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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Acts 1:1. τὸν μὲν πρῶτον λόγον, a reference beyond all reasonable doubt to St. Luke’s Gospel. Not merely the dedication of both writings to Theophilus, but their unity of language and style is regarded by critics of all schools as convincing proof of the identity of authorship of Acts and the third Gospel; see Introd. and Zöckler, Greifswalder Studien, p. 128 (1895). In the expression πρῶτος λόγος Ramsay finds an intimation from St. Luke’s own hand that he contemplated a third book at least, otherwise we should have had πρότερος λόγος, St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 23, 27, 28; see to the same effect Zahn, Einleitung in das N. T., ii., 371 (1899), Rendall, Acts of the Apostles, in loco, and cf. comment. on Acts 28:31. So, too, primus is used in Latin not simply as former but as first in a series, Cicero, De Invent., ii., 3. On the other hand, Blass, Grammatik des N.G., p. 34, Acta Apost., p. 16, and more recently Philology of the Gospels, p. 38, maintains that πρῶτος simply = πρότερος (so also Holtzmann and Felten). But Ramsay, whilst pointing out instances in which St. Luke apparently uses πρῶτος differently from this, p. 28 (cf. also Zahn, u. s., p. 389), admits that we cannot attain to any absolute certainty in the passage before us, since no instance occurs of the use of πρότερος by St. Luke.— λόγον: frequently used by classical writers in the sense of a narrative or history contained in a book; see instances in Wetstein. The passage in Plato, Phædo, p. 61, ., is valuable not only for the marked contrast between λόγος and μῦθος, ποιεῖν μύθους ἀλλʼ οὐ λόγους, but also for the use of ποιεῖν (Wendt). Amongst other instances of the phrase ποιεῖν λόγον cf. Galen, De Usu Part., ii., περὶ πρώτων τῶν δακτύλων ἐποιησάμην τὸν λόγον. St. Chrysostom sees in the phrase a proof of the unassuming character of the author: St. Luke does not say “The former Gospel which I preached”. For the anomalous μέν, “solitarium,” without the following δέ, frequent in Luke, see Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 261, cf. Luke 8:5, Acts 3:21; Acts 28:22, etc., and several times in St. Paul. μέν occurs thus six times in the Acts without οὖν—on μὲν οὖν see Acts 1:6.— θεόφιλε: the interjection used here simply in address, as common in Attic Greek, cf. Acts 18:14, Acts 27:21, 1 Timothy 6:11; without the epithet κράτιστε, as in Luke 1:3, and without , θεόφ. alone would have seemed too bold, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 258. It has been suggested that the omission of the epithet κράτιστε, Luke 1:3, denotes that St. Luke’s friendship had become less ceremonious, just as a similar change has been noted in the dedication of Shakespeare’s two poems to the Earl of Southampton; cf. also Zahn, Einleitung, ii. 360. The way in which the epithet κράτιστε is employed elsewhere in the book in addressing Roman officials, Acts 23:26, Acts 24:3, Acts 26:25, has been thought to indicate that Theophilus held some high official post, or that he was at least of equestrian rank (Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller, pp. 388, 389, and his inferences as to the date of Acts). Ramsay is of opinion that the name was given at baptism, and that it was used or known only among Christians, and he infers that this baptismal name is used in Acts because the book was probably written at a time when it was dangerous for a Roman of rank to be recognised as a Christian. But Theophilus was by no means uncommon as a Jewish name; cf. B. D.2, i., p. 25, and also article “Theophilus,” B. D.1 (see also Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 19). The epithet κράτιστος was peculiarly appropriated to Romans holding high office, and actually became during the second century a technical title to denote equestrian rank; and from its use here Zahn maintains not only that Theophilus was a man of some social position, but that he was, when Luke wrote his gospel, not a nember of the Christian Church, since there is no instance in the first two centuries of a Christian addressing his fellow-Christians in a title corresponding as it were to “your Excellency” (Einleitung in das N. T., ii., 360, 383). The instance of the address of the Epist. ad Diognetum, κράτιστε διόγνητε, is alleged by Blass as an instance that the epithet is not always used in the technical sense mentioned; but to this Ramsay replies that if Diognetus was the friend and teacher of Marcus Aurelius, the emperor might well raise his teacher to equestrian rank; Septimius Severus raised his sons’ tutor to the high dignity of the consulship. Ramsay discusses κράτιστος at length in Was Christ born at Bethlehem? (1898), pp. 65, 71, 72, as against Blass, Philology of the Gospels, p. 19. Blass fully recognises that Theophilus held a high position, and that the title in question would naturally occur in a book dedicated to a patron; but it must be borne in mind that Blass regards Theophilus as of Greek extraction, possibly a fellow-citizen with Luke of Antioch, whilst Ramsay sees in him a citizen of Rome and a resident in the imperial city. Theophylact asks why Luke should have cared to write to one man only and to value him so highly, and makes answer that it was because the Evangelist was a guardian of the words spoken by the Lord: “It is not the will of my Father that one of these little ones should perish”. There seems no great reason to doubt that Theophilus was a real personage, and the epithet κράτιστε, at all events in its technical significance, is hardly consistent with any other supposition (see Sanday, Inspiration, p. 319, note). The recent attempt to identify Theophilus with Seneca, referred to by Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 163, must be dismissed as equally groundless and fanciful as the former conjecture that he was no other than Philo.— περὶ πάντων ὧν: the use of πᾶς (mostly after a prep., as here) followed by an attracted relative may be classed amongst the mannerisms of St. Luke (Simcox, Writers of the N. T., p. 24, where other instances are given); see also Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, pp. 1, 2.— ὧν: in St. Luke’s Gospel and in the Acts the frequency of the attraction of the relative again specially characterises him amongst the N.T. writers, Friedrich, u. s., pp. 36 and 100.— ἤρξατο: often regarded as simply pleonastic, but sometimes as emphatic, to intimate that the work which Jesus began on earth He continued in heaven, or that He began the work of the Gospel and committed its continuance to His followers; Zahn, u. s., p. 366 ff. In Winer’s view to regard ἄρχεσθαι as pleonastic is a mere subterfuge to avoid a difficulty, and he renders the passage “what Jesus began both to do and to teach, and continued to do until,” etc. (see also Grimm-Thayer, sub v.), treating it as an example of breviloquence (Winer-Moulton, lxvi., 1). On the whole it is perhaps best to consider the phrase ἤρξ. ποιεῖν with Bengel (in loco) as equivalent to fecit ab initio, although no doubt there is a sense in which, with every Christian for nineteen centuries, St. Luke would regard the whole earthly life of Jesus as a beginning, a prelude to the glory and mighty working to be revealed and perfected in the ascended Lord. The verb is of frequent use in St. Luke’s writings (Friedrich, Zeller, Lekebusch), although in St. Mark’s Gospel it is also constantly found. In the LXX it is often found like חָלַל hi., and also in Apocr. ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν, “Scilicet prius fecit, deinde docuit; prius docuit exemplo, deinde verbo. Unde prius non docuit, quod prius ipse non fecit” (Corn. à Lap.).


Verse 2

Acts 1:2. ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας. In Matt. ἄχρι occurs once or twice, in Mark and and John not at all, in Luke four times, and in Acts sixteen; whilst the commoner μέχρι is found only once in the Gospels and twice in the Acts (Winer-Schmiedel, p. 227, and on the use of the form ἄχρι or ἄχρις see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.). It is seldom used in the LXX, but in 2 Maccabees 14 it occurs twice, Acts 1:10; Acts 1:15; cf. also Symm., 2 Kings 21:16; Theod., Job 32:11.— διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου. The older commentators, and Wendt, Holtzmann, Zöckler, Hilgenfeld, amongst moderns, connect the words with ἐξελέξατο, the reference to the choice of the Apostles through the Holy Ghost standing significantly at the opening of a book in which their endowment with the same divine power is so prominent. On the other hand, it is urged that there is no need to emphasise further the divine choice of the Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13, and see below on Acts 1:25), but that it was important to show that the instructions to continue the work and teaching of Jesus were a divine commission (Weiss), and to emphasise from the commencement of the Acts that Jesus had given this commission to His Apostles through the same divine Spirit Whom they received shortly after His Ascension (Felten). Spitta (who refers Acts 1:1-14 to his inferior source ), whilst he connects διὰ πνεύμ. ἁγ. with ἐντειλάμενος, curiously limits the latter to the command to the Apostles to assemble themselves on the Mount of Olives (so too Jüngst). For other connections of the words see Alford in loco.ἐξελέξατο, always in N.T. ἐκλέγομαι, middle (except, perhaps, in Luke 9:35, but see R.V. and W.H(98)). Another verb very frequent in LXX, used constantly of a divine choice: of God’s choice of Israel, of Jacob, Aaron, David, the tribe of Judah, Zion, and Jerusalem. The verb is also found in the same sense in the middle voice in classical Greek.— ἀνελήμφθη: the verb is used of Elijah’s translation to heaven in the LXX, 2 Kings 2:9-11, also in Sirach 48:9 and 1 Maccabees 2:58, and perhaps of Enoch in Sirach 49:14 (A, μετετέθη). In addition to the present passage (cf. Acts 1:11-12) it is also used in Mark 16:9 and 1 Timothy 3:16 (where it probably forms part of an early Christian Hymn or confession of faith) of our Lord’s Ascension; cf. also Gospel of Peter, 19, in a doubtfully orthodox sense. It is to be noted that the word is here used absolutely, as of an event with which the Apostolic Church was already familiar. On the cognate noun ἀνάληψις, used only by St. Luke in N.T., and absolutely, with reference to the same event, in his Gospel, Luke 9:51, see Psalms of Solomon, Acts 4:20, ed. Ryle and James, p. 49. In the latter passage the word is apparently used for the first time in extant Greek literature, but its meaning is very different from its later technical use with reference to the Assumption of the Blessed; see instances, p. 49, ubi supra. St. Irenæus, i., 10, 1, whilst using the noun of our Lord’s Ascension, is careful to say τὴν ἔνσαρκον εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάληψιν; see especially Swete, The Apostles’ Creed, pp. 70–72, and below on Acts 1:11.


Verse 3

Acts 1:3. οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν, “he also showed himself,” R.V., but margin “presented himself” (cf. Acts 9:41), praebuit se, Vulg. In Acts 9:41 monstravit, h. 1. magis demonstravit (Blass). The verb is used thirteen times in Acts (once in a quotation, Acts 4:26), both transitively and intransitively. St. Luke in his Gospel uses it three times, and as in Acts both transitively and intransitively. In this he is alone amongst the Evangelists. In the Epistles it is found only in St. Paul, and for the most part in a transitive sense.— μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν, “after his passion,” so in A. and R.V.; post passionem suam, Vulg.; “too sacred a word to be expunged from this the only place where it occurs in the Bible,” Humphry, Commentary on R.V.; cf. Acts 3:18, Acts 17:3, Acts 26:23.— ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοιςτεκμήριον only here in N.T.—twice in Wisdom of Solomon 5:11; Wisdom of Solomon 19:13, and 3 Maccabees 3:24. The A.V. followed the Genevan Version by inserting the word “infallible” (although the latter still retained “tokens” instead of “proofs”). But R.V. simply “proofs” expresses the technical use of the word τεκμήριον, convincing, certain evidence. Although in a familiar passage, Wisdom of Solomon 5:11, τεκμήριον and σημεῖον are used as practically synonymous, yet there is no doubt that they were technically distinguished, e.g., Arist., Rhet., i., 2, τῶν σημείων τὸ μὲν ἀναγκαῖον τεκμ. This technical distinction, it may be observed, was strictly maintained by medical men, although St. Luke may no doubt have met the word elsewhere. Thus it is used by Josephus several times, as Krenkel mentions, but he does not mention that it is also used by Thucydides, ii., 39, to say nothing of other classical writers. Galen writes to τὸ μὲν ἐκ τηρήσεως σημεῖον τὸ δὲ ἐξ ἐνδείξεως τεκμήριον, and the context states that rhetoricians as well as physicians had examined the distinction; Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, p. 184. The word also occurs in the Proem of Dioscorides to his De Materia Medica, p. 3, which Vogel and Meyer—Weiss hold that Luke imitated in the Prologue to his Gospel (but see Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 384).— διʼ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα. St. Chrysostom comments οὐ γὰρ εἶπε τεσσαράκοντα ἡμέρας, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἡμερῶν τεσσαράκοντα· ἐφίστατο γὰρ καὶ ἀφίστατο πάλιν. To this interpretation of the genitive with διά Blass refers, and endorses it, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch, p. 129, following the Scholiast. The meaning, if this interpretation is adopted, would therefore be that our Lord did not remain with His disciples continuously ( οὐ διηνεκῶς, Schol.) as before, but that He appeared to them from time to time; non perpetuo, sed per intervalla, Bengel. But cf. also Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 140. Men have seen in this period of forty days, mentioned only by St. Luke in N.T., what we may reverently call a symbolical fitness. But in a certain sense the remark of Blass seems justified: Parum ad rem est quod idem (numerus) alias quoque occurrit. The parallels in the histories of Moses and Elijah to which Holtzmann and Spitta refer are really no parallels at all, and if it be true to say that there was nothing in contemporary Jewish ideas to suggest our Lord’s Resurrection as it is represented as taking place, it is equally true to maintain that there was nothing to suggest the after sojourn of the forty days on earth as it is represented as taking place; see Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii. 624.— ὀπτανόμενος: if we could call this a frequentative verb with some scholars, it would in itself give the meaning “appearing from time to time,” but it is rather a late Hellenistic present, formed from some parts of ὁρᾶν; Blass, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 57, 181. But it certainly does not mean that our Lord’s appearances were merely visionary. The verb is found only here in N.T., but also in LXX 1 Kings 8:8 and in Tobit 12:19 (not in .). In these two passages the word cannot fairly be pressed into the service of visionary appearances. In 1 Kings the reference is to the staves of the ark which were so long that the ends were seen from the holy place before the oracle, but they were not seen from without, i.e., from the porch or vestibule. In Tobit it is not the appearance of the angel which is represented as visionary, quite the contrary; but his eating and drinking are represented as being only in appearance. But even if the word could be pressed into the meaning suggested, St. Luke’s view of our Lord’s appearances must be judged not by one expression but by his whole conception, cf. Luke 24:39-43 and Acts 10:41. That he could distinguish between visions and realities we cannot doubt; see note below on Acts 12:12.— τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θ.: “speaking the things concerning,” R.V., not “speaking of the things,” A.V., but speaking the very things, whether truths to be believed, or commands to be obeyed (Humphry, Commentary on R.V.). On St. Luke’s fondness for τὰ περί τινος in his writings see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, pp. 10 and 89 (so also Zeller and Lekebusch). The exact phrase is only found in Acts, where it occurs twice (in T.R. three times); cf. Acts 19:8 (Acts 8:12), and see also Acts 20:25; Acts 20:28(23):31. The expression βασ. τοῦ θ., instead of τῶν οὐρανῶν of the Hebrew Evangelist St. Matthew, is characteristic of St. Luke’s writings, although it is found frequently in St. Mark and once in St. John. In St. Luke’s Gospel it occurs more than thirty times, and six times in Acts (only four times in St. Matt.). Possibly the phrase was used by St Luke as one more easily understood by Gentile readers, but the two terms βασ. τοῦ θ. and τῶν οὐρ. were practically synonymous in the Gospels and in Judaism in the time of our Lord (Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 171; E. T. and Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (second edit.), p. 67; Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, i. 267; and Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, p. 76 ff.). Dr. Stanton, Jewish and Christian Messiah, p. 226, draws attention to the important fact that the preaching of the original Apostles after the Ascension is not described as that of the preaching of the kingdom of God, but that the phrase is only used of the preaching of St. Paul, and of St. Philip the associate of St. Stephen. But in view of the fact that the original Apostles heard during the Forty Days from their Master’s lips to τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλ. τοῦ θεοῦ, we cannot doubt that in deed and in word they would proclaim that kingdom. On the question as to whether they conceived of the kingdom as present, or future, or both, see Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, i., 409, E. T., and Witness of the Epistles (Longmans), p. 309 ff., and on the conception of the kingdom of God in the Theology of A. Ritschl and his school see Orr, Ritschlian Theology, p. 258 ff. For the relation of the Church and the Kingdom see also Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, pp. 28, 36 ff., “Church,” Hastings, B.D., p. 425; Hort, Ecclesia, p. 5 ff.


Verse 4

Acts 1:4. συναλίζομενος: a strong array of modern commentators renders “eating with them,” following the Vulgate convescens illis (so both A. and R.V. in margin, and Wycl. and Rhem.). It is thus rendered by Overbeck (as against De Wette), Wendt, Holtzmann, Felten, Weiss, Matthias, Knabenbauer, and Blass, who adopts the reading ὡς συναλ., and regards the particle as showing that the recapitulation is continued of the events already mentioned in Luke 24:42 ff. It is evidently taken in the same sense by Spitta, Feine, Jüngst. If we so translate it, we must derive it from ἅλς (salt), so Schol. κοινωνῶν ἁλῶν, τραπέζης, in the sense given to the expression by Chrys., Theophyl., Œcum. In Psalms 140:4 LXX, to which Wendt refers, μὴ συνδυάσω (although the reading is somewhat doubtful—the word is used by Symmachus, 1 Samuel 26:19) is also rendered συναλισθῶ (Alius) as an equivalent of the Hebrew אֶלְחַם, μὴ συμφάγοιμι, Symmachus. Blass gives no classical references, but points out that the word undoubtedly exists in the sense referred to in Clem. Hom., xiii., 4 (but see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.). Hilgenfeld (Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol., p. 74 (1894)) contends that the use of the word in the psalm quoted and in the passage from the Clementines refers not to the use of salt at an ordinary meal, but rather to the sacrificial and symbolical use of salt in the Old and New Testaments. Thus in the passage Clem. Hom., xiii., 4, τότε αὐτοῖς συναλιζόμεθα, τότε means “after the Baptism”; cf. also Ignatius, ad Magnes., x., ἁλίσθητε εν αὐτῷ, “be ye salted in him”. Wendt takes the word quite generally as meaning that the sharing in a common meal with His disciples, as on the evening of the Resurrection, was the habitual practice of the Lord during the Forty Days; cf. Acts 10:41 and Luke 24:36 ff. Feine similarly holds that the word presupposes some such incidents as those mentioned in Luke 24, and that Luke had derived his information from a source which described the final instructions to the disciples as given at a common meal. On the other hand it must be borne in mind that in classical Greek, as in Herodotus and Xenophon (Wetstein) (as also in Josephus, B. J., iii., 9, 4), συναλίζω = to assemble, cf. Hesychius, συναλιζ. = συναλισθείς, συναχθείς, συναθροισθείς, and it is possible that the preceding present participles in the immediate context may help to account for the use of the same participle instead of the aorist συναλισθείς. The verb is then derived from σύν and ἁλής ( ), meaning lit(99), close, crowded together. Mr. Rendall (Acts of the Apostles, p. 32) would derive it from ἁλίη (- α), a common term for a popular assembly amongst Ionian and Dorian Greeks, and he supposes that the verb here implies a general gathering of believers not limited to the Twelve; but the context apparently points back to Luke 24:49 to a command which was certainly given only to the Twelve.— παρήγγειλεν, “he charged them,” R.V., which not only distinguishes it from other verbs rendered “to command,” but also gives the emphatic meaning which St. Luke often attaches to the word. It is characteristic of his writings, occurring four times in his Gospel and ten or eleven times in Acts, and it is very frequent in St. Paul’s Epistles (Friedrich, Lekebusch).— ἱεροσολύμων: a neuter plural (but cf. Matthew 2:3 and Grimm sub v.). St. Luke most frequently uses the Jewish form ἱερουσαλήμ—twenty-seven times in his Gospel, about forty in Acts—as against the use of ἱεροσόλυμα four times in his Gospel and over twenty in Acts (Friedrich, Lekebusch). Blass retains the aspirate for the Greek form but not for the Jewish, cf. in loco and Grammatik des N. G., pp. 17, 31, but it is very doubtful whether either should have the aspirate; W.H(100), ii., 313; Plummer’s St. Luke, p. 64; Winer-Schmiedel, p. 93. Grimm points out that the Hebrew form is used in the N.T.: “ubi in ipso nomine tanquam sancta vis quædam reponitur ut, Galatians 4:25; ita in compellationibus, Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34;” see further sub v. ἱεροσόλυμα.— μὴ χωρίζ.: it was fitting that they should not depart from Jerusalem, not only that the new law as the old should go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:3 (Felten), but that the Apostles’ testimony should be delivered not to men unacquainted with the facts, but to the inhabitants of the city where Jesus had been crucified and buried. εἰ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐχωρίσθησαν ἱεροσολύμων, καὶ τούτων οὐδὲν ἐπηκολούθησεν, ὕποπτος ἄν ἀνάστασις ὑπῆρξεν, Œcumenius, in loco; see also Theophyl.— περιμένειν: not elsewhere in N.T. (but see Acts 10:24, ), but used in classical Greek of awaiting a thing’s happening (Dem.). The passage in LXX in which it occurs is suggestive: τὴν σωτηρίαν περιμένων κυρίου, Genesis 49:18 (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 8:12). On the tradition that the Apostles remained in Jerusalem for twelve years in obedience to a command of the Lord, and the evidence for it, see Harnack, Chronologie, i., p. 243 ff. Harnack speaks of the tradition as very old and well attested, and maintains that it is quite in accordance with Acts, as the earlier journeys of the Apostles are there described as missionary excursions from which they always returned to Jerusalem.— τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν: Bengel notes the distinction between ὑπισχνέομαι and ἐπαγγέλλομαι, the former being used of promises in response to petitions, the latter of voluntary offers (Ammonius): “quæ verbi Græci proprietas, ubi de divinis promissionibus agitur, exquisite observanda est”. It is therefore remarkable that in the Gospels the word ἐπαγγελία is never used in this technical sense of the divine promise made by God until Luke 24:49, where it is used of the promise of the Holy Spirit, as here. But in Acts and in St. Paul’s Epistles and in the Hebrews the word is frequent, and always of the promises made by God (except Acts 23:21). See Sanday and Headlam on Romans 1:2, and Lightfoot on Galatians 3:14, and Psalms of Solomon, Acts 12:7 (cf. Acts 7:9, and Acts 17:6), ed. Ryle and James, p. 106. “The promise of the Father,” cf. Luke 24:49, is fulfilled in the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and although no doubt earlier promises of the gift of the Spirit may be included, cf. Luke 12:11, as also the promise of the Spirit’s outpouring in Messianic times (cf. Joel 2:28, Isaiah 44:3, Ezekiel 36:26), yet the phraseology may be fairly said to present an undesigned coincidence with the more recent language of the Lord to the Twelve, John 14:16; John 15:26; John 16:14. On the many points of connection between the opening verses of Acts and the closing verses of St. Luke’s Gospel see below.


Verse 5

Acts 1:5. ἐν πνεύματι: the omission of ἐν before ὕδατι and its insertion before πνεύμ. may be meant to draw a distinction between the baptism with water and the baptism in the Spirit (R.V. margin “in”). But in Matthew 3:11 we have the preposition ἐν in both parts of the verse; cf. John 1:31. On ἐν with the instrumental dative see Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 114, and Grotius, in loco; cf. the Hebrew בְּ.— οὐ μετὰ πολλὰς ταύτας ἡμέρας: not after many, i.e., after few. This use of οὐ with an adjective or adverb is characteristic of St. Luke, cf. Luke 15:13, Acts 27:14, in which places οὐ πολύς = ὀλίγος as here; cf. οὐ μετρίως, Acts 20:12; οὐ μακράν, Luke 7:6, Acts 17:27; οὐκ ἄσημος, Acts 21:39; οὐχ τυχών, Acts 19:11; Acts 28:2, cf. Hawkins, Horæ Syn., p. 153. No doubt μετʼ οὐ would be more correct, but the negative is found both before and after the preposition, so in Luke 15:13; cf. Josephus, Ant., i., 12, and xiii., 7, 1, for similar changes of allocation in the same words. ταύτας closely connects the days referred to with the current day; cf. also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 221. οὐ μετὰ πολλάς, φησὶν ἵνα μὴ εἰς ἀθυμίαν ἐμπέσωσιν· ὡρισμένως δὲ πότε, οὐκ εἶπεν, ἵνα ἀεὶ ἐκγρηγορῶσιν ἐκδεχόμενοι, Theophylact, in loco.


Verse 6

Acts 1:6. οἱ μὲν οὖν: the combination μὲν οὖν is very frequent in Acts in all parts, occurring no less than twenty-seven times; cf. Luke 3:18. Like the simple μέν it is sometimes used without δέ in the apodosis. Here, if δέ is omitted in Acts 1:7 after εἶπεν, there is still a contrast between the question of the Apostles and the answer of Jesus. See especially Rendall, Acts of the Apostles, Appendix on μὲν οὖν, p. 160 ff.; cf. Weiss in loco.συνελθόντες: the question has often been raised as to whether this word and μὲν οὖν refer back to Acts 1:4, or whether a later meeting of the disciples is here introduced. For the former Hilgenfeld contends (as against Weiss) and sees no reference to any fresh meeting: the disciples referred to in the αὐτοῖς of Acts 1:4 and the ὑμεῖς of Acts 1:5 had already come together. According to Holtzmann there is a reference in the words to a common meal of the Lord with His disciples already mentioned in Acts 1:4, and after this final meal the question of Acts 1:6 is asked on the way to Bethany (Luke 24:50). The words οἱ μὲν οὖν συνελθ. are referred by Felten to the final meeting which formed the conclusion of the constant intercourse of Acts 1:3, a meeting thus specially emphasised, although in reality only one out of many, and the question which follows in Acts 1:6 was asked, as Felten also supposes (see too Rendall on Acts 1:7-8), on the way to Bethany. But there is no need to suppose that this was the case (as Jüngst so far correctly objects against Holtzmann), and whilst we may take συνελθ. as referring to the final meeting before the Ascension, we may place that meeting not in Jerusalem but on the Mount of Olives. Blass sees in the word συνελθ. an assembly of all the Apostles, cf. Acts 1:13 and 1 Corinthians 15:7, and adds: “Aliunde supplendus locus ubi hoc factum, Acts 1:12, Luke 24:50”.— ἐπηρώτων: imperfect, denoting that the act of questioning is always imperfect until an answer is given (Blass, cf. Acts 3:3), and here perhaps indicating that the same question was put by one inquirer after another (see on the force of the tense, as noted here and elsewhere by Blass, Hermathena, xxi., pp. 228, 229).— εἰ: this use of εἰ in direct questions is frequent in Luke, Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 254; cf. Acts 7:1, Acts 19:2 (in Vulgate si); it is adopted in the LXX, and a parallel may also be found in the interrogative ה in Hebrew (so Blass and Viteau).— ἐν τῷ χρόνῳ τούτῳ: such a promise as that made in Acts 1:5, the fulfilment of which, according to Joel 2:28, would mark the salvation of Messianic times, might lead the disciples to ask about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel which the same prophet had foretold, to be realised by the annihilation of the enemies of God and victory and happiness for the good. As in the days of old the yoke of Pharaoh had been broken and Israel redeemed from captivity, so would the Messiah accomplish the final redemption, cf. Luke 24:21, and set up again, after the destruction of the world-powers, the kingdom in Jerusalem; Weber, Jüdische Theologie, pp. 360, 361 (1897). No doubt the thoughts of the disciples still moved within the narrow circle of Jewish national hopes: “totidem in hac interrogatione sunt errores quot verba,” writes Calvin. But still we must remember that with these thoughts of the redemption of Israel there mingled higher thoughts of the need of repentance and righteousness for the Messianic kingdom (Psalms of Solomon, 17, 18; ed. Ryle and James, p. lviii.), and that the disciples may well have shared, even if imperfectly, in the hopes of a Zacharias or a Simeon. Dr. Edersheim notes “with what wonderful sobriety” the disciples put this question to our Lord (ubi supra, i., p. 79); at the same time the question before us is plainly too primitive in character to have been invented by a later generation (McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 41).— ἀποκαθιστάνεις: ἀποκαθιστάνω, a form of ἀποκαθίστημι which is found in classical Greek and is used of the restoration of dominion as here in 1 Maccabees 15:3; see also below on Acts 3:21 and Malachi LXX Acts 4:5. On the form of the verb see W.H(101), ii., 162, and on its force see further Dalman, u. s., p. 109. “Dost thou at this time restore …?” R.V.; the present tense marking their expectation that the kingdom, as they conceived it, would immediately appear—an expectation enhanced by the promise of the previous verse, in which they saw the foretaste of the Messianic kingdom.


Verse 7

Acts 1:7. χρόνους καιρούς: Blass regards the two as synonymous, and no doubt it is difficult always to maintain a distinction. But here χρόνους may well be taken to mean space of time as such, the duration of the Church’s history, and καιρούς the critical periods in that history. μὲν καιρὸς δηλοῖ ποιότητα χρόνου, χρόνος δὲ ποσότητα (Ammonius). A good instance of the distinction may be found in LXX Nehemiah 10:34 : εἰς καιροὺς ἀπὸ χρόνων, “at times appointed”; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:1. So here Weiss renders: “zu kennen Zeiten und geeignete Zeitpunkte”. In modern Greek, whilst καιρός means weather, χρόνος means year, so that “in both words the kernel of meaning has remained unaltered; this in the case of καιρούς is changeableness, of χρόνων duration” (Curtius, Etym., p. 110 sq.); cf. also Trench, N. T. Synonyms, ii., p. 27 ff.; Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, p. 153; and Grimm-Thayer, sub v. καιρός.— ἐξουσία, authority, R.V.—either as delegated or unrestrained, the liberty of doing as one pleases ( ἔξεστι); δύναμις, power, natural ability, inherent power, residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or, which a person or thing exerts or puts forth—so δύναμις is ascribed to Christ, now in one sense, now in another, so also to the Holy Spirit as in Acts 1:8; cf. Acts 10:38, Luke 4:14, Romans 15:13; Bengel, Luke 4:36, and Grimm-Thayer, Synonyms. Sub v. δύναμις.


Verse 8

Acts 1:8. ἔσεσθέ μου μάρτυρες, “my witnesses,” R.V., reading μου instead of μοι, not only witnesses to the facts of their Lord’s life, cf. Acts 1:22, Acts 10:39, but also His witnesses, His by a direct personal relationship; Luke 24:48 simply speaks of a testimony to the facts.— ἔν τε ἱερουσαλὴμ κ. τ. λ.: St. Luke on other occasions, as here, distinguishes Jerusalem as a district separate from all the rest of Judæa (cf. Luke 5:17, Acts 10:39), a proof of intimate acquaintance with the Rabbinical phraseology of the time, according to Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life, pp. 17, 73. In this verse, see Introduction, the keynote is struck of the contents of the whole book, and the great divisions of the Acts are marked, see, e.g., Blass, p. 12 in Prologue to Acts—Jerusalem, 1–7; Judæa, Acts 9:32; Acts 12:19; Samaria, 8; and if it appears somewhat strained to see in St. Paul’s preaching in Rome a witness to “the utmost parts of the earth,” it is noteworthy that in Psalms of Solomon, Acts 8:16, we read of Pompey that he came ἀπʼ ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς, i.e., Rome—the same phrase as in Acts 1:8. This verse affords a good illustration of the subjective element which characterises the partition theories of Spitta, Jüngst, Clemen and others. Spitta would omit the whole verse from his sources A and , and considers it as an interpolation by the author of Acts; but, as Hilgenfeld points out, the verse is entirely in its place, and it forms the best answer to the “particularism” of the disciples, from which their question in Acts 1:6 shows that they were not yet free. Feine would omit the words ἕως ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς because nothing in the conduct of the early Church, as it is described to us in the Jewish-Christian source, Acts 1-12, points to any knowledge of such a commission from the Risen Christ. Jüngst disagrees with both Spitta and Feine, and thinks that the hand of the redactor is visible in prominence given to the little Samaria.


Verse 9

Acts 1:9. ἐπήρθη: the word in Acts 1:2 is different, and ἐπήρθη seems not merely to denote our Lord’s first leaving the ground (as Weiss, Overbeck), but also to be more in accordance with the calm and grandeur of the event than ἀπήρθη; this latter word would rather denote a taking away by violence.— καὶ νεφέλη ὑπέλαβε: the cloud is here, as elsewhere, the symbol of the divine glory, and it was also as St. Chrysostom called it: τὸ ὄχημα τὸ βασιλίκον; cf. Psalms 104:3. In 1 Timothy 3:16 we read that our Lord was received up ἐν δόξη, “in glory,” R.V.


Verse 10

Acts 1:10. ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν: this periphrasis of ἦν or ἦσαν with a present or perfect participle is very frequently found in St. Luke’s writings (Friedrich, pp. 12 and 89, and compare the list in Simcox, u. s., pp. 130–134). The verb is peculiar to St. Luke and St. Paul, and is found ten times in Acts, twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and twice in 2 Cor.; it denotes a fixed, steadfast, protracted gaze: “and while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went,” R.V., thus expressing more clearly the longing gaze of the disciples watching the Lord as He was going ( πορευομένου αὐτοῦ, the present participle denoting that the cloud was still visible for a considerable time), as if carrying their eyes and hearts with Him to heaven: “Ipse enim est amor noster; ubi autem amor, ibi est oculus et cor” (Corn, à Lapide). The word is also found in LXX 1 Esdras 6:28 and 3 Maccabees 2:26 (cf. Aquila, Job 7:8), and also in Josephus, B. J., v., 12, 3, and Polybius. Ramsay, St. Paul, 38, 39, gives a most valuable account of the use of the word in St. Luke, and concludes that the action implied by it is quite inconsistent with weakness of vision, and that the theory which makes Paul a permanent sufferer in the eyes, as if he could not distinctly see the persons near him, is hopelessly at variance with St. Luke; cf. too the meaning of the word as used by St. Paul himself in 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13, where not weak but strong sight is implied in the word. The verb thus common in St. Luke is frequently employed by medical writers to denote a peculiar fixed look (Zahn); so in Luke 22:56, where it is used for the servant-maid’s earnest gaze at St. Peter, a gaze not mentioned at all by St. Matthew, and expressed by a different word in St. Mark 14:67; Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, p. 76. In LXX, as above, it is employed in a secondary sense, but by Aquila, u. s., in its primary meaning of gazing, beholding.— καὶ ἰδοὺ: καὶ at the commencement of the apodosis is explained as Hebraistic, but instances are not wanting in classical Greek; cf. Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 257, and see also Simcox, ubi supra, p. 160 ff. For the formula καὶ ἰδοὺ cf. the Hebrew וְהִנֵּה, and on St. Luke’s employment of it in sudden interpositions, see Hort, Ecclesia, p. 179. The use of καί (which in the most Hebraic books of the N.T. is employed much more extensively than in classical Greek) is most frequent in Luke, who also uses more frequently than other writers the formula καὶ ἰδού to introduce an apodosis; cf. Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 33.— παρειστήκεισαν αὐτοῖς: in the appearance of angels which St. Luke often narrates there is a striking similarity between the phraseology of his Gospel and the Acts; cf. with the present passage Acts 10:30; Acts 12:7, and Luke 24:4; Luke 2:9. The description in the angels’ disappearances is not so similar, cf. Acts 10:7 and Luke 2:15, but it must be remembered that there is only one other passage in which the departure of the angels is mentioned, Revelation 16:2; Friedrich, ubi supra, pp. 45, 52, and Zeller, Acts ii., p. 224 (E. T.). For the verb cf. Luke 1:19; Luke 19:24, Acts 23:2; Acts 23:4, and especially Acts 27:23.— ἐν ἐσθῆτι λευκῇ: in R.V. in the plural, see critical notes and also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 90.


Verse 11

Acts 1:11. ἄνδρες γαλ.: the ἄνδρες in similar expressions is often indicative of respect as in classical Greek, but as addressed by angels to men it may denote the earnestness of the address (Nösgen). St. Chrysostom saw in the salutation a wish to gain the confidence of the disciples: “Else, why needed they to be told of their country who knew it well enough?” Calvin also rejects the notion that the angels meant to blame the slowness and dulness of apprehension of Galilæans. At the same time the word γαλ. seems to remind us that things which are despised (John 7:52) hath God chosen. Ex Galilæa nunquam vel certe raro fuerat propheta; at omnes Apostoli (Bengel); see also below.— οὗτος ἰησοῦς: if the mention of their northern home had reminded the disciples of their early choice by Christ and of all that He had been to them, the personal name Jesus would assure them that their master would still be a human Friend and divine Saviour; Hic Jesus: qui vobis fuit eritque semper Jesus, id est, Salvator (Corn. à Lap.).— πορευόμενον: on the frequency of the verb in St. Luke as compared with other N.T. writers, often used to give effect and vividness to the scene, both Friedrich and Zeller remark; St. Peter uses the same word of our Lord’s Ascension, 1 Peter 3:22. As at the Birth of Christ, so too at His Ascension the angels’ message was received obediently and joyfully, for only thus can we explain Luke 24:52.


Verse 12

Acts 1:12. τότε: frequent in Acts and in St. Luke’s Gospel, but most frequent in St. Matthew; on its use see Grimm-Thayer, and Blass, Gramm. des N. G., p. 270.— ὑπέστρεψαν: a word characteristic of Luke both in his Gospel and in Acts, occurring in the former over twenty times, in the latter ten or eleven times. Only in three places elsewhere, not at all in the Gospels, but see Mark 14:40 (Moulton and Geden, sub v.); Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 8. On the Ascension see additional note at end of chapter.— τοῦ καλ. ἐλαιῶνος: ubi captus et vinctus fuerat. Wetstein. Although St. Matthew and St. Mark both speak of the Mount of Olives they do not say τοῦ καλ. (neither is the formula found in John 8:1). It is therefore probable that St. Luke speaks as he does as one who was a stranger to Jerusalem, or, as writing to one who was so. Blass, ubi supra, pp. 32, 84, contends that ἐλαιῶνος ought to give place to ἐλαιῶν, which he also reads in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37 (W.H(102) ἐλαιῶν, and in Luke 19:37; Luke 22:39, τῶν ἐλαιῶν, in each case as genitive of ἐλαία), the former word being found only here and in Josephus, Ant., vii., 9, 2. But it is found in all the MSS. in this passage, although falso . cum cæt., says Blass. Blass would thus get rid of the difficulty of regarding ἐλαιών as if used in Luke 19:29; Luke 21:37 as an indeclinable noun, whilst here he would exchange its genitive for ἐλαιῶν. Deisstmann, however, is not inclined to set aside the consensus of authoritities for ἐλαιῶνος, and he regards ἐλαιών in the two passages above as a lax use of the nominative case. As the genitive of ἐλαιών it would correspond to the Latin Olivetum (so Vulgate), an olive-orchard; cf. ἄμπελος and ἀμπελών in N.T., the termination ών in derivative nouns indicating a place set with trees of the kind designated by the primitive. for instances cf. Grimm-Thayer, sub ἐλαιών, but see on the other hand Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 36 ff. With regard to the parallel between our verse and Josephus, Ant., vii., 9, 2, it is evident that even if St. Luke had read Josephus he was not dependent upon him, for he says here τοῦ καλ. just as in his Gospel he had written τὸ καλ., probably giving one or more popular names by which the place was known; Gloël, Galaterbrief, p. 65 (see also on the word W.H(103), ii., Appendix, p. 165; Plummer, St. Luke, p. 445; and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 93).— σαββάτου ἔχον ὁδόν, not ἀπέχον: the distance is represented as something which the mountain has, Meyer-Wendt; cf. Luke 24:13. There is no real discrepancy between this and the statement of St. Luke’s Gospel that our Lord led His disciples ἕως πρὸς βηθανίαν, Luke 24:50, a village which was more than double a sabbath day’s journey, fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem. But if the words in St. Luke, l. c., mean “over against Bethany,” ἕως πρός (so Feine, Eine vorkanonische Uberlieferung des Lucas, p. 79, and Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte, p. 80; see also Rendall, Acts, p. 171—Blass omits ἕως and reads only πρός and remarks neque vero πρός est εἰς; cf. also Belser, Theologische Quartalschrift, i., 79 (1895)), the difficulty is surmounted, for St. Luke does not fix the exact spot of the Ascension, and he elsewhere uses the Mount of Olives, Luke 21:37, as the equivalent of the Bethany of Matthew (Acts 21:17) and Mark (Acts 11:1). Nor is it likely that our Lord would lead His disciples into a village for the event of His Ascension. It should be remembered that Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., says that “the Ascension was from the place where that tract of the Mount of Olives ceased to be called Bethphage and began to be called Bethany”. The recent attempt of Rud. Hoffmann to refer the Ascension to a “Galilee” in the Mount of Olives rests upon a tradition which cannot be regarded as reliable (see Galilæa auf dem Oelberg, Leipzig, 1896), although he can quote Resch as in agreement with him, p. 14. On Hoffmann’s pamphlet see also Expositor (5th series), p. 119 (1897), and Theologisches Literaturblatt, No. 27 (1897). This mention of the distance is quite characteristic of St. Luke; it may also have been introduced here for the benefit of his Gentile readers; Page, Acts, in loco, and cf. Ramsay’s remarks, Was Christ born at Bethlehem? pp. 55, 56.


Verse 13

Acts 1:13. τὸ ὑπερῷον: “the upper chamber,” R.V., as of some well-known place, but there is no positive evidence to identify it with the room of the Last Supper, although here and in Mark 14:15, as also in Luke 22:12, the Vulgate has cœnaculum. Amongst recent writers Hilgenfeld and Feine see in this definite mention of a room well known to the readers a reference to the author’s first book, Luke 22:11-12. But the word used in St. Mark and in St. Luke’s Gospel is different from that in the passage before us— ἀνάγαιον, but here ὑπερῷον. If we identify the former with the κατάλυμα, Luke 22:11, it would denote rather the guest-chamber used for meals than the upper room or loft set apart for retirement or prayer, although sometimes used for supper or for assemblies ( ὑπερῷον). Both words are found in classical Greek, but only the latter in the LXX, where it is frequent. In the N.T. it is used by St. Luke alone, and only in Acts. Holtzmann, following Lightfoot and Schöttgen, considers that an upper room in the Temple is meant, but this would be scarcely probable under the circumstances, and a meeting in a private house, Acts 2:46, Acts 4:23, Acts 5:42, is far more likely.— τε π.: in a series of nouns embraced under one category only the first may have the article, Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 154–157. In comparing this list of the Apostles with that given by the Synoptists we notice that whilst St. Peter stands at the head in the four lists, those three are placed in the first group who out of the whole band are prominent in the Acts as also in the Gospels, viz., Peter, John, and James; all the Synoptists, however, place St. James as the elder brother before St. John. In St. Luke’s first list, as in St. Matthew’s list, the brothers Peter and Andrew stand first, followed by another pair of brothers James and John; but in Acts Andrew gives place, as we might expect, to the three Apostles who had been admitted to the closest intimacy with Jesus during His earthly life, and St. John as St. Peter’s constant companion in the Gospel narrative makes a pair with him. The list in Acts agrees with that given by St. Luke in his Gospel in two particulars (see Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 50, and so too Zeller): (1) Simon the Zealot is called not καναναῖος, as in Matthew and Mark, but ζηλωτής, cf. Luke 6:15; (2) instead of Thaddæus (or Lebbæus) we have “Judas of James,” cf. Luke 6:16.— ἰούδας ἰακώβου, “the son of James,” R.V. (so too above ἰάκωβος ἀλφαίου, “James the son of Alphæus”), placing the words “or, brother, see Judges 1:1,” in the margin, so too in Luke 6:16. The rendering of the words as Jude the brother of James was probably caused by Judges 1:1, and it is difficult to believe, as Nösgen argues (see also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 262), that in the same list and in such close proximity these two meanings “the son of” and “the brother of” should occur for the genitive, although no doubt it is possible grammatically; see Nösgen and Wendt, in loco. On the other hand, see Felten, note, p. 66. But Winer, to whom the latter refers, is by no means positive, and only expresses the opinion that ἀδελφός is perhaps to be supplied here and in Luke 6:16 if the same Apostle is referred to in Judges 1:1. (Winer-Moulton, p. 238). But the identification with the latter is very improbable, as he was most likely the brother of James, known as “the Lord’s brother” (see Plummer on Luke, Luke 6:16, and Salmon, Introduction to N. T., pp. 473, 474, fifth edit.). It is also noteworthy that St. Luke uses ἀδελφός where he means “brother,” cf. Luke 3:1; Luke 6:14; Acts 12:2. Blass, Grammatik des N. G., gives the same reference to Alciphr., ii., 2, as Winer, τιμοκράτης ΄ητροδώρου, sc. ἀδελφός, but at the same time he declines to commit himself as to the passage in Acts and Luke 6. The list, it has been thought, is given here again by St. Luke to show the recovery of the Apostolic band from their denial and flight—so St. Chrysostom remarks that Luke did well to mention the disciples, for since one had betrayed Christ and another had been unbelieving, he hereby shows that, except the first, all were preserved (so to the same effect Œcumenius, in loco). There may also have been the desire of the author to intimate that although only the works of a few on the list would be chronicled, yet all alike were witnesses to Christ and workers for Him (Lumby).


Verse 14

Acts 1:14. καὶ ἦσαν προσκαρτεροῦντες: on the construction see Acts 1:10. In N.T. found only in St. Luke and St. Paul (except once in St. Mark 3:9); most frequently with the dative of the thing, of continuing steadfast in prayer; cf. Acts 6:4, Romans 12:12, Colossians 4:2, and cf. also Acts 2:42 or Acts 2:46 of continuing all the time in ( ἐν) a place; in Acts 8:13; Acts 10:7, it is used with the dative of the person, and in Romans 13:6 with εἴς τι. It is found in Josephus with the dative of the thing, Ant., v., 2, 6, and in Polybius, who also uses it with the dative of the person. In LXX it is found in Numbers 13:21 and in Susannah ver. 6, Theod., also in Tobit 5:8, .— ὁμοθυμαδὸν, a favourite word of St. Luke: Lucæ in Actis in deliciis est (Blass)—used ten or eleven times in Acts, only once elsewhere in N.T., Romans 15:6, where it has the same meaning, Vulgate unanimiter. In the LXX it is oftener found as the equivalent of Hebrew words meaning simply “together,” and Hatch, Essays in B. G., p. 63, would limit it to this meaning in the N.T., but the word cannot be confined to mere outward assembling together; cf. Dem., Phil., iv., 147, ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐκ μιᾶς γνώμης (Meyer-Wendt); so Luther einmüthig. It was very natural that St. Luke should lay stress upon the absolute unanimity of the early believers, and the word is used with reference to the Twelve, to the hundred-and-twenty, to the whole number of believers; truly the Holy Ghost was “amator concordiæ” (Corn. à Lapide).— τῇ προσευχῇ καὶ τῇ δεήσει: the latter noun cannot be supported by MS. authority; the two words mark the difference between general and specific prayer; cf. Bengel on 1 Timothy 2:1, and cf. Luke, Luke 5:33. It is very doubtful whether we can confine προσευχή here to the Temple prayers; rather the article, cf. Acts 6:4 and Acts 2:42, seems to point to a definite custom of common prayer as a bond of Christian fellowship (Hort, Ecclesia, p. 43, so Speaker’s Commentary, in loco). As in his Gospel, so here and elsewhere in Acts, St. Luke lays stress upon frequency in prayer, and that too in all parts of the book (Friedrich, pp. 55–60).— σὺν γυναιξὶ: it is natural to include the women already mentioned in St. Luke’s Gospel, cf., e.g., Luke 8:2-3, Luke 23:55, “with the women,” R.V., or the expression may be quite indefinite as in margin R.V. In this mention of the presence of women, as in the stress laid upon prayer, there is another point of unity between the book and the third Gospel, “The Gospel of Womanhood” (see also Ramsay, Was Christ born at Bethlehem? p. 50). (The mention of women would certainly indicate a private house rather than the Temple.) Erasmus and Calvin both interpret the words cum uxoribus, probably not without desire to make a point against celibacy. J. Lightfoot allows that this meaning may be correct, since the Apostles and disciples who had wives took them with them, “but,” he adds, “it is too strait”.— ΄αριάμ (for ΄αρίᾳ), so always according to W.H(104) of the Blessed Virgin, nominative, vocative, accusative, dative, except twice in a few of the best MSS. (Matthew 1:20, and Luke 2:19). Cf. Appendix, p. 163. See also Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 28, and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 91, note. The καί may be taken either to comprehend her under the other women, or as distinguishing her from them. This is the last mention of her in the N.T., and the Scripture leaves her “in prayer”.— σὺν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς αὐτοῦ: they are previously mentioned as unbelieving (John 7:5, and compare Mark 6:4), but not only the Resurrection of the Lord but also that of Lazarus may well have overcome their unbelief. St. Chrysostom (so too Œcumenius) conjectures that Joseph was dead, for it is not to be supposed, he says, that when the brethren had become believers Joseph believed not. As the brethren are here distinguished from the Eleven, it would seem that they could not have been included in the latter (see, however, “Brethren,” B.D.2 pp. 13, 14). But whatever meaning we give to the word “brethren” here or in the Gospels, nothing could be more significant than the fact that they had now left their settled homes in Galilee to take part in the lot of the disciples of Jesus, and to await with them the promise of the Father (Felten). It may have been that, James, “the Lord’s brother,” was converted by the Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15:5, and that his example constrained the other “brethren” to follow him.


Verse 15

Acts 1:15. καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις: St. Luke often employs such notes of time, used indefinitely like similar expressions in Hebrew—e.g., 1 Samuel 28:1, both in his Gospel and in Acts. Friedrich, p. 9, Lekebusch, p. 53.— ἀναστὰς: it is very characteristic of St. Luke to add a participle to a finite verb indicating the posture or position of the speaker. This word is found in St. Luke’s Gospel seventeen times, and in Acts nineteen times, only twice in Matthew, six or seven times in Mark; cf. also his use of σταθείς, three times in Gospel, six times in Acts, but not at all in the other Evangelists.— πέτρος: that St. Peter should be the spokesman is only what we should naturally expect from his previous position among the Twelve, but, as St. Chrysostom observes, he does everything with the common consent, nothing imperiously. The best fruits of his repentance are here seen in the fulfilment of his commission to strengthen his brethren. ἐν μέσῳ: another favourite expression of St. Luke both in his Gospel and in the Acts, in the former eight times, in the latter five times (four times in St. Matthew, twice in St. Mark). Blass compares the Hebrew בְּתוֹךְ, Grammatik des N. G., p. 126, and in loco.— μαθητῶν: Blass retains and contends that ἀδελφ. has arisen from either Acts 1:14 or Acts 1:16; but there is strong critical authority for the latter word; cf. Acts 6:1. In LXX it is used in three senses; a brother and a neighbour, Leviticus 19:17; a member of the same nation, Exodus 2:14, Deuteronomy 15:3. In the N.T. it is used in these three senses, and also in the sense of fellow-Christians, who are looked upon as forming one family. The transition is easily seen: (1) member of the same family; (2) of the same community (national), of the same community (spiritual). Kennedy, Sources of N.T. Greek, pp. 95, 96. On its use in religious associations in Egypt see Deissmann, Bibelstudien, i., 82, 140, 209.— τε: here for the first time solitarium. On the frequent recurrence of this word in Acts in all parts, as compared with other books of the N.T., see Blass, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 257, 258.— ὀνομάτων: R.V., “persons”. Lightfoot compares the use of the word in Revelation 3:4; Revelation 11:13 (so too Wendt), where the word is used to signify any persons without distinction of sex, so that the word may have been used here to include the women also. But he considers that it rather means men as distinct from women, and so, as he says, the Syriac and Arabic understand it here. Its use in the sense of persons reckoned up by name is Hebraistic שֵׁמוֹת LXX, Numbers 1:2; Numbers 1:18; Numbers 1:20; Numbers 3:40; Numbers 3:43; Numbers 26:53 (Grimm-Thayer, sub v.), but see also for a similar use on the Egyptian papyri, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 24 (1897).— ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, “gathered together,” R.V.; cf. Matthew 22:34, Luke 17:35, Acts 2:1; Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47 (so W.H(105), R.V., see in loco, Wendt, Weiss), 1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 14:23. Holtzmann, in loco, describes it as always local, and it is no doubt so used in most of the above passages, as also in LXX Psalms 2:2 (cf. Acts 4:26), 2 Samuel 2:13, 3 Maccabees 3:1, Sus. Acts 1:14, and in classical Greek. But when we remember the stress laid by St. Luke in the opening chapters of the Acts upon the unanimity of the believers, it is not unlikely that he should use the phrase, at all events in Acts 2:44; Acts 2:47, with this deeper thought of unity of purpose and devotion underlying the words, even if we cannot render the phrase in each passage in Acts with Rendall (Acts, p. 34), “with one mind,” “of one mind”.— ὡς ἑκατὸν εἴκοσιν. Both Wendt and Feine reject the view that the number is merely mythical (Baur, Zeller, Overbeck, Weizsäcker), and would rather see in it a definite piece of information which St. Luke had gained. It is quite beside the mark to suppose that St. Luke only used this particular number because it represented the Apostles multiplied by 10, or 40 multiplied by 3. If he had wished to emphasise the number as a number, why introduce the ὡς?


Verse 16

Acts 1:16. ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί: a mode of address indicating not only respect but also the solemnity of the occasion and the importance of the subject. There is nothing unclassical in this use of the vocative without at the beginning of speeches. Demosthenes, at least on some occasions, used the phrase ἄνδρες ἀθηναῖοι without . Simcox, ubi supra, p. 76, note, and see also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 258, note.— ἔδει: very frequent in St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts; in the former nineteen, in the latter twenty-five times, and in all parts of the book, Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 22 (Lekebusch). It expresses a divine necessity, and is used by all the Evangelists, as by St. Peter here, and by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:25), of the events connected with and following upon the Passion.— δεῖ, oportet, expresses logical necessity rather than personal moral obligation ὤφειλεν, debuit, or the sense of fitness, ἔπρεπεν, decebat. The three words are all found in Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 2:10, on which see Westcott, Hebrews, p. 36, and Plummer’s St. Luke, p. 247. St. Peter’s speech falls into two parts, one introduced by ἔδει, and the other introduced by δεῖ, Acts 1:21.— τὴν γραφὴν: the reference is undoubtedly to the particular passages in the O.T. which follow, cf. Luke 4:20, Acts 8:35; see Lightfoot on Galatians 3:22. There is no reference to Psalms 41:9, or this passage would have been quoted, but to the passages in Acts 1:20.— πληρωθῆναι, cf. Luke 24:44-45. πληρόω (which is very frequently used by St. Luke, Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 40) means more than “fulfil” in the popular acceptation of the word; it implies “to fill up to the full”; “Not only is our Lord the subject of direct predictions in the Old Testament, but His claims go to the full extent of affirming that all the truths which are imperfectly, and frequently very darkly shadowed forth in the pages, are realised in Him as the ideal to which they pointed” (Row, Bampton Lectures, pp. 202, 203).— τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. St. Luke uses this, or a similar expression, πνεῦμα ἅγιον or τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, about forty times in Acts alone, whilst in St. Luke’s Gospel alone it is used about as many times as in the three other Evangelists together (Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte, p. 65, and Plummer, St. Luke, p. 14).— ὁδηγοῦ τοῖς συλλ. τὸν ἰησοῦν. St. Peter simply states a fact, but does not heap scorn or abuse upon Judas (Chrysostom, Hom., iii., cf. Theophylact). St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John simply say of Judas παραδιδούς, “he who delivered Him up,” or employ some similar expression; he is never called “the traitor” (St. Luke 6:16, ἐγένετο προδότης, “became a traitor,” see Plummer, in loco). This self-restraint is remarkable on the part of men who must have regarded their Master’s Death as the most atrocious of murders (see Row, Bampton Lectures, pp. 179, 180, note). At the same time the word ὁδηγός seems to bring before us the scene in Gethsemane, how Judas went before the multitude, and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him (Luke 22:47), and to show us how vividly the memories of the Passion were present to St. Peter; cf. 1 Peter 2:21 ff.).


Verse 17

Acts 1:17. ὅτι κατηριθμημένος ἦν κ. τ. λ. For the construction see Acts 1:10. ὅτι introduces the ground upon which the Scripture to be cited, which speaks of the vacancy in the Apostolic office, found its fulfilment in Judas; “he was numbered,” “triste est numerari non manere,” Bengel.— καὶ ἔλαχεν τὸν κλῆρον: lit(106), “and obtained by lot the lot”: κλῆρος, a lot, that which is assigned by lot, the portion or share so assigned; so amongst the Greeks, and somewhat similarly in English, cf. in LXX Wisdom of Solomon 2:9; Wisdom of Solomon 5:5, Sirach 25:19. The word is used elsewhere in Acts three times, Acts 1:26, Acts 8:21, Acts 26:18; cf. with the last passage its use by St. Paul elsewhere, Colossians 1:12. Here the word no doubt may be used by St. Peter with reference to the actual selection by lot which was about to follow. The same word is used elsewhere by the same Apostle, 1 Peter 5:3, “neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you,” τῶν κλήρων. Tyndale and Cranmer render the word here “parishes,” which really gives a good interpretation of it = the “lots” assigned to the elders as their portions in God’s heritage; and so we have by an easy transition clerici = clergy, those to whom such “lots” are assigned: Humphry, Commentary on R. V., p. 446, Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 246 ff.— ἔλαχεν: here and in 2 Peter 1:1 with an accusative, as in classical Greek, “received his portion” R.V. On the construction of the verb with the genitive, cf. Blass, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 100, 230, and Plummer’s St. Luke, p. 11; with Luke 1:9, cf. 1 Samuel 14:47. In classical Greek it is used as the opposite of χειροτονηθῆναι, to be elected, more commonly with the infinitive.— διακονίας: “Apostleship the highest form of ministration is repeatedly designated thus,” Hort, Ecclesia, p. 204, e.g., Acts 1:25, Acts 20:24, Acts 21:19, 2 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 6:3, Romans 11:13, and see further on the word, chap. 6. below. It would be difficult to find in such a general term, or in any part of the speech, any reference to a hierarchical constitution of the Church (Zeller, Overbeck). Jüngst cannot derive any such view from this verse, although he sees in the description of διακονία as ἀποστολή, Acts 1:25, the mark of a later period than that of the delivery of the speech (so too Wendt).


Verse 18

Acts 1:18. οὗτος μὲν οὖν κ. τ. λ. This verse and the next are regarded in R.V. as a parenthesis (compare also W.H(107)), μὲν οὖν making the transition from St. Peter’s own words to the explanatory statement of St. Luke; see Rendall’s Appendix on μὲν οὖν, although he would place Acts 1:20 also in a parenthesis, Acts, p. 160 ff. For this frequent use of μὲν οὖν in Acts, see also Blass, who regards μέν as used here, as in other places, without any following antithesis expressed by δέ, Grammatik des N. G., pp. 261, 267, see also Hackett’s note in loco. Spitta, Feine, Weiss, see in these two verses an editorial interpolation.— ἐκτήσατο χωρίον. To harmonise this with Matthew 27:5, an explanation has been often used to this effect, that although Judas did not purchase the field, it was purchased by his money, and that thus he might be called its possessor. This was the explanation adopted by the older commentators, and by many modern. Theophylact, e.g., describes Judas as rightly called the κύριος of the field for the price of it was his. It is no doubt quite possible that St. Peter (if the words are his and not St. Luke’s) should thus express himself rhetorically (and some of his other expressions are certainly rhetorical, e.g., ἐλάκησε μέσος), or that Judas should be spoken of as the possessor of the field, just as Joseph of Arimathæa is said to have hewn his own tomb, or Pilate to have scourged Jesus, but possibly Dr. Edersheim’s view that the blood-money by a fiction of law was still considered to belong to Judas may help to explain the difficulty, Jesus the Messiah, ii., 575. Lightfoot comments, “Not that he himself bought the field, for Matthew resolves the contrary—nor was there any such thing in his intention when he bargained for the money,” and then he adds, “But Peter by a bitter irrision showeth the fruit and profit of his wretched covetise:” Hor. Heb. (see also Hackett’s note). Without fully endorsing this, it is quite possible that St. Peter, or St. Luke, would contrast the portion in the ministry which Judas had received with the little which was the result of the price of his iniquity.— ἐκ τοῦ μισθοῦ τῆς ἀδικίας pro τοῦ ἀδίκου μισθοῦ, a Hebraism, Blass, in loco, see also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 268. The phrase only occurs again in 2 Peter 2:13; 2 Peter 2:15; on this use of ἐκ see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 146. Combinations of words with ἀδικία are characteristic of St. Luke (Friedrich). In the other Evangelists the word is only found once, John 7:18.— καὶ πρηνὴς γενόμ. Wendt (following Zeller and Overbeck) and others maintain that St. Luke here follows a different tradition from St. Matthew, Matthew 27:6 ff., and that it is only arbitrary to attempt to reconcile them. But Felten and Zöckler (so too Lumby and Jacobson) see in St. Luke’s description a later stage in the terrible end of the traitor. St. Matthew says καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἀπήγξατο: if the rope broke, or a branch gave way under the weight of Judas, St. Luke’s narrative might easily be supplementary to that of St. Matthew. Blass, in loco, adopts the former alternative, and holds that thus the narrative may be harmonised with that of St. Matthew, rupto fune Iudam in terram procidisse. It is difficult to see (as against Overbeck) why πρηνὴς γεν. is inconsistent with this. The words no doubt mean strictly “falling flat on his face” opposed to ὕπτιος, not “falling headlong,” and so they do not necessarily imply that Judas fell over a precipice, but Hackett’s view that Judas may have hung himself from a tree on the edge of a precipice near the valley of Hinnom, and that he fell on to the rocky pavement below is suggested from his own observation of the locality, p. 36, Acts of the Apostles (first English edition), see also Edersheim, ubi supra, pp. 575, 576. At all events there is nothing disconcerting in the supposition that we may have here “some unknown series of facts, of which we have but two fragmentary narratives”: “Judas,” B.D.2, and see further Plummer sub v. in Hastings’ B.D. ἐλάκησε: here only in the N.T. λάσκω: a strong expression, signifying bursting asunder with a loud noise, Hom., Iliad, xiii., 616; cf. also Acta Thomæ, 33 (p. 219, ed. Tdf.): δράκων φυσηθεὶς ἐλάκησε καὶ ἀπέθανε καὶ ἐξεχύθη ἰὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ χολή, for the construction cf. Luke 23:45.


Verse 19

Acts 1:19. καὶ γνωστὸνπᾶσιν τοῖς κατοικοῦσιν ἱερουσ.: the words have been taken to support the view that we have here a parenthesis containing the notice of St. Luke, but if St. Peter was speaking rhetorically he might easily express himself so. But many critics, who refuse to see in the whole of the two verses any parenthetical remarks of the historian, adopt the view that τῇ διαλέκτῳ αὐτῶν and τοῦτʼ ἔστιν χωρίον αἵματος are explanations introduced by St. Luke, who could trust to his Gentile readers to distinguish between his words and those of St. Peter (Wendt, Holtzmann, Zöckler, Nösgen, Jüngst. Matthias).— τῇ διαλέκτῳ: only in Acts in the N.T., where it is used six times in all parts; it may mean dialect or language, but here it is used in the latter sense (R.V.) to distinguish Aramaic from Greek (cf. its use in Polybius).— αὐτῶν, i.e., the dwellers of Jerusalem, who spoke Aramaic—unless the whole expression is used rhetorically, it would seem that it contains the words, not of St. Peter, who himself spoke Aramaic, but of the author (see Blass, in loco).— ἀκελδαμά: the Aramaic of the Field of Blood would be חֲקַל דְּמָא, and it is possible that the χ may be added to represent in some way the guttural (108), just as σιράχ = סירא, cf. Blass, in loco, and Grammatik des N. G., p. 13. W.H(109) (so Blass) read ἁκελδαμάχ (and ἀχελδαμάχ, Tisch. and Treg.); see also on the word Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 60 and 63. A new derivation has been proposed by Klostermann, Probleme in Aposteltexte, p. 6 ff., which has gained considerable attention (cf. Holtzmann, Wendt, Felten, Zöckler, in loco), viz.: דְּמַךְ= κοιμᾶσθαι, so that the word = κοιμητήριον, cf. Matthew 27:8. This is the derivation preferred by Wendt, and it is very tempting, but see also Enc. Bibl., I., 32, 1899, sub v.

It is true that the two accounts in St. Matthew and St. Luke give two reasons for the name Field of Blood. But why should there not be two reasons? If the traitor in the agony of his remorse rushed from the Temple into the valley of Hinnom, and across the valley to “the potter’s field” of Jeremiah, the old name of the potter’s field might easily become changed in the popular language into that of “field of blood,” whilst the reason given by St. Matthew for the name might still hold good, since the blood-money, which by a fiction of law was still considered to belong to Judas, was employed for the purchase of the accursed spot as a burial ground for strangers. See Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., 574, 575. Whatever may be alleged as to the growth of popular fancy and tradition in the later account in Acts of the death of Judas, it cannot be said to contrast unfavourably with the details given by Papias, Fragment, 18, which Blass describes as “insulsissima et fœdissima”.


Verse 20

Acts 1:20. The quotation is twofold, the first part from Psalms 69:26 (LXX, 68); in the LXX we have αὐτῶν, changed here into αὐτοῦ with reference to Judas, whilst ἐν τοῖς σκηνώμασιν is omitted and the words ἐν αὐτῇ, referring to ἔπαυλις, are added. The omission would make the application of the words more general than in the original, which related to the desolation of the encampment and tents of a nomadic tribe. The other part of the quotation is verbatim from Psalms 108:8 (109), called by the ancients the Iscariot Psalm. With the exception of Psalms 22, no Psalm is more frequently quoted in the N.T. than 69; cf. Psalms 108:9 with John 2:17; Psa 108:21 with Matthew 27:34, and with John 19:28; Psa 108:22-23 with Romans 11:9-10; and Psalms 108:9 with Romans 15:3. In these Psalms, as in the twenty-second Psalm, we see how the history of prophets and holy men of old, of a David or a Jeremiah, was typical of the history of the Son of man made perfect through suffering, and we know how our Lord Himself saw the fulfilment of the words of the suffering Psalmist Psalms 41:9) in the tragic events of His own life (John 13:18). So too St. Peter in the recent miserable end of the traitor sees another evidence, not only of the general truth, which the Psalmists learnt through suffering, that God rewarded His servants and that confusion awaited the unrighteous, but also another fulfilment in the case of Judas of the doom which the Psalmists of old had invoked upon the persecutors of the faithful servants of God. But we are not called upon to regard Psalms 109 as the Iscariot Psalm in all its details (see Perowne, Psalms, p. 538 (smaller edition)), or to forget, as Delitzsch reminds us, that the spirit of Elias is not that of the N.T. St. Peter, although he must have regarded the crime of Judas as a crime without a parallel, does not dwell upon his punishment, but passes at once to the duty incumbent upon the infant Church in view of the vacant Apostleship.— ἔπαυλις: by many commentators, both ancient and modern (Chrys., Oecum., so too Nösgen, Overbeck, Wendt, Blass, Holtzmann, Zöckler, Jüngst), this is referred to the χωρίον, which was rendered desolate by the death of Judas in it, on the ground that γάρ thus maintains its evident relation to what precedes. But if the two preceding verses are inserted by St. Luke, and form no part of St. Peter’s words, it would seem that ἔπαυλις must be regarded as parallel to ἐπισκοπή in the second quotation.— ἐπισκοπὴν: “his office,” R.V. (“overseership,” margin), so for the same word in LXX, Psalms 109:8, from which the quotation is made. In the LXX the word is used, Numbers 4:16, for the charge of the tabernacle. St. Peter uses the word ἐπίσκοπος in 1 Peter 2:25, and it is significant that there the translators of 1611 maintain the use of the word “bishop,” as here “bishoprick” (so R.V., “overseer,” margin), whilst they use “overseer” and “oversight” ( ἐπισκοπή), Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5:2, where the reference is to the function of the elders or presbyters. The word ἐπισκοπή, of course, could not have its later ecclesiastical force, but the Apostolic office of Judas might well be described as one of oversight, and care of others; and it is significant that it is so described, and not only as a διακονία (see below on Acts 1:25, and on ἐπίσκοπος, Acts 20:28, note): “St. Peter would not have quoted the Psalm containing the expression ἐπισκοπή unless he had instinctively felt the word to be applicable to Judas’ position” (Canon Gore in Guardian, 16th March, 1898).


Verse 21

Acts 1:21. δεῖ οὖν, see Acts 1:16. As the one prophecy had thus already been fulfilled, so for the fulfilment of the other it was imperative upon the Church to elect a successor to Judas.— εἰσῆλθε καὶ ἐξῆλθεν: a Hebraistic formula expressing the whole course of a man’s daily life; Acts 9:28; cf. LXX Deuteronomy 28:6, 1 Samuel 29:6, Psalm 120:8, and for other instances, Wetstein, in loco. There is no occasion to render ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, “over us,” R.V., margin, for in full the phrase would run: εἰσῆλθεν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἀφʼ ἡμῶν. The formula shows that St. Peter did not shrink from dwelling upon the perfect humanity of the Ascended Christ, whilst in the same sentence he speaks of Him as κύριος.


Verse 22

Acts 1:22. ἀρξάμενος, cf. note on Acts 1:1. The word need not be restricted to our Lord’s own baptism, but would include the time of the baptism preached by John, as his baptism and preaching were the announcement of, and a preparation for, the Christ. If St. Mark’s Gospel, as there is every reason to believe, was closely connected with St. Peter, its opening verses give us a similar date for the commencement of the Apostolic testimony; cf. Schmid, Biblische Theologie des N. T., p. 436.— ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἧς: according to Wendt and Weiss, the relative is not attracted for , but is to be regarded as a genitive of time, but cf. Leviticus 23:15, Haggai 2:18, Baruch 1:15; Winer-Schmiedel, p. 226; Blass, ubi supra, p. 170.— μάρτυρα τῆς ἀναστάσεως. It has been noted as remarkable that St. Peter here lays down experience of matters of fact, not eminence in any subjective grace or quality, as one of the conditions of Apostleship, but it is evident that from the first the testimony of the Apostles was not merely to the facts, but to their spiritual bearing, cf. chap. Acts 5:32 : “On the one side there is the historical witness to the facts, on the other, the internal testimony of personal experience” (Westcott’s St. John, John 15:27), and the appeal to Him “Who knew the hearts,” showed that something more was needed than intellectual competency. Spitta and Jüngst (so Weiss) regard the whole clause ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳἀφʼ ἡμῶν as introduced by a reviser, but on the other hand Hilgenfeld considers the words to be in their right place. He also rebukes Weiss for maintaining that the whole passage, Acts 1:15-26, could not have been composed by the author of the book, who gives no intimation of the number of the Apostles, with whom the Twelve as such play no part, and who finds his hero outside their number. But Hilgenfeld points out that the Twelve have for his “author to Theophilus” a very important place; cf. Acts 2:14; Acts 2:22, Acts 4:33, Acts 5:12; Acts 5:40, Acts 8:1; Acts 8:14, Acts 9:27.


Verse 23

Acts 1:23. ἔστησαν, not ἔστησεν: the latter reading, “nimium Petro dat, nihil concilio relinquit” (Blass). “They put forward,” R.V., not “appointed,” A.V., for the appointment had not yet been made.— ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλ. βαρσαβᾶν, “Joseph called Barsabbas”. We cannot identify him with Joseph Barnabas (Acts 4:36), or with Judas Barsabbas (Acts 15:22). Barsabbas may have been a patronymic “son of Sabba,” but cf. Enc. Bibl., I., 487, 1899. It is only a conjecture that he was the brother of Judas Barsabbas just mentioned. The name Justus is probably a Roman surname, as ἰοῦστος indicates, adopted after the custom of the time, just as the second Evangelist took the Roman name Marcus in addition to the Hebrew John. Nothing more is said of him in the N.T. Eusebius ranks him with Matthias as one of the Seventy, H.E., i., 12, and Papias is said to have related concerning him that he drank deadly poison but escaped all harm, Euseb., H.E., iii., 39. On the connection of this tradition with Aristion see Nestle, Einführung in das G. N. T., p. 240, and Zahn, Einleitung, ii., p. 231. If the reading of Blass in (110), supported by the Latin, τὸν καὶ ἰοῦστον (qui et Justus) may claim acceptance, it affords, as Belser notes, an interesting parallel with the σαῦλος καὶ παῦλος of Acts 13:8. On the spelling of the word, see W.H(111) Appendix p. 166, and also Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 56, 57.— ΄ατθίαν. Nothing more is known of him with certainty than that he must have fulfilled the qualifications required by St. Peter. Both Eusebius and Epiphanius rank him in the Seventy, and he is said to have suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia. An apocryphal Gospel was ascribed to him, Euseb., H.E., iii., 25, and from Clem. Alex., Strom., iv., 6, 35, we find that the words of Zacchæus, Luke 19:8, were supposed to be his; so too Hilgenfeld, Actus Apost., p. 202, 1899.


Verse 24

Acts 1:24. κύριε καρδιογνῶσταὃν ἐξελέξω. The words may well have been addressed to Christ: St. Peter had just spoken of Him as the Lord, his own experience and that of his fellow-disciples must have taught him that Jesus was One Who knew the hearts of all men (John 2:25; John 21:17), and he had heard his Master’s claim to have chosen the Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13; Luke 5:2 above, where the same verb is used). On the other hand Wendt regards as decisive against this view that St. Peter himself in Acts 15:7 says ἐξελέξατο θεός and then in Acts 1:8 calls God καρδιογνώστης (cf. Jeremiah 17:10, where Jehovah is said to search the heart). But the passage in Acts 15 is much too general in its reference to consider it decisive against any special prerogative ascribed to Jesus here (viz., the choice of His own Apostles), and the references to 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 2:1, where St. Paul refers his Apostleship to God, may be fairly met by Acts 9:17; Acts 26:16. It is quite true that in Acts 4:29 κύριε is used in prayer plainly addressed to the Lord Jehovah, but it is equally certain that prayer was directed to Christ in the earliest days of the Church (Zahn, Skizzen aus dem Leben der alten Kirche, pp. 1–38 and notes), see also below on Acts 2:21 (and cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:11-12, and 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Archbishop of Armagh in Speaker’s Commentary, iii., 690).— ἀνάδειξον: in Luke 10:1 the only other passage in the N.T. where the word is used, it is applied to our Lord’s appointment of the Seventy, and is rendered “appointed,” A. and R.V. But here R.V. renders “show” as A.V. (Rendall, “appoint”). The verb however may be used in the sense of showing forth or clearly, and hence to proclaim, especially a person’s appointment to an office (cf. the noun ἀνάδειξις also used by St. Luke only in his Gospel, Luke 1:80); cf. for the former meaning, 2 Maccabees 2:8; cf. 2 Maccabees 5:6, and for the latter, 2 Macc. 9:14, 23, 35; 10:11; 14:12, 26; 1 Esdras 1:35; 1 Esdras 8:23; so too the use of the word in Polybius and Plutarch (see Grimm-Thayer, sub v., and Weiss, in loco).


Verse 25

Acts 1:25. τὸν κλῆρον: R.V. τόπον marking the antithesis between the place in the Apostleship and “his own place” to which Judas had gone, Vulg. locum.— τῆς διακονίας ταύτης καὶ ἀποστολῆς: as above we have not only the word διακονία used but also ἐπισκοπή, Acts 5:17; Acts 5:20, so here too we have not only διακονία but also ἀποστολή, although no doubt there is a sense in which we may truly say with Dr. Hort (Ecclesia, p. 204) that Apostleship is the highest form of ministration. On the word ἀπόστολος see Acts 13:2-3; the term was undoubtedly used in N.T. to include others besides the Twelve, although there is no reason to suppose that the qualification of having “seen the Lord” was in any case invalidated (cf. Gwatkin, “Apostle,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 126). The whole narrative before us which relates the solemn appeal of the Church to her Ascended Lord, and the choice determined upon in immediate sequence to that appeal, is clearly at variance with any conception of Apostleship as other than a divine commission received directly from Christ Himself (Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, p. 130).— παρέβη, “fell away,” R.V. cf. LXX Exodus 32:8, ἐκ τῆς ὁδοῦ, so Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 17:20, ἀπὸ τῶν ἐντολῶν (cf. Acts 28:14, A.), so the Heb. סוּר followed by מִן. A.V. following Tyndall renders “by transgression fell,” which lays too much stress upon “fell,” which is not the prominent notion of the Greek verb, elsewhere “transgressed” (Humphry on Revised Version, p. 188— εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἴδιον on τόπος). in the sense of social position, dignity, see Sirach 12:12, and also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 95, of succeeding to the vacant place caused by death in a religious community. Here the phrase is usually explained as the place of punishment, Gehenna, cf. Baal—Turim on Numbers 24:25 (and Genesis 31:55) “Balaam ivit in locum suum,” i.e., Gehenna, Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., while on the other hand Schöttgen sees no need to explain the expression in this way. In each of the passages in the O.T. the word ἴδιος does not occur in the LXX, although in the still more fanciful comment of the Rabbis on Job 2:11, we have ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας χώρας. That the phrase ἴδιος τόπος may be used in a good or bad sense is plain from Ignat., Magn., v., in a passage which is naturally referred to the verse before us, where a man’s “own place” denotes the place of reward, or that of punishment, cf., e.g., εἰς τὸν ὀφειλόμενον τόπον, Polycarp, Phil., ix., where the words refer to the martyrs who were with the Lord, and εἰς τὸν ὀφειλ. τόπον τῆς δόξης said of St. Peter, Clem. Rom., Cor(112) v. Nösgen argues, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 88, 89, that we are not justified in concluding from a few Rabbinical passages which contain such fanciful interpretations of simple words (cf. the comment on Job 2:11, quoted by Wetstein) that St. Peter must have meant “Gehenna”. In his wilful fall from the place chosen for him by God, Judas had chosen in self-will ἴδιος τόπος, and this wilful and deliberate choice St. Peter would emphasise in contrast to the τόπος ἀποστολῆς about to be bestowed, Acts 1:25 (see also Rendall, Acts, p. 174). But however this may be, the words may well indicate a reserve on the part of St. Peter in speaking of the fate and destiny of Judas, characteristic of his reference to him cf. note on Acts 1:16. None of the other explanations offered can be deemed satisfactory, as, e.g., that the word πορευθῆναι κ. τ. λ. refers to the successor of Judas; that Matthias should undertake the Apostolic circuit assigned to Judas (so Oecumenius, and amongst English commentators, Hammond); or, that the words refer to the house or home of Judas, or to his association with the Pharisees, or to his suicide and dishonoured burial, or to the χωρίον mentioned above. Spitta, amongst recent commentators, stands almost alone in referring the words back to Acts 1:16, and holds that they refer to the position of Judas as the guide to those who took Jesus. The sense of the passage is expressed in the reading of A δίκαιον instead of ἴδιον.


Verse 26

Acts 1:26. καὶ ἔδωκαν κλήρους αὐτῶν, “they gave forth their lots,” A.V. But R.V. reads αὐτοῖς, “they gave lots for them”. R.V. margin, “unto them”. It is difficult to decide whether the expression means that they gave lots unto the candidates themselves or whether they cast lots for them—i.e., on their behalf, or to see which of the two would be selected. How the lot was decided we cannot positively say. According to Hamburger (Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, i., 5, p. 723) the Bible does not tell us, as the expressions used point sometimes to a casting, sometimes to a drawing out, of the lots; cf. Proverbs 16:33 : “Quo modo et ratione uti sunt Apostoli incertum est. Certum est Deum per earn declarasse Mathiam tum dirigendo sortem ut caderet in Mathiam juxta illud Proverbs 16:33” (Corn. à Lapide). For the expression cf. Leviticus 16:8. Hebraismus (Wetstein), so Blass. καὶ ἔπεσεν, i.e., through shaking the vessel, Jonah 1:7; cf. Livy, xxiii., 3; so in Homer and Sophocles πάλλειν, cf. Josephus, Ant., vi., 5.— συγκατεψηφίσθη: only here in N.T. “he was numbered with the eleven Apostles,” i.e., as the twelfth. The verb is used in the middle voice for condemning with others, Plut., Them., 21, but as it occurs nowhere else we have no parallels to its use here. Grimm explains it “deponendo ( κατά) in urnam calculo, i.e., suffragando assigno (alicui) locum inter ( σύν)”. But here it is used rather as an equivalent of συγκαταριθμεῖσθαι; cf. Acts 1:17 (and also Acts 19:19), (Blass and Wendt, in loco) = ἐναρίθμιος, συμψηφισθείς, καταριθμηθείς, Hesychius. Wendt as against Meyer maintains that it is not proved that recourse was never again had to lots, because no other instance of such an appeal is recorded in Acts. But it is most significant that this one instance should be recorded between the departure of the Lord and the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and that after Pentecost no further reference is made to such a mode of decision. Cf., e.g., Acts 10:19, Acts 16:6. With regard to the historical character of the election of Matthias, Wendt sees no ground to doubt it in the main, although he is not prepared to vouch for all the details, but he finds no reason to place such an event at a later date of the Church’s history, as Zeller proposed. To question the validity of the appointment is quite unreasonable, as not only is it presupposed in Acts 2:14, Acts 6:2, but even the way in which both St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5) and the Apocalypse (Acts 21:14) employ the number twelve in a technical sense of the Twelve Apostles, makes the after choice of Matthias as here described very probable (so Overbeck, in loco). No mention is made of the laying on of hands, but “non dicuntur manus novo Apostolo impositæ; erat enim prorsus immediate constitutus,” Bengel. See also on Acts 1:25, and Acts 13:3.

Ascension of our Lord.—Friedrich in his Das Lucasevangelium, p. 47 ff., discusses not only similarity of words and phrases, but similarity of contents in St. Luke’s writings. With reference to the latter, he examines the two accounts of the Ascension as given in St. Luke’s Gospel and in the Acts. There are, he notes, four points of difference (the same four in fact as are mentioned by Zeller, Acts of the Apostles, i., 166, E. T.): (1) Bethany as the place of the Ascension, Luke 24:30; Acts 1:12, the Mount of Olives; (2) the time of the Ascension; according to Acts the event falls on the fortieth day after the Resurrection, Acts 1:3; according to the Gospel on the Resurrection day itself; (3) the words of Jesus before the Ascension are not quite the same in the two narratives; (4) in the Gospel the words appear to be spoken in Jerusalem, in the Acts at the place of the Ascension. Friedrich points out what Zeller fully admitted, that (1) has no importance, for Bethany lay on the Mount of Olives, and the neighbourhood of Bethany might be described quite correctly as ὄρος ἐλαιῶνος; (3) is not of any great importance (as Zeller also admitted), since Luke 24:47-49 and Acts 1:4-8 agree in the main. With regard to (4), Friedrich is again in agreement with Zeller in holding that the difficulty might easily be solved by supposing some slight inaccuracy, or that the words in question were uttered on the way from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives; but he agrees also with Zeller in maintaining that the time of the Ascension as given in Luke’s Gospel and in Acts constitutes the only definite contradiction between the two writings. But even this difficulty presents itself to Friedrich as by no means insuperable, since the author has not attempted to avoid apparent contradictions in other places in the Acts, and therefore he need not have felt himself called upon to do so in the passage before us, where the book seems at variance with his Gospel (see pp. 48, 49).

But Friedrich proceeds to emphasise the many points in which the history of the Ascension in Acts reminds us of the close of the Gospel (see also Zeller, u. s., ii., pp. 226, 227, E.T., and also Feine). Only St. Luke knows of the command of Jesus, that the Apostles should not leave Jerusalem, and of the promise of the Holy Spirit associated with it, Luke 24:49, and Acts 1:4-8. So also Luke 24:47 reminds us unmistakably of Acts 1:8; also Luke 24:52 and Acts 1:12, Luke 24:53 and Acts 1:14 (Acts 2:14) (cf. also Acts 1:5 and Luke 3:16). But there is no need to adopt Friedrich’s defence of the supposed contradiction with regard to the time of the Ascension. Certainly in the Gospel of St. Luke nothing is said of any interval between the Resurrection and the Ascension, but it is incredible that “the author can mean that late at night, Luke 3:29; Luke 3:33, Jesus led the disciples out to Bethany and ascended in the dark!” Plummer, St. Luke, p. 569, see also Felten, Apostelgeschichte, p. 59, and Blass, Acta Apostolorum, p. 44. It is of course possible that St. Luke may have gained his information as to the interval of the forty days between the writing of his two works, but however this may be (cf. Plummer, but against this view Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 173), it becomes very improbable that even if a tradition existed that the Ascension took place on the evening of the Resurrection, and that Luke afterwards in Acts followed a new and more trustworthy account (so Wendt), that the Evangelist, the disciple of St. Paul, who must have been acquainted with the continuous series of the appearances of the Risen Christ in 1 Corinthians 15, should have favoured such a tradition for a moment (see Zöckler, u. s.). On the undue stress laid by Harnack upon the famous passage in Barnabas, Epist., xv., see Dr. Swete, The Apostle’s Creed, p. 68, Plummer, u. s., p. 564, and on this point and also the later tradition of a lengthy interval, Zöckler, u. s. For the early testimony to the fact of the Ascension in the Apostolic writings, and for the impossibility of accounting for the belief in the fact either from O.T. precedents or from pagan myths, see Zahn, Das Apostolische Symbolum, pp. 76–78, and Witness of the Epistles (Longmans), p. 400 ff. The view of Steinneyer that St. Luke gives us a full account of the Ascension in the Acts rather than in his Gospel, because he felt that the true position of such an event was to emphasise it more as the beginning of a new period than as a conclusion of the Gospel history, Die Auferstehungsgeschichte des Herrn, pp. 226, 227, deserves attention, and may be fitly compared with W.H(113), Notes on Select Readings, p. 73.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-1.html. 1897-1910.

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Monday, August 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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