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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 19

 

 

Verse 1

Acts 19:1. See critical note for Bezan reading.— ἀπολλὼ, cf. Acts 21:1; see Blass, Gram., p. 31, and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 95.— τὰ ἀνωτερικὰ μέρη: The main road to Ephesus which passed through Colosse and Laodicea was not apparently taken by Paul, but a shorter though less frequented route running through the Cayster valley. This route leads over higher ground than the other, and St. Paul in taking it would be passing through the higher-lying districts of Asia on his way from Pisidian Antioch to Ephesus. According to Colossians 2:1 the Apostle never visited Colosse and Laodicea, which seems to confirm the view taken above (but see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 94, on Mr. Lewin’s view of Colossians 2:1). The expression τὰ ἀνωτ. μέρη is really a description in brief of the same district, “the region of Galatia and Phrygia,” mentioned in Acts 18:23. If the journey passed through North Galatia, Ramsay contends with great force that the expressions in Acts 18:23 καθεξῆς and πάντας τοὺς μαθητάς would be meaningless, as καθ. would apply not to Churches already known to us, but to Churches never mentioned in the book, and if St. Paul did not visit the South Galatian Churches, how could St. Luke mention “all the disciples”? Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte (second edition), in loco, as a supporter of the North Galatian theory, takes the term as the equivalent of the places referred to in Acts 18:23, but he does not include in these places as far north as Tavium or Ancyra, and a route through Cappadocia is not thought of; so here Pessinus, Amorion, Synnada, Apameia, Philadelphia, and Sardis would be visited by the Apostle, and from Sardis he would go down to Ephesus; the expression τὰ ἀνωτ. μέρη would thus in Zöckler’s view include churches founded on the second missionary journey, but the most northerly are excluded as lying too far away, p. 273; see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 93; “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D., and Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, ii., 715; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 275. Blass takes the words to mean districts more remote from the sea; Rendall (so Hackett) explains them as referring to the land route through the interior of Asia Minor by way of distinction to the sea route which Paul had before pursued on his way from Ephesus to Jerusalem. Grimm explains as the parts of Asia Minor more remote from the Mediterranean, farther east, and refers only to Hippocrates and Galen for the use of the adjective, which was evidently a very rare one (see Hobart, p. 148); see also Zöckler on Acts 19:1 and illustrations of Latin expressions similarly used. R.V. renders “the upper country,” lit(328), the upper parts, i.e., inland; A.V., “coasts,” i.e., borders, as in Matthew 2:16, etc., Humphry, Commentary on R. V.εἰς ἔφεσον: Ephesus and Athens have aptly been described as two typical cities of heathendom, the latter most Hellenic, the heart and citadel of Greece, the former the home of every Oriental quackery and superstition in combination with its Hellenism; the latter inquisitive, philosophical, courteous, refined, the former fanatical, superstitious, impulsive. And yet Acts portrays to the life the religious and moral atmosphere of the two cities, no less than their local colouring (Lightfoot, “Acts of the Apostles,” B.D.2, p. 36). Under the empire it was a regulation that the Roman governor should land at Ephesus, and from all quarters of the province the system of Roman roads made Ephesus easily accessible. St. Paul with his wonted judgment fixed upon it as a fitting centre for the message and for the spread of the Gospel. Like Corinth, with which close intercourse was maintained, Ephesus is described as one of the great knots in the line of communication between Rome and the East; see further notes in commentary, Ramsay, “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D.; “Ephesus,” B.D.2; E. Curtius, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, i., 233 ff.


Verse 2

Acts 19:2. μαθ.… πιστεύσαντες: Blass points out that both these words are used only of Christians. From St. Chrysostom’s days the men have often been regarded merely as disciples of the Baptist (so McGiffert, p. 286), and Apollos has been named as the person to whom they owed their conversion, whilst amongst recent writers Mr. Wright, u. s., argues that they had been baptised by the Baptist himself. But if we realise the force of the remark made by Blass on the two words, they were men simply in the same position as Apollos, i.e., “ignorabant illi ea quæ post resurrectionem facta erant” (Blass)—their knowledge was imperfect like that of Apollos. There may have been many who would be called μαθηταί in the same immature stage of knowledge. Much difficulty has arisen in insisting upon a personal connection of these men with Apollos, but St. Luke’s words quite admit of the supposition that the twelve men may not have come to Ephesus until after Apollos had left for Corinth, a consideration which might answer the question of Ramsay, p. 270 as to how the Twelve had escaped the notice of Apollos (see Felten, p. 351, note).— εἰ, cf. Acts 1:6.— πιστεύσ.: “when ye became believers,” or “when ye believed,” R.V., in contrast with A.V.—the question was whether they had received the Holy Ghost at their Baptism, and there is no allusion to any subsequent time. The two aorists, as in R.V., point to one definite occasion.— εἰ π. . ἐστιν: “whether the Holy Ghost was given,” R.V. (cf. John 7:39): (the spirit was not yet given), A.V., but in margin, R.V. follows A.V. in the passage before us: ἐστιν, accipitur, Bengel. There could not be any question as to the existence of the Holy Ghost, for the Baptist had pointed to the future Baptism of the Spirit to be conferred by the Messiah, and the O.T. would have taught the existence of a Holy Spirit—the meaning is that they had not heard whether their promised Baptism of the Spirit by the Messiah had been already fulfilled or not. So δοθέν, ἐκχυνόμενον may be understood. Alford holds that the stress should be laid on ἠκούσαμεν—when we received Baptism we did not even hear of a Holy Ghost.


Verse 3

Acts 19:3. οὖν: presupposes that if they had been baptised into the name of Jesus, they would have received the Spirit at Baptism.— εἰς: “to baptise into” (R.V.) may have been suggested by the original practice to baptise by dipping or plunging, see Humphry, Comment. on R. V., in loco.— εἰς τὸ . βάπτισμα, i.e., into or unto repentance. For the strange notion that they were baptised into John as the Messiah see Hackett’s note.


Verse 4

Acts 19:4. εἰς τὸν ἐρχ: placed first before ἵνα, perhaps for emphasis. The phrase had been a favourite one with the Baptist (cf. Matthew 3:1). John’s own words showed that his Baptism was insufficient. ἵνα may express both the purport and the purpose (so Alford).


Verse 5

Acts 19:5. ἀκούσαντες δὲ: neither grammatical nor in accordance with fact can these words be regarded (as by Beza and others) as part of St. Paul’s words, as if they meant, “and the people when they heard him,” i.e., John.


Verse 6

Acts 19:6. καὶ ἐπιθ. αὐτοῖς τοῦ π. τὰς χ., see above on Acts 8:16.— ἐλάλουν τε γλ. καὶ προεφ.: the imperfects may mean that they began to speak, or that the exercise of the gifts mentioned continued. The two gifts are discussed in 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:14, in an Epistle which was written probably during this stay at Ephesus—no doubt the gifts are specially mentioned because the bestowal of such gifts distinguished Christian Baptism from that of John. McGiffert, p. 286, while admitting the accuracy of the account as a whole, thinks that its representation is moulded, as in 8, in accordance with the work of Peter and John in Samaria; so too Hilgenfeld refers the account to his “author to Theophilus,” who also, in Acts 8:16, narrates that the baptised Samaritans received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of Peter’s hands. This is in some respects not unlike the older view of Baur, who held that the narrative was introduced to parallel Paul’s dignity and work with that of Peter in Acts 10:44—the first speaking with tongues in 2 is narrated in relation to Jews, the second in relation to Gentiles, 10, and the third in relation to a kind of middle class, half-believers like the Samaritans! (so Zeller and Schneckenburger). But not only does this require us to identify 2 with 10 and 19, the speaking of tongues at Pentecost with subsequent bestowal of the gift, but it seems strange that a narrative should not have been constructed more free from liability to misconception and misinterpretation if the leading purpose of its introduction had been as supposed above.


Verse 7

Acts 19:7. ὡσεὶ, as Weiss admits, excludes any special significance attaching to the number twelve on account of which the narrative would be constructed. See also Knabenbauer, in loco. We know so little about these men that it seems hazardous to attempt to define them more clearly (see Plumptre, in loco).


Verse 8

Acts 19:8. The Apostle follows his usual method—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. διαλεγ., see above; cf. Acts 17:2, “reasoning,” R.V. (“discoursing,” Rendall).


Verse 9

Acts 19:9. ἐσκληρύνοντο: only here and in Romans 9:18, but four times in Hebrews, three times as a quotation from Psalms 95:8, and once in direct reference to that passage, Acts 3:13, cf. Exodus 7:3, Deuteronomy 2:30, etc. In Sirach 30:12 it is found as here with ἀπειθέω, cf. also Clem. Rom., li., 3, 5.— ἠπείθ.: “were disobedient,” R.V., unbelief is manifested in disobedience, Westcott, Hebrews, pp. 87, 97, cf. Ign., Magn., viii., 2; Polyc., Phil., ii., 1.— τὴν ὁδὸν: “the Way,” see on Acts 9:2.— κακολ., Mark 9:39, used by our Lord of speaking evil of Him, Matthew 15:4, and Mark 7:10, as a quotation from Exodus 21:17; in LXX five times, and once in same sense in 2 Maccabees 4:1.— ἀποστὰς: as in Acts 18:7, at Corinth; verb only in Luke and Paul, except Hebrews 3:12, see Friedrich, p. 7, and above on Acts 15:38, seven times in N.T. with ἀπό and a genitive as here.— ἀφώρισε: except Matthew 13:49; Matthew 25:32 (2), only in Luke and Paul, cf. Luke 6:22, Acts 13:2, Romans 1:1, 2 Corinthians 6:17, quotation, Galatians 1:15; Galatians 2:12; cf. Grimm-Thayer for different shades of meaning, both in a good and bad sense, in classical Greek and also in LXX frequently. It is evidently presupposed that as in Acts 18:26 there were still disciples who held fast to the common worship of a Jewish community in the synagogue.— καθʼ ἡμέραν: on the days when synagogue worship was held, and so the separation was complete.— ἐν σχολῇ τυράννου τινός, see critical note. We cannot tell whether reference is made to the lecture-hall of some heathen sophist hired by Paul or to the Beth Hammidrash kept by a Jew. Others have thought that Tyrannus, like Titius Justus, Acts 18:7, may have been “a proselyte of the gate,” but if so, one might expect it to be signified as in the case of Justus. The name was common enough, Jos., Ant., xvi., 10, 3; B. J., i., 26, 3; 2 Maccabees 4:40, and see Plumptre’s note, in loco. Overbeck’s view is quite possible, that the expression referred to the standing name of the place, so called from its original owner, cf. Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 93. Probably, if we take the first-mentioned view, in teaching in such a school or lecture-hall the Apostle himself would appear to the people at large as one of the rhetors or travelling sophists of the time, Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 246, 271 (so McGiffert, p. 285, who regards the notice as taken from a trustworthy source). For instances of the use of σχολή as a school of the philosophers for teaching and lecturing see Wetstein, in loco, cf. Latin, auditorium, Zöckler compares St. Augustine’s lecture-hall in Rome before his conversion.


Verse 10

Acts 19:10. ἐπὶ ἔτη δύο: exclusive of the quarter of a year in Acts 19:8 and in Acts 20:31 the Apostle speaks of three years’ residence in Ephesus, “in the usual ancient style of reckoning an intermediate period by the superior round number,” Turner, “Chron. of N. T.,” Hastings’ B. D., see also Page and Wendt, in loco.— πάντας: not only the position of Ephesus, but the fact that it was just the place which would be frequented for its famous temple and festivals by crowds of strangers, both Jew and Greek, from all parts of proconsular Asia, “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B. D., i., 720. Nor must we suppose that St. Paul and his fellow-workers confined themselves literally to Ephesus. The seven Churches of Asia may reasonably be referred for their foundation to this period—all of which were centres of trade, and all within reach of Ephesus. Timothy, moreover, may well have been working at Colosse, since in the Epistle to the Colossians he is mentioned with Paul in the inscription of the letter, although the latter had not been personally known to the Churches of Colosse and Laodicea, Ramsay, “Colossæ,” Hastings’ B.D., and St. Paul, p. 274.— ἕλληνας: comprising no doubt Hellenists and Greeks, cf. Acts 11:20.


Verse 11

Acts 19:11. οὐ τὰς τυχ., cf. Acts 28:2, the phrase is peculiar to St. Luke, “not the ordinary,” i.e., extraordinary, with which the deeds of the Jewish exorcists could not be compared, see Klostermann, Vindiciæ Lucanæ, p. 52, for the same phrase cf. 3 Maccabees 3:7, and also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 83; so too in classical Greek.— ἐποίει: “continued to work,” or ex more, Blass.


Verse 12

Acts 19:12. ὥστε καὶ: so that even to the sick, i.e., to those who could not be reached by the hands of the Apostle.— χρωτὸς: the σουδ. and σιμικ. had been in contact with the body of the Apostle, and thence derived their healing power; so in LXX used for both בָּשָׂר, and עוֹר (twice), see Hatch and Redpath; Zahn, Einleitung, ii., 435, sees in its use here the use of a medical term, so Hobart, p. 242.— σουδάρια: Latin, sudaria, used for wiping off sweat, as the noun indicates, cf. Luke 19:20, John 11:44; John 20:7.— σιμικίνθια: Latin, semicinctium, only here in N.T., aprons worn by artisans at their work, cf. Martial, xiv., 153. Oecumenius and Theophylact apparently regarded the word as simply = handkerchiefs, but the meaning given is far more likely both from the etymology of the word and its use in Martial. For other Latinisms see Blass, in loco, and Wetstein.— ἀπαλ. ἀπʼ αὐτῶν, cf. Luke 12:58, Hebrews 2:15, here in connection with sickness, and this use is very frequent in medical writers, Hobart, p. 47; the word is found with ἀπὸ both in classical writers and in the LXX. It should also be noted that here as elsewhere St. Luke distinguishes between natural diseases and the diseases of the demonised, and that he does so more frequently than the other Evangelists, Hobart, pp. 12, 13, so “Demon,” Hastings’ B.D., i., p. 593, cf. especially Luke 6:17; Luke 8:2; Luke 13:32, which have no parallels in the other Gospels.— πονηρὰ: is applied to evil spirits by St. Luke three times in his Gospel and four times in this passage, and only once elsewhere, St.Matthew 12:45, although the word is very frequent in St. Matthew’s Gospel and in the Epistles; the word was constantly used by medical writers in connection with disease, Hobart, u. s. Blass quotes as a parallel to the present passage εἰ αἱ νόσοι ἀπαλλαγείησαν ἐκ τῶν σωμάτων (Plat.) Eryx, 401 c.— τά τε πνεύματα … Were the aprons brought for the healing of the diseases and the banishing of the demons equally? The τε seems to indicate that this was the case (Weiss, Wendt); Blass on the other hand holds that it is not said that the demons were driven out by the sudaria. According to some interpretations of the verse the carrying of the aprons to the sick is only to be regarded as a result of the wonderful impression made by St. Paul’s miraculous power; the writer says nothing of the effect of these aprons, although he places both the healing of the diseases and the expulsion of the demons amongst the δυνάμεις of St. Paul. From this point of view the carrying of the σουδάρια would only illustrate the superstitious practices which showed how often, in the homes of culture, quackery was also found, and the Evangelist gives them no word of commendation, see also note on Acts 19:15. On the other hand we must remember that the miracles are distinctly spoken of as οὐ τὰς τυχ., and even in the means employed we may perhaps see a possible appeal to the populace, who would recognise that these charms and amulets in which they put such confidence had not the same potency as the handkerchiefs and aprons of the Apostle. But in this accommodation to special forms of ignorance we are never allowed to forget that God is the source of all power and might.


Verse 13

Acts 19:13. If we read καὶ after ἀπὸ (see critical note), it contrasts the Jewish exorcists who endeavoured to gain this power with those like St. Paul who really possessed it.— περιερχ.: “vagabond,” A.V., the word as it is now used colloquially does not express the Greek; R.V. “strolling,” Vulgate, circumeuntibus; Blass renders circumvagantes. The word “vagabond” is used only here in N.T.: in the O.T. we have it in Genesis 4:12; Genesis 4:14, R.V. “wanderer,” and in Psalms 109:10, R.V. “vagabonds,” cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, xi., 16.— ἐξορκιστῶν: the word points to a class of Jews who practised exorcisms as a profession, cf. Jos., Ant., viii., 2, 5. The usual method of exorcism was the recitation of some special name or spell, and these Jewish exorcists having seen the power which Paul wielded by his appeal to the name of Jesus endeavoured to avail themselves of the same efficacy. It would be difficult to say how far these Jewish exorcists would employ the incantations so widely in vogue in a place like Ephesus, but there is a notable passage in Justin Martyr in which, whilst admitting that a Jew might exorcise an evil spirit by the God of Abraham, he complains that as a class the Jewish exorcists had adopted the same superstitions and magical aids as the heathen, “Exorcist,” B.D.2, i., 1028. In the Didaché, iii., 4, the use of charms and sorceries is expressly forbidden since they led to idolatry.— ὁρκίζομεν: with double accusative = of the one adjured and of the one by whom he is adjured, cf. Mark 5:7 (1 Thessalonians 5:27), see Grimm-Thayer, sub v., cf. Deissmann, Bibelstudien, p. 25 ff., for the constant use of the verb in inscriptions in formulæ of adjuration as here, see further “Demon” and “Exorcist” for examples of such formulæ, Hastings’ B.D., i., pp. 593, 812, and for the absurdities involved in them.


Verse 14

Acts 19:14. See critical note. σκευᾶ: probably a Latin name adapted to Greek, see Blass, in loco, who gives instances of its occurrence, see also Gram., p. 13, and Winer-Schmeidel, p. 75. Ewald refers it to the Hebrew שְׁכֵבְיָה.— ἀρχ.: the description is difficult, as it seems incredible if we take it in its strictest sense; it may have denoted one who had been at the head of one of the twenty-four courses of priests in Jerusalem, or perhaps used loosely to denote one who belonged to the high-priestly families (cf. Acts 4:6). We cannot connect him with any special sacred office of the Jews in Asia Minor, as Nösgen proposes, for the Jews in the Diaspora had no temple, but synagogues; see reading in , critical note. Nothing further is known of Sceva, but there is no reason to suppose that he was an impostor in the sense that he pretended to be a high priest.— ἧσανποιοῦντες, Lucan, see above on Acts 1:10.


Verse 15

Acts 19:15. γινώσκωἐπίσταμαι: “I know,” R.V. for both verbs, but for the former “I recognise,” margin, as a distinction is drawn between Paul and Jesus in the formula of adjuration, it is natural to expect a distinction in the reply; γιν. probably denotes a more personal knowledge, ἐπίστ., I know as of a fact. “Jesus I know and about Paul I know,” Rendall; Lightfoot would render “Jesus I acknowledge and Paul I know”: On a Fresh Revision of N. T., p. 60. Wordsworth also, in loco, holds that ἐπίστ. denotes knowledge of a lower degree such as acquaintance with a fact, and compares the distinction between the two verbs in Judges 1:10. ἐπίστ. is only once used in the Gospels, Mark 14:68. But see also Page, in loco, as to the difficulty in making any precise distinction.— ὑμεῖς placed first here in a depreciatory sense, τίνες indicating contempt.


Verse 16

Acts 19:16. ἐφαλλόμενος; only here in N.T.; in LXX, 1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 16:13.— κατακυρ.; only here in Luke; Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42, 1 Peter 5:3; frequent in LXX.— αὐτῶν, see critical note. There is no real difficulty if we read ἀμφοτέρων after ἑπτά, Acts 19:14; St. Luke had mentioned that seven of the sons of Sceva made the attempt to imitate Paul, but the incident which he describes introduces two of them only. ἀμφ. cannot be taken distributively, or with Ewald, neuter, as if = ἀμφοτέρωθεν.— γυμνοὺς: may mean with torn garments, not literally naked, so Grimm-Thayer, sub v., and Alford.— ἐκείνου: the pronoun seems to imply that the writer had a definite place before his eyes, although it is not fully described. But it is surely a mark of truthfulness that the narrative ends where it does; a forger, we may well believe, would have crowned the story by a picture of the man, after baffling the impostors, healed by the word or touch of Paul (see Plumptre’s remarks, in loco). The marked contrast between the New Testament in its description of the demonised and their healing, and the notions and practices which meet us in the Jewish Rabbi, may be seen in Edersheim’s valuable appendix, Jesus the Messiah, ii., 770 ff., and the same decisive contrast is also seen between the N.T. and the prevailing ideas of the first century in the cures of the demonised attributed to Apollonius of Tyana in this same city Ephesus and in Athens; Smith and Wace, Dictionary of the Christian Biography, i., 136. Ramsay is very severe on the whole narrative, St. Paul, p. 273, and regards it as a mere piece of current gossip; so, too, very similarly, Wendt (1899), note, p. 313, who refers, as so many have done, to the analogy between the narrative in Acts 19:11 and that in Acts 5:12; Acts 5:15; in other words, to the parallel between Peter and Paul (which the writer of Acts is supposed to draw on every possible occasion; see introd.). So too Hilgenfeld ascribes the whole section Acts 19:11-20 to his “author to Theophilus,” and sees in it a story to magnify St. Paul’s triumph over sorcery and magic, as St. Peter’s over Simon Magus in Acts 8:13. Clemen with Spitta, Van Manen, and others regard the whole section as interrupting the connection between Acts 19:10; Acts 19:21—but even here, in Acts 19:14, Clemen sees in addition the hand of his Redactor Antijudaicus, as distinct from the Redactor to whom the whole narrative is otherwise attributed.


Verse 17

Acts 19:17. φόβος ἐπέπ.: characteristic phrase in St. Luke; see above on Luke 1:12, and Friedrich, pp. 77, 78.— καὶ ἐμεγαλύνετο: “continued to be magnified,” imperfect, as in Luke 7:16, praise follows upon fear, Luke 23:47; cf. with Matthew 27:54, Friedrich, p. 78.— τὸ ὄνομα .: “jam cuncta illa nomina inania irritaque pro Iesu nomine putabantur” (Blass), see on Acts 19:19.


Verse 18

Acts 19:18. πολλοί τε: the τε shows another immediate result in the fact that those who were already believers were now fully convinced of the pre-eminence of the name of Jesus, and were all the more filled with a reverential fear of His holy name: “many also of those who had believed,” R.V. So Wendt in latest edition.— ἤρχοντο ultro, Bengel.— ἐξομολ.: Rendall renders “giving thanks” to God for this manifestation of His power. But it is usually taken, not absolutely, but as governing πράξεις, cf. Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5, James 5:16; Jos., Ant., viii., 4, 6; B. J., v., 10, 5, so in Plutarch several times, “confessing,” cf. also Clem. Rom., Cor(329), li. 3; Barn., Epist., xix., 12; Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, p. 118, and Mayor on James 5:16; Felten, Apostelgeschichte, p. 361.— πράξεις, cf. Luke 23:51; also in a bad sense. So too in Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:9, so often in Polyb. (3 Maccabees 1:27). Deissmann Bibelstudien, p. 5, maintains that the passage before us shows acquaintance with the technical terminology of magic, and instances πράξεις as a terminus technicus for a magic prescription; see also Knabenbauer’s note in loco.— ἀναγγέλλοντες: instead of continuing secretly practising or approving of the deeds of magic, they declared their wrongdoings. Rendall takes it as meaning that they reported the deeds of those men, i.e., the magicians; but can the Greek bear this?


Verse 19

Acts 19:19. ἱκανοὶ δὲ: to be referred probably to the magicians, as the previous verse refers to their dupes: a Lucan word, see above on Acts 8:11.— τὰ περίεργα: “curious,” Wyclif and A. and R.V. (“magical,” R.V., margin), cf. Vulgate, curiosa (Latin, curiosus, inquisitive, prying), of a person who concerns himself with things unnecessary and profitless to the neglect of the duty which lies nearest, cf. 1 Timothy 5:13, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, so in classical Greek, Xen., Mem., i., 3, 1. The word is also used of things over and above what is necessary, and so of magical arts, arts in which a man concerns himself with what has not been given him to know, cf. Aristaenetus, Epist., ii. 18, and the striking passage in Plat., Apol., 19 B, where περιεργάζεσθαι is used of Socrates in an accusatory sense (Wendt, Page); the verb is found in Sirach 3:23, and περιεργασία, Sirach 41:22, but the adjective does not occur either in LXX or Apocrypha. But see especially Deissmann, Bibelstudien, u. s., who finds here another instance of acquaintance with the terminology of magic, and illustrates from the papyri. The R.V. margin gives best sense, as “curious” in the passive sense as here need not have a bad or depreciatory meaning, cf. for a good parallel for “curious” = “magical,” Bacon, Essays, 35; and see “Curious,” Hastings’ B.D.; Skeat, Glossary of Bible Words.συνενέγκαντες: only here in N.T. in this sense, elsewhere frequently, as συμφέρει it is expedient, profitable.— τὰς βίβλους: parchments containing the magical formulæ. For these Ephesus, with its ἐφέσια γράμματα worn as amulets and cherished as charms, was famous; “Ephesus” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., i., p. 723; Wetstein, in loco; amongst other references, Plut., Sympos., vii., 5; Clement of Alex., Strom., v., 8, 46, and also in Renan, Saint Paul, p. 344; Blass, in loco; C. and H., small edition, p. 371; and see also Deissmann, Bibelstudien, u. s.κατέκαιον: imperfect, “describes them as throwing book after book into the burning fire,” Hackett, see also Blass, in loco. Plumptre recalls a parallel scene when the artists and musicians of Florence brought their ornaments, pictures, dresses, and burnt them in the Piazza of St. Mark at the bidding of Savonarola.— συνεψήφισαν: only here in this sense, not in LXX (cf. Acts 1:26).— ἀργ. μυρ. πέντε, sc., δραχμῶν ἀργ.: the sum is very large, nearly £2000, but probably such books would be expensive, and we must take into account in estimating it the immense trade and rich commerce of Ephesus, and the fact that we need not suppose that all the Christian converts were to be found only amongst the slaves and poorer classes (Nösgen). Such books would certainly fetch a fancy price. It may no doubt be maintained that their measuring all things by money value indicates the Oriental popular tale (Ramsay), but may we not see in the statement the knowledge of a writer who thus hits off the Oriental standard of worth, especially in a chapter otherwise so rich and exact in its description of Ephesian localities and life?


Verse 20

Acts 19:20. κατὰ κράτος: adverbial, so only here in N.T., cf. Judges 4:3, and Jos., Ant., viii., 11, 3, in classical Greek, Xen., Cyr., i., 4, 23, etc.— ηὔξ. καὶ ἴσ.: in contrast to the empty superstitions and vanities the continuous growth (imperfect) of the Church.


Verse 21

Acts 19:21. διελθὼν, see on the force of the word Ramsay, Expositor, May, 1895, and above on Acts 13:6. Ramsay regards this as perhaps the most conclusive of the ten cases he cites of the use of the verb as denoting missionary travel. There is no reason to suppose that Paul paid a visit to Corinth during his stay at Ephesus; Acts 19:9-10 intimate that he resided at Ephesus through the whole period. Wendt thinks that the notice of this second visit to Corinth was omitted by Luke because it did not fit in with his representation of the ideal development of the Church. But is there any real argument to be found for it in the Epistles? The passages usually quoted are 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 13:1. But τρίτον τοῦτο ἔρχομαι may well express “I am meaning to come,” so that Paul would mean that this was the third time he had purposed to come to them, not that he had come for the third time; and this rendering is borne out by the Apostle’s own words, 2 Corinthians 12:14, Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, iv., 11, whilst with regard to 2 Corinthians 2:1 the words may simply mean that he resolves that his new, i.e., his second visit, πάλιν ἐλθεῖν, should not be ἐν λύπῃ, for we are not shut up to the conclusion that πάλιν must be connected with ἐν λύπῃ as if he had already paid one visit in grief; and this interpretation is at all events in harmony with 2 Corinthians 13:2, R.V. margin, and with Acts 1:23, R.V., see especially “II. Cor.” (Dr. A. Robertson) Hastings’ B.D., p. 494, and compare “Corinth” (Ramsay), ibid., p. 483; see also Farrar, Messages of the Books, pp. 211, 216; St. Paul, ii. 101, 118; Felten, note, p. 364; Renan, Saint Paul, p. 450, note; and in favour of the second visit to Corinth, McGiffert, p. 310, following Alford, Neander, Weizsäcker (so too in early days St. Chrysostom). In 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 Paul speaks of his intention to go through Macedonia to Corinth, but previously, 2 Corinthians 1:16, he had intended to sail from Ephesus to Corinth, then to go to Macedonia, and afterwards to return to Corinth. Why had he changed his plans? Owing to the bad news from Corinth, 2 Corinthians 1:23. But although he did not go to Corinth in person, he determined to write to reprove the Corinthians, and this he did in 1 Cor. It is possible that the Apostle’s determination to see Rome—the first notice of the desire so long cherished, Romans 1:13; Romans 15:23—may be closely connected with his friendship with Aquila and Priscilla (Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 255, and Plumptre, in loco, Hort, Rom. and Ephes., p. 11).


Verse 22

Acts 19:22. ἀποστείλαςτιμ. καὶ ἔρ., cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10-11, Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, iii., 3, 4; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 297, note.— διακ. αὐτῷ: for a few instances of διακονεῖν and cognate words used of ministrations rendered to Paul himself, see Hort, Ecclesia, p. 205, cf. Philem., Acts 19:13.— ἔραστον: here, as in 2 Timothy 4:20, the person bearing this name appears as an itinerant companion of St. Paul, and it therefore seems difficult to identify him with the Erastus of Romans 16:23, who is described as “treasurer” of the city, i.e., Corinth, since the tenure of such an office seems to presuppose a fixed residence. That the identification was not impossible is maintained by Wendt as against Meyer, but see “Erastus,” Hastings’ B.D. The name, as Meyer remarks, Romans 16:23, was very common.— ἐπέσχε χρόνον: verb, only used by Luke and Paul, and only here in this sense. ἑαυτόν: supplied after the verb; LXX, Genesis 8:10; Genesis 8:12; in classical Greek, Xen., Cyr., v., 4, 38.— εἰς pro ἐν, Blass; but see on the other hand, Alford, in loco. As Asia, not Ephesus, is mentioned, the word may well include work outside Ephesus itself.


Verse 23

Acts 19:23. ἐγένετο δὲ: on the frequency of the formula in Luke’s writings see Friedrich, p. 13, and above on Acts 4:5.— τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος: the same phrase as in Acts 12:18, nowhere else in N.T., for οὐκ ὀλίγος as Lucan see above, Acts 12:18.— τῆς ὁδοῦ: as in Acts 9:2, Acts 19:9, Acts 24:22; much better than to refer it with Weiss merely to the method adopted by Paul in Acts 19:26.


Verse 24

Acts 19:24. δημ.: a sufficiently common name, as St. Luke’s words show (Blass). There is no ground for identifying him with the Demetrius in 3 John, Acts 19:12, except the fact that both came from the neighbourhood of Ephesus; see, however, “Demetrius,” Hastings’ B.D.— ἀργυροκόπος, LXX, Judges 17:4 (A al.), Jeremiah 6:29; on the trade-guilds in Asia Minor cf. Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, i., p. 105, and “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B. D.; Church in the Roman Empire, p. 128; Demetrius may have been master of the guild for the year.— ναοὺς ἀργ. ἀρτέμιδος: “silver shrines of Diana,” R.V., i.e., representing the shrine of Diana (Artemis) with the statue of the goddess within ( ὡς κιβώρια μικρά, Chrys.). These miniature temples were bought up by Ephesians and strangers alike, since the worship of the goddess was so widely spread, and since the “shrines” were made sufficiently small to be worn as amulets on journeys, as well as to be placed as ornaments in houses. There is no need to suppose that they were coins with a representation of the temple stamped upon them, and there is no evidence of the existence of such coins; Amm. Marc., xxii., 13, Dio Cass., xxxix., 20, cf. Blass and Wendt, in loco. They were first explained correctly by Curtius, Athenische Mittheilungen, ii., 49. Examples of these ναοί in terra-cotta or marble with dedicatory inscriptions abound in the neighbourhood of Ephesus. No examples in silver have been found, but they were naturally melted down owing to their intrinsic value, “Diana” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., and Church in the Roman Empire, u. s. On the interesting but apparently groundless hypothesis (as Zöckler calls it, Apostelgeschichte, p. 277, second edition) that Demetrius should be identified with Demetrius, the νεοποιός of an inscription at Ephesus which probably dated from a considerably later time, the very close of the first century, νεοποιός being really a temple warden, the words νεοποιὸς ἀρτέμιδος being mistaken by the author of Acts and rendered “making silver shrines of Diana,” see Zöckler, u. s.; and Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 112 ff.; and Wendt (1899), p. 317. As Ramsay puts it, there is no extant use of such a phrase as νεοπ. ἀρτ. in any authority about A.D. 57, νεοποιοί simply being the term used in inscriptions found at Ephesus—as Hicks himself allows (Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 122, 123).— παρείχετο, see critical note or reading in Blass. Rendall distinguishes between active voice, Acts 16:16, where the slave girl finds work for her masters, whilst here, middle voice, Demetrius finds work for himself and his fellow-craftsmen in their joint employment.— ἐργασίαν “business,” R.V., in Acts 16:16; Acts 16:19, “gain”; here the two meanings run into each other, in Acts 19:25 “business,” R.V., is perhaps more in accordance with the context οὐκ ὀλίγην, Lucan, see on Acts 19:23.— τεχνίταιςἐργάταις: “alii erant τεχνῖται, artifices nobiliores; alii ἐργάται, operarii,” so Zöckler and Grimm-Thayer following Bengel. But Blass regards them as the same, cf. reading in , and Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 128, note. There were no doubt shrines of widely differing value, for the rich of silver made by the richer tradesmen, for the poorer classes of marble and terracotta, so that several trades were no doubt seriously affected, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 278, and “Ephesus,” u. s., Church in the Roman Empire, p. 128, and to the same effect Wendt (1899), p. 317. The word ἐργάται occurs in one of the inscriptions at Ephesus, ἐργ. προπυλεῖται πρὸς τῷ ποσειδῶνι, “Ephesus,” u. s., p. 723, note.


Verse 25

Acts 19:25. περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα, cf. Luke 10:40-41, for a similar use of περί with accusative, but see W. H., l. c., and 2 Maccabees 12:1.— εὐπορία: wealth, or gain, only here in N.T., in classical Greek “in different senses in different authorities,” Grimm-Thayer; in LXX, 2 Kings 25:10, but in a different sense (see Hatch and Redpath’s references to its use by Aquila, Symm., and others). Rendall takes it of comfort and well-being, in the old English sense weal.


Verse 26

Acts 19:26. οὐ μόνονἀλλὰ: non modo … sed.σχεδὸν, Acts 13:44, we cannot take the genitive with ὄχλον, as Hackett suggests.— ἀσίας: the Roman province, so Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 278, where he corrects his former interpretation of the word in this passage in Church in the Roman Empire, p. 166; see above on Paul’s work outside Ephesus.— οὗτος: contemptuous.— μετέστησεν, cf. Joshua 14:8. The testimony thus borne to the wide and effective influence of the Apostles even by their enemies is well commented on by St. Chrys., Hom., xlii., and see also below.


Verse 27

Acts 19:27. τοῦτοτὸ μέρος, sc., τῆς ἐργασίας ἡμῶν, Acts 19:25, Grimm-Thayer—this branch of their trade, which was concerned with the making of the shrines. Others take μέρος = trade, the part assigned to one.— κινδυνεύει: “the most sensitive part of ‘civilised’ man is his pocket,” Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 277, and the opposition thus naturally came not from the priests as instigators of the riot against Paul, but from the fact that trade connected with the Artemis-worship was endangered; so at Philippi, “when the masters saw that the hope of this was gone,” Acts 16:19; see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 129 ff., as against Hicks. “See how wherever there is idolatry, in every case we find money at the bottom of it, both in the former instance it was for money, and in the case of this man for money; it was not for their religion, because they thought that in danger; no, it was for their lucrative craft, that it would have nothing to work upon,” Chrys., Hom., xlii.,— εἰς ἀπελεγμὸν ἐλθεῖν: noun, not found either in classical Greek or in the LXX the verb ἀπελέγχειν is found in 4 Maccabees 2:11 (cf. Symm., Psalms 119:118), and ἐλεγμός is not uncommon in LXX, confutatio, repudiatio (for the phrase cf. Mark 5:26), in contemptum venire, Wetstein; but in redargutionem venire, Vulgate.— ἀλλὰ καὶ: the utilitarian aspect of the appeal stands first, but speciously seconded by an appeal to religious feelings (“non tam pro aris ipsos quam pro focis pugnare,” Calvin).— τῆς μεγ. θεᾶς .: St. Luke appears to have retained the precise title of the goddess, according to the witness of the inscription; “Diana” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., p. 605, so Blass, in loco.τὸἱερὸν: the Temple of Artemis was burnt to the ground by the fanatic Herostratus in B.C. 356 on the night of the birth of Alexander the Great, but its restoration was effected with great magnificence, and it was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world. Its dimensions are given by Pliny, xxxvi., 95. For references, and a description of its worship, see C. and H., p. 422, small edition; Renan, Saint Paul, p. 427; Ramsay, “Diana,” u. s.; Wood’s Ephesus, pp. 4–45; Greek Inscrip. at British Museum, iii., 1890, and for a complete account of the temple, its structure, and literature relating to its history and site, B.D.2, “Ephesus”. So sumptuous was the magnificence of this sanctuary that it could be said τῆς ἀρτέμιδος ναὸς ἐν ἐφέσῳ μόνος ἐστὶ θεῶν οἶκος, Philo Byz., Spect. Mund., 7, and the sun, so the saying ran, saw nothing in his course more magnificent than Diana’s temple.— εἰς οὐδὲν λογ., cf. for a similar phrase LXX, Isaiah 40:17, Wisdom of Solomon 3:17; Wisdom of Solomon 9:6 ( εἰς om. 1), and Dan. Theod., iv., 32. The verb λογίζομαι is also frequent in St. Paul with εἰς and the accusative.— τε καὶ, cf. Acts 21:28, not correlative, but: “and that she should even,” etc., Simcox, Language of the New Testament, p. 163.— τὴν μεγαλειότητα, see critical note, if we read the genitive, “and that she should even be deposed from her magnificence,” R.V., cf. Winer-Schmiedel, xxx., 6. Grimm-Thayer regards the genitive as partitive, aliquid de majestate ejus, as if it was inconceivable that all her magnificence should be lost: so Meyer, Zöckler, Weiss, cf. Xen., Hellen., iv., 4, 13; Diod. Sic., iv., 8. But Wendt (as against Meyer) regards τὸ ἱερόν as the subject; cf. 1 Timothy 6:5. The word is used, Luke 9:43, of the majesty of God, cf. 2 Peter 1:16 (Friedrich, p. 30); in LXX, Jeremiah 40(33):9; 1 Esdras 1:5; 1 Esdras 4:40, Daniel 7:27.— ὅλη ἀσία: “multitudo errantium non efficit veritatem”: Bengel. The temple was built by contributions from the whole of Asia, tota Asia exstruente, Pliny, Nat. Hist., xvi., 40, so that the goddess was evidently held in veneration by the whole province, cf. ibid., 36:21; Liv., i., 45. According to the testimony of Pausanias, iv., 31, 8; cf. Xen., Anab., v., 3, 4, no deity was more widely worshipped by private persons (Wetstein, Ramsay, Blass), see also Apuleius, 2, quoted by Mr. Page from Wordsworth. For the way in which the imperial government allied itself with the Artemis worship and the revival of paganism in the second century, and the universal honour paid to Artemis by Greek and barbarian alike, cf. Greek Inscriptions of the British Museum (Hicks), iii., pp. 135, 145.— οἰκουμένη, see above on Acts 11:28. Plumptre points out that the language is almost identical with that of Apuleius (perhaps from this passage): “Diana Ephesia cujus nomen unicum … totus veneratur orbis”.


Verse 28

Acts 19:28. ἔκραζον: “they cried continuously,” imperfect, see addition in .— ΄εγάλη .: omitting we have apparently the popular cry, or rather invocation: Great Artemis! as it was actually used in the cultus—the cry was not an argument against Paul’s doctrine, but rather a prayer to the goddess and queen of Ephesus, and so regarded it gives a vividness and naturalness to the scene, Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 135 ff., and “Diana,” u. s., p. 105; see , critical note.


Verse 29

Acts 19:29. συγχύσεως: the noun only here in N.T. ( συγχέω: only in Luke, see above p. 238), in LXX, Genesis 11:9, 1 Samuel 5:11, 1 Samuel 14:20, used in classical Greek in the sense of confusion, disturbance; τε, the immediate result was that they rushed (Weiss), ὁμοθυμαδὸν, see above Acts 1:14, “with one accord,” uno animo, Vulgate (not simul).— τὸ θέατρον: no doubt the great theatre explored by Mr. Wood, Ephesus, pp. 73, 74, App. vi.; Lightfoot, Contemp. Rev., xxxii., p. 293; the theatre was the usual place for public assemblies in most towns, cf. Jos., B. J., vii. 3, 3; Tac., Hist., ii., 80; Blass, in loco, and Wetstein, and also Pseudo-Heraclitus, Letter vii., 47, condemning the Ephesians for submitting grave and weighty matters to the decision of the mobs in the theatre, Die Heraklitischen Briefe, p. 65; Gore, Ephesians, p. 255. The theatre was capable of holding, it is calculated, 24,500 people, its diameter was 495 feet, and it was probably the largest in the world (Renan). Wetstein remarks that the position of the places tended in no small degree to increase and foment the tumult, since the temple was in full view of the theatre.— συναρπάσαντες, cf. Acts 6:12, i.e., being carried off with them in their rush; we are told whether they met Gaius and Aristarchus by chance, and seized them as well-known companions of Paul, συνεκδήμους, or whether they searched for them in their lodgings, and seized them when they could not find the Apostle.— ἀρίσταρχον: a native of Thessalonica, cf. Acts 20:4; he accompanied Paul on his last journey to Jerusalem, and hence to Rome, Acts 27:2. It is possible, as Lightfoot thinks, that the words “Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us” in the latter passage intimate that Aristarchus accompanied Luke and Paul on the former part of this route because he was on his way home, and that leaving Paul at Myra he may have returned to Thessalonica, Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 35. But however this may be, it is evident from Colossians 4:10, Philem., Acts 19:24, that he was with the Apostle at Rome, probably sharing his captivity. συναιχμάλωτός μου, Col., u. s., can hardly refer to this incident at Ephesus, Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 11, “Aristarchus,” B.D.2, or to a captivity in a spiritual sense, as bound and captive to Christ together with Paul; see also Salmon, Introd., p. 383.— ΄ακεδόνας: nothing was more natural than that devoted Christians from Thessalonica should be among St. Paul’s companions in travel when we consider his special affection for the Thessalonian Church. With this reading the Gaius here is of course to be distinguished from the Gaius of Acts 20:4, of Derbe, and from the Gaius of Romans 16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:14, a Corinthian. But if we could read ΄ακεδόνα, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 280, the Gaius here may be identified with the Gaius of Acts 20:4. In Acts 20:4 Blass connects δερβαῖος with Timothy, making Gaius a Thessalonian with Aristarchus, Secundus, see in loco; but against this we must place the positive statement of Acts 16:1, that Timothy was a Lystran.— συνεκδήμους: used only by Luke and Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:19, not in LXX, but in Plut. and Josephus. The word may look forward to Acts 20:4 (so Ramsay, u. s.), or we may take it with Blass as referring to the part which the two men played as representatives of the Thessalonians, who were carrying with St. Paul the contribution to the Church at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:4). These two men, as Weiss points out, may be our informants for some of the details which follow.


Verse 30

Acts 19:30. τοῦ δὲ π. βουλ.: St. Paul was not the man to leave his comrades in the lurch, and he would have followed them with his life in his hands to face the mob of Ephesus; if we may depend upon the picture of Ephesian life given us in Pseudo-Heraclitus, Letter vii., we can understand the imminent danger in which St. Paul was placed at the mercy of men who were no longer men but beasts, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων θηρία γεγονότες (Die Heraklitischen Briefe, p. 65 (Bernays), and Ramsay, u. s., p. 280).— δῆμον, Acts 19:33, Acts 12:22, Acts 17:5, so sometimes in classical Greek of the plebs, vulgus—in N.T. only in Acts. Both before and after the riot the passions of the vulgar mob were no doubt a real and serious danger to St. Paul, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32; 1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. In the former passage the word ἐθηριομάχησα is generally referred to this danger in Ephesus, the multitude in its ferocious rage being compared to wild beasts, see Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 230, “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D., and Plumptre’s note, in loco. With the expression used in 1 Corinthians 15:32 we may compare Ignat., Rom., Acts 19:1, and cf. Ephes., vii. 1; Smyrn., iv., 1; so too Pseudo-Heraclitus, u. s., and Renan, Saint Paul, p. 351, note; Grimm-Thayer, sub v. McGiffert, p. 280 ff., maintains that the word ἐθηριομάχησα refers to an actual conflict with wild beasts in the arena (so Weizsäcker), and that 2 Corinthians 1:9 more probably refers to the danger from the riot of Demetrius; but if the literal interpretation of the verb in 1 Cor. is correct, it is strange that St. Paul should have omitted such a terrible encounter from his catalogue of dangers in 2 Corinthians 11:23; see also below at end of chapter.


Verse 31

Acts 19:31. ἀσιαρχῶν: “the chief officers of Asia,” R.V., cf. γαλατάρχης, βιθυνιάρχης, συριάρχης, etc.; Mommsen, Röm. Gesch., v., 318 (Knabenbauer), officers, i.e., of the province of Asia, and so provincial, not merely municipal officers. Each province united in an association for the worship of Rome and the Empire, hence κοινὸν ἀσίας, of which the Asiarchs would probably be the high priests. But in addition to their religious office the Asiarchs were called upon to provide games, partly if not solely at their own expense, and to preside over them. These festivals were called κοινὰ ἀσίας ἐν σμύρνῃ, λαοδικείᾳ, κ. τ. λ. It is doubtful whether the office was annual, or whether it was held for four years; but as an Asiarch still retained his title after his term of office had expired, there may evidently have been in Ephesus several Asiarchs, although only one was actually performing his duties (cf. the title ἀρχιερεῖς amongst the Jews, Acts 4:6; Acts 4:23). If there were a sort of Council of Asiarchs, this Council may well have assembled when the κοινὰ ἀσίας were being held, and this might have been the case at Ephesus in the narrative before us; such a festival would have brought together a vast crowd of pilgrims and worshippers actuated with zeal for the goddess, and ready to side with Demetrius and his followers. The title was one of great dignity and repute, as is evident from inscriptions which commemorate in various cities the names of those who had held the office. Whether the Asiarchs were in any sense high priests has been disputed, but see Polycarp, Mart., cf. Acts 12:2; Acts 12:21; on the whole subject “Asiarch” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D. and B.D.2; St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp, ii., p. 987, Lightfoot; Renan, Saint Paul, p. 353; Wendt, p. 318; O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 102.— φίλοι: not only does the notice show that St. Paul had gained at least the toleration of some of the leading men of the province, but that the attitude of the imperial authorities was not unfriendly. We cannot of course suppose with Zimmermann that the Asiarchs were friendly because the Apostle had been less opposed to the imperial cultus than to that of Diana, and that so far the Asiarchs stood with him on common ground. See Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, on the probable attitude of the priests, and cf. chap. 14— δοῦναι ἑαυτὸν: only here in N.T., cf. Polyb., v., 14, 9, the expression involves the thought of danger, so in A. and R.V.


Verse 32

Acts 19:32. ἄλλοι μὲν οὖν: μὲν οὖν probably as often in Acts without any opposition expressed, but see Rendall, App., p. 162; the antithesis may be in δέ of Acts 19:33.— ἔκραζον: “kept on crying,” imperfect.— ἐκκλησία, see below on Acts 19:39; here of an unlawful tumultuous assembly.— συγκεχ., see above Acts 19:29.— οἱ πλείους: “sensu vere comparativo” Blass = major pars.


Verse 33

Acts 19:33. ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ., sc., τινές, cf. Acts 21:16. If we read συνεβίβασαν (see critical note), and render “instructed Alexander,” R.V., margin; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16, and often in LXX, it seems to mean that the Jews instructed Alexander, a fellow-Jew, to come forward and dissociate himself and them from any coalition with Paul and his companions against the Diana worship ( ἀπολογεῖσθαι). Erasmus takes the word to mean that the Jews had instructed him beforehand as their advocate. συμβιβάζω in Colossians 2:19, Ephesians 4:16 = to join together, to knit together, in Acts 16:10, to consider, to conclude, so Weiss thinks here that it = concluded that Alexander was the reason why they had come together; but the sentence and the context does not seem to bear out this rendering. Meyer retains T.R., and holds that Alexander was a Jewish Christian who was put forward by the Jews maliciously, hoping that he might be sacrificed to the popular tumult—hence ἀπολογεῖσθαι. This latter view seems to be adopted practically by Blass (so by Knabenbauer), although he reads κατεβίβασαν (Luke 10:15), descendere coegerunt, i.e., into the theatre, as he cannot see that συνεβίβ. is intelligible; in which Grimm-Thayer agrees with him, and renders with R.V., margin, as above (see sub v.).— δὲ .: if χαλκεύς in 2 Timothy 4:14 is taken in a wider sense to mean a worker in any metal, it is, of course, possible that Alexander might be so described as one of the craftsmen of Demetrius. But the name was very common, although the omission of τις may be taken to imply that Alexander in Acts 19:33 was well known in Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:9 above). We cannot pass beyond conjecture, especially as the notice in Acts, when compared with 2 Tim., contains no further mark of identification than the similarity of name, although the Alexander in the latter passage was no doubt in some way connected with Ephesus, or the warning to Timothy against him would be without force. Against the identification see Meyer—Weiss, Die Briefe Pauli an Timotheus und Titus, p. 347, and so also Holtzmann, Pastoralbriefe, in loco (who identifies the Alexander in 2 Timothy 4:14 with the Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20). Holtzmann’s view is that the author of the Pastoral Epistles, whoever he may have been, mistook the notice in Acts, and concluded that the Alexander there mentioned was a Christian, and a treacherous one, who allowed himself to be utilised by the Jews against Paul. The pseudonymous author of 2 Tim. therefore names Alexander χαλκεύς, and refers also to him the βλασφημεῖν of 1 Timothy 1:20.— κατασείσας τὴν χεῖρα, see on Acts 12:17.— ἀπολ.: peculiar to Luke and Paul, twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and six times in Acts, so in Romans 2:15, 2 Corinthians 12:19. In the last-named passage with same construction as here (see for various constructions Grimm-Thayer, sub v.).


Verse 34

Acts 19:34. ἐπιγνόντων: “when they recognised” by his dress and his features, “when they perceived,” R.V. If we read ἐπιγνόντες, see critical note, φωνὴ ἐγέν. = “anacoluthon luculentissimum” cf. Mark 9:20 (Blass).— μία ἐκ πάντων: callida junctura, arresting the reader’s attention (Hackett). Alexander was thus unable to obtain a hearing because he was a Jew, a fact which sufficiently justifies the apprehension for Paul entertained by his friends.— ΄εγάλη κ. τ. λ., see on Acts 19:28, the cry in , and (330) text is doubled, which marks its continuance and its emphatic utterance (Weiss).— ὡς ἐπὶ ὥρας δύο κραζ.: probably they regarded this as in itself an act of worship, cf. 1 Kings 18:26, and Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 142, “Diana,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 605. “A childish understanding indeed! as if they were afraid lest their worship should be extinguished, they shouted without intermission:” Chrys., Hom., xlii.


Verse 35

Acts 19:35. καταστείλας: only here in N.T. and in Acts 19:36, “had quieted,” R.V., cf. 2 Maccabees 4:31, 3 Maccabees 6:1, Aquila, Psalms 64(65):8, also in Josephus and Plutarch.— γραμματεὺς: “the secretary of the city” Ramsay; Lightfoot was the first to point out the importance of the officer so named—called also ἐφεσίων γραμ. or γραμ. τοῦ δήμου; he was the most influential person in Ephesus, for not only were the decrees to be proposed drafted by him and the Strategoi, and money left to the city was committed to his charge, but as the power of the Ecclesia, the public assembly, declined under imperial rule, the importance of the secretary’s office was enhanced, because he was in closer touch with the court of the proconsul than the other city magistrates, and acted as a medium of communication between the imperial and municipal government, “Ephesus” (Ramsay), Hastings’ B.D., p. 723, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, i., 66; St. Paul, pp. 281, 304; Hicks, Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, iii., p. 154, and Wood’s Ephesus, App., p. 49, often with Asiarchs and proconsul; Lightfoot, Contemp. Review, p. 294, 1878. St. Luke’s picture therefore of the secretary as a man of influence and keenly alive to his responsibility is strikingly in accordance with what we might have expected.— τίς γάρ ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος: “what man is there then?” etc. Rendall: the γάρ looks back to the action of the speaker in quieting the crowd, as if he would say that there is no need for this excitement, for all that you have said about your goddess is universally acknowledged.— νεωκόρον: “temple-keeper,” R.V., “a worshipper,” A.V., cultricem, Vulgate, lit(331), “a temple-sweeper” (on derivation see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.), and so found in classical Greek, a sacristan, a verger, Lat., ædituus, cf. Jos., B. J., v., 9, 4, where = worshippers, οὓς θεὸς ἑαυτῷ νεωκόρους ἦγεν. The title “Warden of the Temple of Ephesus” was a boast of the city, just as other cities boasted of the same title in relation to other deities. It would seem that the title at Ephesus was generally used in connection with the imperial cultus; in the period of this narrative, Ephesus could claim the title as Warden of one Temple of this cultus, and later on she enjoyed the title of δὶς, τρὶς νεωκόρος, as the number of the temples of the imperial cultus increased. But there is ample justification from inscriptions for the mention of the title in the verse before us in connection with the Artemis worship. For references, Ramsay, “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 722; Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, i., 58; Wendt, Blass, in loco; Lightfoot, Cont. Rev., p. 294, 1878; Wood, Ephesus, App., p. 50.— τοῦ δ., sc., ἄγαλμα: or some such word; the image was believed to have fallen from the sky (heaven, R.V. margin), like that of the Tauric Artemis, cf. Eur., Iph. ., 977, 1384, where we find οὐρανοῦ πέσημα given as the equivalent and explanation of διοπετὲς ἄγαλμα (Herod., i., 11). The worship of Diana of the Ephesians was entirely Asian and not Greek, although the Greek colonists attempted to establish an identification with their own Artemis on account of certain analogies between them. According to Jerome, Præfat. ad Ephesios, the Ephesian Artemis was represented as a figure with many breasts, multimammia (“quam Græci πολύμαστον vocant”), symbolising the reproductive and nutritive powers of Nature which she personified. This description is fully borne out by the common representations of the goddess on coins and statues. No one could say for certain of what the ἄγαλμα was made: according to Petronius it was made of cedar wood, according to Pliny of the wood of the vine, according to Xen. of gold, and according to others of ebony. For a fuller description of the image, and for some account of the wide prevalence of worship of the goddess and its peculiar character, Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, “Diana of the Ephesians,” Hastings’ B.D., B.D.2; Wendt, 1888, in loco; Farrar, St. Paul, ii., p. 13, and references in Wetstein.


Verse 36

Acts 19:36. ἀναντιῤῥήτων: only here in N.T., but the adverb in Acts 10:29, not in LXX but Symm., Job 11:2; Job 33:13; Polyb., xxiii., 8, 11; on spelling see critical note.— δέον ἐστὶν, 1 Peter 1:6 (1 Timothy 5:13), cf. Ecclus., Prol., Acts 19:3-4, 1 Maccabees 12:11, 2 Maccabees 11:18, also in classical Greek.— προπετὲς: only in Luke and Paul in N.T., 2 Timothy 3:4, of thoughtless haste (Meyer—Weiss); in LXX of rash talk, cf. Proverbs 10:14; Proverbs 13:3, Sirach 9:18, Symm., Ecclesiastes 5:1, Clem. Rom., Cor(332), i. 1, of persons.— κατεσταλμένους, see also on Acts 19:35; only in these two verses in N.T.


Verse 37

Acts 19:37. γὰρ: “for,” i.e., they had done something rash.— τοὺς ἄνδρ. τούτους: Gaius and Aristarchus, ἱεροσύλους, “robbers of temples,” R.V., in A.V. “of churches,” the word “church” being applied as often in the Elizabethan age to pagan temples. Ramsay however renders “guilty neither in act nor in language of disrespect to our goddess,” i.e., to the established religion of our city, ἱεροσυλία = Latin, sacrilegium, and here for emphasis the speaker uses the double term οὔτε ἱεροσ. οὔτε βλασφ., “Churches, Robbers of,” Hastings’ B.D., Ramsay, and St. Paul, pp. 260, 282, 401, In 2 Maccabees 4:42 we have the same word ἱερόσυλος, R.V., “Author of the sacrilege,” “Church-robber,” A.V., used of Lysimachus, brother of Menelaus the high priest, who perished in a riot which arose from the theft of the sacred vessels by his brother and himself (quoted by Ramsay, u. s.). Canon Gore, Ephesians, p. 41, note, however, points out that the word is used in the former sense of “robbers of temples,” in special connection with Ephesus by Strabo, xiv. 1, 22, and Pseudo-Heraclitus, Letter vii., p. 64 (Bernays); cf. Romans 2:22. The cognate noun is found in inscriptions at Ephesus, describing a crime involving the heaviest penalties, Wood, Ephesus, vi. 1, p. 14; Lightfoot, Cont. Rev., p. 294, 1878.


Verse 38

Acts 19:38. λόγον ἔχουσιν: no exact equivalent elsewhere in N.T., but Grimm (so Kypke) compares Matthew 5:32 (see also Colossians 3:13).— ἀγοραῖοι ἄγονται: “the courts are open,” R.V., perhaps best to understand σύνοδοι, “court-meetings are now going on,” i.e., for holding trials (in the forum or agora); Vulgate, conventus forenses aguntur, the verb being in the present indicative. Or ἡμέραι may alone be supplied = court days are kept, i.e., at certain intervals, not implying at that particular time, but rather a general statement as in the words that follow: “there are proconsuls,” see Page, in loco. For ἄγειν, cf. Luke 24:21, Matthew 14:6, 2 Maccabees 2:16, cf. Strabo, xiii., p. 932, Latin, conventus agere. Alford, so Wendt (1888), speaks of the distinction drawn by the old grammarians between ἀγοραῖος and ἀγόραιος as groundless, but see also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 69.— ἀνθύπατοί εἰσιν: the plural is used: “de eo quod nunquam non esse, soleat,” Bengel (quoted by Blass and Wendt), although strictly there would be only one proconsul at a time. There is no need to understand any assistants of the proconsul, as if the description was meant for them, or, with Lewin, as if there were several persons with proconsular power. It is quite possible that in both clauses the secretary is speaking in a mere colloquial way, as we might say, “There are assizes and there are judges”. Lightfoot calls it “a rhetorical plural” Cont. Rev., p. 295, 1878, and quotes Eur., I. T., 1359, κλέπτοντες ἐκ γῆς ξόανα καὶ θυηπόλους, though there was only one image and one priestess.— ἐγκαλείτωσαν ἀλλήλοις: “accuse,” R.V. The verb need not have a technical legal sense as is implied by “implead” in A.V. So in LXX it may be used quite generally, or of a criminal charge, and so in classical Greek, cf. Wisdom of Solomon 12:12 and Sirach 46:19. In the N.T. it is used six times in Acts with reference to judicial process, and only once elsewhere by St. Paul in Romans 8:33 in a general sense. The verb only occurs in the second part of Acts in accordance no doubt with the subject-matter; see Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ, p. 147, note, and Weiss, Einleitung in das N. T., p. 570, note.


Verse 39

Acts 19:39. εἰ δέ τι περὶ ἑτέρων: if we read περαιτέρω, cf. Plato, Phædo, p. 107 B, the meaning is anything further than an accusation against an individual, a public and not a personal matter: if they desired to get any resolution passed with regard to the future conduct of citizens and of resident non-citizens in this matter, see Ramsay, Expositor, February, 1896, reading περαιτ.— ἐπιλυθήσεται (cf. Mark 4:34), nowhere else in N.T. (the verb is found in LXX, Aquila, Genesis 40:8; Genesis 41:8; Genesis 41:12; Th., Hos., Acts 3:4; Philo., Jos.).— τῇ ἐννόμῳ ἐκκλησίᾳ: “the regular assembly,” R.V. Mr. Wood, Ephesus, App., p. 38, quotes an inscription in which it was enjoined that a statue of Minerva should be placed in a certain spot, κατὰ πᾶσαν ἔννομον ἐκκλησίαν. But A.V. has “the lawful assembly”: which is the better rendering? “regular” seems to restrict us to νόμιμοι ἐκκλησίαι held on stated customary days, and to exclude from the secretary’s statement any reference to extraordinary meetings, meetings summoned for special business, whereas he would be likely to use a term which would cover all legal meetings. But on the other hand Blass quotes the phrase given above from the inscriptions, and explains ἔννομοι ἐκκλησίαι sunt, quæ ex lege certis diebus fiebant (so too Wendt, Lightfoot); and if this is correct, “regular” would be the more appropriate rendering, ἔννομος = νόμιμος. But in Ephesus we have to consider how far the old Greek assembly ἐκκλησία was or was not under the control of the imperial government. In considering this with reference to the special incident before us, Ramsay, with whom Wendt agrees, p. 321 (1899), gives good reason for regarding the “regular” as equivalent to the “lawful” assemblies: i.e., extraordinary assemblies which in the Greek period had been legal, but were now so no longer through the jealous desire of Rome to control popular assemblies, abroad as at home. The ἐκκλησία could not be summoned without the leave of the Roman officials, and it was not at all likely that that sanction would be extended beyond a certain fixed and regular number, Ramsay, Expositor, February, 1896: “The Lawful Assembly,” and “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 723.


Verse 40

Acts 19:40. ἐγκαλεῖσθαι στάσεως περὶ τῆς σήμερον, A.V., “to be called in question for this day’s uproar,” but R.V., “to be accused concerning this day’s riot,” rendering ἐγκαλ., as in Acts 19:38, and στάσεως, as in Mark 15:7. θόρυβος being rather the word for uproar or tumult, cf. Vulgate: “argui seditionis hodiernæ”. But a further question arises from the marginal rendering of R.V., “to be accused of riot concerning this day”: so Page, Meyer-Wendt, Zöckler. But Blass, Weiss, Rendall, so Ram say: “to be accused of riot concerning this day’s assembly,” sc., ἐκκλησία, although Blass thinks it still better to omit περὶ τῆς altogether, and to connect σήμερον with ἐγκαλ., cf. Acts 4:9.— μηδενὸς αἰτίου ὑπάρχοντος: with this punctuation R.V. renders “there being no cause for it,” taking αἰτίου as neuter, and closely connecting the phrase with the foregoing, so W. H. Overbeck (so Felten, Rendall) takes αἰτίου as masculine: “there being no man guilty by reason of whom,” etc., and Wendt considers that the rendering cannot be altogether excluded. Vulgate has “cum nullus obnoxius sit”. But αἰτίου may be strictly a noun neuter from αἴτιον = αἰτία, and not an adjective as the last-mentioned rendering demands, cf. Plummer on Luke 23:4; Luke 23:14; Luke 23:22, and nowhere else in N.T., so Moulton and Geden, who give the adjective αἴτιος only in Hebrews 5:9.— περὶ οὗ δυνησόμεθα: Ramsay (so Meyer and Zöckler) follows T.R. and Bezan text in omitting the negative οὐ before δυν., but see on the other hand Wendt (1899), p. 322; and critical note. R.V. (introducing negative οὐ, so Weiss and Wendt) renders “and as touching it we shall not be able to give account of this concourse”.— συστροφῆς, Polyb., iv., 34, 6, of a seditious meeting or mob. In Acts 23:12 used of a conspiracy; cf. LXX, Psalms 63:2, Amos 7:10.


Verse 41

Acts 19:41. τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: the word may imply, as Ramsay thinks, that the secretary thus recognised the meeting as an ἐκκλησία to shield it, as far as he could, from Roman censure. The attitude of the secretary is that of a man altogether superior to, and almost contemptuous of, the vulgar mob (cf. οὗτος in , Acts 19:38), and there is no apparent desire on his part to deny Paul’s right to preach, provided that the Apostle respected the laws and institutions of the city.

On the historical character of the incidents narrated at Ephesus, the graphic description and the intimate knowledge of the life of the city, see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 143, and the same writer “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B. D. Every detail tends to confirm the faithfulness of the picture drawn of Ephesian society A.D. 57 (cf. Knabenbauer, p. 340). Wendt also is so impressed with the vividness of the scene as it is narrated, that he considers that we are justified in referring the narrative to a source which we owe to an actual companion of St. Paul, and in regarding it as an historical episode, and he refers in justification to Lightfoot, Cont. Rev., p. 292 ff., 1878; see Wendt’s edition, 1888, pp. 429, 430, and also edition 1899, p. 316, note. Whilst Baur and Overbeck give an unfavourable verdict as to the historical truthfulness of the Ephesian tumult, a verdict which Wendt condemns, Zeller is constrained to acknowledge the very minute details which tell in favour of the narrative, and for the invention of which there is no apparent reason. Amongst more recent critics, Weizsäcker can only see in the story the historian’s defence of Paul and the same tendency to make events issue in the success of his missionary propaganda: 1 Corinthians 15:32 he takes literally, and the tumult recorded in Acts gives us only a faint and shadowy outline of actual reminiscences: nothing is left of the wild beasts except a tumult in the theatre, and the Apostle against whom the violence is mainly directed is himself absent. But as Wendt rightly maintains, 1 Corinthians 15:32 is much rather to be taken as referring figuratively to a struggle with men raging against the Apostle’s life; nor are we shut up of necessity to the conclusion that 1 Corinthians 15:32 and Acts 19:23 ff. refer to one and the same event (so Hilgenfeld, Zöckler), see note on p. 414. McGiffert, whilst taking 1 Corinthians 15:32 literally (although he inclines to identify Acts 19 with 2 Corinthians 1:8, so too Hilgenfeld), admits as against Weizsäcker the general trustworthiness of St. Luke’s account, since it is too true to life, and is related too vividly to admit any doubt as to its historic reality (p. 282). Hilgenfeld too, Zw. Th., p. 363, 1896, agrees that the whole narrative is related in a way true to life, and refers it with the possible exception of ὡς ἐπὶ ὥρας δύο in Acts 19:34 to his good source : it could not possibly have been invented by the “author to Theophilus”. Even here Clemen and Jüngst can only see an interpolation, referred by the former to Redactor, i.e., Acts 19:15-41 with the possible exception of Acts 19:33 to Redactor Antijudaicus; and by the latter also to his Redactor, i.e., Acts 19:23-41.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 19:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-19.html. 1897-1910.

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