baumgarten, Wordsworth, and Alford. The preponderance 
of external evidence is slightly against it ; whereas the in- 
ternal evidence is in its favour : if not originally in the text, 
no good reason can be assigned for its insertion. In such a 
doubtful case, perhaps the preferable plan is to retain the 
reading. It has been disputed what feast is here meant. 
Wieseler supposes it to be the feast of Pentecost, whereas 
Ewald considers it to be the Passover. No argument in 
favour of the Passover can be drawn from the article tyjv 
eopTTjv (Ewald), as if it denoted the chief feast, namely the 
Passover, for the particular feast is further defined as the 
coming (rrjv ipxpfjbivrjv) feast. 

Ver. 22. Kal fcareXdcov et? Kaia-dpeiav — And having come- 
down to Casarea. Paul sailed from Ephesus to Caesarea, 
then the Roman capital of Judea. 'Avafias /cat a<nrao-dfievo$ 
rrjv eKKkqalav — and having gone up and saluted the church. 
Some (Calovius, Kuincel, Schott) refer these words to 
Caesarea, and suppose that they mean only that Paul went 
up from the shore to the city. Others (Calvin, Bengel, 
Olshausen, Neander, Meyer, De Wette, Wieseler, Lange, 
Lechler) refer them to Jerusalem ; that Paul went up from 
Caesarea to Jerusalem, and saluted the mother church. 
Certainly the mere going up from the shore to the city is too 
unimportant to be mentioned ; whereas avafias is a fitting 
term to represent a journey from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 
The following words also — /care/3?? efc ' AvTioyeiav, went 
down to Antioch — are inappropriate to represent a journey 


from Caesarea to Antioch, as Antioch is in a more elevated 
situation ; but appropriate to represent a journey from Jeru- 
salem to Antioch. If the words, " I must by all means keep 
this feast that cometh in Jerusalem" (ver. 21), be genuine, 
there can be little doubt that the reference is to a visit to 
Jerusalem. If, on the other hand, the words be spurious, 
still, although there is not the same certainty, the above 
reasons are of weight. This was Paul's fourth visit to Jeru- 
salem after his conversion, and is only alluded to in this 
passage. His stay was probably short and unimportant. 
Wieseler's opinion, that this was the visit mentioned in the 
Epistle to the Galatians, has been already stated and anim- 
adverted^ upon. Kare^t] et? ' } AvTio^eiav — went down, to 
Antioch, Paul thus returns to the city from which he had 
set out on this his second missionary journey. Neander, 
Penan, and others, suppose that it was during this visit of 
Paul to Antioch that the dispute arose between him and 
Peter concerning the relation of the Jewish law to the 
Gentiles. 1 

Thus terminated Paul's second missionary journey. It 
was much more extensive than the first. Besides visiting 
the churches formerly planted by him in Cilicia and Pisidia, 
he established churches in Phrygia and Galatia, and then 
crossed over to Europe and planted Christianity in at least 
four cities — Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth, — • 
perhaps also in Athens. The time spent in this journey has 
been variously estimated. In Corinth we are told that he 
resided for at least a year and a half ; and to this has to be 
added the time spent in preaching the gospel in the countries 
of Phrygia, Galatia, and Macedonia. Wieseler supposes 
two years and six months ; but this is too short a period to 
embrace all that Paul performed: in all probability, the 
journey occupied at least three years. If we suppose, as is 
most probable, that he left Antioch in the year a.d. 51, his 
return may be fixed in the year a.d. 54. 

1 See, on this subject, note to Acts xv. 35. 


ON APOLLOS.— Acts xviii. 23-28. 

23 And having spent some time, he departed, passing in succession 
through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. 

24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an 
eloquent man, being mighty in the Scriptures, came down to Ephesus. 
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord ; and being fervent 
in the Spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning 
Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak 
boldly in the synagogue; but when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, 
they took him to them, and explained to him the way of God more 
accurately. 27 And when he wished to go to Achaia, the brethren, ex- 
horting, wrote to the disciples to receive him ; who, when he was come, 
helped them much who had believed through grace : 28 For he power- 
fully confuted the Jews in public, showing by means of the Scriptures 
that Jesus was the Christ. 


Ver. 25. lie pi tov Kvpiov, the reading of the textus 
receptus, is found in Gr, H ; whereas irepl tov 'Itjo-ov is far 
better attested, being found in A, B, D, E, and K, and is 
adopted by modern critics. Ver. 26. '-4/evXa? /cal IIpio-KiXXa 
is found in D, G, and H, and is adopted by Teschendorf, 
Lechler, and Meyer : on the other hand, Ilplcr/aWa /cal 
'^4/cuXa? is the reading of A, B, E, and K, and is adopted by 
Lachmann and Alford. 


Ver. 23. Kal iroirjaa? yjpovov tlvcl i^rj\6ev — And having 
spent some time, he departed. This was the commencement 
of Paul's third missionary journey. It is probable that his 



residence at Antioch at this time was short, and that he left 
it in the year A.D. 54 or 55. Like his second missionary 
journey, this was at first a journey of visitation : he visited 
those churches in Galatia and Phrygia which he had already 
established. We are not informed who his companions were. 
Silas had ceased to accompany him : he had been left behind 
at Corinth, and had probably returned afterwards to Jeru- 
salem : the next time we read of him he is the associate of 
Peter (1 Pet. v. 12). Paul had several associates during his 
long residence at Ephesus : mention is made of Timothy 
and Erastus (Acts xix. 22), and of Gaius and Aristarchus 
(Acts xix. 29) ; but we do not know whether these joined him 
at Ephesus, or accompanied him from Antioch. Timothy, 
at least, must have joined him at Ephesus, if, as is probable, 
he had been left behind at Corinth (Acts xviii. 18). Titus, 
though not mentioned in the Acts (see, however, note to 
Acts xviii. 7), was also with the apostle during the early 
part of this journey, as he was sent by him from Ephesus to 
Corinth (2 Cor. xii. 18). ALepftofievos KaOe^ tt)v TaXa- 
tlkj]v x^pav teal $pvytav — passing in succession through the 
Galatian territory and Phrygia. The exact route of the 
apostle is uncertain. It is probable, though not mentioned 
in the Acts, that he passed through Cilicia and Lycaonia, 
visiting the churches in these countries, and went from them 
into Galatia. 1 Wieseler supposes that he did not revisit 
Lycaonia at this time, but journeyed northward through 
Cappadocia into Galatia, and thence into Phrygia. 2 The 
direction he now took was the reverse of his former journey : 
then u he went throughout Phrygia and the region of 
Galatia" (Acts xvi. 6) ; but now he goes first to Galatia, 
and then to Phrygia ; and the reason was, because he had 
proconsular Asia, adjoining to Phrygia, and especially 
Ephesus, in view. 

• Ver. 24. 'IovSaio? Be Tt§ 'AttoWcos ovojiarb—but a certain 
Jew, named Apollos. 'AttoXKgds, a contraction for 'AttoX- 

1 See a description of the route which Paul probably took in Kenan's 
Saint Paul, pp. 331-333, 

2 Wieseler's Chronologic des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 52. 

ON APOLLOS. — XVIII. 24. 185 

Xcovios, as the Codex Bezse reads. 1 We know nothing of 
his previous history beyond what is here stated : that he was 
born of Jewish parents, and a native of Alexandria. He 
laboured successfully in Corinth. Shortly afterwards he 
joined Paul at Ephesus ; for he was with him when he wrote 
the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xvi. 12). The 
last mention made of him is in one of the later epistles of 
Paul, written many years after this, when, writing to Titus, 
he says, " Bring Zenas the lawyer, and Apollos, on their 
journey diligently, that nothing be wanting to them" (Tit. 
iii. 13). According to an uncertain tradition, he became 
bishop of Caesarea. 

'A\eI;avBpevs tg5 <ykvei — an A lexandrian by birth. (For a 
description of Alexandria and its Jewish population, see note 
to Acts vi. 9). The alabarch or governor of the Jews at 
this time, in all probability, was Alexander the brother of 
the celebrated Philo (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 8. 11). Alexandria 
was famous for its schools, and especially for its eclectic 
philosophy, a mixture of Greek and Oriental systems. At 
this period there was a celebrated school of Jewish learning, 
the school of Philo, which in freedom from mere form, 
liberty of thought, and spirituality, was in advance of the 
age ; and which, though tainted with mysticism in its doc- 
trine of the Logos, approached nearest the truth of the 
gospel. In the third century, the Alexandrian philosophy, 
as taught by Clement and Origen, exercised on Christianity 
an important influence, both for good and evil. It is pro- 
bable that Apollos, in the Jewish school of Alexandria, 
enjoyed the benefit of a liberal education. 

'Avr)p \6yio$ — an eloquent man. Aoyios is used in three 
senses : 1. One skilled in history — historicus, Herod, ii. 3. 
2. Learned — doctus, Herod, ii. 77; Joseph. Bell. Jud. vi. 

5. 3. 3. Eloquent — eloquens, facundus, Joseph. Ant. xvii. 

6. 2. 2 Neander supposes that the meaning here is learned, 
because a learned literary education, and not eloquence, was 
the distinction of the Alexandrians ; and the disputation of 

1 The Sinaitic manuscript reads 'Afl-gTiAifc. 

2 Kuinoers Libri Historic^ vol. iii. p. 284. 


Apollos with the Jews at Corinth suits this meaning of 
\6yio$, taken from the Jewish standpoint. 1 But the usual 
meaning eloquent corresponds equally well with an Alex- 
andrian education, and is more appropriate to represent the 
effect of the labours of Apollos at Corinth. Besides, the 
learning of Apollos is afterwards alluded to by the words, 
u being mighty in the Scriptures." Hence most critics adopt 
the meaning eloquent. So De Wette, Meyer, Olshausen, 
Lange, Lechler. Avvaros wv ev rals <ypa<$al<; — being mighty 
in the Scriptures. He possessed an accurate knowledge of 
the Old Testament, and an ability to explain and apply it. 

Ver. 25. Ovtos rjv KaTrj^rjfiivo^ ttjv oBbv tov Kvptov — 
this man was instructed in the way of the Lord. u The way 
of the Lord" is a phrase which is elsewhere only used in 
relation to the ministry of the Baptist (Matt. iii. 3 ; Mark 
i. 3). By the Lord here is not meant God (Lechler), but 
Christ ; and hence " the way of the Lord" is the doctrine 
of Christ: the divine plan to redeem Israel through the 
Messiah. It would appear that Apollos recognised Jesus as 
the Messiah, and was acquainted with the chief incidents of 
His life ; for we read that " he spoke and taught accurately 
the things concerning Jesus." He did not merely regard 
Jesus as the forerunner of the Messiah (Baumgarten), but, 
like the Baptist, as the Messiah Himself. The amount of 
his knowledge seems to have been, that he had correct views 
of the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom, and be- 
lieved in Jesus. He appears, however, to have been ignorant 
of the effects of Christ's mission and sufferings, and of the 
outpouring of the Holy Ghost (Acts xix. 2) : he knew only, 
we are informed, the baptism of John. It is improbable 
that he was one of the Baptist's immediate disciples; but 
rather that he received his religious instructions from one 
of John's disciples who had come to Alexandria, and who 
was ignorant of the great events which followed the death 
of Christ. 

Kal ^ecov tg3 irvevfiaTt, — and being fervent in the Spirit. 
The same phrase is employed in Rom. xii. 11, tw irveviiart 
1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 229. 

ON ArOLLOS — XVI1L 25. 187 

feoz^Te?. On account of the article before TrvevfiaTi, some, 
and especially the Fathers, suppose that the Holy Spirit is 
meant. So Chrysostom and Theophylact. u Luke," ob- 
serves Calvin, u attributes zeal to the Spirit, because it is a 
rare and peculiar gift: neither do I so expound it, that 
Apollos was moved forward by the instinct of his own mind, 
but by the motion of the Holy Spirit." The objection to 
supposing the Holy Spirit to be here meant is that Apollos 
was only baptized to John's baptism, and was ignorant of 
the mission of the Holy Spirit. But this did not prevent him 
from being actuated by the Spirit ; and in all likelihood his 
ignorance referred not to the existence, but to the miraculous 
influences, of the Spirit. 

'jEXaXet Kai ehihaaicev a«p/./9&>9 tcl irepl tov 'Itjctov — He 
spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus. 
'E\d\ei — spoke in conversation. 'EScSaafcev — taught in 
public, in the synagogue. 'A/cpc^m must have the same 
meaning as its comparative a/cpifiicrTepov in ver. 26 : hence 
not diligently, as in our version, but accurately. He taught 
accurately, according to the measure of his knowledge. His 
knowledge, however, is limited by the statement which fol- 
lows : "knowing only the baptism of John." Ta irepl tov 
'Itjo-ov — the things concerning Jesus ; i.e. what he knew con- 
cerning the life of Jesus, recognising Him as the Messiah. 

'EirLGTaiievos /novov to ftcnrTio'pxL 'Icodvvov — knowing only 
the baptism of John. This does not mean that Apollos 
only believed in a Messiah to come, and was ignorant of the 
fact that He had already appeared in the person of Jesus 
of Nazareth ; for the Baptist had pointed out Jesus to his 
disciples as the Messiah. Nor does it even imply an absolute 
ignorance of Christian baptism, but merely that Apollos did 
not recognise the characteristic distinction between it and the 
baptism of John : he regarded them as the same — the baptism 
of repentance. 1 He had only received the baptism of John, 
and still wanted baptism in the name of Jesus. He was 
ignorant of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and perhaps 
of the glorification of Christ (Acts xix. 2). Baur and Zeller 
1 Meyer's Aposlelgeschichte, p. 376. 


object that there is here a contradiction in terms : Apollos 
is said to have been instructed in the way of the Lord, and 
to teach accurately the things concerning Jesus ; and yet 
notwithstanding he knows nothing of the baptism of Christ, 
but only of the baptism of John, and requires to be more 
accurately instructed by Aquila. 1 But there is here no con- 
tradiction : the imperfection, and even the partial erroneous- 
ness of his knowledge, were not incompatible with his 
zeal, or with his accurate teaching of Jesus according to the 
measure of his knowledge. Still, however, it is somewhat 
difficult to account for his ignorance. His residence at 
Alexandria will not entirely explain it. More than twenty 
years had elapsed since the death of Christ and the outpour- 
ing of the Spirit; and we are informed that among those 
present at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were dwellers 
in Egypt : hence, doubtless, long before this the gospel must 
have penetrated to Alexandria. Perhaps, however, the 
number of Christians at Alexandria were then few ; and as 
the city was immensely populous, containing about 600,000 
inhabitants, Apollos had not come in contact with them. — 
With regard to the disciples of John, they may be divided 
into three classes. The greater number of them, as several 
of the apostles, passed over to Christianity : from being the 
disciples of John, they became the disciples of Christ. Others 
opposed Christianity, establishing a sect of their own, after- 
wards known by the name Zabeans, and teaching that the 
Baptist, contrary to his own declarations, was the Messiah. 
And a third, and probably a small party, in consequence 
of their connection with Palestine being early broken off, 
remained stationary, like Apollos and the twelve men at 
Ephesus, knowing only the baptism of John, but being 
ignorant of the effusion of the Spirit (Olshausen). 

Ver. 26. 'AKpiftecrTepov avra> igWevro rrjv rov Geov 6B6v — 
explained to him the way of God more accurately. Trjv rov 
Geov 6S6v is synonymous with ttjv 6Sbv tov Kvplov (ver. 25), 
inasmuch as the doctrine of Christ is from God. Aquila and 

1 Zeller's ApostelgescMchte, p. 263 ; Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. 
p. 280. 

ON APOLLOS. — XVIII. 27. 189 

Priscilla would inform him of the resurrection of Christ, the 
effects of His death, the universality of His religion, and the 
mission of the Holy Ghost ; and thus, from being a disciple 
of John, Apollos became a disciple of Christ, and an eloquent 
preacher of Christianity. It has been disputed whether 
Apollos was rebaptized. We are informed that the twelve 
disciples of John at Ephesus were baptized in the name of 
the Lord Jesus (Acts xix. 2, 5), whereas there is no mention 
made of the baptism of Apollos. Some (Grotius, Lange, 
Wordsworth) suppose that his baptism is necessarily to be 
taken for granted. Olshausen thinks that he was baptized 
in the name of Christ at Ephesus by Aquila, but first received 
the Holy Ghost through means of Paul at Corinth. 1 Others 
(Chrysostom, Bengel, De Wette, Meyer, Ewald) think that 
he was not rebaptized. He stood on a different footing from 
the twelve disciples of John at Ephesus: he had already 
received the thing signified — the baptism of the Holy Ghost ; 
and therefore did not require the sign — the baptism of water. 
But this is an insufficient reason : both Paul and Cornelius 
were baptized after they had received the Holy Ghost. The 
first opinion, then, is the more probable, that Aquila, when 
he instructed Apollos, also baptized him in the name of 

Ver. 27. Bovkofievov Se avrov St,e\6eiv et? ttjv 'A%aiav — 
but he, wishing to pass into Achaia. Achaia was the Roman 
province of which Corinth was the capital; and it was to 
Corinth that Apollos repaired. Perhaps what he had heard 
from Aquila and Priscilla concerning the work of Paul in 
Corinth, may have excited within him the desire to go into 
Achaia. Uporpe^dfievou ol ahekfyol — the brethren exhorting. 
The language is ambiguous : it may either mean that the 
brethren wrote to the Corinthian disciples, exhorting them to 
receive Apollos, or that the brethren exhorted Apollos to go 
to Achaia. Accordingly some (Luther, Castalio, De Wette, 
Meyer) adopt the former meaning — that the brethren wrote 
exhorting the Corinthian disciples. Others (Calvin, Erasmus, 
Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Kuincel, Lange, Lechler) adopt the 
1 Olshausen on the Gospels and Acts, vol. iv. p. 455. 


latter meaning, that the brethren exhorted and encouraged 
Apollos to go to Achaia. The position of the words, 77730- 
Tpe^afievoL preceding oi &&€\<f>ol eypayjrav, rather favours 
this latter meaning : nor does there seem any good reason to 
object that, if this were the meaning, clvtov would have been 
expressed. According to the other rendering, Trporpe^rdfjuevoi 
indicates the tone of the epistle, or the spirit in which it was 
written : u The brethren, exhorting, wrote to the disciples." 
"E^pa-^rav Toh fJLadr)ral<; airohk%aa6ai clvtov — wrote to the 
disciples to receive him. This is the first instance which we 
have of a Christian letter of commendation (eV^o-roAr) crvcr- 
TaTLKTj). There is no reason, however, to suppose, with 
Hackett, that this letter is alluded to in 2 Cor. iii. 1. 

SvvefiaXeTo ttoXv — helped them much. The best comment 
on these words is what Paul says in his first Epistle to the 
Corinthians : u I have planted, Apollos watered, but God 
gave the increase" (1 Cor. iii. 6). Tots ireTrio-revKoaiv — who 
had believed. Rigavit Apollos non plantavit (Bengel). Aid 
777? ydpiro? — through grace. Some (Calvin, Grotius, Kuinoel, 
Bengel, Olshausen, Meyer, Lange, Lechler, Wordsworth) 
connect these words with avvefidXeTO, and apply them to 
Apollos : " Apollos, through the grace which was in him, 
helped believers ;" because the design of the text is to cha- 
racterize Apollos and his labours, and not the Corinthian 
Christians. This, however, is contrary to the position of 
the words, and consequently to their natural meaning. Others 
accordingly (Hammond, De Wette, Hackett, Alford) more 
correctly connect them with tols ireinaTevKocnv — M who had 
believed through grace." By grace here is not meant the 
gospel (Hammond), or grace in speech and utterance (Hein- 
richs), but the grace of God — divine influence. 

Ver. 28. Evtovw — mightily: used by the Greeks of orators. 
Tols 'lovhaious hiaicaTr)\e<y^ eT0 — confuted the Jews : a strong 
expression — u utterly confuted," " effectually silenced all 
their opposition." He would thus be a great assistance to 
the Corinthian disciples in their disputations with the unbe- 
lieving Jews. ArjfjLoala — publicly: preaching in the syna- 
gogues and elsewhere — in public controversies. 'ETri&eiKvvs 

ON APOLLOS.— XVIII. 28. 191 

Bta twv ypacpcov — sJwwing by means of the Scriptures : proving 
from the predictions of the Old Testament ; using its expres- 
sions for the purpose of establishing the truth of the proposi- 
tion that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Apollos, though 
eminently successful at Corinth, yet was the involuntary 
instrument of exciting a sectarian spirit among the disciples. 
After his departure, factions arose in the Corinthian church : 
one party called themselves by the name of Paul, as being 
the founder of the church ; and another party called them- 
selves by the name of Apollos, being attracted by his elo- 
quence. Such a state of matters was as displeasing to Apollos 
as it was to Paul : there was no rivalship between these two 
great men, whatever there might be between their admirers 
and followers ; each was perfectly disinterested ; each worked 
simply for the cause of Christ. Hence it was that Apollos, 
though requested by the Corinthians and urged by Paul, 
declined to go to Corinth ; because he thought his presence 
there might only increase the factious spirit which prevailed. 
" As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to 
come to you with the brethren ; but his will was not at all to 
come at this time, but he will come when he shall have a 
convenient time" (1 Cor. xvi. 12). 


PAUL AT EPHESUS.— Acts xix. 1-20. 

1 And it came to pass, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having 
passed through the upper districts, came to Ephesus, and found certain 
disciples. 2 And he said to them, Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when 
ye believed? And they said to him, We did not even hear whether 
there be a Holy Ghost. 3 And he said, Unto what, then, were ye 
baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 But Paul said, 
John indeed administered the baptism of repentance, saying to the 
people that they should believe on Him who should come after him, 
that is, on Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized into 
the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands 
on them, the Holy Ghost came on them ; and they spoke with tongues, 
and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve. 

8 And having entered into the synagogue, he spoke boldly for three 
months, discoursing and persuading concerning the kingdom of God. 
9 And when some were hardened and unbelieving, speaking evil of 
that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated 
the disciples, discoursing daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10 And this 
continued for two years ; so that all the inhabitants of Asia heard the 
word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought extra- 
ordinary miracles by the hands of Paul : 12 So that handkerchiefs or 
aprons from his body were carried to the sick, and the diseases departed 
from them, and the evil spirits went out. 13 But some of the strolling 
Jews, exorcists, also took upon them to invoke the name of the Lord 
Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I adjure you by Jesus, 
whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were certain men, seven sons of 
Sceva, a' Jewish chief priest, who did this. 15 And the evil spirit 
answering, said, Jesus I know, and with Paul I am acquainted ; but 
who are ye ? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaping on 
them, having overcome both, prevailed against them, so that they fled 
from that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all 
the Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus : and fear fell on them all, 
and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many who 
believed came, confessing, and acknowledging their deeds. 19 And 
many of them who had practised curious arts brought their books 



together, and burned them before all : and they counted the price of 
them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew 
the word of the Lord, and prevailed. 


Ver. 1. Evpelv is found in A, B, X, and is preferred by 
Tischendorf and Lachmann to evpiov, found in E, G, H. 
Ver. 4. Xpiarov before 'It)o~ovv is found in G, H, but is 
wanting in A, B, E, K, and omitted by recent critics. 
Ver. 9. Twos after Tvpavvov is found in D, E, G, H, but 
is wanting in A, B, N, and omitted by Lachmann and 
Tischendorf. Ver. 10. 'Irjo-ov after Kvplov is only found 
in G, and is omitted by all recent critics. Ver. 13. The 
singular 6p/c{£co is found in A, B, D, E, K, and is preferred 
by recent editors to the plural op/cl&fiev, found in G, H. 
Ver. 16. 'AfjL<j)OTep<av is found in A, B, D, N, and is preferred 
by Lachmann and Tischendorf to clvtwv, found in G, H. 
Ver. 20. Kvplov of the textus receptus is the reading of A, 
B, K, and is retained by Tischendorf and Lachmann in pre- 
ference to Geovj the reading of D and E. The English 
version deviates from the textus receptus , and follows the 
reading of the Vulgate, Dei. 


Ver. 1. Ta avcoTepifca /Jieprj — the upper districts ; that is, 
the inland districts compared with Ephesus, which was on 
the coast : the more elevated regions of Galatia and Phrygia, 
at a distance from the Mediterranean. 

\Efa "Efeaov — to Ephesus. This celebrated city of Ionia, 
situated between Smyrna and Miletus, on the Cayster, not 
far from its mouth, was built partly on Mount Prion, partly 
on Mount Coressus, and partly on the valley which separates 
these hills. It had a commodious harbour, called Panormus, 
formed by the river, which here widened out into a spacious 
basin (Strabo, xiv. 1. 20). The situation of the city was 
favourable both for inland and maritime commerce : it lay 



on the main road of traffic between the East and the West, 
and became the resort of all nations. Ephesus was built 
by Androclus the Athenian, and gradually rose under the 
Macedonian and Roman governments to be one of the chief 
cities of the East. Under the Romans it became the capital 
of the province of Asia, and was reputed to be the metropolis 
of no less than five hundred cities. Although the residence 
of the Roman proconsul, yet it enjoyed the privileges of a 
free city of the empire, and was self-governed. The magni- 
ficent temple of Diana, reckoned one of the seven wonders 
of the world, added to its celebrity. Ephesus is famous in 
the history of the church. Here, according to tradition, the 
Apostle John spent his old age, and was buried ; and here 
also was the grave of Mary the mother of Jesus. The 
city gradually declined ; and now nothing remains of the 
metropolis of Asia, but a wretched Turkish village called 
Ayasaluch or Asalook, said to be a corruption of ayios 
#66X0709, the name by which the Apostle John was known. 1 
The renowned harbour is now converted into an unhealthy 
marsh. The ruins of the ancient city are extensive and 
interesting : the theatre may yet be traced ; but of the 
celebrated temple not one stone remains above another. 2 

Tivas fjLaOrjTas — certain disciples. By this we can only 
understand Christians, especially as Paul addresses them as 
believers (Trio-TevaavTes). These men were indeed the dis- 
ciples of the Baptist ; but they seem to have attached them- 
selves to the Christians at Ephesus, and to have acknowledged 
Jesus as the Messiah. Their knowledge was very imperfect, 
as they were ignorant of the mission of the Spirit; and 
hence they may be regarded as a kind of half-Christians. 
Kuincel thinks that the word " disciples" is to be taken with 
considerable latitude, meaning the disciples of Christ or the 

1 Ayasaluch is about a mile and a half distant from Ephesus. Fellows' 
Asia Minor, p. 275. 

2 For descriptions of Ephesus, see Winer's Wbrterbuch ; Lange's 
apostolisches Zeitalter, vol. ii. p. 262 ; Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, 
vol. ii. p. 81 ff. ; and Lewin's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. i. 
p. 355 ff. 


Messiah — persons believing in a coming Messiah, but not 
acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah. 1 But in this sense all 
the Jews were disciples. Besides, the expressions are too 
strong to admit of such an interpretation. Paul regards 
them as believers, which must mean that at least they be- 
lieved in the Messiahship of Jesus. 

Ver. 2. El Ilvevfia ayiov ekaftere irKnevaavre^ — Did you 
receive the Holy Ghost when you believed ? The aorist form 
of both verbs intimates that both actions, believing and the 
reception of the Holy Ghost, were regarded as simultaneous. 
There is no question as to what happened after believing, 
but the question is about what occurred when they believed. 
Hence the clause is not to be rendered, as in our version, 
" Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ? " but, 
"Did you receive Him on believing?" (Alford, Hackett.) 
Paul, on conversing with them, may have discovered some- 
thing defective in their knowledge or attainments, and thus 
have been induced to put this question to them. By the 
Holy Ghost here is meant His divine influences, which were 
especially conferred under the Christian dispensation ; per- 
haps the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, since these were 
bestowed on those Ephesian converts (ver. 6). From this 
it would almost appear that, in general, there was among 
the early Christians a sensible outpouring of the Holy Ghost 
in the way of miraculous gifts at baptism ; for otherwise the 
inquiry of the apostle into the nature of their baptism cannot 
be accounted for. 

\4W ovhe el Tlvevfjua cuyiov Igtiv, rjKovcra^ev — We did not 
even hear whether there be a Holy Ghost. These words 
cannot be taken absolutely, as if these Ephesian converts had 
never heard of the existence of the Holy Ghost. As Jews, 
and especially as disciples of John, whose baptism of water 
pointed to the baptism of the Holy Ghost, they must have heard 
of His existence. Nam neque Mosen ) neque Johannem Baptistam 
sequi potuissent, quin de Spiritu Sancto ipso audissent — i( They 
could not have followed either Moses or John the Baptist, 
without hearing of the Holy Ghost" (Bengel). The words, 
1 Kuincel's Libri Historic^ vol. iii. p. 286. 


then, must signify that they did not know that the Holy 
Ghost was already given : they were ignorant of His effusion 
upon the church. They knew nothing of His miraculous 
influences. Olshausen understands their answer in a dog- 
matic point of view, that they were ignorant of the Holy 
Ghost as a distinct personality of the Godhead; but such 
an interpretation appears inappropriate and far-fetched. 1 

Ver 3. Ek to 'Icodvvov /3d7rrLajjLa — into Johns baptism ; 
that is, into a belief of the truths which John's baptism 
declared, — namely, faith in a coming Messiah, and the ne- 
cessity of repentance. These men, as the Baptist himself, 
recognised Jesus as that Messiah ; but still they were igno- 
rant of the effects of His sufferings, of the effusion of His 
Spirit, and of all those truths which are declared in Christian 
baptism, as distinguished from the baptism of John. Some 
(Heinrichs, Wetstein, Renan) suppose that these men were 
the disciples of Apollos, and had been instructed and bap- 
tized by him, before he himself was fully instructed. But 
this is improbable : for Apollos would not have left these 
disciples in ignorance ; and besides, in their intercourse with 
the other Christians, especially with Aquila and Priscilla, 
information would have been communicated to them concern- 
ing the Holy Ghost. The probability is, that they were dis- 
ciples of the Baptist, who had lately come from some remote 
country to Ephesus, and had not enjoyed any opportunity of 
being instructed regarding the Holy Ghost, beyond what, as 
Jews, they had already acquired from the Old Testament, 
and hence were ignorant that the promised effusion of the 
Spirit had taken place. They appear to have been in a 
condition similar to that of Apollos when he first came to 
Ephesus, though in a lower stage of development. 

Ver. 4. Mev — indeed. Mev is here without its corre- 
sponding Be. Instead of completing the sentence by men- 
tioning the manner in which Christ would baptize, the 
apostle adds, " that is, on Jesus." 'EftdirTLaev ^aTrriafjua 
fjueravolas — administered the baptism of repentance. John's 
baptism was the baptism of repentance, of mortification ; 
1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 457. 


Christ's baptism is the baptism of revival, of vivification 
(Melancthon). "Iva TrcaTeuacoaiv — that they should believe : 
the purpose or design of John's baptism. It was wholly 
preparatory : it prefigured and had its fulfilment in the 
Christian baptism ; as the Baptist himself said : " I indeed 
baptize you with water unto repentance ; but He that 
cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost" 
(Matt. iii. 11). Tovt eariv eh rbv "'Ivctovv — that is, on 
Jesus. An explanatory clause added by Paul. John taught 
them to believe on a Messiah to come, and that Messiah is 

Ver. 5. 'Afcovo-avres Be efiaTTTiadno-av, etc. — And when 
they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord 
Jesus. It has been disputed whether these disciples of John 
were rebaptized. The early Protestant divines, from dog- 
matic views, in opposition not only to the Anabaptists, but 
also to the doctrine of the Romanists on the essential differ- 
ence between the baptism of John and the Christian baptism, 
adopted the negative side of the question. The Council of 
Trent maintained : Si quis dixerit baptismum Johannis eandem 
vim cum baptismo Christi habuisse, anathema esto. Different 
hypotheses have accordingly been advanced to explain the 
text. 1. Some (Beza, Calixtus, Calovius, Drusius, Du Veil) 
suppose that the words are not those of the evangelist, but 
a continuation of the address of Paul. They read them as 
follows : " When they — namely, the people to whom John 
spoke — heard this testimony of his concerning Christ, they 
were baptized by John in the name of Jesus." 1 Their great 
argument for this rendering is, that the Be in ver. 5 answers 
to the fiev in ver. 4. But fiev frequently occurs without 
being followed by Be (Acts i. 1). And we nowhere read 
that John baptized his disciples into the name of Jesus, 
although he directed them to Him as the Messiah. 2. Calvin 
and others maintain, that not the baptism of water, but the 
baptism of the Holy Ghost, is here meant. " I deny," 
observes Calvin, " that the baptism of water was repeated ; 
because the words of Luke only import that they were bap- 
1 Du Veil on the Acts, p. 405. 


tized with the Spirit." 1 But the baptism of the Holy Ghost 
is never spoken of by the phrase of " being baptized in the 
name of Jesus." 3. Ziegler supposes that these disciples of 
John believed that the Baptist himself was the Messiah ; so 
that they had never received the true baptism of John, and 
thus might well be regarded as unbaptized. But it is not 
said that they were baptized to John, but into John's baptism, 
namely, into a belief of the Messiah who was to come ; and 
besides, they are expressly called disciples, that is, believers 
in the Messiahship of Jesus. Hence, then, the natural 
meaning of the passage is, that these disciples were rebap- 
tized with the Christian baptism, either by Paul himself or 
by some of his associates. 

It is, however, disputed by those who adopt this meaning, 
whether this rebaptism was the general rule, or only an ex- 
ception ; in other words, whether those who were baptized 
by the baptism of John were, as a matter of course, rebap- 
tized on their believing in Christ. Nothing is said of the 
second baptism of Apollos, though no argument can be de- 
rived from this omission. The apostles certainly, several of 
whom were baptized by John, do not appear to have received 
the Christian baptism ; but then they were the disciples of 
Christ before the institution of baptism. The same may be 
affirmed of the original disciples before the day of Pentecost. 
On the other hand, the numerous converts who were con- 
verted on that day were all baptized as a matter of course, 
and no inquiry was made as to whether they had or had not 
received the baptism of John ; although it is almost certain, 
that among such a great multitude there were some of John's 

Ver. 6. *H\6ev to Ilvevfia to wyiov eir civtovs — the Holy 
Ghost came upon them. They received the miraculous gifts 
of the Spirit, which is a presumption that the inquiry as to 
their reception of the Holy Ghost referred to His miraculous 
influences. They spoke with tongues — gave vent to inspired 
utterances ; and prophesied — discoursed in such a manner 
as to show that they were gifted with spiritual knowledge. 
1 Calvin on the Acts, in loco. 

PAUL AT EPHESUS. — XIX. 7-9. 199 

Baur, Zeller, and Schneckenburger suppose that this narra- 
tive is merely an imitation of the conversion of Cornelius ; 
but there is this important difference between these two 
accounts, that the miraculous influences of the Spirit were 
conferred on Cornelius before baptism ; whereas here they 
were conferred after baptism. 

Ver. 7. *Hcrav Se ol iravTes av&pes axrel Se/caBvo — and all 
the men were about twelve. Baumgarten fancifully supposes 
that the number twelve answers to the twelve tribes of 
Israel, and that these disciples are set forth as a new Israel. 1 
It is also fanciful to suppose that they were set apart for 
the ministry: the gift of prophecy was not restricted to the 
office-bearers of the church. 

Ver. 8. Elo-ekOwv eU tt)v away coy rjv — having entered into 
the synagogue. We learn from Josephus that there were not 
only numerous Jews at Ephesus, but that many of them 
were Roman citizens (Ant. xiv. 10. 13). 

Ver. 9. J Ev ttj a^oXfj Tvpavvov — in the school of Tyrannus. 
As the word Tyrannus signifies a king or prince, some 
(Knatchbull and. others) suppose that a certain nobleman or 
ruler of the city is meant. But there is no reason for this 
supposition, as, Tyrannus, like "King" with us, was a proper 
name among the Greeks. Others (Vitringa, Hammond, 
Wolfius, Meyer) suppose that Tyrannus was a Jewish teacher, 
and that Iiis school was a private synagogue — a Beth-Mid- 
rasch, as. the Jews called it. In Beth-Midrasch docuerunt tra- 
ditionesj atque earum expositiones (see Vitringa, Synag. p. 137). 
Paul amd his converts withdrew from the public synagogue to 
the private synagogue of Tyrannus, where he could preach 
to Jews and Gentiles without fear of disturbance. 2 Others 
(Itchier, Ewald, Lange), with greater probability, suppose 
tfyat Tyrannus was a Greek, and a public teacher of philo- 
sophy or rhetoric, who had become a convert to Christianity. 
The lecture-rooms of philosophers were called in later Greek 
tfypXcU. Tyrannus is also not a Jewish, but a Greek name, 
and occurs as such in Josephus (Ant. xvi. 10. 3). Suidas 

1 Baumgarten's Apostolic History, vol. ii. p. 270. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 385. 


mentions a rhetorician of this name who wrote a work entitled 
'7r€pl (TTaa-eci)^ real hiaipeaetos \070t, without, however, men- 
tioning his age or nation. 

Ver. 10. ^Eirl err) Bvo — for tivo years. This period refers 
to the time after Paul had separated the disciples from the 
Jewish synagogue ; so that, to reckon the whole time which 
Paul spent at Ephesus, we must at least add to these two 
years the three months during which he preached in the 
synagogue. In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders, 
however, he says that by the space of three years he ceased 
not to warn every one (Acts xx. 31). Some suppose that 
u three years" is merely a general expression, and corre- 
sponds with the two years and three months here mentioned. 
Wieseler, however, thinks that to this period of two years 
and three months, about nine months have to be added. He 
supposes that the two years mentioned in ver. 10 terminates 
at ver. 20, as the next verse begins with the chronological 
notice, d>? Be 67r\r)pco07j ravra, u when these things were 
accomplished ;" and after this we are informed that Paul, 
having sent away Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, 
tarried in Asia for a season (ver. 22). 1 Upon the whole, it 
is probable that the two years here mentioned are not only 
exclusive of the three months during which Paul discoursed 
in the synagogue, but also of the time occupied by the events 
which occurred after ver. 20. 

"flare iravTas tov% KaToucovvra? rrjv 'Aaiav, etc. — 50 that 
all the inhabitants of A sia heard the word of the Lord, both 
Jews and Greeks. By Asia is meant proconsular Asia, of 
which Ephesus was the capital. 2 The expression is hyper- 
bolical, denoting the extensive diffusion of the gospel ; yet 
it may have been almost literally true. It is not asserted that 
all the inhabitants of Asia heard Paul preach, but only that 
they heard the word of the Lord. Ephesus being a large 
commercial city, and the centre of a great district, there was a 
constant influx of people, both of Jews and Gentiles, for the 
purpose of commerce, and the latter also as pilgrims to the 

1 Wieseler, Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, pp. 52, 53. 

2 Perhaps it may even be restricted to Lydian Asia, as in Acts xvi. 6. 

PAUL AT EPHESUS.— XIX. 11, 12. 201 

temple of Diana. The sensation which Paul made would ex- 
cite multitudes to hear him ; and the lecture-room of Tyrannus 
was daily occupied by him, and open for the free admission 
of all. Those who had visited Ephesus, and had heard Paul, 
would report to their different cities what they had heard, 
so that the fame of the gospel may well have been diffused 
throughout all Asia. Besides, during his long residence of 
three years, Paul would probably make circuits into the 
neighbouring cities and places ; and his companions, such 
as Timothy, Titus, Aquila, Erastus, Gaius, and Aristarchus, 
would be sent by him to preach the gospel in other parts 
of the province. It is not improbable that the foundation 
of the seven churches of Asia was now laid. " The whole 
western part," observes Renan, u of Asia Minor, especially 
the basins of the Meander and the Hermus, were about this 
time covered with churches, and without doubt Paul was 
in a more or less direct manner their founder. Smyrna, 
Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and probably 
Tralles, thus received the germs of the faith." 1 It seems 
also to have been at this time that the churches of Colosse, 
Hierapolis, and Laodicea were founded by Epaphras (Col. 
i. 7, iv. 12, 13), though these cities were not visited by Paul 
in person (Col. ii. 1). 

Ver. 11. AvvdfjL€L<; ov Ta? TV%ovo-a<; — extraordinary mira- 
cles. Tvypv signifies vulgar, common, one of the people ; 
hence ov ras rv^ovaa^ is uncommon, extraordinary. Moses 
Judceorum legislator dicitur ov% 6 tv^oov avrjp, non vulgaris 
intelligentio3 homo (Longinus, ix.). Instances of these extra- 
ordinary miracles are mentioned in the next verse. 

Ver. 12. HovBdpia rj o-cfii/civOia — handkerchiefs or aprons. 
Both words are Latin. HovSdpia, (Lat. sudaria) are hand- 
kerchiefs, which, on account of the heat and the dust, are 
constantly in the hands of the Orientals. It is the same 
word which occurs in Luke xix. 20, John xi. 44, xx. 7, and 
is there translated u napkin." %i[uiciv9ia (Lat. semicinctia) 
are aprons or waist-bands ; probably the aprons employed 
by workmen when engaged at work. They may have been 
1 Kenan's Saint Paul, p. 351. 


the clothes worn by Paul when engaged in his occupation 
of a tentmaker. It is possible, however, that these hand- 
kerchiefs and aprons were brought to Paul, that he might 
touch them, by those who desired to be cured. Tas voaovs 
rd re TrvevfiaTa ra 7rov7jpa — diseases and evil spirits, Luke 
here distinguishes natural diseases from demoniacal posses- 

These miracles performed by Paul are called u extra- 
ordinary." There are two instances somewhat similar 
recorded in sacred history : the cure of the woman who 
touched the hem of the Saviour's garment (Matt. ix. 20), 
and the miracles performed by the shadow of Peter (Acts 
v. 15). As might have been expected, they are attacked by 
rationalistic critics. u Even on the basis of a belief in miracles," 
observes Zeller, u such a coarse and magical representation 
of the healing power of the apostle is too absurd for belief. 
We do not know what legends of relics we need be ashamed 
to credit, if such things as are here related demand our 
belief. The apostolic miraculous power of Paul certainly 
throws all Jewish and heathen magic completely into the 
shade." 1 Some have accordingly attempted to soften the 
objection, by supposing that Paul was ignorant of what was 
done ; and that although much superstition was displayed 
by the people, yet, as their faith was real, God's mercy 
overlooked what was amiss. " When," observes Olshausen, 
" these articles of clothing have a healing efficacy ascribed 
to them which is traced back to God, this can only be 
regarded as a condescension of the divine mercy to indi- 
viduals who, although erring, are yet well-intentioned. The 
apostles themselves certainly have not given countenance 
to such ideas, for there is no trace of them anywhere to be 
found." 2 But this is a lame defence. It is impossible to 
suppose that Paul could have been ignorant of what was 
done : it was, no doubt, with his consent and approbation 
that the clothes were brought to the sick. These were the 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 265. 

2 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 460 ; see also 
Humphry on the Acts, p. 152. 

PAUL AT EPHESUS. — XIX. 13. 203 

instruments by which the miraculous efficacy was conveyed ; 
and, so far from obscuring, they displayed in a striking 
manner the supernatural power of the apostle — there was 
healing even in the very clothes he wore. Paul in Ephesus 
was in the very heart of superstition : he was, like Moses in 
Egypt, surrounded by magicians and exorcists ; and there- 
fore, to manifest beyond dispute his superior power, God 
granted that extraordinary miracles should be wrought by 
him — miracles more striking than those which he was 
accustomed to perform : and the effect of these miracles was 
not to foster superstition, but to root it out, to confound the 
exorcists of Ephesus, and to destroy their magical works. 1 

Ver. 13. Tcves ra>v irepiepxpfievav 'lovhaiwv il;op/ci<rT(ov — 
certain of the strolling Jews, exorcists. These were Jews 
who wandered about from place to place as magicians or 
sorcerers, practising exorcism. 'EijopfuoTrjs is derived from 
iijopKiZco, to adjure, to use the name of God, to expel demons. 
Such exorcists were very numerous in the days of Christ and 
the apostles, especially among the Jews. Our Lord alludes 
to them when He says : " If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, 
by whom do your children cast them out ! " (Matt. xii. 27.) 
These Jewish exorcists pretended to a power of casting 
out evil spirits by some magical arts which they affirmed 
were derived from Solomon. Allusion is made to this by 
Josephus : u God," says he, " enabled Solomon to learn the 
art of expelling demons. He left behind him the manner 
of using exorcisms by which demons are driven away, so 
that they never return ; and this manner of cure is of 
great force unto this day." And he relates the case of one 
Eleazar, who before Vespasian and his officers cast out 
demons by means of certain incantations which Solomon 
composed (Ant. viii. 2. 5). He also mentions a certain rare 
root which it was dangerous to gather, and which, being 
brought to those who were possessed, quickly expelled the 
demons out of their bodies (Bell. Jud. vii. 6. 3). 'Op/ci^co 
vfias top 'Itjo-ovv — / adjure you by Jesus. The exorcists use 
the name of Jesus, because this name was employed by Paul 
1 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. pp. 16, 17. 


in the expulsion of demons. As Jesus was a common name 
among the Jews, they add " whom Paul preaches " as a 
description of his person. 

Ver. 14. ^Haav Be nveq — and there were certain. Tives is 
not to be understood as qualifying eirTa, " about seven ; " for 
if so, the words would have been placed together — iirrd Tives. 
The correct meaning seems to be, u There were certain men, 
namely seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest." %iceva 
'IovBaiov ap%t,epe(o<; — of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest. The 
title apxiepev? applied to a Jew in Ephesus creates a diffi- 
culty. Some suppose that he was once high priest in Jeru- 
salem ; but this is contrary to history, as Josephus in his list 
of high priests makes no mention of one of that name. 
Others think that he was chief of one of the twenty-four 
courses of priests (Wordsworth) ; but it is improbable that 
such a person should be resident in Ephesus, and not in 
Jerusalem. Others, that he was an apostate Jew, and that 
the term chief priest has reference to the worship of Diana ; 
but there is nothing in the text to support this view. The 
most probable opinion is, that he was one of the chiefs of 
the Ephesian Jews — perhaps one of the chief rulers of the 

Ver. 15. ' 'Ajro/cpidev Be to Trvev/na to irovrjpbv — but the evil 
spirit answered ; that is, the man under the influence of the 
evil spirit. The evil spirit was compelled to bear an unwill- 
ing testimony to Jesus and His servant Paul. Tbv 'Irjaovv 
ryivcbafcco, /col top UavKov eirlaTafxai — Jesus I know, and with 
Paul I am acquainted. Different verbs are employed to 
denote the evil spirit's knowledge of Jesus and Paul — a 
difference which is overlooked in our English version. f T//,efc 
Be Tive? eo~Te — but who are ye ? u The question," observes 
Raphelius, " is not one of ignorance, but of censure, because 
they arrogated to themselves what belonged not to them ; and 
of contempt, because they considered not their own and their 
opponents' strength, but with rashness dared to contend with 
one more powerful, to whom it was mere play to overcome 
them." * 

1 Quoted in Kuincel's Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 291. 

PAUL AT EPHESUS. —XIX. 16-18. 205 

Yer. 16. Karatcvpievo-as afKJyoripwv — having overcome both. 
(See Critical Note.) If this be the correct meaning, then it 
would appear that only two of the seven sons of Sceva on 
this particular occasion undertook to cast out the evil spirit. 
According to Ewald, aficfroreptov is neuter ; and the meaning 
is, that the evil spirit attacked them on both sides, that is, 
from above and from below : 1 but this would have been 
expressed by air' aficpoTepcov or afjb(f>oTepcodev. Others think 
that afjLcporepoov refers to Sceva and his seven sons ; but it is 
not mentioned that Sceva took any part in the exorcism. 
Kuinoel supposes that clvt&v is the correct reading, and 
afjL(f>orep(»)v a gloss, because it was regarded as inconceivable 
that the person possessed should overcome seven men. 

Ver. 17. 'EfjL€<ya\vv€To to ovojia rod Kvplov 'Irjaov — The 
name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. The first impression 
which the event made on the Ephesian multitude was that of 
fear : they were constrained to feel that there was something 
supernatural about Paul. The failure of the sons of Sceva 
in their attempt to cast out devils showed that the miracles 
performed by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus were real, 
and were therefore undoubted evidences of the truth of 

Ver. 18. JJoXKol re raw 'neirtcrTevKOTWv — many of those 
who believed. The previous verse informed us of the effect 
of the transaction on unbelievers; this informs us of its 
effect on believers. Many who, although professed disciples, 
were not entirely delivered from their former superstitions, 
but secretly practised magical arts, now come forward and 
confess and renounce them. Meyer supposes that these were 
new converts, who had become believers in consequence of 
the events just recorded; but the use of the perfect tense 
would seem to imply that they had been believers for 
some time. They had not, in consequence of their faith, 
entirely renounced their superstitious practices : the old 
was not so easily destroyed. Ta? irpdgei? avTOov — their 
deeds. Certainly not the acts of faith which they had per- 
formed (Luther), nor their sins in a general sense (Kuinoel, 
1 Ewald's Gescliiclite des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 478. 


Lechler), but their magical practices, as is evident from 
what follows. 

Ver. 19. Ta ireplepya — curious arts. Ephesus was noted 
even in that age of superstition for the addietion of its in- 
habitants to sorcery, magic, and such like curious arts ; and 
these are now revealed by the gospel, as the introduction 
of light reveals what formerly was shrouded in darkness. 
XweveyKcumes *ra? $//3\oi/<? — brought their books together. The 
*E(j>eo-ia ypd/nfMara (Ephesian letters) are frequently alluded 
to by heathen writers. They appear to have been mysterious 
symbols or magical sentences, written on paper, which the 
Ephesians were accustomed to carry about with them as 
charms or amulets, either to secure them from harm or to 
procure benefits for them. Plutarch observes that the ma- 
gicians prescribe to those who were possessed with devils 
to read and recite ra 'Ecfreaia ypdfifiara (Plut. Symp.). 
Eustathius informs us that Croesus, when on his funeral pile, 
repeated the Ephesian letters ; and he mentions that, in the 
Olympian games, an Ephesian wrestler struggled successfully 
against his opponent from Miletus, because he had around 
his ankle Ephesian letters, but that, being deprived of them, 
he was thrice overthrown (Eustath. ad Horn. Odys. i. 247). 1 
'ApyvpLov fivpidSa? irkvre. — fifty thousand pieces of silver. 
Some (Grotius, Hammond) suppose that these are to be 
reckoned as Jewish money ; and if so, the sum would amount 
to £7000. But it is highly improbable that the Jewish 
shekel would be employed in a Greek city, and by those 
who were doubtless Greeks. The Roman denarius is in all 
probability the coin here alluded to, the value of which was 
about ninepence, so that the entire sum would amount to 
£1875. This vast sum is to be accounted for by considering 
the rarity of books in those days, and their consequent 
expensiveness : probably also magical works brought a ficti- 
tious price. 

Ver. 20. Of/TO)? Kara Kpdros rod Kvpiov 6 \6yo$ qvljavev 
KaX toyvev — so mightily grew the word of the Lord, and pre- 

1 Kuinoel, Libri Historici, vol. iv. p. 293 ; Conybeare and Howson's 
St. Paul, vol. ii. 16. 


vailed. The value of the books burned was a proof of the 
success of the gospel. Its power must have been mighty 
indeed, when it made men willing not only to give up their 
superstitious practices, but also to destroy their valuable 

In this passage mention is made of the successful expul- 
sion of evil spirits by Paul, and of the failure of the attempt 
by the sons of Sceva. It is not only in the New Testament 
that we read of such demoniacal possessions, but likewise 
in Josephus, Plutarch, and other Greek writers. Strauss 
and his school explain them on the mythical principle ; but 
the accounts of them are so involved in the gospel narra- 
tive, that they cannot be thus separated from it. Others, 
again, suppose that many natural diseases, such as dumbness, 
blindness, epilepsy, and especially insanity, were ascribed by 
the Jews to evil spirits ; and that our Saviour and His 
apostles accommodated themselves to such views. 1 But not 
to speak of the doubtful morality of such accommodations, 
the evil spirits are represented acting as distinct personalities, 
and in this chapter possession is distinguished from natural 
disease (ver. 12). That there was a real possession, that 
evil spirits exerted a direct influence over the bodies and 
souls of men, is undoubtedly the natural meaning of those 
passages of Scripture where demoniacs are mentioned. No 
doubt madness seems to have been an inseparable accom- 
paniment of possession : the man was deprived of his own 
free will, and ruled by the evil spirit. For all that we know, 
such possessions may occur in our days : if we had the power 
of discerning spirits, it might be discovered that such cases 
were not unknown ; and therefore that they occurred only in 
the days of our Saviour and His apostles, is a statement which 
cannot be proved. In an age of such extreme sensuality, it 
is not improbable that demoniacal possession was more fre- 
quent ; but we are not at all sure that it has entirely ceased in 
our days : at least, cases occur which bear a close resemblance 
to the descriptions of demoniacal possession given in the 

1 See this opinion stated at great length, and defended Mdth much 
erudition, in Lardner's Works, vol. i. pp. 235-272. 


New Testament. We live in a spiritual world: there are 
powers and agencies around us and within us ; and in the 
case of mental disease especially, it is often impossible to say 
whether the mere derangement of the physical organs, or 
some spiritual disorder, is the cause of the disease. At all 
events, there is no reason to call in question the reality of 
demoniacal possession in the early days of Christianity, as if 
it were contrary to reason, and savoured only of superstition, 
or were the result of mythical exaggeration. 


THE TUMULT AT EPHESUS.— Acts xix. 21-41. 

21 And when these things were fulfilled, Paul purposed in the Spirit, 
after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, 
After I have been there, I must also see Rome. 22 And having sent 
into Macedonia two of them who ministered to him, Timotheus and 
Erastus, he himself remained in Asia for a season. 

23 And about that time there arose no small commotion about that 
way. 24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made 
silver shrines of Diana, brought no small gain to the artisans ; 25 Whom 
having called together with the workmen of the same occupation, he 
said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our prosperity. 26 And 
you see and hear, that not only at Ephesus, but almost throughout all 
Asia, this Paul has persuaded and perverted much people* saying that 
they are no gods which are made with hands : 27 So that not only this 
our craft is in danger of being brought into contempt ; but also that 
the temple of the great goddess Diana should be counted for nothing, 
and that her greatness should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the 
world worship. 28 And when they heard these things, they were full 
of wrath, and cried, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 29 And 
the city was filled with the confusion : and having caught Gaius and 
Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with 
one accord into the theatre. 30 And when Paul wished to enter in 
unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. 31 Also certain of 
the Asiarchs, who were his friends, sent to him, and besought him not 
to venture into the theatre. 32 Some therefore cried one thing, and 
some another: for the assembly was confused; and the greater part 
knew not wherefore they were come together. 33 And they drew 
Alexander out of the crowd, the Jews putting hkn forward. And 
Alexander, beckoning with his hand, wished to make hia defence to 
the people. 34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one 
voice cried out, for about two hours, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. 
35 And when the town-clerk had appeased the multitude, he said, Ye 
men of Ephesus, who is there that knows not that the city of the 
Ephesians is the guardian of the great Diana, and of the image which 
fell from Jupiter ? 36 Seeing, then, that these things cannot be con- 
tradicted, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. 37 For 



ye have brought these men, who are neither robbers of temples, nor 
blasphemers of your goddess. 38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the 
artisans with him, have a matter against any man, court-days are held, 
and there are proconsuls ; let them accuse one another. 39 But if 
you have any further demand, it shall be settled in a legal assembly. 
40 For we are in danger of being called in question for this day's 
uproar, there being no ground on which we could give an account 
of this concourse. 41 And having said this, he dismissed the assembly. 


Ver. 27. The textus receptus has Xoycadrjvac, fieWeiv Be 
Kal KaOaipeio-Qat, ttjv /jueyaKetoTrjTa avTrjs, in accordance with 
G, H, the reading adopted by Tischendorf. Lachmann, on 
the other hand, reads XoyLcrdrjcreTai, peWec Be teal fcaOaipeladai 
rrj? fjLeya\e(,oTr)Tos avrrjs. Ver. 29. "0\rj, found in D, E, G, 
H, is wanting in A, B, tf, and is omitted by Tischendorf 
and Lachmann. Ver. 33. The textus receptus has irpoefii- 
fiao-av, in accordance with D 2 , G, H, the reading adopted by 
Tischendorf. On the other hand, avvefiifiacrav is much better 
attested, being found in A, B, E, K ; but it yields no sense. 
Ver. 35. Seas is found in G, H, but is wanting in A, B, D, 
E, K, and rejected by recent critics. 


Ver. 21. f /2? Be eTrXvpaOr) ravra — And when these things 
were fulfilled ; namely, those things which are recorded in 
the previous verses (vers. 1-20) — after Paul had already 
spent two years and three months in Ephesus. (See note to 
ver. 10.) Doubtless many things occurred during this long 
residence at Ephesus which are not recorded in the Acts. Most 
critics suppose that Paul made at that time a second visit to 
Corinth (2 Cor. xii. 14), which Luke has not recorded ; * 
and it was during his residence in Ephesus that he wrote 
his first Epistle to the Corinthians. "EOero 6 ITauXo? ev ro3 
TrvevfjLdTL — Paul purposed in the Spirit. By this we are 
probably to understand neither a direct intimation of the 
1 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. pp. 21-24. 


Spirit, as in Acts xvi. 6, nor yet a mere resolution formed 
by Paul himself ; but a secret impulse of the Spirit by whom 
he was directed in all his journeys. In such a man as Paul 
it is difficult to distinguish between his own determinations 
and the suggestions of the Spirit. Aiekdcov rrjv Ma/ceSoviav 
Kal ^A-^atav — after passing through Macedonia and Achaia. 
These provinces are mentioned in the order of his proposed 
journey. In these he had already planted several flourishing 
churches, as at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth. 
Two reasons are to be assigned for Paul's desire to visit 
Macedonia and Achaia : first, as we learn from his epistles, 
he desired to promote the collection for the poor saints at 
Jerusalem ; and secondly, he had received intelligence of 
the disorders which prevailed in the church of Corinth, 
and he was anxious to rectify them. A el fie Kal 'Pcofirjv 
Ihelv — / must also see Rome, He felt that Rome, the political 
capital of the world, the great centre of power and influence, 
was the goal of his apostolic activity. Paley notices an 
undesigned coincidence between this verse and Rom. i. 13 
and xv. 23-28. " The conformity," he observes, u between 
the history and the epistle is perfect. In the first quotation 
from the epistle, we find that a design of visiting Rome had 
long dwelt in the apostle's mind ; in the quotation from the 
Acts, we find that design expressed a considerable time before 
the epistle was written. In the history, we find that the 
plan which Paul had formed was to pass through Macedonia 
and Achaia ; after that to go to Jerusalem ; and when he 
had finished his visit there, to sail for Rome. When the 
epistle was written, he had executed so much of his plan as 
to have passed through Macedonia and Achaia, and was 
preparing to pursue the remainder of it, by speedily setting 
out toward Jerusalem ; and in this point of his travels he 
tells his friends at Rome, that when he had completed the 
business which carried him to Jerusalem, he would come to 
them. The very inspection of the passages will satisfy us 
that they were not made up from one another. In the 
Epistle to the Romans, we are informed of Paul's intention 
to go to Spain. If, then, the passage in the epistle was 


taken from that of the Acts, why was Spain put in ? If 
the passage in the Acts was taken from that in the epistle, 
why was Spain left out ? If the two passages were unknown 
to each other, nothing can account for their conformity but 
truth." 1 

Ver. 22. Ti/juodeov — Timolheus. In order to prepare the 
churches for his own visit, and to forward the collection of 
the saints, Paul sent two of his companions, Timothy and 
Erastus, before him. Timothy, who had been left at Corinth 
(Acts xviii. 18), seems to have rejoined the apostle at 
Ephesus. Here also there is another coincidence between 
the history and the epistles of Paul. From the history we 
learn that Timothy was sent into Macedonia ; and though 
Achaia, whose capital is Corinth, is not directly mentioned, 
yet it is included, as Timothy was sent before Paul, and 
Paul purposed to pass through Macedonia and Achaia. In 
the first Epistle to the Corinthians, written shortly after 
this, we are informed of the mission of Timothy to Corinth : 
" For this cause I have sent to you Timotheus, who is my 
beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you 
into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach 
everywhere in every church" (1 Cor. iv. 17). " Now, if 
Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear" 
(1 Cor. xvi. 10). 2 

Kal "Epaarov — and Erastus. In the Epistle to the 
Romans, which Paul wrote at a later period from Corinth, 
he sends to the Roman Christians the salutations of Erastus, 
the chamberlain of the city (Rom. xvi. 23). Most critics 
suppose that this is a different person from the Erastus of 
the Acts, as his office of chamberlain would necessarily 
detain him at Corinth. In the Second Epistle to Timothy, 
mention is made of an Erastus in close relation to the 
apostle : " Erastus abode at Corinth" (2 Tim. iv. 20) ; but 
his identity with the Erastus of our text is also uncertain. 3 

Avrbs hrkeyev %p6vov — he himself stayed for a season. In 

1 Paley's Horse, Paulinas — Komans, No. III. 

2 Paley's Horse, Paulinse — 1st Corinthians, Nos. III. and IV. 

3 Perhaps the same Erastus may be alluded to in all these three pas- 

THE TUMULT AT EPHESUS.— XIX. 23, 24. • 213 

the first Epistle to the Corinthians, written shortly after he 
had sent away Timothy, he writes, U I will tarry at Ephesus 
until Pentecost" (1 Cor. xvi. 8). Efc t?iv ^Aalav — in Asia. 
The use of et? here is peculiar. Some (Heinrichs, Kuincel, 
De Wette) suppose that it stands for iv rfj 'AaLq ; others 
(Winer, Olshausen) understand by it " for Asia," that is, 
for the good of Asia. Meyer gives its force more correctly, 
" in the direction of Asia." 

Ver. 23. Tlepl ti}? 6Bov — concerning that way; that is, 
concerning the religion of Jesus Christ which Paul incul- 
cated : that method of worshipping God, and securing an 
interest in eternal life, which he taught. (See ch. ix. 2.) 

Ver. 24. Naovs apyvpovs 'AprefAtSos — silver shrines (lite- 
rally temples) of Diana. These silver shrines were small 
models of the temple of Diana, containing an image of the 
goddess. They were purchased by the pilgrims to the 
temple, and on their return home were set up as objects 
of domestic worship. Such images of temples were called 
afaSpv/Aara, and are frequently adverted to. Thus, Dio- 
dorus Siculus tells us that the Carthaginians, to propitiate 
their god Hercules at Tyre, sent golden shrines to hold the 
miniature images : xpvaovs vaovs tois a^iBpu/naat (Diod. 
Sic. xx. 14). Ammianus Marcellinus observes of the philo- 
sopher Asclepiades : dew coelestis argenteum breve figmentum 
quocunque ibat secum solitus efferre (Amm. Marc. xxii. 13). 
And Dionysius Halicarnassus directly mentions these shrines 
of the Ephesian Diana : ra rfjs 'Ecpeaia? 9 ApT€fii$o$ d<j)i- 
BpvfiaTa (Dion. Hal. ii. 22). 1 Others think that not small 
models of the temple are meant, but medals or coins, on the 
reverse of which the temple was represented, and many of 
which are still extant. But the words vaovs dpyvpovs cannot 
be made to signify coins. 

'AprefiiSo? — Diana. Diana was worshipped under a variety 
of characters, as the goddess of hunting, of travelling, of the 
night, of childbirth ; and under different names : in heaven 

sages (Acts xix. 22 ; Rom. xvi. 23 ; 2 Tim. iv. 20), as he may have 
resigned the office of chamberlain on becoming a Christian. 
1 Biscoe on the Acts, p. 275 ; Humphry on the Acts, p. 153. 


she was Luna, in the woods Diana, and in hell Hecate. 
There is, however, a decided difference between the Greek 
and the Ephesian Diana. The Greek Diana is represented 
with a bow in her hand, and dressed in a hunting habit ; 
whilst the Ephesian Diana is represented as a female with 
many breasts, supposed to signify the fruitful attributes 
of Nature. 1 Thus Jerome observes : Scribebat Paulus ad 
Ephesios JDianam colentes, non hanc venatricem quce arcum 
tenet atque succincta est, sed illam multimammiam, quum Grceci 
7ro\vjj,a<TT7]v vocant. It has been supposed that when the 
Athenians colonized Ephesus, they found the worship of 
some Asiatic goddess established there, whose name they 
changed into Diana, from some fancied points of resem- 
blance between her and their own goddess. According to 
tradition, the worship of the Ephesian Diana was introduced 
by the Amazons. 

Uapei^eTo tols Tzyyvrais ipyao-iav ov/c okuyrjv — brought no 
small gain to the artisans. The miniature temples would 
doubtless find a great sale. The temple of Diana was cele- 
brated throughout the world ; and the goddess was the chief 
object of the worship of proconsular Asia: and thus tra- 
vellers and pilgrims to Ephesus would be anxious to carry 
away with them memorials of their visit. 

Ver. 25. T01/9 nrepl ra Tocavra ipydra? — the workmen of 
the same occupation ; literally, the workmen about such things. 
The difference between Teyyirai and ipydrat, is supposed to 
be that between skilled and unskilled workmen. Alii era-id 
Te^vtrac, artifices nobiliores ; alii eprydrav operarii (Bengel). 
It is probable that Demetrius not only assembled his own 
workmen, but likewise the workmen of other silversmiths, 
and all those who derived their subsistence from trades con- 
nected with the worship of Diana. 

Ver. 2Q. Ov fiovov 'E(f)eo-ov aWa o~%e$bv wdo-rjs t?)? 
'-4crta?, etc. — not only at Ephesus, but almost throughout all 

1 There are many Ephesian coins with the figure of Diana. See 
Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, pp. 47-49. He gives a coin of 
Claudius, which must have been contemporary with this visit of the 


Asia, this Paul has persuaded and perverted much people. We 
have here the forced testimony of a heathen to the success 
of the ministry of Paul in Ephesus and proconsular Asia. 
The sale of the silver shrines for Diana had greatly dimi- 
nished ; the trade of making them had declined ; the workmen 
were in danger of losing their means of livelihood. This 
would be more sensibly felt if, as is probable, the Ephesian 
games in honour of Diana were now being celebrated, 1 and 
the city was crowded with visitors, when Demetrius and his 
craftsmen expected to have had a greater demand for their 
silver shrines. There is a close resemblance between this 
tumult at Ephesus and the tumult at Philippi. Both arose, 
not from the Jews, but from the Gentiles : this peculiarity 
distinguishes them from all the persecutions recorded in the 
Acts, to which the Christians were exposed : all others were 
persecutions instigated by the Jews. And both originated 
from sordid motives : in Philippi, the masters of the Pythonic 
slave feared that they would lose their gains ; in Ephesus, 
Demetrius and his craftsmen feared that their craft would 
be brought to nought. Aeycov ore ovk elcrlv 6eol oi Sea, ^ecpcov 
ycvofjuevoi, — saying that they are no gods which are made with 
hands. The people identified the images of the gods with 
the deities themselves, or at least thought that a kind of 
divinity resided in them. The philosophers may have re- 
garded the images as mere symbols, but the multitude could 
not rise to their refined notions. 

Ver. 27. Ov jmovov Be tovto KivZvvevei r/filv to fiipo? — so 

that not only this our craft is in danger ; literally, u our part," 

the department, of trade in which we are engaged. To 7% 

fieyaXr)? 6ea<$ iepov 'ApTe/AiSos — the temple of the great goddess 

Diana. This celebrated temple was regarded as one of the 

nders of the world. Its building commenced even before 

the Persian empire. Croesus king of Lydia, and all the 

Greek cities of Asia, contributed to its erection. More than 

no hundred years were spent in the building. Xerxes, in his 

war against images, when he burned all the temples of Asia, 

spared it on account of its magnificence (Strabo, xiv. 1. 5). 

1 See note to ver. 31. 


But this edifice was burned by Herostratus, who wished by 
this action to gain for himself an immortal name. The date 
of the burning is given as the day on which Alexander the 
Great was born, B.C. 355 (Strabo, xiv. 1. 22 ; Plut. Alex.). 
A second temple, of still greater magnificence, rose on the 
ruins of the first, the work of Cheirocrates, the same who 
built Alexandria. Its length was 425 feet, and its breadth 
220 feet : 127 pillars, each 60 feet high, the gifts of illus- 
trious kings, adorned and supported the building: the roof 
of that part which was not open to the sky was formed of 
beams of cedar, and its altar was adorned with the matchless 
sculptures of Praxiteles. It was regarded as the only house 
fit for the residence of the gods : o t?}? 'Apre/MSo? vaos iv 
'E(j>e(T(p fiovo? €<ttI 6eS)v oil/cos (Philo, Byz. Sped. Mund. 7). 
In the time of Paul the temple of Diana was in all its glory, 
and pilgrims from all nations flocked to its shrine : it was to 
polytheism what the temple of Jerusalem was to the Jews. 
Strabo informs us that the chief object of worship at Mar- 
seilles was the Ephesian Diana ; and that all the colonies sent 
out from Marseilles held this goddess in peculiar reverence, 
preserving both the shape of the image of the goddess, and 
also every rite observed in the metropolis (Strabo, iv. 1. 4). 
This magnificent temple was destroyed by the Goths in the 
reign of Gallienus, about a.d. 260. No ruins of it remain, 
and the site on which it stood is doubtful : " its remains are 
to be sought for in mediaeval buildings, in the columns of 
green jasper which support the dome of St. Sophia, or even 
in the naves of Italian cathedrals." 1 TVj? fieyaXr)? 0ea? 
\4/)Te/u6o9 — the great goddess Diana. The epithet " great" 
was the usual appellation of the gods, but particularly of the 
Ephesian Diana. Thus Xenophon Ephesius (a.d. 408) calls 

1 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. pp. 85, 86 ; Winer's 
Worterbuch, and Smith's Biblical Dictionary, article Ephesus ; Gibbon's 
Roman History. Hamilton places the temple at the western extremity 
of the town, near the harbour. " Here," he observes, "must have stood 
the celebrated temple of the Ephesian Diana, immediately in front of the 
port, raised upon a base thirty or forty feet high, and approached by a 
grand flight of steps, the ruins of which are still visible." Hamilton's 
Asia Minor, vol. ii. pp. 23-25. 


her rrjv fieyakrjv 'E^eertW 'Apre/Mv (Xen. Eph. i. 15); and 
there is an inscription in Boeckh containing the words, rfjs 
/jLeyd\r)<; 6ea$ 'ApTefuSos irpo TroXeco?. 1 The artful character of 
the address of Demetrius is here to be observed : he appeals 
both to the mercenary feelings of the workmen and to the 
fanaticism of the people : not only is our trade in danger of 
being destroyed, but the worship of the great goddess Diana is 
endangered : that temple which is the glory of our city and 
of the world is attacked ; we are called upon to fight for our 
hearths and our altars. Ephesus depended for its wealth 
upon its temple : V th rose and fell together. 

Ver. 29. ''flpfi^av — they rushed ; namely, Demetrius and 
his workmen, and those among the Ephesians who were 
stirred up. Eh to dearpov — into the theatre. The theatres 
among the Greeks were used not only for the representation 
of the games, but also for popular assemblies. Thus Josephus 
speaks of the people of Antioch meeting together for debate 
in the theatre (Bell. Jud. vii. 3. 3). And Tacitus, in his 
history of Vespasian, observes that Mucianus, one of his great 
supporters, went into the theatre, where the inhabitants were 
accustomed to hold their public debates (Tac. Hist. ii. 80). 
The theatre of Ephesus may still be traced. It is the largest 
which has yet been discovered, and is said to have been 
capable of containing fifty-six thousand persons. It was 
built on the flank of Mount Prion, with rows of seats rising 
above one another ; and was, according to the custom of the 
ancients, open to the sky. "Of the site of the theatre," 
observes Sir C. Fellows, u the scene of the tumult raised by 
Demetrius, there can be no doubt, its ruins being a wreck of 
immense grandeur. I think it must have been larger than 
the one at Miletus, and that exceeds any I have elsewhere 
seen in scale, although not in ornament. Its form alone can 
now be spoken of, for every seat is removed, and the pro- 
scenium is a hill of ruins." 2 

2vvap7rao-avTes — having caught, probably on their way to 
the theatre. Td'iov — Gains. Gaius is the Greek form of 
the Latin Caius, one of the most common names among the 
1 Boeckh, No. 2963. 2 Fellows, Asia Minor, p. 274. 


Romans. This Gaius, otherwise unknown to us, is distin- 
guished by his being a Macedonian from three persons of 
the same name mentioned in Scripture : first, from Gaius of 
Derbe, -who at a later period joined the apostle (Acts xx. 4) ; 
secondly, from Gaius of Corinth, who was among those few 
persons whom Paul baptized (1 Cor. i. 14), and with whom 
Paul lodged during his second (third?) visit to Corinth 
(Rom. xvi. 23) ; and thirdly, from Gaius of Ephesus, to 
whom long after this John wrote his third epistle (3 John 1). 
1 Aplcnapypv — Aristarchus. Aristarchus, on the other hand, 
is elsewhere mentioned in Scripture. He accompanied Paul 
on his memorable journey to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 4), and 
sailed with him, either as a fellow-prisoner or a volunteer, 
from Csesarea to Rome (Acts xxvii. 2). In one of his 
epistles, Paul speaks of him as his "fellow-prisoner" (Col. 
iv. 10), and in another as his " fellow- worker" (Philem. 24). 
Tradition varies in its account of him : according to one 
account, he was beheaded with Paul at Rome ; and according 
to another, he became bishop of Apamea. 

Ver. 30. Ek tov Bijfjbov — into the people. Af}fj,o$, the 
people assembled in council, a different word from b'xKos, 
the multitude. 

Ver. 31. TW? Be koX twv 'Ao-iap%(ov — also certain of the 
Asiarchs. The Asiarchs were persons chosen from the pro- 
vince of Asia, on account of their influence and wealth, to 
preside at and to defray the expenses of the public games 
in honour of the emperor and of the gods. According to 
Strabo, the Asiarchs were generally selected from the city of 
Tralles, as the inhabitants of that city were reckoned among 
the most wealthy in Asia (Strabo, xiv. 1. 42). There were 
similar persons in the other provinces : thus we read of the 
Galatarchs, the Bithyniarchs, the Syriarchs, Lyciarchs, etc. 
The manner in which the Asiarchs were chosen was as 
follows : Each city of the province of Asia elected a dele- 
gate ; these delegates met together in a council (to koivov), 
and elected ten who were to be the Asiarchs for that year. 
The election was annual, and had to be confirmed by the 
Roman proconsul before it was valid. It has been disputed 


whether there were ten Asiarchs, or whether there was only 
one chosen by the proconsul out of the ten whom the cities 
of Asia had elected. Those who think that there was only 
one Asiarch suppose that the plural is here used, either be- 
cause the whole ten bore the honorary title, or because the 
former Asiarchs, like the Jewish high priests, retained the 
name. The probability is, that one out of the ten was 
elected president, but that the whole ten bore the expenses 
of the games. 1 Eusebius, in his history, speaks of Philip 
the Asiarch at Smyrna declining to let loose a lion upon 
Polycarp, because he had already completed the exhibition 
of the games (Hist. Eccl. iv. 15). From the presence of 
the Asiarchs at Ephesus, it has been plausibly inferred that 
it was the season of the celebration of the games in honour 
of Diana. These Ephesian games, we are informed, occurred 
in the month of May ; and the month itself was called Arte- 
mision in honour of the goddess. Now the riot evidently 
took place toward the close of Paul's residence : he had 
resolved to remain at Ephesus until Pentecost, and this 
Jewish feast occurred about the end of May. From the 
great influx of the worshippers of Diana, the fanaticism 
of the people would be the more easily stirred up. "CWe? 
avru) <j>l\ot — who were his friends : not that they were con- 
verts to Christianity, but they entertained a respect for 
Paul, and wished to befriend him. Paul had so conducted 
himself during his long residence at Ephesus, as to secure 
the friendship of the chief inhabitants of the city. 2 

Ver. 32. "AWot, fiev ovv aXko re eicpatpv—Some therefore 
cried one thing, and some another. This is a description of a 
tumultuous meeting taken from life : assembled, they knew 
not for what purpose ; driven about by every gust of passion ; 
drawn together by noise and excitement ; and giving vent to 
their feelings by senseless outcries. 

Ver. 33. f E/c Be rod 6'%\ov irpoejSiftaaav 'AXeljavSpov — And 
they drew Alexander out of the crowd, the Jews putting him 

1 Meyer's ApostelgescMchte, p. 392. 

2 See Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, pp. 50-22. He justly ob- 
serves : " That the very maintainers and presidents of the heathen sports 


forward. The abrupt manner in which Alexander is men- 
tioned has given rise to various conjectures concerning him. 
Some (Calvin, Meyer, Baumgarten, Wieseler) suppose that 
he was a Christian, whom the Jews, hating as an apos- 
tate to their religion, wished to sacrifice to the rage of the 
people. They think that this is evident from the expression 
airoko'yelaOaLy u he wished to make his defence," which they 
refer to the accusation against the Christians. Others (Gro- 
tius and others) suppose that he was once a professed Chris- 
tian, but at this time an apostate and an enemy of Paul, and 
that he now stood forth to accuse him. And others (Beza, 
Winer, Neander, Lechler, Olshausen, Lange, Ewald, How- 
son, Davidson) suppose that he was a Jew, who was now 
put forth as an advocate for his countrymen to turn away the 
violence of the multitude from them to the Christians. This 
is certainly the most probable opinion. In the uproarious 
meeting there would be loud exclamations against all the 
opponents of the gods ; and among these opponents the Jews 
as well as the Christians would be included ; the rage of 
the multitude would be directed against both parties with- 
out distinction ; both would be attacked as the enemies of 
the gods. "HdeXev airoXo^eladai t&> 8^/zro — wished to make 
his defence to the people; that is, he would apologize to the 
people — make a defence, not of himself as an individual, but 
of his countrymen the Jews : he wished to throw the whole 
blame of the tumult on Paul and the Christians, and to ex- 
culpate the Jews. It is disputed whether this Alexander is 
the same with Alexander the coppersmith (o ^<z\/eeu9) men- 
tioned in the second Epistle to Timothy, and against whom 
Paul wrote with so great severity (2 Tim. iv. 14). The 
generality of critics distinguish between them. Ewald, how- 
ever, observes that this Alexander so abruptly named must 
have been a well-known person. Had he not been long 
known in Ephesus as a fluent mob-orator and as an enemy 
of Paul, the Jews would not have put him forward; and 

and festivals of a people to whom the doctrine of Christ and the resur- 
rection was foolishness, were the friends of Paul, was an assertion which 
no fabricator of a forgery would have ventured upon." 


hence he infers that he is the same with the bitter opponent 
of the apostle mentioned in the epistle. 1 Besides, the Alex- 
ander of the epistle was a coppersmith, and his trade may- 
have brought him into connection with Demetrius and the 
craftsmen of like occupation. The identity between them 
is not improbable. 

Ver. 34. 'JShr'vfltmrtts he on 'IovSaios io-nv — but when they 
knew that he was a Jew. 'Eo-nv in the present, for the sake 
of vividness in the description. This would seem to prove 
that Alexander was an unconverted Jew ; for if he were a 
Christian, that alone would have been sufficient to excite the 
fury of the multitude. The Jews were as much opposed 
to idolatry as the Christians, and, besides, were regarded 
by their heathen neighbours with feelings of contempt and 

Ver. 35. r O ypafifMaTevs — the town-clerk. The town-clerk 
(o ypafjufiaTevs 6 777? 7ro\ect)?, Thuc. vii. 10) was not, as some 
suppose, the officer chosen by the people to preside over the 
games, for this was the duty and office of the Asiarchs ; but 
the person who had the care of the archives of the city, and 
whose duty it was to draw up the official decrees, and to read 
them in the assemblies of the people. Next to the com- 
mander (o-TpaTryyos), he was the person of greatest import- 
ance in the Greek free cities. His name frequently occurs 
on coins and inscriptions. 2 The town-clerk here, like the 
Asiarchs, seems to have been friendly to Paul. 

Neco/copov T779 fjLeyaXTjs 'Apr&fiiSo? — the guardian of the 
great Diana. The usual meaning of vecofcopos is a temple- 
sweeper, or temple-keeper (i>ew?, a temple, and Kopeco, to 
sweep): it afterwards became an honorary title, and is so 
used in this passage. It was conferred on persons and cities. 
Particular cities were appointed guardians of particular 
deities ; and thus Ephesus received the honourable appella- 
tion of the guardian (veaytcopos) of the great Diana. This 
title is of frequent occurrence on the coins of Ephesus. 

1 Ewald's Geschichte des apostoliscJien Zeitalters, p. 484. 

2 Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, p. 53 ; Eckhel's Doctrina numo- 
rum veterum, vol. ii. p. 519. 


Thus, one of the coins of Nero, given by Akerman, has on 
it the figure of the temple Diana, with the word veco/copov : a 
coin which is of peculiar interest, as it was contemporary 
with the time of Paul's residence in Ephesus. 1 There are 
other coins in which this title is conferred on individuals. 
Thus we have on the coins of Hadrian, 'Efeo-tcov St? veco- 
Kopcov. So also on the coins of Heliogabalus is the in- 
scription, 'Efeaicov rerpa/as vecotcopcov; and of Geta and 
Caracalla, 'Ecpealcov rpw veco/copwv kol t?5? ' Apre/AiSos. 2 

Tov AiOTrerovs — of the image which fell from Jupiter, 
Ato7T6T7j<; compounded of Alos, Jupiter, and irlinta, to fall. 
'AyaXfAdTos has to be supplied to tov AioireTov? : the image 
of Diana worshipped in the temple of Ephesus, which was 
supposed to have fallen from heaven. There is no other 
mention of the supposed heavenly origin of this image ; but 
the heathen attached this superstitious notion to many of the 
images of their gods. Thus the image of the same goddess, 
the Diana of Tauris (Eurip. Iph. 977), the Minerva Polias of 
Athens (Paus. i. 26. 6), the Palladium of Troy (Apollod. iii. 
12. 3), the Ceres of Sicily (Cic. in Verr.), the Cybele of Pes- 
sinus (Herodian, i. 35), and the Ancile at Rome (Dion. Hal. 
ii. 71 : Plut. in Numa Pom.), were all said to have fallen 
from heaven. 3 Olshausen accounts for this superstition on the 
supposition that many of these images were aerolites. u The 
stone," he observes, u which the Romans brought from Asia 
to Rome as the image of Cybele, was undoubtedly a meteoric 
stone." 4 This, however, was not the case with the image of 
the Ephesian Diana, as we are expressly informed that it 
was of wood (Plin. xvi. 79 ; Xen. Anab. v. 3). The image 
was like a rude mummy with many breasts ; in each hand 
was a rod of iron ; and the head was surmounted with a 
mural crown. It bore no resemblance to the works of 
Grecian art, but rather to the images of the Hindoos. In 

1 Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, p. 55 ; Eckhel, Doctrina nu- 
morum veterum, vol. ii. p. 519. 

2 Eckhel's Doctrina numorum, vol. ii. p. 520. 

3 Biscoe on the Acts, p. 281. 

4 Olshausen on the Gospels and Acts, vol. iv. p. 465. 


all probability, it was the image which the Greeks found as 
the object of worship when they colonized Ionia, and to 
which they attached a mysterious significance. It must 
have escaped the burning of the temple by Herostratus. 

Vers. 36, 37. 'AvavTLpprjrcov ovv ovrcov tovtcov — these 
things, then, being incontrovertible. Spoken from the stand- 
point of a heathen : " since no one can call in question the 
zeal of the Ephesians, or doubt the sincerity and truth of 
their belief." Ovre lepoavXovs — neither robbers of temples : 
not guilty of sacrilege; they have made no attempt to 
plunder the temple or altar of Diana. The early preachers 
of Christianity avoided everything the least approaching to 
violence; the only weapon which they employed was per- 
suasion. Ovre j3\ao-<fyqfjuovvT(L<$ t)}v Oeav v/jloov — nor blas- 
phemers of your goddess. They have employed no harsh or 
reproachful language against Diana. Different meanings 
have been attached to this part of the speech of the town- 
clerk. As Paul must certainly have denounced idolatry, 
some suppose that the assertion that he was not a blas- 
phemer of the goddess was a mere falsehood, designed to 
calm the multitude ; others, that it only affirmed that Paul 
did not directly attack the worship of Diana ; and others, 
that in attacking idolatry he used no opprobrious language. 
The words, however, it -is to be observed, were spoken not 
with reference to the conduct of Paul at all, but to that of 
his companions Gaius and Aristarchus. At all events, we 
may well believe that Paul exercised the utmost prudence 
and moderation in preaching to the heathen : he did not 
needlessly hurt their prejudices by invective and offensive 
language : he reasoned with the people, but did not revile 
their gods : he did not so much attack error, as establish 
truth. In his speech to the Athenians we have probably 
only an instance of the remarkable prudence which pervaded 
his discourses. 

Ver. 38. 'Ayopcuot, wyovrai — court-days are held. The 
governors of the Roman provinces held courts in the chief 
cities to which they repaired on circuit. Ephesus, as we 
learn from Pliny, was one of these assize towns (Pliny, v. 


31). Besides this, it was a free town, and had also its own 
courts and magistrates. The senate (yepovcrla) of the Ephe- 
sians is mentioned by Josephus (Ant. xiv. 10. 25), and the 
popular assembly (&7/Z09) is alluded to in this passage (vers. 
30, 33). Kal avdviraroi elaiv — and there are proconsuls. It 
is undoubtedly certain that Asia was in the time of Paul a 
senatorial province, and hence governed by proconsuls : the 
title avOviraros frequently appears on the coins of this 
period. 1 The use of the term in the plural here (avdviraTov) 
has given rise to some discussion, as there does not appear to 
have been ever more than one proconsul at a time. Some 
(Basnage, Biscoe, Doddridge, Lewin), however, suppose that 
at this particular time there were two men who executed the 
proconsular office in Asia. In the beginning of the reign of 
Nero, Junius Silanus, the proconsul of Asia, was murdered 
by Celer and Helius at the instigation of Agrippina, the 
emperor's mother (Tac. Ann. xiii. 1) ; and it is supposed that 
they now administered the proconsular office until a new 
appointment was made. 2 Tacitus, however, does not say 
that they succeeded to the office of Silanus ; nor would they 
be called proconsuls, even although they had the temporary 
management of the province during the vacancy. Howson 
conjectures that some of the proconsuls of the neighbouring 
provinces, as Achaia, Cilicia, Cyprus, Bithynia, Pamphylia, 
might be present at the public games ; but the mention of 
them could not tend to quiet the multitude, as they would 
have no jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of their respec- 
tive provinces. Grotius thinks that the proconsul and his 
lieutenant are meant ; and Alford understands the proconsul 
and his assessors. The opinion of Meyer appears to be the 
most probable, that the term proconsuls is used in a general 
sense, and that the meaning is, that there is always a pro- 
consul ; just as we speak of Asia being governed by pro- 
consuls, or India being ruled by governors-general. 

Ver. 39. 'Ev rfj ipvo/j,<p eK/cXTjala — in a legal assembly: 
an assembly convened according to law. Legitimus coetus 

1 Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, p. 55. 

2 Lewin's St. Paul, vol. i. p. 450. 

THE TUMULT AT EPHESUS. — XIX. 40, 41. 225 

est, qui a magistrate, civitatis convocatur et regitur (Grotius). 
The town-clerk thus indirectly affirmed that the present 
assembly was an illegal one. The rule of the people (&7/109) 
was recognised in Ephesus as a free city, but it was neces- 
sary that their assemblies should be called in a legal manner, 
and not on the mere excitement of the moment. 

Yers. 40, 41. Kuvhvvevofiev iyfcaXelo-daL o-Tacreo)? 7repl t?}? 
ari/jbepov — we are in danger of being called in question for this 
day's uproar. The Romans, although they granted freedom 
to many of the Greek cities, yet were very jealous of their 
popular assemblies. There was a Roman law which made 
it capital to raise a riot. Qui ccetum et concursum feeerit 
capite puniatur (Sulpicius Victor, Instit. Orat.) ; Qui coetum 
et concursum feeerit capitale sit (Seneca, Controv. iii. 8). The 
Greek words here used, o-rao-ea)? and o-vo-rpocfrrjs, correspond 
to the Latin terms in the law, coetum and concursum. Mtj- 
Bevb? alrlov virap'XpvTos, etc. — there being no ground on which 
we could give an account of this concourse; such as fire, 
sudden invasion, or some similar emergency, which might 
justify a concourse of the people. 'Airekva-ev tt)v i/c/cXrjalav 
— he dismissed the assembly. " Thus he extinguished their 
wrath. For as it is easily kindled, it is easily extinguished" 



SULAR ASIA.— Acts xx. 1-16. 

1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul, having called the disciples, 
and embraced them, departedto go to Macedonia. 2 And when he had 
gone through those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he 
came to Greece. 3 And after staying three months, a conspiracy against 
him being formed by the Jews as he was about to sail to Syria, he pur- 
posed to return through Macedonia. 4 And there accompanied him as 
far as Asia, Sopater the son of Pyrrhus of Berea ; and of the Thessa- 
lonians, Aristarchus and Secundus ; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus ; 
and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These, having gone before, 
waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed from Philippi after the days of 
unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days ; where we 
remained seven days. 

7 And upon the first day of the week, when we came together to 
break bread, Paul discoursed to them, ready to depart on the morrow ; and 
continued his speech until midnight. 8 And there were many lights in 
the upper chamber, where we were assembled. 9 And a certain young 
man named Eutychus sat at the window, being fallen into a deep sleep : 
and as Paul was long discoursing, he was overcome by sleep, and fell 
from the third storey, and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul, having 
gone down, fell on him, and embracing him, said, Trouble not your- 
selves; for his life is in him. 11 Then having gone up, and broken 
bread, and eaten, and discoursed a long while, even till break of day, so 
he departed. 12 And they brought the lad alive, and were not a little 

13 And we went before to ship, and sailed to Assos, there intending 
to take up Paul : for so he had appointed, intending himself to go by 
land. 14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him up, and 
came to Mitylene. 15 And we sailed thence, and came on the following 
day over against Chios ; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and 
tarried at Trogy Ilium ; and the next day we came to Miletus. 16 For 
Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, because he would not spend 
the time in Asia ; for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be 
at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. 




Ver. 1. A, B, D, K insert /cal irapaKaXeaa^ before aaira- 
crafLevos, the reading adopted by Lachmann and Alford: 
these words are, however, omitted by Tischendorf and Meyer, 
in accordance with G, H. Yer. 4. "Ayjpi t?}$ 'Aaia? are 
omitted in B, K, but found in A, D, E, G, H, and regarded 
as spurious by Lekebusch, but retained by Tischendorf and 
Meyer. TIvppov after ScoTrarpos is found in A, B, D, E, K, 
and is inserted by all the later critics. Ver. 7. Twv fMadnrcop 
(textus receptus) are found in G, H ; whereas A, B, D, E, K 
have rjfjL&V) the reading adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, 
and Bornemann. So also rjpuev before avvrjyfievoi, in ver. 8, 
is to be preferred to rjaav. Ver. 15. The words teal pLeivavre*; 
iv TpcoyvXiq) are omitted in A, B, C, E, K, and are rejected 
by Lachmann : they are contained in D, G, H, and retained 
by Tischendorf and Meyer. The probable reason of their 
omission is, that the text would seem to imply that Trogyllium 
was in the island of Samos, whereas in reality it was on 
the mainland. Ver. 16. G, H read eicpive, whereas A, B, 
C, D, E, K read Keicp'ucei, the reading adopted by modern 


Ver. 1. Mera Be to iravaaaOai. top Qopvftov — And after the 
uproar was ceased. Some (Hug, Michaelis, Ewald) suppose 
that the uproar was the occasion of Paul's departure ; but its 
cessation and failure are arguments against this view of the 
subject. The words indicate the time, not the motive, of 
Paul's departure. He had, before the disturbance, made his 
arrangements to leave Ephesus (Acts xix. 22). It is pro- 
bable, then, that he did not depart sooner than he intended 
— namely, at Pentecost of the year 57 ; for, writing to the 
Corinthians, he says, " I will tarry at Ephesus until Pente- 
cost" (1 Cor. xvi. 8) ; exactly a year before he came to 
Jerusalem, where he arrived on the Pentecost of the follow- 
ing year (Acts xx. 16). 'EtjyXdev — departed. Paul had 


remained at Ephesus longer than at any other city : he him- 
self says that he had continued there for the space of three 
years (Acts xx. 31) ; during which period it is probable that 
he preached the gospel in other cities of proconsular Asia. 
Uopevdrjvai e& tj]v Mcucehoviav — to go into Macedonia. We 
learn from the second Epistle to the Corinthians that he 
went to Macedonia by the way of Alexandria Troas (2 Cor. 
ii. 12, 13), sailing in all probability from Ephesus to Troas. 
In Troas he remained for some time preaching the gospel : 
" a door was opened unto him of the Lord." But he did not 
continue long there: he had expected the arrival of Titus 
with tidings from the church of Corinth ; but being disap- 
pointed in this, and unable to endure longer suspense, he 
left Troas and crossed over to Macedonia, where he met with 
Titus (2 Cor. vii. 5, 6). 

Ver. 2. AiekOcbv Be ra fieprj eicelva — and having gone 
through these parts. He would again visit those cities of 
Macedonia where he had founded churches — namely, Philippi, 
Thessalonica, and Berea. Six years had elapsed since Paul 
had first visited Macedonia, and been beaten with rods in 
the market-place of Philippi. It was at this time that Paul 
preached the gospel in the neighbourhood of Illyricum. In 
the Epistle to the Romans, written a few months later, he 
says : u From Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I 
have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Rom. xv. 19). 
By Illyricum is meant the district of country along the shores 
of the Adriatic to the west of Macedonia. Now Paul had 
only visited Macedonia twice: on his former visit he had 
traversed only the eastern part, whereas this second visit is 
here stated in general terms : it must, then, have been on 
this occasion that he crossed over to the western part of the 
country adjoining Illyricum. 1 The whole province of Mace- 
donia was thus fully evangelized. Paul had visited the four 
districts into which the country was divided : Philippi and 
Amphipolis were in Macedonia Prima ; Thessalonica was 
the capital of Macedonia Secunda ; Berea was a town of 
Macedonia Tertia ; and now in his second visit he completed 
1 See Paley's Horse Paulinse— Romans, No. IV. 


the circuit of the province by preaching the gospel in Mace- 
donia Quarta, bordering on Illyricum (Li v. xlv. 30). 

It was during the earlier part of his journey through 
Macedonia that Paul wrote the second Epistle to the Corin- 
thians. It was in Macedonia that Titus met the apostle 
(2 Cor. vii. 6) : in his epistle he speaks of the liberality of 
the churches of Macedonia (2 Cor. viii. 1, 2), and announces 
his intention of coming to Corinth (2 Cor. xiii. 1). Titus 
was accordingly sent back to Corinth with the epistle, accom- 
panied by two brethren (2 Cor. viii. 18-22). It has been 
plausibly conjectured that one of these brethren was Luke, 
the author of the Acts. He had been left behind by Paul 
on his former visit at Philippi (Acts xvi. 40), and must now 
have rejoined him; but it is not until Paul's return from 
Corinth that the narrative takes the direct form (Acts xx. 5). 1 
Hence, then, it is probable that, during this visitation of the 
churches of Macedonia, Luke was not with the apostle, but 
had been sent by him to Corinth in company with Titus, as 
one of the messengers of the churches (2 Cor. viii. 23). 

9 H\6ev ek tyjv 'EWdSa — came into Greece. Schrader 
supposes that by Greece is meant the district between the 
Peloponnesus and Thessaly, especially Attica, of which 
Athens was the capital. But it would rather seem that 
Greece here denotes the Roman province of Achaia, com- 
prehending Greece proper and the Peloponnesus, the capital 
of which was Corinth (Acts xix. 21). As Paul must have 
spent several months in Macedonia and Illyricum, 2 it would 
be the winter season, and hence it is probable that he went 
to Greece (Corinth) by land. Athens is not again mentioned 
after Acts xviii. 1, so that it is uncertain if he revisited that 

Ver. 3. HoLrjcras is an example of what grammarians call 
an anacoluthon — an instance of altered construction : gram- 
matically it should be in the dative, iroirjcravTij to agree with 
avro) understood. 3 Hoi^as re fjt,i]va<z rpels — having st 

1 See Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 277, note. 

2 Probably from June to November 57 : Kenan's Saint Paul, 439. 
8 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 589. 


there three months. These three months 1 were doubtless spent 
at Corinth, and in its neighbourhood. His long-promised 
visit to that city was accomplished, and he now carried into 
fulfilment his purpose of wintering there (1 Cor. xvi. 6). 

It was during this residence at Corinth that Paul wrote 
the Epistle to the Romans. In it he mentions the u contribu- 
tions for the poor saints " which were then being made in the 
churches of Macedonia and Achaia, and with which he was 
going to Jerusalem (Rom. xv. 25-27) : he speaks of Gaius, 
his host (Rom. xvi. 23), and there was a Corinthian convert of 
that name (1 Cor. i. 24) : salutations are sent from Timothy 
and Sosipater (Sopater) (Rom. xvi. 21), and these two ac- 
companied the apostle from Corinth into Asia (Acts xx. 4) : 
and the epistle was sent by Phoebe, a deaconess of the church 
at Cenchrea, the port of Corinth (Rom. xvi. 1). 

revo/nivrjs eVfySouAi)? avT<p viro tcov 'Iou&uW, etc. — a con- 
spiracy against him being formed by the Jews as he ivas about 
to sail to Syria. Paul intended to sail direct from Cenchrea, 
the western port of Corinth, to Antioch in Syria, but was 
prevented by a conspiracy of the Jews. It does not appear 
how a journey by land was less dangerous than a voyage by 
sea. Some suppose that Paul was constrained to leave Corinth 
earlier than he intended in the winter season, when no voyages 
were made ; but according to the text, the conspiracy occurred 
as he was about to sail to Syria. The probability is, that the 
Jews became aware of Paul's intention to sail, and watched 
the port of Cenchrea in order to kill him. The apostle thus 
concluded his ministry in Macedonia and Achaia ; and, as he 
writes to the Romans, he had no more place in those parts, 
and now casts a longing look toward Rome (Rom. xv. 23). 
The work of the collection was finished ; the gospel was pro- 
pagated to Illyricum; now he was on his way to Jerusalem, 
and thence to Rome. 

Ver. 4. Svvel7T6T0 Be avru> — but there accompanied him : 

from Macedonia, but possibly also from Corinth. ""Ayjpi rfjs 

*A<rLa<$ — as far as Asia. The genuineness of these words 

has been questioned. They are wanting in the Vatican and 

1 Probably from December 57 to February 58. 


Sinaitic manuscripts, in two cursive manuscripts (13, 81), 
in the Vulgate, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions. 1 They have, 
however, been received by the majority of recent critics. If 
genuine, the meaning is, that the following persons accom- 
panied Paul as far as proconsular Asia : they went with him 
the length of Miletus. But this appears at variance with the 
fact that we find Trophimus with the apostle in Jerusalem 
(Acts xxi. 29), and Aristarchus accompanying him to Rome 
(Acts xxvii. 2). Either, then, the words are a general state- 
ment that the whole seven went no farther than Asia, although 
some of them may have accompanied the apostle to Jerusalem ; 
or, what is less probable, that Trophimus and Aristarchus, 
although they remained behind with the rest, yet afterwards 
rejoined the apostle. 2 

S(07rarpo<i JJuppov Bepoiaio? — Sopater the son of Pyrrhus 
of Berea; the same name as Sosipater, and probably the 
same as Paul's kinsman of that name mentioned in Rom. 
xvi. 21, who was with him at Corinth. QeaaakoviKewv Be 
' 'Aplarap'xos /ecu He/covvSos — and of the Thessalonians, Aristar- 
chus and Secundus. Aristarchus was already mentioned as a 
Macedonian (Acts xix. 29), with which his being a native of 
Thessalonica agrees. He attended Paul on his voyage to 
Rome, and was a fellow-labourer and a fellow-prisoner with 
him in that city. 3 Secundus is nowhere again mentioned. 
Kal Tdlos Aepfialos, ical Tifiodeo? — and Gaius of Derbe, and 
Timotheus. This Gaius was a different person from Gaius 
the Macedonian formerly mentioned (Acts xix. 29), as Derbe 
was a city of Lycaonia. Some (Kuincel, Wieseler, Olshausen), 
in order to identify them, render the passage thus : " Of the 
Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus and Gaius, also 
Timotheus of Derbe;" thus referring the epithet A epfiaios 
not to Gaius, but to Timothy. The conjunction /cat, how- 
ever, occurring in this list of names, and intervening between 
Aepfiafo? and Tifiodeos, does not admit of this rendering. 
To obviate this objection, Kuincel, contrary to the authority 

1 See Lekebusch's Apostelgeschichte, p. 164. 

2 Oertel's Paulus in der Apostelgeschichte, p. 50. 

3 See note to Acts xix. 29. 


of manuscripts, would read Aepfiaios Se Tifiodeos; but con- 
jectural emendation is inadmissible. Besides, Timothy was 
most probably a native not of Derbe, but of Lystra. 1 No 
local epithet is attached to Timothy, perhaps because his 
residence was supposed to be well known. The Syriac ver- 
sion reads, M Timotheus of Lystra." "'Aaiavol Se, Tv^ikos ko\ 
Tpo<f)i/jLo<; — and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. Both are 
elsewhere alluded to in Scripture. Tychicus was the bearer 
of the Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians (Col. iv. 
7, 8; Eph. vi. 21, 22). Paul there calls him " a beloved 
brother and faithful minister of the Lord." In the Epistle 
to Titus he mentions his intention of sending him to Crete 
(Tit. iii. 12) ; and in his last epistle he tells Timothy that 
he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus (2 Tim. iv. 12). Accord- 
ing to tradition, he afterwards became bishop of Chalcedon 
in Bithynia. Trophimus appears on this occasion to have 
accompanied the apostle not only to Asia, but to Jerusalem ; 
for his being in Paul's company in that city was the occasion 
of the apostle's apprehension (Acts xxi. 29). He is again 
mentioned in Paul's last epistle : u Trophimus have I left at 
Miletum sick" (2 Tim. iv. 20). According to tradition, 
Trophimus was one of the seventy disciples, and after the 
death of Paul was beheaded under Nero. Besides the above 
seven, the historian Luke was of the number of Paul's 

The number and mention of the names of Paul's com- 
panions do not permit us to suppose that it was accidental. 
Some think that they accompanied Paul as a body-guard, to 
protect him from the violence of the Jews. Others imagine 
that it was to aid him in his missionary work. Baumgarten 
supposes that they went with Paul to Jerusalem, as the 
representatives of the converted Gentile world, both to the 
community of believers in Jerusalem and to the unbelieving 
inhabitants of the city ; and that they were seven in number, 
to correspond with the number of the deacons. 2 Were it not 
for the disputed words, a^pi t^s 'Aaias, we would assent to 

1 See note to Acts xvi. 1. 

2 Baumgarten's Apostolic History, vol. ii. pp. 311, 312. 


the opinion that they were the messengers of their respective 
churches, carrying the contributions to the poor saints at 
Jerusalem. Such contributions we know were made, and 
Paul advised the churches to appoint messengers to accom- 
pany him (1 Cor. xvi. 3, 4). Perhaps several of those who 
now accompanied Paul, as Aristarchus, Trophimus, and Luke, 
and who went with him to Jerusalem, were those messengers 
of the churches. 

Ver. 5. Ovtoi irpoeXOovTes — these going before. The natu- 
ral rendering is to refer ovtol to the whole seven who went 
before, as distinguished from rjp,a<$, us, who remained behind 
at Philippi. If so, this verse is decisive against the hypothesis 
that Timothy is the writer of those parts of the Acts where 
the author speaks of himself ; inasmuch as Timothy was one 
of those who went before and waited for the apostle and 
author at Troas. 1 "Efievov r^im — waited for us. Here the 
author rejoins the apostle, and the direct style of narrative 
is continued until the arrival at Jerusalem. There is now a 
freshness and minuteness about the narrative, indicating the 
description of an eye-witness. Luke seems, on Paul's first 
visit to Macedonia, to have remained behind at Philippi, as 
the direct style of narrative is there dropped (Acts xvi. 16) ; 
and now when Paul, passing again through Macedonia, came 
to Philippi, Luke rejoins him, and the direct style is re- 
sumed. 'Ev TpcpdSi — at Troas. For a description of Alex- 
andria Troas, see note to Acts xvi. 8. 

Ver. 6. Mera Ta? rjfiepas tcov d^vfioov — after the days of 
unleavened bread. No reason is assigned why Paul's com- 
panions preceded him. Meyer supposes that Paul remained 
behind at Philippi to celebrate the Passover. This reason 
certainly did not equally apply to his companions, as most of 
them were Gentiles ; but it hardly accords with the freedom 
of Paul's views. The days of unleavened bread seem to 
be merely mentioned as a date. The section Acts xx. 1-6 
comprehends a period of ten months, from Pentecost of the 
year 57 to the Passover of the year 58 ; three of which 
months Paul spent in Corinth. ' A%pi fjfjLepwv irevre — in five 

1 See remarks upon the authorship of the Acts in the Introduction. 


days. When Paul on a former occasion sailed from Troas 
to Neapolis, he accomplished the voyage in two days (Acts, 
xvi. 11) ; whereas five days were now consumed in sailing 
in the opposite direction, from Neapolis to Troas. The 
navigation of the sea was uncertain, and they were perhaps 
hindered by contrary winds or by a calm. 

Ver. 7. 'Ev Se tjj fiia t&v o-a/3/3dr(DV — and upon the first 
day of the week. Mia, the cardinal number, is here used for 
7TpG)Tr}, the ordinal number. Safifidrcov in the plural, used 
for the singular, in imitation of the Hebrew form. The 
word is frequently used after numerals in the signification of 
a week (Matt, xxviii. 1 ; Mark xvi. 2 ; John xx. 19 ; 1 Cor. 
xvi. 2). Meyer supposes that it was perhaps only accidental 
that this assembly took place on the first day of the week, 
because Paul intended to depart on the morrow j 1 but such a 
supposition hardly accounts for the mention of the particular 
day. Accordingly it is generally supposed that we have here 
an incidental proof of the observance of the Lord's day. 
Such a day was consecrated by the resurrection of Christ ; 
and it was requisite that a particular day should be fixed for 
the meeting of the Gentile converts for worship. We learn 
not merely from ecclesiastical history, but from Scripture, 
that the first day of the week was set apart for this purpose. 
The apostle advises the Corinthians, each on the first day of 
the week to lay by him in store as God had prospered him 
(1 Cor. xvi. 2) ; and the phrase iv t§ /cvpiafcr) rjfJLepa occurs 
in Rev. i. 10. Justin Martyr observes that the Christians 
in his time, both in the cities and in the country, were 
accustomed to assemble for worship on the day called Sun- 
day (777 rod rfkiov Xeyo/jbevy rjfjLepa). 

KXdaac dprov — to break bread ; that is, to celebrate the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, with the observance of which 
the Agapse, or love-feast, seems to have been united at this 
time. 2 Me%pi fieaovv/CTLov — until midnight. The assembly 
was held at night, as seems generally to have been the 
practice with the early Christians. Perhaps Luke mentions 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 400. 

2 See note to Acts ii. 42. 


the day in accordance with the Jewish method of reckoning 
from evening to evening, according to which method the 
first day of the week would commence with the evening 
of Saturday ; so that the assembly would meet on Satur- 
day evening, and Paul and his companions would depart 
on Sunday morning. As, however, the congregation were 
chiefly Gentiles, the reckoning is more probably in accord- 
ance with their practice ; so that the evening of the first day 
of the week would be the evening of Sunday. 1 

Ver. 8. *Haav Be Aa/A7ra£e? Itcaval — and there were many 
lights. Kuinoel thinks that the room was brilliantly illumined 
on account of the solemnity of the occasion, for so the Jews 
were accustomed to celebrate their festive days ; Calvin and 
Bengel suppose that many lights were used in order that 
all suspicion might be removed from the assembly ; Meyer 
thinks that the lights are noticed to show that the fall of 
Eutychus was at once perceived. But, as Hackett observes, 
" it has much more the appearance of having proceeded 
from an eye-witness, who mentions the incident not for the 
purpose of obviating a difficulty which might occur to the 
reader, but because the entire scene stood now with such 
minuteness and vividness before his mind." 2 

Ver. 9. ^Eirl t?}? Ovpihos — at the window. The windows 
in the East are without glass, and closed with lattice-work. 
They are in general large, and reach down to the floor, so 
that they resemble a door rather than a modern window. 
They open for the most part not to the street, but to the 
court below, and are generally kept open on account of the 
heat of the climate. Kareve^deh cltto tov vttvov — being over- 
come by sleep. The construction of the four participles is as 
follows : — " A certain young man, named Eutychus, sitting 
at the window, falling into a deep sleep, as Paul was long 
preaching, being overcome with sleep, fell from the third 
storey." 3 The article is placed before vttvov, because the 

1 Hackett on the Acts of the Apostles, p. 330 ; Wordsworth on the Acts, 
p. 138. 

2 Hackett on the Acts of the Apostles, p. 331. 

3 Lange's Bibelwerk : Apostelgeschichte. Von Lechler, p. 327. 


sleep was already mentioned. Kal r\pQr] ve/cpo? — and was 
taken up dead. These words plainly intimate that he was 
taken up lifeless, and do not admit of the interpretation 
u as dead," which would require the addition of a>? before 

Ver. 10. Karafias Be 6 ITaOXo? — but Paul having gone 
down ; that is, from the upper room to the court below. 
^Eireirecrev avrco Kal (rv/JLTreptXaficov — fell on him, and embrac- 
ing him ; employing the same actions which Elijah used 
when he restored to life the son of the widow of Sarepta 
(1 Kings xviii. 21), and Elisha when he raised the son of 
the Shunammite woman (2 Kings iv. 34). r H yap -^rv^rj 
avrov iv avTG> iarcv — for his life is in him : in a similar 
manner as our Saviour, when about to restore the daughter 
of Jairus to life, said, " The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth" 
(Luke viii. 52). 

It has been disputed whether we have here a mere revival 
of suspended animation or an actual restoration to life. 
Some (Kuinoel, Olshausen, Ewald, De Wette) suppose that 
Eutychus was stunned by the fall, and was only apparently 
dead. In support of this, they appeal to the words of Paul, 
u his life is in him." But it is to be observed that these 
words were spoken after Paul had fallen on him and em- 
braced him ; that is, after he had performed those actions 
which in the case of the prophets accompanied the raising 
of the dead ; so that his life may already have been restored. 
Paul, then, in saying, " his life is in him," may have been 
asserting that he was recalled to life. On the other hand, 
we are expressly informed that he was taken up dead ; and 
it is inadmissible to translate the word ve/cpbs as if it were 
equivalent to <w? veicpb<;. Besides, tfyayov tpivra, " they led 
him alive " (ver. 12), is opposed to rjpdr] ve/cpos, u he was taken 
up dead" (ver. 9). The whole account of the incident, the 
actions of the apostle and the importance of the occurrence 
which occasioned its insertion in the narrative, decidedly 
leave the impression that Luke intended to relate an actual 
raising from the dead. The words "his life is in him" no 
more intimate that Eutychus had not been dead, than do the 


words of our Saviour, " The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth," 
that the daughter of Jairus was not actually dead. 1 Nor is 
there any reason to affirm, with Lekebusch, that there is a 
designed ambiguity in the expression, because the author 
himself was not perfectly convinced of the miraculous nature 
of the incident. 2 

Ver. 11. *AvafSa<$ he — and having gone up ; that is, from 
the court below to the upper room. Kal Kkaaras rov dprov, 
Kol yevo-dfievo? — and having broken bread, and eaten. The 
article before dprov refers to the bread formerly mentioned 
(ver. 7). Hence it would seem that it is the same breaking 
of bread which is mentioned in both verses. The disciples 
had met together to celebrate the Lord's Supper, and to 
partake of the Agapee. Before doing so, Paul discoursed to 
them : the feast was interrupted by the fall and death of 
Eutychus ; but after the raising of Eutychus it was resumed. 
The Agapae was actually a meal ; and hence the term yeucrd- 
jievo^ having eaten, is not inappropriate. Others (Grotius, 
Kuinoel, Howson) suppose that the Lord's Supper and the 
Agapae were observed as soon as they assembled, and that 
the act of eating here mentioned was a common refreshment, 
of which Paul and his companions partook before their de- 

Ver. 12. "Hyayov he rov iralha f&Wa — and they led the 
lad alive ; that is, not they brought him home, but they led 
him into the assembly. Z&vtcl opposed to ve/cpos (ver. 9). 
Kal TrapeKkrjdnuav ov /jLerplco<; — and were not a little com- 
forted, by the fact that he was alive, and also by the evidence 
which such a wonderful miracle as the restoration to life 
imparted to the gospel. 

Ver. 13. 'Hfjueh — we ; that is, Luke and Paul's other 
companions. 'EttI ttjv "Aaaov — to Assos. Assos, called 
also by Pliny Apollonia (Plin. v. 32), was a seaport of 
proconsular Asia, in the district of Mysia, nearly opposite 
to the island of Lesbos (Strabo, xiii. 1. 51). Assos is now 
called Beahrahm. The ruins, according to Sir C. Fellows, 

1 See Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 269. 

2 Lekebusch's Entstehung der Apostelgeschichte, p. 381. 


extend for miles : on every side are columns of beautiful 
sculpture, and many of them with exquisite carvings. But 
the most singular of these remains is the Via Sacra, or the 
Street of Tombs, stretching for miles. The distance of 
Assos from Troas by land was about twenty miles ; whilst 
it was more than twice that distance by sea, as in sailing a 
vessel had to go round Cape Lectum. Hackett mentions 
that a friend of his travelled on foot between these two 
places in five hours. Sir C. Fellows, however, took eight 
hours to travel from Assos to Troas, and calculated the 
distance at thirty miles. 1 

MiWcov avrbs ire^eveiv — intending himself to go by land. 
Paul's companions went from Troas to Assos by sea, but he 
himself went on foot. Calvin supposes that Paul's journey 
by land was from a regard to health (valetudinis causa), in 
order to escape sea-sickness ; Michaelis, in order to avoid 
the snares of the Jews ; Meyer and Alford, for the sake of 
ministerial usefulness in the intermediate places ; Olshausen, 
that he might enjoy the company of believers from Troas ; 
Ewald, Baumgarten, and Howson, from a desire to be alone. 
" The desire for solitude," observes Howson, "was one reason 
why he lingered at Troas after his companions. The dis- 
comfort of a crowded ship is unfavourable for devotion ; and 
prayer and meditation are necessary for maintaining the 
religious life even of an apostle. That Saviour to whose 
service he was devoted, had often prayed in solitude on the 
mountain, and crossed the brook Kedron to kneel under the 
olives of Gethsemane. And strength and peace were sought 
and obtained by the apostle from the Kedeemer, as he pursued 
his lonely road that Sunday afternoon in spring among the 
oak woods and streams of Ida." 2 All these, however, are 
mere conjectures, as no reason is assigned by the evangelist. 

Ver. 14. Ek MnvXrjvrjv — to Mitylene. From Assos Paul 
and his companions sailed to Mitylene, a distance of about 
thirty miles. Mitylene, the capital of the island of Lesbos, 

1 For a minute and very interesting description of the ruins of Assos, 
see Fellows' Asia Minor, pp. 46-56. 

2 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 259 


was celebrated for the beauty of its situation and the mag- 
nificence of its buildings. Horace calls it Mitylene pulchra 
(Epis. i. 11. 17) ; and Cicero observes, et natura et descriptione 
cedificiorum et pulchritudine imprimis nobilis (Cic. contra 
Hull. ii. 16). It was famous as the birth-place of Sappho 
and the poet Alcseus (Strabo, xiii. 2. 2). Like most of the 
Greek cities, it received from the Romans the privilege of 
freedom. The whole island is now under the Turkish power, 
and is called by the ancient name of its capital, Mitylene. 
The capital itself, upon the same site, is now called Castro : 
there are extensive ruins in the neighbourhood. 

Ver. 15. 'AvTLKpvs Xlov — over against Chios. Chios, a 
fertile island in the Archipelago, between Lesbos and Samos, 
off the coast of Ionia, was celebrated in ancient times for its 
products of wine and gum (Strabo, xiv. 1. 15, 35). In the 
time of Paul it enjoyed the privileges of freedom. It is 
now called Scio, and was the scene of the memorable 
massacre of the Greeks by the Turks in 1823. 

IIapel3d\ofjL€v et? Sdfiov — we arrived at Samos. Samos 
was at this time a very populous island, off the coast of 
Lydia, from which it was separated by a narrow channel. It 
was celebrated for its fertility and numerous products. Under 
the rule of the Turks it has greatly decreased in population. 
The vessel in which Paul sailed did not remain over-night 
at Samos, but crossed over to Trogyllium on the mainland. 

*Ev TpooyvWco) — in Trogyllium. Trogyllium was the name 
of a city and promontory between Ephesus and the mouth 
of the Meander, at the foot of Mount Mycale. The channel 
between it and the island of Samos was very narrow, being 
only about a mile broad (Strabo, xiv. 1. 12). A little to 
the east of the head of the promontory there is an anchorage 
which is still called St. Paul's Port. 

Ek MI\t)tov — to Miletus. Miletus, called also Miletum, 
was a very celebrated city in ancient times, situated near the 
mouth of the Meander. It was the ancient capital of Ionia, 
the mother of numerous colonies, and the birth-place of a 
great number of distinguished men. When in its glory" 'it 
possessed four harbours, and was renowned for its riches and 


commerce. "This city," observes Strabo, "has four harbours, 
one of which will admit a fleet of ships. The citizens have 
achieved many great deeds, but the most important is the 
number of colonies which they established. The whole 
Euxine and the Propontis, and many other places, are 
peopled with their settlers." Miletus suffered much from 
war : it was successively taken and destroyed by the Lydians, 
Persians, and Greeks (Strabo, xiv. 1. 6). In the time of 
Paul it had declined, and was only a second-rate town. The 
silting up of the Meander damaged its commerce, and the 
neighbouring city of Ephesus flourished at its expense. The 
site of the once famous city of Miletus is now a swamp, and 
few remains exist of the proud capital of Ionia. 1 

Ver. 16. Hapanrkevcrai Trjv"E$€<rov — to sail past Ephesus. 
Miletus was about thirty miles to the south of Ephesus. 
Paul had already sailed past Ephesus when he came to 
Samos, and he was much nearer it at Trogyllium than at 
Miletus. But the ship only anchored for the night at 
Trogyllium ; whereas at Miletus, being a commercial town, 
it remained for some days. Paul did not himself go to 
Ephesus, because he might be detained in that city ; and 
therefore he sent for the Ephesian elders to come to him. 
Some suppose that there is evidence from the narrative that 
the ship was at Paul's disposal, and had been hired at Troas 
for the voyage to Patara (Acts xxi. 1). There does not, how- 
ever, seem to be sufficient grounds for this : there is nothing 
to show that it depended on Paul's decision whether they 
stopped or proceeded : if so, we would have expected that he 
would have met with the Ephesian elders at Trogyllium 
rather than at the more distant city Miletus. His journey 
to Assos on foot is easily accounted for, as the ship had 
double the distance to sail, and anchored at Assos for the 
night, so that Paul would arrive there in perfect time. 

*E<nrevhev yap, el Svvarbv rjv avrq), rrjv rjfiepav rrj<; UevTT)- 
/coo-tt)? — for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be 
at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Paul did not think 

1 See Fellows' Asia Minor, pp. 264, 265. Also for these geographical 
notices generally, see Lewin, and Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul. 


that he was under any moral obligation to go up regularly 
to the annual festivals at Jerusalem. Although a Jew, he 
was free from the strictness of the Jewish laws. But he 
would have an opportunity at the great annual feast of 
meeting a vast number of Jews, assembled from all quarters 
at Jerusalem; and thus, as he trusted, of removing many 
prejudices which had been formed against his person and 
ministry. For this reason he thought it most important to 
be at Jerusalem on Pentecost. Already three of the seven 
weeks which intervened between the Passover and Pentecost 
had elapsed, and still a great distance had to be traversed, 
and many delays might be expected, so that no time could 
be lost. We shall find that the purpose of Paul was accom- 
plished, and that he actually arrived at Jerusalem a few days 
before Pentecost. 




17 And sending from Miletus to Ephesus, he called the elders of the 
church. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them, You know 
how, from the first day that I came into Asia, I have been with you the 
whole time, 19 Serving the Lord with all humility, and with tears, 
and temptations, which befell me by the plots of the Jews : 20 How I 
kept back none of those things which were profitable, but have declared 
them to you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, 
21 Testifying both to Jews and Greeks, repentance toward God, and 
faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22 And now, behold, I go bound in the 
spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there : 
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesses to me in every city, saying that 
bonds and afflictions await me. 24 But I esteem my life of no account, 
as if it were precious to myself, in order that I might finish my course, 
and the ministry which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the 
gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that you all, 
among whom I went preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. 
26 Wherefore I testify to you this day, that I am pure from the blood 
of all; 27 For I have not shrunk from declaring to you the whole 
counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the 
flock among whom the Holy Ghost has set you as bishops, to feed the 
church of the Lord, which He purchased by His own blood. 29 For I 
know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among 
you, not sparing the flock. 30 And from yourselves shall men arise, 
speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 
31 Therefore watch, and remember that, for the space of three years, 
I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32 And now 
I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, who is able to 
build up, and to give an inheritance among all the sanctified. 33 I 
coveted no man's silver, or gold, or raiment. 34 Ye yourselves know 
that these hands have ministered to my necessities, and to those who 
were with me. 35 I have showed you all things, how that, so labouring, 
you ought to assist the weak ; and to remember the words of the Lord 
Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. 

36 And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with 



them all. 37 And there was much weeping among all, and they fell 
on Paul's neck and kissed him, 38 Sorrowing most for the word which 
he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accom- 
panied him to the ship. 


Ver. 19. IloWiov before Sa/cpvcav, found in C, G, H, is 
wanting in A, B, D, E, K, and is omitted by recent critics. 
Ver. 23. A, B, C, D, E, K insert poi after Bia/jLaprvpeTcu, a 
reading received by all recent critics. Ver. 24. The reading 
of the textus receptus, dXX' ovSevb? \6yov iroLovfiac ovBe e^co 
rrjv "tyvyjiv fiov TLfxiav ifiavrq), is found in E, G, H : it is 
rejected by Teschendorf, who reads, aW ovbevbs Xoyov ttocov- 
fiat tt)v ^fvyj)v Ti/Aiav efiavTw, in accordance with B, C, K. 
The words fiera X a P^i found in C, E, G, H, are wanting in 
A, B, D, K, and are rejected by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 
Ver. 25. Tov ©eov after fiaaCkelav, found in E, G, H, are 
wanting in A, B, C, R, and omitted by Lachmann, Tischen- 
dorf, and Meyer. Ver. 28. In this verse we have one of the 
most important variations in the text of the New Testament. 
The two important readings are, rrjv kfackycrlav tov ©eov, and 
ttjv iiackr}<Tlav tov Kvpiov. The following is a summary of 
the evidence in favour of either reading. In favour of tov 
©eov are the two oldest uncial MSS. (B, K), about twenty 
cursive MSS., the Vulgate, the Philoxenian Syriac in the text, 
Epiphanius and Ambrose ; Ignatius has, in his Epistle to the 
Ephesians, the expression alfia Geov; and Tertullian uses 
the expression sanguine Dei (ad Uxor. ii. 3). In favour of 
tov Kvpiov are A, C, D, E, about fourteen cursive MSS., 
the Armenian and Coptic versions, the Apostolic Constitu- 
tions (belonging to the third century), Eusebius, Augustin, 
Jerome. From this it would appear that the external evi- 
dence is rather in favour of ©eov. The internal evidence is 
also, if anything, in favour of tov ©eov, as the expression 
eKK\r)crla tov ©eov is Pauline, whereas eKKkrjala tov Kvpiov 
is nowhere else employed by the apostle ; others, however, 
assert that Kvpiov might be changed into ©eov to adapt it 
to the Pauline usage. Critics are divided in their opinions : 


the reading Qeov is adopted by Beza, Mill, Wolf, Bengel, 
Knapp, Matthiae, Scholz, Rinck, Stier, Bloomfield, Alford, 
Wordsworth. ; whereas Kvplov is adopted by Grotius, Le 
Clerc, Wetstein, Griesbach, Kuinoel, De Wette, Meyer, 
Lechler, Lange, Tischendorf, Bornemann, Olshausen, Baum- 
garten, Lachmann, Conybeare, Hackett, Davidson. 1 .(!3 ee 
Exegetical Remarks.) Ver. 32. 'ABe\<f>ol after u/xa? is want- 
ing in A, B, D, K, and omitted by most recent critics. 'Tfuv 
after Bovvat is found in C, G, H, but wanting in A, B, 
D, E, K, and is rejected by recent critics. 


Ver. 17. ''Airo Be t^<? Mi\t)tov ire^a^ eh "Efeo-ov — And 
from Miletus having sent to Epliesus. Miletus, as already 
observed, was about thirty miles to the south of Ephesus, 
so that Paul must have remained there from three to four 
days. Tovs irpeafivTepovs t?5<? eKKknala*; — the elders of the 
church. Some, from prelatic views, because these elders 
are called bishops (ver. 28), suppose that, besides the rulers 
of the church of Ephesus, the rulers of the neighbouring 
churches were also present. Thus Irenseus observes : In 
Mileto convocatis episcopis et presbyteris, qui erant ab Epheso 
et a reliquis proximis civitatibus (iii. 14. 2). It is certainly 
possible that the elders of the church of Miletus, and of the 
churches in the immediate neighbourhood, might be present ; 
but there was evidently no time to summon the elders of the 
various churches of Asia. Mention, however, is made only 
of the Ephesian elders. That there were several elders 
belonging to the church of Ephesus, was in accordance with 
the practice of apostolic times, and with the custom in the 
Jewish synagogues. Those who are here called irpecr^v- 
repovs, are in ver. 28 termed efnaKoirov^ ; thus proving 
that at this early period there was no difference between 
presbyters and bishops. See Phil. i. 1 ; 1 Tim. iii. 2, 8 ; 

1 It is, however, to be observed, that many of those critics who adopt 
Kvptov, did so before it was ascertained that Qsov was the reading of the 
Vatican, and before the discovery of the Sinaitic MS. 


Tit. i. 7. On this subject the reader is referred to note on 
Acts xi. 30. 

Ver. 18. 'Airb Trpcbrrjs f/fjuepas a<j> f}<; eirejSrjv eh rrjv 
'Aa lav — from the first day on which I came into Asia, These 
words are to be connected with 7rw9 iyevo/jbrjVj " how I have 
been with you," and not with eWcrracrfle, u ye know." 

Ver. 19. Mera irda^ Tonreivotypoa-vvr)*; — with all humility. 
A favourite expression of the apostle. The word raireLvo- 
ippoavvrj is used by him five times — Eph. iv. 2 ; Phil. ii. 3 ; 
Col. ii. 18, 23, iii. 12 : whereas elsewhere it only occurs once, 
in 1 Pet. v. 5. Kal Safcpvwv — and with tears : because the 
opposition of the Jews impeded his work, and retarded the 
progress of the gospel among the Gentiles. 'Ev rah ein- 
/3ovXal$ Twv 'IovSatoov — in the plots of the Jews. There is 
no distinct mention in the Acts of the machinations of the 
Jews at Ephesus ; but we are informed that their disposition 
was so hostile, that Paul had to separate himself and his 
disciples from the synagogue ; and in the tumult, Alexander 
a Jew came forward, with the evident intention of accusing 
the disciples (Acts xix. 9, 23). That the condition of the 
apostle in Ephesus was one of great danger, we learn from 
his Epistles to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv. 31, 32 ; 2 Cor. 
i. 8-10). 

Ver. 20. '/2? — how — depends still on eTrlaraa-Oe, " you 
know how." 'TTreareckdfJirjv — / kept back : suppressed from 
fear of giving offence. Tov (irj avayecXai, vfiiv — but have 
declared to you : the object or design of v7recrTei\dp,r)v ; 
literally, " in order that I shall not declare to you, and 
teach you," — namely, " the things which were profitable to 
you." Arjfiocrla — publicly : as when he taught three months 
in the synagogue, and two years in the school of Tyrannus. 

Ver. 21. Repentance toward God, and faith toward the 
Lord Jesus, were the great subjects of the apostle's preach- 
ing — the two chief duties of Christianity. Summa eorum 
quce utilia sunt, summa doctrince Christiana?, summa consilii 
divini, Poenitentia et Fides (Bengel). We are not, with Beza, 
Kuinoel, and Bengel, to refer repentance toward God to the 
Gentiles, and faith toward the Lord Jesus to the Jews ; for 


although the Jews were not guilty of idolatry, yet they had 
apostatized in heart from God, and equally with the Gentiles 
required repentance. 

Ver. 22. Aehejievo^s ra> Trvev/xaTC — bound in the spirit. The 
meaning of this phrase is doubtful. Some (Erasmus, Grotius, 
Bengel) take SeSefievos in its primary sense, " bound with 
chains ;" as if Paul had said, I feel myself already bound : 
the chains are present before my mind. So also Conybeare : 
" BeSefiivos — that is, a prisoner in chains, but as yet only 
in the spirit, tg5 irvevfiari, not in body." This, however, 
is too artificial a meaning : it is simpler to take the word in 
its metaphorical sense — constrained, impelled, necessitated. 
Again, some understand by to irvev/xaTi the Holy Spirit: 
u constrained by the Holy Spirit" (Beza, Calvin, Stier, 
Wordsworth) ; " restrained by the Holy Spirit" — that is, 
from knowing certainly what should befall him (Alexander) ; 
"on the impulse of the Holy Spirit" (Theophylact) ; "bound 
to the Holy Spirit" (Meyer, 1st edition); "led captive by 
the Holy Spirit" (Humphry). The objection to these inter- 
pretations is, that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the next 
verse, and is apparently distinguished from tw Trvevfian in 
this verse by the epithet to ayiov ; otherwise, " constrained 
by the Spirit " would afford an excellent sense. It is perhaps 
better to understand by ra> irvev^iari Paul's own spirit : 
"bound in the spirit;" that is, constrained by an overpower- 
ing sense of duty. He felt himself shut up to the conclusion 
that he must go up to Jerusalem, and therefore he could 
neither be terrified by dangers, nor moved by entreaties and 
remonstrances : he had no choice in the matter : a necessity 
was laid upon him. So approximately Heinrichs, Kuincel, 
Meyer, De Wette, Lange, Lechler, Ewald, Alford. Ta iv 
avrfj GvvavT7]G0VTa jjlol /jltj elSoos — not knowing the things that 
shall befall me in it. He knew that severe trials and cala- 
mities of some kind awaited him; but he did not know of 
what description they would be, or in what they would ter- 
minate : he had a general, but not a particular knowledge. 

Ver. 23. To Uvevfia to ayiov Kara ttoXlv Sia/JLapTvperaL 
fioL — the Holy Ghost witnesses to me in every city. This 


refers, not to internal intimations by the Spirit, but to 
prophetic declarations. In every city through which the 
apostle journeyed — as in Philippi, Troas, Assos, Mitylene, 
Trogyllium, and Miletus — he received such communications. 
Two instances of these are afterwards mentioned by Luke : 
one at Tyre, and the other at Csesarea (Acts xxi. 4, 11). 
Hence Schneckenburger asserts that, in this remark in the 
address to the Ephesian elders, the historian is guilty of an 
historical prolepsis, as such communications did not occur 
until afterwards. But in answer to this, it is sufficient to 
observe that the account which Luke gives is summary, so 
that earlier prophetical intimations may have been omitted ; 
and that it is natural to suppose that, as Paul drew nearer 
Jerusalem, these intimations became more frequent and dis- 
tinct. Already at Corinth, as Paley observes, where he wrote 
his Epistle to the Romans, he was under the same appre- 
hensions that his journey to Jerusalem would be disastrous. 
He there beseeches the Roman Christians to strive together 
in their prayers for him, that he might be delivered from 
them who do not believe in Judea (Rom. xv. 30). Com- 
paring this with our passage, Paley remarks : a The two 
passages, without any resemblance between them that could 
induce us to suspect that they were borrowed from one 
another, represent the state of Paul's mind with respect to 
the event of the journey in terms of substantial agreement. 
They both express his sense of danger in the approaching 
visit to Jerusalem ; they both express the doubt which dwelt 
upon his thoughts concerning what might befall him there. 
The only difference is, that in the history his thoughts are 
more inclined to despondency than in the epistle, . . . which 
is no other alteration than might well be expected, since 
these prophetic intimations to which he refers when he says, 
' The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city/ had probably 
been received by him in the course of his journey." * 

Ver. 24. \4\X\ ovhevos Xoyov iroiovfiav Trp yfrv^rjv tl/jlIclv 
ifiavra) — but 1 esteem my life of no account, as if it were 
precious to myself ; that is, the preservation of my life is 
1 Paley's Horse Paulinse — Romans, No. V. 


nothing compared with the performance of my ministry : I 
esteem it of no value. f /2? reXeccoaac — in order that J might 
finish. The infinitive with ax? expresses design : it gives the 
reason why he did not esteem his life as precious. Tov Bpofjuov 
fiov — my course : a figure common and peculiar to Paul 
(1 Cor. ix. 24-27; Phil. iii. 14; 2 Tim. iv. 7). 1 

Ver. 25. 'Eycb olSa — / know : expressing either conviction 
or a strong presentiment. The grounds of his knowledge 
were the intimations which he received from the Holy Ghost 
that bonds and afflictions awaited him at Jerusalem. He felt 
as one condemned to die ; that calamities, and perhaps mar- 
tyrdom, were in store for him : and hence his presentiment 
that he would never return to Ephesus. "Otl ov/ceri otyeade 
to irpoaoDirov fiov vfiels iravTes — that ye all shall see my face 
no more. The natural meaning of these words is, that the 
,/apostle was strongly impressed with the idea that he would 
not revisit Ephesus. Many, however, affirm that the apostle 
some years after this did return to Ephesus. This depends 
upon the question whether he was released from his Roman im- 
prisonment. The journeys alluded to in the pastoral epistles, 
it is affirmed, can only be accounted for on the supposition 
of his release. 2 But supposing that Paul was released from 
his Roman imprisonment, is it necessary also to suppose that 
he revisited Ephesus? We think that this question must 
be answered in the affirmative. In his Epistle to Philemon, 
Paul requests that a lodging might be prepared for him at 
Colosse (Philem. 22) ; and in the second Epistle to Timothy 
mention is made of his having been at Troas Alexandria, 
and Miletus (2 Tim. iv. 13, 20). Paul, then, was again in 

1 On these words, Lechler, in his last edition of his Apostelgeschichte, 
has the following instructive remark : " Without doubt, Paul, as a 
Hellenist, had seen in his youth the Greek games. In fact, there has 
been found at Tarsus a Greek inscription (Corpus Inscr. Grsec. iii. 209, 
No. 4437) which was set up as a monument at the termination of the 
walls surrounding the racecourse ; by which is proved, what is not else- 
where found in written sources, that the native city of Paul possessed a 

2 This point is afterwards fully discussed in the last section of this 


proconsular Asia ; and it can hardly be supposed that he 
should have been in the immediate neighbourhood of Ephesus 
without revisiting it ; although it is possible, but hardly pro- 
bable^ that circumstances might have prevented him doing 
so. Paul, in stating to the Ephesian elders that they would 
see his face no more, merely gives his strong impression that 
he would not revisit Ephesu^ : if he were in this mistaken, 
his mistake does not derogate from his apostolic character or 
from his inspiration. He was not infallible, and he does not 
make this statement as an intimation proceeding from the 
Holy Ghost ; for he expressly says that he knew not what 
should befall him — that the knowledge of the result of his 
bonds and afflictions was withheld from him. Other inter- 
pretations are to be rejected : as, that iravres is here em- 
phatic, "Ye all shall see rny face no more;" for although 
some saw him, yet all did not : or that all the elders then 
present were dead before Paul returned to Ephesus. Some 
(De Wette, Baur, Schneckenburger, Zeller) assert that this 
declaration was made post eventum, after the death of Paul, 
and is therefore a proof that Paul was not delivered from his 
Roman imprisonment ; but the strong language of the text, 
the only reason which they give, is no proof of this assertion. 1 

Vers. 26, 27. ^rj^iepov rj^epa — this very day : emphatic ; 
it was the day of separation ; his ministry among them was 
finished. Ov yap vireareCkafinv — for I have not shrunk. 
The same word as in ver. 20. 

Yer. 28. Ovv — therefore : as I am innocent, take heed 
lest the guilt of neglect shall fall on you. HovtX tu> 7rot/W<» 
— to all the flock: a common metaphor both in the Old and 
in the New Testament. To TLvev^a to aycov — the Holy 
Ghost. The Holy Ghost, as the great Agent in the selec- 
tion of ministers ; the Lord of the harvest, who sends forth 
labourers into His harvest (Acts xiii. 2). ' EiriaKoirov^ — 
bishops, denoting the official duty of the presbyters. Alcl tou 
aifAaros rod IBlov — through His own blood ; " by the shedding 
of which He has redeemed believers from the dominion of 
the devil, and has constituted them the heirs of His eternal 
1 De Wette's ApostelgeschicMe, p. 155. 


salvation" (Meyer). By the shedding of which also He has 
offered up Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and has satis- 
fied the justice of God. 

Trjv i/cfcXrjo-iav rov Kvplov — the church of the Lord. (See 
Critical Note.) The reading of Tischendorf is adopted, not 
that it seems in itself preferable, but because Tischendorf s 
text has been made the groundwork of our translation. Dr. 
Davidson enumerates six different readings of this passage : 
1. tt)v etcKkwalav rod Oeov — the church of God; 2. rov 
Kvplov — the church of the Lord ; 3. rov Kvplov teal Oeov — 
the church of the Lord and God ; 4. Kvplov Oeov — the church 
of the Lord God ; 5. Geov ko\ Kvplov — the church of God 
and the Lord ; 6. Xpiarov — the church of Christ. Of these, 
however, only the two first are entitled to examination ; the 
other four being weakly attested. Formerly, the external 
evidence was decidedly in favour of Kvplov ; but lately new 
evidence has been obtained. Oeov is ascertained to be the 
undoubted reading of the Vatican, whereas formerly it was 
doubtful, and it is the reading of the newly-discovered Sina- 
itic manuscript : so that the external evidence is now rather 
in favour of Oeov. The internal evidence has been claimed 
on both sides, and is a point of great nicety. 'Efc/c\r)o~{a 
rov Oeov is a favourite expression of Paul, being used by 
him at least ten times ; whereas the expression eKKkrjcrla 
rov Kvplov does not elsewhere occur. The expression " the 
blood of God" is certainly very bold, and one which a priori 
we would not have expected; but it is an expression em- 
ployed by the Fathers as early as Ignatius and Tertullian, 
and the probability is that it was not invented by them, but 
derived from this passage. Upon the whole, we are disposed 
to think that the preponderance of evidence is in favour of 
the reading rrjv e/cfc\7)alav rov Oeov. 1 

Ver. 29. Mera rrjv afaglv fiov — after my departure. The 

1 This whole subject is very fully discussed by Dr. Davidson in his 
Biblical Criticism, vol. ii. pp. 441-448. He gives the preference to rov 
Kvplov. When, however, that work was written, the Sinaitic MS. had 
not been discovered. The subject is also well discussed in Humphry's 
Commentary on the Acts, p. 163. 


usual meaning of afal; t? is arrival, coming ; and hence some 
(Bengel, Lechier) translate it u after my coming : " primum 
venit Paulus; deinde venient lupi (Bengel). Here, however, 
it would seem to be employed in the unusual sense of depar- 
ture (Demosth. de Pace, p. 58). Paul does not specially mean 
his death, but his absence, of which the false teachers would 
take advantage to propagate their errors. Avkol fiapels — 
grievous wolves. The apostle makes a distinction between 
two classes of teachers — tlie grievous wolves who shall enter 
in from without, and the perverse teachers who shall arise 
from within. ^The former class he compares to grievous 
wolves not sparing the flock (see Matt. vii. 15). By these 
grievous wolves Grotius understands the Roman persecutors, 
persecutio sub Nerone ; but they are evidently false teachers 
who " entered in among them." Accordingly it is probable 
that the Judaizing teachers who came from a distance, and 
who had already done much mischief at Corinth and in 
Galatia, are intended. 

Ver. 30. "Avhpes XaXovvres Biea-Tpa/jufMeva — men speaking 
perverse things. The other class of false teachers : they were 
to arise from within (e| vp,<bv) ; l from among the Ephesians 
themselves, not necessarily from the elders whom Paul now 
addressed. By these perverse teachers are probably meant 
the gnostic heretics, whose headquarters were proconsular 
Asia. There were many such false teachers afterwards in 
the church of Ephesus. Mention is made in Scripture of 
no fewer than six belonging to Ephesus : Hymeneus and 
Alexander (1 Tim. i. 20), Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 
i. 15), Philetus (2 Tim. ii. 17), and Diotrephes (3 John 9). In 
the apocalyptic epistle to the church of Ephesus, it is said that 
there were those among them who held the doctrine of the 
Nicolaitanes (Rev. ii. 6). And according to church history, 
it was at Ephesus that the heresiarch Cerinthus encountered 
the Apostle John (Euseb. Hist Eccl. iv. 14). It is not im- 
probable that during his three years' residence in Ephesus 

1 See 1 John ii. 19, — an epistle written probably from Ephesus. When 
speaking of false teachers, St. John says, " they went out from us " (ig 



and proconsular Asia, Paul already saw symptoms of here- 
tical doctrines. The Ephesian mind was especially given to 
speculation. " Ephesus," observes Creuzer, " was, above all 
others, the place where oriental views were in various ways 
combined with the philosophy and mythology of Greece. In 
truth, this city was a complete storehouse of magical arts 
and deceptions." And although in Paul's Epistle to the 
Ephesian s there is no direct allusion to false teachers, yet 
it is evident from his epistle to the neighbouring church of 
Colosse, written at the same time as the Ephesian epistle, 
that errors of a gnostic character were already propagated 
in proconsular Asia. Zeller asserts that the author of the 
Acts inserts an anachronism in the speech of the apostle, in 
alluding to heretics, who did not exist until afterwards, and 
that he mentions them in indefinite terms for the purpose of 
concealing his error. " We have here," he observes, " an 
historical prolepsis, not of the apostle, but of his biographer." 1 
But there is certainly no ground for such an assertion : it 
arises solely from the denial of the prophetical element in 
the address of the apostle. 

Ver. 31. T pier lav — the space of three years. Paul was at 
least two years and three months in Ephesus : three months 
preaching in the synagogue of the Jews, and two years in 
the school of Tyrannus (Acts xix. 8, 10). Some accordingly 
suppose that by three years are meant two years and part of 
a third. But, as has already been shown, it is probable that 
Paul remained still longer at Ephesus. (See note to Acts 
xix. 10.) Wieseler supposes that Paul was at Jerusalem at 
a feast of Pentecost (Acts xviii. 22, 23), and from Jeru- 
salem he went to Ephesus by way of Galatia and Phrygia 
(Acts xviii. 23, xix. 1), and remained there until after an- 
other Pentecost (1 Cor. xvi. 8) ; so that there is a space of 
three years from one Pentecost to another, all of which 
Paul spent at Ephesus, with the exception of the short 
period occupied with his journey from Jerusalem. 2 

Ver. 32. TS 8vvafiev<p — who is able. Some (Erasmus, 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 271. 

2 Wieseler's Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, pp. 53-60. 


Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Lange) refer these words to rw Xoyw, 
which, i.e: the doctrine of God, is able. But although it 
might be said that the word is able to build up or edify 
(i7rouco8o/jL7)<rcu), yet such a personal action as the bestowal of 
the inheritance {hovvai fc\npovofi{av) could hardly be ascribed 
to it. Others (Gomarius, Witsius, Wordsworth) think that 
by tw \6y<p is meant the personal Word, the Logos ; but 
this is a form of expression confined to the Apostle John. 
Others (Beza, Calvin, Grotius, De Wette, Meyer, Stier, 
Alford) more correctly refer to> Bwafieva) to tu> &e£>. 

Ver. 33. / coveted no man's silver, or gold, or raiment. 
Paul concludes his address with an assertion of his disin- 
terestedness, not in order to refute the calumnies of the 
Jews (Olshausen), or from a regard to the preservation of 
the liberty and independence of the church in the world 
(Baumgarten), but as an example to the Ephesian elders, 
and as a warning against avarice and covetousness (Meyer). 
'IfjuaTWfiov — raiment. Raiment is here mentioned along 
with gold and silver, because among the Orientals it was a 
chief part of their wealth. The Ephesians, we are informed, 
were celebrated for their luxurious apparel (Athenseus, xii. 
p. 525). 

Ver. 34. A I xeip€<; ainai — these hands: no doubt stretch- 
ing out his hands toward his audience. This refers to the 
fact that Paul and his companions supported themselves 
chiefly by their own labour. No mention is made of this 
fact in the account of Paul's residence at Ephesus. Luke, 
however, informs us that he laboured as a tentmaker at 
Corinth ; and in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, written 
from Ephesus, express mention is made of his still con- 
tinuing to work with his own hands : " Even unto this 
present hour, we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, 
and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place ; and 
labour, working with our own hands" (1 Cor. iv. 11, 12). 
Here, then, is another example of the undesigned coinci- 
dences between the Acts of the Apostles and the epistles of 
St. Paul. 1 

1 See Paley's Horse Paulinx — 1st Corinthians, No. VI. 


Ver. 35. Tcov aadevovvrcov — the weak. Some (Calvin, 
Beza, Bengel, Neander, Tholuck, Baumgarten, Lechler, 
Meyer) understand by the weak, the weak in faith. They 
suppose that the meaning of the apostle is, that by refusing 
any maintenance when in Ephesus, he had given them an 
example which they should follow, on account of the weak- 
ness of the disciples. ( If those who were weak in the faith 
saw a teacher receiving money, they might think that he 
was labouring for the sake of gain; and therefore they 
would be prejudiced both against his person and his doctrine. __ 
But this would contradict the apostle's view. Although 
he himself, in his peculiar circumstances, waived his right 
to support, yet he ever maintained that the labourer was 
worthy of his hire, and /that he who preaches the gospel 
should live by the gospel : and this was a point on which he 
would not yield to the prejudices of others. Others (Wet- 
stein, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olshausen, De Wette, Hackett, 
Alford, Conybeare) understand by the weak, the poor, or 
the physically weak. According to this opinion, the apostle 
is here inculcating liberality : that we should labour in order 
that we might possess the means of relieving the poor. To 
this it is objected, that although the adjective acrOevrj? 
signifies u poor," yet the verb aaOevelv and its participle 
never have that meaning. This, however, has been disputed 
by Wetstein and others. According to Kuinoel, although 
the word aadevovvrav, taken by itself, may not signify the 
poor, yet this meaning is derived from the context. 

Maicapiov ivTtv /jlSXKov hihovau rj Xa^dveiv — it is 
more blessed to give than to receive. These words are not 
to be found among the sayings of Jesus recorded in the 
Gospels. Paul therefore gives them, either as an inference 
drawn from similar expressions of Christ, or as the actual 
words spoken by Him. This, as has been well remarked, is 
B true and precious monument of apostolic tradition. The 
primary intention of the quotation is to enforce liberality to 
the poor ; but the words are evidently capable of a much 
higher meaning. They assert the superior blessedness of 
giving to receiving as a universal maxim. It is true in its 


application to God, who alone is perfectly blessed, because 
He gives everything, and receives nothing. The sentiment 
of the heathen was the reverse : avorjTos 6 St8ou?, evrv^rj^ 
Be 6 \a/jb/3dv(ov — " The giver is foolish, but the receiver is 
fortunate" (Athenaeus, viii. 5). 

Such is the celebrated address of Paul to the Ephesian 
elders. Its authenticity has not escaped question. Schnecken- 
burger, De Wette, and Renan, although they admit that the 
general outline may be correct, yet think that the historian 
has inserted several remarks of his own. Baur and Zeller, 
on the other hand, assert that it is entirely the free com- 
position of the author, and wholly unhistorical. 1 But the 
speech bears impressed on it the mark of Paul's mind : its 
ideas, its idioms, and even its very words, are Pauline ; so 
much so as to lead Alford to observe, that we have probably 
the literal report of the words spoken by Paul. " It is," 
he remarks, u a treasure-house of w T ords, idioms, and sen- 
timents peculiar to the apostle himself." And Ewald, no 
partial critic, remarks, "an ihrer Geschichtlichkeit in allge- 
meinen zu zweifeln ist die Thorheit selbst — " To doubt of its 
authenticity in general is folly." 2 

Vers. 36-38. GeU ra yovara avTov — having knelt down. 
The attitude of prayer, indicating reverence and humility. 
The early Christians were accustomed to pray standing on 
the Lord's day, and during the seven weeks which inter- 
vened between the Passover and Pentecost, as the appro- 
priate posture of exultation and thanksgiving : on other 
occasions they knelt. It cannot, however, be shown that 
this distinction of postures was observed in apostolic times. 

1 See Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 269-274. 

2 Ewald's Geschichte des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 488. Lekebusch 
gives an interesting list of linguistic affinities between this speech and 
the writings of Paul (Lekebusch's Apostelgeschichte, p. 339). The speech 
is also minutely analyzed by Oertel, in his recent work on the Apostle 
Paul (Oertel's Paulus in der Apostelgeschichte, pp. 69, 70). See also 
some valuable remarks by Neander, in his Planting of Christianity, vol. 
i. pp. 296, 297. He observes : " Whoever might have forged after 
the event an address of Paul, would have made him speak in a very 
different and more decided tone." 


'I/cavo? Be feXavO/xb? iyevero iravriav — And there was much 
weeping among all, and they fell on PauVs neck and kissed 
him. Well might Lekebusch observe : " A living picture, 
such as only could be drawn by an eye-witness, himself 
deeply affected, from personal recollection." Upoeireyinrov 
Be avTov "efe to ifKolov — and they conducted him to the ship. 
The site of the ancient Miletus is at present some miles from 
the sea ; and probably even in the time of Paul it was at 
some little distance. 



1 And it came to pass, having separated from them, we set sail, and 
came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and 
thence to Patara : 2 And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we 
embarked and set sail. 3 And after sighting Cyprus, and passing it 
on the left, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre : for there the ship 
was to unlade its cargo. 4 And having found out the disciples, we 
remained there seven days ; who said to Paul through the Spirit, that 
he should not go up to Jerusalem. 5 And when we had completed those 
days, we departed, and proceeded on our journey; they all accompanying 
us, with their wives and children, until we were out of the city. And 
having knelt down on the shore, and prayed, 6 We took leave one of 
another, and we embarked ; but they returned home. 

7 And we, finishing our voyage, came from Tyre to Ptolemais, and 
saluted the brethren, and remained with them one day. 8 And depart- 
ing on the morrow, we came to Csesarea ; and entering into the house 
of Philip the evangelist, being one of the seven, we abode with him. 
9 Now this man had four daughters, virgins, who did prophesy. 10 And 
as we remained there several days, there came down from Judea a cer- 
tain prophet, named Agabus. 11 And when he was come to us, he 
took Paul's girdle, and bound his own feet and hands, and said, Thus 
saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who 
owns this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 
12 And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place 
besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, 
What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart ? for I am ready not to be 
bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will 
of the Lord be done. 

15 And after those days we packed up our baggage, and went up 
to Jerusalem. 16 There went with us also some of the disciples of 
Csesarea, conducting us to one Mnason, a Cyprian, an old disciple, with 
whom we should lodge. 


Ver. 4. Tov$ before fxad^ra^ the reading of the teostus 
receptus, is found in A, B, C, E, N, and is retained by 



Teschendorf and Meyer : it is omitted in G, H. Vers. 5, 6. 
Upoanv^dfjbeda koX aaTraadfievoi, is found in G, H ; whereas 
A, B, 0, E, X, with some orthographical variations, read 
7rpocrev^afjLevoL dirncnraad^eOa, the reading adopted by Lach- 
mann and Tischendorf. Ver. 8. After efeX&We? the textus 
receptus has oi irepi tov Tlavkov, found in G, H. The words, 
however, are omitted in A, B, C, E, X, and rejected by all 
recent critics. Ver. 11. Avrov or avrov is found in G, H ; 
whereas eavrov is the reading of A, B, C, D, E, K, and is 
adopted by all recent critics. Ver. 15. ' ' Arroa/cevacrdfievoi, 
the reading of the textus receptus, is not found in any uncial 
MS. A, B, E, G, X have eino tcevao-djjLevoi,, the reading 
adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 


Ver. 1. r f2$ Be iyevero dva^drjvai rjfjuas — When now it came 
to pass that we set sail. Those who now journeyed with 
Paul to Jerusalem were Luke, the author of the Acts, 
Trophimus (Acts xxi. 29), and Aristarchus (Acts xxvii. 2). 
No mention is made of the others who accompanied him 
into Asia (ayjpi -nj? 'A(rlas, Acts xx. 4) ; so that it is pro- 
bable they remained behind at Miletus. ' } ArroairacrOevra^ 
air avrcov — having departed from them. Some (Chrysostom, 
Kuinoel, Meyer, Alford) suppose that diroo-irao-Qhra^ is em- 
phatic — " having torn ourselves away from them ;" express- 
ing the grief and reluctance with which they parted from 
one another. The verb, however, is elsewhere employed 
by Luke, where such an emphasis is inappropriate (Luke 
xxii. 41). 

"H\6o/jl6v et? tt]v Km — we came to Cos. Cos or Coos is a 
small island in the Archipelago, about forty miles directly 
south of Miletus, opposite the cities of Cnidus (Acts xxvii. 7) 
and Halicarnassus. It was famous for its wines (Pliny, 
xv. 18 ; Strabo, xiv. 2. 19), its ointments (Athen. xv. 688), 
and its fabrics (riec Cow referunt jam tibi purpura?, Hor. Od. 
iv. 13. 13). The chief town of the same name, situated at 
the eastern extremity of the island, was celebrated for a 


temple to JEsculapius, and was a renowned school of medi- 
cine. It was the birthplace of Hippocrates the physician, 
and Apelles the painter (Strabo, xiv. 2. 19). We learn 
from Josephus that many Jews were resident in the island 
(Ant. xiv. 7. 2). The Emperor Claudius, shortly before this, 
had granted to its inhabitants an immunity from taxes 
(Tac. Ann. xii. 61). Cos is noticed in church history as 
having a succession of bishops. Its modern name is Stanchio, 
and it is still renowned for its fertility. 

Tfj Be e^9 et9 TtfV 'PoSov — and on the next day to Rhodes. 
This famous island lay about fifty miles to the south of Cos. 
It was celebrated for its beauty, its fertility, and the variety 
of its products. It was a proverb, that the sun shone every 
day in Ehodes (Plin. ii. 62). The city of the same name, 
situated at the western extremity of the island, was cele- 
brated for its schools, its navies, and its colossal statue of 
the sun, which was regarded as one of the wonders of the 
world. In the time of Paul this statue was lying prostrate 
on the ground, being overthrown by an earthquake. Rhodes 
occupies a not unimportant place in history. In the Greek 
age, its navy possessed the supremacy of the sea, and was 
eminently useful in the suppression of piracy. When the 
Romans came into power, Rhodes became their faithful ally, 
and was rewarded by the preservation of its freedom, and 
the gift of certain portions of land in the neighbouring pro- 
vinces of Lycia and Caria. Before the time of Paul, how- 
ever, it had been deprived of its continental possessions, but 
still enjoyed a nominal freedom. Thus Tacitus tells us that 
Claudius restored to the Rhodians their liberty, which had 
been often withdrawn and re-established, according as they 
obliged the Romans by their assistance in foreign wars, or 
provoked them by their seditions at home (Ann. xii. 58). 
It was not until the reign of Vespasian that it was finally 
reduced to the condition of a province. In the middle ages, 
Rhodes became still more famous as the residence of the 
Knights of St. John. It was rescued by them from the 
Saracens in the year 1310, and retained until 1523, when it 
was conquered by Solyman the Magnificent. It now belongs 


to the Turks, still bears its ancient name, and has a popula- 
tion of about 20,000/ 

KaiceWev els Ildrapa — and thence to Patara. Patara, 
called by Strabo a large city, was a seaport of Lycia, situ- 
ated near the mouth of the river Xanthus, and opposite to 
the island of Rhodes. It may be considered as the port of 
the city Xanthus, 2 the capital of Lycia, from which it was 
ten miles distant. Here was a famous oracle of Apollo, 
which gave responses for the six winter months, and was 
regarded as scarcely inferior to the oracle at Delphi (Strabo, 
xiv. 3. 6). Hence Horace calls that god Delius et Patareus 
Apollo (Od. iii. 4. 64). Patara is now in ruins, exhibiting 
some interesting remains, especially many tombs with Greek 
inscriptions, a theatre, and a triple arch which was one of 
the gates of the city. Its port is now an inland marsh, 
blocked up with sandhills. 3 

• Ver. 2. Evpovres ifKolov hiairepSiv eh ^olvlktjv — -finding a 
ship sailing over to Phoenicia. At Patara Paul quitted the 
vessel in which he had sailed from Alexandria Troas, or 
perhaps from Neapolis in Macedonia, probably because it 
had reached the termination of its voyage, and embarked 
in another ship. The vessel was on the point of sailing to 
Phoenicia, so that no time was lost at Patara. 

Ver. 3. 'Avdtyavevres Be ryv Kvirpov — and having sighted 
Cyprus; literally, " having been shown Cyprus :" a nautical 
expression, as, when sailing, the land to which the vessel ap- 
proaches appears to rise out of the sea. Paul might see in 
the distance New Paphos, which he had visited thirteen years 
before, at the commencement of his missionary career (Renan). 
Kal KaTaXi.irovTes avrrjv evobvv/juov — and having passed it on 
the left hand. They thus kept Cyprus to the east, and sailed 

1 For a description of the modern city of Rhodes, see Hamilton's Asia 
Minor, vol. ii. pp. 46-52. 

2 Celebrated for its artistic remains: the Xanthian marbles now in the 
British Museum. 

3 For these geographical notices, see Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 
Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, Lewin's Life and Letters of St. Paid, 
and Winer's biblisches Worterbuch. For a description of the ruins of 
Patara, see Fellows' Asia Minor, pp. 222-224. 


to the south of it. ^Eifkeo^iev eU Hvpiav — we sailed to 
Syria. Syria is here used to denote the Roman province, 
including Phoenicia, of which Tyre was the capital. Karrjx- 
OrjfjLev ek Tvpov — we landed at Tyre. The voyage between 
Patara and Tyre was in the open sea : the distance was 
about 340 geographical miles, and might be accomplished 
with a favourable wind in three or four days. 

It would be out of place to describe in a note the city of 
Tyre, about which so much has been written : a notice of its 
condition in the days of the apostle must suffice. The Tyre 
of the apostolic times was built upon a peninsula ; the for- 
mer island having been connected with the mainland by the 
embankment formed by Alexander. Although much shorn 
of its glory, and injured by the rise of the rival commercial 
cities of Antioch and Caesarea, it was still a large city, and 
possessed a considerable commerce, especially in purple dyes 
and fabrics (Strabo, xvi. 2. 22, 23). According to some, it 
was little inferior in point of population to Jerusalem. 
Although attached to the province of Syria, it enjoyed the 
privilege of being a free city of the empire. 1 Tyre con- 
tinued a city of considerable importance until the year 1291, 
when it was taken and completely destroyed by the Saracens. 
After that period it never rose above the condition of a 
wretched village. 'E/ceto-e yap— for there; literally "thither:" 
the meaning being, that the vessel was sailing to Tyre in order 
to unload (Winer, Meyer). There is no necessity to take 
i/ceiae for e/eet. 

Ver. 4. 'AvevpovTes Be tovs pudrjra^ — and having found out 
the disciples. There were disciples at Tyre : the gospel had 
been preached in that city. The preachers of the dispersion, 
we are informed, travelled as far as Phoenicia (Acts xi. 19) ; 
and Paul himself had in all probability been at Tyre, for he 
had passed through Phoenicia on his journey to the Council 
of Jerusalem (Acts xv. 3). But still the disciples appear to 
have been few in number in comparison with the heathen 
and Jewish inhabitants of the city ; for they required to 

1 It was not until the reign of Septimius Severus that Tyre became a 
colony (Eckhel's Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. iii. p. 387). 


be sought out. This is easily accounted for, when we 
consider that Tyre was at this time a populous commercial 
city. Some suppose that the article before fAaOrjra? denotes 
that the disciples whom Paul found out were those with 
whom he was previously acquainted (Lewin). This, however, 
is a forced interpretation. 'ETre/juelvafiev avrov r^ikpa? hmTa 
— we remained there seven days. The reason why the apostle, 
after hurrying away from Asia, remained seven days* at 
Tyre, was probably because he had to wait until the vessel 
in which he sailed had unladen its cargo and received 
another freight. (Derive? tg> IlavXa) eXeyov Bed, rov Ilvev- 
fjLaros — who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not 
go up to Jerusalem. There is here an apparent discrepancy 
in the declarations of the Spirit. The disciples of Tyre 
through the Spirit assert that Paul should not go up to 
Jerusalem; whereas the apostle himself felt constrained in 
the spirit — impelled by a strong sense of duty — to go up (Acts 
xx. 23). We must here distinguish between the intimations 
of the Spirit, and the inferences drawn by men from these 
intimations. The Spirit revealed to the Tyrian disciples the 
dangers that awaited the apostle at Jerusalem; and they, 
from love to the apostle, besought him not to go up. But 
Paul entertained a juster view of the matter; he recognised 
more correctly the voice of the Spirit : he was certain that, 
in spite of these bonds and sufferings which the Holy Ghost 
witnessed in every city, it was his duty to proceed. If the 
Spirit had actually forbidden him to go up to Jerusalem, 
he would have desisted from his dangerous journey. As 
Chrysostom well remarks on these words : rovreaTi Sect, rov 
Uvev/jLaros elhores' ov yap 8rj rrjv irapalveaiv Bia tov Tlvev- 
yLtaro? iiroiovvro : u that is, knowing by the Spirit (namely, 
that afflictions awaited the apostle) ; for of course they did 
not make the exhortation by the Spirit." 1 

Ver. 5. 'E^aprlaac rjfias ra<; rj/juepas — when we had com- 
pleted these days. Some understand e^apri^o as a naval 
expression, to equip or fit out — " when we had refitted during 
these days " (Meyer — first edition) ; but such a meaning 
1 Chrysostom on the Acts — Homily xlv. 


does not well suit the context. The meaning is, when the 
seven days spent at Tyre had come to an end (Meyer — last 
edition). %vv yvvcui;! koX re/cvoiv — with wives and children. 
Baumgarten observes that this is the first time, in the notice 
of a Christian church, that children are mentioned — that 
u we have here the first recorded instance of Christianity 
pervading a whole family." 'Eirl top avyiaXov — on the shore. 
Evidently because this was the place of departure ; not, as 
Hammond supposes, because there was here a proseucha or 
place of prayer. 

Ver. 7. Tov ifkovv hiavvaavres — -finishing our voyage. The 
verb Btavvoo only occurs in this place in the New Testament, 
but it is frequently used in the classics in the sense of to 
complete a journey. Meyer observes that hiavvaavre^s is 
contemporaneous with KaTTjvrrjaafiev, as both verbs are in 
the aorist, and is therefore to be translated, " finishing our 
voyage, we came." x 'Airo Tvpov — from Tyre. These words 
are not to be connected with rbv irXovVj as in our version, but 
with KaTr}VTri<TafjLev. It is the whole voyage from Neapolis 
to Ptolemais that is alluded to. The voyage was finished by 
sailing from Tyre to Ptolemais ; the rest of the journey to 
Jerusalem was made by land. 

KaT7jvTrj(ra/ju€v et? IlroXefjiatBa — we came to Ptolemais. 
Ptolemais was situated on the coast of the Mediterranean, at 
the northern extremity of that spacious bay, the southern 
extremity of which was formed by the promontory of Mount 
Carmel. It is called in the book of Judges Accho (Judg. 
i. 31), and was assigned to the tribe of Asher. It seems, 
however, never to have been possessed by the Israelites, but 
was always considered as a city of Phoenicia. It was 
regarded as the key of Galilee from the Mediterranean, 
and was a place of considerable importance in a military 
point of view. On the division of the Macedonian empire, 
it fell to the lot of the kings of Egypt, and received its name 
Ptolemais from one of the Ptolemies, probably Lathurus. 
Strabo mentions it as a great city (xvi. 2. 25). The Emperor 
Claudius raised it to the rank of a colony with the name 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 416. 


Colonia Claudii Csesaris Ptolemais (Plin. H. N. c. 17). 1 In 
the middle ages, under the name of St. Jean d'Acre, it was 
famous in the wars of the Crusaders, being among the last 
towns of Palestine which surrendered to the Saracens (a.d. 
1291) ; and in modern times it has received additional 
notoriety from its successful defence by Sir Sidney Smith 
against the arms of Napoleon in 1799, and its bombardment 
by the English fleet under Sir Charles Napier in 1840. It 
is now called Acre, and has a population of about 15,000. 

Ver. 8. Eh Kaiaapeiav — to Ccesarea. Paul and his com- 
panions proceeded from Ptolemais to Csesarea by land, 
although that city was also a seaport. The distance between 
these cities is from thirty to forty miles. It is variously 
given in the different itineraries : according to the Jeru- 
salem Itinerary, the distance is thirty-one miles ; whereas 
according to the Antonine Itinerary it is forty-four miles. 2 
For a description of Caesarea Palestine, see note to Acts 
viii. 40. 

Eh tov olkov $t,\uirirov tov evayyeXicTTOv, etc. — to the 
house of Philip the evangelist, being one of the seven. This was 
Philip whose evangelistic labours in Samaria were already 
recorded (Acts viii.). We were informed that he went to 
Caesarea (Acts viii. 40) ; and now in this city, twenty years 
afterwards, he is visited by Paul. As his usual residence 
seems to have been Caesarea, he must either have resigned 
the office which he held in Jerusalem as almoner of the poor ; 
or perhaps rather that office was only temporary, to meet an 
emergency that had occurred in the history of the church. 
Philip is here called the evangelist, a term which literally 
denotes one who preaches the gospel. In the apostolic ages, 
evangelists seem to have held an office similar to that of 
missionaries : they were set over no particular church, but 
preached the gospel among the heathen : they were itinerant 
preachers. Eusebius thus describes their office : u After 
laying the foundation of the faith in foreign parts, as the 
peculiar object of their mission, and after appointing others 

1 Eckhel's Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. iii. p. 424. 

2 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 287. 


as shepherds to the flock, and committing to them the care 
of those that had been recently introduced, they went again 
to other regions and nations with the grace and co-operation 
of God " {Hist. Eccl. iii. 37). Afterwards the name became 
appropriated to the four writers of the life of Christ. Hence 
John is surnamed in a peculiar manner a the evangelist," to 
distinguish him from John the Baptist. Philip is here called 
the evangelist, probably on account of his missionary labours 
in Samaria. "Oz>to? i/c twv kirra — being one of the seven. 
Meyer translates these words, " who was the evangelist of 
the seven ; " i.e. he was the one of the seven who performed 
the office of an evangelist. Such an interpretation, however, 
is forced : the words simply mean that Philip was one of the 
seven deacons. 

Ver. 9. Tovt(o Be rjaav irapOevot dvyarepe? Teaaapes irpo- 
<f>r)T€vovcrcu — Now this man had four daughters, virgins, who 
did prophesy. This remark does not seem to be merely inci- 
dentally introduced ; but is probably an indication that the 
daughters of Philip, influenced by the spirit of prophecy, 
foretold the sufferings which awaited the apostle at Jeru- 
salem. Some suppose that the notice of their virginity is 
intended to intimate that they had devoted themselves to the 
service of Christ ; but perhaps it is a simple statement of 
fact: at least it is not to be adduced as an argument in 
favour of the condition of a nun. Eusebius, in his Church 
History, confounds Philip the evangelist with Philip the 
apostle. He informs us, after Papias and Polycrates, that 
Philip the apostle had four daughters who did prophesy; 
that he resided in Hierapolis in Asia ; and that their tombs 
are to be seen there (Hist. Eccl. iii. 31, 39). He further 
states that two of these daughters afterwards married, and 
that two continued virgins. " Philip," he observes, " gave 
his daughters in marriage to husbands." And again : " Philip, 
one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his 
two aged virgin daughters" (Hist. Eccl. iii. 30, 31). These 
traditions are probably of little value ; at least there is an 
evident confusion of two different persons. Gieseler, how- 
ever, infers from these passages in Eusebius, that ver. 9 is an 


interpolation, originating from some one confounding Philip 
the evangelist with Philip the apostle. But such an infer- 
ence is completely unfounded, as all manuscripts are in 
favour of the genuineness of the passage. Of all reporters 
of tradition in the early ages, Papias, as Eusebius admits, is 
the least trustworthy. 

Ver. 10. n.po<^rjT7]<s ovofxart, "Ayafios — a prophet named 
Agabus. There is no reason to doubt that this is the same 
Agabus as he who predicted the famine which occurred 
in the reign of Claudius (Acts xi. 28). It certainly seems 
as if Agabus were here introduced to the reader for the first 
time. This is explained by some on the ground that Luke 
drew his information of these two incidents from different 
sources ; and by others, that he had forgotten that he had 
previously mentioned him. But there is no necessity for 
assigning a reason for a mere form of expression. 

Ver. 11. "A pas rrjv ^oovrjv rod Uavkov — having taken PauVs 
girdle. The girdle was an indispensable part of the oriental 
dress. The loose flowing robes worn in eastern countries 
are bound by a girdle or sash round the body. Arjo-as 
eavrov tovs 7r68a<; ical ra? %elpa$ — having bound his own feet 
and hands. Agabus did not bind Paul's feet and hands, as 
the reading of the textus receptus renders doubtful (avrov or 
avrov), but his own feet and hands (eavrov). In doing so, 
he imitated the symbolical actions of the prophets of the Old 
Testament. (See examples of this in 1 Kings xxii. 11 ; Isa. 
xx. 1 ; Jer. xiii. 1 ; Ezek. iv. 1, etc.) So also our Saviour, 
when He taught His disciples humility and charity, had 
recourse to a similar method of teaching by symbols, when 
He washed the feet of His disciples, and wiped them with 
the towel wherewith He was girded (John xiii. 5). Oi/tod? 
Brjo-ovaov iv 'Iepovo-aXrj/ju oi 'lovhaloi — thus shall the Jews 
in Jerusalem bind. It was, indeed, the Romans who bound 
Paul, but it was at the instigation of the Jews in Jerusalem. 
It is to be observed that in the same city where Paul's im- 
prisonment was so plainly revealed to him, he was afterwards 
bound for two years. 

Ver. 12. 01 evrornoi — they of that place ; namely, the 


Christians of Csesarea : used only here in the New Testa- 
ment. Tov firj avafiaivev avrov eh 'Iepovo-aXrjfjb — not to go 
up to Jerusalem. Not only the Christians of Csesarea, but 
Luke and Paul's other companions, made this request. There 
is here a commendable affection for Paul, and yet a mixture 
of human infirmity, as Paul's companions at least must have 
known that he had undertaken the journey by divine direc- 
tion ; that he went up by the Spirit to Jerusalem. The 
incident reminds us of the similar conduct of Peter, when 
he tried to dissuade our Lord from the path of suffering on 
which He had entered. ' 

Ver. 13. Ti irotelre /cXaiovres koi avvOpvirrovre^ jjlov ttjv 
fcapSlav — What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart f This 
teaches us at once the loving spirit of the apostle, and his 
inflexible determination to follow the path of duty. At no 
time does the apostle appear more noble. We are strongly 
reminded of some incidents in the life of Luther, especially 
when on his journey to the Diet of Worms. Placed in almost 
precisely similar circumstances, surrounded by weeping friends 
who tried to dissuade him from his perilous journey, he ex- 
hibited the same loving spirit and holy determination. 

Ver. 14. Tov Kvplov to dekrjfia ^/iveaOoa — the will of the 
Lord be done. Kvplov refers not to God (Calvin, Kuincel, 
De Wette), but to the Lord Jesus, as mentioned in the pre- 
vious verse (Meyer). Alford and Wordsworth suppose that 
there is here an allusion to the second petition of the Lord's 
prayer, and that this is a proof that that prayer was used by 
the Christians of the apostolic age ; but such an opinion is 

Ver. 15. ^EiricrKevaa-dfievoL — having packed up our baggage. 
There is a variety in the text. (See Critical Note.) According 
to the reading of the teoctus receptus, airoaicevao-dfAevoij de- 
fended by Olshausen, the meaning is, " having packed away 
our baggage "— Laving stored away in Csesarea the luggage 
that had been necessary on a long sea-voyage (Robinson). 
According to this meaning, Paul left the greater part of his 
baggage in Caesarea, and took with him only those things 
which were necessary. The better attested reading, eVtoveeva- 


o-dfjuevoi,) is more suitable, u having packed up our baggage." 
There is in our English version a singular use of the word 
carriages, " we took up our carriages," signifying not the 
means of conveyance, but the articles conveyed. 'Aveftai- 
vofjuev eh 'Iepoo-okvfia — we came up to Jerusalem. Paul 
purposed being at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 
xx. 16) ; and we find, on examining the minute account of 
his journey given us by Luke, who was also his fellow- 
traveller, that he accomplished his purpose. He left Philippi 
after the days of unleavened bread, that is, six days after the 
passover, and came to Troas in five days, where he abode 
seven days (Acts xx. 6) : in all, eighteen days after the 
passover. The voyage from Troas to Miletus occupied 
four days (Acts xx. 13-15) ; and at Miletus he must have 
remained two days : in all, twenty-four. The voyage from 
Miletus to Patara occupied three days (Acts xxi. 1) ; and 
from Patara to Tyre would in all probability take four days : 
in all, thirty-one. In Tyre he remained seven days : in all, 
thirty-eight. The voyage from Tyre to Ptolemais would 
be easily accomplished in one day, and the journey from 
Ptolemais to Caesarea in two days : in all, forty-one. So 
that Paul would have four or five days to spend in Caesarea, 
as three days would suffice for a journey between Caesarea 
and Jerusalem ; and on the fiftieth day after the Passover, 
the feast of Pentecost occurred. 1 

Ver. 16. "AyovTe? irap &> ^evicrOwfJLev Mvdacovt, — conduct- 
ing us to one Mnason, with whom we should lodge. These 
words admit of two renderings, which are to be judged of by 
the context. Some (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Wordsworth) 
render them, as in our English version, " brought with them 
one Mnason, with whom we should lodge." According to 
this view, Mwraw is in the dative, agreeing by attraction 
with a>. This is an improbable rendering, as we must sup- 
pose that Mnason was at Caesarea, and that he went with 
Paul and his companions to Jerusalem ; whereas there must 
have been many Christians in Jerusalem who would gladly 
have received the apostle. Others, again (Meyer,. De Wette, 
1 See Wieseler's Chronologie, p. 100. 


Lechler), resolve the attractive construction thus : ayovre? 
irapa Mvdacova ira^ a> i;€vi(rd<bfiev — " conducting us to 
Mnason, with whom we should lodge." The object, then, 
of the disciples of Caesarea accompanying the apostle, was to 
introduce him to Mnason, with whom they were more inti- 
mately acquainted. Nothing is further known of Mnason : 
he is here called an old disciple, and a native of Cyprus. 
Some (Grotius, Hammond) suppose that he was converted 
by Paul and Barnabas on their visit to Cyprus ; but this 
is an arbitrary and improbable supposition, for he is here 
represented as unacquainted with Paul. The words " an 
old disciple" would induce us to believe that he was con- 
verted on the day of Pentecost, or at least in the early days 
of the church. The name is Greek ; so that in all proba- 
bility he was a Hellenist, or Greek Jew. Considering the 
disposition of the Hebrew Christians against Paul, it was 
prudent in him to fix his abode with one who was a Hel- 



17 Now when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren gladly 
received us. 18 And on the next day Paul went with us to James ; 
and all the elders were present. 19 And having saluted them, he 
declared particularly what things God had done among the Gentiles by 
his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God, and said 
to him, Thou seest, brother, how many myriads there are among the 
Jews who have believed ; and they are all zealots for the law ^ 21 And 
they have been informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the 
Jews among the Gentiles apostasy from Moses, saying that they should 
not circumcise their children, nor walk after the customs. 22 What is 
it therefore ? a multitude is sure to come together : for they will hear 
that thou hast come. 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee : We 
have four men who have a vow on themselves ; 24 Them take, and 
purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may 
shave their heads : and all shall know that those things, whereof they 
were informed concerning thee, are nothing ; but that thou thyself also 
walkest, keeping the law. 25 But concerning the Gentiles who have 
believed, we have written and decided that they observe no such thing, 
save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and 
from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication. 26 Then 
Paul having taken the men, the next day purifying himself with them, 
entered into the temple, giving notice of the fulfilment of the days of 
the purification, until the offering was brought for each of them. 

27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, 
having observed him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid 
hands on him, 28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help : This is the man 
who teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and 
this place : and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and has 
polluted this holy place. 29 For they had seen before with him in the 
city Trophimus the Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had 
brought into the temple. 30 And the whole city was stirred up, and 
there was a concourse of people : and they took Paul, and drew him 
out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut. 31 And while 
they sought to kill him, tidings came to the tribune of the cohort, that 
all Jerusalem was in an uproar ; 32 Who immediately took soldiers 



and centurions, and ran down to them : and when they saw the* tribune 
and the soldiers, they ceased beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune 
coming up, took him, and commanded him to be bound with two 
chains ; and inquired who he might be, and what he had done. 34 And 
some cried one thing, and some another, among the multitude : and 
when he could not know the certainty because of the tumult, he com- 
manded him to be led into the barracks. 35 And when he was upon 
the stairs, it came to pass, that he was borne by the soldiers on account 
of the violence of the people. 36 For the multitude of the people fol- 
lowed after, crying, Away with him. 37 And as he was about to be 
led into the barracks, Paul said to the tribune, May I speak to thee ? 
And he said, Knowest thou Greek ? 38 Art not thou that Egyptian, 
who before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out to the desert 
the four thousand men of the Sicarii ? 39 But Paul said, I am a Jew 
of Tarsus, a citizen of no insignificant city of Cilicia : I pray thee, 
suffer me to speak to the people. 40 But when he had permitted him, 
Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with the hand to the people. 
And when there was made a great silence, he addressed them in the 
Hebrew dialect, saying, 


Ver. 20. Geov, the reading of A, B, 0, E, G, K, is pre- 
ferred by Teschendorf, Lachmann, and Meyer, to Kvpiov, the 
reading of D, H. The words iv tois 'JouoWot?, found in 
A, B, C, E, are preferred by Tischendorf and Lachmann to 
'JouSatW, found in G, H. The words are wanting in the 
Sinaitic, which has only the words iroaat fivpidSes elacv twv 
7r€7rL<TTevfc6TG)V) the reading adopted by Lechler. Ver. 24. 
rvaxTovTai, found in A, B, C, D, E, K, is preferred by recent 
critics to yvwaij the reading of G, H. Ver. 34. 'ETrecjxovovv, 
the reading of A, B, D, E, K, is preferred by Lachmann and 
Tischendorf to ifiocov, the reading of G, H. Ver. 36. Kpd- 
&vt€$, the reading of A, B, E, K, is adopted by Lachmann 
and Tischendorf in preference to KpaCpv, the reading of 
D, G,H. 


Ver. 17. revo/jbivcov Be rjfiwv efc 'IepoaoXvfia — but we, 
having come to Jerusalem. This was Paul's fifth visit to 


Jerusalem since his conversion, and occurred at Pentecost 
(May) in the year 58 (Acts xx. 16). 01 aBeXcfrol — the brethren. 
The brethren here particularly alluded to are Mnason and his 
friends. Kuincel supposes that the apostles and elders are 
meant ; but Paul did not meet with them until the following 

Yer. 18. Elayet 6 ITauXo? a-vv f)pZv — Paul went in with us. 
Svv rjfuv is an attestation of the credibility of the narrative ; 
Luke himself was present at the interview. Ilpbs 'laKoafiov — 
to James. This was undoubtedly James the brother of the 
Lord ; but whether one of the twelve — James the son of 
Alphgeus — or a son of Joseph and Mary, is a matter of dispute. 
He seems to have resided in Jerusalem, and is known in 
church history as bishop of Jerusalem (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 
iv. 5). He was, we are informed, a strict observer of the 
law of Moses, lived like a Nazarite, and was, on account of 
his virtues, surnamed "the Just." 1 It does not appear that 
Peter, or any of the other apostles, was then at Jerusalem ; 
for otherwise they would have been mentioned. Uazn-e? re 
irape^evovTo ol TrpecrfivTepoL — and all the elders were present ; 
that is, the elders of the church of Jerusalem. A formal 
assembly of the elders was called to receive Paul and the 
deputies of the Gentile churches. 

Yer. 19. Kal dairaadfievo^ avTovs — and having saluted 
them. At this interview with the elders, Paul and the deputies 
of the Gentile churches would deliver over the collection 
which had been made for the saints in Jerusalem. Then 
Paul gave an account of his ministry from the time he had 
last visited Jerusalem — u what things God had done among 
the Gentiles by his ministry." 

Yer. 20. Ol Be afcovaavres iBo^a^ov rbv Geov — and when 
they heard it, they glorified God. The elders, with James at 
their head, acknowledge the hand of God in the ministry of 
Paul among the Gentiles; at the same time, they inform him 
that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were in general 
prejudiced against him. ®ea>pet? iroaai fjuvpidBe? elalv iv rols 
'JouoWot? tmv TreTnarevKOTcov — Thou seest how many myriads 

1 See an account of James in a note attached to Section xxv. vol. i. 


among the Jews there are who have believed. This vast number 
of Jewish believers in Jerusalem has been called in question. 
Baur supposes that the words t<ov TreTna-rev/coToyv are a gloss, 
and that the Jewish multitude in Jerusalem in general are 
spoken of, and not merely those who believed. 1 Zeller thinks 
that there is an exaggeration on the part of the author, and 
that he puts into the mouth of James what could only be 
true of the Jewish Christians throughout the world taken 
collectively. 2 It is, however, to be observed, that the expres- 
sion here employed is one which is often used for a large 
but indefinite number (1 Cor. iv. 15, xiv. 19) : it does not 
necessarily mean that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, 
or even in Judea, amounted to many tens of thousands, but 
that there were vast multitudes of them. Further, the 
expression is not necessarily to be restricted to the Jewish 
Christians resident in Jerusalem ; for at the feast of Pente- 
cost many would come from all quarters, and the Jews 
throughout Judea are probably included. Now we are in- 
formed that, about twenty years before this, the Jewish Chris- 
tians at Jerusalem amounted to 5000 (Acts iv. 4). Since 
then, Christianity had continued to spread, and churches had 
been established throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria ; 
so that it might be no exaggeration to affirm that there were 
at this time many myriads of Hebrew Jews (as distinguished 
from Hellenists) who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. 3 
Hegesippus informs us that, a few years before the destruction 
of Jerusalem, many of the rulers believed, and that there 
arose a tumult among the Jews, the scribes and Pharisees 
saying that there was danger that the people would now 
accept Jesus as the Messiah (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. ii. 23). So 
that to a large extent Christianity had spread even among 
the bigoted Jews. It is very probable that many of these 

1 Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. p. 228. 

2 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 280. 

3 Lechler supposes that the reference is not to the Christian Jews in 
Judea, but to the converted Jews throughout the world ; and there is 
nothing in the text against this opinion. (Lange's Bibelwerk : Apostel- 
geschichte. Von Lechler, p. 346). 



Jewish converts differed from other Jews only in confessing 
that Jesus was the Messiah ; and that in the hour of trial 
they either relapsed into Judaism, or, separating themselves 
from the Christian church, formed a Jewish Christian sect 
of their own. 

Kal wavTes ^rjXcoral rov vo/jlov virapypvaw — and they are 
all zealots of the law. These Jewish Christians, although 
baptized, and acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, yet held 
by the Mosaic law : they diligently observed its peculiar rites ; 
they conceived that it was of perpetual obligation for the 
Jews at least ; and perhaps they still considered the Jews to 
be in a peculiar sense the people of God, and more highly 
favoured than the Gentiles. Their religion was not pure 
Christianity, but a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. 
After the death of the apostles, many of them seceded from 
the Christian church, and are known in church history under 
the names Ebionites and Nazarites. After the lapse of a 
few centuries, the sect became extinct. 

Ver. 21. Karrj'yrjdrja-av Be irepi <rov — and they have been 
informed concerning thee : probably by the Judaizing teachers. 
Actual instruction is here meant. "Oti aiTOo-rao-lav BiBaGiceis 
airo Mcovaecos — that thou teachest all the Jews among the 
Gentiles apostasy from Moses, saying that they should not 
circumcise their children, nor walk after the customs. The 
charge brought against Paul w r as, that he taught the Jews of 
the dispersion that they should relinquish their Jewish pecu- 
liarities, cease circumcising their children, and live as do the 
Christian Gentiles. Zeller affirms that this charge was true ; 
and he appeals to the views expressed by Paul in his Epistle 
to the Galatians, of the uselessness and even pernicious nature 
of circumcision, and of the freedom of Christians from the 
law. But to this it is replied that Paul is there addressing the 
Gentile Christians, and warning them against the Judaizing 
teachers, who wished to bring them into bondage under the 
law. Paul certainly strongly insisted that circumcision and 
the observance of the law were ineffectual for justification in 
the sight of God ; that there was no merit in legal ceremonies; 
that they were mere matters of indifference and forbearance ; 


and hence we may easily perceive how such an accusation 
may have arisen. Indeed, his principles, carried out, naturally 
led to the abolition of the law. But still he never taught 
that the Jewish Christians should forsake the law, and cease 
to circumcise their children ; he left this to the development 
of the spirit of the gospel : he inculcated a mild conservatism. 
"Is any called being circumcised? let him not become un- 
circumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision ? let him not 
be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision 
is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 
Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was 
called" (1 Cor. vii. 18-20). And he himself several times 
showed the example of keeping the law, as when he shaved 
his head at Cenchrea, circumcised Timothy, and lived as a 
Jew with the Jews, that he might gain the Jews. The 
charge, then, brought against Paul was untrue : he would not 
permit the Gentile Christians to be circumcised, but he did 
not forbid circumcision to the Jewish Christians. 

Ver. 22. Tl ovv iarlv—WIiat is it, therefore $ not, " What 
is your opinion upon this matter ? " but, " What is now to be 
done ? " ndvro)? Bel o-vvekdelv 7r\rj0o<; — a multitude must 
needs come together ; that is, a multitude of Jewish Christians. 
By this is not meant that James and the elders feared a 
tumultuous onset on the part of the Jewish Christians 
(Kuinoel) : the actual uproar was caused by the unbelieving 
Jews. Nor is a regular assembly of the Christian church 
here referred to (Calvin, Grotius, Bengel) ; otherwise the 
definite article would have preceded ifkrjQos. But by ir\rj6o<; 
is meant a multitude drawn together from curiosity, to hear 
and see the supposed Christian opponent of Judaism. James 
and the elders were afraid of a collision in sentiment between 
Paul and these Jewish Christians. Baur asserts that there 
is a discrepancy between this and the previous assertion that 
the brethren received Paul gladly ; but although the Jewish 
Christians in general were hostile, yet James and the elders 
were friendly. 

Ver. 23. Tovro ovv iroLr)o-ov o aoi Xeyo/nev — Do therefore 
this that we say to thee. The advice given was the united 


opinion of James and the elders ; and we are not permitted 
to separate James from the other members of the assembly, 
as if the proposal originated not with him, but with them 
(Howson). The proposal, of course, must have been made 
on the understanding that Paul could with a safe conscience 
assent to it. Elalv r/fitv az>Spe? reacrape^ — we have four men. 
These four men were Jewish Christians. Ev^rjv e^wre? e<£' 
eavTwv — having a vow on themselves. This vow corresponds 
with the vow of the Nazarite, described in Num. vi. 1-21. 
It is a different vow from that of Paul, when he shaved 
his head at Cenchrea. (See note to Acts xviii. 18.) The 
offerings and the shaving of the head were here to be per- 
formed, according to the Mosaic rites, in the temple. The 
vow of the Nazarite was undertaken either by man or woman. 
The person who took it bound himself to abstain from wine, 
and to allow the hair of his head to grow. The vow was 
either for life, as in the cases of Samson and Samuel, and 
perhaps also of John the Baptist, and according to tradition 
of James the brother of the Lord ; or it was for a certain 
definite period. No precise time is stated in the law of 
Moses; but we learn from the Talmud (Tract Nazir) and 
Josephus {Bell. Jud. ii. 15, 1), that the customary period 
among the Jews was thirty days. At its expiry, the Nazarite 
repaired to the temple, and offered a he-lamb for a burnt- 
offering, a ewe-lamb for a sin-offering, a ram for a peace- 
offering, together with a basket of unleavened bread, cakes 
of fine flour mingled with oil, and a drink-offering; his hair 
was then shaven, and cast into the fire when the thank- 
offering was burning (Num. vi. 15-18). The import of this 
vow appears to be, that the Nazarite dedicated himself spe- 
cially to the service of God : his vow was a solemn act of 
self-sacrifice. 1 

Ver. 24. f A^vigO^tl avv avTofc — purify thyself with them. 
It is a matter of dispute whether, according to this advice of 
James and the elders, and upon which Paul acted, he took 
upon himself the Nazaritic vow ; or whether he merely 
joined with the four Nazarites, by paying the expenses of 
1 "Winer's liblisches Worterbuch — Nasiraer. 


their sacrifices. Some (Meyer, De Wette, Oertel, Hackett, 
Alford, Wordsworth) affirm that Paul actually took upon 
himself the vow of a Nazarite. He purified himself with 
them (crvv aurot?) ; that is, he entered with them upon their 
course of purification. The four Nazarites had before this 
entered upon their period of separation, and that period was 
drawing to a close when Paul joined them ; but it is supposed 
that if a person joined himself to a Nazarite, and paid the 
expenses, the period of separation w T hich had already run was 
put to his credit. 1 According to this view, Paul and the 
four Nazarites would be freed from their vow on the same 
day. This, however, is a mere conjecture, and not a very 
probable one, and is unsupported by any authority. Others, 
again (Wieseler, Lechler, Schaff, Zeller, Howson), suppose 
that the purification here mentioned only referred to the 
appearance in the temple, and to the prayers and offerings 
to be made there, for which the worshipper must prepare 
and purify himself. The word dyvlcrOvrc is certainly used 
of the vow of the Nazarite (Septuagint, Num. vi. 3), but this 
does not appear to be its meaning in this connection ; and 
the addition crvv clvtoZs merely intimates that Paul should 
unite with them in their acts of worship, but not that he 
himself should take the actual vow of the Nazarite along 
with them. 

Kal Bairdvrjaov eir avrols — and be at charges with them. 
A person who was not a Nazarite might bind himself to take 
part of the sacrifices. It was regarded by the Jews as a 
meritorious action to contribute to defray the expenses of the 
Nazarites. Thus Josephus informs us, that when Herod 
Agrippa I. came to Jerusalem, in order to obtain the favour 
of the Jews, and to be regarded by them as a devout adhe- 
rent to the law, he offered all the sacrifices that belonged to 
him, and omitted nothing which the law required ; on which 
account he ordained that many of the Nazarites should have 

1 According to Wordsworth, Paul was probably already under the 
vow of Nazariteship when he joined the four Nazarites. This opinion 
is founded on what we consider an erroneous interpretation of Acts 
xviii. 18. 


their heads shaved (Ant, xix. 6. 1). And the Gemara relates 
that Alexander Jannaeus contributed towards supplying nine 
hundred victims for three hundred Nazarites. The charges 
of these four Nazarites would be the price of eight lambs, 
four rams, besides unleavened bread, fine flour, and drink- 
offerings (Num. vi. 14, 15). 

"Iva gvpijaovTai, rrjv Ke<fra\r}v — that they might shave the 
head. This was an essential part of the ceremony of loosening 
a Nazarite from his vow. So we read in Numbers : " And 
the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the 
door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take 
the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire 
which is under the sacrifice of the peace-offerings" (Num. 
vi. 18). 1 

Kal yvobcTOVTai iravres otl &v Karij^vvTai wepl gov ovBev 
earcv — and all shall know that these things whereof they were 
informed concerning thee are nothing; but that thou thyself 
walkest in the observance of the law. The reason assigned 
for this advice was, that Paul, by taking part in the Jewish 
ceremonies, might show that, so far from teaching apostasy 
from the law, he himself observed it. It is evident from 
this that James and the elders had not relinquished the 
Jewish ceremonies, but, although Christians, still conformed 
themselves to the law ; and this was almost a necessity with 
the church at Jerusalem, otherwise they would have been 
persecuted by the Sanhedrim as apostates. Paul, however, 
living without the limits of Judea, exercised greater freedom, 
although he also does not seem to have relinquished Jewish 
observances. The words, u that thou thyself walkest in the 
observance of the law," are certainly not to be understood 
that Paul should by his actions declare that he observed the 
law always, and under all circumstances ; but merely that 
he had not himself apostatized from the law. 

Ver. 25. Tie pi Be twv TreTnarevKorcov edvoov r)ixeh eire- 

o-Teikajiev — but concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we 

have written. The object of this remark was to remove a 

probable scruple on the part of Paul ; lest, by acting on the 

1 See also Josephus, Bell. Jud. ii. 15. 1. 


advice of James and the elders, he should infringe on the 
liberty of the Gentile Christians. They respect the decision 
of the Council of Jerusalem, and assert the perfect freedom 
of the Gentiles from the law of Moses, except from the four 
mentioned particulars, which were still to be observed as 
articles of peace. 

Ver. 26. Tore 6 IlavXos irapaXaficbv tovs avSpas — Then 
Paul, having taken the men, the next day purifying himself 
with them, entered into the temple. Paul's conduct in this 
instance has given rise to much discussion : its propriety has 
been called in question. 1 Baur, indeed, admits that Paul 
might have consented to such a course of action, without any 
contradiction to his principles, in order to contradict a wide- 
spread prejudice against him, and to diminish the hatred 
of his enemies ; but that he could not do so from the motives 
presented by James, in order that all might know that he 
himself walked in the observance of the law, as this was in 
point of fact not the case. 2 But if by walking in the 
observance of the law be only meant a general conformity 
to it, or that he had not apostatized from it, then there is 
no contradiction between this action and Paul's principles. 
According to Paul's views, the ceremonies of the law were 
matters of indifference : he himself appears to have observed 
them, though with no great strictness ; hence he felt him- 
self at liberty to accommodate himself to the conduct of 
others in these indifferent things. And it was this very 
liberality of spirit, this freedom of action, that enabled 
him to comply with the request of James and the elders. 
Christian love, which was the grand moving principle of 
his conduct, caused him to accommodate himself to the 
views of the Jews, when he could do so without any sacrifice 
of principle, in order to remove their prejudices. 3 It must, 
however, be admitted that Paul could only consistently unite 

1 Schaff's History of the Apostolic Church, vol. i. p. 360. 

2 Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. pp. 224-226 ; Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, 
pp. 275, 276. 

8 See an excellent remark on this subject in Neander's Planting of 
Christianity, vol. i. pp. 302-305. 


with the Nazarites in their vow, provided he gave no coun- 
tenance to the erroneous notion of the Judaizing teachers, 
that salvation was by the works of the law. Hence Meyer 
observes, that Paul could only comply with the proposal on 
the supposition that the four Nazarites did not regard the 
ceremony as a work of justification ; otherwise Paul must 
at once have rejected it, in order to give no countenance to 
the error of justification by the law. Moreover, he must 
have been convinced that his observance of the law was 
not demanded in the sense of justification by the law, by 
those who regarded him as an opponent of it ; otherwise 
he would as little have consented to the proposal made to 
him, as he formerly did to the demand that Titus should 
be circumcised. And no explanations, which Schnecken- 
burger supposes he must have made, would have sufficed, 
but rather stamped his accommodation as a mere empty 
show. 1 

^LayyeWcov rrjv iK7rXrjpcoacv twv r//j,ep<tiv tov ayviafiov, ©&>? 
ov irpoarjve^dr) virep kvbs e/cdaTov avrcov rj irpoatyopa — 
giving notice of the fulfilment of the days of purification, until 
the offering was brought for each one. There is here a variety 
of translation, and consequently of meaning. The difficulty 
lies with the verb irpoo-'nvkyQ'n being the indicative instead of 
the subjunctive of the aorist. Howson connects the sentence 
with elcryet, efc to lepov, and gives the following translation : 
u He entered into the temple, giving public notice that the 
days of purification were fulfilled, (and stayed there) until 
the offering for each one of the Nazarites was brought." 2 
According to this view, which is also the view of Wieseler, 
the period of the Nazarite vow was accomplished ; and Paul 
now made to the priests the official announcement of its 
fulfilment, and his readiness to pay for the necessary sacri- 
fices which were to be offered on the same day. Most in- 
terpreters, however, regard the announcement as having 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 424. See also, for some excellent 
remarks on this subject, Schaff's History of the Apostolic Church, vol. i. 
pp. 360, 361. 

2 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 302. 


reference to the future : that Paul here announced to the 
priest when the days of purification were completed — namely, 
in seven days (ver. 27) ; and that then, at the close of them, 
the offering would be made for each of the Nazarites. 
Meyer regards the occurrence of the indicative instead of 
the subjunctive as an instance of the direct instead of the 
indirect form of communication. According to the other 
interpretation, the words " and stayed there " have to be 

Ver. 27. f if2? Be e/jueWov at sirra rjfiepcu avvre\eia6ai — 
but when the seven days were almost ended. There is con- 
siderable difficulty with regard to the seven days. (1.) Some 
(Neander and others) suppose that they refer to the time to 
which the Nazarite vow used to extend. But this is obviously 
erroneous, as a week is too short a period to permit of any 
perceptible growth of the hair, and as we learn from the 
Talmud and Josephus the customary period was thirty days. 
The seven days mentioned in Num. vi. 9 are, as Neander 
admits, not applicable to the case, as they refer to the inter- 
ruption of the vow by a person who during the course of 
it has defiled himself by touching the dead. 1 (2.) Others 
(Wieseler, Schaff, Howson) suppose that the seven days are 
the pentecostal week, which the Jews were accustomed to 
observe before the feast, and that they were now concluded at 
Pentecost. They suppose that on the day of Pentecost Paul 
and the four Nazarites came to present their offerings. 2 But 
to this it is objected that such days of preparation before Pen- 
tecost are not elsewhere mentioned ; and that when Paul was 
seized, the seven days had not elapsed, but were only almost 
ended. (3.) Others (Olshausen, Meyer, De Wette, Lechler, 
Wordsworth), with greater reason, suppose that the seven 
days are the same with " the days of purification " in ver. 26, 
and denote the period to which the vow of the Nazarites yet 
extended. When these seven days expired, they would be 
released from their vows. These seven days were drawing 
to a close (ejieWov avvreXeladai) ; and it was during their 

1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 306. 

2 Wieseler's Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 109. 


course — on the fifth day, as we shall afterwards see — that 
Paul was arrested. 

01 airb rfjs 'Acrid? 'lovhaloi — the Jews who were from 
Asia ; that is, proconsular Asia, of which Ephesus was the 
capital. Paul had spent three years there, and had met 
with great opposition from the Jews : he was therefore well 
known to the Asiatic Jews, and hated by them. They were 
amazed to see him whom they regarded as a bitter enemy to 
Judaism in the temple ; and having seen him formerly in 
company with uncircumcised Gentiles, they hastily drew the 
conclusion that he had polluted the temple. 

Vers. 28, 29. "Etc re /cat "EWrjvas elo-r)ya<yev ek to lepov 
— And further also, he brought Greeks into the temple, and has 
polluted this holy place. Any stranger might worship in the 
outer court, called " the court of the Gentiles ;" but these 
Asiatic Jews asserted that Paul had brought some uncir- 
cumcised Greeks into the inner court, which was restricted 
to the Jews, Josephus informs us that there was a stone 
partition between the court of the Gentiles and the court of 
the Israelites, and several pillars, on which there was the 
following inscription in Greek and Latin : Mr) Beiv aXko- 
<j>v\ov ivTos tov a<ylov irapcevac — " No foreigner must enter 
within the sanctuary" (Bell. Jud. v. 5. 2). The punishment 
in case of disobedience was death. Titus is represented as 
saying : u Have you not been allowed to put up pillars, 
and to engrave on them in Greek the prohibition that no 
foreigner shall go beyond the partition- wall 1 Have we not 
given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were 
a Koman ?" (Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 4.) "EXA^ms— Greeks : the 
plural of the class ; only one is mentioned. To lepov — the 
temple : here the inner court, or that of the Israelites, is 
meant. Tpofycfiov tov 'Etyeacov — Trophimus the Ephesian. 
Trophimus was one of those who accompanied Paul on his 
journey from Philippi in Macedonia to Jerusalem. Being an 
Ephesian, he would be personally known to the Asiatic Jews. 

Ver. 30. 'EKCvrjdr) re r) ttoXls o\r) — and the whole city was 
moved. The fanaticism of the Jews was excited. No doubt 
Paul was known, at least by name, among them ; and they, 


entertaining the views of the Christians of Jerusalem in a still 
stronger form, regarded him as an apostate to Judaism, and 
the great enemy of their religion. Kal evdews ifckeiadrjo-av 
at dvpai — and immediately the doors were shut. The Jews 
dragged Paul out from the court of the Israelites, and shut 
the doors, that is, the gates between the inner and the outer 
courts. Some (Bengel, Baumgarten) suppose that the gates 
were shut in order to prevent Paul flying for refuge to the 
altar. But by seizing Paul they had sufficiently guarded 
against this ; and the right of asylum referred only to 
those who had committed unpremeditated murder. Accord- 
ing to Lange, the closing of the doors was an intimation 
of the temporary suspension of worship, in order that it 
might be ascertained whether the temple had been pro- 
faned. 1 But the obvious reason why the doors were shut, 
was to guard against the spaces of the temple being stained 
by the shedding of blood (De Wette, Meyer), and, as it was 
already supposed that the inner court had been polluted by 
the entrance of a Gentile, to prevent its further pollution 

Ver. 31. Ztjtovvtcov re avrov anroKrreivai — and while they 
sought to kill him. Philo says that any uncircumcised person 
who came within the separating wall might be stoned to 
death without any further process (Legat. ad Caium). But 
in this case, even supposing Paul had taken Trophimus into 
the temple, it would have been Trophimus, and not Paul, 
who had incurred the penalty of death. XcXc'dp^ t?}? 
cnrelprjs — to the tribune of the cohort. XiXLap^o<; — a chiliarch : 
the Greek translation for the military tribune among the 
Romans ; a commander of a thousand men. The name of 
this tribune was Claudius Lysias (Acts xxiii. 26). A de- 
tachment of Roman soldiers was always quartered in the 
Castle of Antonia, adjoining the temple, to overawe the 
Jews, and to prevent popular tumults : this detachment was 
increased during the celebration of their three great annual 
festivals. In the same manner, in the present day, the 
Turks have a detachment of soldiers to guard the holy 
1 Lange's apostolisches Zeitalter, vol. ii. p. 306. 


sepulchre, and to prevent any tumults which might arise 
from a collision between the Greek and Latin Christians 
during the celebration of their feasts. 

Yer. 34. Ek ttjv irapefjb^oXrjv — into the barracks. JJapefju- 
fto\r) is an encampment, and is here used for the barracks in 
which the Roman soldiers were quartered. These barracks 
were in the Castle of Antonia. This castle was built by the 
high priest John Hyrcanus I., and called by him Baris, in 
order that there the priestly robes might be laid up, which 
the high priest wore only when he offered sacrifice. It was 
afterwards enlarged, ornamented, and strongly fortified by 
Herod the Great, and called by him Antonia in honour of 
Mark Antony. It was situated on the north-west corner of 
the temple, on a rock fifty cubits high, and surrounded by 
great walls. The interior had the extent and arrangements 
of a palace, and had broad open places which were used for 
encampments. The entire structure resembled a tower ; and 
it had also four distinct towers, of which the tower at the 
south-east corner was the largest, being seventy cubits high, 
and overlooked the temple. In it there was always quartered 
a band of soldiers to command the temple ; for, as Josephus 
observes, as the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, 
so was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple (Joseph. 
Ant. xviii. 4. 3; Bell. Jud. v. 5. 8). 1 

Vers. 35, 36. 'EttI tovs ava/3a0jj,ov<; — on the stairs. These 
stairs are particularly mentioned by Josephus as leading up 
from the temple to the Castle of Antonia. There were two 
flights of stairs, one leading to the northern and the other to 
the western cloister. u On the corner," observes Josephus, 
" where the castle joined to the two cloisters of the temple, 
it had passages down to them both, through which the guard 
went several ways among the cloisters with their arms on 
the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people " {Bell. 
Jud. v. 5. 8). Alpe avrov — away with him. The same cry 
that was uttered by the infuriated multitude against his 
Divine Master (Luke xxiii. 18). 

1 For a minute description of the Castle of Antonia, see Robinson's 
Biblical Researches, pp. 230-238. John Murray, London 1856. 


Ver. 37. 'EW^vcarl ywobo-fcei,? — Knowest thou Greek 6 ? 
Paul addressed the tribune in Greek ; at which that officer 
expressed his surprise. According to Bengel, he drew from 
this the inference that he was the Egyptian impostor ; but it 
is evident from the text that it was an opposite inference 
which he drew — that he was not the Egyptian whom he at 
first suspected him of being. Such an inference could hardly 
be derived from the mere language, as Greek was at this 
time generally spoken in Egypt, unless indeed it was a 
notorious fact that this impostor could not speak Greek. 

Ver. 38. Ov/c apa <rv el 6 AuyuTTTios — Art thou not that 
Egyptian who before these days madest an uproar, and leddest 
out to the desert the four thousand of the Sicarii f We have 
two accounts of this Egyptian impostor by Josephus (Ant. 
xx. 8. 6 ; Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 5). He was a false prophet, who 
in the reign of Nero, when Felix was governor of Judea, 
collected a multitude of thirty thousand, whom he led out 
from the wilderness to the Mount of Olives, saying that the 
walls of Jerusalem would fall down at his command, and 
that they would have a free entrance into the city. But 
Felix with an army dispersed the multitude, slew four 
hundred, and took two hundred alive, whilst the Egyptian 
himself escaped and was never more heard of. This account 
agrees with the narrative of Luke in several particulars. 
In Luke's narrative, the Egyptian is said to have led his 
men out into the desert ; and Josephus tells us that he led 
them round about from the wilderness. According to both 
narratives, the Egyptian himself escaped. But there is a 
disagreement in the numbers. According to Luke, the 
Roman tribune mentions only 4000 Sicarii ; whereas Jose- 
phus says that 30,000 were deluded by him. In the state- 
ment of number, however, the two accounts of Josephus 
differ: in the one, he asserts that the greater part were 
destroyed by Felix ; while in the other, that only 400 were 
slain. We would almost suspect that the 30,000 mentioned 
by Josephus was an exaggerated number. Perhaps, how- 
ever, they denote the deluded rabble, whilst the 4000 were 
the armed followers — the Sicarii. Eusebius alludes to this 


Egyptian ; but his account is taken from Joseph us (Hist. 
Eccl. ii. 21). 

Tovs TeTpaKMT'%i\iovs avBpas rcov ^tfcapioyv — the four 
thousand men of the Sicarii. The Sicarii were so called 
from the Latin sica, a short sword or dagger, which they 
carried and concealed under their garments. These dis- 
turbers of the public peace are frequently mentioned by 
Josephus. They were a set of murderers who arose in these 
unfortunate times. They frequented Jerusalem especially 
at the times of the feasts, and mingling themselves among 
the multitude, murdered their enemies. They were also 
ready to be hired by others for the purpose of assassination 
(Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 3). Felix is said to have hired one of 
these Sicarii to murder the high priest Jonathan, and to 
have protected the murderer [Ant. xx. 6. 7). After such a 
crime, according to Josephus, many were slain every day : 
no man deemed his life secure, and the Sicarii increased in 
boldness and excesses. 

Ver. 39. 'Eyco avOpwiro? puev elfxt 'Ioi>8ato? Tapaevs — / 
am a Jew of Tarsus. The force of fiev may be : I am not 
indeed an Egyptian, but a Jew. TVj? Ki\iKia$ — of Cilicia. 
This depends not on Tapaevs, as in our version — "in Cilicia;" 
but on 7ro\ea)5 — " of no insignificant city of Cilicia." 

Ver. 40. ^EirLTpeyfravTO^ Be avrov — having permitted him. 
Baur and Zeller object that it is most improbable that the 
Roman tribune would permit Paul to address the multitude. 
"Is it probable," asks Baur, a that the tribune who had taken 
the apostle in a tumult, whom he suspected of being a danger- 
ous conspirator, and concerning whom he knew nothing more 
than what he heard from himself, would grant him permission 
to make a speech, the effect of which upon the excited mul- 
titude he could not foresee?" 1 But Paul had already dis- 
armed the suspicions of the tribune, and there was doubtless 
something about him which swayed the minds of men ; so 
that the Roman officer did not withhold his consent. Trj 
'EfipaiBi, 8t,a\e/cT(p — in the Hebrew dialect ; that is, in the 
language then spoken by the Jews in Palestine. It was a 
1 Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. p. 238. 


mixture of Syriac and Chaldaic, hence called Syro-Chaldaic. 
Paul does not address them in Greek, the language probably 
most familiar to himself, but in the Syro-Chaldaic, in order 
to obtain a favourable hearing from the multitude, since he 
addressed them in their native tongue — the dialect most 
loved and best understood by them. 



1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken to my defence now made unto 
you. 2 And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew 
dialect, they kept the more silence : and he said, 3 I am a Jew, born 
in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, and instructed at the 
feet of Gamaliel, according to the strictness of the ancestral law, being 
a zealot for God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this 
way unto death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and 
women. 5 As also the high priest bears me witness, and all the elder- 
ship : from whom also, having received letters to the brethren, I went to 
Damascus, to bring them who were there bound to Jerusalem, that they 
might be punished. 6 And it came to pass, that, as I journeyed, and 
drew nigh to Damascus, suddenly, about noon, there flashed around me 
a great light from heaven. 7 And I fell to the ground, and heard a 
voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? 8 And I 
answered, "Who art thou, Lord ? And He said to me, I am Jesus the 
Nazarene, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they who were with me saw 
the light, and were afraid ; but they heard not the voice of Him who 
spoke to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord 
said to me, Arise, and go into Damascus ; and there it will be told thee 
of all things that are appointed thee to do. 11 But when I could not 
see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them who were 
with me, I came to Damascus. 12 And one Ananias, a devout man 
according to the law, having a good report of all the resident Jews, 
13 Came to me, and stood, and said to me, Brother Saul, look up. And 
on the same hour I looked up upon him. 14 And he said, The God of 
our fathers chose thee to know His will, and to see the Just One, and to 
hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For thou shalt be His witness to all 
men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now, why tarriest 
thou ? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on His 
name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jeru- 
salem, and was praying in the temple, I was in an ecstasy ; 18 And 
saw Him saying to me, Make haste, and depart quickly from Jerusalem ; 
for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, 
Lord, they know that I imprisoned and scourged in every synagogue 
those who believed on Thee : 20 And when the blood of Stephen, Thy 



witness, was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping 
the garments of those who slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart : 
because I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. 

22 And they heard him unto this word, and then raised their voices, 
saying, Away with such a fellow from the earth ; for it was not fit that 
he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and threw up their garments, 
and cast dust into the air, 24 The tribune commanded him to be brought 
into the barracks, saying that he should be examined with scourges ; 
that he might know for what cause they so cried out against him. 
25 And as they stretched him out to the thongs, Paul said to the cen- 
turion standing by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, 
and uncondemned? 26 When the centurion heard that, he went to the 
tribune, and told him, saying, "What art thou about to do ? for this man 
is a Roman. 27 Then the tribune came, and said to him, Tell me, art 
thou a Roman? And he said, Yes. 28 And the tribune answered, I 
procured this citizenship with a great sum. But Paul said, But I was 
so born. 29 Then immediately they who were about to examine him 
departed from him : and the tribune also was afraid, after he knew that 
he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. 


Ver. 9. Kal e/jucpo^ot iyevovro are wanting in A, B, H, K, 
and are omitted by Lachmann ; they are found in D, E, G, 
and are retained by Teschendorf, Meyer, and Alford. Ver. 
16. Tov Kvplov are found in G, II ; whereas A, B, E, K have 
avroOj the reading adopted by recent critics. Yer. 20. The 
words rfj avaipkau avrou are found in G, H, but are wanting 
in A, B, D, E, K, and rejected by all recent critics. Ver. 
25. The singular irpoiretvev is not found in any uncial MS. ; 
the plural irpokreivav is considered the best attested reading 
by Tischendorf and Meyer. Ver. 26. "Opa before rl 
/^eXXet? is found in D, G, H; it is wanting in A, B, 0, 
E, tf, and rejected by recent critics. 


This speech of Paul to the Jews was an apology in answer 
to the accusation that he taught all men everywhere against 
the people, the law, and the temple (Acts xxi. 28). In his 
defence he adapts himself to his hearers, using every lawful 



method to propitiate their favour, and secure a patient hear- 
ing. He addresses them in their native language ; he men- 
tions that he himself, although a Greek Jew, was brought 
up in Jerusalem, and educated under one of their most 
renowned rabbis ; he alludes to his former zeal for Judaism, 
and his persecution of the Christians ; he represents Ananias, 
who administered to him the initiatory rite of Christianity, 
as a devout man according to the law, and well reported of 
by all the Jews resident in Damascus; and he tells them 
that even after his conversion he did not neglect the rites of 
Judaism, but that it was while he was worshipping in the 
temple that a vision was imparted to him. He was not 
interrupted until he came to announce his mission to the 

Vers. 1, 2. Tfj 'E&pafik BcaXeKTcp — In the Hebrew dialect. 
Paul addresses the Jews in their native language, the better 
to secure an attentive hearing. This, however, implies that 
he might have addressed them in Greek, and would have 
been understood by them. Greek was probably at this time 
pretty generally understood in Judea. 1 MaWov irapea^ov 
7}Gvyiav — they kept the more silence ; because Hebrew was 
their favourite language, and better understood by them. 
Just as Highlanders, although they understand English, 
prefer being addressed in Gaelic. 

Ver. 3. Tey6W7jfjLevo^ iv TapaS — born in Tarsus. Hence 
we see how unfounded is the assertion of Jerome, that Paul 
was born in Gischalis of Judea : Paulus de tribu Benjamin 
et oppido Judo303 Gischalis fuitj quo a Ronianis capto cum 
parentibus suis Tar sum Ciliciw commigravit (de Script. Eccles. 
c. 5). 'AvareOpa/jL/JLevo? — brought up. The verb avarpeOco 
signifies "to nourish," "to bring up a child;" but also, in the 
secondary sense of mental training, tt to educate," " to train 
up." Uapa rov? 7ro8a? Ta^iaXirjk — at the feet of Gamaliel. 
Critics differ in the punctuation of this passage. Some 
(Calvin, Beza, Castalio, Meyer, Alford) place a comma after 
TafiaXirfK,, and render the clause, as in our English version, 

1 It seems also to imply that the addresses of the apostle were gene- 
rally in Greek. 


Y but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel." The 
reason of this is, that it is more in accordance with the struc- 
ture of the sentence, according to which a new circumstance 
is introduced after each of the three participles, ryeyevvrjfievos, 
avaredpafjbfjLevos, and ireirai^evfievo^} Others (Griesbach, 
Lachmann, Tischendorf, De Wette, Lechler) place the 
comma after ravry, and render the passage, "brought up in 
this city, and instructed at the feet of Gamaliel." The 
reason for this is because irapa tovs 7roSa? seems more ap- 
propriate to TreTrcu&evfjLevos, " instructed," than to dvareOpa/ub- 
likvos, u brought up." 2 The difference is of slight importance. 
The expression u at the feet of Gamaliel " refers to a custom 
of the Jews, according to which the scholars sat partly on 
benches and partly on the floor, whilst the teacher was raised 
on an elevated platform. 3 

Kara aKplfteiav rod irarpwov vo/jlov — according to the 
strictness of the ancestral law. These words are not to be 
weakened by rendering Kara dicplfieiav adverbially, " care- 
fully instructed in the ancestral law" (Castalio). The refer- 
ence is to the strictness of the pharisaical sect. Gamaliel 
was a Pharisee ; and Paul was educated according to the 
tenets of that sect. Hence he says : " After the most strictest 
sect [Kara ttjv aKptftecrTaTrjv aHpeaiv) of our religion, I lived 
a Pharisee." So also Josephus speaks of the sect of the 
Pharisees in similar terms : ^apcaacot, ol 8okovvt€<; /jlcto, 
aKpi/3ela<; iijrjyeiadai ra vofiifia {Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14). Zr}\(OTr)<; 
irrrdp^cov rod Geov — being a zealot for God. The apostle 
here uses the word zealot in an indifferent sense, capable of 
being taken either in a good or in a bad meaning (Kom. 
x. 2). He does not find fault with them for their zeal, but 
rather commends them. 

Ver. 4. "Ayjpi Oavdrov — unto death : that is, intending to 
put them to death (Grotius, Meyer). Paul did not actually 
put any to death himself, but he was the agent employed 
in committing them to prison ; and, as he himself says, 

1 Meyer's ApostelgescMchte, p. 431. 

2 De Wette's Apostelgeschichte, p. 163. 

3 For an account of Gamaliel, see note to Acts v. 34. 


u when they were put to death, I gave my voice against 
them" (Acts xxvi. 10). Mention is only made of the mar- 
tyrdom of Stephen in this persecution ; but it seems pro- 
bable, from these expressions in the Acts, that Stephen was 
not the only victim. 

Yer. 5. f /2? koX 6 ap^iepevs fiaprvpel p.oi — as also the high 
priest bears me witness. By the high priest, to whom he 
appeals, and from whom he received letters, is probably 
meant the high priest in office when Paul went to Damascus. 
This is generally supposed to have been Theophilus the son 
of Annas, who was still living (see note to Acts ix. 1). 
Others suppose that the high priest now in office, namely 
Ananias (but see note to Acts xxiii. 2), is meant. Although 
not high priest when Paul persecuted the Christians, yet he 
was then most probably a member of the Sanhedrim. The 
words which follow, u from whom having received letters," 
favour the first of these opinions. Kal irav to irpea^vTepiov 
— and all the eldership. By the eldership is meant the 
Sanhedrim, the supreme court of the Jews. Although 
deprived by the Romans of the power of life and death, yet 
it exercised absolute authority in all ecclesiastical matters, 
and from its sentence there was no appeal. Hence Paul, 
furnished with letters from them to Damascus, was invested 
with great authority. 1 Upo<$ tov<; aBeXcfrovs — to the brethren; 
that is, to the Jews resident in Damascus. Paul here speaks 
as a Jew, and hence regards his countrymen as brethren. 
The rendering of Bornemann, u against the brethren," that 
is, the Christians, is inadmissible. "'Eiropevofjunv — / ivent, or 
more literally, " I was journeying," the verb being in the 
imperfect. Els AafiaaKov — to Damascus. For a description 
of Damascus, see note to Acts ix. 2. '.E/cetcre — thither : 
according to some, used instead of e/ca, there (De Wette, 
Robinson) ; or perhaps referring to the Christians, who, by 
reason of the persecution which had arisen after the death of 
Stephen, had gone to Damascus. 

Vers. 6-11. These words contain an account of Paul's 
conversion, given by himself, the same in essential points 

1 See an account of the Sanhedrim, attached to Section vn. vol. i. 

13. 293 

with the account given by Luke. For the particulars here 
mentioned, see notes to Acts ix. 3-8 ; and for the variations 
and supposed discrepancies in the accounts, see note to Acts 
ix. 7. The following are the chief points of difference. We 
are here informed that the appearance of Christ took place 
irepl fjuecrrj/jiPplav, about noon (jifjuepa? /-tecr^?, ch. xxvi. 13), — 
a fact which is not mentioned in ch. ix. ; so that there could 
be no possibility of mistaking it for a visionary deception. 
Our Lord, in answer to the question of Paul, " Who art 
thou, Lord?" reveals Himself under the title of Jesus d 
Na%(opaLos 9 the Nazarene, a title which occurs neither in 
ch. ix. nor in ch. xxvi. Paul was going to Damascus to 
persecute the Christians, perhaps even then called by their 
enemies Nazarenes (Acts xxiv. 5), when he was stopped 
by the Lord announcing Himself as Jesus the Nazarene. 
Others suppose that the name is here mentioned as a title of 
distinction, because Paul mentions Jesus for the first time 
before an assembly of unconverted Jews (Lechler). It is 
said of Paul's companions, that tyjv cfxovrjv ov/c rjKovaav rod 
\cl\ovvt6s pot, — they heard not the voice of Him who spoke to 
me. By this is meant, from a comparison with the other 
accounts, that they heard only a confused sound, but did not 
understand the words which were spoken : to Paul the words 
were intelligible, but to his companions they were unintelli- 
gible. In the former account we were merely told that Paul 
was blinded ; here we are informed as to the cause of his 
blindness : he could not see, airo tt)? Sof>7? rov (frayrbs eiceivov 
— for the glory of that light He was dazzled with the 
heavenly glory, and deprived of natural sight (see note to 
Acts ix. 8). 

Ver. 12. 'Avavlas Se rt?, avrjp €v\a/3r)$ Karh, tov vo/jlov — 
And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law. It 
is not here stated, as in Acts ix., that Ananias was a 
disciple ; but that he was avrjp eu\a/3^<?, a strict observer of 
the Mosaic law. Thus Paul affirms that he was not intro- 
duced to Christianity by an opponent of Judaism, but by a 
strict Jew. 

Ver. 13. SaovX dBeX^e, avajSketyov. Kayca avrf) rfj copa 


avefiXeifra eh avrov — Brother Saul, look up. And on the 
same hour I locked up upon him. The same verb, avafiXeTrco, 
is used in both clauses, although translated in our English 
version by different words : u Brother Saul, receive thy sight. 
And on the same hour I looked up upon him." It admits of 
both translations — to recover sight, and to look up (Kobinson's 
Lexicon of the New Testament). The latter meaning is here, 
however, the correct one, as is evident from eh avrov — u I 
looked up upon him." De Wette unites the two meanings : 
" I looked up with recovered sight upon him." 

Vers. 14-16. In the address of Ananias there is the same 
accommodation to the views and feelings of the audience. 
God and Christ are both mentioned by their purely Jewish 
names — o Oeo? toov irarepcov tjjjlgov, and o Sltcaios. Ananias 
here asserts that Paul saw Christ; so that we infer that 
an actual appearance of Christ was granted him, which 
is not indeed precisely stated either in Luke's account of 
the transaction, or in either of the accounts given by the 
apostle himself (see, on this point, note to Acts ix. 17). 
The universal ministry of Paul is expressed in these terms : 
7rpb<; nravras avOpomovs — to all men, the Gentiles being as 
yet not directly mentioned, for fear of irritating the Jews ; 
whereas, on the contrary, in Acts ix. 15 the commission is 
to bear the name of Jesus before the Gentiles (eOvcov), and 
kings, and the people of Israel. 'AvaaTas fiannicrai /cal 
airokovaai ra? afAapria? gov — Arise and be baptized, and wash 
away thy sins. Baptism in the adult, except in the peculiar 
case of our Lord, was accompanied by a confession of sin, 
and was a sign of its remission ; hence called baptism in 
order to the forgiveness of sins (Acts ii. 38). 'EiriKaXeo-aiios 
to ovofia avrov — calling on His name. Evidently Christ, as 
being the Person mentioned directly before and after ; not 
God (Grotius). This is one of those incidental proofs of 
the divinity of Christ which continually occur in the sacred 
narrative. He was the object of Christian worship; and 
hence Christians are represented as those who in every place 
call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. i. 2). 
And Pliny, in his celebrated letter, when describing the wor- 


ship of the Christians, says that they sang a hymn of praise 
to Christ as God. 

Ver. 17. ^Tirocnpe^ravTi eh 'IepovcraXrjfi — having returned 
to Jerusalem. Paul did not immediately after his conversion 
return to Jerusalem ; but he went, as he himself tells us, to 
Arabia, where he abode for nearly three years, spending the 
time probably in prayer and preparation for the great work 
of the ministry ; and then, as he himself writes, u after three 
years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with 
him fifteen days" (Gal. i. 17, 18). 1 'Ev eKardaei — in an 
ecstasy. Wieseler supposes that this ecstasy was the same 
as that mentioned in 2 Cor. xii. 1-3, when Paul was taken 
up into the third heavens. 2 But the revelations made in these 
ecstasies were different: here Paul was constituted the apostle 
of the Gentiles; there a vision of heaven was imparted to 
him. The importance of the revelation made to him at this 
time cannot be over-estimated. Three years ago Paul had 
been converted from being a persecutor of the Christians to 
be a preacher of Christianity ; now, at a time when he was 
regarded with hatred or suspicion by the Jews, he is called 
to be the apostle of the Gentiles : his sphere of labour is not 
to be Jerusalem, but the world. 

Ver. 18. Ou irapahe^ovraL gov rrjv fiaprvptav irepl ifiov — 
TJiey will not receive thy testimony concerning me. " They," 
that is, certainly the unbelieving Jews, but perhaps also the 
Jewish Christians. The former hated Paul as an apostate 
from Judaism ; and the latter, remembering his former per- 
secutions, regarded him with suspicion (Acts ix. 26). 

Ver. 19. Kaycb ehrov Kvpte, avrol liriGTavTai ore 670), etc. 
— And I said y Lord, they know that I imprisoned and scourged 
in every synagogue those who believed on Thee. Paul here, as 
it were, expostulates with Christ. He does not express his 
unwillingness to go to the Gentiles, but his unwillingness to 
leave Jerusalem. He alludes to his former persecutions of 
the Christians as a matter of notoriety : u Lord, they know 
that I imprisoned and scourged in every synagogue them 

1 See note to Acts ix. 25. 

2 Wieseler's Chronologie der Apostelgeschichte, pp. 163-165. 


that believed on Thee ;" as if he had said: I was once as 
hostile to the Christians as they now are ; surely they will 
not resist my testimony concerning Thee : the fact of my 
conversion, and the miraculous circumstances attending it, 
must have weight with them. Or perhaps he wished, by 
his continued ministry in Jerusalem, in some measure to 
repair the injury he had done. Aepcov Kara Ta? o-vvayoyyas — 
scourged in every synagogue. It was the custom of the Jews 
to scourge offenders or heretics in their synagogues. Thus 
Eusebius, in citing from a writer against the Montanists, 
represents this as no uncommon practice with the Jews 
{Hist. Eccl. v. 16). 

Yer. 20. ^recfrdvov tov fjudprvpos <rov — of Stepheri, Thy 
witness. The technical meaning of the term /idprvp or 
fjLapTv$j martyr, as signifying one who by his death bears 
witness to the truth of Christianity, was probably not in use 
at this time, so that it is better to render the word in its 
primary sense, witness. It certainly, however, occurs in this 
technical sense in the Apocalypse (Rev. ii. 13, xvii. 6), and 
was soon thus generally employed by the Christians. Thus 
Eusebius, speaking of Stephen, says : " He first received the 
crown, answering to his name (crrefavos), of the victorious 
martyrs of Christ " (Hist. Eccl. ii. 1). The martyrs at Lyons 
in the second century refused the title, because they con- 
sidered it to be appropriate only to Christ. " If any of us, 
either by letter or in conversation, called them martyrs, they 
seriously reproved us ; for they cheerfully yielded the title 
of martyr to Christ, the true and faithful Martyr, the first 
begotten from the dead, the Prince of divine life" (Hist. 
Eccl. v. 2). 

Ver. 21. IlopevoV) on iyco efc eOvn fia/cpav i^airoaTekoy ere 
— Depart, because I will send thee far hence to the Gentiles. 
Paul, in the relation of this vision, declares to the Jews his 
intense love for their nation ; that he did not willingly for- 
sake Jerusalem, but departed in consequence of the repeated 
command of Christ. In the narrative we are informed that 
his departure was occasioned by the plots of the Jews to kill 
him ; here the motive which he assigns was an express com- 


mand from Christ. There is no discrepancy ; both reasons 
may be true (see note to Acts ix. 30). 

Ver. 22. "Hkovov Se avTov ayjpi tovtov tov \6yov — And 
they heard him to this word; namely, the word "Gentiles." 
The national pride of the Jews was wounded, and their 
bigotry excited. The assertion of Paul, that the Messiah 
Himself, in the very temple, commanded him to forsake the 
Jews, the peculiar people, and repair to the uncircumcised 
Gentiles, was regarded by them as blasphemy. The Jews 
no doubt expected that the Gentiles should own the Messiah, 
but it was by becoming Jews. They alone were the peculiar 
people of God — the favourites of Heaven. They could not 
bear the thought of the Gentiles being admitted to equal 
privileges with themselves; far less that they should be 
rejected, and the Gentiles accepted. Such an assertion must 
have been regarded by them as the greatest blasphemy : to 
their minds, the accusation preferred against Paul, that he 
blasphemed the Mosaic law and the temple, was fully proved. 
And this was the great stumbling-block in the way of the 
Jews accepting Christianity. They must relinquish their 
fondly cherished privileges ; they must cease considering 
themselves the peculiar people of God ; they must regard 
the Gentiles as on a religious equality with themselves. Nor 
can we wonder at the strength of their prejudices : the 
sacrifice which they were required to make was the re- 
nunciation of Jewish hopes and privileges — the heirloom 
of centuries. It was the doctrine of equality between Jews 
and Gentiles, so strongly insisted on by Paul, that was the 
cause of the bitter hatred of the unconverted Jews, and of 
the suspicions of the Jewish Christians. This, and not any 
supposed profanation of the temple, was the real cause of 
the present attack upon him. It cannot, then, be surprising 
that when he alluded to his mission to the Gentiles, his 
speech was interrupted by the clamours of the Jews, and 
was left unfinished, like the defence of Stephen before the 
Sanhedrim, and his own noble address to the Athenians. 

Ver. 23. Kpavya^ovrcov re avTcbv, koi pnnovvTGsv ra ifiaria, 
etc. — And as they cried out, and threw up their garments, 


and cast dust in the air. Some (Grotius, Meyer, Baum- 
garten) suppose that by these actions they showed their 
readiness and eagerness to stone Paul. They cast off their 
garments as preparing to stone him, and threw up dust as 
the symbol of throwing stones. 1 But it is a sufficient answer 
to this, that Paul was in the custody of the Roman tribune, 
and that any attempt at stoning would be futile. It is better 
to regard the actions as proofs of the intense excitement 
which prevailed. The multitude were roused into a fury ; 
they uttered loud cries, waved their garments, and threw 
dust in the air. 

Ver. 24. EiTras fidaTL^LV dverd^eaOav avrov — saying that 
he should be examined with scourges. Scourging was a com- 
mon method of examination resorted to by the Romans. It 
was administered by the lictors, and was usually inflicted by 
rods. The tribune, however, in ordering Paul to be imme- 
diately scourged, acted contrary to the Roman law, which 
enjoined that no examination should commence with scourg- 
ing : et non esse a tormentis incipiendum^ Div. Augustus con- 
stituit {Digest. Leg. 48, tit. 18, c. 1). Perhaps, in ordering 
Paul to be scourged, he designed to appease the wrath of the 
multitude, as Pilate for this reason scourged Jesus (John 
xix. 1). f 'Iva hrttfvm hC fyt alrlav ovrcos iirecfraovovv avrat — 
that he might know for what cause they so cried out against 
him. As Paul addressed the multitude in Hebrew, the 
tribune, being ignorant of that language, was not able to 
understand what he said. But when he saw the result, the 
rage and violent actions of the Jews, he naturally concluded 
that he had before him some dangerous criminal. 

Ver. 25. f /2? Be irpoeTevvav avrov to?? Ifiaaiv — and as 
they stretched him out to the thongs. UpoTelvco, to extend, to 
stretch out. These words admit of two meanings, according 
as we understand tols Ifiaatv as the instruments by which, 
or the objects to which, he was stretched out. Some 
(Erasmus, Bengel, Alford, Humphry, Hackett, Wordsworth) 
render it, " w T hile they stretched him out with the thongs ;" 
i.e. while they bound him with thongs in a stretched-out 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 435. 


position. According to this view, /jbdo-ngiv (ver. 24) are 
the instruments of torture, and Ifiacnv the thongs by which 
he was bound. But by this rendering the force of irpo 
in irpoirecvav is weakened, and the article before Ifxaaiv is 
unnecessary. Others (Meyer, De Wette, Lechler, Lange, 
Howson, Robinson) render it, U while they stretched him out 
to the thongs," as the instruments of torture. According to 
this view, i/naa-iv is not precisely equivalent to fidarifyv ; for 
the scourge was composed of several thongs. El avOpairov 
'Pay/jLcuov koX a/cardfcpiTov e^eariv vpXv /jbao-Ti&LV — Is it 
lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncon- 
demned f Two violations^ of the law are here mentioned : 
first, that they were about to scourge a Roman citizen ; and 
secondly, that they were about to scourge a man without 
examination. 1 

Ver. 26. Tl fieWeis irobelv ; 6 <yap avOpcoiros ovtos 'Pcd- 
fialos iariv — What art thou about to do ? for this man is a 
Roman, Paul here stood on vantage-ground. The appeal 
to his privilege as a Roman citizen had its instant effect, as 
it formerly had when he made a similar appeal at Philippi. 
The Roman tribune was afraid that he had already gone 
too far. 

Ver. 27. Aeye /jloc, <tv f Po)/xato? el ; 6 Be e<j)7j Nai — Tell 
me, art thou a Roman ? And he said, Yes. It is to be observed 
that the tribune does not call in question Paul's statement, 
but takes its truth for granted. According to the Roman 
law, it was death for any falsely to assert that he was en- 
titled to the privileges of a Roman citizen. u Claudius," writes 
Suetonius, tt prohibited foreigners from adopting Roman 
names, especially those which belonged to families. Those 
who falsely pretended to the freedom of Rome he beheaded 
on the Esquiline " (Claud, xxv.). Perhaps also Roman citi- 
zens would carry with them documents containing evidence 
of their freedom. 

Ver. 28. '£70? 7ro\Xov KefyaXaiov Tr t v woXireiav TavTTjv 
iKTTjcrdfjLrjv — 1 procured this citizenship with a great sum. 

1 See the privileges of the Roman citizen mentioned in a note to Acts 
xvi. 37. 


KecpdXcuov, literally the head, hence capital, a sum of 
money. Lysias was not by birth a Roman, but had pro- 
cured his citizenship by purchase. The name Lysias is not 
Roman, but either Syriac or Greek : he adopted the Roman 
name Claudius, probably because he had obtained his citizen- 
ship from the Emperor Claudius. Under the first emperors 
the freedom of Rome was obtained with great difficulty, and 
by the payment of a large sum of money. In the early part 
of the reign of Claudius it was sold at a high rate ; but when 
that emperor came under the influence of Messalina, it was 
sold with shameless indifference, and could be procured for 
a trifle (Dio Cassius, lx. 17). 

'Eya) Se real <ye<yivvr)/jLcu — but I was boom so. Paul, on the 
other hand, was a Roman citizen by birth. Some suppose 
that he became entitled to this privilege because he was a 
native of Tarsus. But that city was not a Roman colony, 
like Pisidian Antioch, Troas Alexandria, and Philippi, but 
merely a free city (iirbs libera) : it was exempt from certain 
taxes, and had rulers of its own ; but it did not possess the 
privilege of citizenship. It was highly favoured both by 
Julius Caesar and Augustus, on account of its services 
during the civil wars ; but neither of them exalted it to the 
rank of a colony. Paul, then, must have obtained his free- 
dom from his father, or some ancestor. The Roman citi- 
zenship was conferred as a reward for some service done to 
the emperor ; or a slave who was manumitted according to 
certain forms became a citizen ; or, as in the case of Lysias, 
this citizenship could be purchased for a sum of money. 
In one of these ways Paul's family became free ; but all 
more definite explanations are mere conjectures. We learn 
from Josephus that the Jews were not unfrequently Roman 
citizens :' he mentions several Jews, residents at Ephesus, 
who were citizens of Rome {Ant. xiv. 10. 13) ; and certain 
Jews who, though Roman citizens of the equestrian order, 
were illegally scourged and crucified by Florus shortly 
before the Jewish war {Bell. Jud. ii. 11. 9.) 1 

1 Eenan supposes that Luke, on his own authority, confers on Paul 
the title of a Roman citizen ; but the only reason he assigns is, that 


Ver. 29. Evdecos ovv aTrearrjaav air avrov, etc. — And im- 
mediately they who were about to examine him departed from 
him ; that is, the centurion and soldiers who were about to 
examine him by scourging. Kal on 9p> avrov SeSe/cco? — and 
because he had bound him. Here we are informed that the 
Roman tribune was afraid of the consequences arising from 
having bound Paul. And yet we find that he did not loose 
Paul from his chains until the next day ; and even after 
that he was again bound and retained as a prisoner in chains 
(Acts xxvi. 29). Besides, the tribune bound Paul in ignor- 
ance of his citizenship, and for the purpose of securing him 
from the rage of the Jews. Hence De Wette supposes that 
this supposed fear of the tribune rests on an error of the 
reporter. 1 Meyer thinks that, although the tribune was con- 
vinced of his mistake in binding Paul, yet he did not release 
him at once, because his pride would not permit him to 
acknowledge his error to his prisoner. 2 But the true ex- 
planation seems to be, that the binding refers to his being 
bound with a view to scourging, which was regarded as an 
outrage upon the person of a Roman citizen ; whereas it 
was not unlawful to bind a Roman citizen with a view to 
custody. As Calvin remarks : " How can this correspond, 
that the tribune was afraid because he had bound a Roman 
citizen, and yet did not loose him from his bonds until the 
morrow ! It may be he deferred it until the next day, lest 
he should show some token of fear. But I judge that 
the tribune was afraid because Paul was bound at his com- 
mand in order to be scourged, this being an injury done to 
a Roman citizen, although it was lawful to put a Roman in 
prison" (Calvin, in loco). 

Paul was thrice beaten with rods. These illegal acts might, however, 
easily have been committed in popular tumults. There is positively 
nothing to countenance the suspicion. Eenan's Saint Paul, p. 526. 

1 De Wette's Apostelgeschichte, p. 166. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 437. 


PAUL BEFORE THE SANHEDRIM.— Acts xxii. 30-xxiii. 11. 

30 And on the morrow, wishing to know the certainty why he was 
accused of the Jews, he released him, and commanded the chief priests 
and all the Sanhedrim to assemble ; and having brought down Paul, he 
set him before them. Ch. xxiii. 1 And Paul, looking stedfastly on the 
Sanhedrim, said, Men and brethren, I have lived as a citizen in all good 
conscience toward God until this day. 2 And the high priest Ananias 
commanded those who stood near him to smite him on the mouth. 
3 Then Paul said to him, God is about to smite thee, thou whited wall ; 
and dost thou sit judging me according to the law, and commandest me 
to be smitten contrary to the law ? 4 And the bystanders said, Revilest 
thou the high priest of God? 5 Then Paul said, I did not know, 
brethren, that he is the high priest ; for it is written, Thou shalt not 
speak evil of a ruler of thy people. 6 But Paul, perceiving that the one 
part were of the Sadducees, and the other part of the Pharisees, called 
aloud in the Sanhedrim, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of 
Pharisees ; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am 
judged. 7 And when he had said this, there arose a discussion be- 
tween the Pharisees and the Sadducees ; and the multitude was divided. 
8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor 
spirit ; but the Pharisees acknowledge both. 9 And there was a great 
outcry; and the scribes of the Pharisees' party arose and contended, 
saying, "We find nothing evil in this man ; but if a spirit or an angel 
spoke to him? 10 And when there arose a great uproar, the tribune, 
fearing lest Paul should be torn in pieces by them, commanded the 
guard to go down and rescue him from the midst of them, and to 
bring him into the barracks. 

11 And on the following night the Lord stood by him, and said, Be 
of good courage ; for as thou hast testified of me at Jerusalem, so must 
thou also testify at Rome. 


Ch. xxii. 30. The words airo twv Seafi&v, found in G, 
H, are wanting in A, B, 0, E, K, and rejected by recent 



critics. Avtcov after avveSpioVj the reading of G, H, is 
wanting in A, B, C, E, K, and omitted by recent critics. 
Ch. xxiii. 6. Tibs Qapiaaiov is the reading of E, G, H ; 
whereas vlbs Qapiaaliov is the reading of A, B, C, X, and is 
preferred by Lachmann, Meyer, and Tischendorf. Ver. 8. 
Mrj&e ayyeXov firjTe irvevfia {textus receptus) is the reading 
of G, H ; whereas A, B, C, E, K read firjTe cuyyekov iirjre 
irvevfjia^ the reading preferred by Lachmann and Alford, 
whilst Tischendorf retains the reading of the textus receptus. 
Ver. 9. The textus receptus reads ol ypafi/juaTels, which is not 
found in any uncial MS. ; G, H read ypa/uLfiarels, the reading 
adopted by Tischendorf; B, C, X have rive? tcov ypafifia- 
tccov, the reading adopted by Meyer and Bornemann ; A, E 
have simply Tives tcov $apitralcov, the reading adopted by 
Lachmann. The words /jltj deofia^co/nev, found in G, H, 
are omitted in A, B, C, E, K, and rejected by most recent 
critics. Ver. 11. TlavXe is found in G, H, but is wanting 
in A, B, C, E, K, and omitted by recent critics. 


Ver. 30. BovXo/jbevos yvcvvai to atrcpaXes — wishing to know 
the certainty. The accusations brought against Paul were 
vague and general ; and the tribune was anxious to know 
the truth of the matter — what was the reason of the popular 
clamour. Uapa tcov 'IovSaicov — on the part of the Jews. 
Ilapdy " on the side of the Jews," a more exact preposition 
than vtto (the reading of certain MSS.), u by the Jews," as 
no formal charge had been laid against him. 1 'EfceXevaev 
— he ordered. In the absence of the procurator, the com- 
mander of the Roman forces in Jerusalem had the chief 
authority ; and the Sanhedrim at this time was much under 
the power of the Romans, and had to obey their orders. 
This accounts for the convocation of the Sanhedrim in obe- 
dience to the command of the Roman tribune. TZvveXOeiv 
tovs ap^iepefc na\ irav to avveBpiov — the chief priests and all 
the Sarihedrim to assemble. The Sanhedrim formerly assem- 
1 Winer's Grammar, p. 383. 


bled in a room called the Hall of Gazzith, situated within 
the sacred spaces of the temple ; but, according to the 
Talmud, they removed from it forty years before the de- 
struction of Jerusalem, and assembled in a chamber situated 
in the upper city, near the foot of the bridge leading across 
the ravine from the western court of the temple (Lewin, 
Biscoe). 1 This removal was doubtless caused by the Romans, 
as they would thus have the Sanhedrim more completely 
under control. Had the Sanhedrim continued to meet within 
the temple, its assemblies could not have been directly inter- 
fered with, as no Roman could pass the sacred limits on 
pain of death. This accounts for Lysias being able to lead 
his soldiers into the place of meeting. Kal /carcvycvycbv rbv 
TIavkov — and having brought down Paul; that is, down 
from the Castle of Antonia to the council-room of the San- 

Ch. xxiii. 1. neTroXcTevfiai — I have lived as a citizen. The 
verb TToXLTevco, derived from ttoXltt]^ signifies " to live as a 
citizen," " to conduct oneself as a citizen ; " and there is no 
reason why the word should not have here its full meaning. 
Meyer thinks the reference is to the Christian church, and 
renders the clause, u I have performed my apostolic office." 
But it seems rather to refer to the Jewish theocracy, and to 
be a direct answer to the charge preferred against him, that 
he taught men everywhere against the law and the temple. 
According to this view, the meaning is : "I have, according 
to my conscience, lived as a loyal subject of the Jewish 
theocracy." So also Alford explains it : " I have lived a 
true and loyal Jew." Paul might well assert this as a 
Christian, inasmuch as Christianity was in an important 
sense the fulfilment of the law. "A%pi, Tavri)? r^? rjfjbepas 
— until this day. Most writers (Calvin, Meyer, De Wette, 
Hackett) limit this assertion to the time after his conversion ; 
as it was his conduct after he became a Christian that was 
attacked, and because Paul often accuses himself on account 
of his former life. But there is no reason for this restric- 

1 Lewin's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, p. 672 ; Biscoe on the Acts, 
p. 205. 


tion : Paul acted conscientiously before as well as after his 
conversion ; he walked up to the light which he then had ; 
he thought that he was doing God service, even when per- 
secuting the disciples of Christ. 

Yer. 2. f O Se apftcepevs ' 'Avavias — but the high priest 
Ananias. This was undoubtedly Ananias the son of Nebe- 
daus, a man who played an important part in Jewish history. 
He was made high priest by Herod king of Chalcis about 
the year 47, when Tiberius Alexander was governor of 
Judea. "Herod king of Chalcis," writes Josephus, "re- 
moved Joseph the son of Camydus from the high-priest- 
hood, and made Ananias the son of Nebedaus his successor" 
(Ant. xx. 5. 5). In the procuratorship of Cumanus, in con- 
sequence of certain complaints of the Samaritans against 
the Jews, Ananias was sent prisoner to Rome by Quadratus, 
the president of Syria, to answer for himself and the nation 
before the Emperor Claudius (a.d. 52) (Ant. xx. 6. 2). 
Owing to the influence of Herod Agrippa the younger, the 
Jews were acquitted, and the Samaritans punished. The 
further history of Ananias is doubtful. According to some, 
he was deposed from the high-priesthood, and Jonathan the 
son of Annas, afterwards murdered by Felix, was appointed 
his successor. According to others, he retained the priest- 
hood until displaced by Herod Agrippa the younger in the 
year 59, who gave the office to Ismael the son of Phabi, 
shortly before the departure of Felix from Judea (Ant. xx. 
8. 8). 1 Even after he ceased being the actual high priest, he 
still exercised great influence among the Jews, and obtained 
the favour and esteem of the citizens, although he used his 
power in a violent and illegal manner (Ant. xx. 9. 2). 

Tvirreiv avrov to aro^ia — to smite him on the mouth. A 
common mode of treating offenders in the East. Our Saviour 
was thus treated when on His trial before the same council 
(John xviii. 22). In Persia it is still customary for a person 
in authority to cause those who have made unpalatable remarks 
to be thus smitten. "As soon as the ambassador came," 

1 According to this, Ananias would be high priest for the compara- 
tively long period of twelve years. 



writes Morier, " the king punished the principal offenders by 
causing them to be beaten before him ; and those who had 
spoken their minds too freely, he smote on the mouth with a 
shoe." 1 It is not probable that this order of the high priest was 
put in force; it would be prevented by the stern rebuke of Paul. 
Ver. 3. Tvirreiv <re fieWec 6 0eo? — God is about to smite 
thee. These words are not to be understood as an impreca- 
tion, but rather as a prophetic denunciation of punishment 
— that his violent dealing would be returned on his own 
head. It has been disputed whether these words were rashly 
spoken, as if Paul for a moment lost command of himself ; 
or whether they were warranted by the conduct of the high 
priest. Certainly they are not much to be blamed : they are 
the language of moral indignation. Still it is perfectly allow- 
able to contrast the conduct of Paul with the meekness and 
gentleness of Christ under similar circumstances. This con- 
trast is well brought out by Jerome when he says : Ubi est 
ilia patientia Salvatoris, qui quasi agnus ductus ad victimam 
non aperuit os suum, sed clementer loquitur verberanti : Si 
male locutus, argue de malo, si autem bene, quid me c&dis? 
But with justice he adds : Non apostolo detrahimus, sed 
gloriam Domini prazdicamus, qui in came passus carnis inju- 
riam superat et fragilitatem. Tol^e KeKovva^ieve — thou whited 
wall. Alluding to the beautiful outside of some walls, which 
were constructed with mud and other base materials. This 
proverbial expression is analogous to our Saviour's words, in 
which he compares the Pharisees to whited sepulchres : beau- 
tiful outside, but within full of dead men's bones and of all 
uncleanness (Matt, xxiii. 27). And that such a character 
was exhibited by Ananias, is fully borne out by the account 
of his violent and unjust conduct given us by Josephus, 
who informs us that he violently took away the tithes that 
belonged to the priests, and did not refrain from beating 
such .as would not surrender these tithes {Ant. xx. 9. 2). 
The words of Paul, whether a denunciation or a prediction, 
were remarkably fulfilled in the death of Ananias at the 
commencement of the Jewish war. We are informed that, 
1 Quoted by Hackett, p. 371. 


in consequence of commotions raised by his own son Eleazer, 
the Sicarii, led by Manahem, a son of Judas of Galilee, 
entered Jerusalem, and committed the greatest atrocities. 
They attacked and burned the palace of Ananias, captured 
him in a drain where he had in vain attempted to conceal 
himself, and murdered him, along with his brother Hezekiah 
{Bell. Jud. ii. 17. 9). Kal <tv kclOtj icpivwv fie Kara top vofiov 
— and dost thou sit judging me according to the law f Thus 
fully realizing that he was addressing Ananias, and not, as 
some suppose, that he was ignorant of the person by whom 
the insulting words were uttered. 

Ver. 4. 01 he irapecrrwre^ — but the bystanders : either the 
members of the court or the audience generally. They were 
struck with the boldness, and, as they conceived, the impiety 
of Paul's language. Tbv apyiep'ea tov Oeov — the high priest 
of God. It was contrary to the law to revile those in autho- 
rity ; but especially it must have been regarded as great 
impiety to revile so sacred a person as the high priest — the 
visible head of the theocracy — the representative of God. 

Ver. 5. Ovk rjBeLV otl iarlv ap%iepevs — / did not know that 
he is the high priest. These words have occasioned consider- 
able difficulty. How can Paul's ignorance be accounted 
for? 1. Baur and Zeller cut the knot. They understand 
the words as containing an actual untruth, and assert that 
they were never spoken by Paul, but put into his mouth by 
the historian. Zeller supposes that there may have been a 
tradition of the hasty answer of Paul to the high priest, and 
that the historian, in order to justify the apostle, used this 
untruthful expression. 1 But exactly such a supposition, that 
the words contain a falsehood, would cause an inventor of 
history to avoid them ; and the very difficulty of explanation 
is a presumption in favour of their genuineness. 2. Some 
(Chrysostom, Beza, Calovius, Lechler) take the words in 
their most literal sense, and suppose that Paul did not per- 
sonally know the high priest. The apostle was for many 
years absent from Jerusalem, and the high priest was fre- 
quently changed, so that he did not know by sight the person 
1 Zeller's ApostelgescJiichte, p. 233. 


now holding the office. Nor was it always the case that the 
high priest presided at the meetings of the Sanhedrim : his 
place was sometimes occupied by a vice-president, called in 
the Talmud " the father of the house of judgment." This 
is a possible solution, but hardly a probable one. Paul 
must have been well acquainted with the meetings of the 
Sanhedrim, so as to be able to distinguish the high priest ; 
and Ananias, if still high priest, had been so for ten years, 
and was a noted man in Jerusalem, and among the Jews. 
3. Some (Clericus, Alford) think that Paul was not aware 
of the person who addressed him, and thus did not know 
that it was the high priest whom he rebuked. They suppose 
that Paul only heard a voice, but did not in the crowd see 
the speaker. Alford thinks that the solution of his ignorance 
lies in the fact of his imperfect vision. But it is expressly 
said that Paul, in addressing the Sanhedrim, fixed his eyes 
on them (aTevlaas) ; and that when Ananias uttered his in- 
solent command, Paul spoke to him (irpos clvtov). 4. Others 
(Calvin, Grotius, Heinrichs, Thiess, Meyer, Baumgarten, 
Stier) think that Paul meant that he did not acknowledge 
or own Ananias to be the high priest. According to them, 
the words were spoken ironically, as if he had said, " A man 
who has given such an unjust command cannot surely be the 
high priest ; I do not regard him as such : by his conduct he 
has forfeited his right to so sacred an office." 1 But such a 
solution is unnatural and far-fetched : the irony, if present, 
is certainly not apparent. 5. Others (Alexander, etc.) think 
that Paul did not acknowledge Ananias to be the high priest, 
because that now, when Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, 
had appeared, the office was abolished ; as if Paul had said, 
"I did not know, and do not know, that he is the high priest 
of God : the office exists only in appearance and in name." 2 
Such a solution requires no refutation : were this Paul's 
meaning, his answer would be a mere evasion. 6. Others 
(Lightfoot, Michaelis, Eichhorn, Whiston, Lewin) assert 
that Ananias was not at this time the high priest. They 

1 Stier's Words of the Apostles, pp. 401-408, Clark's translation. 

2 Alexander on the Acts, vol. ii. p. 326. 


suppose that, when Ananias was sent prisoner to Rome, he 
was deprived of the high-priesthood, and that, although 
acquitted, he was not restored to his former dignity, but that 
the office was conferred on Jonathan the son of Annas. In 
the account given of the murder of Jonathan by Felix, he 
is called the high priest (Ant. xx. 8. 5). Accordingly, it is 
thought that there was a vacancy in the office in consequence 
of the late assassination of Jonathan, and that Ananias, as 
the former high priest, and by reason of his influence, merely 
supplied the vacancy. Such a solution is plausible, and is 
not destitute of support. Still, however, as Winer and 
Wieseler show, it is more probable that Ananias was not de- 
posed, there being no mention of his deposition in Josephus ; 
that he was then the actual high priest, and was not super- 
seded until the appointment of Ismael the son of Phabi by 
Agrippa. It is true that Josephus calls Jonathan the high 
priest ; but he may have done so not on account of his 
present, but of his former occupancy of the office. This is 
the more probable, as Josephus is very particular in men- 
tioning the succession of high priests. In one passage he 
mentions Jonathan and Ananias together as high priests, at 
a time when Ananias was the actual high priest (Bell. Jud. 
ii. 12. 6). 1 7. Others (Wetstein, Kuincel, Bengel, Olshausen, 
Neander, Schaff, Hackett, Wordsworth, Howson) suppose 
that Paul meant that he did not recollect or consider that it 
was the high priest whom he was addressing. According to 
this view, Paul apologizes for his rash words ; that they were 
spoken inadvertently, without reflecting on the sacred office 
of the person whom he addressed. And this well suits the 
words which follow : " for it is written, Thou shalt not speak 
evil of a ruler of thy people." This certainly appears to be 
the most plausible solution. It suits the connection, and 
is in keeping with the courteous character of the apostle. 
There are, however, two objections to it. The verb yheiv 
can scarcely be rendered considered (reputabam) ; and the 
passages adduced in favour of such a meaning (Eph. vi. 8 ; 

1 Winer's Ublisches Worterbuch, article Ananias ; "Wieseler's Chronologie, 
p. 77. 


Col. iii. 24) are not sufficient to support it, unless indeed 
such a meaning can be expressed in the form, " I did not 
perceive (i.e. I forgot) that he was the high priest." And 
the idea that Paul's language was improper, and required to 
be apologized for and retracted, appears to be inconsistent 
with the promise made to the disciples, that the Holy Ghost 
would assist them in their defence before kings and rulers ; 
though such a promise may not exclude the element of per- 
sonal frailty. 

Te^pairrai <yap, "Ap^ovra tov \aov gov ovk ipels tfa/ec3? — 
For it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy 
people. The quotation is from Ex. xxii. 28, exactly according 
to the Septuagint. According to the opinion that Paul forgot 
that he was addressing the high priest, this quotation gives 
the reason why he should apologize for the words he had 
spoken. But if, according to the other opinion, the apostle 
declined to acknowledge Ananias as high priest, it gives the 
reason of ovk ySew, and is a vindication of his language: 
" Certainly one must not speak evil of a ruler of his people, 
but on account of his conduct I do not know or recognise 
him as such." 1 

Ver. 6. rvovs Be 6 HavXos on to ev fjbipo<; io~Tiv SaBBov/caicov, 
etc. — but Paul, perceiving that the one part were of the Sad- 
ducees, and the other part of the Pharisees. The Sanhedrim 
was at this time divided between these two factions. The 
Pharisees were the popular party, and were perhaps the 
more numerous ; but Josephus informs us that many of the 
sect of the Sadducees were high in office. It would almost 
appear that the high-priesthood was frequently conferred 
on those of this party. We are expressly informed that 
Ananus, afterwards high priest, was a Sadducee (Joseph. 
Ant. xx. 9. 1). It was no doubt favourable for the church 
that there was at this time this division of parties in the 
Sanhedrim. The Sadducees were chiefly incensed against 
the Christians, because they taught the doctrine of the resur- 
rection ; whereas the Pharisees, out of opposition to their 
rival sect, were sometimes inclined to favour them. 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 443. 


For a description of the Sadducees, see note to Acts iv. 1. 
The Pharisees are supposed to derive their name from a 
Hebrew word signifying " separated," and were so called be- 
cause of the strictness with which they kept the law. Some 
suppose that they are the Assideans mentioned in the books 
of Maccabees (1 Mace. ii. 42 ; 2 Mace. xiv. 6). They are 
first noticed along with the Sadducees and the Essenes in 
the time of Jonathan Maccabeus (Joseph. Ant. xiii. 5. 9), 
though perhaps their origin may have been as early as the 
time of Ezra. The Pharisees had the appearance of great 
piety, and gained the favour of the people. " They have," 
observes Josephus, " such great power over the multitude, 
that when they say anything against the king or the high 
priest, they are presently believed" {Ant. xiii. 10. 5). Hence 
they exercised a most important influence in the state ; and 
this was the greater, as they were not confined to Jeru- 
salem, but scattered throughout the country. 

The Pharisees differed from the Sadducees in the three 
following points : — 1. They recognised, besides the Scriptures 
of the Old Testament, oral traditions either as explanatory of 
the law or enjoining new ordinances (rj Trapahoai? twv irpea- 
fivrepooV) Matt. xv. 2). " The Pharisees," observes Josephus, 
" have delivered to the people a great many observances by 
succession from their fathers, which are not written in the 
law of Moses" (Ant. xiii. 10. 6). In consequence of these 
traditions, the law was often made void, and pernicious prac- 
tices inculcated. 2. The Pharisees, in contradistinction to 
the Sadducees, inculcated the doctrine of a future state. 
" They believe," says Josephus, " that souls have an immortal 
vigour in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards 
or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or 
viciously in this life ; that the latter are to be detained in an 
everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to 
revive and live again" (Ant. xviii. 1. 3). "All souls are 
corruptible; but the souls of good men are only removed 
into other bodies, whilst the souls of bad men are chastised 
by eternal punishment" (Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14). From this it 
would appear that the Pharisees taught a doctrine somewhat 


similar to that of the heathen idea of transmigration. But 
it is generally supposed that Josephus here misrepresents the 
views of the Pharisees, in order to bring them into a nearer 
agreement with the philosophy of the Greeks, and that, as 
appears from certain expressions in the Talmud, their views 
had a much closer correspondence with the Christian doctrine 
of the resurrection. 3. Whilst the Sadducees appeared to 
have denied the doctrine of divine influences, the Pharisees 
insisted upon it ; and whilst they admitted the free will of 
man, taught also a subjection to Providence. u The Phari- 
sees say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate ; 
that some things are in our own power, and that these are 
liable to fate, but are not caused by fate" (Ant. xiii. 5. 9). 
" They ascribe all to fate and to God, but yet allow that to 
do what is right or the contrary is in the power of men, 
although fate does co-operate in every action" (Bell. Jud. 
ii. 8. 14). By fate in these passages is probably meant 
Providence. From all this it appears that the Pharisees 
approached much nearer Christianity than the Sadducees. 

In the age of Christ and His apostles, the Pharisees were 
themselves divided into two schools — the school of Hillel and 
the school of Schammai. The school of Hillel, to which 
Gamaliel belonged, were the most liberal in their senti- 
ments ; whilst the school of Schammai were bigoted Jewish 
zealots. It was chiefly the latter party who persecuted the 

There is a remarkable resemblance between these two 
sects, the Sadducees and the Pharisees, and the two cele- 
brated schools of antiquity, the Stoics and Epicureans, both in 
their views and practices : the Sadducees may be regarded 
as Jewish Epicureans, and the Pharisees as Jewish Stoics. 
Both parties were opposed to Christianity : the rationalism 
of the former, and the hypocrisy and formalism of the latter, 
were equally antagonistic to the supernatural and spiritual 
religion taught by Christ and His apostles. 1 

"E/cpaffev iv tw avveSpia) — called aloud in the Sanhedrim. 

1 Smith's Biblical Dictionary ; Winer's biblisches Worterbuch ; Lardner's 
Works, vol. i. pp. 66-69 ; Biscoe on the Acts, pp. 83-93. 


When Paul saw that it was impossible to obtain a fair hear- 
ing, he made the attempt to enlist the better part of the 
council on his side. u He availed himself," as Neander 
observes, " of that means for the victory of truth which 
has often been used against it — divide et impera in a good 
sense." * '^70) <frapLaai6<; el/ii, vl6$ ^apcaatcov — / am a 
Pharisee, the son of Pharisees. The plural (see Critical 
Note) $apLaat(QV refers not to his parents (Grotius), but to 
his ancestors in general. The meaning is, that he was not 
only a Pharisee himself, but that he belonged to a family 
who were Pharisees. Zeller objects that Paul was certainly 
a Pharisee, but he could not at that time affirm that he is 
a Pharisee ; on the contrary, his views of the Jewish law 
were diametrically opposed to those entertained by that 
sect. 2 Bat evidently the meaning is, that Paul agreed with 
the Pharisees on those points wherein they differed from the 
Sadducees, especially the doctrines of the Messiahship and 
the resurrection. On these points, which alone are here 
stated, he was a Pharisee : like them, he was a believer in 
the hope of the Messiah, and in the resurrection. He could 
say to them what he formerly said to the Athenians : That 
which ye, without knowing it, profess to believe, declare I 
unto you in the person of Jesus and His resurrection. 

Ilepl iXiriSos koX avao-Ta&eco? ve/cp<ov iyco /cplvofiaL — Con- 
cerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am judged. 
By the hope and resurrection, some (Bengel, Baumgarten, 
Meyer, De Wette) understand the hope of the resurrec- 
tion ; but it gives a more complete sense to understand two 
points as here meant — the hope of the Messiah, and the 
resurrection of the dead (Lechler). According to this view, 
the resurrection here refers primarily to the resurrection of 
Christ, and in a secondary sense to the resurrection generally, 
inasmuch as the apostle grounds his doctrine on Christ's 
resurrection (1 Cor. xv. 12-20). Here again the apostle is 
accused of misrepresenting the point in dispute, which was 
not the doctrine of the resurrection, but whether the apostle 

1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 307. 

2 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 284. 


had or had not inveighed against the Mosaic law. But it 
was the apostle's Christianity that was the great cause of 
offence, and he ever founded Christianity on the resur- 
rection of Christ : this was the great subject of his testi- 
mony ; so that he could justly say that this was the great 
principle at issue. And from the language of Festus, it 
would appear that this was actually a great point in dis- 
pute : a Against whom, when the accusers stood up, they 
brought none accusation of such things as I supposed ; but 
had certain questions against him of their own religion, and 
of one Jesus, who was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be 
alive" (Acts xxv. 18, 19). But to this it is replied that 
this does not remove the difficulty : Paul's notion of the 
resurrection was different from that of the Pharisees. The 
essential points of dispute were, whether the hope of Israel 
was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, and whether His resur- 
rection was the earnest of the general resurrection. 1 But 
although Paul and the Pharisees did not agree on these 
points, yet they did agree on the fact of the resurrection : 
both held, in opposition to the Sadducees, that there was a 
resurrection ; and this is the sole point on which Paul insists. 
In thus addressing the Pharisees, he makes a last appeal to 
them. There was a principle between him and them in 
common : what they held as a mere abstract truth, he em- 
braced as a reality ; and thus he urged on them to believe 
on Jesus Christ, in whom the hope of Israel and the resur- 
rection were both fulfilled. 

Ver. 7. 'Eyevero ardent t&v ^apcaalcov ical "SaZhovicalctiv 
— Then arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sad- 
ducees. The Pharisees, especially the school of Hillel, were 
more inclined to Christianity than the Sadducees. Gamaliel 
had formerly protected the Christians in the council, and 
many of the Jewish converts were from the Pharisees (Acts 
vi. 7, xv. 5). Probably several of the Pharisees in the 
council were half disposed toward Christianity; perhaps a 
few may have been, like Nicodemus, secret disciples; and 
others may have admitted the possibility of Jesus of Naza- 
1 Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. p. 232 ; Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 283. 


reth being the Messiah. This feeling in favour of Paul is 
not at variance with those hostile feelings which were soon 
afterwards displayed. 1 These hostile feelings probably arose 
from the Sadducees, and their hostility would not be dimi- 
nished, but increased, by the Pharisees siding with the apostle. 
Besides, in all probability, this favourable disposition of the 
council was transitory ; it was the mere result of a passing 
impression : afterwards, both Pharisees and Sadducees united 
against the apostle. We cannot suppose that the pharisaical 
faction would long be favourable to him, seeing he was such 
a determined opponent to their views of legal righteousness. 

Ver. 8. XaBBovicalot, Xeyovaiv firj elvai avdaTaaiv, finBe 
ayjeXov, prfrre irvevpua — The Sadducees say that there is no 
resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit. There are not three 
things, but two classes of objects stated — the resurrection, 
and the existence of spirits, whether angels or the souls of 
men. $apwcuoi ofioXoyovcriv ra apLcporepa, — the Pharisees 
confess both; namely, (1) avdo-raat^ and (2) ayyekos and 
Trvevfia? The Pharisees, as we have seen, were believers 
in a future state. The Sadducees, on the other hand, were 
materialists, and denied both the immortality of the soul and 
the resurrection of the body (Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14). 

Ver. 9. 'Eyivero Be fcpavyr) pieydkr) — and there was a great 
outcry. The Sanhedrim was converted from a deliberative 
council into a tumultuous assembly. TpapupLarel^ tov pLepovs 
rwu <PaptaauDV — scribes of the party of the Pharisees. The 
scribes in general belonged to the Pharisees, as that sect 
paid most attention to the Mosaic law, which it was the duty 
of the scribes to interpret; whereas the Sadducees were 
rationalistic in their views. It would, however, appear from 
this that there were also scribes of the party of the Sad- 
ducees. OvBev naicov evpfo/cofiev iv tg> avdpwTra) tovt<p — we 
find nothing evil in this man. So in a similar manner Pilate 
asserted the innocence of Jesus. " Thus party spirit," observes 
Hess, " sometimes even forces us both to do and say things 
which a love of truth and justice would never have extorted 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 285. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 445. 


from us." El Be irvevfia iXaXrjcrev avra> rj ayyekos — but if a 
spirit or angel has spoken to him ? An abrupt sentence : the 
words by which it is completed in the textus receptus, firj 
Oeofjba^cjfjbev, are spurious, being borrowed from Acts v. 39. 
The clause may either be understood as implying that a 
spirit or angel may have spoken to him ; or interrogatively, 
that supposing this to be the case, what is to be done? 
Tlvevfia and ayyeXo? are mentioned designedly, as their 
existence was denied by the Sadducees. There may perhaps 
be a reference to what Paul said in his defence to the Jews 
concerning the appearance of Jesus ; or, more probably, the 
words are to be taken as a general statement that Paul may 
have received his knowledge by revelation. 

Ver. 10. Mr) hiaairaaOfj 6 JTaOXo? — lest Paul should be torn 
in pieces ; not merely murdered (Kuinoel), but literally torn 
in pieces. Evidently a tumult had arisen in the council, and 
Paul was seized by both parties : the Pharisees laying hold 
on him to rescue and protect him ; the Sadducees endeavour- 
ing to obtain possession of him in order to kill him. 'E/ce- 
\evo~ev to arpdrevfjua fcarafiav apnraaav avrbv — he commanded 
the guard to go down and rescue him. Paul, being a Roman 
citizen, was under the special protection of the Roman 

Ver. 11. ''Eiriara^ avTa> 6 Kvpios — the Lord stood by him. 
We are not informed whether this vision of Christ to Paul 
took place in a dream or in an ecstasy. Ovtcds ae Set koX 
et9 'PcbfjLrjv /xapTvp7]aac — so must thou also testify of me at 
Rome. Thus Paul was assured of his safety in this present 
attack made upon him by the Jews : and this vision would 
comfort and console him in his subsequent trials — his long 
imprisonment at Caesarea, and his voyage to Rome. For- 
merly he expressed his wish to preach the gospel at Rome 
(Rom. i. 10, 11 ; Acts xix. 21) ; now he has the assurance 
that his desire will be gratified. 'IepovcraXrj/j, — 'PcofiTjv. 
Jerusalem, Romce, duce metropoles orbis (Bengel) ; Jerusalem 
being the metropolis of the religious, and Rome of the civil 



12 But when it was day, the Jews made a conspiracy, and bound 
themselves by a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till 
they had killed Paul. 13 And there were more than forty who made 
this conspiracy ; 14 Who came to the chief priests and elders, and said, 
We have bound ourselves with a great curse, to taste nothing until we 
have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore do ye with the Sanhedrim give 
notice to the tribune, that he bring him down to you, as though ye 
would inquire something more accurately concerning him : and we, be- 
^\Jore he has come near, are ready to kill him. 16 But the son of Paul's 
sister heard of the plot, and went and entered into the barracks, and told 
Paul. 17 Then Paul, having called one of the centurions, said, Bring this 
young man to the tribune ; for he has something to tell him. 18 So he 
took him, and brought him to the tribune, and said, The prisoner Paul 
called me, and requested that I should bring this young man to thee, 
who has something to say to thee. 19 Then the tribune, taking him by 
the hand, and going aside privately, inquired, What is it that Jhou hast 
to tell me ? 20 And he said, The Jews have agreed to ask thee that 
thou wouldest bring down Paul to-morrow to the Sanhedrim, as though 
they would inquire something more accurately concerning 'him. 21 But 
be not thou persuaded by them : for there lie in wait for him more than 
forty men of them, who have bound themselves with a curse, neither to 
eat nor to drink until they have killed him : and now are they ready, 
expecting a promise from thee. 22 Then the tribune let the young man 
depart, after charging him to tell no man that thou hast showed these 
things to me. 

23 And having called two centurions, he said, Make ready two hun- 
dred soldiers to go to Csesarea, and seventy horsemen, and two hundred 
spearmen, at the third hour of the night. 24 And that they should 
provide beasts, to set Paul on, and to bring him in safety to Felix the 
governor. 25 And he wrote a letter after this manner : 26 Claudius 
Lysias to the most noble governor Felix, greeting. 27 I, having come 
with the guard, rescued this man, who was taken by the Jews, and was 
about to be slain, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And wish- 
ing to know the cause whereof they accused him, I brought him down 
to their Sanhedrim ; 29 Whom I found to be accused of questions of 



their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of 
bonds. 30 And when it was told me that they laid in wait for the man, 
I immediately sent him to thee, and enjoined his accusers to say before 
thee what they had against him. 

31 Then the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul, and 
brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 On the morrow, leaving the 
horsemen to go with him, they returned to the barracks : 33 Who, 
when they came to Csesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, 
presented Paul also before him. 34 And after reading the letter, and 
asking of what province he was, and learning that he was of Cilicia, he 
said : 35 I shall hear thee when thine accusers are also come. And he 
commanded him to be kept in the prsetorium of Herod. 


Ver. 12. TW? t&v 'lovhalwv is the reading of G, H ; 
whereas A, B, C, E, K read ol 'louoWot, the reading adopted 
by most recent critics. Ver. 15. Avpiov after ottcds is found 
in G, H, but is wanting in A, B, C, E, K, and rejected by 
recent critics. Ver. 20. '/2? /jueWovre^ the reading of the 
teoctus receptus, is found in no uncial MS. ; A, B, E read w? 
fieWcov, the reading adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 
The Sinaitic MS. reads co? fieWov. Ver. 30. 'Tiro twv 
^lovZaloDv are found in G, H; ef avrcov is the reading of 
A, E, N ; whereas B simply omits the words : this last is the 
reading adopted by Tischendorf. "Eppcoao is found in E, 
G, K, but omitted in A, B, and rejected by Tischendorf and 
Lachmann. Ver. 34. f O rjyefioov, found in G, H, is omitted 
in A, B, E, X, and rejected by most recent critics. Ver. 
35. 'Efeekevae re are found in G, H; whereas A, B, E 
read fcekevaas, the reading adopted by most recent critics. 
The Sinaitic MS. reads KekevaavTos. 


Ver. 12. UonqaavTes avarpo^rjv — having made a conspiracy. 
^vaTpo(j)r]V, a concourse, a combination, a confederacy : here 
more exactly defined by avvwfAocrlav (ver. 13), a conspiracy. 
Ol 'lovhaioi — the Jews; that is, those Jews who were hostile 
to Paul ; the Jews from Asia (Acts xxi. 27), according to 


Ewald. Kuinoel supposes that they belonged to the Sicarii, 
and were instigated by Ananias the high priest, who, he 
judges, was a Sadducee. This opinion, however, is not proved 
from the text ; though it is evident that they were fanatical 
Jews or zealots, who thought it their duty to slay those whom 
they esteemed to be breakers of the law, but whose death 
could not be effected by a legal process. 'AveOe/udriaav 
eavrovs — bound themselves ivith an oath; literally, "anathe- 
matized themselves" — invoked the curse of God upon them- 
selves, in case of violation of their vow, asserting that they 
would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 
Such was at this period the state of Jewish society, that such 
execrable oaths were not only made by the fanatical Jews, 
but made with the cognizance and approval of their rulers. 
Josephus mentions a similar conspiracy against Herod the 
Great, into which a number of Jews entered, on account of 
his introducing new customs, which they esteemed violations 
of the Mosaic law. Ten men conspired to slay him, and 
swore to undergo any dangers in the attempt ; and when 
the plot was discovered, and they were put to death, they 
declared that the conspiracy to which they had sworn was a 
holy and pious act (Ant. xv. 8. 3, 4). See also 1 Mace. ii. 
23-26, where Mattathias, the father of the Maccabees, put 
to death the apostate Jews. Even the philosophic Philo 
justifies assassination in the case of apostates. The Jews 
who had made such oaths could, in case of failure, easily 
procure absolution from their rabbis. Lightfoot gives the 
following quotation from the Talmud : u He that hath made 
a vow not to eat anything, woe to him if he eat, and woe to 
him if he eat not. If he eat, he sinneth against his vow ; if 
he eat not, he sinneth against his life. What must a man 
do in his case 1 Let him go to the wise men, and they will 
loose his vow ; according as it is written, The tongue of the 
wise is health" (Horw Hebraica^ vol. iv. p. 147). 

Ver. 14. UpoaeXOovTes Tot? ap^iepevaiv ical tols irpecr- 
fivrepoi? — having come to the chief priests and elders. It is 
generally supposed that it was to the Sadducean faction of 
the Sanhedrim that the forty conspirators repaired, as the 


Pharisees rather favoured the apostle (Meyer, De Wette). 
But it is more probable 'that this favourable feeling on the 
part of the Pharisees was transient, being the impulse of the 
moment, and that they soon united with the Sadducees in 
hostility to the apostle. It is evident that they as well as the 
Sadducees accused him before Felix (Acts xxiv. 15). ''Avar- 
Oe/jbaTi av6$€fjLaTi(rafi€v eavrovs — we have bound ourselves with 
a great curse : literally, " we have anathematized ourselves 
with an anathema;" the notion of intenseness being here 
expressed by prefixing to the verb its cognate noun. 1 

Ver. 15. */2? fjueWovras hiarywdiGKeiv atcpifieo-repov ra irepl 
avrov — as though you would inquire something more accurately 
concerning him. The reason assigned for again bringing 
Paul before the Sanhedrim was plausible ; as the former 
hearing was interrupted, and the information obtained im- 
perfect. If God had not in His providence interfered, 
Lysias would in all likelihood have granted the request, and 
the conspiracy of the Jews might have been successful. 

Ver. 16. A e 6 wos tt}? aSe\</>% TIavXov — but the son of 
PauVs sister. This is the only direct reference which we 
have in Scripture to Paul's family. It is altogether uncer- 
tain whether Paul's nephew had his stated residence in 
Jerusalem, or whether he was one of those who had come up 
with Paul. Ewald supposes that the whole family settled in 
Jerusalem when Paul was a young man. Others think that 
the nephew, like the apostle himself, was sent to Jerusalem 
for education. 'Axovaas to evehpov — having heard of the 
plot. "EveSpov, a snare, an ambush, a lying in wait ; referring 
to the plot to assassinate Paul when he went from the Castle 
of Antonia to the council-room. We are not informed how 
Paul's nephew obtained his knowledge of the conspiracy ; but 
as the conspirators were numerous, and as they had given 
information of their designs to the chief priests and elders, 
the plot could not have remained long concealed. : ' Airrfi^ei- 
Xev tw IlauXa) — he told Paul. Paul, although a prisoner, 
yet being a Roman and uncondemned, was not prevented 
from receiving visits from his friends. Perhaps also Lysias, 
1 Winer's Grammar, p. 487. 


who seems to have been favourably impressed with him, 
treated him with peculiar indulgence. Such also was the 
lenient nature of his two years' imprisonment at Csesarea 
(Acts xxiv. 23), and again at Rome (Acts xxviii. 30, 31). 

Ver. 17. Tbv veavlav tovtov airwycuye irpbs tov ^tXiap^ov 
— bring this young man to the tribune. Although Paul had 
an express promise from Christ of security, that he would 
escape the snares of the Jews, and bear witness for Him at 
Rome, yet he did not neglect any proper means of safety ; 
thus proving how far removed he was from the character of 
an enthusiast. His prudence also is here observable : he 
does not tell the centurion, but thinks it safer to inform the 
tribune himself. 

Yer. 18. *0 hea-fxtos IlavXos — the prisoner Paul. Akafiio^ 
signifies " one bound :" hence it is generally supposed that 
Paul was still bound by a chain to the arm of a soldier, 
according to the Roman manner of confinement. As a 
Roman citizen, he was in custodia militaris. Perhaps, how- 
ever, as we were previously informed that Paul was loosened 
from his chains (Acts xxii. 30), the term may be here used 
in a general sense, and may only signify that Paul was kept 
in confinement in the Castle of Antonia, without being again 

Ver. 19. ' ] Ava^coprjaa^ icar IBiav — having gone aside pri- 
vately. Both expressions, " aside" and " privately," are in 
the original, — the former being included in the verb, and the 
latter in the phrase kclt Ihiav. — ' Ava^copicoj to withdraw for 
privacy, to go aside. 

Ver. 21. npoaBe^ofievoi rrjv airb aov iirayyeklav — expect- 
ing the promise from you. 'EiraryyeXia is not to be rendered 
jussum, " an order" (Rosenmuller), nor nuntius, " a message" 
(Beza, Grotius) ; but, according to its usual meaning in the 
New Testament, promissio, " a promise" (Meyer). 

Ver. 22. Ilapa^yelXa^ fj,r)$evl i/ckakfjacu, etc. — having 
clmrged him to tell no man u that thou hast showed these 
things to me." Here there is a change from the indirect to 
the direct form of expression. See a similar instance of such 
a variation in Acts i. 4. 



Ver. 23. Avo rivas — some two: "two or three," "about 
two." Compare Luke vii. 19. SrparLwra^ — soldiers ; 
namely, the heavy-armed foot-soldiers, the legionaries — here 
distinguished from the horsemen and spearmen. Aegio- 
Xdftovs — spearmen. This word, compounded of Se£to? and 
\afij3dvco, " one taking the right," is not found in classical 
Greek, and occurs only in a passage from the writings of 
the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The Be^coXa^ot 
are here distinguished from the heavy-armed legionary soldiers 
(o-TpdTi&Tai), and from the horsemen (Im-irels), and hence 
are generally supposed to denote a species of light-armed 
troops. In the passage' from the Emperor Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus, quoted by Meyer, they are also distin- 
guished from bowmen (ro^ofyopovs) and from targeteers (7reX- 
Taords). Some (Suidas, Beza, Kuincel) suppose that they 
were a kind of body-guard, those who protected the right side 
of the commander ; and others (Meursius) that they were a 
kind of military lictors — those who were bound to the right 
side of their prisoners. But their number, two hundred, is 
against both of these opinions, as it is not to be supposed 
that the commander of a cohort should have so large a body- 
guard or so many lictors at his command. Meyer supposes 
that the name refers to the nature of their weapons — those 
who grasped their weapons with the right hand — and that 
they were slingers or javelin-throwers. Ewald thinks that 
they were Arabian auxiliaries, because Arabia was celebrated 
for its slingers. Perhaps our English version " spearmen " 
is as correct as any. The Codex Alexandrinus reads 8efto- 
ftoXovSj from Sefto? and /3a\Xa>, " javelin-throwers," the 
reading preferred by Lachmann ; and which Meyer, although 
he looks upon it as a later correction, regards as the correct 
interpretation. 1 'Atto TpLrr)? copa? tt}? vvktos — from the third 
hour of the night. The military guard was to be ready to 
depart at the third hour of the night, that is, at nine in the 
evening, for the sake of safety, when they would be favoured 
by the darkness. 

The whole number of soldiers appointed to convey Paul I 
1 See Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 448, 449. 


to Caesarea was 470 ; so that we are inclined to say, with 
Bengel, " Far too large a number of soldiers was put in 
motion against more than forty zealots." But the disturbed 
state of Judea must be kept in view. Then, as we learn 
from Josephus, the Sicarii abounded, and murders were of 
daily occurrence. So numerous were these zealots, that a 
few years after this an army of them took possession of 
Jerusalem, and held it for several days, murdering the prin- 
cipal men, and committing great atrocities. Besides, the 
conspiracy against Paul was of a formidable nature, as it 
was countenanced and supported by the Sanhedrim ; and as 
he was a Roman citizen, it was the bounden duty of the 
tribune to protect him to the utmost of his power. The 
Roman soldiers were also kept in constant action, and em- 
ployment was sought for them ; and being numerous in 
Jerusalem, such a number might well be spared for two or 
three days. Claudius Lysias probably erred in sending so 
many, but it was natural for him to err on the safe side. 

Ver. 24. IIpos ifrrfkiica tov rjjefiova — to Felix the governor. 
Felix is elsewhere known to us from the writings of Tacitus, 
Suetonius, and Josephus. He is [called by Suidas, Claudius 
Felix ; but from Tacitus it would appear that his proper 
name was Antonius Felix. He was the brother of Pallas, 
the favourite and minister of the Emperors Claudius and 
Nero ; and was originally a freedman of the Empress An- 
tonia, the mother of Claudius, from whom he received the 
name Antonius. According to Tacitus, he was the governor 
of Samaria when Cumanus was procurator of Judea (a.d. 
48) (Tac. Ann. xii. 54), — a fact not mentioned by Josephus, 
and which is generally supposed to be a mistake. On the 
deposition of Cumanus, he was, chiefly by the influence of 
the high priest Jonathan, appointed procurator of Judea, in 
the twelfth year of the reign of Claudius, a.d. 52 (Jos. Ant. 
xx. 8. 5), and was continued in his procuratorship by Nero 
through the influence of his brother Pallas. His character 
and government are thus succinctly described by Tacitus : 
jus regium servili ingenio exercuit — u he exercised the autho- 
rity of a king with the spirit of a slave" (Hist. v. 9) ; and 


again he says of him, cuncta malefacta sibi impunh ratus 
tarda potentid subnixo — " Relying on such powerful protec- 
tion (namely, the influence of his brother Pallas), he supposed 
he might perpetrate with impunity every kind of villany" 
{Ann. xii. 54). And the character which Josephus gives of 
him entirely corresponds with this description of Tacitus. 
He certainly displayed considerable vigour in clearing the 
country of robbers, and putting down rebellions ; but he was 
cruel, tyrannical, and avaricious in his government. One of 
his worst actions was to employ the Sicarii to murder the 
high priest Jonathan, to whom he was partly indebted for 
his procuratorship, who had excited his displeasure by advis- 
ing him to be more moderate in his government (Joseph. 
Ant. xx. 8. 5). According to Suetonius, he was the husband 
of three queens — trium reginarum maritum (Claud, xxviii.) : 
one of them was Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. 
(see note to Acts xxiv. 24) ; a second, as we learn from 
Tacitus, was the granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra, 
the niece of the Empress Antonia, and the full cousin of 
Claudius (Hist. v. 9) ; the third is unknown. After ruling 
over Judea for the comparatively long period of seven or 
eight years, he was recalled by Nero, and succeeded by 
Festus, A.D. 60. Josephus informs us that, after his recall, 
the Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea sent a deputation after 
him to Rome to accuse him before the emperor, and that he 
would certainly have been punished for his misgovernment 
had he not been protected by Pallas, who at that time was 
high in favour with the court (Ant. xx. 8. 9). According to 
Merivale, however, Pallas was disgraced as early as the year 
56, although he was not put to death by Nero until the 
year 63 (History of the Romans, vol. vii. p. 196). But 
although Pallas was then in partial disgrace, yet he might 
still retain sufficient influence to screen his brother. 

Ver. 25. JTjOcnJra? iirLaroX^v irepie^ovaav tov tvttov tovtov 
— having written a letter after this manner. TWo?, a type, a 
pattern, an outline, corresponds with the Latin exemplum. 
The Roman law required that a subordinate officer, in send- 
ing a prisoner to his superior, should send along with him 


a written statement of the case. Such letters were called 
elogia (Hackett). Probably the letter, being a public docu- 
ment, was read in open court, so that Luke might obtain 
a copy of it. Alford supposes that its contents transpired 
through some officers at Jerusalem or at Caesarea friendly to 

Ver. 26. KkavBcos Avaias — Claudius Lysias. Here the 
name of the tribune is incidentally given. There is no men- 
tion of him in Roman history ; but certainly his character 
and conduct contrast most favourably with that of his 
superior Antonius Felix, and with that of Pontius Pilate, 
when placed in somewhat similar circumstances. He ex- 
hibited energy, decision, and prudence : he had evidently 
taken a great interest in his prisoner, and was determined 
to rescue him at all hazards. The letter (elogium) which 
he sent along with him was a testimonial in his favour, 
rather than an accusation. Ta> Kparla-rq) qyefAovi — to the 
most noble governor: the official title of Felix, as in our 
country the governor of a colony is addressed as " his ex- 
cellency the governor." So Tertullus addresses Felix (Acts 
xxiv. 3), and Paul Festus (Acts xxvi. 25). Luke uses the 
same term in the dedication of his Gospel to Theophilus 
(Luke i. 3). 

Ver. 27. 'Emo-Tcis crvv rq> o-rparev/jLaTi igeiXd/junv avrov, 
fiaOcov otl 'Pcofjualo? ian — /, having come with the guard, 
rescued him, having learned thai he is a Roman. It would 
seem from this that Lysias wished to convey the impression 
that Paul's citizenship was the cause of his rescuing him, 
whereas he did not know this until afterwards. Du Bois 
thinks that the tribune here alludes to the second rescue, 
when he stood before the Sanhedrim (Acts xxiii. 10) ; but 
this is opposed to ver. 28, where it is stated that after the 
rescue Lysias brought him before the Sanhedrim. Others 
(Beza, Grotius, Doddridge, Lechler) think that fiadcov does 
not refer to any definite time, but is equivalent to /cal 
fia6a>v, "and I learned that he was a Roman." Others 
(Meyer, De Wette, Lechler, Wordsworth, Baumgarten) think 
that the tribune intentionally told a falsehood in order to 


make his conduct appear more praiseworthy. He wished 
to conceal the fault he had committed in ordering a Roman 
citizen to be scourged, and misrepresented the circumstances 
of the case for his own advantage. Probably, however, we 
have only an instance of mere negligence in composition, 
and not any wilful falsehood. All that the tribune wished 
to say was, that he had taken special precautions for the 
safety of his prisoner, because he had learned that he was a 

Ver. 29. MrjBev Be atjiov Oavdrov fj Bea/jLwv e^ovra eyKXrjfia 
— but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of 
bonds. Qovcltov the highest penalty, and Beaficov the lowest 
penalty of the law. It is observable that all the judges — 
Claudius Lysias, Felix, King Agrippa, and Festus — testify 
to the innocence of the apostle. 

Ver. 30. Mr)vv6eL(rr]<; Be /not iwL^ovXrjs eh rov avBpa fjbi\- 
\eiv eaeadai — and when it was told me that they laid in wait 
for the man ; literally, " a plot having been warned to me 
that it was about to be laid against the man." There is here 
an anacoluthon : the conclusion of the clause should have 
been, tt}<$ iieXkovo~7)<$ eaeaOai} 

Ver. 31. Eh ttjv ' AvTiirarpLBa — to Antipatris. Antipa- 
tris was a town on the way from Jerusalem to Caesarea, 
about twelve miles from Joppa, situated in a fruitful and 
well-watered plain. Its former name was Capharsalama ; 
and under this name it is mentioned in the wars of the 
Maccabees (1 Mace. vii. 31 ; Ant. xiii. 15. 1). Herod th 
Great rebuilt it, and called it Antipatris in honour of his 
father Antipater. " Herod," says Josephus, " erected another 
city in the plain, called Capharsaba, where he chose out a 
fit place both for plenty of water and goodness of soil ; this 
he named Antipatris from his father Antipater " (Ant. xvi. 
5. 2). 2 At the commencement of the Jewish war, we are 
informed that Vespasian led his army from Caesarea to 
Antipatris (Bell. Jud. iv. 8. 1). Afterwards the city fell 
into decay, and is mentioned by Jerome as semirutum oppi- 
dulum. It has been identified with the village Kefr Saba, 
1 Winer's Grammar, p. 590. 2 See also Joseph. Bell. Jud. i. 21. 9. 


supposed to be a corruption of its old name Capharsaba. 
No ruins have been discovered in the neighbourhood. 1 

The distance of Antipatris from Jerusalem was about 
forty Roman miles. The Jerusalem Itinerary gives the dis- 
tance as follows : from Jerusalem to Nicopolis, twenty-two 
miles ; to Lydda, ten miles ; and to Antipatris, ten miles. 
Such a distance could not have been traversed, even by a 
forced march, in a single night. Probably they reached 
Nicopolis on the morning of the first day, and having rested 
there, would arrive at Antiparis on the second day. 2 Accord- 
ing to this, hia vvktos, " by night," must refer either to their 
travelling during the night — namely, two nights (Kuinoel) ; 
or more probably to their departure — that they left Jerusalem 
during the night (De Wette). 

Ver. 32. Trj Be enravpiov — and on the morrow ; that is, 
not on the morrow after leaving Jerusalem, as the text 
would at first sight suggest, but on the morrow after they 
arrived at Antipatris, — having taken, in all, part of three days 
to accomplish their journey from Jerusalem to Csesarea. 
'TireaTpetyav eh ttjv irapefi^dXriv — they returned to the 
barracks. When they reached Antipatris, the foot-soldiers 
left and returned to Jerusalem, whilst the horsemen pro- 
ceeded with Paul to Csesarea. The foot-soldiers were no 
longer necessary to secure Paul's safety, as they were forty 
miles distant from Jerusalem, and no plot by the way was 
now to be apprehended. The distance between Antipatris 
and Csesarea was about twenty-six miles. 

Ver. 34. This is a participial sentence, being composed of 
three participles — avaryvovs, eirepa>Tr)cras, and irvOofievo^ ; lite- 
rally translated, " And after reading the letter, and asking 
of what province he is, and learning that he was of Cilicia, 

1 Robinson's Biblical Researches, pp. 138, 139. London : John 
Murray, 1856. 

2 There are two roads from Jerusalem to Antipatris, — the one by 
Beth-horon, the other by Gophna. The latter road is the shorter, and 
was traversed by Dr. Eli Smith, an American, for the express purpose 
of illustrating this night march. It is barely possible that by a forced 
march the distance could be traversed in a single night ; but the narra- 
tive does not constrain us to this supposition. 


I shall hear you, he said," etc. Felix does not inquire 
whether Paul was a Roman, as this was stated in the letter ; 
but of what province he was, concerning which no informa- 
tion was given. 

Ver. 35. Aia/covaofial aov — / shall hear thee. AcaKovetv, 
" to hear fully in a judicial sense" — ad finem usque audire. 
According to the Roman law, the governor of the province 
to whom a prisoner was sent was not to be satisfied with the 
statement of the case sent by his subordinate, but was to 
examine into it for himself. Qui cum elogio mittuntur, ex 
integro audiendi sunt (Bottger's Beitrage, ii. 8). 1 *Ev ra> 
7rpai,T(opL(p tov 'HpooSov — in the prcetorium of Herod. This 
was the palace built by Herod the Great when he rebuilt 
Caesarea, and made it his residence. Judea being now a 
Roman province, the palace of its former kings had become 
the official residence of the governor. Probably some tower 
belonging to it might be used as a kind of state prison. 
From this it appears that Paul was leniently dealt with : he 
was not cast into the common prison, but detained in the 
governor's own residence, and was also, as we are informed, 
allowed a considerable degree of liberty, and permitted to 
receive the visits of his friends (Acts xxiv. 23). For this his 
position as a Roman citizen, and uncondemned, and the 
favourable letter of Lysias, sufficiently account. 

1 Quoted by De Wette, Apostelgeschichte, p. 170. 


PAUL BEFORE FELIX.— Acts xxiv. 1-27. 

1 And after five days the high priest Ananias came down with the 
elders, and a certain orator Tertullus, and informed the governor against 
Paul. 2 And when he was summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, 
saying, That through thee we enjoy much peace and many excellent 
arrangements effected to this nation through thy providence, 3 We 
acknowledge it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all 
thankfulness. 4 But that I may not weary thee too much, I entreat 
thee to hear us briefly of thy clemency. 5 For we have found this man 
a pest, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the 
world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes : 6 Who also 
attempted to profane the temple : whom also we seized. 7, 8 From 
whom thou thyself mayest learn, by examination, concerning all those 
things of which we accuse him. 9 And the Jews also assailed him, 
saying that these things were so. 

10 Then Paul, the governor having beckoned on him to speak, an- 
swered, As I know that thou hast been for many years a judge of this 
nation, I do cheerfully defend myself : 11 Since thou art able to ascer- 
tain that there are no more than twelve days since I came up to Jeru- 
salem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing 
with any man, nor raising up a popular tumult, neither in the synagogues 
nor in the city : 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now 
accuse me. 14 But this I confess to thee, that after the way which 
they call a sect, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things 
which are written in the law and in the prophets : 15 Having a hope 
toward God, which they themselves also admit, that there shall be a 
resurrection, both of the just and unjust. 16 Herein also do I exercise 
myself, to have always a blameless conscience toward God and men. 
17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and 
offerings. 18 While doing this, they found me purified in the temple, 
neither with multitude, nor with tumult ; but certain Jews of Asia 
(found me), 19 Who ought to have been here before thee, and to have 
accused me, if they had anything against me. 20 Or let these same 
say what crime they have found in me, while I stood before the Sanhe- 
drim, 21 Except it be for this one exclamation, that I cried standing 


among them, Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am judged by 
you this day. 

22 But Felix deferred them, being more accurately instructed con- 
cerning that way, saying, When Lysias the tribune shall have come 
down, I will fully hear you. 23 And he commanded the centurion to 
keep him, and to grant him indulgence, and to prevent none of his 
friends from ministering unto him. 

24 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, 
who was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith 
in Christ. 25 And as he' discoursed concerning righteousness, and 
chastity, and the judgment which is to come, Felix trembled, and an- 
swered, Go thy way for this time ; when I obtain a convenient season, 
I shall call for thee. 26 At the same time he hoped that money would 
be given him by Paul : wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and com- 
muned with him. 27 But after two years had elapsed Felix received 
Porcius Festus as his successor : and Felix, wishing to win the favour of 
the Jews, left Paul bound. 


Vers. 6-8. The following words — /ecu Kara top ^puerepov 
vofiov r/dekrjaafiev Kpiveiv. Hapekdcov Be AvaLas 6 X^^PX **) 
fiera 7ro\\f}s /3ta? e/e rcov x ei P^ v yp&v airr^yaye' icekevaas 
tov<; /carrjyopovs avTov epxecrdai eirl <re — of the textus receptus 
are only found in one uncial MS. (E), and are wanting in 
A, B, G, H, K. The mss. C and D are here deficient. The 
words are rejected by Griesbach, De Wette, Meyer, Lach- 
mann, and Tischendorf. (See Exegetical Eemarks.) Ver. 9. 
Swedevro is found in no uncial MS. ; A, B, E, G, H, K 
have crvveireOevTo, the reading adopted by recent critics. 
Ver. 10. EvdvfjLorepov is found in G, H ; whereas A, B, E, K 
read evOvficos, the reading adopted by Lachmann and Tischen- 
dorf. Ver. 15. Nexpwv, found in E, G, H, is wanting in 
A, B, C, X, and is omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 
Ver. 18. Tivh without Be is found in G, H ; whereas A, B, 
C, E, K read Tivh Se, the reading adopted by Tischendorf. 
Ver. 20. El after elirdrcoaav is wanting in A, B, C, E, G, 
H, K, and is rejected by all recent critics. Ver. 22. 'A/covaas 
Be ravra are found only in one uncial MS. (G), and are rejected 
by recent critics. Ver. 23. Tov IlavXou are found in G, H ; 
whereas A, B, C, E, N read avrov, the reading generally 


adopted by recent critics. *H irpoakp^eaOa^ found in G, H, 
are wanting in A, B, C, E, K, and are generally rejected. 
Ver. 26. The words 07tg>9 Xvay clvtov occur in G, H, but 
are omitted in A, B, C, E, X, and are generally rejected. 


Ver. 1. Mera Be irevre rj/xepas — but after Jive days. These 
five days have been differently reckoned. Some (Basnage, 
Michaelis, Rosenmiiller) reckon them from the imprisonment 
of Paul in Jerusalem ; but this would not afford sufficient 
time, as it was probably five days after that event before 
Paul himself arrived at Caesarea. (See note to Acts xxiii. 
31, 32.) Others (Wieseler, Anger) reckon them from the 
arrival of Paul at Caesarea ; but it is difficult to reconcile 
this with ver. 11, as in that case more than twelve days 
would have elapsed since he came to Jerusalem. (See note 
to ver. 11.) The most natural meaning is, five days after 
Paul's departure from Jerusalem. So Heinrichs, Kuincel, 
Meyer, De Wette, Lange, Kenan, Howson*. Mera, tcov 
7rp€a/3vT€pQ)v — with the elders ; obviously not with the whole 
Sanhedrim, but a deputation from it. Ananias and certain 
members of the Sanhedrim came in obedience to the order 
of Lysias to Caesarea, as the accusers of Paul. 

Kal ptfropos — and an orator : that is, orator forensis, or 
causidicus, an advocate. Such advocates were called prjro/ae?; 
in the older classical Greek, o-vvrjyopoi. They were numerous 
in the provincial courts, because the young Romans used to 
practise there to prepare themselves for the political con- 
tentions of the forum (Cicero, pro Coelio, c. 30) } The Jews, 
as subjects of the Roman empire, seem to have had no pro- 
fessed advocates of their own ; and being themselves little 
acquainted with the laws and forms in use among the 
Romans, they had to employ Roman advocates. It is a 
matter of dispute whether the pleading in the provincial 
courts was in Latin or in the language of the province. 
Valerius Maximus tells us that Latin was the language of 
1 Humphry on the Acts, p. 182. 

332 commentary'on the acts of the apostles. 

the law courts throughout the Roman empire (Val. Max. 
ii. 2). But it would appear from a passage in Dio Cassius, 
that under the emperors trials were permitted in Greek even 
in Rome itself (Dion Cass. lvii. 15). TeprvWov — Tertullus. 
Tertullus was a common Latin name, being a diminutive of 
Tertius ; as Tertullianus, again, is similarly derived from 
Tertullus. From this it is inferred that he was a Roman 
advocate. Oltlv€$ ivecpdviaav tqj r}<yefiovi — who informed the 
governor against Paul. According to the Roman mode of 
procedure, a special charge had first to be made by the 
accuser; and this was intimated to the accused, and then 
the trial proceeded in the presence of both parties (Acts 
xxv. 16). 

Ver. 2. "Hp^aro Karrjiyopetu 6 TeprvWos — Tertullus began 
to accuse him. The charge against Paul being made, and 
he being called into court, Tertullus, the advocate of the 
Jews, commences as the accuser. It is probable that we 
have here the mere outlines of his speech. The commence- 
ment is elaborate, but the contents are very meagre, and 
this is especially the case if the passage contained in vers. 
6-8 is spurious. But still, from what we have, it is evident 
that Tertullus must have been a skilful advocate : the 
eulogium which he pronounces was at once delicate and 
artful ; and the charges brought against Paul were well 
chosen, being such as it became the Roman governor to 

Vers. 2, 3. IloWrjs elpqvTjs Tvy%dvovTe<; — that we enjoy 
much peace. Tvy^dvco signifies to obtain, to receive, hence 
to enjoy. Karopdco/judrcov — excellent regulations. This word 
occurs only here in the New Testament : it is governed by 
TWfXfLVOVTeS) forming part of one participial sentence. Karop- 
Oojfjba is anything rightly or successfully done ; it most fre- 
quently applies to military deeds or achievements. Here 
the meaning seems to be, improved regulations of govern- 
ment. Most critics suppose that iroWrjs applies to both 
ideas, and hence supply ttoXKwv (De Wette, Hackett). Aia 
rrjs o-rjs irpovola? — through thy providence — tud providentid. 
So Providentia Augusti is a common title on the coins of the 


emperors. Uavrr) re kcli iravra^ov — always and in all places. 
These words, according to Meyer, are to be referred to 7^0- 
fievcov — " excellent regulations effected on every side, and in 
all places ; " but it is more in accordance with their position 
in the text to refer them, as Teschendorf does, to airohe^o- 
fjueOa — " we receive them always, and in all places." Accord- 
ingly the passage may be rendered thus : " That through 
thee we enjoy much peace, and many excellent arrangements 
effected to this nation through thy providence, we acknow- 
ledge it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all 

Tertullus commences his speech by flattering Felix. He 
thus proves himself to be skilled in that art of oratory men- 
tioned by Grotius : u It is one of the rules of rhetoric to 
secure the good- will of the judge by praising him." He 
praises him for the peace and improved regulations which 
resulted from his government ; and, as Ulpian states, it is the 
first duty of a procurator to secure peace for his province 
(Ulpianus, De officio prmsidis). Nor was such praise entirely 
undeserved. Felix showed considerable vigour and decision 
in suppressing robberies and rebellions. " As to the number 
of robbers," observes Josephus, u whom he caused to be 
crucified, and of those whom he brought to be punished, they 
were a multitude not to be enumerated" {Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 2). 
He seized and sent to Rome a famous brigand called Eleazer, 
who had ravaged the country for nearly twenty years ; he 
repressed the rebellion of the Egyptian impostor ; and quieted 
a sedition which arose between the Jewish and Greek inha- 
bitants of Caesarea (Ant. xx. 8. 5-7). Yet, notwithstanding, 
he was probably the worst governor that Judea had. He 
had a number of the Sicarii continually in his employment ; 
and instead of pacifying the Jews, he only fanned the spirit 
of sedition. " Felix," observes Tacitus, " by applying un- 
seasonable remedies, inflamed the dissatisfaction, emulated, 
as he was, in his abandoned courses by Ventidius Cumanus" 
(Ann. xii. 54 ; Hist. v. 9). As has been well remarked, he 
was more criminal than those robbers and rebels whom he 
put to death: ipse tamen his omnibus erat nocentior (Wetstein). 


Ver. 5. Evpovres <yap top avhpa tovtov — for having found 
tlds man. We have here an anacoluthon : eKparrjaafiev avrov 
should have followed directly ; but instead of this a relative 
clause intervenes, and the principal verb itself is annexed to 
it. 1 Aoifiov — a pest. Aoi\xb<$ signifies the plague, the pest ; 
but it is also employed in classical writers for a mischievous 
person. Kivovvra o-rdaiv — a mover of sedition — a disturber 
of the public peace. Kara tt]v olKovfievrjv — throughout the 
world: here, in the mouth of a Roman, before a Roman 
court of justice, it signifies u throughout the Roman empire." 
Tr)? twv Na&palav alpeaea)^ — of the sect of the Nazarenes. 
This is the only place in Scripture where the term Nazarenes 
is used to denote the Christians. It was doubtless the Jewish 
appellation for them, as the Jews could not employ the sacred 
name of Christ to denote those whom they regarded as 
apostates. The name originated from Jesus being known 
by the distinction " Jesus the Nazarene " (Matt. ii. 23), just 
as the followers of Judas of Galilee were called Galileans. 
There does not appear to be anything peculiarly offensive in 
the appellation. The name afterwards came to be applied 
to those Judaizing Christians who, after the death of the 
apostles, separated themselves from the Christian church. 

Ver. 6. A 09 ical to lepov eirelpacrev f3ef3r)\a>o'ai — who also 
attempted to profane the temple. The charge was cleverly 
chosen : Tertullus does not accuse Paul of the actual pro- 
fanation of the temple (as in Acts xxi. 28), — an accusation 
which could easily be refuted ; but of an attempt to do so — 
of actions which led the Jews to suspect that this was his 
object. The Romans granted the Jews the power of punish- 
ing any of their countrymen who profaned their worship ; 
and it would almost appear that they could put to death any 
Gentile, even though he were a Roman, who crossed the 
barrier between the court of the Gentiles and that of the 
Jews (Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 4). 

The charges which Tertullus brought against Paul were 
three. First, that he created disturbances among the Jews 

1 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 368 ; Meyer's Apostel- 
geschichte, p. 454. 


throughout the empire — an offence against the Roman 
government — crimen majestatis. Secondly, that he was a 
ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes — disturbed the Jews 
in the exercise of their religion, guaranteed by the state — 
introduced new gods, a thing prohibited by the Romans. 
And thirdly, that he attempted to profane the temple, — a 
crime which the Jews were permitted to punish. 

Vers. 6-8. The genuineness of the entire passage, ical 
Kara . . . ep^eaOe iirL o-e, has been called in question. The 
external evidence is decidedly L against its reception. It is 
wanting in the uncial MSS. A, B, G, H, K (0 and D are 
here defective), and in several important versions ; and in 
those cursive versions where it occurs there are many varia- 
tions. The only uncial MS. in which it is found is E. Had 
the words been genuine, no reason can be assigned for their 
omission. On the other hand, the internal evidence is rather 
in their favour. Without them, the speech of Tertullus is 
apparently defective, and awkward in point of construction. 
The words which follow the disputed passage — irap ou, from 
whom — give a much better sense when referred to Lysias, 
to whom they would apply were the passage genuine, than 
when referred to the prisoner Paul, to whom otherwise they 
must apply. Besides, there is nothing in the words them- 
selves out of place : on the contrary, it was very natural in 
Tertullus to allude to the conduct of Lysias, and to refer 
Felix to him for further information ; and it is a corrobora- 
tion of this, that we find that Felix actually put off the trial 
until the arrival of Lysias (ver. 22). But where the external 
evidence is so defective, much weight is not to be placed on 
these purely subjective reasons. Accordingly, the passage 
has been rejected by the most distinguished of our modern 
critics. So Mill, Bengel, Griesbach, Matthiae, Lachmann, 
Tischendorf, De Wette, Meyer, Lechler. 1 

Ver. 8. Hap ov — from whom ; that is, " from Paul," if 
the disputed passage be rejected. Grotius supposes that 
examination by torture is here meant, but this was inad- 

1 Alford retains it, but encloses it within brackets ; Wordsworth con- 
siders it to be genuine. See De Wette's ApostelgescMchte, p. 171. 


missible in the case of a Roman citizen ; perhaps, however, 
Tertullus, knowing the character of the judge, insinuates 
that other means having failed, this might be resorted to. 
The object of the speech was evidently to persuade Felix to 
permit Paul to be tried by the Jewish courts, as the offences 
with which he was charged were offences against the Jewish 
law ; in which case it is probable they would have attempted 
his assassination (Acts xxv. 3). 

Ver. 9. ^vveireOevTo Bk real ol 'IovBaloi — and the Jews also 
assailed him. The Jews — that is, Ananias and the elders — 
joined with their advocate in accusing Paul, and assented to 
the truth of the charges brought against him. H weir it Idr] pi, 
to put or lay together, to assail, to join in assailing. 

Ver. 10. ^AireKplOr] re 6 iTaOXo? — and Paul answered. 
The accuser having brought forward his charges, it was now 
the part of the accused to answer. This he could either do 
himself or through an advocate. Paul adopted the former 
alternative. After a brief exordium (vers. 10, 11), he takes 
up the charges brought against him, and refutes them in 
succession : that he was not a disturber of the public peace 
(vers. 12, 13) ; that although belonging to the so-called sect 
of the Nazarenes, he was not an apostate from the Jewish 
religion (vers. 14-16) ; and that, far from making any 
attempt to profane the temple, the sole purpose of his pre- 
sence there was to honour it (vers. 17-21). 

'Etc 7toW(ov ira>v ovra ere KpiTTjv rat edvei tovto) i7rio~Tdfi€vo<; 
— A s I know that thou hast been for many years a judge unto 
this nation. Paul, without descending to the flattery of 
Tertullus, opens his address in a respectful manner. With 
a view of gaining a favourable hearing from his judge, he 
commences with the statement of a known fact, that Felix 
had been for many years a judge of the nation, and there- 
fore was better acquainted with their affairs than a stranger 
would be, so that he could speak to him with the greater 
confidence. Felix was appointed procurator of Judea, after 
the recall of Cumanus, A.D. 51 or 52 (Joseph. Ant. xx. 7. 1), 
and had therefore been governor for a period of six or seven 
years. According to Tacitus, he was governor of Samaria 


when Cumanus was procurator of Judea (Ann. xii. 54) : if 
this were the case, he would have come into the country 
as early as a.d. 48. And even although the statement of 
Tacitus, that Felix then exercised an independent command 
in Samaria, is doubtful, yet it may have arisen from his 
holding some important subordinate office in that province 
under Cumanus. But even six or seven years, during which 
he was procurator of Judea, were "many years" compared 
with the short periods of the administrations of his three 
immediate predecessors. Cuspius Fad us was governor for 
two years ; Tiberius Alexander for two ; and Ventidius 
Cumanus for four : so that the government of all these 
three together lasted only eight years. 

Ver. 11. "Oti, ov tt\€ lovs elalv /jloc rj/jbepcu $efca$uo — that 
there are no more than twelve days since I came up to Jerusalem 
to worship. Paul means that, as it was only twelve days 
since his arrival at Jerusalem, the crime of which he was 
accused — namely, an attempt to profane the temple — must 
have been of recent occurrence, and therefore could be 
easily investigated. These twelve days have been variously 
calculated. They evidently denote the whole time since 
Paul had come to Jerusalem ; and therefore the idea that the 
days which he spent at Caesarea are not to be included, is to 
be rejected (Heinrichs, Kuinoel). Wieseler reckons them as 
follows : Two days for his journey to Jerusalem ; the third 
day, his interview with James ; the fourth (Pentecost), his 
arrest in the temple ; the fifth, his appearance before the 
Sanhedrim ; the sixth, his departure to Caesarea at night ; 
the seventh, his arrival at Caesarea ; the twelfth (five days 
after that), the departure of Ananias from Jerusalem ; and 
the thirteenth, the arrival of Ananias at Caesarea, and the 
trial of Paul before Felix. 1 This reckoning proceeds on the 
supposition that Paul was arrested on the day of Pentecost, 
the very day on which he entered the temple with the four 
Nazarites ; an opinion which we have endeavoured to show T 
is erroneous (see note to Acts xxi. 27). Besides, it is from 
the time of his arrival at Jerusalem that the twelve days are 
1 Wieseler's Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 104. 




to be calculated, so that two days are not to be reckoned for 
his journey to that city. The arrangement adopted by Meyer 
is perhaps the most correct. According to him, the first day 
was the arrival in Jerusalem (ch. xxi. 15-17) ; the second, 
the interview with James (ch. xxi. 18) ; the third, the 
uniting with the Nazarites in their vow (ch. xxi. 26) ; the 
fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh days, the days of the Naza- 
ritic offering, interrupted by the arrest of Paul in the temple 
(ch. xxi. 27) ; the eighth day, the apostle before the San- 
hedrim (ch. xxii. 30) ; the ninth, the conspiracy of the Jews 
(ch. xxiii. 12), and the departure of Paul the same night 
from Jerusalem (ch. xxiii. 23) ; the tenth, eleventh, and 
twelfth days (including part of the ninth and thirteenth), 
the five days after which Ananias and the elders came down 
to Caesarea (ch. xxiv. 1) ; and the thirteenth day, the trial 
before Felix. 1 

Yer. 12. In this verse we have Paul's answer to the first 
charge, that he was a mover of sedition among all the Jews 
throughout the Roman empire. To this he replies, that 
this was a mere assertion incapable of proof. Kal ovre iv tg> 
lepcp evpov fjue — and they neither found me in the temple dis- 
puting with any man, nor raising up a popular tumult, neither 
in the synagogues nor in the city. Before the words, u neither 
in the synagogues nor in the city," are to be supplied, " They 
found me disputing with any man, or raising up a popular 
tumult." So that these acts — disputing, and raising up a 
popular tumult — are denied with reference to these three 
places — the temple, the synagogues, and the city (Hackett). 

Yer. 14. 'OfjLoXoyco Se tovto aoi — but this 1 confess to thee. 
Paul now comes to the second charge, that he was a ring- 
leader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He at once admits that 
he did belong to this so-called sect ; but at the same time 
maintains that, by doing so, he did not relinquish the reli- 
gion of his fathers. Kara rrjv 6Bbv — after the way ; that is, 
according to the views, the mode of thinking, the religious 
opinions, of those whom they called Nazarenes. tS Hv \eyovo~w 
atpeaiv — which they call a sect. The allusion is to the 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 457, 458. 


speech of Tertullus, in which he speaks of the sect of the 
Nazarenes, — an allusion lost sight of in our English version, 
by the same word being rendered sect in ver. 5 and heresy in 
ver. 14. The word aipeais is generally used in Scripture, 
and especially in the Acts, in an indifferent sense (vox media), 
as signifying a sect, a school, a party. Thus it is said that 
some believers were of "the sect of the Pharisees" (Acts 
xv. 5) ; Paul says, " According to the strictest sect of our 
religion, I lived a Pharisee" (Acts xxvi. 5) ; and the Jews 
at Rome inquired of Paul u what he thought of this sect," 
that is, the Christians (Acts xxviii. 22) : in all these passages 
the word is used in an indifferent sense. It would, however, 
seem that it was here employed by Tertullus in a bad sense, 
as signifying a schismatic sect ; in which sense the word is 
also used by Paul in 1 Cor. xi. 19. 0{/to>? Xarpevo) to) 
irarpaxp @€<p — so worship I my fathers' God: a classical 
phrase familiar to Felix, and highly appropriate on the pre- 
sent occasion. The Romans protected the Jews in their 
national religion, and regarded any attempt to disturb them 
in its exercise as a crime. They also looked with disfavour 
at the introduction of new and foreign gods. Hence Paul 
here asserts that he was no schismatic — that he was a wor- 
shipper of the God of the Jews ; and thus he maintains that 
according to the Roman law, which allowed all men to wor- 
ship according to the religion of their country, he was not 
open to any charge of schism. According to him, Chris- 
tianity was not a new religion, but the true development of 
Judaism : he was a Jew in the truest sense of the term ; he 
had carried out the principles of the Jewish religion to their 
legitimate conclusion. As Lange well expresses it : u By 
these words Paul maintains that, along with his Christian 
faith, he was a true Jew ; for Christianity is the fulfilment 
and truth of Judaism. He was a Jew who believed all 
things which were written in the law and the prophets, not 
a mere half-believer as the Sadducees, nor an erroneous 
believer as the Pharisees. He possessed the hope of the re- 
surrection, the centre truth of the Old Testament, which 
these half- Jews, it is true, expected, but only expected. But 


the chief matter was, that he possessed this faith in its moral 
influence, and that it constrained him to make it his constant 
endeavour to have a conscience void of offence toward God 
and men." 1 

Ver. 15. *Hv kcll clvtoI ovtoi irpoaBe^ovrav — which they 
themselves also admit, that there shall be a resurrection both 
of the just and unjust. From this it would appear that the 
Pharisees were among the accusers of Paul before Felix ; 
and that the favourable impression produced upon them 
by his speech before the Sanhedrim was only momentary 
(Acts xxiii. 9). Paul here asserts that the doctrine of the 
resurrection formed part of the general belief of his nation ; 
because the opinions of the Sadducees were embraced only 
by few, whereas the nation in general adopted the views 
of the Pharisees. Josephus expressly tells us, that while 
the Sadducees were able to persuade none but the rich, the 
Pharisees had the multitude on their side (Ant. xiii. 10. 6). 

Ver. 16. \Ei> tovtg) — herein; that is, "on this account," — 
" because of my belief in the resurrection." My belief is 
not merely speculative, but real and living. ' ' Airpocnconrov 
o-vvelBrjo-w e-^etv — to have a conscience void of offence. Paul 
appeals to the general rectitude of his conduct, in proof of 
his freedom from the charges brought against him. What- 
ever accusations are brought against me, it has been my 
constant endeavour to live free of blame. 

Ver. 17. AC ircov Be ifkeiovcov — But after many years. 
Paul now proceeds to the third charge — that he had at- 
tempted to profane the temple. More than four years had 
elapsed since his former visit to Jerusalem (Acts xviii. 22). 
'EXeTjfjboavvas TTOirjacov els to eOvos fjiov Trapeyevofjirjv — I 
came to bring alms to my nation; namely, the alms which 
he had collected from the churches in Macedonia and 
Achaia for the poor saints at Jerusalem (Rom. xv. 26). 
This is the only place in the Acts where these collections 
are mentioned, and that in a most incidental manner; and 
is an instance of one of those undesigned coincidences which 

1 Lange's das apostolische Zeitalter, vol. ii. p. 323. See also Stier's 
Words of the Apostles, p. 428, Clark's translation. 

PAUL BEFORE FELIX. — XXIV. 18-21. 341 

exist between the Acts and the epistles. 1 The contributions 
were for the saints at Jerusalem, and the church of Jeru- 
salem was then chiefly composed of Jewish Christians. (See 
also Rom. xv. 27.) Kal irpoo-fyopas — and offerings. The 
alms for the people, and the offerings for the temple. If 
this was one special purpose of Paul's visit to Jerusalem, 
then it would appear that he had not desisted from taking 
part in the sacrifices of the temple. The allusion, however, 
may be to his joining the four Nazarites in their offerings 
(Acts xxi. 24-26). So far from any attempt to profane 
the temple, he had come there to engage in its religious 

Ver. 18. y Ev oh — in which; that is, "while so engaged" 
— "in the midst of these occupations." Evpov fie — they 
found me ; that is, " my accusers found me ; " or indefinitely, 
"I was found." 'Hyviajievov — purified: taking part in the 
religious exercises of the Nazarites. TW? Se — but certain : 
the reading considered best attested by modern critics. 
(See Critical Note.) According to this reading, a verb re- 
quires to be supplied ; and accordingly different verbs have 
been suggested. Hackett supplies eOopv^aav : " not I, but 
certain Jews from Asia, excited the tumult." Bengel sup- 
plies elBov : " certain Jews from Asia saw me." But it is 
most natural to supply evpov from the previous sentence: 
" not they, the Jewish rulers, found me in the temple, but 
certain Jews from Asia." 

Ver. 21. *H irepl /uas ravTTjs (pcovfjs — except it be for 
this one exclamation. $(ovfj<;, " voice," here u exclamation." 
Paul speaks in irony : for, so far from any fault being found 
in this exclamation, it met with the highest approval from 
the pharisaicai faction of the Sanhedrim ; as if the apostle 
had said : In this exclamation they must discover my crime. 

The speech of Paul, which in all probability Luke heard, 
was a most appropriate defence. His answer corresponds 
to the three articles of the charge of Tertullus — sedition, 
heresy, and the profanation of the temple. It is, as Bengel 
observes, a candid, spontaneous, and full confession : con- 
1 See Paley's Horse Paulinx — Romans, No. I. 


fessio ingenua, voluntaria y plena. It has not, however, escaped 
the animadversions of critics of a certain school, who con- 
sider it as an attempt of the writer to make Paul appear in 
a favourable light to the Judaizing portion of the Christian 
church (Baur, Zeller, Schneckenburger). But there is 
nothing in the speech contrary to Pauline notions : the 
relation of Christianity to Judaism as its development and 
perfection, the establishment of the law by faith, is a truth 
which he, beyond all the New Testament writers, sought to 

Ver. 22. 'AvefidkeTO Se avrovs 6 $f}\Ltj — but Felix deferred 
them. Felix adjourned the case : ampliavit eos (both parties). 
' 'AvafidWoficu, to put off, to defer in a judicial sense. He 
thus adopted a middle course : he was convinced of the inno- 
cence of Paul, and so would not condemn him ; but he was 
unwilling to incur the displeasure of the Jews, and so would 
not acquit him. ' 'A/cpi fieo-repov el£&$ ra irepl t?}? 6Bov — 
being more accurately instructed concerning that way. These 
words have been differently rendered. Some (Beza, Grotius, 
Heinrichs, Doddridge, Ewald) regard them as part of the 
speech of Felix : u saying, When I have been more accu- 
rately informed concerning that way, and when Lysias is 
come down." But to this rendering it is objected that eXwa*; 
would not then follow at such a distance. Others think that 
the meaning is, a since he had now obtained more accurate 
knowledge concerning Christianity;" the reference being to 
the information contained in Paul's speech. But etoa>9 can- 
not be rendered certior f actus ; and besides, this would not be 
a reason for delay, but for delivering judgment. Kuincel 
renders the passage : u being desirous to know more accu- 
rately what belonged to that doctrine." But elBas cannot 
admit of such a rendering. The only meaning of which the 
words will admit, is that Felix was more accurately instructed 
concerning Christianity ; that is, probably more than the 
accusers of Paul supposed. So approximately Chrysostom, 
Meyer, De Wette, Wieseler, Stier, Lechler, Howson, Words- 
worth. Felix had already been procurator of Judea for six 
years ; his stated residence was Csesarea, where Philip the 


evangelist and other Christians resided ; his wife Drusilla 
was a Jewess : so that he could not have been ignorant of 
the nature of Christianity. "Orav Avala<; 6 ^Ckiap^o^ fcaTa(3y 
— When Lysias the tribune shall have come down, I will fully 
hear you. This was a mere pretext on the part of Felix : he 
required no further information : his mind was already made 
up to decide neither the one way nor the other ; and accord- 
ingly we hear nothing more of the coming of Lysias. 

Ver. 23. "E^etv re aveaiv — and to grant him indidgence. 
"Aveais, not "liberty," as in our version, but "remission," 
u relaxation." Although kept in confinement, Paul was to 
be leniently dealt with. The Romans had three kinds of 
custody. First, confinement in the public prison (custodia 
publico), as when Paul and Silas were cast into prison at 
Philippi. Secondly, military custody (custodia militaris), 
when the prisoner was bound to a soldier, whose duty it was 
to keep him ; which appears to have been the nature of Paul's 
imprisonment at Rome. Thirdly, free custody (custodia 
libera), when the prisoner was either given in charge to a 
magistrate, who became responsible for his appearance (cus- 
todia apud magistrates), or when he was released on bail 
(custodia apud vades). 1 Some (De Wette, Lange, Renan) 
suppose that avecriv here signifies free custody (custodia libera, 
(pvXaKT] aSeo-fios). But, as Wieseler shows, it was only illus- 
trious men who were consigned to the care of magistrates ; 
and there is no mention of Paul having been bailed. Be- 
sides, we are informed that Felix commanded a centurion 
to keep him. The imprisonment, then, to which Paul was 
now subjected was custodia militaris, but with such allevia- 
tions as that kind of imprisonment would admit of. The 
same word aveais is applied to the confinement of Herod 
Agrippa I., although he was in custodia militaris (Ant. 
xviii. 6. 10). Probably Paul was not kept always in chains ; 
but was merely guarded by a soldier, to whom, however, he 
was not necessarily bound. On the other hand, it is said, 
that when Felix departed from the province, he left Paul 
bound (Sehe/juevov). Kal /xrjSeva KwXveiv toov IBltov avrov 
1 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 355. 


v7r7jp6T€tv avrat — and to hinder none of his friends from mini- 
stering unto him. Tcov ISicov avrov ; that is, those belonging 
to the apostle — his relatives, his friends, his disciples. This 
circumstance would render Paul's confinement much lighter 
than it would otherwise have been, and would give him an 
opportunity of greater usefulness. Among those friends who 
ministered unto him we are doubtless to reckon Luke and 
Aristarchus, who had come with him to Jerusalem, and both 
of whom accompanied him on his voyage to Rome ; and 
Philip the evangelist and his family, who were resident in 

Ver. 24. %vv ApovaiXkrj rfj yvpaua — with Drusilla his 
wife. Drusilla was the second daughter of Herod Agrippa I., 
an account of whose death we have in Acts xii. She was, in 
the lifetime of her father, betrothed to Antiochus Epiphanes, 
the prince of Commagene ; but as he declined to become a 
Jew, the marriage was broken off. Her brother, Herod 
Agrippa n., gave her in marriage to Azizus the king of 
Emesa, who for her sake embraced the Jewish religion. 
This marriage, however, was of short duration ; for, when 
Felix saw her, he became enamoured with her beauty, and 
employed Simon, a Cyprian magician, who persuaded her to 
forsake her husband Azizus and to marry Felix. She bore 
him a son named Agrippa, and both mother and son perished 
at the eruption of Vesuvius in the reign of Titus (Joseph. 
Ant. xx. 7. 2, 3). According to Tacitus, the wife of Felix 
was Drusilla, the granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra 
(Hist. v. 9). Considering the sameness of the names, this 
statement of Tacitus would undoubtedly be regarded as 
a complete contradiction of the statements of Luke and 
Josephus, had not the apparent discrepancy been removed 
by a statement of Suetonius, that Felix was the husband of 
three queens (Claud, xxviii.). One of these was Drusilla, 
the granddaughter of Cleopatra ; and another the Drusilla 
here mentioned, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. 

Ver. 25. Uepl BLKaioavvns /cal e^Kpare[a<; kclI tov Kpifiaros 
rod /jueWovros eaeaOai — concerning righteousness, and chastity, 
and the judgment which is to come. How suitable was this 


discourse to so unjust, lewd, and tyrannical a prince as Felix ! 
Paul reasoned of righteousness, in opposition to his injustice ; 
and Tacitus remarks, that he acted as if he might commit 
every kind of villany with impunity. Paul reasoned of 
chastity, in opposition to his sensuality ; and Drusilla, the 
partner of his guilt, sat by his side. Paul reasoned of a 
future judgment ; and Felix was the murderer of Jonathan 
the high priest, whose only crime was, that, like Paul, he 
acted the part of a censor. No wonder that Felix was 
conscience-struck, though he quickly recovered from his 
fears. It is to be observed, that in public Paul treats 
Felix with all the respect due to a judge, and that it is 
in private that he expostulates with him on account of his 
wickedness. Before others, Paul recognises the judge ; with 
Felix alone, Paul sees the sinner. MeTafcaXecrofiai ae — / 
shall call for thee. He thought that it did not become 
the dignity of a judge to listen to such reproofs from his 
prisoner, and therefore he dismissed him with a trifling 

Ver. 26. r, Afia koI IhnrGjup oti ^prjixara Bodrjaerai avrw 
xnro rod TIavXov — at the same time hoping that money would 
be given him by Paul. He hoped that the Christians would 
contribute to purchase Paul's liberation. Perhaps his ex- 
pectations w T ere founded on the knowledge that Paul had 
been entrusted with the alms for the brethren at Jeru- 
salem, and that accordingly he was probably possessed of 
funds. Felix could not be ignorant of the love which the 
Christians had to one another, for he must have seen many 
instances of it ; but he was ignorant of the high principles 
by which they were actuated, and which did not permit 
them to tamper with the ends of justice by bribery. To take 
bribes was in direct violation of the Roman law, but was 
in perfect accordance with the character of this unjust and 
avaricious judge. The Julian law, De Bepetundis, expressly 
prohibited a judge to receive anything for a person's im- 
prisonment or liberation {Dig. xlviii. 11. 7). Nor was Felix 
the only instance of a governor of Judea who was guilty 
of taking bribes. Albinus, one of his successors, on his 


departure from the province, freed all those prisoners who 
gave him money ; " by which means," as Josephus remarks, 
" the prisons were indeed emptied, but the country was 
filled with robbers" (Ant. xx. 9. 5). 

Yer. 27. Aierias Be irXvpoadeiarj^ — but two years being 
completed. For two years Paul remained in confinement in 
Caesarea : two years apparently cut off from his active and 
useful life ; two years lost to the world and to the church. 
No epistles have come down to us written during this im- 
prisonment. We do not know how Paul employed himself, 
and it is useless to conjecture. Doubtless Luke was one of 
those friends who ministered to him ; but he has left us no 
record of this part of his life. But perhaps Paul required 
repose after so much laborious service, and in order to 
prepare himself for still greater and more beneficial labours 
— for preaching the gospel at Rome. Besides, he was not 
altogether laid aside, for he was permitted to see and con- 
verse with his friends ; and we can hardly believe that he 
was entirely prevented from still taking upon himself the 
care of all the churches. Olshausen well remarks : " Two 
years appear now to have been completely lost by the apostle ; 
for in Caesarea itself he probably had but small opportunity 
of labouring. But the main design of God in this remark- 
able procedure might perhaps be, to grant the apostle a quiet 
period for inward recollection and meditation. The con- 
tinual movement of Paul's life must have made it difficult 
for him to be occupied with his own state, although this is 
the necessary condition of a blessed inward development. 
Divine grace, therefore, is able to unite both objects ; for 
while it uses its instruments for the advancement of truth 
among others, it sometimes takes these instruments them- 
selves to school for their own personal improvement." 1 

Oekcov %dpiTa$ fcaradeadai, Tofc 'JouoWot? — wishing to put 
the Jews under obligations. The meaning is, that Felix not 
only wished to please the Jews, but to lay them under obliga- 
tions to himself, so that on his departure they might be the 
less inclined to accuse him to the emperor. Karekiirev top 
1 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 491. 


TLavkov Se&e/jLevov — he left Paul bound ; that is, in custodia 
militaris. Lange and De Wette suppose that Felix, before 
his departure, revoked the liberty (aveaiv) which he had 
formerly granted Paul, and changed his confinement from 
custodia libera into custodia militaris. But it does not appear 
that any change was made in the nature of Paul's confine- 
ment. The same reason, the desire to please the Jews, which 
induced Pilate to deliver up Christ to be crucified, caused 
Felix to leave the apostle bound. This act of Felix, how- 
ever, was not sufficient to remove the resentment of the 
Jews ; for, as Joseph us informs us, after his recall the 
Jewish inhabitants of CsBsarea went to Kome to accuse him ; 
and he had certainly been brought to punishment, had not 
Nero yielded to the pressing solicitations of his brother 
Pallas (Ant xx. 8. 9). 


PAUL'S APPEAL TO CjESAR.— Acts xxv. 1-12. 

1 Now, when Festus was entered upon the province, after three days 
he went up from Csesarea to Jerusalem. 2 Then the chief priests, and 
the chief of the Jews, informed him against Paul, and besought him, 
3 Asking a favour against him, that he would send for him to Jeru- 
salem, laying wait in the way to kill him. 4 But Festus answered, 
that Paul was kept at Csesarea, and that he himself was about shortly 
to depart. 5 Let then, he said, those in power among you go down 
with me, and accuse him, if there be anything in this man. 6 And 
when he had tarried among them not more than eight or ten days, he 
went down to Csesarea ; and on the morrow, having taken his seat on 
the tribunal, he commanded Paul to be brought. 7 And when he was 
come, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood round about, 
and preferred many and grievous accusatioDS, which they were not able 
to prove. 8 While Paul defended himself, Neither against the law of 
the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar, have I offended 
in anything. 9 But Festus, wishing to win the favour of the Jews, 
answered Paul, and. said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be 
judged before me concerning these matters? 10 Then Paul said, I 
stand before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be judged: to the 
Jews I have done no wrong, as thou thyself also knowest very well. 
11 If, therefore, I be an offender, or have committed anything deserv- 
ing of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be nothing in those 
things whereof these men accuse me, no man can deliver me unto 
them. I appeal unto Caesar. 12 Then Festus, having conferred with 
his counsellors, answered : Thou hast appealed unto Caesar ; unto Caesar 
shalt thou go. 


Ver. 2. r O apxiepevs is the reading of H; whereas ol 
apxiepels is found in A, B, 0, E, G, N, the reading preferred 
by most recent critics. Ver. 4, 'Ev Kaiaapeta are found in 
G, H ; whereas eU Kaiadpeiav are supported by A, B, C, 



E, N, and adopted by Teschendorf and Lachmann. Ver. 6. 
IlXeiovs rj 8e/ca is the reading of G, H ; whereas ov 7rXetou? 
oktq) rj Se/ca is the reading of A, B, 0, E, K (except that 
B reads ifKelova^^ E omits ou, and X inserts rjfiepas after 
tt\€lov<;), the reading adopted by Tischendorf and Lach- 
mann. Ver. 7. $epovT€$ Kara rov Uavkov are found in 
G, H ; whilst A, B, 0, K read only /carafe povres, the reading 
adopted by Tischendorf. Ver. 11. Tap is the reading of 
G, H ; whereas ovv is attested by A, B, 0, E, N, and adopted 
by most recent critics. 


Ver. 1. $?5<7T05 — Festus. Porcius Festus, the successor 
of Felix, was made procurator of Judea about the year 60 
or 61. 1 Nothing is known of his previous history, as he is 
not mentioned either by Tacitus or Suetonius. When he 
arrived, the country was in an unsettled state, being infested 
by the Sicarii. They not only committed numerous murders, 
but attacked and plundered villages. Festus acted with 
vigour against them, suppressed all robbers and murderers, 
and defeated a certain false prophet who had deceived the 
multitude with the promise of deliverance from the Roman 
yoke. He became involved in a dispute with the Jews in 
reference to a wall which they built in front of the temple, 
and which screened it from the view of the Roman guard 
quartered in the Cast!" of Antonia ; a dispute which, through 
the influence of Poppaea (who was a proselyte), the wife of 
Nero, terminated in favour of the Jews (Ant. xx. 8. 9-11). 
From the character given him by Josephus, he seems to have 
been a very different ruler from either his predecessor Felix 
or his successor Albinus, and to have governed Judea with 
energy and justice (Bell. Jud. ii. 14. 1). "The new pro- 
curator," observes Lewin, u had a straightforward honesty 
about him, which forms a strong contrast to the mean 
rascality of his predecessor. He certainly did not do all 

1 See remarks on the chronology of the Acts in the introductory- 
chapter, vol. i. p. 35. 


the justice which he might have done ; but allowing some- 
what for the natural desire to ingratiate himself with the 
most influential men of the nation subject to his government, 
his conduct, on the whole, was exemplary ; and his firmness 
on many trying occasions cannot fail to elicit our highest 
admiration." 1 Unfortunately for Judea, his endeavours to 
restore quietness to the country were cut short by his death, 
after he had been procurator for less than two years. He 
is the only procurator of Judea who is mentioned as having 
died in office. 

"'Eirifias rrj iirapyla — having entered upon the province. 
Some render it, " having entered upon his office," or " having 
undertaken the government." ^Eirap^la is generally used 
to denote the greater provinces, whether imperial, over which 
propraetors (avriaTpar'nyol) were appointed ; or senatorial, 
which were governed by proconsuls (avdviraroi). Judea was 
a lesser or subordinate province, being part of the im- 
perial province of Syria, and governed by a deputy. Such 
a province was usually called iirLTpoir^ and its governors 
were called procurators (eTTLrpoiro^ procuratores). The word 
iirapxla,) however, was sometimes employed to denote a 
province governed by a procurator. Josephus calls Festus 
eirap'xp^ (Ant. xx. 8. II). 2 Judea might receive this name on 
account of its importance. Mera rpeh rjfiepas — after three 
days. Festus here showed that decision of character for which 
he was noted. Having entered upon his province, he only 
remained three days in Csesarea, and then went up to Jeru- 
salem. ^AvejBr) eh 'IepocroXvfia — he went up to Jerusalem. 
He visited without delay the chief city of his province, 
perhaps not so much from curiosity, as from a desire to 
acquaint himself with the character of the nation he was 
appointed to govern. 

Ver. 2. 01 a/o^epet? — the high priests. (See Critical Note.) 
If 6 apxcepev? be the correct reading, the high priest in office 
here mentioned was Ismael the son of Phabi, who shortly 
before the recall of Felix was appointed high priest by Herod 

1 Lewin's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 699. 

2 Kuincel's Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 350. 


Agrippa ii., in the room of Ananias the son of Nebedaeus, 
shortly before the appointment of Festus as governor (Ant. 
xx. 8. 8). Kal ol irpcoroo toov 'IovSaicov — and the chief of the 
Jews. By ol irpwroi are meant the chief people of the Jews ; 
and as most of these were members of the Sanhedrim, it 
probably denotes a deputation from that body (irpecrftvTepoi)) 
as in ch. xxiv. 1. Festus, in mentioning this application, calls 
them irpea^vrepoL. So Grotius, De Wette, Ewald. Meyer 
supposes that it is a more general term, including the prin- 
cipal men of the Jews, although not members of the Sanhe- 
drim, and that this is a proof that the feeling of hatred to 
Paul, as the enemy of their religion, had spread throughout 
the nation. 1 Two years had elapsed since Ananias and the 
elders had appeared before Felix to accuse Paul ; yet their 
enmity against the apostle had not decreased. They had 
found themselves baffled by the procrastinating spirit of 
Felix ; but now that a new governor of greater decision had 
arrived, they thought they might succeed better with him ; 
and as it was his policy to ingratiate himself with them on 
his entrance into office, they had reason to hope that their 
request would be granted. 

Ver. 3. Alrov/juevot, xapiv — ashing favour ; that is, request- 
ing it as a favour from Festus on his accession to office. 
f/ 07Tft)5 fjL€Ta7T€fi'^r7}Tat, avrbv et? 'lepovcraXrjiJL — that he would 
send for him to Jerusalem. According to the account which 
Festus gave of the transaction, the Jews first asked that 
judgment might be pronounced against Paul ; and to this 
request Festus replied that it was not the manner of the 
Romans to deliver any man to death before the accused had 
his accusers face to face, and has had opportunity to answer 
for himself concerning the crime laid against him (vers. 15, 16). 
Having failed in this, they then requested that Paul might be 
brought up to Jerusalem, and there tried. The plea would 
doubtless be, that he was accused of offences chiefly against 
the Jewish law, and that his accusers and the witnesses 
against him were in Jerusalem ; whereas the real purpose 
was to assassinate him on the way. 'EveSpav TroLovvre? — 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 467. 


forming an ambuscade. Perhaps they had already made 
arrangements by hiring the Sicarii, not doubting that Festus 
would grant their request. 'AveXetv avrbv Kara rrjv 6B6v—^ 
to slay him by the way. According to Josephus, the chief 
priests and principal men among the Jews were for the most 
part infamous for their wickedness, so that we are not to 
wonder that such a design should have been formed by the 
rulers of the nation. 

Ver. 4. Tr)peia6ai top Uavkov eh Kaio~apuav — that Paul 
was kept ; not u should be kept," as in our version, which 
expresses the denial too strongly and peremptorily. Festus 
refused the request of the Jews, but he did so in as con- 
ciliatory a manner as possible. The request of the Jews 
was so plausible, and the answer of Festus so contrary 
to what might naturally have been expected, that we may 
well discern here the interposition of God, in whose hands 
are the hearts of all men. u Here," says St. Chrysostom, 
" God's providence interposed, not permitting the governor 
to do this : for it was natural that he, having just come to 
the government, should wish to gratify them ; but God 
suffered him not." Observe also the contrast between 
Jewish wickedness and the strict order of the Roman govern- 
ment (Meyer). 

Ver. 5. 01 ovv ev v/uv Bwarol — Let those in power among 
you. These words have been differently rendered. Bengel 
supposes that their meaning is, u those among you who are 
able to perform the journey ; " Festus thus answering the 
Jews who objected to the inconvenience of the journey. 
Others (Beza, Calvin, Grotius) in a similar manner render 
the clause, " those to whom it is convenient ; " others 
(Schmid, Castalio), " those who are able to prove the guilt 
of Paul " — who can give evidence against him ; others 
(Meyer, Lechler, Howson), " those who are authorized to 
prosecute " — who are invested with official authority. But 
there is no reason to depart from the usual meaning of the 
word Swarol, u those who are powerful among you." So 
Kuincel, Hackett, Robinson, Wordsworth. According to 
this, ol Bvvarol is equivalent to ol irp&rot, (ver. 2) ; and these 


were for the most part members of the Sanhedrim (pi irpea- 
fivrepoi). EX tl early iv tw avBpl tovto) — if there be any- 
thing in this man. The answer of Festus was dignified, and 
worthy of his character. Paul was a Roman citizen; and 
the law forbade that he should be hastily tried, and com- 
manded that he should have full opportunity for his defence. 

Ver. 6. 'H/jiepas ov ifkeiovs 6/ctco rj Bi/ca — not more than 
eight or ten days. (See Critical Note.) This denotes the 
whole period of the residence of Festus in Jerusalem, and 
not merely the time which elapsed after his answer to the 
Jewish rulers. Tfj kiravpiov — on the morrow. Here we have 
another proof of the decided character of Festus: on the 
next day after his arrival at Caesarea, he took his seat on 
the tribunal, and commanded Paul to be brought into court. 

Ver. 7. IloWa /cat ftapea alrMojjLaTa fcaracfrepovTes — having 
preferred many and grievous accusations. The charges brought 
against Paul were probably the same as those urged by Ter- 
tullus : that Paul was a disturber of the public peace, a 
ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, and a profaner of 
the temple. These charges may be classed under three heads 
— treason, heresy, and sacrilege. 

Ver. 8. Ovre et? top vo/jlov twv 'lovBaiwv, ovre eh to lepbv, 
ovre et? Kaicrapa r\ r\\iapTov — Neither against the law of the 
Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Cwsar, have I offended 
in anything. This denial corresponded with the three prin- 
cipal charges of the Jews above referred to : heresy against 
the law of the Jews, sacrilege against the temple, and treason 
against Caesar. Wieseler supposes that a new charge is here 
brought against Paul, not mentioned in the trial before 
Felix, — namely, treason against Caesar, similar to the charge 
that was brought against him in Thessalonica, that he did 
contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there was 
another king, Jesus (Acts xvii. 7) ; but the accusation cor- 
responds with that mentioned by Tertullus, that he was a 
mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world 
(Acts xxiv. 5). 

Ver. 9. ( 3>?}oto? 6e\cov Tot? 'lovBaiois %apiv KaraOeaOai 
— Festus, wishing to lay the Jews under obligations. Festus, 



being newly come into the province, naturally wished to in- 
gratiate himself with the rulers of the Jews, provided he 
could do so without any great injustice to his prisoner. But 
although he perhaps carried his desire to please the Jews too 
far, he did not act the part of Pilate, who from the same 
motive sacrificed Jesus to the Jews; nor of Felix, who detained 
Paul in confinement. 0eXet9 eh 'IepoaoXv/jba avafta? etcel 
irepl tovtcov KpiOrjvcLi eV ifiov ; — Wilt thou go up to Jeru- 
salem, and there be judged before me concerning these matters ? 
The question is ambiguous : it may mean either that the trial 
of Paul should be transferred from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 
being conducted by Festus according to the Roman law ; or 
it may mean that Festus would transfer the trial to the Jewish 
Sanhedrim, whilst he himself would be present, and see that 
matters were properly conducted : eir i/nov may be under- 
stood either as me judice or coram me. The latter seems to 
be the correct meaning ; for so Paul understood it, as a wish 
of Festus to transfer the trial to the Jews : and if a change 
of the court itself were not intended, a removal to Jerusalem 
would have been superfluous. The meaning then is, Whether 
he would go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged by the 
Jews, in the presence of Festus ? The question is asked Paul 
as a Roman citizen, having a right to be tried by the Roman 
law : he could not be transferred to the jurisdiction of the 
Sanhedrim without his consent. Perhaps Festus anticipated 
the rejection of his proposal by Paul ; but in making it, he 
wished to show his willingness to gratify the Jews, and to 
make it appear that the frustration of their wishes was no 
fault of his (Meyer). 

Ver. 10. \E7rl tov ftrnJLaros Kato-apos eo-Tco? el/u — / stand 
before Ccesar's tribunal. The tribunal of the Roman gover- 
nors in the provinces, as it was held in Caesar's name, was 
looked upon as Caesar's tribunal. The arms of Rome, the 
golden eagle, were engraven upon it. Ulpianus, on the 
duty of procurators, observes : quos acta gestaque sunt a pro- 
curator Co3saris, sic ab eo comprobantur, atque si a Ccesare 
ipso gesta sint (Ulpianus, De Officio Procurators). 1 This 
1 Quoted by Wieseler, Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 383. 


rule especially held good with reference to Judea, because 
Syria, of which Judea was a part, was not a senatorial, but 
an imperial province, under the direct government of the 
emperor. With regard to these two kinds of provinces, 
Nero, on his accession to the government, had enjoined, 
" that Italy and the public provinces should address them- 
selves to the tribunals of the consuls, and have access to the 
senate ; but that he himself would provide for the provinces 
and the armies committed to the emperor" (Tac. Ann. xiii. 4). 
'12$ teal (tv KaXkiov i7riyiv(6(rtc€ts — as thou thyself alsp knowest 
better. KaXKiov is not to be here taken for the superla- 
tive — "as thou very well knowest; " but is the comparative 
elliptically expressed. The ellipsis is to be supplied from the 
context : " as thou thyself knowest better than appears from 
thy question, or than thou choosest to confess." Paul here 
asserts that Festus was better acquainted with his innocence 
than he pretended to be, and that therefore it was disin- 
genuous to make such a proposal, as if he had been an 
actual offender against the laws of the Jews. 

Ver. 11. El fJLev ovv aSi/cci), kcll afyov Oavdrov irkirpaya tl, 
etc. — If therefore 1 be an offender, or have committed anything 
deserving of death, I refuse not to die ; but if there be nothing 
in these things whereof these men accuse me, no man can deliver 
me unto them. The dilemma put by Paul is as follows : — I 
am either guilty or not guilty: if guilty, I can be legally 
tried and condemned, not by them, but by Caesar, at whose 
tribunal I stand, and I shall acquiesce in the sentence ; but 
if not guilty, no man can deliver me, a Roman citizen, into 
their power : and therefore, guilty or not guilty, I shall not 
be judged by them (Alford). The above declaration by no 
means proves that the Jews had the power of life and death. 
But Paul might reasonably apprehend not only that he 
might be murdered on the way to Jerusalem ; but that, if 
tried before the Sanhedrim and condemned by them, Festus 
might permit and warrant the execution. 

Kalaapa iTriKaXovfiao — / appeal to Cwsar — Co3sarem 
appello. The right of appeal from a subordinate judge to 
the emperor was one of the privileges of a Eoman citizen 


By the Valerian law, a Roman citizen could appeal from the 
sentence of any magistrate to the tribunes of the people 
(appellatio ad tribunos) ; afterwards the tribunitial power 
was conferred upon the emperor, so that the appeal was to 
him. And the Lex Julia strictly forbade any unnecessary 
impediment to be put in the way of a Roman citizen who 
had thus appealed. After such an appeal had been ad- 
mitted, the inferior magistrate had no further power in 
the case : it became highly penal after that to proceed to 
extremities. Mere provincials had not this privilege, but 
were entirely subject to the jurisdiction of their respective 
magistrates without appeal. Thus Pliny, whilst he punished 
the provincials, sent to Rome the Bithynian Christians who 
were Roman citizens and had appealed to Caesar. Fuerunt 
alii similis amentias ; quos, quia cives Romani erant, adnotavi 
in urbem remittendos (Ep. x. 97). These appeals were gene- 
rally made in writing; but when it was done in the open 
court, it was sufficient for the accused to declare his intention 
of appealing to Caesar by uttering the single word Appello. 
Of course, such appeals could not all be heard by the 
emperor in person ; and accordingly the Emperor Augustus 
appointed persons of consular dignity, one for each province, 
to hear them. " All appeals," observes Suetonius, u in causes 
between the inhabitants of Rome, Augustus assigned every 
year to the praetor of the city ; and where provincials were 
concerned, to men of consular rank, to one of whom the 
business of each province was referred" (Suet. Augustus, 33). 
Some suppose that Paul's desire to see Rome (Acts xix. 21), 
and the promise of the Lord that he would bear witness for 
Him in that city, may have influenced him in making this 
appeal ; but he was naturally led to do so by the course of 

Ver. 12. 2vWa\r)<ra<s fiera tov o-v/jiftovXiov — having con- 
ferred ivith the council. Not with the Jewish council (Chry- 
sostom), but with his own council. It was the custom of 
the Roman governors to have a council consisting of their 
friends and other chief Romans of the province. These 
counsellors are called by Suetonius consiliarii (Tib. 33) and 


assessor es (Galba, 19). They appear merely to have acted as 
advisers in questions of difficulty. Thus, Josephus informs 
us that Cumanus took the advice of his friends before he 
put to death a Roman soldier who had wantonly destroyed 
the sacred books of the Jews (Ant. xx. 5. 4) ; and that 
Cestius Gallus, the governor of Syria, on receiving contra-, 
dictory reports from Florus the procurator of Judea, and 
from the rulers of Jerusalem, concerning the disturbances 
among the Jews, consulted with his principal men (fjuera 
rjye/jLovwv ifiovXevero), that is, with his council (Bell. Jud. 
ii. 16. I). 1 The point of consultation in the present instance 
was, whether the appeal of Paul should be admitted. The 
governors of provinces were permitted to exercise a certain 
degree of discretion on this point : they were to throw no 
unnecessary obstacles in the way; but an appeal to the 
emperor might be disallowed if the affair did not admit of 
delay, 2 or if the criminal were a known robber or pirate. 
As no reason for refusal could be stated in the case of Paul, 
his right of appeal to Caesar was at once conceded. 8 Festus 
accordingly pronounced the decision of the court : u Thou 
hast appealed unto Caesar; unto Caesar shalt thou go." 

1 See Lardner's Works, vol. i. p. 59. 

2 Si res dilationem non recipiat, non permittitur appellare (Dig. 
xlix. 5. 7). 

3 See Lewin's Life and Letters of St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 705. 



13 And after the lapse of certain days, king Agrippa and Bernice 
came down to Csesarea to salute Festus. 14 And when they had spent 
many days there, Festus declared unto the king the charge against Paul, 
saying, There is a certain man left a prisoner by Felix ; 15 About 
whom, when I was in Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the 
Jews lodged information, desiring judgment against him. 16 To whom 
I answered, It is not a custom with the Romans to deliver up any man, 
before the accused has his accusers face to face, and an opportunity be 
granted of defending himself regarding the charge. 17 Therefore, when 
they were come thither, without any delay, the next day I sat on the 
tribunal, and commanded the man to be brought. 18 Standing around 
whom, the accusers brought no accusation of such things as I supposed ; 
19 But they had certain questions against him concerning their own 
religion, and concerning a certain Jesus who was dead, whom Paul 
affirmed to be alive. 20 And as I was perplexed regarding these 
matters in dispute, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and 
there be judged concerning these things. 21 But when Paul had 
appealed to be kept for the judgment of Augustus, I commanded him 
to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. 22 Then Agrippa said 
unto Festus, I myself also would wish to hear the man. To-morrow, 
said he, thou shalt hear him. 

23 On the morrow, therefore, Agrippa and Bernice having come with 
great pomp, and having entered into the place of hearing with the 
tribunes and principal men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul 
was brought forth. 24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men 
who are present with us, ye see this man about whom all the multitude 
of the Jews, both in Jerusalem and here, pleaded with me, crying out 
that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But when I found that he 
had committed nothing worthy of death, and as he himself appealed to 
Augustus, I resolved to send him. 26 Concerning whom I have nothing 
certain to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him before 
you, and especially before thee, king Agrippa, that, after examination, 
I may know what I should write. 27 For it appears to me unreasonable 
to send a prisoner, and not to signify the charges against him. 




Ver. 16. The words eh aircoXeiav after avOpwirov, found 
in G, H, are wanting in A, B, C, E, K, and omitted by most 
recent critics. Ver. 20. Tovrov before ^jrrjcnv is only found 
in H ; whereas A, B, C, E, G, K read tovtcdv, the reading 
adopted by most recent critics. Ver. 26. £%& tl ypdyfrcu is 
the reading of E, G, H ; whereas A, B, 0, . K have er^w to 
ypdyjra), the reading adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, 
and Bornemann. 


Ver. 13. ' A<yp[7T7ra<; 6 ftaarikevs — Agrippa the king. This 
was Herod Agrippa II., or the younger. His full name, as 
appears from his coins, was Marcus Agrippa, 1 so named, as 
Eckhel supposes, from Marcus Agrippa, the son-in-law and 
minister of Augustus. He was the only son of Herod, the 
king whose terrible death is recorded in Acts xii. 20-23, 
and the great-grandson of Herod the Great. According to 
Eusebius, he was appointed king of the Jews by Claudius 
(Hist. Eccl. ii. 19) ; but this is a mistake, if by it is meant 
that he succeeded his father as king of Judea. When his 
father died, a.d. 44, he was only seventeen, and was then 
detained as a hostage at Kome. Claudius wished to bestow 
upon him his father's kingdom, but was dissuaded by his 
counsellors, as it was judged dangerous to commit the 
government of so important a kingdom to one who was only 
a youth ; and accordingly Judea was again converted into a 
Koman province, and Cuspius Fadus was sent as procurator 
(A?it. xix. 9. 1, 2). Four years afterwards, a.d. 48, his 
uncle Herod king of Chalcis died ; and Claudius, in the 
eighth year of his reign, a.d. 49, conferred on him the prin- 
cipality of Chalcis, with the oversight of the temple, and the 
power of appointing the high priests (Ant. xx. 5. 2). Four 

1 Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, pp. 57, 58 ; Madden's Jewish 
Coinage, pp. 117-120 ; Eckhel's Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. iii. 
p. 494. 


years after this, a.d. 53, instead of that principality, Claudius 
bestowed on him a larger kingdom, — namely, the tetrarchies 
of Philip and Lysanias (Luke iii. 1), including Batanea, 
Trachonitis, Auranitis, and Abilene, with the title of king 
(Ant. xx. 7. 1). He then fixed his residence in Caesarea 
Philippi, as the capital of his dominions. To this greater 
kingdom Nero, on his accession, a.d. 55, added Tiberias and 
part of Galilee, and Julias, a city of Perea, with fourteen 
neighbouring villages (Ant. xx. 8. 4). 

Herod Agrippa was a Jew in his religion, though he does 
not appear to have been actuated by any religious feelings ; 
nor was he, like his father, careful to accommodate himself to 
the Jewish customs. In the Talmud there is indeed a story 
that he wept at the reading of the law, because it forbade a 
foreigner to reign over Israel, and he was an Idumean by 
descent ; but this is an obvious fable, and contrary to his 
character. He was by no means a popular prince among 
the Jews, and was regarded by them with suspicion, as if he 
were a spy set over them by the Romans. His frequent and 
arbitrary removals of the high priests, and his compliance 
with heathen customs, gave great offence. He had also a 
quarrel with the Jewish rulers in the procuratorship of 
Festus: he had raised the walls of his palace so that he 
could overlook the temple, and the Jews in retaliation had 
raised the walls of the sanctuary to shut out his view. The 
dispute was carried by appeal to Rome, and terminated in 
favour of the Jews, and served to increase the dislike with 
which they regarded him (Ant. xx. 8. 11). Like the other 
princes of the Herodian house, Agrippa expended great sums 
of money in magnificent buildings : he enlarged and beau- 
tified his capital Caesarea Philippi, and called it Neronias in 
honour of the emperor (Ant. xx. 9. 4). 1 At the commence- 
ment of the Jewish war Agrippa did all he could to prevent 
it, and acted as mediator between the Jews and the Romans 
(Bell. Jud. ii. 4). But after the war had broken out he 
joined the Romans (Bell. Jud. iii. 2. 4), though on various 

1 This fact is confirmed by the coins of Agrippa n. See Eckhel's 
Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. iii. 493. 


occasions he exerted himself to procure peace at the risk of 
his person. Agrippa survived the destruction of Jerusalem 
for a great number of years, residing chiefly at Rome, 1 and 
is said to have died at an advanced age, in the third year of 
the reign of Trajan, a.d. 99. He was the last of the cele- 
brated Herodian family. At this period, when he came to 
salute Festus, A.D. 60, he would be in the thirty-first year of 
his age. 

BepviKT) — Bernice. Bern ice, or as she is otherwise called, 
Berenice (BepevUrj : Dio Cassius), was the sister of Agrippa, 
and the eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I., and conse- 
quently the sister of Drusilla, the wife of Felix. She was 
celebrated for her beauty and her profligacy, and is frequently 
mentioned both by Josephus and by Roman writers. In the 
lifetime of her father she was betrothed to Marcus the son 
of Alexander Lysimachus, the alabarch of Alexandria ; but 
in consequence of the death of Marcus, this marriage was 
never consummated (Ant. xix. 5. 1). After this she was 
married to her uncle Herod the king of Chalcis, by whom 
she had two sons, Berenicianus and Hyrcanus (Ant. xx. 5. 1). 
On the death of her husband she resided with her brother 
Agrippa, who had succeeded to the kingdom of Chalcis. 
According to a widespread report, their intercourse was of a 
criminal nature. To this Juvenal alludes when he says: 
Adamas notissimus, et Berenices in digito f actus pretiosior: 
hunc dedit olim barbarus incestce, dedit hunc Agrippa sorori 
(Sat. vi. 156). And Josephus informs us that, in order to 
avoid suspicion, she persuaded Polemo, the king of Cilicia, 
to be circumcised, and to marry her ; which he was induced 
to do by reason of her beauty and riches. This marriage, 
however, was soon dissolved, as Bernice deserted him and 
returned to her brother (Ant. xx. 7. 3). It was at this period, 
after she had returned to her brother a second time, that 
she accompanied him to Caesarea to salute Festus. During 
the disturbances which arose before the Jewish war, in the 

1 Madden gives specimens of the coins of Agrippa n. under the 
Emperors Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian (Madden's 
Jewish Coinage, pp. 113-133). 


absence of her brother in Egypt, Bernice acted a patriotic 
part, and exerted herself on behalf of the Jews. We are 
informed that she stood barefoot as a suppliant before the 
tribunal of Florus the procurator, and besought him to spare 
the Jews ; and this she did at the risk of her own life {Bell. 
Jud. ii. 15. 1). On the outbreak of the war, however, she, 
along with her brother Agrippa, attached herself to the side 
of the Romans. Tacitus seems to insinuate that she became 
the mistress of the Emperor Vespasian : Regina Berenice 
partes javahat, jlorens cetate formdque, et seni quoque Ves- 
pasiano magnificentid munerum grata — u Queen Bernice, at 
that time in the bloom of youth and beauty, espoused the 
interest of Vespasian, to whom, notwithstanding his old age, 
she had made herself agreeable by magnificent presents" 
(Tac. Hist. ii. 81). It is certain that she was the mistress of 
his son Titus, although she must have been thirty-nine years 
of age, and twelve years his senior, when she first became 
acquainted with him (Merivale, vii. p. 210). This connection 
is mentioned by Tacitus (Hist. ii. 2), 1 Suetonius (Titus, 7), 
and Dio Cassius (lxvi. 5). According to Dio Cassius, Titus 
would have made her his empress, had not the clamours of 
the Romans at his marrying a Jewish princess prevented it ; 
and Suetonius informs us that he sent away Bernice from 
the city against both their inclinations : Berenicen statim ab 
urbe dimisit invitus invitam. 
<V ^Aairaaofievoi rov Qfjarov — hai^inc/ saluted Festus. Although 

s Agrippa was kingof a district partly in Palestine and partly 
bordering upon it, yet he was completely dependent on the 
Roman empire ; and therefore it was his interest as a vassal to 
cultivate a good understanding with the Roman procurators 
of Judea ; and throughout his long life he was always a par- 
tisan of Rome. Hence the occasion of his present journey 
from Ceesarea Philippi to Csesarea Palestine was to con- 
gratulate the new governor Festus on his accession to office. 
This would occur soon after the arrival of Festus, in the 

1 Fuere qui adcensum desiderio Berenices regime, vertisse iter crederent. 
Neque dbhorrehat a Berenice juvenilis animus ; sed gerendis rebus nullum 
ex eo impedimentum. 


short interval between the appeal of Paul to Caesar, and his 
departure for Rome. 

Ver. 14. 'O $r}(TTO<; tw fiacrCkeZ avedero tcl Kara rov 
UavXov — Festus informed the king of the charge against Paul. 
Paul, having appealed to Caesar, was beyond the jurisdiction 
of Festus, and could not be again tried by him. But the 
object of Festus was to procure more definite information re- 
garding the accusations against Paul; and hence he took the 
opportunity of consulting King Agrippa, who as a Jew might 
probably be better acquainted with the points of dispute 
between Paul and his accusers. Besides, Agrippa was the 
legal guardian of the temple, and one of the crimes laid to 
the charge of Paul was that he had attempted to profane the 

Ver. 15. Alrovfievoi tear avrov BUnv — desiring judgment 
against him. AUnv here evidently signifies sentence of con- 
demnation, to be followed by punishment. The judgment 
which the Jews requested from Festus was not that Paul 
should be tried by him ; but a sentence upon a previous con- 
viction, which, as they falsely pretended, had been procured 
in the trial before the former governor Felix. As, however, 
Paul was a Roman citizen, Festus determined to examine 
into the matter himself. 

Ver. 16. Ovk eanv e#o? 'Paypalo^ ^apl^eadai Tiva avdpco- 
irov — It is not a custom of the Romans to surrender any man 
before the accused have his accusers face to face, and have an 
opportunity of defending himself in regard to the charge. This 
noble law of the Romans was at this period by no means 
common among other nations. " They (the Romans) be- 
came," says Philo, "common judges, hearing equally the 
accusers and the accused," condemning no man unheard, but 
judging without favour or enmity, according to the nature 
of the case" (in Flaccum). Tottov, literally "place," here 
used metaphorically in the sense of " opportunity," " occa- 
sion :" such a use of the word is unknown in classical Greek. 

Ver. 18. Tlepl ov— around whom. These words are not 
to be connected with efepov, as in our English version, 
" against whom they brought ;" . but with aTaOevre^ " stand- 


ing around whom," the preposition being used in a local 
sense. 1 OvSefJbiav ah lav efapov cov virevoovv eya) — they 
brought no accusation of such things as I supposed. Paul 
was accused of treason against Caesar, and of stirring up 
the Jews throughout the whole Eoman empire, and the 
rulers of the Jews were furious against him ; and hence 
Festus naturally supposed that he must be some great 
criminal, perhaps a leader of one of those bands of robbers 
with which Judea was at this time infested. But when he 
came to examine into the matter, he found not a vestige of 
proof of any such treasonable designs ; but merely a dispute 
between Paul and the Jews concerning certain points of 
their religion which he, Festus, could not understand ; and 
particularly concerning Jesus, whom the Jews asserted was 
crucified, but whom Paul affirmed to have been raised from 
the dead. 

Ver. 19. Uepi rfjs IBlas Beio-iSai/jLovias — concerning their 
own religion. AeiaiBaifiovla is a word which may be under- 
stood either in a good or in a bad sense (vox media). (See 
note to Acts xvii. 22.) Here it is to be understood in a 
good sense, and is not to be rendered, as in our version, 
" superstition," — a word which is always used in a bad sense. 
Agrippa was himself a Jew by religion, and therefore we 
cannot imagine that Festus would employ so uncourteous a 
term as u superstition" when adverting to the Jewish religion, 
although the Eomans regarded it as such (Judaica superstitio ; 
Quinctilian, iii. 8). We have no proper term answering to 
the Greek in our language, as the word "religion" without 
any qualifying adjective is generally used in a good sense. 
At the same time, Festus, by speaking of it not as Agrippa' g 
religion, but as the religion of the Jews, seems to imply that 
he considered Agrippa as far too enlightened really to believe 
in it, although for political reasons he might outwardly pre 
f ess it. Hepl twos 'Irjaov — concerning a certain Jesus. Thej 
words convey the impression not of mere ignorance, but alsc 
of indifference ; as if the point of dispute between Paul and 
the Jews was a matter of no importance. 
1 Winer's Grammar, p. 390. 


Ver. 20. ' Airopovpevos Be iycb et<? rrjv irepl tovtcov fyrrjcnv 
— but as I was perplexed concerning these matters in dispute. 
Festus confesses his ignorance before Agrippa, and appeals 
to his better knowledge. El ftovkobro iropeveaOai eU lepo- 
cokvfia — if he were willing to go to Jerusalem, and there be 
judged concerning these things. He proposed to shift the trial 
to Jerusalem, as if he wished to obtain more accurate infor- 
mation. It is generally supposed that Festus here wilfully 
misrepresents the case. He wishes to convey the impression 
to Agrippa that he desired to transfer the trial to Jerusalem 
in order that he might obtain better information, and that 
consequently Paul's appeal to Csesar was a rash and un- 
called-for proceeding ; whereas his real reason was a wish to 
please the Jews, and to lay them under obligations. Still, 
however, Festus may have had more than one reason for 
wishing to transfer the trial to Jerusalem — both to please 
the Jews and to obtain better information. 

Ver. 21. Tov HeftaaTov — of Augustus. HefiaaTfc, an 
adjective signifying venerable, venerandus ; a religious title. 
It was applied to the first emperor, whose original name was 
Octavianus, and afterwards became the royal title conferred 
on the Roman emperors in general. Caesar, on the other 
hand, was, properly speaking, the family name conveyed to 
the reigning Emperor Nero by adoption, though used as 
synonymous with imperator. Toward the decline of the 
empire, Augustus was the title of the elder and superior, 
and Caesar that of the younger and subordinate emperors. 

Ver. 22. 'E/3ov\6/jLT)v koi avrbs rod dvOpdoirov cucovaaL — 
/ myself also would wish to hear the man. The narrative of 
Festus had excited the curiosity of the young Jewish prince. 
Agrippa could not have been ignorant of the Christian re- 
ligion. He was the son of that Herod who had taken an 


active part in the persecution of the Christians, who had 
slain the Apostle James, and imprisoned the Apostle Peter. 
He had spent much of his life among the Jews, and there- 
fore must frequently have heard of that new sect which 
had sprung up among them. He was acquainted with the 
Messianic prophecies, and doubtless also with the claims of 


Jesus to be the Messiah. Hence he would naturally be 
curious to see and discourse with so distinguished a teacher 
of Christianity as Paul — one who was esteemed a ringleader 
of the sect of the Nazarenes. 

Ver. 23. Mera TroWrjs ^avraala^ — with great pomp. 
QavTaaia properly signifies appearance, a lively image in 
the mind, phantasy ; but by the later Greeks it is used to 
signify pomp, splendour, parade. Wetstein well remarks 
on these words : u Agrippa and Bernice appear with great 
pomp, in the same city where their father, being eaten with 
worms, perished on account of his pride." Eh to afcpoa- 
rrjpiov — into the place of hearing : in Latin, auditorium. 
Either the usual place where such causes were heard, the 
judgment-hall, or perhaps rather the place of hearing, set 
apart for the present occasion. %vv xiXiap%0Ls — with the 
tribunes. These were the commanders of the Roman cohorts 
stationed at Caesarea. According to Josephus, the number 
of cohorts, and consequently of tribunes, at Caesarea, were 
five (Bell. Jud. iii. 4. 2). Kal avBpdcnv rot? /car e^o^rjv 
rrjs TroXecos — and with the chief men of the city. Among 
them were the assessores, or counsellors of the governor 
(Acts xxvi. 29, 30). Thus Paul was brought before Festus, 
the representative of Caesar ; King Agrippa, the representa- 
tive of the Jews ; and all the nobles of Caesarea. Now was 
our Lord's prophecy fulfilled : " Ye shall be brought before 
governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against 
them" (Matt. x. 18). But we know too little of the history 
of the other apostles to be able to affirm, with Olshausen, 
that this prediction was then fulfilled for the first time. 
Perhaps James the brother of John, and Peter, appeared 
before Herod Agrippa I. (Meyer). 

Yer. 25. KaTa\a{36fi€VO<; jurjBev afyov avrov Oavarov ire- 
izpa^kvai — having found that he had committed nothing worthy 
of death. Festus having discovered the innocence of Paul, 
should, as a just judge, at once have released him ; but 
instead of this, he weakly and wrongfully proposed to 
transfer the trial to the Jews, and thus perhaps surrender 
him to their rage : so that, in order to prevent this, Paul 


felt constrained to appeal unto Caesar. Perhaps, however, 
Festus was in reality somewhat perplexed about the matter ; 
as, having lately come to the province, he would know less 
about Christianity than Felix, and therefore would have 
greater difficulty in coming to a decision. 

Ver. 26. Ta> Kvpiw — to the lord. In the use of this title, 
as applied to the emperor, we have an instance of the ex- 
treme accuracy of the historian of the Acts. It was a title 
which was refused by the two first emperors. Thus Suetonius 
says of Augustus : " He always abhorred the title Lord, as 
ill-omened and offensive ; and he would not suffer himself 
to be addressed in that manner, even by his own children or 
grandchildren, either in jest or in earnest" {Aug. 53) ; and 
of Tiberius he says : " Being once called Lord by some 
person, he desired that he might no more be affronted in 
that manner" ( Tib. 27). So also Tertullian says : "Augustus, 
the founder of the empire, did not wish any to call him 
Lord" (Apol. 34). The emperors who followed, however, 
accepted the appellation. Caligula accepted the title ; Herod 
Agrippa I. applied it to Claudius ; in the time of Domitian 
it was a recognised title ; and Pliny addressed Trajan as My 
Lord Trajan. Antoninus Pius was the first who put it on 
his coins. 1 

Ver. 27. Mr) tea) ras kolt clvtov alrias anfiavac — and not 
to signify the charges laid against him. In sending a prisoner 
to Rome, it was necessary for the provincial governor to send 
along with him to the emperor a specification of the crimes 
with which he was charged, and an account of the legal 
proceedings which had been instituted against him. Such 
documents were called liter 03 dimissoriw. 

1 See Eckhel's Doctrina numorum veterum, vol. viii. pp. 364-366. 



1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak con- 
cerning thyself. Then Paul, stretching forth his hand, defended 

2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I may defend myself 
this day before thee concerning all the things of which I am accused 
by Jews ; 3 Especially because thou art acquainted with all the cus- 
toms and questions among the Jews : wherefore I pray thee to hear 
me patiently. 4 My manner of life from my youth, which was from 
the beginning among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all Jews ; 
5 Who knew me from the first, if they would testify, that according to 
the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6 And now I stand 
on my trial for the hope of the promise made by God unto our fathers ; 
7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night 
and day, hope to attain. On account of this hope, king, I am accused 
by Jews. 8 Why is it judged incredible with you, if God raises the 
dead ? 9 I indeed thought with myself, that I ought to do many things 
contrary to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. 10 Which I also did in 
Jerusalem : and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having 
received authority from the chief priests ; and when they were put to 
death, I gave my vote against them. 11 And punishing them often 
in all the synagogues, I compelled them to blaspheme ; and being ex- 
ceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. 
12 Whereupon, as I went to Damascus with authority and commission 
from the chief priests, 13 At mid-day, king, I saw on the road a 
light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about 
me, and them who journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all 
fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking to me, and saying in the 
Hebrew dialect, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? it is hard for thee 
to kick against the goads. 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord ? And 
the Lord said, 1 am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But arise, and 
stand on thy feet : for to this end have I appeared to thee, to appoint 
thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, 
and of those things in which I shall appear to thee ; 17 Delivering 
thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom I send thee, 
18 To open their eyes, that they may be turned from darkness to light, 



and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgive- 
ness of sins, and inheritance among the sanctified by faith which is 
in me. 19 Whereupon, king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the 
heavenly vision : 20 But announced first to them at Damascus, and at 
Jerusalem, and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they 
should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance. 
21 On account of these things, the Jews caught me in the temple, and 
attempted to kill me. 22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I 
continue to this day, testifying both to small and great, saying none 
other things than what the prophets and Moses have said should happen : 
23 Whether the Christ is liable to suffering, and whether He, as the first 
of the resurrection of the dead, should proclaim light to the people and 
to the Gentiles. 

24 And whilst he thus defended himself, Festus said with a loud 
voice, Thou art mad, Paul ; much learning makes thee mad. 25 But 
he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus ; but speak the words of truth 
and soberness. 26 For the king knows of these things, to whom also I 
speak boldly : for I am persuaded that none of these things are con- 
cealed from him ; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King 
Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou somewhat persuadest me to be 
a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that both in a small 
measure and in a great, not only thou, but also all that hear me this 
day, might become such as I am, except these bonds. 30 Then arose 
the king, and the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with them : 
31 And having retired, they communed together, saying, This man 
doeth nothing deserving of death or of bonds. 32 Then Agrippa said 
unto Festus, This man could have been set at liberty, had he not 
appealed unto Caesar. 


Ver. 1. 'Tirep before aeavTov is found in B, G ; whereas 
A, C, E, H, K read irep\, the reading adopted by recent 
critics. Ver. 7. The proper name ^Aypiirira is found in 
G, H, but is wanting in A, B, C, E, K, and is rejected by 
recent critics. T&v before 'IovSaloov is found in no uncial 
MS., and is rejected by all recent critics. Ver. 15/0 Be is 
the reading of H ; whereas A, B, 0, E, X have 6 Be Kvpios, 
the reading adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Ver. 
17. Instead of vvv, all the uncial MSS. read eycb. Ver. 
22. Maprvpovfjuevos is^found in E ; whereas A, B, G, H. K 
have fiapTvpo/jievos, the reading - adopted by Lachmann and 

VOL. II. 2 A 


Tischendorf. Ver. 28. TeveaOai is the reading of E, G, H, 
whereas iroir\crai is the reading of A, B, K. Tischendorf, 
Meyer, and Alford adopt yeveadaij and Lachmann and 
Bornemann read iroirjaai. Ver. 29. IIoWw is the reading 
of G, H ; whereas A, B, N have fxe^akw^ the reading adopted 
by Tischendorf and Lachmann. Ver. 30. The words /coi 
ravra elirovTos avrov are found in G, H, but are wanting in 
A, B, K, and rejected by recent critics. 


This speech, like Paul's address to the Jews from the 
stairs of the Castle of Antonia, was a defence (aTroXoyia) ; 
but it was spoken to a very different audience. Then, Paul 
addressed a hostile multitude, and had to propitiate their 
favour in order to secure their attention ; but now, at their 
own request, he addresses the greatest men of the land, who 
are already prepared to give him a patient hearing. Hence 
this speech of Paul is not so much a defence against the 
crimes of which he was accused by the Jews, as an apology 
for Christianity. Addressing himself specially to King 
Agrippa, he tells him that in reality the accusation against 
him referred to the Messianic hope which was embraced by 
the whole nation, inasmuch as he held that hope was fulfilled 
in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He then relates the 
circumstances of his conversion, and the chief points of 
dispute between him and his Jewish opponents ; and does so 
with such force of reasoning and eloquence, as to produce a 
sensible impression upon his illustrious audience. 

Ver. 1. "'EiriTpeirerai croi irepl aeavrov Xeyew — it is per- 
mitted thee to speak concerning thyself. Paul was brought 
before Agrippa at his special request ; and accordingly that 
king opens the proceedings by requesting Paul to address 
the audience. It is, however, to be observed that Paul did 
not on this occasion stand as a prisoner at the bar before his 
lawful judges : his appeal to Cassar had placed him beyont 
their jurisdiction ; but he was called upon to give a state- 
ment of his own peculiar religious notions, and especially oi 


the points of dispute between him and the Jews. 'Eare/m? 
ttjv x € fy a — having stretched forth the hand ; that is, the hand 
which was at liberty, if we are to suppose from ver. 29 that 
Paul pled before Agrippa in chains (but see note). This 
was not the same action as Karaaelaa^ rfj %e^t (Acts xii. 17), 
" having beckoned with the hand : " that was done to secure 
silence, whereas this was a formal attitude used by orators. 1 

Ver. 3. Tv(0(TT7)v ovra ae — that thou art acquainted; literally, 
" a knower." We have here an example of an anacoluthon. 
The words ought properly to have been in the genitive, to 
correspond with gov in the previous verse. Some explain it 
of the accusative absolute, but such a construction is unknown 
in the New Testament. 2 Beza supplies elBcos, but without any 
authority from manuscripts. So also does our English ver- 
sion, "because I know thee to be expert." 'Edwv re teal &T77- 
fidrcov — customs and questions, ZrjTTjfjbdrcov signifies points 
of dispute, inquiries, controversies. Agrippa was not only a 
Jewish king, but a Jew in his religion. He must have had 
great advantages for gaining an accurate acquaintance with 
Jewish customs and questions, both from his education under 
his father Herod Agrippa 1., who was a rigid observer of 
Jewish ordinances, and from his frequent intercourse with 
the Jews. From an expression used by Paul, he appears 
not only to have been acquainted with Jewish prophecies, 
but also to have been a believer in them (see below) ; and 
mention is made by rabbinical writers of his knowledge of 
the law. Agrippa was peculiarly qualified to appreciate 
Paul's defence. As a Jew, he had a knowledge of Jewish 
affairs ; as a king, he was invested with civil power ; and as 
the guardian of the temple, he possessed religious authority. 
And hence it was that Paul esteemed himself happy to have 
such a hearer, who could understand the points of dispute 
between him and the Jews, and who could pronounce a 
judgment upon them. 

Ver. 4. Trjv pep ovv filcDcriv fiov e/c veottjtoSj etc. — my 

1 Demosthenes and other Greek orators employed this gesture. See 
a quotation from Apuleius given by Meyer, Apostelgeschichte, p. 475. 

2 Winer's Grammar of the New Testament, p. 244. 


manner of life from my youth, which ivas from the beginning 
among mine own nation in Jerusalem, So also, in his defence 
before the Jews, he says that he was avareOpafifjuevo^ iv rfj 
7ro\et ravrr), "brought up in this city" (Acts xxii. 3). From 
these expressions it would appear that Paul went from Tarsus 
to Jerusalem in early youth, when he came to study under 
the celebrated Gamaliel. He could hardly have been older 
than sixteen. "laaonv iravTes 'IovBaioi — know all the Jews. 
Here Paul mentions how long the Jews knew him — from 
his youth ; where they knew him — in Jerusalem ; and how 
they knew .him — as a member of their strictest sect, a 

Yer. 5. Kara tt\v aKp^eo-rdrrjv atp&riv*- According to the 
strictest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee. Similar ex- 
pressions are used by Josephus to denote the opinions of the 
Pharisees. u The Pharisees," he observes, " are a certain 
sect of the Jews who appear more religious than others, and 
seem to interpret the laws more strictly" (Bell. Jud. i. 5. 2). 
And in another place he observes : " The Pharisees are those 
who are esteemed most skilful in the exact explication of the 
law" (Bell. Jud. ii. 8. 14). 1 

Ver. 6. '-E7J-' ikirlfo r?}? eira^ekla^ — on the hope of the 
promise. The promise here referred to is not the promise 
of the resurrection (Grotius), for in such a hope all the Jews 
were not agreed ; but the promise of the Messiah. This was 
the great promise made to the Jewish nation, and the ful- 
filment of which all sects appear to have expected. The 
advent of the Messiah was in a peculiar sense the promise 
made to the Old Testament church, as the coming of the 
Spirit is the promise made to the New Testament church. 
Agrippa, as a Jew, would without further explanation under- 
stand what was meant by the promise made by God unto the 

Ver. 7. To Soy&efcd^vXov rj/ji(ov — our twelve tribes. Acohe- 

fcd(j)v\ov, a word only found here in the New Testament. 

The twelve tribes are also mentioned in the Epistle of James 

(rals SwSe/ca (pvkaLs, Jas. i. 1). This is probably an expres- 

1 See notes to Acts xxii. 3 and xxiii. 6. 


sion used for the Israelites in general ; for although ten of 
the tribes were carried away int6 captivity, and appear to 
have been lost among the nations, yet the Jews did not dis- 
sever themselves from the twelve tribes of Israel. Besides, 
several of the ten tribes returned with the tribes of Judah 
and Benjamin from the Babylonish captivity (Ezra vi. 17, 
viii. 35) ; and although as a nation they were carried captive 
to Assyria, yet several remained behind, and lived among 
the Samaritans. 'Ev etcreviq vvtcra teal rj/juepav Xarpevov — 
with earnestness serving God night and day : alluding to the 
zeal and earnestness with which the Jews clung to their 
religion ; a zeal which has carried them through the severest 
persecutions, and which still preserves them as a separate 
people, distinct among the nations in the midst of whom they 
dwell ; a zeal which no violence has been able to destroy, 
and no persuasion to overcome. Uepl rjs e\7r/So9 iy/caXovjiai 
viro 'IovSaicov — concerning which hope I am accused by Jews. 
The accusations brought against Paul by the Jews referred 
to the Messianic hope, because he had taught that Jesus of 
Nazareth was the Messiah : he had preached the fulfilment 
of the hope in the risen Jesus. Hence, then, Paul affirms 
that he was not chargeable with apostasy from Judaism. He 
was no apostate, but, on the contrary, a true Jew : along 
with his accusers, he believed in the promise of the Messiah 
made to the fathers ; but whilst they looked forward to His 
advent, he affirmed that He had already come. Thus, then, 
in his defence before Agrippa, as well as in his defence 
before Felix, he connects Christianity with Judaism, affirm- 
ing that it is its development, the legitimate carrying out of 
its principles. From this it follows that he was not a teacher 
of a new religion unrecognised by the State (religio illicita), 
but a believer in a religion already recognised and protected. 1 
Ver. 8. Ti airtarov Kplverat nrap v/jllv — Why is it judged 
incredible with you ? Some (Beza, Griesbach, Kuincel, De 
Wette, Lange, Conybeare), by giving another punctuation 
to these words, impart a slight variation to the meaning. 
They place a point of interrogation after rt, and read thus : 
1 See note to Acts xxiv. 14. 


" What I Is it to be judged incredible with, you whether 
God raises the dead 1 " But the other rendering seems more 
suited to the calm dignity of Paul's address ; and besides, as 
Meyer observes, rl by itself is not thus used : the expression 
requires to be rl yap, ti Be, or rl ovv. 1 The best critics — 
Teschendorf and Lachmann — read ti clttigtov without any 
mark of interrogation. El 6 0eos % ve/cpovs kyeipet, ; — if God 
raises the dead f El here is not to be taken for ore, " that 
God raises the dead" (Luther, Beza, Grotius, Conybeare, 
Eng. ver.) ; or in the sense of " whether " (De Wette) ; but 
according to its ordinary meaning, "if" (Meyer, Alford, 
Lechler). These words are not to be considered as an inter- 
ruption of the speech. We have probably a mere outline of 
the defence. The connection seems to be : "I am accused 
concerning the hope of the promise made unto the fathers, 
because I affirm that the resurrection of Jesus constitutes 
Him the Messiah ; but His resurrection the Jews will not 
believe. But what is there incredible if God raises the 
dead?" This was an argumentum ad hominem, as the Jews, 
from instances in the history of their nation, admitted that 
this power resided in God. It is to be observed that the 
question was not put to Festus, who had only confused ideas 
about a resurrection ; but to Agrippa, a professor of the 
Jewish religion. Its propriety would be still more evident, 
if it were true, as is commonly asserted, that the Herodian 
family were tainted with Sadduceism. 

Yer. 9. IIpos to ovofia — against the name; in a hostile 
sense. Paul's endeavour at that time was to prevent the con- 
fession of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Aelv nroXka 
evavTia irpa^ai — ought to do many contrary things ; that is, 
I felt it to be my bounden duty to do what I could to sup- 
press the name of Jesus. It is to be observed that Paul's 
zeal was at all times sincere. Even when persecuting 
Christ's people, he thought that he was doing not only what 
was lawful, but what was praiseworthy : he considered that 
he was doing God service. 

Ver. 10. UoXkovs twv aylcov — many of the saints. Paul 
1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 477. 


did not call Christians by this name when he was addressing 
the hostile Jews, for this would only have served to in- 
crease their fury; but before Agrippa he speaks from a 
Christian standpoint, without any danger of giving offence. 
'Avcupovfjuevonv clvt&v — they being put to death. As in the 
Acts mention is only made of the death of Stephen, many 
critics (Grotius, Kuincel) suppose that the plural is here 
used for the singular ; but there is nothing improbable in 
the supposition that several other Christians were put to 
death in the persecution which arose after the death of 
Stephen, although this fact is not recorded in the Acts 
(Meyer). Karrfvey/ca yfrrjfov — / gave my vote against them. 
Wfjcjios is literally the voting-stone. Black and white stones 
were used for voting, as in the ballot : if the person was to 
be condemned, a black stone was given ; if acquitted, a white 
stone. Hence yjnjcfrov /carafe pew is literally to lay down the 
voting-stone. Some (Alford, Wordsworth) understand the 
words literally, and suppose that Paul was a member of the 
Sanhedrim, and voted with the other judges to put the 
Christians to death. But this is extremely improbable, be- 
cause the Jews who held this office were not only men of 
years, but also the most distinguished and influential among 
the nation — the aristocracy of the Jews ; and there is nothing 
to lead us to suppose that Paul belonged to this class. Be- 
sides, according to tradition, one of the necessary qualifica- 
tions of a member of the Sanhedrim was that he should be 
married and have a family, — a qualification which we have 
every reason to believe Paul did not possess. The phrase is 
frequently used metaphorically, signifying to assent. " Wrjfov 
Karafy'epeLv" observes Lechler, " is as little as the German 
word beistimmenj originally signifying the same thing, to be 
understood literally of a vote given by a judge and lawful 
assessor in a court, but it expresses only moral assent and 
approval." * Paul took an active part in the persecution of 
the Christians; he instigated the multitude against them; 
their death met with his approval : so that to all intents and 
purposes he was art and part in their murder. 

1 Lange's Bibelwerk: Apostelgeschichte. Von Lechler, p. 389. 


Ver. 11. 'Hvdy/ca&v fiXao-^n/jLeiv — / compelled them to 
blaspheme. The same measures were resorted to by the 
heathen persecutors. They obliged those who were brought 
before them not only to renounce the Christian religion, but 
if they denied that they were Christians, to blaspheme Christ 
as a test of their sincerity. Thus Pliny, in his celebrated 
letter to Trajan, says: qui negarent se esse Christianos aut 
fuisse, quum prceunte me deos appellarent et imagini tuce, 
quam propter hoc jusseram cum simulacris numinum adferri, 
thure ac vino supplicarent y prceterea maledicerent Christo : 
quorum nihil cogi posse dicuntur qui sunt revera Christiani. 
Ergo dimittendos putavi. u Some denied that they were or 
had been Christians : those repeated after me a supplication 
to the gods and thy image, which I ordered for this purpose 
to be brought along with the images of the gods, at the same 
time reviling Christ ; none of ■ which things it is said that 
those who were really Christians could be compelled to do. I 
then concluded that they might be dismissed" (Epist. x. 97). 

Vers. 12-15. We have in these verses the third account of 
Paul's conversion. For remarks, see notes to Acts ix. 3-8. 
The following are the chief points which are peculiar to this 
narrative : — We are informed that the light which shone 
from heaven was above the brightness of the sun (v7rep rrjv 
\afjL7rpoT7jTa tov rfklov) ; whereas in Acts ix. it is merely 
called a light from heaven, and in Acts xxii. a great light. 
It is here said that Paul and his companions were all fallen 
to the ground (ttclvtcdv KaTaireaovroiv tj/llcov eh rfjP fyrjv). By 
this, from a comparison with the other accounts, is meant 
that they were all terror-stricken, prostrate through fear. 
The voice is here said to have addressed Paul in the Hebrew 
dialect (rfj ' Efipat&L ^taXe/crai), — a circumstance which is not 
alluded to in either of the other narratives, and which in 
Acts xxii. could not well be mentioned, as Paul addressed 
the multitude in Hebrew. Here, however, he speaks before 
Agrippa and Festus in Greek, and hence it was natural that 
he should state that the voice spoke to him in the Hebrew 
dialect. Hebrcea lingua^ Christi lingua in terra et e ccelo 
(Bengel). The addition, " it is hard for thee to kick against 


the goads" (o-fckrjpov gov Trpo$ /cevrpa XcuctI&lv), is only found 
in this passage. The words which occur in the textus receptus 
of Acts ix. 5 are spurious ; and in Acts xxii. 7 they are only 
found in one uncial manuscript (E). The metaphor or proverb 
is derived from oxen at the plough, which, on being pricked 
with the goad, kick against it, and so cause it to pierce them 
more severely. The meaning is obvious : that it was both 
unavailing and injurious to resist Christ by persecuting His 
disciples. This metaphor was probably a Jewish proverb, 
though not discovered in Jewish writings. It was frequently 
employed by Greek and Roman writers. Thus Euripides 
applied it as here : Ovfiovfjievo^ irpos icevrpa Xafcrl&ifu, 6vr)To<; 
<ov Oeoj (Bacch. 791). Pindar employs it thus : irorl nevrpov 
Be roc XaKTL^e/uLev rekkOei d\l(rdr)po<; olfios (Pyth. ii. 173). 
So also, among the Latin writers, Terence uses the proverb, 
Nam qace inscitia est, advorsum stimulum calces (Phorm. i. 2. 
27). And Plautus : Si stimulos pugnis c&dis, manibus plus 
dolet {True. iv. 2. 59). 1 

Vers. 16-18. These verses contain the address of Christ to 
Paul. 'A\\a dvaarrjOt ical arrjOt iirl rovs irohas crov — but 
arise, and stand on thy feet. u Christ," observes Calvin, " did 
throw down Paul, that He might humble him ; now He 
lifteth him up, and biddeth him be of good courage." Eh 
tovto — to this purpose, referring to what follows. T flv re 
ocpOijaofial aoi — and of those things in which I shall appear 
to thee. *flv is to be resolved into tovtcov a. 'Ocfrdrjo-ofiai, 
is not to be rendered, " of those things which I shall make 
thee see" (Luther) ; but is passive, u in which I shall be seen 
to thee," that is, "appear to thee." ^E^aipovfxevo^ <re — 
delivering thee. Some (Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Robinson, Cony- 
beare) render these words " choosing thee," to correspond 
with the designation then given to Paul as a chosen vessel 
(Acts ix. 15). But although Paul was chosen from the 
people of Israel (i/c tov Xaov), yet he could hardly be said to 
be chosen from the Gentiles (e/c twv eOvwv). 'E/c tov Xaov — 
from the people; the theocratic nation — the Jews. Efc ou? — 

1 Humphry on the Acts, p. 195 ; Hackett on the Acts, p. 402 ; Kuincel's 
Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 154. 


to whom ; referring not exclusively to the Gentiles (Calvin), 
but to the people and the Gentiles. Tov eirioTpe^aL — that 
they might be turned ; denoting the purpose why Paul was 
sent to open their eyes. 'Airo ctkotovs eh <£&>? — from dark- 
ness to light ; that is, from sin and error to holiness and truth. 
The expression which follows is similar, "from the power of 
Satan, whose kingdom is darkness, unto God, who is Light." 
Ularei ry eh e/jue — by faith which is in me. These words are 
not to be restricted to rjyiaafMevois, " sanctified by faith which 
is in me;" but extend to the whole clause, and denote that 
both the forgiveness of sins and the inheritance among the 
sanctified result from faith in Christ. 

Some suppose that the above words were spoken by Christ 
to Paul when He met him on the road to Damascus. Baum- 
garten thinks that Jesus, on His first appearance to Paul, 
gave him a survey of his later ministry. 1 But a portion of 
this address is the message which Ananias was inspired to 
deliver unto Paul (Acts xxii. 14, 15) ; and it is improbable 
that the words uttered by Christ Himself to Paul at his 
conversion would again be repeated to him by Ananias. 
Hence, then, the more probable opinion is, that Paul here 
condenses into one saying of Christ the various utterances 
which were made to him by the Lord at different periods. 
According to this opinion, we do not suppose that u Paul 
here puts his own thoughts into the mouth of the Lord" 
(Stier) ; 2 for the thoughts alluded to are not those of Paul 
or of Ananias, but of the Lord Himself. 3 

Ver. 20. 'AWa tol$ ev AafiaaKw irpcorov, etc. — but an- 
nounced first to them at Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and to 
all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles. The extent of 
Paul's ministry is here stated — from the period of his con- 
version down to the time at which he now addressed Agrippa. 
Meravoelv koi enrLarpe^eLV eirl tov Geov — that they should 
repent and turn to God. This refers both to Jews and Gen- 

1 Baumgarten's Apostolic History, vol. iii. pp. 136, 137. 

2 See Stier's Words of the Apostles, pp 467, 468, Clark's translation. 

3 Lange's Bibelwerk: Apostelgeschichte. Yon Lechler, p. 389. Also 
Alford's Greek Testament, vol. ii. p. 259. 


tiles, and is not to be understood as if iieravoeZv referred 
chiefly to the Jews, and iiTLaTpefaiv M tov Qeov chiefly to 
the Gentiles (Bengel). Although the Gentiles were idola- 
ters, and the Jews professed worshippers of the true God, 
yet the Jews, by reason of their wickedness and unbelief, 
required, as well as the Gentiles, to be turned to God. y 'A%ia 
tt)9 /jueravolas epya irpaaaovraq — that they should do works 
worthy of repentance. Zeller objects to these words, that 
they remind us rather of the preaching of the Baptist or of 
the discourses of Peter, than of the doctrine of Paul con- 
cerning justification by faith alone. 1 But there is nothing 
un-pauline in this statement: Paul had already stated that 
all the blessings of the gospel flowed from faith (ver. 18) ; 
and he ever held that good works were the necessary evi- 
dences of faith. . 

Ver. 22. 'ETrucovptas ovv Tvypw tt}? cuko tov Qeov — having 
therefore obtained help from God. Perhaps Paul here alludes 
to the many remarkable interpositions of Providence in his 
favour, after he had been arrested by the Jews in the temple, 
being frequently delivered from their rage, first by the 
tribune Lysias, and then by the procurators Felix and Festus. 
' ' Ay^pi t?7? rj/juepas Tavrrjs eo-rrj/ca, — 1 continue even to this day. 
"Eo-TTj/ca, I stand unharmed, notwithstanding the fury of my 
enemies. MapTvpojievos /M/cpa) re /cat fjueyaXw — witnessing 
both to small and great. (See Critical Note.) Meyer retains 
the reading of the textus receptus, fAaprvpovfievo*;. This, 
accordingly, must be rendered in the passive, u witnessed to 
by small and great." 2 To this, however, it is objected that 
Paul, instead of being favourably regarded, was despised and 
persecuted by the Jews. But notwithstanding he might be 
" witnessed to," even by the consciences of his persecutors : 
even they might be forced to bear witness to his integrity. 
The other reading, fiaprvpofievos, however, is decidedly to 
be preferred, and certainly gives the best meaning. 

Ver. 23. ( Xpio-rbs—the Christ; not here denoting the 
person Christ Jesus, but the Messiah. Tladnro^—passibilis 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 300. 

2 Meyer's Apostelyeschichte, p. 481. 


(Vulg.) — liable to suffering ; and yet not in a metaphysical 
sense, " capable of suffering ;" but whether the prophets 
predicted a suffering Messiah. This was, in general, dis- 
believed by the Jews : they believed in a triumphant and 
victorious Messiah ; and the sufferings of Jesus were a great 
obstacle to their receiving Him as the Messiah. Hence 
Paul endeavoured to remove this obstacle, by proving from 
the books of the prophets that the Messiah was liable to 
suffering. This constituted the first great point of dispute 
between Paul and the Jews. The other point had reference 
to the call of the Gentiles into the Christian church. 

ITpwTo? ef avao-Taaecos venpcov — the first from the resur- 
rection from the dead. Compare with this the following 
similar expressions : anrapyr) twv fcefcoifirjfjLevcov, 1 Cor. xv. 
20 ; TTpcoTOTOfcos i/c twv ve/cpwVj Col. i. 18 ; and 6 irpoaTO- 
toko? roiv ve/cpooV) Rev. i. 5. The Messiah is called u the 
first from the resurrection of the dead," not because He was 
the first who rose from the dead, but because He is the 
efficient cause of the resurrection — the Prince of life. $w? 
fieXkeL fcarayyeWeiv ra> re \aS koX tol<z Wveaiv — should 
proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles. The 
reference is to those numerous prophecies which predicted 
the Messiah as a Light unto the Jews and the Gentiles (Isa. 
ix. 2, xlii. 16, xlix. 6, lx. 2). This was the other point of 
dispute between Paul and his Jewish opponents ; Paul main- 
taining that, in preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, he was 
only acting in accordance with the predictions of their 

Ver. 24. Malvrj TIavXe — Thou art mad, Paul. Festus 
heard Paul with patience until he commenced to insist on 
the resurrection, and then he interrupted him with the ex- 
clamation, " Thou art mad ! " The force of these words is 
not to be weakened, as if they meant only, "Thou art an 
enthusiast." Ta irdXkd ere ypdfjbfJbaTa et? /juavlav TrepiTpeirei 
— Thy much learning is turning thee to madness. Some 
(Heinrichs, Kuinoel) render ypapbixara, writings, books : 
" Thy many writings which thou readest have made thee 
mad." But were this the case, we would have expected the 


word /St/3X/a. Paul would be known as a distinguished 
scholar, and an eloquent teacher among the Christians ; and 
no doubt the speech which he now made would impress 
Festus with a high idea of his learning and eloquence. Much 
of what Paul had said must have been utterly unintelligible 
to Festus ; and the w r arm eloquence of the apostle must 
have appeared strange to the cold-hearted Koman statesman 
(Neander). But when he commenced to speak of the resur- 
rection of the dead as accomplished by a man whom the 
Romans had crucified ; when he asserted that one proceeding 
from such a barbarous nation as the Jews should come to 
enlighten such civilised nations as the Greeks and Romans, 
Festus could no longer forbear. Paul probably appeared to 
him as some visionary enthusiast, who had disordered his 
intellect by overmuch study. " Festus saw that it is not 
nature which acts in Paul; he was not capable of seeing 
grace : wherefore he supposes that it was a Jewish kind of 
enthusiastic frenzy of the same kind as was that among the 
Gentiles according to their fables " (Bengel). Olshausen 
supposes that the words were spoken by Festus in jest ; but 
they seem to have been uttered in earnest. 

Ver. 25. Ov fxalvofiai KpaTiare ^rjare — / am not mad, 
most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and soberness. 
Truth in opposition to the fancies, and soberness to the ex- 
travagances of madness. By this answer Paul demonstrated 
that, so far from being a madman, he was not even an 
enthusiast; for this calm and respectful answer is not the 
language of enthusiasm. He does not for a moment forget 
the position of Festus as his judge. 

Ver. 26. ^EiriararaL yap irepl tovtcov 6 fiacrtXevs — for 
the king knows of these things. Those assertions which were 
unintelligible and seemed as madness to Festus, conveyed an 
intelligent meaning to the better informed Agrippa. Ov yap 
iarcv ev ycovla ireir pay fievov tovto — for this thing was not 
done in a corner. The death of Christ and His resurrection 
were events which took place, not in some obscure corner of 
Judea, but in Jerusalem itself, during the paschal week, at 
a time of more than ordinary publicity. And so also Paul's 


former life as a Pharisee and a persecutor, and his sudden 
conversion to Christianity, were facts which were well known. 

Ver. 27. Uicneveis, ftacrCkev ^ Aypiiriza^ roh 7rpo<fir)rai<; ; 
olBa on TTLGTeveis — King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? 
I know that thou believest. With these words Paul brings the 
truth home to the conscience of Agrippa. He, as a professor 
of the Jewish religion, professed at the same time to be a 
believer in the Jewish prophets. Perhaps, however, these 
words are to be taken in a stronger sense, — namely, that 
Agrippa was actually a believer in the prophets : for olBa is 
not to be weakened, as if it signified " I think." This would 
impress us with a higher opinion of the religious and moral 
character of Agrippa than is generally entertained ; and 
would incline us to believe that all those rumours of incest 
against him were mere falsehoods. Certainly nowhere does 
King Agrippa appear in so favourable a light as in this 
chapter of the Acts of the Apostles: there is something 
noble and kingly about his conduct. 

Ver. 28. 'Ev oklyco fie Treideus XpMrriavov yeveaQai — In a 
little thou persuadest me to become a Christian. These words 
have been variously represented as the language of sincere 
conviction, as being uttered in irony, as a mere complimen- 
tary form of expression, and as a bitter sarcasm. f O\iyq>, 
an adjective in the neuter, without a supplement ; as in Eph. 
iii. 3, TTpoeypatya ev oXlyay. Consequently some noun has 
to be supplied. The meaning also depends on the contrast 
contained in Paul's answer in the next verse, ev 6\lya> ical ev 
fjbeyaXcp (iroWq)) ; and the sense of Paul's answer depends 
on the critical reading of the verse, whether fieydXq) or 
iroXXS is to be preferred. (See Critical Note.) The Douay 
version translates the words literally, without any supple- 
ment : " In a little thou persuadest me to become a Christian. 
And Paul said, I would to God that both in a little and in 
much (ttoXXo))" etc. Different noUns have been supplied, 
as yjpovui, Xoyco, nrovcd, and fjuepei. 

Among the various explanations which have been given, 
there are four w 7 hich are deserving of notice. 1. Some 
(Chrysostom, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Grotius, Du Veil, 


Bengel, Ewald, Stier) render them, as in our English ver- 
sion, " Almost thou persuadest me :" propemodum (Beza, 
Castalio). But there are two objections to this rendering. 
No clear instance has been adduced of iv oXlya signifying 
almost. This sense requires oXiyov, or oXlyov Set, or irap 
oXiyov. And it is equally objectionable to translate the con- 
trast altogether. For these reasons, the translation " almost" 
has, in general, been rejected by recent critics. 2. Others 
(CEcumenius, Olshausen, Baumgarten, Meyer, Lechler, Al- 
ford) render the clause, "With little labour, or with few 
words, persuadest thou me to become a Christian !" As if 
he had said, Do you think to persuade me with such reason- 
ings as these ? Alford adopts the old English word lightly : 
" Lightly art thou persuading me to be a Christian !" CEcu- 
menius gives the following explanation : iv oXiyrp' tovt€gtl 
6Y oXlycov prj/jbdrcov, iv /3pa^eac Xoyots, kv dXlyrj BtSaaKaXLa^ 
XcopU iroXXov irovov /cal a-vve^ov^ SwiXefeey?. 1 According to 
this view, Xoya> or irovw have to be supplied ; and in Eph. 
iii. 3 Xoyw is perhaps the word which requires to be supplied. 
The great objection to this view is, that it supposes that the 
words were spoken in irony ; which is not in any way inti- 
mated in the context, and which appears unnatural, as being 
inconsistent with the impression which we feel such a speech 
as that of Paul must have made upon Agrippa. (See below.) 
3. Others (Calvin, Wetstein, Kuincel, Neander, De Wette, 
Lange, Kobinson, Hackett, Conybeare) render the clause, 
" In a little time thou persuadest me :" which may either be 
understood as spoken in earnest, "If thou go on speaking 
as thou art doing, thou wilt soon persuade me to become a 
Christian ;" or in irony, " Thinkest thou to persuade me in 
a little time 1 " According to this view, %pov<p is the word 
which has to be supplied. And certainly this is more in 
conformity with the usage of the Greek language : the 
phrase Iv dXcym in general means "in a little time," "briefly." 
It also suits the contrast, provided 7toAAg5 be the correct 
reading ; but hardly if pueyaXw be preferred. Accordingly 
Neander remarks : " If the reading iv fieydXa) in Paul's 
1 Quoted by Meyer, Apostelgeschichte, p. 484. 


answer be adopted, the words of Agrippa must be thus ex- 
plained : With a little or with few reasons (which will not 
cost you much trouble) you think of making me a Chris- 
tian." 1 4. Another rendering — which, however, has been 
embraced only by few critics (Tyndale, Cranmer, Alex- 
ander) — is, "Thou persuadest me in a small measure :" some- 
what (Cranmer). According to this view, fiepei has to be 
supplied. If the reading iv fieyaXq) in Paul's answer be 
adopted, this rendering is perhaps the least objectionable. 
Some (Chrysostom, Calvin, Humphry) think that Agrippa 
used the word in one sense, and Paul in his answer em- 
ployed it in another. Thus Chrysostom observes : ov/c 
ivorjaev 6 JTaOXo? tl io~nv iv 6\trya>' a\V ivofiicrev on ef 
oXiyov — "Paul did not understand what the phrase iv 
oXiyw meant ; but he thought that it meant ef oXiyov." 
But there is no ground for this opinion in the text. Upon 
the whole, we think that if iv ttoXXg) in Paul's answer be 
the correct reading, iv oXlycp is to be rendered " in a little 
time;" but if iv fieydXa) be preferred, then iv oXlyut is perhaps 
to be rendered " in a little measure." 2 

But another question arises, In what spirit were these 
words spoken? The general opinion among recent critics 
is, that they were spoken in irony or in jest. In support 
of this, it is argued that the word Christian was then the 
designation employed by the enemies of the church. But 
although this may have been the case, yet the term was not 
used in a contemptuous sense, but merely for the sake of 
distinction. We rather think that Paul's speech had made 
a deep impression upon the king, but that he was unwilling 
to show this before Festus and the nobles of Caesarea ; and 
that the words were spoken to conceal his feelings : as if he 
had said, Certainly there is some little truth in what you 
have said. He dismisses Paul with a slight compliment. 

Ver. 29. 'Ev oXiyw koX iv fieydXw — in little and in great. 
The meaning of these words depends on the interpretation 

1 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 310. 

2 See an excellent and exhaustive note on these words in Meyer's 
ApostelgescMchte, pp. 484, 485. 


given to iv 6\(y<p in the preceding verse. 1. If these words 
mean "almost," then Paul says, " I would to God that not 
only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both 
almost and altogether such as lam:" propemodum et plane 
(Castalio). 2. If, on the other hand, Agrippa said, " With 
little trouble persuadest thou me !" then Paul's answer is " I 
would that you were persuaded, whether with little trouble 
or with great difficulty.' , 3. If Agrippa's words are to be 
rendered, "Truly in a short time thou wilt make me a 
Christian," Paul replies, " I pray God that in a longer or 
shorter time (sooner or later) He would make you such as I 
am." 4. If Agrippa meant that he was in a small measure 
impressed, Paul replies, "I would to God that you and all 
my hearers were not only in a small, but in a great measure, 
such as I am." JTape/cTo? t&v Sea/jicov tovtcov — except these 
bonds. Some think that this refers to his imprisonment in 
general, as there would be an impropriety in Paul pleading 
before Agrippa in chains. But we learn from Tacitus that 
it was not unusual for prisoners to be bound when they pled 
before their judges (Tac. Ann. iv. 28). 

Vers. 30-33. 'Avearrj re 6 fiao-iXevs, etc. — And the king 
arose, and the governor, and Bernice, and those who sat with 
them. They arose in the order of their rank. This appa- 
rently trivial notice proceeds from an eye-witness— indicating 
that Luke, in all probability, was present in court when Paul 
made his noble defence. 01 crvyfcaOrnjuevoi, are the asses- 
sores, the counsellors of the governor. Ou&ev Oavdrov afyov 
rj Seo-fiwv irpao-aei—This man does nothing worthy of death or 
of bonds. JJpdaaet refers not to Paul's past conduct, but 
to the general tenor of his life — his general character and 
views. The defence of Paul had the natural effect of im- 
pressing his judges with a sense of his innocence. El /jltj 
€7r€fcefc\r)T0 Kalaapa — if he had not appealed to Casar. The 
appeal to Caesar had placed him beyond their jurisdiction : 
they could now neither condemn nor acquit him, but had to 
refer the matter simply to the emperor (Grotius). It might 
seem an unfortunate circumstance that Paul had appealed 
to Caesar, as otherwise he would probably have been set at 

VOL. II. 2 B 


liberty ; but his visit to Eome in the character of a prisoner 
was overruled by Providence for the highest good. One 
result of Agrippa's decision, and the favourable opinion of 
Paul's judges, may have been that Festus sent a favourable 
despatch to the emperor, in consequence of which Paul was 
treated with great indulgence by the centurion in charge 
during his voyage to Rome ; and when at Rome, instead of 
being detained in prison, was permitted to dwell in his own 
hired house. 1 

1 Stier also observes: "As far as King Agrippa was concerned, this 
much at least was attained by his hearing of the apostle's discourse, 
that the king did not persecute the Christians, but rather protected 
those whom he had almost joined ; for at the outbreak of the Jewish 
war he gave them succour, and received them kindly into his territory." 
— Words of the Apostles, p. 492. 


Acts xxvii. 1-12. 

1 Now when it was determined that we should sail to Italy, they 
delivered Paul, and certain other prisoners, to a centurion named 
Julius, of the Augustan cohort. 2 And having embarked in a ship of 
Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the places along the coasts of 
Asia, we set sail; Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being 
with us. 3 And the next day we landed at Sidon ; and Julius, treating 
Paul courteously, permitted him to go to his friends, and to receive 
their attentions. 4 And having set sail from it, we sailed under 
Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 5 And when we had sailed 
over the sea off the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra 
in Lycia. 6 And there the centurion having found a ship of Alex- 
andria sailing to Italy, he put us on board. 7 And when we had sailed 
slowly many days, and had with difficulty come over against Cnidus, 
the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone ; 
8 And coasting it with difficulty, we came to a place called Kaloi 
Limenes, near to which is the city of Lasea. 

9 Now, when much time had elapsed, and when the voyage was 
now dangerous, because the fast was already past, Paul exhorted them, 
10 Saying to them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage is about to be with 
hardship and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also 
of our lives. 11 But the centurion was persuaded by the steersman 
and shipowner, more than by those things which were spoken by Paul. 
12 And as the haven was inconvenient for wintering, the majority 
advised to sail thence also, if by any means they might reach Phenice, 
a haven of Crete, looking toward the south-west and north-west, and 
winter there. 


Ver. 2. The nominative plural fieXkovres is found in G, 
H ; whereas the dative singular fieXKovri is contained in A, 
B, K, and is preferred by Teschendorf, Lachmann, and 




In no writing of ancient times which has come down to us, 
have we in so small a compass such a minute description of 
a voyage as that contained in this chapter of the Acts. The 
passage abounds in nautical words and expressions. 1 We 
can trace with exactness the ship's course, and can determine 
even the direction of the winds ; and we receive from the 
narrative information regarding the nature of the ships, and 
the mode of the navigation of the ancients. This passage 
has been so fully explained and illustrated by the late Mr. 
Smith of Jordanhill, in his Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul 
— a work of European reputation — that it may be almost 
affirmed that the subject is exhausted. All modern com- 
mentators, whether English or German, have derived their 
information from this work, and appeal to it as their autho- 
rity. Mr. Smith has applied his nautical knowledge to the 
elucidation of this chapter, and by doing so has furnished 
us with a new and independent argument in favour of the 
authenticity of the Acts. Dr. Hackett also, in his Com- 
mentary, is particularly full and minute on this portion of 
the Acts. 2 To account for the great minuteness with which 
this voyage is described, Olshausen supposes that Luke kept 
a diary at the time, and afterwards inserted it unchanged 
into his work. 3 But the supposition is unnecessary, as such 
minuteness is sufficiently explained by the fact that the his- 
torian himself was on board the vessel. 

Ver. 1. '/2? Be e/cpiOrj rod airoirXelv rj[ia<; eh ttjv 'IraXiav 
— Now when it ivas determined that we should sail into Italy. 
The determination here does not refer to the fact that they 
should sail into Italy, for this had been previously resolved 
upon ; but to the time and manner of the voyage. Tov 

1 See a list of these nautical words and expressions in Baumgarten's 
Apostolic History, vol. iii. pp. 237, 238. 

2 Hackett on the Acts, pp. 408-444. See also Conybeare and Howson's 
St. Paul, ch. xxiii. ; and Lewin's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, pp. 

3 See also Tholuck's Glaubwiirdigkeit, p. 376, zweite Auflage. 


anroTrXelv expresses the purpose of the determination. 'H/jlo,? 
— that we. The direct style is here resumed, which had 
been dropped since Acts xxi. 18 ; Luke thus indicating that 
he accompanied Paul on his voyage to Rome. UapeSlhovv 
rbv TIavKov — they delivered Paul; namely, those who were 
entrusted with the execution of the decree of the governor. 
Kal Tivas krepovs heo-fKora^ — and certain other prisoners. 
Meyer supposes that erepovs is designedly used instead of 
aA,Aoi/?, to indicate that these prisoners were of another kind, 
not Christians. Luke, however, employs the terms aWovs 
and erepovt; indiscriminately (Luke viii. 3). It was a common 
practice for provincial governors to send prisoners of import- 
ance to Rome ; and especially was this the case with Roman 
citizens who had appealed to Caesar. Thus Josephus men- 
tions that, when Felix was procurator of Judea, there were 
certain priests of his acquaintance who on a small and 
trifling occasion were put into bonds, and sent to Rome to 
plead their cause before Caesar (Jos. Vit. 3). 'E/taTovTdpxn 
ovofiarL 'lovkUo — to a centurion named Julius. It has been 
conjectured that this Julius was a freedman of the Julian 
or imperial family. Some (Wieseler, Howson), but without 
assigning any reasons, identify him with Julius Priscus, 
who, from being a centurion, was advanced to the command 
of the praetorian guards under the Emperor Vitellius (Tac. 
Hist. ii. 92, iv. 11). 

^ireipn^ Xeftaarrjs — of the Augustan cohort. It has been 
proved that several legions, particularly the second, the 
third, and the eighth, were honoured with the title Augusta, 
and accordingly some suppose that the Augustan cohort 
might be a cohort of one of these lemons. But there is no 
proof that any of these legions were at this time quartered 
in the East, nor is there any mention elsewhere of an 
Augustan cohort (cohors Augusta). 1 1. Some (Schwarz, 
Kuinoel, Akerman) suppose that by the Augustan or Sebas- 
tene cohort is meant a cohort composed of Samaritans, called 
Sebastene, from Sebaste, the capital of Samaria. These 

1 See Akerman's Numismatic Illustrations, p. 59 ; Hackett on the Acts, 
vol. ii. p. 409. 


troops are twice mentioned by Josephus as being quartered 
in Caesarea. Thus, in narrating the quarrel between the 
Samaritans and the Jews, under the procuratorship of 
Cumanus, he says : " Cumanus took the Sebastene cohort, 
with four regiments of foot, and armed the Samaritans, 
and marched against the Jews " (Ant. xx. 6. 1) ; and in 
another place, that he took a troop of horsemen, called the 
Sebastene troop (iXrjv lirirecov KObKov\ikvr]V Se^aarrjvwv)^ out 
of Csesarea (Bell. Jud. ii. 12. 5). The Roman troops in 
Caesarea were recruited from the province, and thus were 
chiefly composed of Syrians and Samaritans, as the Jews 
did not serve as soldiers ; and therefore it is supposed that 
one of the five cohorts which were stationed at Csesarea was 
called the Sebastene cohort, as being composed of Samaritans. 
But the adjective employed by Josephus (HefiaaTTjvoov) is 
different from the word used by Luke, and signifies natives 
of Sebaste ; whereas here the term SefiacrTris is the name of 
the city, and calling a cohort by the name of a city, (the 
cohort of Sebaste) is said to be without example. 1 2. Others 
(Wieseler, Alford, Howson, Wordsworth) suppose that by a 
centurion of the Augustan cohort is meant an officer of the 
body-guard of Nero, called Augustani. 2 Nero, as Tacitus 
informs us, organized a body-guard, composed of Roman 
knights selected from the praetorian guard, whom he called 
Augustani (Ann. xiv. 15). It is supposed that Julius was 
a centurion of this distinguished cohort, who happened to 
be at Caesarea on some special mission, and that Festus 
took advantage of his return to entrust the prisoners to his 
care. But this body-guard of Nero was not formed until 
the year 60, the very year in which, in all probability, Paul 
sailed from Caesarea to Rome. Besides, according to this 
supposition, the centurion Julius would be independent of 
Festus, and it is improbable that the governor would entrust 
the matter to one who was not under his command. 3. Others 
(Meyer, Olshausen) suppose that the cohort in question was 

1 Meyer's ApostelgescMchte, p. 489. 

2 This opinion is stated and supported in a long and valuable note by 
Wieseler, Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, pp. 389-393. 


a body-guard of the emperor; that one of the five cohorts 
stationed at Caesarea was called the Augustan or imperial 
cohort, because it was set apart for the emperor's special 
service ; and that a centurion from that cohort was therefore 
chosen on the present occasion. Such an opinion, however, 
is unsupported by authority. The most probable opinion 
seems to be, that the Augustan cohort was the body-guard 
of the governor, and was so called because it bore the same 
relation to him as the praetorian guard did to the emperor. 
According to this view, the Augustan cohort was the same as 
the Italian cohort (see note to Acts x. 1) : the title Augustan 
was the honorary appellation, and it was called Italian because 
it was composed of soldiers from Italy. 

Ver. 2. ' EiriftavTes Be ifKoiw ) ABpa\LVTTr)vQ> — but having 
embarked on board a sJiip of Adramyttium. This was not 
Adrametum on the north coast of Africa (Grotius), for with 
this the spelling does not agree ; but Adramyttium, a seaport 
of My si a, opposite Lesbos. Adramyttium was an Athenian 
colony, and was at this time a town of considerable import- 
ance (Strabo, xiii. 1. 51). Paul never reached Adramyttium: 
he was only put on board a ship belonging to that town, in 
the expectation that they would find in one of the numerous 
seaports of Asia a vessel sailing direct to Italy. "Ovtos 
avv rjfjLiv 'ApiGT&p'xov — Aristarchus being with us. Aris- 
tarchus was with the apostle at Ephesus (Acts xix. 29), 
accompanied him from Macedonia to Asia (Acts xx. 4), and 
probably to Jerusalem, and now he sails with him to Rome. 
Paul, in his Epistle to the Colossians, speaks of him as his 
fellow-prisoner (Col. iv. 10) ; and hence some have inferred 
that he was now sent as a prisoner to Rome. But there is 
nothing in the narrative to favour this opinion : Luke accom- 
panied Paul of his own accord, and so in all probability did 

Ver. 3. Trj re erepa Karrj^O^fiev eh iZiBtova — and the next 
day we landed at Sidon. The distance between Csesarea and 
Sidon was about seventy miles ; and therefore, with a favour- 
able wind, the voyage might be accomplished in one day. 
This celebrated city of Phoenicia was situated about twenty- 


five miles to the north of Tyre. It is one of the "oldest cities 
in the world, being mentioned in the book of Genesis before 
the time of Abraham (Gen. x. 19), and being spoken of in 
the book of Joshua as " the great Sidon" (Josh. xix. 28). 
Homer alludes to it both in the Iliad and in the Odyssey 
(11. xxiii. 743 ; Od. xv. 425). In all probability, it was the 
mother-city of the still more famous Tyre. In the time of 
Solomon it appears to have been subject to Tyre, but revolted 
when Shalmaneser the king of Assyria invaded Phoenicia, 
and thus did not suffer in the Assyrian and Babylonian wars. 
Under the Persian empire it reached its highest prosperity, 
and encountered its greatest disaster when, having revolted 
in the reign of Artaxerxes Ochus, it was taken and destroyed 
(Diod. Sic. xvi. 42-45). Soon after it was rebuilt ; and on 
the invasion of Alexander, from hatred to the Persian rule, 
it united its fleet with that of the Macedonians, and mate- 
rially assisted them at the siege of Tyre. After the death 
of Alexander, Sidon belonged sometimes to the Syrian and 
sometimes to the Egyptian kingdom, until at length it fell 
into the hands of the Romans. In the days of the apostles 
Sidon was a flourishing city ; so much so, that Strabo says, 
" Both (Tyre and Sidon) were formerly, and are at present, 
distinguished and illustrious cities ; but which should be 
called the capital of Phoenicia, is a matter of dispute among 
the inhabitants" (Strabo, xvi. 2. 16). Sidon carried on a 
great traffic by sea and land : its glass and linen manu- 
factures, and its articles of vertu, were famous throughout 
the Roman empire. Sidon, or as it is now called, Saida, is 
still a seaport of some importance, having a population of 
about 6000, though its harbour is now partially silted up, 
and the trade between Syria and Europe has in a great 
measure removed to Beyrout. 

<fri\avdp(*)7rco<; re 6 J Iov\io<$ tg3 Uav\<o ^pr]adfievo^ — and 
Julius treating Paul courteously. The character of Paul must 
have favourably impressed such a humane centurion as 
Julius : no noble mind could come in contact with the 
apostle without being attracted toward him. Perhaps also 
Festus, being convinced of the innocence of Paul, had 


given directions to Julius to treat him with courtesy and 
mildness. 'ETTt^eXe/a? Tv^elv — to receive their attentions. 
Perhaps by this is meant, that Paul was to receive from them 
such things as were necessary for so long a voyage. 

Ver. 4. 'Tireifkevaapbev ttjv Kvirpov Sta to tou? ave/movi 
elvai ivavriovs — We sailed under Cyprus, because the winds 
were contrary. 'Tireirkevaaiiev is a nautical expression : 
" we sailed under the lee of Cyprus," i.e. under the protec- 
tion of the land. Some suppose that they sailed to the south 
of Cyprus, and kept the island to their right. Others, more 
correctly, that their course was to the north-east of the 
island, leaving Cyprus on their left. Had the wind been 
favourable, the direct course was to sail to the south of 
Cyprus, and then across to Myra, as in Acts xxi. 3 ; but they 
were prevented doing so by contrary winds. Besides, the 
expression sailing through the sea off the coasts of Cilicia 
and Pamphylia, indicates that they must have sailed between 
the coasts of Cilicia and Cyprus. 

Ver. 5. To re irekeuyo? to Kara rrjv Kikiiclav /cal Ilafi- 
fyvkiav BiairXevaavTes — and having sailed through the sea off 
the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia; that is, they sailed between 
the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia and the northern coast 
of Cyprus. By doing so, according to Smith, they were 
u favoured by the land breeze (off the coast of Cilicia) which 
prevails there during the summer months, as well as by the 
current which constantly runs to the westward along the 
south coast of Asia Minor." 1 

KaTrjkdafjbev eh Mvpa — we came to Myra. The reading 
of MSS. varies : some read UfAvpvav, and others Avarpa ; 
but Smyrna is too far to the north, and Lystra is inland. 
Myra was an important city of Lycia, distant, according to 
Strabo, about two miles and a half from the sea on a navi- 
gable river (Strabo, xiv. 3. 7) ; its port was called Andriace. 
On the establishment of Christianity it became the eccle- 
siastical and political capital of Lycia. It is now in ruins, 
but the magnitude of its theatre attests its former great- 
ness. Its splendid tombs are adverted to by every traveller : 
1 Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, p. 67. 


"sepulchres, which for elegance of their design, costliness 
of execution, and size, seem to have been suited rather for 
the keeping of the ashes of rulers and kings than of common 
citizens." 1 Trjs AvkIcls — of Lycia. Lycia was a district of 
proconsular Asia, attached at this time to the province of 
Pamphylia. In its prosperous times it possessed twenty- 
three considerable cities. 

Ver. 6. JJXolov ' AXe^avBpivbv — a ship of Alexandria, At 
Myra, Paul and the other prisoners were transferred from 
the vessel of Adramyttium into an Alexandrian ship bound 
for Italy. According to Lewin, the centurion here changed 
his purpose. His original intention was, that Paul and his 
party should sail direct to Adramyttium, then cross over to 
Macedonia, and proceed overland by the Via Egnatia to 
Italy ; but on finding an Alexandrian vessel, he unluckily 
changed his plan, and resolved to proceed to Italy by sea. 2 

There was a great traffic in corn between Alexandria and 
Rome, Egypt being at this time the granary of Italy ; and 
it would appear from the narrative that this ship was laden 
with wheat (ver. 38). The Alexandrian ships were of great 
size, equal to our largest merchant vessels, fully capable of 
containing on board 276 persons (ver. 37). The vessel in 
which Josephus was wrecked on his voyage to Italy con- 
tained 600 persons (Vita, 3). Myra was due north of Alex- 
andria, and out of the direct course from that city to Rome, 
which is by the south of Crete. " But," as Smith remarks, 
"with the westerly winds which prevail in those seas, ships, 
particularly those of the ancients, unprovided with a com- 
pass, and ill calculated to work to windward, would naturally 
stand to the north till they made the land of Asia Minor, 
which is peculiarly favourable for such a mode of navigation, 
because the coast is bold and safe, and the elevation of the 
mountains makes it visible at a great distance. . . . The 
Alexandrian ship was not therefore out of her course at 
Myra, even if she had no call to touch there for the purpose 

1 Spratt and Forbes' Lycia, vol. i. p. 132. 

3 Such, also, is the opinion of Wordsworth : Commentary on the Acts, 
p. 162. 


of commerce. We may suppose that the same westerly- 
winds which forced the Adramyttian ship to the east of 
Cyprus drove the Alexandrian ship to Myra." 1 

Ver. 7. 'Ev ikclvcus Be rjfiepas fipahvifkoovvres — and sailing 
slowly many days. The distance between Myra and Cnidus 
is about 130 miles, and might, with a favourable wind, have 
been accomplished in one or two days. Kal //,o\t? yevofAevoi, 
Kara rrjv KvlSov — and with difficulty were come over against 
Cnidus. Cnidus was a city of Caria, a district of procon- 
sular Asia, situated on a promontory of the same name, the 
modern Cape Crio, nearly opposite the island of Chios (Acts 
xx. 15). It stood upon the brow of a hill rising gradually 
from the sea. It was celebrated for the worship of Yenus. 
The celebrated Venus of Praxiteles was kept here, and 
was visited by great multitudes (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5. 4). 
According to Strabo, there were two excellent harbours at 
Cnidus, sheltered by a small island which was united by a 
mole to the continent (Strabo, xiv. 2. 15). 2 Mrj Trpoaeojvros 
r)fia<; tov ave/juov — the wind not suffering us. According to 
Meyer, the meaning of this clause is, that the wind did not 
suffer them to put into Cnidus, where there was an excellent 
harbour. According to others (Alford, Howson, Smith, 
Robinson), the meaning is that the wind did not suffer them 
to proceed farther on their intended voyage : they had to 
alter their course, and make for the island of Crete. Smith 
proves that the wind must have been north-west — the Etesian 
winds which prevail in those parts of the Mediterranean to- 
ward the close of summer. 3 According to Pliny, these winds 
begin in August, and blow for forty days (Plin. H. N. ii. 4). 

'TireirXeva-afiev rrjv Kpryr^v — we sailed under Crete ; that 
is, under the lee of Crete. ' They sailed to the south of 
Crete, which would protect them from the north-west winds 
as far as Cape Matala. Crete, the modern Candia, is one 
of the largest islands in the Mediterranean. It is from east 

1 Smith's Voyage, p. 71. 

2 For a description of the ruins of Cnidus, see Hamilton's Asia Minor, 
vol. ii. pp. 39-45. 

8 Smith's Voyage, p. 74. 


to west about 150 miles long, and has an average breadth 
of thirty miles. Though mountainous, it is a fertile island, 
and abounds in fruitful valleys. It is more celebrated in 
mythological than in real history. Homer calls it e/ca- 
TofjLTrdkLs (II. ii. 649), from its possessing a hundred cities. 
It was conquered by the Romans under Metellus (b.c. 67), 
and along with Cyrenaica in Africa was converted into a 
Roman province. We learn both from Tacitus and Josephus 
that it was the residence of numerous Jews. Cretes are 
mentioned among the nations who came to Jerusalem to 
worship at Pentecost (Acts ii. 11) ; and it is evident from 
the Epistle to Titus, that many of the Christians of Crete 
were converted Jews (Tit. i. 10, iii. 9). Paul must have 
preached the gospel in Crete (Tit. i. 5), but there is no 
mention of this in the Acts of the Apostles : hence it is 
generally supposed that he did so in the interval between 
his first and second imprisonments. Under the despotic 
rule of the Turks, Crete has lost much of its fertility. Two- 
thirds of its inhabitants are Greeks, and one-third Moham- 
medans. Greek is the language spoken. Kara ^aX/jbcovrju 
— towards Salmone. Salmone, or Sammonium, was a cape 
or promontory on the eastern extremity of Crete. It- still 
retains its ancient name. 

Yer. 8. MoXls re irapaXe^ofievoi avrrjv — coasting it with 
difficulty. IlapaXeyo/jLac, as a nautical term, signifies to sail 
near or along a coast. Avttjv does not refer to Cape Sal- 
mone, but to the island of Crete. They coasted along the 
south of the island. 

KaXovs Alphas. Kaloi Limenes, or the Fair Havens, is 
not mentioned by any ancient writer, but there is no doubt 
as to its situation. The place is still known by its ancient 
name. "In searching after Libena," observes Pococke, 
" farther to the west, I found out a place which I thought 
to be of greater consequence, because mentioned in Holy 
Scripture, and also honoured by the presence of St. Paul, 
that is, the Fair Havens, near unto the city of Lasea ; for 
there is another small bay about two leagues to the east of 
Cape Matala, which is now called by the Greeks Good or 


Fair Havens" {Aifieove^ KaXovs: Travels in the East, ii. 250). 
The harbour consists of an open roadstead, and affords 
shelter from the north-west winds. According to Captain 
Spratt, the bay receives its name Fair Havens only by com- 
parison with the less sheltered bays on the south-east of 
Crete. It is situated within two or three islets, and is open 
to the east and south-east.; so that, as he remarks, as the 
east and south-east winds blow direct into the bay, it would 
be both inconvenient and unsafe in winter for any vessel not 
particularly well found in anchors and cables, and not well 
secured to the island itself. 1 It is possible that while the 
ship anchored for some time at the Fair Havens, waiting for 
a change of wind, Paul might employ himself in preaching 
the gospel in the neighbouring city of Lasea (Spratt). 
Christianity had probably been already introduced into Crete, 
perhaps by some of the converts on the day of Pentecost. 

*£l €771)9 rjv 7roXt9 Aaaea — near to which was the city of 
Lasea. There is a variety in the reading of the name of 
this town. The Alexandrian MS. reads "A\a<raa, the read- 
ing adopted by Lachmann ; the Vulgate, Thalassa ; and 
other Latin versions, Thessala. Pliny mentions Lasos among 
the cities of Crete, but does not indicate its situation. In 
the Peutinger Table the town of Lisia occurs as sixteen miles 
to the east of Gortyna, which agrees with the situation stated 
in the Acts. It is therefore probable that Lisia, or, as it 
might otherwise have been pronounced, Lasos, is the same 
with the Lasea of our passage. Its exact situation was, 
however, unknown until very recently. In the year 1856 
it was identified by the Kev. G. Brown. He ascertained 
that the natives of Crete gave the name Lasea to some 
ruins on the coast, about five miles to the east of the Fair 
Havens. Two white pillars and other remains still mark the 
spot. 2 

Ver. 9. 'I/cavov Be yjpovov Siar/evofievov — much time having 
elapsed. Although they might have left Csesarea early 

1 Spratt's Travels and Researches in Crete, vol. ii. pp. 1-5. 

2 Smith's Voyage, pp. 262, 263. See also Spratt's Crete, vol. ii. pp. 


enough, yet in consequence of the delay they could not now 
expect to reach Italy before winter. Kal ovtos 77877 eVtcr^a- 
XoO? tov 7r\oo? — and the voyage being now dangerous. The 
Greeks and Romans considered navigation unsafe from the 
beginning of November until the middle of March (Plin. 
H. N. ii. 47). Although that period of the year had not 
arrived, yet it was perilous to attempt so long a voyage as to 
Rome. Aia to xal rrjv vrjo-reiav 77877 TrapekrfkvOevai — because 
the fast was already past. The fast mentioned was the great 
day of atonement, called by the Jews " the fast" by way of 
eminence. It occurred on the tenth day of the seventh 
month (Lev. xxiii. 27), that is, about the end of September ; 
so that the time referred to was probably the beginning of 
October. The ancients were destitute of the compass, and 
therefore could not navigate their ships when exposed to 
storms, and when the heavens were obscured by clouds. 
IlaprjveL 6 IlavXos — Paul exhorted them; advised them to 
winter at the Fair Havens, and not to continue the voyage. 
That he was allowed to give his advice, although a prisoner, 
shows the estimation in which he was held in the ship. 

Ver. 10. Mera vftpews — with hardship. "Tftpis primarily 
signifies pride, arrogance, presumption. Hence Meyer and 
Ewald translate it "presumption ;" meaning that in the near 
approach of winter it would be presumptuous to continue 
the voyage : they thus take the word in a subjective sense, 
as applied to the people on board the ship. But taken in 
connection with f^/x/a?, it is evidently used in a metaphorical 
sense: this is .the case in ver. 21 (tcepSfjo-al re rrjv vfiptv 
TavTTjv Kal ty)v tyifilav), where it cannot be a term of re- 
proach. It here refers, then, to the violence or insolence of 
the tempest : so3vitia tempestatis. Such a figurative use of the 
term is by no means uncommon. "Tppecos refers to the fury 
of the tempest, and fyfjuias to the damage to the cargo and 
the ship, and the danger to which the lives of those on board 
were exposed. 

Ver. 11. e O Be eKarovrdp^r]^ tg3 Kv/3epv7]Trj Kal tg> vav- 
Kkrjpw iirelOeTo — but the centurion was persuaded by the steers- 
man and owner of the ship. Kvj3epvr)T7]s was the steersman, 


who had the sole direction of the ship — the captain of the 
vessel — gubernator. Navtckypos was the shipowner, the pro- 
prietor of the vessel and its cargo. It was natural in the 
centurion to follow the advice of these persons rather than 
that of Paul. He would naturally suppose that the captain 
of the ship was better acquainted with sailing than a mere 
landsman ; and that the owner of the ship would be suffi- 
ciently interested in the safety of his vessel and its cargo not 
to incur any great risk. Besides, what determined him and 
them the more, was that the haven was not convenient for 
wintering in. 

Yer. 12. 01 irkelovs Wevro fiovkrjv avaydr\vai icaiceWev — 
the majority advised to sail thence also. The affair was con- 
sidered of such importance that it was put to the vote of the 
persons on board ; and the majority decided that they should 
proceed. The idea of sailing to Italy was indeed given up 
by all ; but it was thought advisable to shift their quarters, 
and to winter at the more commodious haven of Phenice, 
which was at no great distance, and might be reached in a 
few hours. 

Eh Qolviica — to Phenice, Phenice, or, as it is more properly 
rendered, Phoenix, is a seaport in the south of Crete, to the 
west of the Fair Havens. Strabo mentions it as a seaport 
(x. 4. 3) ; Ptolemy calls the haven Phoenicus, and the town 
situated a little inland Phoenix. There is a difference of 
opinion regarding the exact situation of the ancient Phoenix. 
Lutro, Sphakia, and Franco Castello, places on the south 
coast of Crete, to the west of Cape Matala, have each been 
fixed upon. Most modern commentators are now agreed that 
the modern port of Lutro is meant. This is the only port, 
as Spratt tells us, on the south coast of Crete in which a 
vessel could find security for the whole season ; and he 
informs us that a wide bay a little to the west of it is still 
known by the name of Phoenix. 1 Most probably it is this 
bay to the west which is meant ; as the haven of Lutro is 
open to the east, and therefore does not suit the description 
of it given by Luke, as looking toward the south-west and 
1 Spratt's Crete, vol. ii. pp. 250-254. 


north-west, whereas the bay of Phoenice does, being open to 
the west. 1 

BXeirovra Kara \lf3a icaX Kara %wpov — looking toward the 
south-west and north-west. Aty is the south-west wind — 
Africus ; %<w/oo? is the north-west wind — Chorus. Some 
(Smith, Alford) suppose that Kara denotes, not the quarter 
from which these winds come, but the direction toward 
which they blow — down the wind ; and accordingly translate 
the words, u looking toward the north-east and the south- 
east." In this manner they identify the ancient Phenice 
with Lutro, which is a haven open to the east. But this 
gives an unnatural sense, and is contrary to the usage of the 
Greek language ; besides, it would assign opposite meanings 
to Xtfia and %(i)pov. 2 Howson attempts to remove the diffi- 
culty by supposing that the words were spoken from a sailor's 
point of view, and that the harbour of Lutro does look — from 
the water toward the land which encloses it — in the direction 
of the south-west and north-west. 3 But, as Alford observes, 
this is a mere confusion of ideas : not even sailors could speak 
of a harbour as looking in the direction which they would 
look when entering it. The ancient interpretation, then, is to 
be maintained, " looking toward the south-west and the north- 
west." So Kuinoel, Meyer, Olshausen, Lechler, Hackett, 
Robinson, Humphry, Wordsworth. According to this, the 
harbour was open to the west, which is against the identifica- 

1 According to Captain Spratt, though his language is not very clear, 
there is a promontory, on the eastern side of which is Lutro, with its 
port looking toward the east, and on the western side a wide bay looking 
toward the west, known by the name of Phenice ; and on the promon- 
tory itself are the ruins of the city Phenice. This view, that Phenice 
is not Lutro, but the adjoining bay to the west, is also adopted by 
Humphry (Commentary on the Acts, p. 202) and by Bishop Wordsworth 
(Commentary, pp. 163, 164). 

2 See this point discussed at considerable length in Smith's Voyage, 
pp. 84-93, on the one side ; and Hackett's Commentary, pp. 421, 422, on 
the other side. 

3 See Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 400. See another 
solution of the difficulty in Spratt's Crete, vol. ii. p. 18 ; as if Luke's 
intention was not to describe the port Phenice, but to mark the direc- 
tions in which the vessel must steer to reach it. 


tion of the ancient Phenice with Lutro, but rather identifies 
it with the bay adjacent to Lutro, open to the west, and 
still known by the name Phenice. 1 

1 A place named Phoenikias in Pashley's map, and Finikias in Spratt's 
map, is situated near Plaka Bay ; but it is not on the coast. It may 
possibly be the inland city which Ptolemy mentions, which also had a 
port of the same name : so that, after all, the ancient Phoenix may be at 
Plaka Bay, which is open to the south-west ; and if so, its situation has 
yet to be discovered. 


VOL. II. 2 C 


PAUL'S SHIPWRECK.— Acts xxvii. 13-44. 

13 And when the south wind blew softly, thinking that they had 
gained their purpose, having weighed anchor, they coasted close to 
Crete. 14 But not long after there rushed down from it a tempestuous 
wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was hurried along, 
and was unable to bear up against the wind, we yielded to it, and were 
carried along. 16 And running under a certain island called Clauda, 
we were with difficulty able to become masters of the boat. 17 And 
when they had taken it up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; 
and fearing lest they should fall on the Syrtis, having lowered the 
tackling, they were thus borne along. 18 And we being exceedingly 
tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 19 And the third 
day with our own hands we cast out the furniture of the ship. 20 And 
when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tem- 
pest pressed on us, henceforth all hope that we should be saved was 
taken away. 21 But, after long abstinence, Paul stood forth in the 
midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have yielded to me, and not 
have set sail from Crete, and so have saved yourselves this hardship and 
loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer : for there shall be 
no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by 
me this night an angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Say- 
ing, Fear not, Paul : thou must stand before Caesar ; and, behold, God 
has given thee all who sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good 
cheer : for I believe God, that it shall be according as it has been told 
me. 26 But we must be stranded on a certain island. 

27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up 
and down in the Adriatic, about midnight the sailors thought that land 
came near to them. 28 Ajid having sounded, they found it twenty 
fathoms ; and when they had gone a little further on, sounding again, 
they found it fifteen fathoms. 29 Then, fearing lest we should be 
stranded on the rocks, they cast four anchors out from the stern, and 
wished for day. 30 And as the sailors sought to escape from the ship, 
and had lowered the boat into the sea, on the pretext of letting down 
anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, 
If these do not remain in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 32 Then the 
soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let it fall off. 33 And 
until it began to be day, Paul exhorted them all to take meat, saying, 



Waiting until this fourteenth day, ye continue fasting, having taken 
nothing. 34 Wherefore I exhort you to take food ; for this is for your 
safety : for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you. 
35 And having said this, and having taken bread, he blessed God in the 
presence of all ; and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then 
were they all of good courage, and they also took food. 37 And we 
were all in the ship two hundred and seventy-six persons. 38 And 
when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, by casting out 
the corn into the sea. 39 And when it was day, they did not recognise 
the land : but they perceived a certain creek with a beach, into which 
they resolved, if it were possible, to drive the ship. 40 And having 
cut away the anchors, they let them fall into the sea ; having at the 
same time loosened the bands of the rudders, and hoisted up the foresail 
to the wind, they made toward the beach. 41 And having fallen into 
a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground ; and the bow 
stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the stern was broken with 
violence. 42 And the soldiers' plan was that they should kill the 
prisoners, lest any of them should escape by swimming. 43 But the 
centurion, wishing to save Paul, restrained them from their purpose, 
and commanded that those who could swim should throw themselves 
first into the sea, and get to land : 44 And the rest to do so, some on 
planks, and others on pieces of the ship. And thus it happened that 
they all came safe to land. 


Ver. 19. 'Epptyapevy in the first person, is supported by 
G, H, and adopted by Teschendorf and Lachmann ; whereas 
A, C, K have the third person, eppi^rav, the reading adopted 
by Meyer. Ver. 29. 'E/arecrcoo-Lv is not found in any uncial 
MS. ; whereas A, B, C, G, H have eWeo-o^e*/, the reading 
adopted by recent critics. Ver. 34. Hedehai is found in 
G, H; whereas A, B, C, X have airdXeiTa^ the reading adopted 
by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Ver. 40. 'Aprkfiova is the 
reading of G ; whereas A, B, C, H, X have aprefMova, the 
reading adopted by most recent critics. Ver. 41. The words 
r<av kv/jlcltow are found in C, G, H, but are wanting in 
A, B, K, and are rejected by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 


Ver. 13. 'TiroTTvevcravTes he vorov — but when the south 
wind blew softly. Having formed the resolution of removing 


from the Fair Havens to Phenice, they waited for a change 
of wind ; and when the south wind began to blow, they 
thought that they might accomplish their purpose. As, 
about four miles from the Fair Havens, the coast at Cape 
Matala turns to the north, and the direction to Phenice is 
north-west, the south wind was favourable for their purpose. 
The distance between the Fair Havens and Phenice was 
less than forty miles, and might with a fair wind be accom- 
plished in a few hours. "Apavre^ — having weighed anchor, 
A nautical expression, signifying either having weighed 
anchor, or having set sail, as sometimes ras ay/cvpa? is sup- 
plied, and sometimes ra [aria. The word also occurs by 
itself, as here, without any supplement. 9 Acrcrov wapekeyovTo 
tt]v KprjT7]v — they coasted close to Crete. Some suppose 
aaaov to be the name of a city of Crete ; and a town of 
Crete called Asus is mentioned by Pliny, but situated in the 
interior {Nat. Hist. iv. 12). The Vulgate renders the words, 
cum sustulissent de Asson, but the construction does not 
admit of such a translation. Others (Luther, Castalio) sup- 
pose Asson to be in the accusative of direction — " when 
they had sailed to Assus " (apavres aaaov). But, as already 
stated, Asus was inland ; and there is no example of apavres 
by itself expressing locomotion. 1 It is now generally agreed 
that aaaov is an adverb, being the comparative of dy^h more 
nearly. They had to coast close by Crete, until they came 
to Cape Matala, after which the wind was favourable. 

Ver. 14. Mer ov 7ro\v — not long after; probably when 
they had reached Cape Matala. "EfiaXev kot avrrjq — there 
rushed down from it. Different interpretations have been 
given to /car avrrjs. Some (Luther, Lange) suppose that it 
refers to the preceding irpoOeaew — u there arose against their 
purpose." 2 The south wind favoured their design, whilst 
the Euroclydon was against it. But such a rendering is 
harsh and unnatural. Others (Kuincel, De Wette, Words- 
worth) refer avrr)$ to the nearest antecedent, Kptfrnv, and 

1 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 493, 494. 

2 So also Spratt renders the expression. Spratt's Crete, vol. ii. pp. 
17, 18. 


render it, " there arose against Crete a tempestuous wind." 
But if such were the case, they would have been driven 
against the island, and stranded on its shores ; whereas, in 
reality, we are informed that they yielded to the wind, 
and were driven from Crete. Others (Lechler, Bloomfield, 
Hackett) refer airf}? to the ship — " there arose against the 
ship." According to them, avrr}? refers to the idea chiefly in 
the writer's mind, namely the ship, although the word does 
not occur in the context. The great objection to this is that 
avrr}? is feminine ; whereas the word which Luke generally 
employs for a ship is not the feminine noun vav? (which 
occurs only in ver. 41), but the neuter noun ifkolov. The 
most approved rendering is still to refer aim?? to Kprjrrjv, 
as the nearest and most obvious antecedent, but to give to 
the preposition a different meaning. Kara governing the 
genitive often signifies a downward direction, as fif) $e /car 
OvXvfiiroio fcaprjvcov (Homer). Hence the words may be 
rendered, " there rushed down from it ;" that is, from Crete. 
So Alford, Howson, Humphry, Smith. 1 The wind was 
from the land, and accordingly drove the vessel out to sea. 

"Avejjbos Tvcjxovifcbs — a typhonic wind. Tv^oovlko^ describes 
the violence of the wind : it denotes a sudden squall, a hurri- 
cane, a whirlwind. Thus Pliny, speaking of sudden blasts, 
says that they cause a vortex which is called a typhoon : 
vorticem faciunt qui TypJwn vocatur (lib. ii. 48). e O KaXov- 
/jl€vo<; evpo/c\v$(ov — called Euroclydon. Manuscripts vary in 
their reading of this word. EvpafcvXcov is the reading of 
the Alexandrian and Sinaitic mss., and is adopted by Lach- 
mann, Ewald, Lechler, Olshausen, Wordsworth, Smith, 
Hackett. So also the Vulgate has Euroaquilo. If this be 
the correct reading, there is no difficulty in the meaning of 
the term, as evpatcvXcov is the north-east wind, or rather 
E.N.E., being compounded of eurus, the east wind, and aquilo, 
the north wind. But the words 6 rcaXov/jLevos would be 
inappropriate, as such a wind was well known. Besides, 
evpa/cvXcov resembles too much a correction, the transcriber 
not understanding what was meant by evpofcXvSwv. Hence 
1 Humphry on the Acts, p. 203. Alford, in loco. 


many critics (Tischendorf, Meyer, Howson, Alford) prefer 
the less supported reading evpo/cXvBcov, found in G, H, as 
being the more difficult. It is generally supposed to be com- 
pounded of evpos, the east wind, and kXiiScov, a wave, and 
to denote a violent agitation of the waters caused by an 
easterly wind : Eurus fluctus excitans. Meyer, on the other 
hand, supposes it to be compounded of evpos, breadth, and 
k\v&> to wash, to dash; a wind forming broad waves. Alford 
thinks that it is a corruption by the Greek sailors of evpa- 
kvXcov, as the last part of that word was not Greek, but Latin. 
The addition 6 Kakovfievos denotes that it was a popular 
name given to the wind by the sailors ; just as a similar wind 
in the Mediterranean is now known to our seamen by the 
name of the Levanter. As the wind came down from Crete, 
and drove the ship from it in a south-westerly direction 
toward the small island of Clauda, and as the sailors were 
afraid that they should be driven on the Syrtis, still further 
to the south-west, it is evident that the gale must have been 
from the north-east ; so that the reading evpaKvXwv rightly 
denotes the direction of the wind. We learn from voyagers 
that such a sudden change from a southern to a violent 
northern wind is not uncommon in those seas. Thus Cap- 
tain Stewart, in his remarks on the Archipelago, as quoted 
by Smith, observes : " It is always safe to anchor under the 
lee of an island with a northerly wind, as it dies away gra- 
dually ; but it would be extremely dangerous with southerly 
winds, as they almost invariably shift to a violent northerly 
wind." l 

Ver. 15. ' Avro(j)6a\fielv ra> avifi(p — to bear up against the 
wind; literally, "to look the wind in the face." 'EiriSovres 
i<f)€p6fjLe6a — giving up, we were driven, along : that is, either 
supplying from the context, " giving up the ship to the wind, 
we were driven " (Vulgate, Luther) ; or, using the verb in a 
reflex sense, " giving ourselves up." The meaning is : Since 
we" could not resist the wind, we were forced to permit the 
ship to be driven before it. 

Ver. 16. Nrjalov 8e tl vTroSpafjuovres KaXovfievov KXavhrjv — 
1 Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, p. 99. 


but running under a certain island called Clauda. Clauda, called 
by Ptolemy Claudos, and by Pliny Glaudos, is a small island 
off the south-west corner of Crete. It was about twenty-five 
miles nearly due south from the port of Phenice, which the 
sailors had desired to reach. It is now called by the Greeks 
Gaudo or Gaudonesi, and by the Italians Gozzo, and is 
inhabited by about seventy families, scattered over three or 
four hamlets. 1 'lo-^vaafiev {io\l<; irepLKpareh jeveaOac rrjs 
<TKd(f)7]5 — we were with difficulty able to become masters of the 
boat. Hfcd<f)r} was the small boat attached to the vessel. 
Then, as at present, large vessels had. one or more boats 
along with them. At the commencement of a voyage, and 
when the sea was calm, the boat was in general not taken up 
and secured on the deck, but left in the water, attached to 
the stern of the vessel by a rope. This was more convenient, 
as in sailing the ancients had frequent communications with 
the land, because, from want of the compass, they were con- 
strained to keep as near the coast as possible. When a storm 
arose, and there was danger of the boat being either swept 
away or dashed in pieces against the sides of the vessel, it 
was drawn up and secured on deck. The difficulty here 
experienced in securing the boat probably arose from its 
being filled with water, and from the violence of the tempest. 
When under the lee of Clauda, they would be partially 
sheltered, so that they were able, although with difficulty, 
to effect their object. 

Ver. 17. Bondeiais i^pcovro — they used helps. By helps 
here are meant the ropes and chains (not planks, as is some- 
times supposed), called viro^ixara, which were used in 
undergirding the ship. We learn that all large vessels car- 
ried these vTro^cojuara with them. ' Tiro^vvvvre^ to ifKolov — 
undergirding the ship. It was the custom of the ancients in 
a storm to draw thick cables round their ships, and so to 
undergird them, in order to prevent the planks yielding. 
Horace is thought to allude to this practice when he says : 
Sine funibus via durare carina? possint imperiosius cequor 

1 For a description of the island of Clauda, see Spratt's Crete, vol. ii. 
pp. 274-280. 


(Od. i. 14. 6). This process, called in nautical language 
/rapping, is thus described by Falconer in his Marine Dic- 
tionary : u To frap a ship is to pass four or five turns of a 
large rope round the hull or frame of a ship, to support her 
in a great storm, or otherwise when it is apprehended that 
she is not strong enough to resist the violent efforts of the 
sea." Some suppose that the ropes were drawn in a hori- 
zontal manner, lengthways, from the stern to the prow 
(Boeckh) ; but it has been ascertained that, as is the case in 
modern times, the ropes were drawn perpendicular to the 
ship, around the hull at the middle, and fastened on the 
deck. They were sunk from the prow, and then drawn 
toward the middle of the vessel. This expedient, however, 
is seldom put in practice in modern times. Smith in his 
Voyage of St. Paul, and Conybeare and Howson in their 
Life of St. Paul, adduce modern instances of it. 1 

Eh t?)z' 2vpnv — on the Syrtis : not, as in our English 
version, "on quicksands;" but "on the Syrtis," the article 
defining it. There were two shoals of this name — the Syrtis 
Major and the Syrtis Minor. It was the Syrtis Major that 
they were in danger of falling upon, as the Syrtis Minor 
lay too far to the west. The Syrtis Major, now called the 
Gulf of Sidra, is a dangerous shallow on the coast of 
Africa, between Tripoli and Barca, south-west of the island 
of Crete. 

XaXdo-avres to o-/cevo<; — having lowered the tackling. H/cevos 
signifies a utensil, an implement ; and hence, when applied 
to a ship, it denotes all the ship's appurtenances, such as 
masts, sails, rigging, anchors, cables, boats, etc. Hence its 
meaning has to be discovered from the context. Some 
(Kypke) suppose that the anchor is meant ; but this is con- 
tradicted by the words which follow, "and thus were driven." 
Castalio renders it demissd scaphd, having let down the boat ; 
a meaning also to be rejected, as they had just lifted up the 
boat. Others (Grotius, Kuincel, Olshausen) refer it to the 
mast — " having lowered the mast ;" but it is not probable that 

1 Smith's Voyage, pp. 102-106 ; Conybeare and Howson, vol. ii. pp. 

PAUL'S SHIPWRECK. — XXVII. 18, 19. 409 

the masts of such large ships were capable of being let down; 
on the contrary, they seem to have been fixed, as the masts 
in our vessels. Others (Meyer, Lechler, Hackett) refer it to 
the sails — having "lowered the sails," or, as in our version, 
" having strake sail ;" that is, they allowed the vessel to be 
driven without sails. But, as Smith remarks, this would 
be a sure way of running into the very danger which they 
wished to avoid ; for without sails they would inevitably be 
driven on the Syrtis. Accordingly he translates the words 
u lowering the gear," and supposes that by it is meant that 
they lowered down upon the deck the gear connected with 
the fair-weather sails, such as the suppara or topsails, but 
that they hoisted the small storm-sail. " They had," as he 
observes, " but one course to pursue to avoid the apprehended 
danger, which was to turn the ship's head off shore, and to 
set such sail as the violence of the gale would permit them 
to carry." Ovtms icpepovro — and thus were driven. " Not 
only with the ship undergirded, but with the storm-sails set, 
and on the starboard tack, which was the only course by 
which she could avoid falling into the Syrtis." * 

Ver. 18. 'EfcfioXrjv Ittolovvto — they lightened the ship ; 
literally, u they made a casting out :" a nautical phrase, used 
by the ancients to denote the lightening of a ship at sea. 
They had recourse to the same expedient as the sailors in 
Jonah's vessel : " Then the mariners were afraid, and cried 
every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were 
in the ship into the sea, to lighten it" (Jonah i. 5). We 
are not told what was at this time thrown overboard. Meyer 
supposes that it was the cargo, as being in the circumstances 
the least indispensable, and the heaviest article. But if the 
cargo was wheat, as was probably the case with an Alexan- 
drian vessel trading to Italy, this was reserved to the last 
extremity (ver. 38) ; and it is natural to suppose that they 
would make many sacrifices before they destroyed it. 

Ver. 19. Trjv crfcevrjv tov ifkolov ipptya/iiep — we cast out 
the furniture of the vessel. Smith thinks that by ttjv aicevrn* 
the mainyard is meant — " an immense spar, probably as long 
1 Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, pp. 108-111. 


as the vessel, and which would require the united efforts of 
the passengers and crew to launch overboard ;" and he adds, 
u The relief which a ship would experience by this would be 
of the same kind as in a modern vessel when the guns are 
thrown overboard." } But, as Howson observes, it is impro- 
bable that the sailors would sacrifice so large a spar, which in 
case of a shipwreck would be capable of supporting thirty or 
forty men in the water. Some (Erasmus, Grotius, Olshausen, 
Ewald) suppose the implements of the ship are meant — 
armamenta navis — such as masts, rudders, anchors, and the 
like. But this is still more improbable, as these articles are 
indispensable in the time of danger, and besides were at a 
later period actually put to use. Others (Wetstein, Kuinoel) 
suppose that the baggage of the passengers is intended. But 
although it is probable that this also was sacrificed, yet the 
words rod ifkoiov imply that it was something belonging to 
the ship which was cast out. The most generally received 
opinion is that it was the furniture of the ship — beds, tables, 
chests, and all those articles which were not absolutely essen- 
tial. So Meyer, De Wette, Lange, Hackett, Wordsworth. 

Ver. 20. M.ryre Be rjXiov fjutfre darpayv kirifyawovTwv — but 
neither sun nor stars appearing. The ancients had no 
mariner's compass; and therefore, when they did venture out 
to open sea, it was only by the appearance of the heavenly 
bodies that they could guide their course. When, then, as 
in the present case, they were out of sight of land, and the 
heavens were obscured by clouds, it was impossible for them 
to know whither they were drifting. 'Eirl irXeiovas rj/juepas 
— for many days. Fourteen days elapsed from the time 
they left Crete to the time when they were stranded on the 
coast of Malta ; and probably during the greater part of this 
period the heavens were obscured by clouds, and the tem- 
. pest continued to rage. Aoiirov TrepiypelTo iXirU iraaa rov 
<T(0%Eo~6ai rjfias — henceforth all hope that we should be saved 
was taken away. They were now in a state of extreme peril, 
without any instrument to direct thir course, drifting they 
knew not whither, whilst the sea raged, and the tempestuous 
1 Smith's Voyage, p. 112. 

PAUL'S SHIPWRECK. — XXVII. 21, 22. 411 

wind continued to blow. Smith, from various notices, sup- 
poses that the ship also had sprung a leak, and that all their 
exertions by successive lightenings to subdue it had been 
unavailing ; so that unless they could fall in with land to run 
their ship ashore, they must founder at sea. Their appre- 
hensions, therefore, were not so much caused by the unabated 
fury of the tempest, as by the leaky condition of the vessel. 1 

Ver. 21. IToXX^9 Te aaiTias vTrap^ova^ — and after long 
abstinence. Their abstinence was not owing to want of pro- 
visions, for the cargo of wheat was still secure (ver. 38). 
But, as Kuinoel observes, their mental anxiety and fatigue 
had deprived them of all desire for food. 2 Besides, it was 
difficult to prepare food in these circumstances, and much of 
the provisions might have been damaged by the leaking of 
the vessel. Tore o-raOels 6 IIav\o<; iv fieaw avrcjv — Then 
Paid, standing in the midst of them. Paul stood forth in this 
extremity to comfort and encourage them. Tore — then : 
bringing vividly before us the state of matters. "EBeo fiev 
irevOapyrjaavrd^ /not — ye should have yielded to me. Paul's 
object in alluding to the correctness of his former advice 
was not to taunt those who rejected it, now that it could not 
be remedied, but to induce them to follow his present counsel. 
Kephrjo-al re ttjv vftptv Tavrrjv /cat rrjv tyjjAiav — and to have 
escaped this hardship and loss. Kephrjcrat, literally signifies 
" to have gained." But the word was employed not only in 
the sense of positively gaining an advantage, but also of 
negatively avoiding or escaping a loss : in doing so, a person 
has gained by the avoidance of calamity. In a similar manner 
the verb lucrari is employed. 

Ver. 22. 'AirofioXr} yap ^v%»}? ovhefila earai ef v/jlwv — 
for there shall be no loss of life among you. ' 'AiroftoXrj, lite- 
rally " a casting away," " a rejection." In warning them 
not to sail from the Fair Havens, Paul had said that the 
voyage would be with hardship and much damage, not only 
of the lading and ship, but also of their lives ; but here, as 
the messenger of God, he asserts that no life would be lost. 

1 Smith's Voyage, p. 113. 

2 Kuinoel's Novi Testamenti Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 372. 


Then he spoke from a calm consideration of the state of 
matters, but now he speaks from revelation ; then he gave 
his own opinion, but now he announces the purpose of God. 

Ver. 23. Uapea-rr] yap fiot ravrrj rj} vvktI rod Geov 
ayyeXos — for there stood by me this night an angel of God. 
The words rod Oeov are added because Paul addressed 
heathens, who otherwise would have understood by an angel 
a messenger of the gods. The context does not determine 
whether this vision was made to Paul in a dream, or when 
awake ; probably the latter. There is certainly no ground 
for Zeller's rationalistic explanation, that Paul, thinking on 
the importance of his journey, might have implored the 
safety of himself and his companions, and that he dreamed 
that his request was granted. 1 The narrative evidently inti- 
mates that the vision imparted to Paul was supernatural, 
being a revelation from God. 

Ver. 24. TSou, Ke^dpiaral aoi 6 @eo? iravras row ifKeov- 
t<z? fjuera gov — behold, God has given thee all who sail with 
thee. Doubtless Paul prayed earnestly for the safety of 
those who were in the ship with him ; and their lives were 
granted in answer to his prayers. De Wette thinks that 
these words savour of vanity ; and he supposes that they 
were not the words of the apostle, but of the author, who 
wished to honour the apostle. 2 But Paul does not here exalt 
himself, but merely states what was revealed to him. Bengel 
well remarks on this passage : Facilius multi mali cum paucis 
piis servantur, quam unus pius cum multis reis perit. Navi 
hide similisj mundus. 

Ver. 27. Tea-a-apecnca&eicar'n pbfj — the fourteenth night. 
That is, the fourteenth night since they left the Fair Havens. 
J Ev ra> 'A&pla — in the Adriatic. 'Ahplq is not to be restricted 
to what is now called the Gulf of Venice, but embraces all 
that part of the Mediterranean which lay south of Italy, east 
of Sicily, and west of Greece, and thus included the Ionian 
Sea. This is certain from the writings of Strabo, Ovid, 
Statius, and Ptolemy. Procopius says that the island of 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 290. 

2 De Wette's Apostelgeschichte, p. 184. 

PAUL'S SHIPWRECK.— XXVII. 28, 29. 413 

Malta separates the Adriatic from the Tuscan Sea. 1 It was 
in this part of the Mediterranean, between Crete and Sicily, 
that the vessel containing Paul and his companions was 
driven up and down. Upoawyew tlvcl clvtoi<; x^P av — ^ iai 
land came near them. According to appearance, when sailing 
to a place, the land approaches ; whereas in sailing from a 
place the land recedes. Thus Virgil : Provehimur portu : ter- 
ratque, urbesque recedunt (2En. iii. 72). According to Smith, 
if we assume that St. Paul's Bay in Malta was the scene of 
the shipwreck, the sailors would perceive that they drew near 
land by the noise of the breakers off the point of Koura. 

Ver. 28. BokiaavTes, evpov opyvia? €Ltco<ri — having sounded, 
they found it twenty fathoms. BoXi&iv (from /3oXt?, the 
sounding-lead) is to cast or let down the sounding-line. 
'Opyvla is a fathom or six feet, the space measured by the 
arms stretched out. The decrease in their soundings, at first 
twenty fathoms, and a little farther on fifteen fathoms, con- 
vinced them that their supposition was correct, and that they 
could not be far distant from land. 

Ver. 29. '-E/c irpviivn^ ptyavres ay/evpas Tecraapa^ — having 
cast out from the stern four anchors. The design of anchoring 
was to arrest the motion of the ship during the night, and 
thus to prevent it being stranded in the dark. It would seem 
that they were successful in this. We are informed that in 
St. Paul's Bay the anchorage is good; and that while the 
cables hold, there is no danger, as the anchors will never 
start. 2 The anchors in use at this time bore a close resem- 
blance to modern ones : they were, however, much smaller, 
as the ancients were deficient in mechanical means for lower- 
ing and raising heavy anchors. Some suppose that the four 
anchors here mentioned was a four-fluked anchor. A large 
ship, however, often carried several anchors. Athenaeus 
mentions a ship that had eight iron anchors. Caesar speaks 
of ships with four : Naves quaternis ancoris destinabat, ne 
fluctibus moverentur (Bell. Civ. i. 25). The ship in which 
Paul was, although they had already dropped four anchors 

1 For authorities on this point, see Biscoe on the Acts, pp. 349, 350. 

2 Smith's Voyage, p. 128. 


from the stern, had more remaining, as is evident from the 
next verse. In general, the ancients, like the moderns, 
anchored from the bow, but their ships were also fitted for 
anchoring from the stern. The reasons why anchoring from 
the stern was resorted to on the present occasion are obvious : 
it stopped at once the progress of the ship ; for if anchored 
from the bow, the wind would have caused it to swing round ; 
and it kept the bow directed toward the land, so as to be 
ready to push forward. At the battle of Copenhagen, Nelson 
ordered the fleet to anchor from the stern, in order to keep 
the vessels in their proper positions ; and we are informed of 
the singular fact, that this measure was suggested to him by 
his having read that morning this twenty-seventh chapter of 
the Acts of the Apostles. 1 

Ver. 30. Twv vavrow ^rjTovvraJv cftiryelv etc rov ifkotov — 
the sailors, seeking to escape from the ship. Whilst they lay 
at anchor, and the progress of the ship was thus happily 
arrested, the sailors made the natural but ungenerous attempt 
to escape by means of the boat. They let down the boat, on 
the pretext of casting anchors from the prow, which would 
certainly have the effect of keeping the ship in a steadier 
position ; but with the real design of getting ashore, and 
leaving the soldiers and the passengers, along with the ship, 
to their fate. 

Ver. 31. Elirev 6 Havkos tw eKaTovrdp^rj — Paul said to 
the centurion and to the soldiers. The plot of the sailors was 
discovered by Paul, and communicated by him to the cen- 
turion and the soldiers, because they had the power in the 
urgency of the moment instantly to avert the danger by 
force. 'Eav firj ovtoi fieivcocriv iv to> 7r\o/ft>, etc. — If these 
do not abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Although Paul 
was divinely assured of the safety of all on board, yet he 
does not hesitate to affirm that, if the sailors left the ship, 
their safety would be impossible. Notwithstanding the 
divine promise, means were to be employed, and these were 
ordained as well as the end. It was ordained that the ship's 
company should be saved through the instrumentality of the 
1 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 414. 


sailors. The sailors, by their skill, brought the vessel as near 
the land as possible before it struck ; which if they had fled 
could not have been effected, and thus the ship would have 
foundered at a greater distance from the shore, so that escape 
would have been more difficult, if not impossible. 

Ver. 33. "A^pi Be ov rj/jieWev rjfjbepa ylveadai — and until it 
began to be day. So long as the darkness continued, nothing 
could be done in the way of rescue. Teaaapeo-KaiBeKarr^v 
arj/Jbepov rj/jiepav nrpoaBoKwvTes — waiting until the fourteenth 
day ; that is, waiting for the abatement of the storm. ""Actitoi 
BiareXeuTe firjdev TTpoa\a/36/jL€voc — ye continue fasting, having 
taken nothing. By this is not meant that they had taken 
nothing at all for fourteen days, but that they had taken no 
regular meal. Paul uses a strong expression, which could 
not be misunderstood by his hearers. So Appian speaks of 
an army which for twenty days took neither food nor sleep ; 
by which he must mean that they neither took regular meals, 
nor slept whole nights together. 

Ver. 34. Tovto yap irpb<; rrjs v/xerepa^ GWTnplas virdp^ei 
— for this is for your safety. It would be necessary on the 
morrow that each should exert himself to the uttermost ; and 
therefore it was important that they should be strengthened 
and refreshed by food. OvBevb? <yap vficov 6 pig dirb rfjs 
KecfraXrjs dirdXelrai — for there shall not a hair perish from the 
head of any of you. A proverbial expression denoting their 
entire safety. The same expression occurs in Luke's Gospel 
(Luke xxi. 18). 

Ver. 35. Eu^aplo-Trjaev ru> ©ea> ivcoiriov ttclvtcov — he gave 
thanks to God in the presence 'of all. Paul does not here 
observe the agapse with the disciples on board, as Olshausen 
strangely imagines ; nor does he, as the father of a family, 
offer up the thanksgiving over the bread at the commence- 
ment of a meal, as Meyer thinks ; but he conducts himself 
as a pious Jew, who gives thanks to God before he eats (De 
Wette). Kal /cXdcras rjp^aro iadietv — and having broken it, 
he began to eat. He showed them the example; and en- 
couraged by his words and actions, they were all of good 
courage, and partook of food. Paul, although a prisoner, 


must now have obtained a great influence over the soldiers 
and the crew. 

Ver. 37. Aiaicocriai k^hofirjKovra ef — two hundred and 
seventy-six. For the size of the ships of the ancients, see 
note to ver. 6. Lucian describes an Alexandrian vessel, 
sailing from Egypt to Italy, which by stress of weather was 
driven into the port of Athens ; and from what he states, it 
must have been about 1200 tons burden. 

Ver. 38. ' EicfiaWoiievoi rbv gZtov eh ttjv 6aXaaaav — 
casting the corn into the sea. Some (Meyer, Lange, Alford) 
suppose that by alrov the provisions of the ship are meant, 
which would consist chiefly of prepared corn, as meat and 
bread. The reasons given for this opinion are, because the 
casting out of the corn is mentioned in connection with their 
partaking of food ; and because the ship's cargo, which it is 
otherwise supposed to denote, was in all probability already 
thrown overboard (ver. 18). Others (Baumgarten, Lechler, 
Hackett, Wordsworth, and Smith) suppose that gLtqv denotes 
the freight or cargo of the vessel; and this is certainly the more 
probable opinion. The provisions of the ship would afford only 
a trifling lightening. The ship was a merchant vessel bound 
from Alexandria to Rome, and the imperial city derived its 
chief supply of corn from Egypt, which was regarded as the 
granary of Italy ; and therefore it is reasonable to suppose 
that it was laden with grain. The cargo of corn had pro- 
bably been damaged by the leaking of the vessel ; but if not, 
it was of no value compared with the lives of those on board; 
besides, it was known that the vessel would be lost. This 
lightening was for a different purpose than when the same 
expedient was resorted to on two former occasions : then it 
was done if possible to preserve both the ship and cargo; 
but now their object was to drive the vessel as near the 
shore as possible, in order to save their lives : hence both 
ship and cargo were now to be sacrificed. 

Ver. 39. Trjv yrjv ovk eireylvcoaKov — they recognised not the 
land ; that is, although they saw the shore before them, yet 
they did not know the name of the coast. Malta might be 
well known to the Alexandrian sailors, yet the particular 


spot on which they were driven was distant from all the 
great harbours, and possessed no marked features by which 
it could be recognised (Smith). KoXnrov Be rtva /carevoovv 
e^ovra alytaXov — but they perceived a certain creek with a 
beach. AZycaXos is a smooth or sandy beach, thus fitted for 
landing, as distinguished from a/crtf, a stony beach. The 
people of Malta have from time immemorial considered this 
creek to be what is now called St. Paul's Bay ; and Smith, 
from a great variety of particulars, has proved that this 
opinion is correct. u The conditions," he observes, " required 
to be fulfilled in order to make any locality agree with that 
of the shipwreck, are so numerous as to render it morally 
impossible to suppose that the agreement which we here find 
can be the effect of chance." 1 St. Paul's Bay is at the 
north-eastern extremity of Malta, and is formed by the 
island of Salmonetta on the north and the point of Koura 
on the south : it is about two miles deep and one broad. 
There is now a smooth beach (alytaXos) at that part of it 
called the Mestara valley; but Smith supposes that the beach 
on which the ship stranded is a little to the north of that — 
on a spot where, although there is no longer a sandy beach, 
there must formerly have been one. 2 

Ver. 40. Kal ras ay/cvpas irepueXovre^ — and having cut 
away the anchors ; not, as in our English version, u when 
they had taken up the anchors." IlepiaLpeco, to take away, 
to remove. Ilepi may refer to their cutting the cables round 
about. They now prepare to strand the vessel. First they 
cut away the anchors, as there was now no use of spending 
time in raising them. Eteov els ttjv Oakaaaav — letting them 
fall into the sea : not, as in our English version, " they com- 
mitted themselves to the sea," but u they committed the 
anchors to the sea." r 'Afia avevTes tcls ^evKTnpias tcov irr}- 
haXlwv — having at the same time loosened the bands of the 
rudders. Secondly, they loose the rudder-bands : irnhaXiayv 
not used for the singular (Beza) ; for the ships of the 
ancients had generally two rudders, one on each side of the 
stern. These rudders did not resemble our helms, but were 
1 Smith's Voyage, p. 126. 2 Ibid. pp. 137, 138. 

VOL. II. 2 D 


rather like large and broad oars or paddles. They were 
joined together at the extremities by a pole, and were 
managed by one man, the steersman (/cvfiepvrjTr)*;, ver. 11), 
and kept parallel to each other. When occasion required, 
they could be pulled out of the water, and fastened with 
bands (^evKrrjplai) to the ship. This had been done on the 
preceding night, in order to anchor at the stern, and as the 
ship was brought to rest. But now, wishing to drive the vessel 
forwards, they loosened the bands of the rudders, in order that 
they might act in propelling it. Kal iirapavres top apre- 
fjbcova rfj Trveovarj — and having hoisted up the foresail to the 
wind. Thirdly, they hoist up the foresail. 'AprefMov does 
not occur elsewhere in Greek. The artemon is not the 
mast, but a species of sail : Luther's translation, " the mast" 
(Segelbaum), is erroneous. It has been variously supposed 
to be the mainsail, the foresail, the mizzen-sail at the stern, 
and the topsail. It is now generally agreed to have been the 
foresail, as this was the sail which was employed for speed, 
and would be the most useful in driving the ship forward. 
So Grotius, Kuincel, Smith, Humphry, Alford, Wordsworth. 

Ver. 41. UepiTreo-ovres he efe tottov hiOaXaacrov — but hav- 
ing fallen into a place where two seas met. Some suppose 
T07rov BidaXaacov to have been a concealed shoal or sand- 
bank formed by the action* of two opposite currents. Such 
sandbanks may have worn away, even if none at present 
exist in St. Paul's Bay. Others suppose it to have been a 
tongue of land or promontory running out into the sea, and 
the extremity of which was covered by the waves ; so that, 
when the ship struck upon it, they were still separated from 
the dry land by a considerable surface of water. Others 
render it, as in our English version, " a place where two 
seas met," and suppose it to be at the north of St. Paul's 
Bay, near to the narrow channel which separates the island 
of Salmonetta from the mainland. Two seas would there 
meet ; the sea on the outside of the island would communi- 
cate with the sea within the bay. 

Ver. 42. Tcov Be arpaTicorcov ftov\r) iyevero, etc. — but the 
plan of the soldiers was to kill the prisoners. Bovkr), not 

PAUL'S SHIPWRECK.— XXVII. 43, 44. 419 

merely a purpose, but a counsel, an advice, a plan. Paul 
and his fellow-prisoners might have escaped death by sea ; 
but they were exposed to another danger — death by the 
soldiers. The Roman soldiers were answerable with their 
lives for the detention of their prisoners : hence their cruel 
proposal made to the centurion, to kill the prisoners, lest any 
of them should escape. 

Ver. 43. 'EfcwXvaev avrovs rod /3ov\^fiaTo<; — kept tliem 
from their purpose. Thus God, for Paul's sake, not only 
saved all the rest of the ship's company from being drowned, 
but kept the prisoners from being murdered, according to 
the barbarous proposal of the soldiers. 

Ver. 44. Kal row \onrovs — and the rest. These words 
depend on ifcekevaev, " he ordered the rest," soil, igcevai, 
€7rt ttjv yrjv, li to get to land." 'Eirl aaviaiv — on planks, 
which were at hand in the ship. '.E7rt tivwv tcov airo rov 
ifKoiov — on things from the ship ; that is, probably on broken 
pieces of the ship, the hinder part of which had been broken 
up. Kal o(;to>? iyevero Trdvras SiaacoOrjvaL eVi rrju yfjv — 
and thus it happened that all came safe to land. Thus were 
Paul's words fulfilled : " There shall be no loss of life among 
you. There shall not a hair fall from the head of any of 


PAUL AT MALTA.— Acts xxviii. 1-10. 

1 And having escaped, then we learned that the island is called 
Malta. 2 And the foreigners showed us extraordinary kindness: for, 
having kindled a fire, they received us all on account of the rain which 
had set in, and on account of the cold. 3 But when Paul had gathered 
a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, there came out a viper 
on account of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the 
foreigners saw the beast hang from his hand, they said among them- 
selves, Doubtless this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped 
the sea, Justice suffered not to live. 5 But he shook off the beast into 
the fire, and suffered no harm. 6 But they expected that he would 
have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly : but after they had waited 
long and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said 
that he was a god. 7 In the neighbourhood of that place were estates 
belonging to the first man of the island, Publius by name ; who received 
us, and lodged us three days courteously. 8 And it came to pass that 
the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of dysentery : to whom 
Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. 
9 Now when this was done, the rest also who had diseases in the island 
came and were healed : 10 Who also honoured us with many honours ; 
and when we set sail, supplied us with what was necessary. 


Ver. 1. ^Eire^vcoaav is found in G, H ; whereas A, B, 
C, N have €7reryvco/jL6v, the reading adopted by Lachmann 
and Tischendorf. Ver. 3. The words Ik rrj<; Oepfir)? are 
found only in cursive MSS. ; all the uncial MSS. have cltto ttjs 
6ep/j,r)s, the reading adopted by recent critics. ' 'EgeXdovaa 
is the reading of B, C, K ; whereas A, G, H have StegeX- 
Oovcra, the reading adopted by Tischendorf. 


Ver. 1. "On MeXtrrj r) vrjcros icaXelrai — that the island is 
called Melita. Formerly there was an opinion, now generally 



exploded, that this island was Meleda in the Gulf of Venice. 
This opinion was first advanced by the Emperor Constantine 
Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century, and was adopted and 
defended by Giorgi, a Venetian ; and in more modern times 
it has been embraced by Bryant, Falconer, and Coleridge 
among our countrymen, and by Paulus among the Germans. 
The great objection against Malta is that the ship was said 
to be driven up and down in the Adriatic (iv tw 'ASpia), 
by which the Gulf of Venice is supposed to have been 
meant. But we have seen that the Adriatic, as the term 
was employed by the ancients, includes all that part of the 
Mediterranean which lies between Sicily and Greece. (See 
note to Acts xxvii. 27.) 1 The other objections against Malta 
— that the inhabitants are called barbarians, that there are 
now no venomous serpents in the island, and that the disease 
of dysentery is there unknown — are singularly weak, and 
will be referred to in the course of the exposition. On the 
other hand, the positive arguments in favour of Malta 
amount almost to a demonstration: the north-east wind 
would drive the ship to Malta ; the nature of St. Paul's Bay, 
and the soundings in the neighbourhood, correspond in a 
remarkable manner with the locality of the shipwreck ; and 
an uninterrupted tradition fixes on Malta as the scene of 
the occurrence. The voyage to Puteoli suits a vessel sailing 
from Malta, but not one sailing from Meleda. Besides, a 
vessel from Meleda would certainly not sail first to Syracuse 
and then to Rhegium, as Khegium is nearer than Syracuse 
to Meleda. Nor is it at all probable that the Alexandrian 
vessel, on board of which Paul again embarked, would 
winter so far out of its course at such an obscure island as 
Meleda, whereas Malta lies on the direct course between 
Alexandria and Puteoli. 2 

The island of Melita, now called Malta, situated near the 
middle of the Mediterranean, between Europe and Africa, 

1 Ptolemy distinguished between the Adriatic Sea and the Adriatic 

2 See this point discussed at length in Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, 
pp. 161-172. 


is about sixty miles distant from Cape Passaro, the nearest 
point in Sicily, and about 200 miles from the African coast. 
Malta was originally colonized by the Phoenicians, from whom 
it was taken by the Greek colonists of Sicily : afterwards it 
became part of the Carthaginian dominions, and was in a 
nourishing condition during the continuance of that republic. 
It was taken possession of by the Romans during the second 
Punic war (Liv. xxi. 51) ; and when Paul visited it, it con- 
stituted a part of the province of Sicily (Cic. Verr. iv. 18). 
After the fall of the Roman empire, its celebrity greatly 
increased. In the ninth century it fell into the hands of 
the Saracens, from whom it was taken toward the close of 
the eleventh century by the Normans. After the fall of 
Rhodes, Malta became the residence of the Knights of St. 
John ; and after various changes, it now constitutes a part 
of the British empire. To Christians, an additional interest 
is imparted to it by its being the now undoubted locality of 
Paul's shipwreck. 

Ver. 2. OH re fidpfiapoL — and the barbarians. This desig- 
nation of the inhabitants has been thought to militate against 
the opinion that the island was Malta ; because, from the 
proximity of Malta to Sicily and Italy, the Maltese were 
undoubtedly civilised. But the term /3dp/3apo<; does not 
necessarily signify uncivilised. The Greeks and Romans 
regarded all nations as barbarians, who, like the natives of 
Malta, spoke neither the Greek nor the Latin language. 
il We are," remarks Strabo, u to understand the expressions 
1 barbarous speaking ' and ' barbarous speakers ' of persons 
whose pronunciation of the Greek language is faulty " (xiv. 
2. 28). Hence the term fiapl3apos more properly denotes 
a foreigner, one whose language was not understood ; and 
we have so translated it. In this sense the word is used by 
Paul : -"If I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be 
unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh 
shall be a barbarian unto me" (1 Cor. xiv. 11). And hence 
he employs the term to signify all who are not Greeks : tl I 
am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians " 
(Rom. i. 14). The inhabitants of Malta at this time were 


of Phoenician or Carthaginian descent, and appear to have 
spoken the Punic language, with perhaps an admixture of 
Greek. Although under the dominion of the Romans, yet 
that nation had not been able to impose their language on 
them. Even in the present day the natives of Malta have 
a peculiar language, termed the Maltese, which has been 
proved to be essentially an Arabic dialect, with an admixture 
of Italian, — a result from the fact that Malta was for nearly 
two centuries under the dominion of the Arabs. In the 
original sense of the term, the inhabitants of Malta might 
still be called barbarians both by the English and the Italians. 
Tov i(f)€o-T(OTa — which had set in ; not u which had come 
suddenly," but "which was upon us." The storm which 
drove them to Malta was accompanied by the rain. 

Ver. 3. "E%i&va — a viper. As another objection against 
the island being Malta, it is asserted that there are no 
venomous serpents there. But this is no objection to the 
existence of such reptiles in the time of Paul. The increased 
population and high cultivation of the island would have 
extirpated them. No portion of Europe is so densely popu- 
lated as Malta: it is said to contain 1200 persons to every 
square mile ; and therefore it is no wonder that vipers were 
exterminated from so small a space of territory. Aiet-eXOovaa 
— coming through. A more vivid description of the occur- 
rence than the simple verb ii;e\0ovaa (textus receptus), 
denoting that the viper came forth through the bundle of 
sticks where it had lain concealed. 

Ka6^ev tt)? %etp09 avrov — it fastened on his hand. It is 
certainly not positively asserted that the viper bit Paul ; but 
that is clearly implied. The viper fastened on his hand ; 
he shook it off ; and the islanders expected that he would 
have swollen or fallen down dead suddenly. They must 
have known that the bite of that particular serpent was 
deadly, and it was not doubted by them that it had bitten the 
apostle. From the whole narrative it is evident that Paul's 
escape from death is represented as miraculous. Hence all 
rationalistic explanations are to be rejected as conflicting 
with the narrative. Bochart supposes that the serpent 


fastened on Paul's hand, but did not bite him ; an opinion 
also adopted by Lange and Ewald. Lekebusch puts the 
alternative : " Either the serpent was poisonous, and then it 
did not bite the apostle ; or if it bit him, it was not poison- 
ous." * So also Kuinoel makes the same remark : Erat autem 
vipera ista aid non venenata, etsi Melitenses earn pro venenata 
habuerint, aut si erat, insinuavit quidem se Pauli manui non 
vero momordit. 2 De Wette, on the other hand, in order to 
get rid of the miraculous in the narrative, observes : " That 
the serpent bit Paul's hand is not said, but is probable ; that 
it was poisonous, the natives supposed ; but Luke does not 
so much as hint that any divine intervention took place." 3 
But if the viper was poisonous, and if it actually bit the 
apostle, a divine intervention in his favour follows as a 
necessary consequence. 

Ver. 4. IldvTCDS <j>ov€v<; ianv 6 avOpanros ovtos, etc. — 
Doubtless this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped 
the sea, Justice suffers not to live. The inhabitants of Malta, 
when they saw the viper hanging on Paul's hand, concluded 
that it was an instance of divine retribution, the work of 
Justice, which punishes death with death. The ancients 
believed that a murderer, although he might evade human 
justice, yet would not finally escape the avenging justice of 
Heaven. The islanders were also probably informed that 
Paul was a prisoner, and hence naturally concluded that he 
had been guilty of some grave offence. Some (Eisner, 
Kuinoel, Lange) suppose that they drew the inference that 
he was a murderer from seeing the viper fastening on his 
hand ; because, according to their ideas, Justice inflicted 
punishment upon the member that committed the crime. 
But this is fanciful, as the same remark would equally apply 
to all crimes committed by the hand. The fact that, as they 
supposed, Paul was bitten to death by a viper, was their 
reason for thinking him a murderer, because death was the 
punishment of murder. Alkt) — Justice, or Nemesis : the 

1 Lekebusch's Apostelgeschichte, p. 382. 

2 Kumoel's Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 378. 
s De Wette's Apostelgeschichte, p. 186. 

PAUL AT MALTA. — XXVIII. 5, 6. 425 

personification of justice — Justitia. Justice was regarded by 
the Greeks as the daughter of Jupiter. The text does not 
determine whether the inhabitants of Malta used the well- 
known Greek epithet JUr), although it is probable that the 
Greek mythology was known to them. The idea, however, 
of Justice following on the footsteps of crime is common to 
all nations. 

Ver. 5. 'O fJLev ovv airoTiva^apbevo^ rb drjptov et? to irvp 
eiraOev ovBev kclkov — he then, having shaken off the beast into 
the fire, suffered no harm. Thus our Saviour's promise to 
His disciples was in this instance fulfilled : " They shall take 
up serpents ; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not 
hurt them" (Mark xvi. 18). 

Ver. 6. 01 Se irpoaeBoKayv avrbv pueXkeiv irlixTrpaa-Qai rj 
KaTairlineLv atyva) veicpov — but they expected that he would 
have swollen or fallen down dead suddenly. Both these effects 
— the inflammation of the body, and the falling down dead 
suddenly — are recorded as the results of the bite of the 
African serpent (Alford). 'Eirl 7ro\v Be clvt&v irpoaBoKchv- 
twv — but after they had waited long ; or, more literally, 
" while they were long expecting." MeraftaXofievoi — having 
changed their opinion. MerafiaWo/jLai is often used by 
classical writers to express a change of view or opinion. 1 
The Maltese change their opinion ; they first regard Paul as 
a criminal, and then as a god : but they do so in an opposite 
manner from the Lystrians, who first wished to sacrifice to 
Paul as a god, and then stoned him as a criminal (Acts xiv. 
11). "EXeyov avTov elvai 6ebv — they said that he was a god. 
They considered him a god in human appearance, seeing 
that the poison of serpents could do him no harm. Eisner 
supposes that the inhabitants of Malta formed this opinion, 
because the ancients attributed a divine nature to serpents, 
and frequently worshipped them as gods. The Egyptians 
were peculiarly addicted to the worship of serpents ; and the 
Babylonians in the time of Daniel worshipped the dragon. 
Some (Grotius, Whitby) suppose that the particular god 
here meant was Hercules, who strangled serpents in his 
1 See Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 510. 


cradle, and was worshipped by the Phoenicians ; others 
(Wetstein) think that it was ^Esculapius, as that god is 
represented with a serpent : but both suppositions are ex- 
tremely fanciful. 

Ver. 7. Ta> 7rp(OTq) -n)? vtfcrov ovofiart, Tloifklw — to the first 
man of the island, by name Publius. The title o 7rpwro? rr}<; 
vrjo-ov is the official title of Publius, and does not refer to 
his rank or possessions, as in that sense his father, who was 
then alive, would have been the first man of the island. 
It is accordingly thought that Publius was the governor of 
Malta, being the legate of the praetor of Sicily. This title 
o 7rpwT09 does not indeed occur as the official title of the 
governor of Malta in any ancient author ; but it is a remark- 
able fact that it has been found in two inscriptions, one in 
Greek and the other in Latin, which were discovered at 
Citta Vecchia in Malta. The Greek inscription has the 
words irpobros Mekiralcov, and the Latin the words Mel. 
Primus. 1 It is indeed doubtful what is the precise meaning 
of this title, whether it denotes the Roman governor of 
Malta, or some other distinction ; but unquestionably it is 
an official title : and this is another instance of the extreme 
accuracy of Luke as a historian. According to tradition, 
not only Publius, but almost all the inhabitants of Malta, 
were converted to Christianity by the preaching and miracles 
of Paul. Publius is said to have been the first bishop of 
Malta, and afterwards to have succeeded Dionysius as bishop 
of Athens. Jerome records a tradition of his having suffered 

' AvaBe^dfievos rjfias, etc. — having received us, lodged us 
three days courteously. It is disputed to whom rjfias refers. 
Baumgarten, Stier, and Lewin refer it to the whole com- 
pany ; whereas Meyer limits it to Paul and his companions. 
It is to be observed, that when it is said that the islanders 
received the whole company, the words iravras rjfias (all of 

1 The most important of these inscriptions is that in Greek (Boeckh, 
Corp. Insc. grsec. 5754) : it was first explained in 1647. The Latin 
inscription was discovered at Citta Vecchia in 1747. Smith, however, 
when in Malta, was unable to find either of these inscriptions. 

PAUL AT MALTA. — XXVIII. 8, 9. 427 

us) are employed ; whereas here it is simply ^a? (us) : 
besides, in ver. 10 r/fias can only refer to Paul and his friends. 
Hence, then, it is the more probable opinion that Publius 
received for three days as his guests, Paul, Luke, and Aris- 
tarchus, and perhaps also the centurion Julius (Lechler). 
The report of his miraculous escape from the bite of the 
viper would direct the attention of Publius to Paul as a 
remarkable man ; and Paul repaid his kindness by restoring 
his father to health. " He that receiveth a prophet in the 
name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward." 

Ver. 8. Uvperols kcl\ Svaevrepia) — of a fever and of 
dysentery, Luke, as a physician, particularizes the nature 
of the complaint of the father of Publius. Uvperol^ in 
the plural, denotes successive attacks of fever. This also 
has been adduced as an argument against the island being 
Malta. " The disease," says Dr. Falconer, " with which the 
father of Publius was affected (dysentery combined with 
fever) affords a presumptive evidence of the nature of the 
island. Such a place as Melita Africana (Malta), dry and 
rocky, and remarkably healthy, was not likely to produce a 
disease which is almost peculiar to moist situations." But 
this is founded on an entire mistake. Smith states that in 
point of fact, according to the statement of a physician in 
the island made to him, such a disease is by no means un- 
common in Malta. 

Ver. 9. 01 \onro\ ol ev rfj v^aca e^ovres aaOevetas — the 
rest who had diseases in the island. It is probable, considering 
the small extent of the island, and the comparatively long 
stay of Paul upon it, that, as Baumgarten remarks, there 
did not remain one sick person who did not find healing ; 
but it is fanciful to suppose that Luke records this as a repre- 
sentation of the completed kingdom of God. 1 npoar/p^ovro 
ical idepairevovro — came and icere healed. Lekebusch sup- 
poses, from rjfjias occurring in the next verse, that the inhabit- 
ants of Malta owed their recovery partly to the professional 
skill and treatment of Luke as a physician. 2 But such a 

1 Baumgarten's Apostolic History, vol. iii. p. 302. 

2 Lekebusch's Apostelgeschichte, p. 382. 


rationalistic explanation is directly opposed to the account of 
the cure of Publius (ver. 8), and to the general sense of the 
narrative. Zeller, on the other hand, avoids the miraculous 
in the narrative, by supposing the account to be a mythical 
exaggeration. 1 Such unfounded assertions cannot be met 
with arguments. As interpreters, our business is to discover 
the meaning of the author ; and beyond question he records 
a number of miraculous cures effected by the Apostle Paul. 
By no natural explanations can the miraculous element be 
expunged from the narrative. 

Ver. 10. Ot fcal TroWals ti/jlcus irLfiwaav rjfjLas — who also 
honoured us with many honours. f H/m? — us : evidently Paul 
and his friends, in consequence of the miracles wrought. 
Some render rifiais rewards or gifts — honoraria; but it is 
more natural to translate them distinctions or honours. Paul 
could receive no rewards as a recompense for the miracles 
performed (Matt. x. 8). At his departure, indeed, he and 
his friends were supplied with what things were necessary 
for their wants ; but even these were received not as rewards 
for services done, but as tokens of gratitude. 'Eiredevro ra 
777)05 Ta? xpe/a? — supplied us with what was necessary. This 
would be the more needful, as all their clothing had been 
lost at sea. 

1 Zellers Apostelgeschichte, p. 291. 


Acts xxviii. 11-16. 

11 Now after three months we set sail in an Alexandrian vessel, 
which had wintered in the island, having the sign of the Dioscuri. 
12 And landing at Syracuse, we remained there three days. 13 From 
which place, by tacking about, we came to Rhegium ; and after one day, 
the south wind having arisen, we came on the second day to Puteoli ; 
14 Where finding brethren, we were desired to tarry with them seven 
days : and so we came to Rome. 15 And the brethren having heard of 
us, came thence to meet us as far as Appii Forum, and Tres Tabernse ; 
whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage. 16 And 
when we came to Rome, Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with 
the soldier who guarded him. 


Ver. 16. The words 6 eKarovrap^o^ TrapiSco/ce tovs Bea/jbiovs 
tw aTpaToirehdpyri^ found in G, H, are omitted in A, B, s, 
and the Vulgate. They are retained by Meyer, De Wette, 
and Alford, but are rejected by Griesbach, Lachmann, 
Tischendorf, and Lechler. 


Ver. 11. Mera Be rpets firjva^ — but after three months. 
Paul and his company wintered at Malta. They had set 
sail from the Fair Havens about the beginning of October 
(see note to Acts xxvii. 9) ; and consequently it must have 
been toward the end of that month when they were ship- 
wrecked. The three months' residence, then, would embrace 
November, December, and January ; and the voyage from 



Malta would commence in the February of the following 
year (a.d. 61). 

UapaarjiMp Aioa/covpoi,? — with the sign of the Dioscuri. 
IlapacrrjiMp may be taken either as an adjective — Dioscu- 
rorum effigiebus insignita, u distinguished by the Dioscuri " 
(De Wette, Lechler) ; or as a substantive dependent upon 
avrJxOrjfieV) " with the sign of the Dioscuri" (Meyer). Hapa- 
crrjfjbov or e7riar)/jLov is the sign of a ship, insigne — that which 
distinguishes it from other ships, and gives it its name : this 
might be the image of a god, of a man, or of a beast, a helmet, 
the shield of Minerva, or some other object. Such a figure 
was sculptured or painted on the prow of the ship. It differed 
from the tutela, which was the figure of the guardian deity 
affixed to the stern of the vessel. Thus in Ovid we read, Est 
rnihi, sitque precor, flavce tutela Minervce navis ; et a picta cas- 
side nomen habet (Ovid, Trist. i. 10. 1). Here the insigne or 
name of the ship was a helmet, whilst the tutela or guardian 
divinity was Minerva. In the instance before us, probably 
the insigne and the tutela were the same, namely figures of the 
Dioscuri. 1 The Dioscuri were Castor and Pollux, the sons, 
according to the mythology of the ancients, of Jupiter and 
Leda. They were represented either by two stars, or as two 
young men on horseback. These divinities were regarded as 
the tutelar gods (6eol acorfjpes;) of sailors. Thus in Catullus 
we have mention of a vessel placed under their special pro- 
tection (Catul. iv. 27). So also Horace alludes to them as 
fratres Helence lucida sidera (Od. i. 3. 2). The ancients 
identified them with the phosphoric lights which are some- 
times seen on the masts of ships, and which are called the 
fires of St. Elmo. Luke does not mention that the ship had 
this particular sign to show that Paul was constrained to sail 
in a vessel with an idolatrous sign, or, as Baumgarten thinks, 
to intimate that u on that vessel there did not reign any 
confident security, but confidence in superhuman protection 
and assistance ;" 2 but merely as a historical fact, being the 
reminiscence of one who sailed in the same vessel with Paul. 

1 Kuinoel's Novi Testamenti Libri Historici, vol. iii. p. 380. 

2 Baumgarten's Apostolic History, vol. iii. p. 303. . 


Ver. 12. Kal Kara^Oevre^ et? Hvpa/covaas — and having 
landed at Syracuse. This famous city was situated on the 
east coast of the island of Sicily, about eighty miles, or a day's 
sail, from Malta. It was made up of five cities — namely, the 
island of Ortygia, Achradina, Tycha, Epipolae, and Neapolis 
— and hence probably its plural termination. According to 
Strabo, its wall was twenty-two miles in circumference, and 
it rivalled Carthage in wealth (vi. 2. 4). It was originally a 
Corinthian colony, founded B.C. 700. Syracuse long main- 
tained its independence against the attacks of the Cartha- 
ginians and the Komans; but about B.C. 212 it was taken 
and destroyed by the Romans under Marcellus, during the 
second Punic war. It soon recovered from its desolation, 
and received the privilege of a Roman colony from Augustus. 
In the time of Paul it was much reduced from its former 
greatness, and occupied only the island of Ortygia, with a 
small portion of the mainland (Strabo, vi. 2. 4). At pre- 
sent, although not now the capital of Sicily, it still survives 
as a town of some importance, having a population of about 

Yer. 13. "OOev irepiekOovres — from which place having gone 
round. The meaning of TrepLekOovre? is doubtful. The verb 
irepiep^ofiai signifies u to go about," " to wander up and 
down." See Acts xix. 13 ; 1 Tim. v. 13 ; Heb. xi. 37. De 
Wette supposes that they sailed round the island of Sicily, 
or the southern extremity of Italy ; others suppose that they 
coasted round the eastern shore of Sicily. Lewin thinks 
that the wind was westerly ; and as they were under shelter 
of the high mountainous range of Etna, they were obliged 
to stand out to sea in order to fill their sails, and so came 
to Rhegium by a circuitous sweep ; and he adds in a note : 
u I was informed by a friend many years ago, that when 
he made the voyage himself from Syracuse to Rhegium, 
the vessel in which he sailed took a similar circuit for a 
similar reason." 1 Smith supposes that the wind was north- 
west, and that they worked to windward, availing them- 
selves of the sinuosities of the coast ; but that with this 
1 Lewin's St. Paul, p. 736. 


wind they could not proceed through the Straits of Messina, 
and were therefore obliged to put into Rhegium, at the 
entrance of the straits. 1 Probably the word signifies that, 
on account of contrary winds, they were obliged to sail in 
a zigzag direction by tacking. So Lechler, Alford, Howson, 

KaT7}VTi]craiJL€v et«? 'Prfyiov — we came to Rhegium. Rhegium 
received its name from the Greek verb prjyvvco or ptfyvv/M, 
u to break," because it was thought that the island of Sicily 
was at this point broken off from Italy (Strabo, vi. 1. 6). 
It was situated in the Bruttian territory, near the southern 
extremity of the Straits of Messina. It was originally a 
Greek colony, and was destroyed by Dionysius, the tyrant 
of Syracuse ; but was afterwards rebuilt, and in the time 
of Paul was a considerable city. Ptolemy calls it Julian 
Rhegium. It still exists under the modern name of Reggio, 
having a population of about 15,000, and is the seat of an 
archbishopric. Howson mentions as a singular coincidence, 
that the figures on the coins of Rhegium are Castor and 
Pollux, the same divinities whose forms were sculptured or 
painted on the vessel in which Paul sailed. 2 

'E7ri>yevo{ievov vorov — the south-west wind having arisen. 
The south wind was favourable both for sailing through the 
Straits of Messina and for sailing north to Puteoli. Aevre- 
patot 7]X6o/jb€v et? IIotl6\ou<; — on the second day we came to 
Puteoli. This celebrated seaport, called by Howson u the 
Liverpool of Italy," was situated on the northern extremity 
of the Bay of Naples, about 120 miles from Rome. In 
its immediate neighbourhood were Baiae, the resort of the 
wealthy Romans ; and Misenum, the station of the Roman 
navy. Its original name was Dicsearchia, which was changed 
into Puteoli (from putei, wells) on account of its mineral 
springs (Strabo, v. 4. 6). Josephus mentions it twice by its 
Greek name, Dicsearchia (Ant. xvii. 12. 2, xviii. 7. 2) ; and 

1 Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, p. 151. 

2 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 430. This coin is not 
noticed by Eckhel. There is, however, a coin of Locri, a neighbouring 
city, with the figures of the Dioscuri (Eckhel, i. p. 175). 


in a third passage he says : u I came to Dicaearchia, which 
the Italians call Puteoli" (Vita, 3). Puteoli, originally a 
Greek colony, came into notice during the second Punic war. 
At an early period it became a Roman colony (Liv. xxxiv. 42), 
which privilege, according to Tacitus, was renewed in the 
reign of Nero (Tac. Ann. xiv. 37). It was the principal 
seaport of southern Italy, and was at this time a Roman city 
of the first rank. The ships of Alexandria resorted to this 
port, and there discharged their merchandise. Thus Strabo 
says : " Alexandria exports to Italy more than it receives 
from it, as any one may see who visits both ports, Alexandria 
and Dicaearchia (Puteoli), and watches the arrival and de- 
parture of the merchant vessels" (Strabo, xvii. 1. 7). The 
Alexandrian corn vessels, as we are informed by Seneca, had 
the peculiar privilege of sailing into the harbour of Puteoli 
with all their sails set, whereas other vessels were com- 
pelled to lower their topsails (Ep. 27) ; so that we are 
acquainted with the very manner in which this wheat ship 
of Alexandria entered into port. Puteoli was also the point 
of embarkation for the East. Thus Suetonius tells us that 
Titus, in coming from Alexandria, arrived first at Rhegium, 
and sailed thence in a merchant vessel to Puteoli (Suet. 
Titus, v.). It was also familiar to the Jews, as they were 
accustomed to land and embark there in their journeys to 
and from Rome (Joseph. Ant. xviii. 7. 2). Puteoli is now a 
small town, or rather village, known by the name of Pozzuoli. 
The remains of the ancient town are considerable. The most 
worthy of note are sixteen piers, forming a part of the ancient 
mole, which stretched into the sea, and over which Paul must 
have walked ; and the so-called temple of Serapis, which, on 
account of its being pierced in several places at different 
altitudes by lithodomi, affords unquestionable evidence of the 
subsidence and rise of the land (see Lyell's Principles of 

The distance between Rhegium and Puteoli, which is about 
a hundred and eighty miles, was accomplished by the Alex- 
andrian vessel " Castor and Pollux " in less than two days. 
The voyage must have been a rapid one, at the rate of six or 

VOL. II. 2 E 


seven miles an hour ; the south wind being extremely favour- 
able. The rate of sailing among the ancients was often very 
considerable : there is mention of long voyages made in a 
short space of time. Strabo mentions that a vessel could 
sail from Sammonium (Salmone in Crete) to Egypt in four 
days, — a distance of 5000 furlongs, or 625 miles, which gives 
a rate of six and a half miles an hour (Strabo, x. 4. 5). 
Herodotus tells us that a ship could sail in twenty-four hours 
1300 furlongs, or about six and a half miles an hour. Pliny 
mentions passages from the Straits of Gibraltar to Ostia in 
seven days ; from the nearest port of Spain in four ; from 
the province of Narbonne in three ; and from Africa in 
two ; which would afford an average rate of seven miles an 
hour. Thus, then, the rapid voyage of the apostle between 
Rhegium and Puteoli is not unexampled in voyages made by 
the ancients. 1 

Ver. 14. Ov evpovres aSeXfovs — where finding brethren. 
At Puteoli Paul met Christian brethren. Being a seaport of 
great resort, and the usual landing-place from Syria, the 
gospel might easily be carried there by travellers from the 
East. Alford supposes that these Christians were Alexan- 
drians, because the commerce was so considerable between 
these two places. But there is no necessity for this suppo- 
sition : they were in all probability natives of Puteoli. Tlape- 
KXrjdrjijLev eV avrols eirifielva rjixepas eiTTa — we were desired 
to tarry with them seven days. We are not informed who 
made this request, but probably it was the brethren of 
Puteoli ; nor are we told whether this request was granted, 
but this is evidently to be understood. It was doubtless 
with the permission of Julius that Paul, and consequently 
the whole company, remained at Puteoli for seven days. 
This is another proof of the high esteem in which Paul was 
held by the centurion. Kal oirro)? ek rrjv 'Poo/jltjv tfXOafiev 
— and thus we went to Borne : either mentioned by anticipa- 
tion, or a statement that after the seven days they proceeded 
on their journey to Home. They would first proceed to 

1 See Biscoe on the Acts, p. 345 ; Smith's Voyage of St. Paul, pp. 
208, 209. 


Capua, about twelve miles distant, where they would join 
the celebrated Appian Way, which led direct to Rome. 

Yer. 15. Ka/celOev ol aSeXcfrol aKovaavre^ ra irepl rj/ucov, 
etc. — And the brethren, having heard the things concerning as, 
came thence to meet us. By the brethren here are meant the 
native Christians, resident at Rome. As Paul tarried seven 
days at Puteoli, the news of his arrival would easily have 
reached Rome, so as to afford time for the brethren to meet 
him. It is remarkable that we have no certain information 
by whom Christianity was introduced into Rome. Probably 
it was by some of the Jewish residents there, who, being at 
Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, were then converted 
(Acts ii. 10). At first the church would be composed chiefly 
of Jewish Christians ; but these would be dispersed, when 
Claudius banished all the Jews from Rome. Afterwards, 
when the edict was reversed, numerous Christians, as appears 
from the Epistle to the Romans, came and settled there; 
and an intimacy would be kept up between Paul and the 
church by means of Aquila and Priscilla, and others of Paul's 
friends who were among the leading Christians at Rome. 
The Roman Christians had also been made aware that 
Paul had been for some years desirous to visit them (Rom. 
i. 10-15, xv. 28). 

"Ayjpis 'Attttiov $6pov — as far as Appii Forum. Appii 
Forum was an obscure town on the Appian Way, about 
forty miles from Rome. It probably received its name from 
Appius Claudius, the constructor of this part of the road. 
It is mentioned both by Cicero (ad Att. ii. 10) and by 
Horace (Sat. i. 5. 4). The latter speaks of it as the resort 
of boatmen and low tavern-keepers : Inde Forum Appi, 
differtum nautis, cauponibus atque malignis} The celebrated 
Via Appia, along which Paul travelled, called by Statius 
" the queen of ways," was the oldest and most frequented 
road in Italy. It was constructed by Appius Claudius, and 

1 Appii Forum was an inland town, but it was at the extremity of 
the canal formed by Augustus for draining the Pomptine marshes ; and 
hence the sailors (nautis) mentioned by Horace were the boatmen 
employed on this canal. 


led from Eome to Capua, and thence was continued to 
Brundusium on the Adriatic Gulf, on the other side of 
which it was succeeded by the Via Egnatia. 

Kal Tpcwv Tafiepvwv — and Tres Tabernce. Tres Tabernae 
was another obscure town on the Appian Way, about ten 
miles nearer Rome. The Antonine Itinerary gives the fol- 
lowing table of distances, reckoning southwards from Rome : 
to Aricia, sixteen miles ; to Tres Tabernae, seventeen miles ; to 
Appii Forum, ten miles. Cicero mentions both towns in one 
of his epistles: Ab Appii Foro hora quarta; dederam aliam 
paullo ante Tribus Tabernis (Cic. ad Att. ii. 10). Tres 
Tabernae was in the reign of Constantine the seat of a 
bishopric ; for among the bishops appointed by that emperor 
to decide the controversy between Donatus and Caecilianus, 
there is mention of Felix the bishop of Tres Tabernae. The 
brethren from Rome thus met Paul in two parties : some 
came as far as Appii Forum, forty-three miles distant ; and 
others to Tres Tabernae, thirty-three miles distant. 

Ov? l&cbv 6 ITaOXo?, ev%apLO-Trjcra<; tw @ea>, eXaftev Odpaos 
— whom Paul seeing, having thanked God, took courage. Paul 
knew that there was a flourishing church in Rome, to which 
several years ago he had written a long epistle, and which 
he. had earnestly desired to visit; and now this friendly 
reception by the brethren who had come so many miles to 
meet him, even although he was a prisoner, must have 
cheered his heart, and greatly encouraged him in the work 
of the Lord. Videbat Christum etiam Romo3 esse. Non 
semper idem impetus etiam in Paulo fuit. Jam obliviscitur 
molestiarum itineris (Bengel). 

Ver. 16. "Ore Be elcrrjXOafAev efc e Pcofi7]v — but when we came 
to Rome. Paul entered Rome by the Appian Way through 
the gate Capena. 1 He would then be led to the Prae- 
torium, the quarter of the household troops attached to the 
palace on the Palatine hill ; or to the great praetorian camp 
(Castrum Pro?torium) situated outside the wall to the north- 

1 Paul arrived at Rome in March 61, in the seventh year of the reign 
of Nero, in the consulship of Csesonius Psetus and Petronius Turpilianus 
(Tac. Ann. xiv. 29). 


east of the city. And now Paul found himself in Rome, 
the political metropolis of the world, where were assembled 
the representatives of all nations, and where Jesus Christ 
had already a flourishing church. We cannot over-estimate 
the importance of this event in the history of the church and 
of the world. Paul was probably the first of the apostles of 
Christ who trod the streets of the imperial city : his long 
residence there, and the liberty which he enjoyed in preach- 
ing the gospel, must have given a mighty impetus to the 
spread of Christianity. 

e O eicaTOVTap'Xps irapeSco/cev tou? Bea/jblov; rep aTparo- 
7reSdp^(r) — The centurion delivered up the prisoners to the 
prcetorian prefect. The genuineness of these words is dis- 
puted. (See Critical Note.) The external authorities are 
against their admission ; whereas the internal evidence is 
in favour of their reception. By (TTparoirehapyr} is un- 
doubtedly meant the prefect of the praetorian guard — pro?- 
fectus prcetorio. The praetorian camp was first formed by 
Sejanus, the favourite of Tiberius ; and the commander of 
it was the most influential subject of the empire. In general, 
the power was shared between two, as it was regarded too 
great to be entrusted to one person. One of the duties of 
the praetorian prefect was to keep in custody all accused 
persons who were to be tried before the emperor. Thus 
Herod Agrippa I., when a prisoner at Rome, was entrusted 
to the care of Macro, the successor of Sejanus (Joseph. Ant. 
xviii. 6. 6). And we learn from Pliny that this was usually 
the case with prisoners sent from the provinces : vinctus mitti 
ad prcefectos prcetorii met debet (Plin. Ep. x. 65). In the 
early part of the reign of Nero, the celebrated Afranius 
Burrus was the prefect of the praetorian guard. Wieseler 
endeavours to determine the chronology of Paul's life from 
the fact that the word aTparoirehap^cc) is in the singular. 
Both before and after Burrus there were two praetorian 
prefects, whereas Burrus occupied this office alone; hence 
Wieseler infers that aTparoirehdpj((p necessarily refers to 
Burrus, and that consequently Paul must have come to Rome 
in the spring of the year 61, as Burrus died early in the year 


62. 1 But to this Meyer replies, that by the singular is meant 
no more than the praetorian prefect who acted in this parti- 
cular case, and who took the charge of Paul and the other 
prisoners. 2 And certainly the expression may be so under- 
stood; so that no chronological date can be inferred from 
this statement. 

^EireTpairrj t&) ITauXw fieveiv kcl6' eavrbv — but it was per- 
rnitted to Paul to dwell by himself. The prisoners who were 
sent from the provinces were usually confined in a prison 
adjoining the praetorian camp ; but sometimes indulgence 
was given to those not charged with heinous crimes, or who 
possessed sufficient influence, to dwell by themselves. This 
favour was accorded to Herod Agrippa I. when a prisoner at 
Rome (Jos. Ant. xviii. 6. 11). Paul received this privilege 
probably from the favourable report that was sent from 
Pestus and Agrippa ; and the centurion Julius would cer- 
tainly use what influence he possessed on his behalf. Thus 
Paul was not kept in the praetorian prison, where he would 
have had no opportunity of preaching the gospel ; but in his 
own house, where liberty of intercourse with all who came 
was granted him. " Let us know," observes Calvin, " that 
God did govern from heaven the bonds of His servant ; not 
only that He might ease him of his trouble, but that the 
faithful might have freer access unto him. For He would 
not have the treasure of his faith shut up in prison ; but He 
would have it laid open, that it might enrich many far and 
wide." 2vv toS <j>v\d<raovTi avrov (TTpaTtcorrj — with the 
soldier who guarded him. Paul thus remained in custodia 
militaris. As the soldiers were frequently relieved, Paul 
would by this means become known to several of the prae- 
torian guard ; and thus Christianity might find an entrance 
among them. Hence Paul speaks of his bonds in Christ 
being manifested in the Praetorium, and in all other places 
(Phil. i. 23). 

1 Wieseler's Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters, p. 86. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 513. 


PAUL AT ROME.— Acts xxviii. 17-31. 

17 And it came to pass, after three days, that he summoned those 
who were the chief of the Jews : and when they were assembled, he said 
to them, Men and brethren, I, having done nothing against this people 
or the customs of our fathers, was delivered a prisoner from Jerusalem 
into the hands of the Romans : 18 Who, having examined me, wished to 
release me, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But the Jews 
speaking against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar ; not as 
having anything to accuse my nation of. 20 For this cause therefore I 
desired to see you, and to speak with you : because for the hope of Israel 
I am encompassed with this chain. 21 j But they said to him, We 
neither received letters from Judea concerning you, neither did any 
of the brethren who came hither relate or speak any evil concerning 
you. 22 But we think it right to hear from you what you think : for 
concerning this sect, we know that it is everywhere spoken against. 
23 And when they had appointed him a day, more came to him to his 
lodging ; to whom he expounded, testifying the kingdom of God, and 
persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from 
the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were convinced 
by what was spoken, but others believed not. 25 And when they 
agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken 
one word, Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet to your 
fathers, 26 Saying, Go ye to this people, and say, With hearing you 
shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing you shall see, and 
not perceive : 27 For the heart of this people has become fat, and they 
have heard heavily with their ears, and their eyes have they closed ; lest 
they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and under- 
stand with their heart, and be converted, and I will heal them. 28 Be 
it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God has been sent 
to the Gentiles, and they shall hear. 

29, 30 And he dwelt for two whole years in his own hired house, and 
received all who came to him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and 
teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, 
without hindrance. 




Ver. 17. Tbv Havkov is the reading of G, H; whereas 
A, B, X have avrov, the reading generally adopted by recent 
critics. Ver. 25. 'Hjaoov after irarepas is found in G, H ; 
whereas A, B, K have v/jlcov, the reading adopted by Lach- 
mann and Tischendorf. Ver. 28. To acorrjpLov is the read- 
ing of E, G, H ; whereas A, B, K have tovto to o-cortfpiov, 
the reading approved of by Lachmann and Tischendorf. 
Ver. 29. This whole verse, /ecu ravra avrov elirovTos airrj\6ov 
oi 'IovBaioi TrdWrjv e^ovTes iv kavrols o-v^Trjatv^ found in 
G, H, is wanting in A, B, E, K, and the Syriac, and is 
omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf. Ver. 30. The words 
o JTauXo? ? found in G, H, are wanting in A, B, E, K, and 
are rejected by most recent critics. 


Ver. 17. 'Eyivero Be fjuera r/fiepas rpels — but it came 
to pass after three days. Paul showed his earnestness, in 
sending for the rulers of the Jews only three days after 
his arrival at Rome. The three days would probably be 
spent in intercourse with the Eoman Christians, in procuring 
a lodging, and in refreshing himself after his long journey. 
^WKoXeaaaOat avrov robs ovra<; twv 'IovBalcov irptorovs — 
that he summoned those who were the chief of the Jews. The 
Jews were very numerous at Rome, and were confined to a 
particular quarter of the city on the other side of the Tiber 
(Trans-tiberine). There were so many of them, that when 
a petition was sent to the emperor from Jerusalem against 
Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great, it was supported by 
eight thousand Jews resident in Rome (Joseph. Ant. xvii. 
11. I). 1 They had indeed been banished by Claudius ; but 
this decree had been abrogated on the accession of Nero, if 
not in the lifetime of Claudius himself. Aquila and Priscilla 
several years before this had returned to Rome (Rom. 
1 See Lewin's St. Paul, vol. ii. pp. 753, 754. 

PAUL AT ROME. — XXVIII. 17. 441 

xvi. 3). 1 By the chief of the Jews are here meant the rulers 
of the synagogues, or the heads of the principal Jewish 
families at Rome. Paul was naturally anxious to justify 
himself before them, and thus to remove any obstacle which 
might hinder the reception of the gospel. He thought that 
reports prejudicial to him might have been sent and cir- 
culated among them by the Jews of Judea — that he was an 
apostate from Judaism, that everywhere he attacked the 
Mosaic law, and that by appealing to Caesar he intended to 
accuse the Jews. Besides, the fact that he was a prisoner 
might cause the Roman Jews to regard him with suspicion. 
In all this he had not a regard to his own interests, but he did 
all things for the sake of the gospel. He also acted upon 
his principle of preaching the gospel to the Jew first, and 
then to the Gentile (Rom. i. 16). Zeller objects that it is 
highly improbable that Paul should seek to justify himself 
to the Jews, before he had first made acquaintance with the 
Christian church, whom according to the Epistle to the 
Romans he desired so greatly to see ; and hence he affirms 
that the author of the Acts here ignores the existence of this 
church, from a wish to represent Paul as the founder of 
Christianity at Rome. 2 But Luke had already mentioned 
the existence of Christians at Rome who had come to meet 
the apostle (ver. 15). Besides, the object of his history was 
not to represent the labours of the apostle among those who 
were Christians, but the progress of Christianity among 
those who were not. And it is highly probable that part of 
the three previous days were spent with the Christians ; or 
if not, the apostle would have ample opportunities of seeing 
and conversing with them afterwards. 

Eya) ovBev 'vamlov iroirjaa^ tg3 \aa> rj rot? eOeatv tols 
TTCLTpcpois — / having done nothing against this people or the 
customs of the fathers. Here again Zeller objects : " With 
what conscience can the apostle say that he has done nothing 
against the Mosaic institutions — he, whose whole aim in life 
was nothing else than an endeavour to supplant these institu- 

1 See note to Acts xviii. 2. 

2 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 292, 372. 


tions by faith in Christ, whose whole religious consciousness 
had its centre in the abolition of the law by the gospel 1 nl 
But this objection arises from a mistaken view of the 
apostle's opinions. He held that, so far from abolishing, he 
fulfilled the law by the gospel; that Christianity was the 
true development of Judaism; and that the Christian was 
the true Jew. His opposition was not against the law, but 
against its abuse — against the opinion that it was sufficient 
for justification ; but, so far from calling in question, he 
maintained and defended its divine origin and authority. 

Ver. 18. OiTive? dvaicpivavTes fie efiovXovro anroKvaai — 
who, having examined me, wished to release me. Had the 
Roman rulers been left to their own judgment, Paul would 
certainly have been released. Aia to /irjBefiiav ah lav davd- 
tov virdp^eiv ev efioi — because there was no cause of death in 
me. The Roman governors united in pronouncing Paul 
innocent. Lysias, the chief captain, declared that there was 
nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds (Acts 
xxiii. 29). Felix did not treat him as a criminal (Acts 
xxiv. 23). Festus affirmed that he had committed nothing 
worthy of death (Acts xxv. 25). And the judgment of 
King Agrippa was : * This man might have been set at 
liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar" (Acts xxvi. 32). 

Ver. 19. 'AvTiXeyovrcov Be tcov 'IovBalcov rjvay/cdo-Oat, eirv- 
KaXeaaaOau Kalaapa — but the Jews contradicting, I was con- 
strained to appeal to Ccesar. This notice, as Meyer observes, 
completes the narrative of Paul's appeal to Caesar (Acts 
xxv. 2-12). We are thus to conceive of the matter : After 
Paul had made his defence, Festus expressed his willingness 
to release him ; the Jews, however, opposed his doing so ; 
whereupon Festus proposed that the trial should be removed 
to Jerusalem, and then it was that Paul felt himself con- 
strained in self-defence to appeal to Caesar. 2 Ov% &>? rod 
eOvovs fiov eycav to /carrjyopeLV — not as having anything to 
accuse my nation of. Paul's appeal was entirely defensive : 

1 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, p. 292. See also Davidson's New Intro- 
duction, vol. ii. pp. 225, 226, where the same objection is stated. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 515. 

PAUL AT ROME. — XXVIII. 20, 21. 443 

he saw that the Jews were determined to destroy him, and 
he felt that he could not trust the protection of Festus ; and 
hence, to save himself, he exercised his privilege as a Roman 
citizen of appealing to Cassar. The Jews seem to have 
insinuated that he appealed in order that he might have 
an opportunity of accusing his nation of maltreating him ; 
but such a charge the apostle repudiates. Although most 
unjustly and cruelly treated, he was not an accuser of his 

Ver. 20. f, Eve/cev <yap t?}? ekirlhos tov *Iaparj\ — because on 
account of the hope of Israel. By " the hope of Israel" here 
is meant the Messianic hope — the promise of the Messiah. 
(See note to Actsxxvi. 6.) As if the apostle had said : u My 
sufferings are caused on account of my belief in the fulfil- 
ment of the hope of Israel." And this was certainly the case. 
It was his belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah that was 
the cause of the hatred of the Jews, and of all those per- 
secutions and sufferings which he endured. Trjv akvaiv 
ravrrjv irepUeLfiai — / am encompassed with this chain. Hepi- 
K€i/j,ai, " to surround," " to encompass," referring perhaps 
to the fact that the chain encompassed his arm. As already 
noticed, it was the custom of the Romans to bind their 
prisoners to soldiers who kept them. Perhaps, however, the 
expression may be a general allusion to his imprisonment, 
without necessarily implying that he was always bound to a 

Ver. 21. 'Hfjueis ovre ypdfifjLaTa iBe^d/ieOa Trepl arov diro 
T?}? 'JovoWa?, etc. — We neither received letters from Judea 
concerning thee, neither did any of the brethren who came 
hither relate or speak any evil of thee. At first sight, it 
appears strange that the Roman Jews should profess such 
ignorance of Paul. It is, however, probable that no official 
letter from the Sanhedrim concerning him had reached 
Rome. During Paul's two years' imprisonment at Ca3sarea, 
the Jews in Jerusalem would have no cause to communicate 
with the Roman Jews, because Paul was in their own country, 
and they trusted that they might destroy him there, and his 
removal to Rome was not expected. After his appeal, and 


the resolution of Festus to send him to Caesar, the Jews 
had not time to send information. Paul left shortly after 
the appeal, about autumn, and the sea was soon closed ; 
and besides, it was with a favourable voyage that he came 
from Malta to Puteoli, so that he would be at Rome sooner 
than any intelligence from Jerusalem (Meyer). But although 
no official letters from Judea may have reached Rome, yet 
it is strange that the Jews there had not heard something to 
Paul's disadvantage from the brethren who came from Judea. 
For many years Paul w r as one of the most prominent leaders 
of Christianity, and was everywhere hated by the Jews ; and 
three years before this, all Jerusalem was in an uproar in 
consequence of his appearance in the temple. The com- 
munication between Jerusalem and Rome was frequent, and 
about this very time a deputation of the chief of the Jews in 
Caesarea had come with a petition against Felix (Joseph. 
Ant. xx. 8. 9). 1 Olshausen supposes that, as the Jews 
had been expelled from Rome by Claudius, the connections 
which the Jews of Jerusalem had with them were inter- 
rupted, and had not been as yet completely resumed, and 
thus it happened that no intelligence had been sent to Rome. 2 
This, however, is in the highest degree improbable, if not 
historically erroneous. Meyer supposes that the Roman 
Jews here acted with reserve, and affirm only that they had 
no official information, in order to appear impartial, and to 
encourage Paul to an unreserved communication. 3 The 
probability is, that they express themselves politely to Paul ; 
for although they may have heard of him, and that to his 
disadvantage, yet they do not feel themselves obliged to 
acknowledge it. Removed from the scene, they had no reason 
to be prejudiced against him. There was no official com- 
munication concerning him, and the reports which reached 
them were mere rumours. 4 

1 Zeller's ApostelgescMchte, pp. 295-297. 

2 Olshausen on the Gospels and the Acts, vol. iv. p. 505. 

3 Meyer's ApostelgescMchte, pp. 516, 517. 

4 According to Stier and others, the Eoman Jews here show a want 
of candour, and utter a falsehood (Stier's Words of the Apostles, p. 510). 

PAUL AT ROME. — XXVIII. 22. 445 

Ver. 22. Ilepl fiev jap rfjs alpiaecos tclvttis, etc. — for con- 
cerning this sect we know that it is everywhere spoken against. 1 
Baur and Zeller object to this statement of the Jews, that 
it represents their knowledge of Christianity as proceeding 
entirely from hearsay, whereas there was at this time in Rome 
a large and flourishing church. " We know," observes 
Zeller, " from the Epistle to the Romans, that some years 
before this a very considerable Christian church existed in 
Rome, — a church whose faith was spoken of throughout the 
whole world (Rom. i. 8). We learn also from the same 
document, that several of its members were Jewish Chris- 
tians, and that it had in it a considerable Judaizing element, 
from which it is evident that it could not have existed with- 
out a connection with the Roman Jews. How, then, is it 
possible that of such a church nothing further should be 
known by the chief of the Jews, than that their doctrine was 
everywhere spoken against I " 2 Different answers have been 
given to this objection. Olshausen thinks that, since the 
expulsion of the Jews by Claudius, both Jews and Chris- 
tians alike maintained a designed separation, and thus gra- 
dually lost their acquaintance with one another. Neander 
observes : " If we consider the immense size of the metropolis, 
and the vast confluence of human beings it contained, and if 
to this we add that the main body of that church consisted 
of Gentiles, and that those wealthy Jews busied themselves 
far more about other objects than the concerns of religion, 
it is not inconceivable that they knew little or nothing of 
the Christian church which existed in the same city with 
themselves." 3 Some (Schneckenburger, Tholuck) think that 
the Jews dissimulated, and purposely concealed their better 
acquaintance with Christianity ; others (Philippi, Hackett, 
Humphry), that since their expulsion by Claudius the situa- 
tion of the Jews at Rome was insecure, and that as it is 
probable from the statement of Suetonius they had been 

1 For the hostility of the Jews to Christianity, see note to Acts xiv. 2. 

2 Zeller's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 293, 294 ; Baur's Apostel Paulus, vol. i. 
p. 363. 

3 Neander's Planting, vol. i. p. 311. 


expelled on account of their dissensions about Christianity, 
they were extremely guarded in their statements, for fear of 
again bringing themselves into trouble ; 1 and others (Meyer, 
Lechler), that there was an intentional reserve, partly from 
caution toward the Eoman authorities, and partly in order 
that Paul might explain himself freely and unreservedly. 2 
But we do not see that the statement of the Jews requires 
any apology. With full knowledge of the existence of a 
Christian church among them, they might with perfect 
truthfulness express themselves as they do : u Concerning 
this sect, we know that it is everywhere spoken against." 

Ver. 23. ITkeiove<; — more; that is, more than were with 
him on the former occasion. AiafiapTvpofievos ttjv fiaaCkeiav 
rod Qeov — testifying the kingdom of God; that is, the Mes- 
sianic kingdom. The apostle insisted on the spiritual nature 
of this kingdom, in opposition to the common Jewish notion 
of a temporal kingdom. IleiOaiv — persuading; not "teach- 
ing" (Kuinoel), but arguing, reasoning with them. Ilepl 
rod 'I^crov — concerning Jesus ; maintaining from the predic- 
tions concerning the Messiah in the law of Moses and in the 
prophets, that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, then, the apostle 
insisted on these two points : that the Messianic kingdom 
was spiritual, and that Jesus was the Messiah. 

Ver. 24. Kal ol /xev eireidovjo toIs Xeyo/juevois, oi Be rjirlcr- 
tovv — And some were persuaded by what was spoken, and others 
believed not. The result of Paul's reasoning with the Jews 
was various : some were convinced, and embraced Chris- 
tianity ; others remained in unbelief. It would appear from 
the words which follow, that the majority of the meeting did 
not believe. 

Ver. 25. 'Ao-v/jlcjxdvol Be ovres irpbs aXkrjXov? — and as they 
agreed not among themselves. From this it would appear that 
the believing and unbelieving Jews disputed among them- 
selves : the gospel was the cause of dissension. M The malice 
and wickedness of unbelievers," observes Calvin, " is the 
cause that Christ, who is our peace, and the only bond of 

1 Humphry on the Acts, p, 216 ; Hackett on the Acts, p. 458. 

2 Meyer's ApostelgescMchte, p, 518. 

PAUL AT ROME. — XXVIII. 26-28. 447 

holy union, becomes the occasion of dissension among those 
who were friends before. For when these Jews came together 
to hear Paul, they were all of one mind, and all professed 
that they embraced the law of Moses. But so soon as they 
hear the doctrine of reconciliation, a dissension arises among 
them, so that they are divided. And yet we must not think 
that the preaching of the gospel is the cause of discord, but 
that enmity which before lay hid in their wicked hearts does 
then break out ; as the brightness of the sun does not create 
new colours, but shows the difference which in the darkness 
was not discernible." 1 EIttovto? tov UavKov prjfia ev — Paul, 
having said to them one word. Just as they were in the act 
of departing, Paul addressed to them an important remark. 
"Ev — one. An additional observation after so much discourse, 
and that a saying of great moment. Of course the apostle 
did not apply the passage from the prophecies of Isaiah to all, 
but only to those who rejected the gospel. 

Vers. 26, 27. The prediction contained in these verses is a 
quotation from Isa. vi. 9, 10 ; and the words almost exactly 
agree with those in the Septuagint. It is quoted oftener than 
any other passage from the Old Testament, being found in 
the New Testament no less than six times (Matt. xiii. 14 ; 
Mark iv. 12 ; Luke viii. 10 ; John xii. 40 ; Rom. xi. 8 ; and 
here, Acts xxviii. 26, 27). The original meaning of the pre- 
diction is obvious. It is contained in a passage wherein 
Isaiah receives his divine commission to be a prophet in 
Israel. He is told that the effect of his preaching on the 
great mass of the people would not be to convert, but to 
blind and harden them ; that they would obstinately harden 
themselves against his declarations. The words themselves 
require no explanation. The passage received its Messianic 
fulfilment in the impenitence of the Jews, and in their oppo- 
sition to the gospel. The only effect which Christianity had 
upon the great mass of the nation was to harden them. 

Ver. 28. Ovv — therefore; because ye are hardened and 
irreclaimable. Not, however, that the preaching of the 
gospel to the Gentiles depended on its rejection by the 
1 Calvin, in loco. 


Jews. Tovto to acDTTjptov rov Qeov — this salvation of God : 
not merely the Christian doctrine (Kuinoel, Grotius), but 
this Messianic saltation announced in the above prediction 
(Meyer). AvtoI koI a/covo-ovrai — and they shall hear it : thus 
predicting the success of the gospel among the Gentiles. 
And this was in general the result of the apostles' preaching : 
the Gentiles were convinced, whilst the Jews remained in 

Ver. 30. ''Evefieivev he $L€Tiav oXtjv — but he remained for 
two whole years, Bottger supposes that Paul was a prisoner 
only for a few days after his arrival at Eome; that then 
he obtained his liberty, and lived for these two years in 
absolute freedom. 1 But this is not borne out by the narra- 
tive. We read, indeed, that he received all who came to 
him; but we do not read that he had liberty to visit the 
synagogues or the Christian assemblies. And the very ex- 
pression with which Luke concludes his narrative, that he 
preached the word with all boldness and without molestation, 
implies that it was something remarkable, which it would not 
have been were the apostle at perfect liberty. Besides, in 
the epistles which Paul wrote at this time, he makes mention 
of his bonds in Christ (Phil. i. 13, 16) ; thus showing that 
he was still in custody. These two years' imprisonment at 
Rome remind us of his two years' imprisonment at Caesarea. 
On both occasions Paul was treated with mildness ; but it 
appears that greater freedom was granted him at Rome 
than at Caesarea. At Caesarea he was confined in the Prae- 
torium, and was only permitted to receive the visits of his 
friends ; whereas at Rome he dwelt in his own hired house, 
and received all who came to him. We read nothing of his 
preaching the gospel at Caesarea, and no epistles written 
during that imprisonment have come down to us; whereas 
at Rome he was allowed to preach without molestation, and 
to correspond with the churches which he had planted. 

We are not to wonder at the delay of the trial, when 
we consider the forms and procrastinating nature of the 

1 Bottger, Beitrdge zur historisch-kritischen Einleitung in die pauli- 
nischen Briefe. 

PAUL AT ROME.— -XXVIII. 31. 449 

Roman law. It was requisite that Paul's accusers should 
appear in person : the witnesses against him had also to be 
summoned from Jerusalem ; and, as Howson observes, per- 
haps another cause of delay may have arisen from the official 
notice of the case t>y Festus having been lost in the ship- 
wreck, so that another had to be procured. Many of the 
emperors also were noted for their procrastinating habits. 
Thus Josephus, in speaking of the imprisonment of Herod 
Agrippa I., says that Tiberius, according to his usual custom, 
kept him in bonds, being a delayer of affairs, if ever there 
was a king or tyrant that was so {Ant. xviii. 6. 5). 

'Ev l$l(p fAio-Odb/jLCLTi, — in his own hired house. Many critics 
(Meyer, Wieseler, Hackett, Howson) consider that there is 
a difference between efc rrjv geviavj to which the Jew r s came 
by appointment (ver. 23), and iv Z6Yg) fiMrdcofiaTt,, where 
Paul dwelt for two years. According to them, the former 
implies the temporary residence of a guest with friends, 
whereas the latter is a hired lodging which Paul took for a 
permanent residence. The Christians at Rome, and the 
contributions which he received from the Philippian (Phil, 
iv. 10-14) and other churches, would support the apostle 
in his imprisonment. Perhaps also, although a prisoner, he 
was not prevented from working with his own hands, as he 
formerly did at Corinth and Ephesus. 

Ver. 31. Krjpvo-crcov ttjv fiaaCkelav rod Qeov — preaching 
the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the 
Lord Jesus Christ. Tarn viva voce prcesentibus, quam per 
literas absentibus (Kuincel). Paul's chief employment at 
Rome was preaching the gospel. His liberty was, indeed, 
in some measure restricted. He could not go where he 
would. He could not, as in other cities, teach in the syna- 
gogues of the Jews. He had to confine himself to his own 
house. But, on the other hand, he was under the protection 
of the Roman government, and met with no molestation 
either from the unbelieving Jews or from the ignorant 
multitude. And from his epistles we learn that his preach- 
ing was successful, and that the gospel of Christ penetrated 
even into the Prsetorium of Caesar. It was also during these 

VOL. II. 2 F 


two years that he wrote several of his immortal epistles. 
Critics are in general agreed that it was during this im- 
prisonment that the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, 
Philippians, and Philemon were written. ' AkwXvtq)? — 
without hindrance. With this word closes the Acts of the 
Apostles, thus shadowing forth the final victory of the gospel. 
Victoria verbi Dei, Paulus Roma?, apex evangelii, Actorum 
finis : quo3 Lucus alioqui facile potuisset ad exitum Pauli per- 
ducere. Hierosolymis ccepit, Roma? desinit (Bengel). 

Thus Luke concludes his history with the two years' im- 
prisonment of Paul at Rome. We are not informed, as 
some might expect, and all would desire, what occurred 
after the lapse of these two years ; whether Paul then suffered 
martyrdom, or whether he was released from his imprison- 
ment, or whether his condition remained unchanged. Some, 
indeed (Wieseler, Lekebusch), assert that the words epeive Se 
hierlav okrjv iv Ihltp /jbiaOco/iari,, with which Luke concludes 
his account of Paul, necessarily imply that at the end of 
the two years some important change took place in the 
situation of the apostle — either his release or his martyr- 
dom ; for if his situation remained unchanged, Luke would 
have used either the present or the perfect tense. 1 But the 
force of this observation is by no means apparent. Luke 
might well employ the historical tense in describing a situa- 
tion which still continued. And yet we are not to infer that 
the conclusion of the work is abrupt : for, as Meyer w T ell 
observes, the two last verses are linguistically sonorous and 
rounded, and form a suitable conclusion ; indeed, a conclu- 
sion similar to that with which the author ends his Gospel 
(Luke xxiv. 52, 53). 2 A great variety of opinions have been 
formed to account for the reason why Luke concludes his 
work as he does, without giving us information concerning 
the fate of the apostle. Schleiermacher supposes that he 
was prevented finishing the work, and Schott thinks that 
the conclusion is lost ; but both explanations are contradicted 
by the concluding words of the historian. Others suppose 

1 Lekebusch's Apostelgeschichte, pp. 415, 416. 

2 Meyer's Apostelgeschichte, p. 520. 


that the author had exhausted the documents from which 
he drew his history. One of the most common opinions is, 
that after his second treatise Luke intended to write a third, 
but was prevented doing so perhaps by his death: so ap- 
proximately Heinrichs, Credner, Ewald, Estius, Meyer. Hug 
supposes that Luke did not mention the fate of Paul, because 
it was already known to Theophilus, for whose use he wrote 
this history. Alford and Schaff think that the narrative 
was carried up to the time that. Luke wrote ; that then no 
considerable change in the circumstances of the apostle took 
place ; and that, consequently, he had nothing further to 
relate. The most probable opinion is, that Luke had accom- 
plished the purpose which he intended in the composition of 
the work. It must ever be remembered that the Acts of the 
Apostles is not a biography of Paul, and therefore, however 
interesting his fate might be to us, it formed no part of the 
design of the author. What Luke intended, was to give an 
account of the 'progress of Christianity. He commences 
with its rise at Jerusalem, and concludes with its reception 
at Rome ; and having arrived at this point, he seems to 
have felt that his work was accomplished ; and thus, with an 
emphatic and artistically formed sentence, he concludes his 
history. So approximately Hilgenfeld, Baumgarten, De 
Wette, Lekebusch, Alexander, Wordsworth. 


It is a question much discussed, whether Paul was released- 
after his two years' imprisonment at Rome. Some hold that, 
after the lapse of two years, Paul was tried and acquitted ; 
that he then left Rome, and for several years preached the 
gospel in Macedonia, Achaia, Crete, proconsular Asia, and 
perhaps accomplished his intended journey to Spain (Rom. 
xv. 24) ; that he was again arrested and imprisoned for the 
second time at Rome, and there suffered martyrdom. Others, 
again, hold that Paul was never released from his imprison- 


ment, but that it terminated with his martyrdom. The belief 
of two Roman imprisonments was almost universal among 
the Fathers and ancient commentators; modern critics are 
much divided in their opinions. Baronius, Hug, Mosheim, 
Schott, Credner, Guericke, Gieseler, Neudecker, Neander, 
Olshausen, Lange, Bunsen ; and of English divines, Usher, 
Pearson, Lardner, Paley, Alford, Humphry, Lewin, and 
Howson; and Hackett of America — are among those who 
maintain that there are two imprisonments; whereas on 
the other side of the question are to be named Petavius, 
Schrader, Schmidt, Hemsen, Eichhorn, Winer, De Wette, 
Baur, Zeller, Wieseler, Schaff, Thiersch, Renan, and among 
English divines, Davidson. 

The arguments in favour of a second Roman imprisonment 
may be arranged under two heads — the argument derived 
from the tradition of the church, and the argument derived 
from certain allusions in the pastoral epistles. 

Clemens Romanus, a disciple of Paul, asserts that Paul 
preached the gospel in the East and in the West, that he 
taught the whole world righteousness, that he came to the 
extremity of the West, and bore witness before the rulers 
(Clem. Rom. i. ch. v.) : the expression " the extremity of 
the West " (to ripfjua -n}? 8v<Tea)$) is, in a letter from Rome, 
supposed to denote Spain. In the Muratorian Canon, 
written about A.D. 180, we have the following statement : 
a Luke relates to Theophilus the events of which he was an 
eye-witness, as also in a separate place he evidently declares 
the martyrdom of Peter (viz. in Luke xxii. 31-33), but 
(omits) the journey from Rome to Spain." 1 Eusebius in- 
forms us that u Paul, after pleading his cause, is said to have 
again gone forth to preach the gospel, and afterwards came 
to Rome a second time, where he finished his life with 
martyrdom" (Hist. Eccl. ii. 22). Chrysostom says, u Paul, 

1 The words of this fragment are : Lucus optime Theophilo conprindit 
(comprehendit) quia (quse) sub prsesentia ejus singula gerebantur, sicuti et 
semote passionem Petri evidenter declarat, sed profectionem Pauli ab urbe 
ad Spaniam proficiscentis. To make sense of them, omittit has to be 
supplied. See Westcott on the Canon, pp. 466-473. 


after a residence in Rome, departed for Spain ;" and Jerome 
tells us that "Paul was dismissed by Nero, that he might 
preach the gospel in the West." 1 

To these testimonies, however, it j replied that the words 
of Irenseus are declamatory, and tLat the expression "the 
extremity of the West" does not necessarily denote Spain ; 
that the statement found in the Muratorian Canon is corrupt 
in the text, and ambiguous in its meaning; that Eusebius 
mentions the release of Paul from imprisonment, not as his 
own opinion, but as a tradition (X0709 e^et) ; and that Chry- 
sostom and Jerome lived at too distant a period from the 
event to be received as authorities. The tradition that Paul 
preached in Spain is supposed to have had its origin from 
Rom. xv. 24, where the apostle expresses his intention of 
visiting that country ; and certainly those who hold the 
hypothesis of a second imprisonment find a difficulty in 
introducing a visit to Spain in the apostle's journey (see 
below). Upon the whole, we think that the argument from 
tradition is by no means conclusive, and that if this were all 
that could be said in favour of a second imprisonment, this 
hypothesis could not be maintained. 

When, however, we turn to the pastoral epistles, the case 
is altered. We do not, indeed, place much weight upon 
certain expressions in Paul's epistles, written during his two 
years' imprisonment, in which he expresses his expectation 
of being restored to liberty ; as when he writes to the Philip- 
pians, that he trusts in the Lord that he would come shortly 
to them (Phil. ii. 24), and asks Philemon to prepare for him 
a lodging (Philem. 22) ; because circumstances might have 
altered, and these expectations might have been disappointed. 
But it is different with the three pastoral epistles (1st and 
2d Timothy, and Titus) ; for in them journeys are mentioned 
which do not fit in or correspond with any of the missionary 
journeys recorded in the Acts, and which can only be 
accounted for by the supposition that Paul was released from 

1 Conybeare and Howson's St. Paul, vol. ii. pp. 537, 538 ; Alford's 
New Testament, vol. iii. pp. 92, 93 ; Schaff's Apostolic Church, vol. i. 
pp. 397-401. 


his imprisonment, and ag