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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 10

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Acts 10:1. ἀνήρ τις: on the expression see Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 202.— ἐν κ., see Acts 8:40.


Verse 2

Acts 10:2. ἑκατοντάρχης: form general in N.T., and so in later Greek, although χιλίαρχος is always retained in N.T., and ἑκατόνταρχος is also found, Matthew 8:5; Matthew 8:8 (W.H(237)), Luke 7:2, Acts 22:25 (W.H(238)); so πατριάρχης, πολιτάρχης, ἐθνάρχης, see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 82, and note on forms employed in Josephus and LXX W.H(239), Appendix, p. 163; Blass, Gram., pp. 28, 68; and Grimm-Thayer, sub v., for various authorities.— ἐκ σπείρης τῆς : the word σπεῖρα here = cohors, although used in the N.T. in a more general way as of the band which arrested Jesus, and so also of Jewish troops in Judith 14:11, 2 Maccabees 8:23; 2 Maccabees 12:20; 2 Maccabees 12:22. Each legion was subdivided into ten cohorts, but besides the legionary cohorts there were auxiliary cohorts, and Josephus mentions that five of these cohorts were stationed at Cæsarea at the time of the death of Herod Agrippa, composed to a great extent at all events of the inhabitants of Cæsarea and Sebaste, Ant., xix., 9, 2; xx., 8, 7. There were in the provinces Italic cohorts composed of volunteer Roman citizens born in Italy, and in answer to the strictures of Schürer, who contends that there was no Italic cohort in Cæsarea at this time, Blass, in loco, asks why one of the five cohorts mentioned by Josephus may not have been composed of Roman citizens who had made their home at Cæsarea or Sebaste, a cohort known by the name mentioned. But Ramsay has given great interest to the subject by his account of a recently discovered inscription at Carnuntum—the epitaph of a young Roman soldier, a subordinate officer in the second Italic cohort, who died at Carnuntum while engaged on detached service from the Syrian army. He sees reason to infer that there was an Italic cohort stationed in Syria in A.D. 69, and although the new discovery does not prove anything with certainty for the period in Acts 10, say 40–44 A.D., yet it becomes in every way probable that at that date, when Cornelius is described as in Acts 10:1, an Italic cohort recruited from the east was stationed in the province Syria. But even if it could be shown that no Italic cohort was stationed at Cæsarea from A.D. 6–41, or again from 41–44 in the reign of Herod, it by no means follows that a centurion belonging to the cohort may not have been on duty there. He may have been so, even if his cohort was on duty elsewhere, and it would be a bold thing to deny such a possibility when the whole subject of detached service is so obscure; Ramsay, Expositor, September, 1896, also Expositor, December, 1896 (Schürer’s reply), and January, 1897 (Ramsay); Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 53 ff. E.T.; Ramsay, Was Christ born at Bethlehem? pp. 260–269; O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 108; and Wendt, in loco, (1899).— εὐσεβὴς καὶ φ. τὸν θεὸν: the adjective is only used here and in Acts 10:7 (Acts 22:12), and once again in 2 Peter 2:9 in the N.T. In the LXX it is found four times in Isaiah, thrice as an equivalent of צַדִּיק, Acts 24:16, Acts 26:7 (2), righteous, upright, cf. also Proverbs 12:12, once as an equivalent of נָדִיב, liberal, generous, see on Acts 8:2 above; frequent in Ecclus. and Macc., see also Trench, N.T. Synonyms, i., p. 196. Taken by itself the word might denote goodness such as might characterise a Gentile, cf. Acts 17:23, and its classical use (like the Latin pietas); but construed with φ. τὸν θεόν it certainly seems to indicate that Cornelius was “a God-fearing proselyte” (not to be identified it would seem with “proselytes of the gate,” although the confusion is common (Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 316 E.T.)). In Acts this class of proselyte is always so described (or σεβόμενοι τὸν θ.) “they that fear God,” i.e., the God of the Jews, cf. Acts 10:22; Acts 10:35, Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26, etc. All the incidents of the story seem to point to the fact that Cornelius had come into relations with the synagogue, and had learned the name and the fear of the God of Israel, cf. Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:25, without accepting circumcision, see especially Ramsay, Expositor, p. 200 (1896), where he corrects his former remarks in St. Paul, p. 43; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums, “Fremder,” i., 3, p. 382; Hort, Ecclesia, p. 58; O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, pp. 184, 185; Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age, i., 103 E.T.; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 101, note, and for a further explanation of the distinction between the σεβόμενοι and the “proselytes of the gate” cf. Muirhead Times of Christ (T. & T. Clark), pp. 105, 106.— σὺν παντὶ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτοῦ: the centurions of the N.T. are always favourably represented, cf. Matthew 8:5, Luke 7:9; Luke 23:47, Acts 27:3. οἶκος here includes not only the family but the whole household, cf. Acts 7:10, Acts 11:14, Acts 16:31, Acts 18:8, etc.; Luke 1:27; Luke 10:5; Luke 19:9, thus the soldier “who waited on him continually” is also called εὐσεβής. οἶκος (cf. πᾶς οἶκ. ὅλος οἶκ.), favourite word with St. Luke in the sense of “family” (Lekebusch, Friedrich) as compared with the other Evangelists, but often found in St. Paul (cf. Hebrews), so also LXX, Genesis 7:1; Genesis 47:12. St. Peter uses the word so in Acts 11:14, and in 1 Peter 2:18 we have οἰκέτης. St. Chrysostom well says: “Let us take heed as many of us as neglect those of our own house” (Hom., xxii.). Cf. too Calvin, in loco.— ποιῶν ἐλεημ. τῷ λαῷ, see note on Acts 9:36; the word occurs frequently in Ecclus. and Tobit, and its occurrence here and elsewhere in Acts illustrates the Jewish use of the term; but although it is true to say that it does not occur in Acts in any Christian precept, St. Paul applies the word to the collection made from the Christian Churches for his nation at Jerusalem, Acts 24:17, a collection to which he attached so much importance as the true outcome of Christian love and brotherhood, see l.c. How highly almsgiving was estimated amongst the Jews we may see from the passages referred to in Hastings’ B.D. and B.D.2; Uhlhorn’s Christian Charity in the Ancient Church, p. 52 ff. E.T.; but it should be remembered that both in Ecclus. and Tobit there are passages in which both almsgiving and fasting are also closely connected with prayer, Sirach 7:10, Tobit 12:8.— τῷ λ., i.e., Israel, as always in Luke, see above on Acts 4:25. Both this and his continuous prayer to God, Acts 10:30, characterise him as half a Jew (Weiss).— διὰ παντός: Luke 24:53, and three times in Acts (once in a quotation, Acts 2:25), but only used once in Matthew and Mark, and not at all by St. John; on St. Luke’s predilection for πᾶς and its compounds see Friedrich, pp. 5, 6. The description of the centurion no doubt reminds us of the description of another centurion in Luke 7:5 (so Weiss), but we are not obliged to conclude that the centurion here is merely pictured after the prototype there; but the likeness may possibly point to the same source for both narratives, as in some respects the language in the two cases is verbally alike, see Feine.— δεόμενος: “preces et liberalitas commendantur hic; accedit jejunium, Acts 10:30”; so Bengel, and he adds, “Benefici faciunt, quod Deus vult: precantes iidem quod volunt, Deus facit”.


Verse 3

Acts 10:3. εἶδεν: there is no ground for explaining away the force of the words by assuming that Cornelius had formerly a longing to see Peter.— φανερῶς: “openly,” R.V.; manifeste, Vulgate. The words plainly are meant to exclude any illusion of the senses, not in a trance as in Acts 10:10, cf. Acts 22:17; only here in Luke’s writings, cf. 2 Maccabees 3:28.— ὡσεὶ ( περί): the ὡσεί, as Blass points out, intimates the same as περί—the dative which is read here by Chrysostom (omit περί) is sometimes confused with the accusative in the sense of duration of time, see Blass on Acts 10:30, and Acts 8:11 (for the accusative see John 4:52, Revelation 3:3), and Gram., p. 93. Cornelius observed without doubt the Jewish hours of prayer, and the vision is represented as following upon, or whilst he was engaged in, prayer, and in answer to it.


Verse 4

Acts 10:4. κορνήλιε, cf. 1 Samuel 3:10. Of Cornelius the words of the Evangelical Prophet were true, Isaiah 43:1, “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine”.— ἀτενίσας, see above on Acts 1:10.— ἔμφοβος: four times in St. Luke, twice in Gospel, twice in Acts, and always with second aorist participle of γίγνομαι as here, only once elsewhere in N.T., Revelation 11:13 (with ἐγένοντο); cf. Sirach 19:24 (21), of the fear of God; and in 1 Maccabees 13:2 both ἔντρομος and ἔμφοβος are apparently found together, cf. Acts 7:32; Acts 16:29, but in classical Greek the word is used properly actively, formidolosus.— τί ἐστι, κύριε; the words, similar to those used by Paul at his conversion, reveal the humility and the attentive attitude and readiness of Cornelius.— αἱ προσ., cf. Acts 2:22, with article: of regular prayers.— ἀνέβησαν: tanquam sacrificia, cf. Psalms 141:2, Philippians 4:18, Hebrews 13:15, and for the word, 2 Kings 3:20, Job 20:6, Ezekiel 8:11, 1 Maccabees 5:31.— εἰς μνημόσυνον: in Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 2:16; Leviticus 5:12; Leviticus 6:15, Numbers 5:26 cf. Sirach 38:11; Sirach 45:16), the word is used as a translation of the Hebrew אַזְכָּרָה, “a name given to that portion of the vegetable oblation which was burnt with frankincense upon the altar, the sweet savour of which ascending to heaven was supposed to commend the person sacrificing to the remembrance and favour of God,” a remembrance offering. The words at all events express the thought that the prayers and alms of Cornelius had gained the favourable regard of God, and that they would be remembered, and are remembered accordingly (see notes by Wendt, Felten and Holtzmann), the alms being regarded by zeugma as ascending like the prayers. With this passage cf. Tobit 12:12; Tobit 12:15, and Mr. Ball’s note in Speaker’s Commentary, i., p. 231. “O quam multa in terrain cadunt, non ascendunt” Bengel, and cf. Hamlet, Act iii., Sc. 3: “My words fly up,” etc.: see Book of Enoch, xlix., 3, for a striking parallel to the thought of raising prayers as a memorial to God, Charles’ edition, pp. 70, 284.


Verse 5

Acts 10:5. μετάπεμψαι: middle, his messengers were to perform his wishes; only in Acts in N.T., where it occurs nine times, but found twice in LXX and in Maccabees; so too mostly in the middle in classical writers, although the active is also found in same sense.— σίμωνά ( τινα), see critical notes; as unknown to Cornelius, marked out by his surname as the one of the many who were called Simon.


Verse 6

Acts 10:6. ξενίζεται, see Acts 10:33.— παρὰ θάλασσαν: perhaps to secure water for the purpose of his trade, perhaps because it seems that a tanner was not allowed to carry on his business unless outside the walls of a town, see on Acts 9:43, at a distance of fifty cubits, see Wendt, in loco Hackett, p. 135.


Verse 7

Acts 10:7. οἰκετῶν: one related to the οἶκος, a milder and a narrower term than δοῦλος, which would simply denote ownership; more closely associated with the family than other servants, οἰκέτας τε καὶ δούλους, cf. Romans 14:4, 1 Peter 2:18.— εὐσεβῆ: not of itself showing that the soldier had entered into any relationship with the Jews, but in connection with Acts 10:2 it can scarcely imply less than in the case of Cornelius; of each it might be said, as of St. Paul in his service of Christ, δουλεύων τῷ κ. μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης (Acts 20:19), and both master and servant were about to become οἰκέται of a nobler household: οἰκεῖοι τοῦ θεοῦί and συμπολῖται τῶν ἁγίων; see Acts 11:14.— προσκαρτερούντων, see above on chap. Acts 1:14. A good reference is given by Wendt to Dem., 1386, 6, θεραπείνας τὰς νεαίρᾳ τότε προσκαρτερούσας (so too Polyb., xxiv., 5, 3); but see on the other hand Blass, in loco. Kuinoel supposes that they acted as house-sentries, but there is no need to limit the service to that; cf. Acts 8:13, and LXX, Susannah, ver 6.


Verse 8

Acts 10:8. ἐξηγησάμενος ἅπαντα: only in Luke in N.T., except once in John 1:18, cf. Luke 24:35, Acts 15:12; Acts 15:14; Acts 21:19, and in LXX, Judges 7:13, 1 Chronicles 16:24, 2 Kings 8:5, etc. The word plainly suggests the mutual confidence existing between Cornelius and his household ( ἅπαντα, as if nothing were forgotten in the communication), Weiss.


Verse 9

Acts 10:9. ὁδοι.: the distance was thirty miles; only here in N.T., not LXX but ὁδοιπορία is found in N.T. and LXX ὁδοιπόρος in LXX and Ecclus., but not in N.T.: all three words are found in classical Greek. It is perhaps to be noted that the word here used was also much employed in medical language (Hobart).— δῶμα: sometimes taken here to mean a room on the roof, or an upper room, but the idea of prayer under the free canopy of heaven is better fitting to the vision; see Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, p. 121; = flat roof in N.T. and LXX in modern Greek = terrace.— περὶ ὥραν ἕκτην: about twelve o’clock, midday; see G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog., pp. 138–142.


Verse 10

Acts 10:10. πρόσπεινος: only here, not found in LXX or classical Greek, probably intensive force in πρός, see Grimm-Thayer, sub v., although not in R.V.— ἤθελε γεύσασθαι: there is no mention of any long period of previous fasting, as if that would account for the vision; Peter was about to partake of his ordinary meal.— ἐπέπεσεν, see critical notes.— ἔκστασις: represented in such a way as to distinguish it from the ὅραμα of Cornelius in Acts 10:3; a trance, an ecstasy in which a person passes out of himself, always in connection with “visions,” in what may be called its technical use; sometimes it is used as expressing simple astonishment, cf. Acts 3:10, etc.; for a good account of the word and its various significations in N.T. and LXX, see Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, pp. 121, 122; on the distinction between ἔκσ. and ὅρ. see Alford, note, in loco.


Verse 11

Acts 10:11. θεωρεῖ: “beholdeth,” historic present, giving vividness.— ὡς ὀθόν. μεγ. Both words, ὀθόνη and ἀρχή (in this sense), are peculiar to St. Luke in N.T.—the phrase ἀρχαὶ ὀθόνης is medical, so that the expression here rendered ends or corners of a sheet is really technical medical phraseology, see Hobart, p. 218, Plummer, Introd. to St. Luke, lxv., Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 436. ἀρχαί is also used in LXX, Exodus 36:24 (Exodus 39:17), ὀθόνη not at all in LXX, but both words are found in classical writers in senses approaching their meaning here; but here as elsewhere in St. Luke it is the combination which arrests attention, for ἀρχή and ἀρχαί are found again and again in medical language with ὀθόνη or ὀθόνιον.— τέσσαρσιν ἀρχαῖς: “by four corners,” R.V. No article; there might have been many ends or corners. It is doubtful how far we can therefore press the imagery as referring to the four regions of the world, or that men would come from the north, south, etc., to share the kingdom.


Verse 12

Acts 10:12. τετράποδα κ. τ. λ.: fish are not mentioned, perhaps because the vessel was not represented as containing water (so Blass, Weiss, Wendt), although fish also were divided into clean and unclean, Leviticus 11:9, Deuteronomy 14:9.


Verse 13

Acts 10:13. ἀναστάς, see above on Acts 5:17 : he may have been, as St. Chrysostom says, on his knees.— θῦσον: the beasts are represented as living—not here in a sacrificial sense, cf. Luke 15:23.


Verse 14

Acts 10:14. ΄ηδαμῶς: absit (LXX for חָלִילָה), 1 Samuel 20:2; 1 Samuel 22:15 (Weiss).— κύριε: Weiss refers to Acts 1:24, and takes it as meaning Jehovah, but others refer the expression here to Christ; the next verse shows us that there was still the same element of self-will in the Apostle which had misled the Peter of the Gospels.— οὐδέποτεπᾶν: the words of strong negation, characteristic of the vehement and impulsive Peter—Hebraistic, cf. Exodus 20:10, Judges 13:4, and in N.T., Matthew 24:22, Luke 1:37, Romans 3:12, 1 Corinthians 1:29; Simcox, Language of the N. T., pp. 72, 73, and Blass, Gram., p. 174.— κοινὸν = βέβηλος; 1 Maccabees 1:62, opposed to ἅγιος, Leviticus 10:10, cf. Ezekiel 22:26, often used in N.T. for unclean, cf. Mark 7:2.— ἀκάθαρτος, Leviticus 20:25, of clean and unclean animals; κοινός in 1 Macc. above is used, as ver. 63 shows, for defilement from meats.


Verse 15

Acts 10:15. The last word of Acts 10:14 carries us back to the thought of the teaching of his Master, which St. Peter had evidently not yet realised, cf. Mark 7:19. Mark alone draws the inference, “this He said, making all meats clean,” which, compared with this verse, makes another link of interest between St. Mark and St. Peter.— ἐκ δευτ.… ἐτὶ τρίς (only here and in Acts 11:10, in classics εἰς τρίς), to emphasise the command, cf. Genesis 41:32, “ad confirmationem valuit” Calvin.— ἐκαθάρισε, declarative: “de coelo enim nil nisi purum demittitur” Bengel.— κοίνου: “make not thou common,” R.V., “as though man by his harsh verdict actually created uncleanness where God had already bestowed His cleansing mercy in Christ” (Rendall). We cannot limit the words, as has been attempted, to the single case of Cornelius, or refer them only to the removal of the distinction between clean and unclean meats.


Verse 16

Acts 10:16. πάλιν: if we read εὐθύς, see critical notes, we have St. Mark’s characteristic word (used by St. Luke only here in Acts, and once in Luke 6:49), a suggestive fact in a section of the book in which the pen or the language of St. Peter may fairly be traced.


Verse 17

Acts 10:17. διηπόρει: “was much perplexed,” R.V., cf. Acts 2:12, Acts 5:24; see Page’s note, Acts, p. 145.— τί ἂν εἴη: on the optative in indirect questions used by St. Luke only, with or without ἂν, see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 112; Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, pp. 80, 133.— διερωτήσαντες: only here in N.T., not in LXX, but in classical Greek for asking constantly or continually; preposition intensifies. Here it may imply that they had asked through the town for the house of Cornelius (Weiss).— πυλῶνα, cf. Acts 12:13 (and Blass, in loco). R.V. renders not “porch,” as in Matthew 26:71, but “gate,” as if it were θύρα. The πυλών was properly the passage which led from the street through the front part of the house to the inner court. This was closed next the street by a heavy folding gate with a small wicket kept by a porter (see Alford on Matt., u. s., and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.).


Verse 18

Acts 10:18. φωνήσαντες: “having called out some one of the servants” (Blass, Alford, Kuinoel), but = “called” simply, R.V.; “vocantes portæ curatorem,” Wetstein.


Verse 19

Acts 10:19. ἐνθυμουμένου: compound verb best, see critical notes: “pondered on the vision,” Rendall; διενθ. verb = to weigh in the mind, only here, not found in LXX or elsewhere, except in ecclesiastical writers.— ἄνδρες τρεῖς, so A. and R.V., see critical notes.


Verse 20

Acts 10:20. μηδὲν διακ.: “nothing doubting,” i.e., without hesitation as to its lawfulness, cf. Matthew 21:21, Romans 14:23, Mark 11:23, James 1:6; the verb is not so used in classical Greek. See Mayor’s note on James 1:6, apparently confined in this sense to N.T. and later Christian writings. For the active voice see Acts 11:12, Acts 15:9. If we read a stop after διακ. and διότι or ὅτι immediately following, we may translate, “nothing doubting; for I have sent them,” R.V.; but if no punctuation (so Rendall, Weiss) translate, “nothing doubting that I have sent them,” i.e., the fact that I have sent them. In either case ἐγώ emphatic. Nothing had been spoken to him of his journey, but in the path of unhesitating obedience he was led to the meaning of the revelation (cf. John 13:7).


Verse 22

Acts 10:22. δίκαιος: “sensu Judaico” (Blass), cf. Luke 1:6; Luke 2:25; Luke 23:50.— μαρτ., see on Acts 6:3. τε closely joins it, as confirming the judgment. On construction with ὑπό in inscriptions, Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 95.— ἔθνους τῶν .: ἔθνος in the mouth of Gentiles, cf. Luke 7:5 and see above on Acts 4:25.— ἐχρηματίσθη: “was warned of God,” R.V., Matthew 2:12; Matthew 2:22, Luke 2:26, cf. Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 11:7, and Jos., Ant., iii., 8, 8; see Westcott, Hebrews, p. 217. For use of the active in LXX, see Jeremiah 33 (26) 2, cf. also Acts 11:26.— ἁγίου: only here with ἀγγέλου, expressing the reverence of these pious men (Weiss).


Verse 23

Acts 10:23. εἰσκ.: only used here in N.T., so μετακ. in Acts 10:32; both verbs are also frequent in medical writers, as Hobart urges, but both are found in classical Greek, and the latter three times in LXX, although the former not at all.— ἐξένισε, recepit hospitio, Vulgate, cf. Hebrews 13:2, and Westcott, l.c.; verb used six times in Acts in this sense, but nowhere else in N.T.; cf. Sirach 29:25. In this Christian hospitality to Gentile strangers Peter had taken another step towards understanding what the will of the Lord was.— τινες τῶν ἀδελφῶν = Acts 11:12.


Verse 24

Acts 10:24. On the route see Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 27; and on this and the following verse in (240) text as specially supporting his theory, see Blass, Philology of the Gospels, pp. 116 ff. and 127.— ἦν προσδοκῶν: characteristic Lucan construction, see above Acts 1:10; cf. Luke 1:21. προσδ., favourite with St. Luke; six times in Gospel, five in Acts, elsewhere in Gospels only twice in Matthew.— συγκ., i.e., on the day on which he expected the advent of Peter and the returning messengers as to a feast; they were probably also fearers of the true God, and of a like mind with Cornelius.— ἀναγκαίους, necessarios cf. Jos., Ant., vii., 14, 4; xi., 6, 4; xiii., 7, 2, etc., and instances in Wetstein.


Verse 25

Acts 10:25. ὡς δὲ ἐγέν. ( τοῦ) εἰσ.: for τοῦ see critical notes; “and when it came to pass that Peter entered,” R.V., i.e., into the house, see Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 139. It may be regarded as an extension of τοῦ beyond its usual sphere, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., for instances in LXX, pp. 166, 170 (1893). Simcox regards the sense as much the same as in the common (and specially Lucan), ἐγένετο τὸν π. εἰσελθεῖν.— προσεκύνησεν (cf. Acts 14:15): expressive of lowliest humiliation, but not of necessity involving divine worship, cf. LXX, Genesis 23:7; Genesis 23:12, etc. Weiss thinks that as the verb is used here absolutely, as in Acts 8:27, the act was one of worship towards one regarded after the vision as a divine being; but on the other hand the language of the vision by no means involved such a belief on the part of Cornelius (see Acts 10:5), and as a worshipper of the one true God he would not be likely to pay such divine worship.


Verse 26

Acts 10:26. The conduct of Christ may be contrasted with that of His Apostles, so Blass: “illi (Petro) autem is honor recusandus erat, cf. Apoc., Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8; quem nunquam recusavit Jesus, Luc., 4:8; 8:41” (see Hackett’s note and Knabenbauer in loco).


Verse 27

Acts 10:27. καὶ συνομιλῶν αὐτῷ: “and as he talked with him,” R.V.; only here in N.T., not in LXX (but συνόμιλος, Symm. Job 19:19), cf. Acts 20:11 for similar use of the simple verb ὁμιλέω, which is also used in a similar sense in LXX and in Josephus (so too in Xen.), and also in modern Greek (Kennedy).— εἰσῆλθε, i.e., into the room, in distinction to Acts 10:25 of entrance into the house, or it may signify the completion of his entering in (so De Wette, Weiss).


Verse 28

Acts 10:28. ἀθέμιτον: only once again in N.T., and significantly in 1 Peter 4:3, but cf. for a similar sense to its use here 2 Maccabees 6:5; 2 Maccabees 7:1. On the extent to which this feeling was carried see Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, pp. 26–28; Taylor’s Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, pp. 15, 26, 137 (second edition); Weber, Jüdische Theologie, p. 68; so too Jos., c. Apion, ii., 28, 29, 36; Juvenal, xiv., 103; Tacitus, Hist., v., 5.— κολλᾶσθαι, see on Acts 5:13 and Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., in loco.— προσέρχεσθαι: objected to by Zeller and Over-beck, because we know of instances where Jews went without scruple into the houses of Gentiles (cf. Jos., Ant., xx., 2, 3); but here the whole context plainly shows what kind of intercourse was intended (see also Wetstein). Hilgenfeld too regards the notice as un-historical, but an answer may be found to his objections in the references above and in Feine, pp. 202, 204, although his language seems inconsistent with that on p. 205.— ἀλλοφύλῳ: in the LXX and Apocrypha, so in Philo and Josephus as here; nowhere else in N.T. but here with a certain delicate touch, avoiding the use of the word “heathen”; in Acts 11:3 no such delicacy of feeling.— καὶ: not “but,” A.V., but as in R.V., “and yet,” i.e., in spite of all these prohibitions and usages.— θ.: emphatic, preceding ἔδειξε (Weiss). How fully Peter afterwards lived and preached this truth his First Epistle shows, cf. 1 Peter 2:17.


Verse 29

Acts 10:29. ἀναντιῤῥήτως: only here in N.T., but see Acts 19:36; on spelling see critical notes; used also by Polyb. “sanctum fidei silentium” (Calvin).— μεταπεμφθείς: only here in passive in N.T., see Acts 10:22.


Verse 30

Acts 10:30. For readings see critical notes. “Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer,” R.V., this hour, i.e., the present hour, the hour of Peter’s visit; four days ago reckoned from this present hour, lit(241), “from the fourth day,” “quarto abhinc die”. The four days according to the Jewish mode of reckoning would include the day of the vision and departure of the messengers, the day they reached Joppa, the day of their return with Peter, and the day of their reaching Cæsarea. Cornelius wishes to signify two things: (1) that the vision occurred, even to the hour, four days before Peter’s arrival; (2) that this period of time when it occurred was the ninth hour.— ἐν ἐσθῆτι λαμπρᾷ, see on Acts 1:11, “cur illum contemneremus et fugeremus cui angeli ministrant?” Wetstein.


Verse 31

Acts 10:31. εἰσηκούσθη: perhaps “was heard” or “has been heard” is best (see Rendall and Hackett). προσ. may refer to his present prayer, as it is in the singular, but the burden of all his past prayers had doubtless been the same, cf. Acts 10:33 for God’s guidance into truth.— ἐμνήσθησαν, cf. LXX, Psalms 19:3, Ezekiel 18:22; Ezekiel 18:24; Revelation 16:19.


Verse 33

Acts 10:33. ἐξαυτῆς, sc., ὥρας: four times in Acts, otherwise only once in Mark 6:25 and once in Philippians 2:23, not in LXX for instances in Polyb., Jos., see Wetstein, sub Mark l.c.καλῶς ἐποίησας, cf. Philippians 4:14, 2 Peter 1:19, 3 John Acts 10:6, 1 Maccabees 12:18; 1 Maccabees 12:22. In some instances it may be described as a formula of expressing thanks, see Page’s note.— ἀκοῦσαι: as in Acts 4:20, i.e., to obey.— ἐνώπ. τοῦ θ.: this is the way we ought to attend to God’s servants, Chrys., Hom., xxii.


Verse 34

Acts 10:34. ἀνοίξας κ. τ. λ.: a solemn formula, cf. Acts 8:35, Acts 18:14, Matthew 5:2; Matthew 13:35; Hort, Judaistic Christ., p. 57.— ἐπʼ ἀληθ.: used in Luke’s Gospel three times, Luke 4:25, Luke 20:21, Luke 22:59, and in Acts twice, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:34, elsewhere only twice in N.T., Mark 12:14; Mark 12:32; the customary ἐν ἀληθείᾳ is altogether wanting in Luke.— καταλαμβ.: three times in Acts, not found in Luke’s Gospel; here = mente comprehendo, cf. Ephesians 3:15, similar sense; so in Plato, Polybius, and Philo.— προσωπολήπτης, see Mayor on James 2:1, πρόσωπον- λαμβάνειν. The actual word is not found in LXX (or in classical Greek), but for the thought of God as no respecter of persons see Deuteronomy 10:17, Leviticus 19:15, Malachi 2:9, etc., etc., and Luke 20:21, Galatians 2:16 (so too προσωπολημψία in N.T. three times). The expression πρόσ. λαμβ. is Hebraistic, not necessarily in a bad sense, and in the O.T. more often in a good one, but in the N.T. always in a bad sense, since πρόσωπον acquired the meaning of what was simply external (through its secondary signification a mask) in contrast to a man’s real intrinsic character, but the noun and adj(242) always imply favouritism: see Lightfoot on Galatians 2:6 and Plummer on Luke 20:21. Even the enemies acknowledged our Lord’s God-likeness at least in this respect, Matthew 22:16, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:21.


Verse 35

Acts 10:35. ἀλλʼ ἐν παντὶ ἔθνει κ. τ. λ. The words are taken by Ramsay to mean that Cornelius was regarded as a proselyte by Peter, and that only on that condition could he be admitted to the Christian Church, i.e., through Judaism; so apparently St. Paul, pp. 42, 43. On the other hand the general expression ἐργαζ. δικαι. inclines Weiss to refer all the words to the piety attainable by a heathen, who need not be a proselyte. Bengel’s words should always be borne in mind: “non indifferentissimus religionum sed indifferentia nationum hic asseritur,” see also below, and Knabenbauer, p. 193.— δεκτὸς: “acceptable to him,” R.V., and this is best, because it better expresses the thought that fearing God and working righteousness place a man in a state preparatory for the salvation received through Christ, a reception no longer conditioned by nationality, but by the disposition of the heart. St. Peter does not speak of each and every religion, but of each and every nation, and Acts 10:43 plainly shows that he by no means loses sight of the higher blessedness of the man whose sin is forgiven through conscious belief in Christ; cf. the language of St Paul, Romans 10:9-14. δεκτὸς only in Luke and Paul in N.T., in LXX frequently, and once in the recently discovered Sayings of Jesus, No. 6, which agrees remarkably with St.Luke 4:24.


Verse 36

Acts 10:36. For readings see critical notes; translate: “the word he sent unto” R.V., cf. Psalms 107:20.— λόγον, cf. for use of the word as a divine message Acts 4:31, Acts 8:14; Acts 8:25, Acts 13:26, Acts 14:3, Acts 16:32; here it may mean the Gospel message sent to Israel as distinct from the τὸ ῥῆμα, i.e., the previous teaching of John the Baptist (see Rendall); but R.V. like A.V. regards ῥῆμα and . τὸν ἀπὸ ν. as in apposition to λόγον, but Rendall and Weiss place a full stop after κύριος, and begin a new sentence with ὑμεῖς.— εὐαγγελ. εἰρήνην with the accusative as signifying the contents of the glad tidings, cf. Acts 5:42.— οὗτός ἐστι πάντων κ.: the parenthetical turn given to the words seem to express the way in which the speaker would guard against the thought that Jesus of Nazareth was simply on a level with those who were spoken of as ἀπόστολοι, as the ἀπέστειλε might perhaps suggest to his hearers (see Nösgen). The words are simply the natural expression of the divine power and authority already assigned by St. Peter to our Lord, cf. Acts 2:33; Acts 2:36 (cf. Romans 10:12); on their explanation by St. Athanasius and their place in the Arian controversy, see Four Discourses against the Arians, iv., 30, E.T. (Schaff and Wace edition). On Blass’s “brilliant suggestion” to omit κ., see Blass, in loco (he seems to think that κοινός is possible), and Page, Classical Review, p. 317, July, 1897.


Verse 37

Acts 10:37. τὸ ῥῆμα: so far Peter has referred to a message which would be unknown to Cornelius, the message of peace through Christ, but he now turns to what Cornelius probably did know by report at all events; τὸ . not the λόγος of Acts 10:36, but only the “report”.— καθʼ ὅλης τῆς ., i.e., all Palestine including Galilee, cf. Acts 2:9, Acts 11:1; Acts 11:29, Luke 1:5 (Luke 4:44), Acts 7:17, Acts 23:5, see on Acts 9:31; Acts 9:42 above.— ἀρξάμενον, see critical notes; cf. Acts 1:22 and Luke 23:5. If we read the accusative it agrees with ῥῆμα (see above); if the nominative, cf. for a similar construction Luke 24:47, and see Blass, Gram., p. 81. The abruptness of the construction is quite in accordance with that elsewhere marked in St. Peter’s speeches, cf. Acts 2:22-24, Acts 3:14 ff.


Verse 38

Acts 10:38. ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπὸ ν.: in apposition to ῥῆμα, the person in Whom all else was centred, and in Whom Peter had found and now preached “the Christ”; or may be treated as accusative after ἔχρισεν.— ὡς ἔχρ.: taken by St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (so by Bede) to refer to the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius to the Baptism only. But the expression may also be connected with the entrance of our Lord upon His ministry at Nazareth, cf. Luke 4:14; cf. in this passage the mention of Nazareth and Galilee.— εὐεργετῶν: our Lord was really εὐεργέτης, cf. Luke 22:25 (only in St. Luke); “far more truly used of Christ than of Ptolemy the king of Egypt,” Cornelius à Lapide.— καταδυναστευομένους: only elsewhere in James 2:6 in N.T., but cf. Wisdom of Solomon 2:10; Wisdom of Solomon 15:14, Sirach 48:12, Jos., Ant., xii., 2, 3. No doubt other diseases besides those of demoniacal possession are included, cf. especially Luke 13:11; Luke 13:16; but a special emphasis on the former exactly corresponds to the prominence of a similar class of disease in Mark 1:23.— θεὸς ἦν μετʼ αὐτοῦ, cf. Acts 7:9, John 3:2, so also Luke 1:28; Luke 1:66, and in LXX, Judges 6:16. We cannot see in the expression a “low” Christology; St. Peter had first to declare that Jesus was the Christ, and it is not likely that he would have entered upon a further exposition of His Person in his introductory discourse with a Gentile convert; but Acts 10:42-43 below, to say nothing of St. Peter’s public addresses, certainly do not point to a humanitarian Christ.


Verse 39

Acts 10:39. ἀνεῖλον, see above, p. 155.— κρεμάσαντες, p. 154.


Verse 40

Acts 10:40. ἐν τῇ τ. ἡμ.: only alluded to here in Acts, but a positive testimony from St. Peter to the resurrection appearances on the third day, 1 Corinthians 15:4; the expression is specially emphasised by St. Luke in his Gospel, where it occurs some six times.— ἐμφανῆ γεν.: a phrase only found here and in Romans 10:20, in a quotation from Isaiah 65:1, “to be made manifest,” R.V., viz., that He was the same Person as before His Passion, not “openly showed,” A.V., which gives an idea not in accordance with the present context.


Verse 41

Acts 10:41. οὐ παντὶ τῷ λαῷ, and therefore Cornelius could not have known the details fully. Theophylact well remarks, “If even the disciples were incredulous, and needed touch and talk, what would have happened in the case of the many?”— προκεχειροτονημένοις, i.e., by God; only here, not used in LXX or Apocrypha; in classical Greek in same sense as here, see Acts 14:23 for the simple verb. The preposition points back to the choice of the disciples with a view to bearing their testimony, Acts 1:18, so that their witness was no chance, haphazard assertion.— συνεφάγ., cf. Luke 24:41; Luke 24:43 (John 21:13), see also Ignat., ad Smyrn., iii., 3 (Apost. Const., vi., 30, 5).— συνεπίομεν: it is surely a false method of criticism which cavils at this statement, because in St. Luke’s Gospel nothing is said of drinking, only of eating (see Plummer, in loco). Bede comments: “here Peter mentions what is not in the Gospel, unless intimated when He says ‘until I drink it new’ ” etc.


Verse 42

Acts 10:42. παρήγγειλεν: charged us, see on Acts 1:4.— διαμαρτύρ., see above on Acts 2:40, Acts 8:25.— ὡρισμένος, see Acts 2:23, cf. Acts 17:31, in a strikingly similar statement by St. Paul at Athens. St. Peter and St. Paul are both at one in their witness to the Resurrection of the Christ on the third day, and also in their witness to His appointment as the future Judge of mankind. This startling claim made by St. Peter with reference to Jesus of Nazareth, with Whom he had lived on terms of closest human intimacy, and in Whose death he might well have seen the destruction of all his hopes, is a further evidence of the change which had passed over the Apostle, a change which could only be accounted for by the belief that this same Jesus was risen and declared to be the Son of God with power; cf. Enoch xli. 9, edition Charles; Witness of the Epistles, p. 403.— κριτὴς ζ. καὶ ν., cf. 1 Peter 4:5; the words point back to the universal lordship of Christ over Jew and Gentile alike, Acts 10:36, cf. Romans 14:9.


Verse 43

Acts 10:43. πάντα τὸν πιστεύοντα, cf. Romans 10:11, whether Jew or Gentile; the phrase emphatic at the close of the verse, cf. Romans 3:22. There is no occasion to refer the words to a reviser in their Pauline meaning (Weiss); St. Peter in reality says nothing more than he had already said and implied, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:16; Acts 3:26.


Verse 44

Acts 10:44. ἔτι λ.: the Apostle is apparently interrupted (cf. Acts 11:15); but in this instance we can agree with Overbeck that the concluding phrase, in its relation to Acts 10:34 and its proof that God was no respecter of persons, gives to the whole speech a perfect completeness (so Zöckler).— ἐπέπεσε, cf. Acts 10:44, Acts 11:15, and for the frequency of the word in Acts and its use in Luke’s Gospel, see Friedrich, p. 41. By this wonderful proof St. Peter and his Jewish brethren with him saw that, uncircumcised though they were, Cornelius and his household were no longer “common or unclean”: “The Holy Ghost,” said the Jews, “never fell upon a Gentile”. Bengel comments, “Alias baptismus susceptus est ante adventum Spiritus Sancti … Liberum gratia habet ordinem”.— ἀκούοντας, as in Acts 10:33.


Verse 45

Acts 10:45. οἱ ἐκ π., see Acts 10:23, cf. Romans 4:12, and for the phrase as describing St. Paul’s most bitter and narrow opponents, see Galatians 2:12, Colossians 4:11, Titus 1:10. The fact was thus fully testified, even by those who were not in sympathy with it.— καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη: “nam uno admisso jam nulli clausa est janua” Bengel. Cf. Acts 2:38, a gift which they thought did not appertain to the Gentiles; see on Acts 10:44, and Schöttgen, Hor. Heb., in loco.


Verse 46

Acts 10:46. λαλούντων γλώσσαις, see on Acts 2:13; here no speaking in different languages is meant, but none the less the gift which manifested itself in jubilant ecstatic praise was a gift of the Spirit, and the event may well be called “the Gentile Pentecost”; see on Acts 11:15 and Plumptre, in loco; Wendt, edition 1899. The words of Acts 10:47 need not mean that this gift of tongues was manifested precisely as the Pentecostal gift.


Verse 47

Acts 10:47. μήτι τὸ .… τοῦ μὴ βαπτισθῆναι, cf. Acts 14:18 : on construction, Burton, p. 159; so also in LXX and classical Greek, Blass, Gram., p. 230; Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 172 (1893).— οἵτινες, quippe qui, so Blass in this passage.— τὸ ὕδωρ: “the water” R.V., not simply “water” as A.V., as Bengel admirably says, “Non dicit: jam habent Spiritum, ergo aqua carere possunt”. In baptism both the water and the Spirit were required, Acts 11:16. The greater had been bestowed; could the lesser be withheld? See the striking passage in Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, p. 108, on the fact that Cornelius and his companions, even after they had first received the presence of the Holy Ghost, were nevertheless ordered to be baptised.


Verse 48

Acts 10:48. προσέταξε, cf. St. Paul’s rule, 1 Corinthians 1:17. If Philip the Evangelist was at Cæsarea at the time, the baptism may have been intrusted to him.— ἐπιμεῖναι: diutius commorari, Blass, so manere amplius, Bengel, cf. Acts 21:4; Acts 21:10, Acts 28:12; Acts 28:14, and Acts 15:34 (243) (Blass); only in Luke and Paul, frequent in Acts, not found in Luke’s Gospel, cf. John 8:7; only once in LXX, Exodus 12:39, in classics as in text.— ἡμέρας τινάς, no doubt spent in further instruction in the faith: aurei dies, Bengel.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 10:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-10.html. 1897-1910.

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Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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