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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Acts 26

 

 

Verse 1

Acts 26:1. ἐπιτρέπεται, Burton, p. 9, on “the aoristic present”. Agrippa as a king and as a guest presides; and Paul addresses himself specially to him, cf. Acts 26:2; Acts 26:7; Acts 26:13; Acts 26:19; Acts 26:27; cf. Acts 28:16, 1 Corinthians 14:34, for the passive with infinitive, and for other instances of the word in the same sense as here Acts 21:39-40, Acts 27:3; the verb is similarly used in all of the Gospels (three times in Luke), and in 1 Corinthians 16:7, 1 Timothy 2:12, Hebrews 6:3.— ἐκτείνας: not the same as in Acts 12:17, Acts 13:16; here not to ensure silence, but gestus est oratorius, cf. Acts 26:29.— ἀπελογεῖτο, see above, Acts 24:10, although not formally on trial, the word shows that the Apostle was defending himself.


Verse 2

Acts 26:2. ἐπὶ σοῦ, cf. Acts 24:19.— ἐγκαλοῦμαι, see on Acts 19:38.— ὑπὸ ἰουδ.: “by Jews” simply (cf. Acts 25:10), and therefore he is glad to address one acquainted with Jewish customs, but see on Acts 26:4.— ἥγημαι ἐμαυτὸν μακ.: only here by Luke in this sense, but frequently so used by St. Paul in his Epistles eleven times, cf., e.g., Philippians 3:7, 1 Timothy 6:1. St. Paul too commences with a “captatio benevolentiæ,” “sed absque adulatione,” Blass: “and yet had he been conscious of guilt, he should have feared being tried in the presence of one who knew all the facts; but this is a mark of a clear conscience, not to shrink from a judge who has an accurate knowledge of the circumstances, but even to rejoice and to call himself happy,” Chrys., Hom., lii.


Verse 3

Acts 26:3. μάλιστα: (1) “especially because thou art expert,” R.V. (so Blass, Felten, Weiss), or (2) “because thou art specially expert,” margin, R.V. (so Wendt, Rendall, Bethge, Zöckler). See critical notes, and for construction Winer-Moulton, lxiii., 2, a, and xxxii. 7, Wendt (1899), p. 389.— γνώστην ὄντα: an anacoluthon, as if an accusative had been previously used, πρός σεἀπολ., cf. Acts 22:1. Zöckler takes it as an accusative absolute, following A. Buttmann (see Winer-Moulton., u.s.), but no clear example (cf. Ephesians 1:18, and Hackett’s note, in loco).— γνώστην, cf. Susannah, ver 42 (Theod., not LXX), with genitive as here.— ἐθῶν τε καὶ ζητ.: “consuetudinum in practicis, quæstionum in theoreticis,” Bengel, on Acts 26:32 see above, Acts 25:19.— μακροθύμως, only here in N.T., but μακροθυμία frequent in St. Paul’s Epistles (cf. Sirach 5:11).


Verse 4

Acts 26:4. μὲν οὖν: with no formal antithesis, but as marking the opposition between his present and former mode of life, a contrast dropped for the moment, and resumed again in Acts 26:9; see Rendall, Appendix on μέν οὖν, but also Page, in loco, and notes below on Acts 26:9.— βίωσιν: vivendi et agendi ratio, Grimm; cf. the same word used in the description of a life very similar to that of Paul before he became a Christian, Ecclus., Prol., 12, διὰ τῆς ἐννόμου βιώσεως (Symm., Psalms 38 (39):6).— νεότητος, 1 Timothy 4:12, only elsewhere in N.T. in Luke 18:21, and in parallel passage, Mark 10:20, in LXX Genesis 43:33, Job 31:18, etc. From its use with reference to Timothy it is evident that the word did not imply the earliest years of life, and although Paul may probably have removed to Jerusalem at an early age, the context does not require a reference to the years he had lived before his removal.— τὴν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς γεν.: explanatory of preceding,—the commencement of his training, which was not only amongst his own nation, but also specially τε, at Jerusalem, cf. Acts 22:3. The Apostle presses the point to show that he was most unlikely to act in violation of Jewish feeling—he is still a Jew.— ἴσασι: only here in N.T., perhaps a conscious classicism, Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 33; on the classical forms in this speech see Blass, Proleg., p. 14, and Gram., p. 49, and especially p. 5, Philology of the Gospels, p. 9. These literary forms are what we should have expected the Apostle to employ before an audience so distinguished.— ἰουδαῖοι: Blass gives a further reason for the omission of article, “abest ut 2, 3, 7, 21, sec. usum Atticorum, cf. Acts 17:21”.


Verse 5

Acts 26:5. προγιν. με: knowing me beforehand, i.e., ἄνωθεν, from the beginning of my public education in Jerusalem. προγ.: twice elsewhere by Paul, Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2, also in 1 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:17. For ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς and ἅνωθεν cf. Luke 1:2-3, and for the former also 2 Thessalonians 2:13.— ἀκριβ.: “the straitest sect,” R.V., on the double accusative in A.V. see Humphry, Commentary on R.V. For this classical form, the only instance of a superlative in - τατος in N.T., see especially Blass, u. s., cf. Acts 26:4; on the term in its close connection with Pharisaism cf. Jos., B.J., i., 5, 2; Ant., xvii., 2, 4, and references above on Acts 22:3. Their “straitness” included not only observance and interpretation of the Mosaic law, but also of the whole παράδοσις τῶν πρεσβυτέρων.— αἵρεσιγ, see on Acts 5:17, the word in the sense of “a sect” was rightly applied to the exclusiveness of Pharisaism as in the N.T., cf. Acts 15:5, and in Jos., cf. Vita, 38.— θρησκείας: “cultus religionis, potissimum externus,” Grimm, so here and in the other places where it occurs in N.T., Colossians 2:18, James 1:26-27; twice in Wisdom, Wisdom of Solomon 14:18; Wisdom of Solomon 14:27, of the worship of idols; in Sirach 22:5 the reading is doubtful; in 4 Maccabees 5:6; 4 Maccabees 5:13, of the religion of the Jews. The instances of its use both in Philo and Josephus show that it was plainly, distinguished from εὐσεβεία and ὁσιότης. Thus it is contrasted with the latter by Philo, Quod det. potiori insid., c. 7: θρησκείαν ἀντὶ ὁσιότητος ἡγούμενος; and in Josephus it is frequently used of the public worship of God, worship in its external aspect, cf. Ant., ix., 13, 3; xii., 5, 4; v., 10, 1; xii., 6, 2. It was therefore a very natural word for St. Paul to use, and it is not necessary to suppose that he did so merely for the sake of Festus and the Romans (Blass), although the word was used of one mode of worship when contrasted with another; see further Hatch, Essays in B.G., p. 55; Trench, Synonyms, i., p. 200, and Mayor on James 1:26.— φαρισαῖος: emphatic at the end, expressing the “straitest sect” by name, cf. Galatians 1:14, Philippians 3:5-6.


Verse 6

Acts 26:6. καὶ νῦν: the expression does not indicate any contrast with Acts 26:4 : this hope for which he stands to be judged is in full accord with his whole past life.— ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι: phrase only found elsewhere in St. Paul’s Epistles, where it is frequent; Romans 8:20, 1 Corinthians 9:10, Titus 1:2. A hope not merely of the resurrection of the dead, but of the Messiah’s kingdom with which the resurrection was connected, as the context points to the national hope of Israel; cf. Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 175, E.T., see also pp. 137, 148, 149, and Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, i., pp. 75, 79, on the strong bond of the common hope of Israel.— πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας, see critical note. With either preposition we have a Pauline expression; on the force of εἰς see Alford and Weiss, in loco. If we read ἡμῶν after πατ. perhaps including Agrippa with himself as a Jew.


Verse 7

Acts 26:7. εἰς ἣν: unto which promise, not spem (Grotius, Bengel), καταντῆσαι εἰς, cf. the same construction with the same verb, Philippians 3:11, Ephesians 4:13, only in Luke and Paul, but never by the former elsewhere in metaphorical sense; in classical Greek after verbs of hoping we should have had a future, but in N.T. generally aorist infinitive, Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 154 (1893).— τὸ δωδεκάφυλον: here only in biblical Greek; perhaps used after the mention of the fathers, as the heads of the tribes; for the word cf. Prot. Jac., i., 3, Clem. Rom., Cor(399), Leviticus , 6 (cf. xxxi. 4), and Orac. Syb., λαὸς δωδεκάφυλος; the expression was full of hope, and pointed to a national reunion under the Messiah; for the intensity of this hope, and of the restoration of the tribes of Israel, see on Acts 3:21 (p. 115), and references in Acts 26:6, Edersheim, Jewish Social Life, p. 67, and especially Psalms of Solomon, 17:28, 30, 50.— ἐν ἐκτενείᾳ, cf. Acts 12:5, 2 Maccabees 14:38, 3 Maccabees 6:41, Judges 4:9 (twice?); Cic., Ad Att., x., 17, 1. See Hatch, u. s., p. 12.— νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν, cf. Acts 20:31, also used by Paul; elsewhere in his Epistles five times, and once in Mark 5 in genitive, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:3; Mark 5:5. The precise phrase in the accusative also occurs in Luke 2:37, Mark 4:25.— λατρεῦον, cf. Luke 2:37, joined with νύκτα καὶ ἡμ. as here, and in both places of the earnest prayer for the Messiah’s coming; same phrase elsewhere in N.T. only in Revelation 7:15. For the force of the expression here and its relation to the Temple worship see Blass, in loco, and Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 174, E.T.— ὑπὸ ἰουδ.: by Jews, O King! Agrippa knew that this hope, nowever misdirected, was the hope of every Israelite, and the Apostle lays stress upon the strange fact that Jews should thus persecute one who identified himself with their deepest and most enduring hopes.


Verse 8

Acts 26:8. R.V. gives more clearly the significance of the original, “Why is it judged incredible with you, if God (as He does) raises the dead?” εἰ with indicative assumes that the hypothesis is true, Vulgate “si Deus mortuos suscitat?” cf. Luke 16:31. It has sometimes been thought that St. Paul here makes a special appeal to the Sadducean part of his audience— παρʼ ὑμῖν—including among them Agrippa, with his indifference and practical Sadduceism (Alford), with his policy favouring the Sadducees in the appointment of the high priests (Felten): others have seen in the words a reference to the general resurrection with which the Apostle’s Messianic belief was connected, or to cases of resurrection in the history of Israel, as, e.g., 1 Kings 17, 2 Kings 4, as if the speaker would ask: Why is it judged a thing incredible in your judgment when you have instances before you in the sacred books accepted by Agrippa and the Jews? But it is far better to consider the words in connection with the great truth to which the whole speech was meant to lead up, Acts 26:23, viz., that Jesus, although crucified, had risen again, that He was at this moment a living Person, and by His resurrection had been proved to be the Messiah, the fulfiller of the hope of Israel. Zöckler regards the question as forming a kind of transition from the general hope of the Jews in a Messiah to the specific Christian hope in Jesus.— ἄπιστον: only here in Acts, twice in Luke’s Gospel, but frequent in St. Paul’s Epistles of those who believed not. See further Nestle, Philologica Sacra, p. 54, 1896, and Wendt, p. 391 and note (1899). Nestle proposes to place the verse as ou of connection here between Acts 26:22-23, with a full stop at the end of the former; and Wendt commends this view.


Verse 9

Acts 26:9. ἐγὼ μὲν οὖν: the words may be taken as simply resuming the narrative of the Apostle’s life which he had commenced in Acts 26:4-5, the three succeeding verses forming a parenthesis, or as an answer to the question of Acts 26:8, the real antithesis to μὲν οὖν, Acts 26:9, and the narrative, Acts 26:9-11, being found in Acts 26:12 and what follows. On μὲν οὖν see Rendall, Acts, Appendix, p. 163, and also Page on Acts 2:41, Acts, pp. 94, 95; see also critical note above.— ἔδοξα ἐμαυτῷ: mihi ipsi videbar; so in classical Greek. If with Weiss, Wendt, Bethge we lay stress on ἐμαυ., the Apostle explains the fact that this obligation was his own wilful self-delusion. In classical Greek instead of the impersonal construction we have frequently the personal construction with the infinitive as here, cf. 2 Corinthians 10:9—only in Luke and Paul, indication of literary style, Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 152 (1893).— τὸ ὄνομα . τοῦ ν., see on Acts 4:10; Acts 4:12.— ἐναντία πρᾶξαι, cf. Acts 28:17, and also 1 Thessalonians 2:15, Titus 2:8.


Verse 10

Acts 26:10. καὶ ἐποίησα, cf. Galatians 2:10 (Bethge, p. 272), on the distinction between πράσσειν and ποιεῖν Westcott on St.John 3:22.— ἐγὼ: emphatic.— τῶν ἁγίων, see above Acts 9:13, cf. its use in Acts 9:32; the word aggravates St. Paul’s own guilt. Agrippa too would know of pious Jews by the same designation.— ἀναιρ. τε αὐτῶν: probably pointing to more deaths, not as expressing the death of Stephen alone, cf. Acts 8:1, Acts 9:1, Acts 22:4. The state of affairs which rendered the murder of St. Stephen possible in the capital would easily account for similar acts of outrage in other places, so that there is no need to suppose with Weiss that the notice here is unhistorical.— κατήνεγκα ψῆφον: “I gave my vote,” R.V., the ψῆφος, literally the pebble used in voting, calculum defero sc. in urnam (Grimm), i.e., addo calculum, approbo, cf. ψῆφον φέρειν, ἐπιφ. or ἐκφ. If the phrase is taken quite literally, it is said to denote the vote of a judge, so that Paul must have been a member of the Sanhedrim, and gave his vote for the death of St. Stephen and other Christians. On the other hand the phrase is sometimes taken as simply = συνευδοκεῖν τῇ ἀναιρέσει (so amongst recent writers, Knabenbauer), Acts 22:20. (C. and H. think that if not a member of the Sanhedrim at the time of Stephen’s death, he was elected soon after, whilst Weiss holds that if the expression does not imply that the writer represents Paul by mistake as a member of the Sanhedrim, it can only be understood as meaning that by his testimony Paul gave a decisive weight to the verdict in condemnation of the Christians.) Certainly it seems, as Bethge urges, difficult to suppose that Paul was a member of such an august body as the Sanhedrim, not only on account of his probable age at the time of his conversion, but also because of his comparatively obscure circumstances. The Sanhedrim was an assembly of aristocrats, composed too of men of mature years and marked influence, and the question may be asked how Saul of Tarsus, who may not even have had a stated residence in the Holy City, could have found a place in the ranks of an assembly numbering the members of the high priestly families and the principal men of Judæa: see Expositor, June, 1897, and also for the bearing of the statement on the question of Paul’s marriage, with Hackett’s note, in loco. For the voting in the Sanhedrim see Schürer, div. ii., vol. i., p. 194. E.T. Rendall, p. 336, meets the difficulty above by referring the expression under discussion to a kind of popular vote confirming the sentence of the court against Stephen, for which he finds support in the language of the law and in the narrative of the proto-martyr’s condemnation.


Verse 11

Acts 26:11. τιμωρῶν (cf. Acts 22:5), more usually in the middle voice in this sense, although the active is so used sometimes in classical Greek, Soph., O. T., 107, 140, Polyb., ii., 56, 15. For ecclesiastial censures and punishments see Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation, p. 374, cf. Matthew 10:17; Matthew 23:34.— ἠνάγκαζον: “I strove to make them blaspheme,” R.V., all other E.V(400) render “I compelled them to blaspheme,” but the imperfect leaves it quite doubtful as to whether the persecutor succeeded in his attempts or not. The imperfect may thus be regarded as conative, Burton, p. 12, cf. Luke 1:59, Matthew 3:14. Blass points out that it may have the force of repeated action (cf. ἐδίωκον), but even if so, it does not say that the compulsion was effectual, Gram., p. 186. See further Page, in loco, for the rendering of R.V., which he regards as correct. A striking parallel may be adduced from Pliny’s Letter to Trajan, x., 97, where the Christians are urged to call upon the gods, to worship the emperor, and to blaspheme Christ, “quorum nihil cogi posse dicuntur qui sunt revera Christiani,” cf. Polycarp, Martyr., ix., 2, 3.— βλασφημεῖν, i.e., Jesus, “maledicere Christo,” Pliny, u. s., James 2:7; cf. 1 Timothy 1:13 with this passage, and Paul’s later reflections on his conduct.— ἕως καὶ εἰς τὰς ἔξω π.: “even unto foreign cities,” R.V., so that other cities besides Damascus had been included in the persecution, or would have been included if Saul’s attempt had been successful.— ἐδίωκον: “I set about persecuting them”. The imperfect ἐδίωκ. may however denote repeated action, and may indicate that Saul had already visited other foreign cities. Weiss regards the τε as connecting the two imperfects de conatu together—the latter imperfect being regarded as a continuation of the former, in case the victims sought to save themselves by flight.— ἐμμαιν.: only in Josephus once, Ant., xvii., 6, 5, but ἐμμανής in Wisdom of Solomon 14:23, and in classical Greek, so also ἐκμαίνεσθαι.


Verse 12

Acts 26:12. ἐν οἷς, i.e., as I was thus engaged, inter quæ, “on which errand,” R.V. margin, see Acts 24:18.— ἐπιτροπῆς, 2 Maccabees 13:14, Polyb., iii., 15, 7, “commission,” A. and R.V. “Paulus erat commissarius,” Bengel, the two nouns show the fulness of the authority committed to Paul.


Verse 13

Acts 26:13. ἡμέρας μέσης: temporal genitive, Blass, Gram., p. 107 (in classical Greek ἡμ. μεσοῦσα). The expression is perhaps stronger than in Acts 22:6, in the bright full light of day.— κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν: “on the way,” and so foreboding nothing (Weiss).— βασιλεῦ: “advertitur rex ad miraculum rei,” Blass, cf. Acts 26:7, so Weiss.— ὑπὲρ τὴν λαμπ.: here only expressly, but implied in Acts 9:3, Acts 22:6, indicating the supernatural nature of the light; noun only here in N.T., cf. Daniel 12:3.— περιλάμψαν: only in Luke, cf. Luke 2:9, where the word is also used for a light from heaven; nowhere else in N.T., but the verb is found in Plutarch, Josephus. The fact that the light shone round about Paul and his companions is at any rate not excluded by Acts 9:7 or Acts 22:9, as Weiss notes. It is quite in accordance with the truth of the facts that the more vivid expression should occur in Paul’s own recital.


Verse 14

Acts 26:14. See notes on Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:7, and reading above in β.— τῇ ἑβραΐδι διαλ.: this is intimated in Acts 9:4 and Acts 22:7 by the form σαούλ, but here the words are inserted because Paul was speaking in Greek, or perhaps he spoke the solemn words, indelible in his memory, as they were uttered, in Hebrew, for Agrippa (Alford).— σκληρόν σοι κ. τ. λ.: a proverb which finds expression both in Greek and in Latin literature (see instances in Wetstein): cf. Scholiast on Pind., Pyth., ii., 173: δὲ τροπὴ ἀπὸ τῶν βοῶν· τῶν γὰρ οἱ ἄτακτοι κατὰ τὴν γεωργίανκεντριζόμενοι ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀροῦντος, λακτίζουσι τὸ κέντρον καὶ μᾶλλον πλήττονται. Cf. also Aesch., Agam., 1633 (cf. Prom., 323), Eur., Bacch., 791, and in Latin, Terence, Phorm., i., 2, 27; Plautus, Truc., iv., 2, 59; and there may have been a similar proverb current among the Hebrews. Blass, Gram., pp. 5, 6, thinks that the introduction of the proverb on this occasion before Festus and Agrippa points to the culture which Paul possessed, and which he called into requisition in addressing an educated assembly. It is not wise to press too closely a proverbial saying with regard to Saul’s state of mind before his conversion; the words may simply mean to intimate to him that it was a foolish and inefficacious effort to try to persecute Jesus in His followers, an effort which would only inflict deeper wounds upon himself, an effort as idle as that described by the Psalmist, Psalms 2:3-4. At all events Paul’s statement here must be compared with his statements elsewhere, 1 Timothy 1:13; see Witness of the Epistles, p. 389 ff., and Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden, p. 275.


Verse 15

Acts 26:15. Evidently the following verses contain a summary of what in the other two accounts of the Conversion is spoken to Paul by Ananias, and revealed by the Lord in a vision, cf. Acts 9:15, Acts 22:14 (so Alford, Felten, Zöckler). This is far more satisfactory than to suppose that the two narratives in 9 and 22 are really dependent upon 26, the author having employed in them an oral tradition relating to Ananias, without being at all aware that by introducing such an account he was really contradicting a point upon which Paul lays special stress, viz., the fact that he had received his apostleship neither from man nor through man, Galatians 1:1 (so Wendt (1899), p. 189, and McGiffert, pp. 120 and 355). But in the first place nothing is said as to the Apostle receiving his Apostleship from Ananias; he receives recovery of sight from him, but his call to his Apostleship commences with his call before Damascus: “epocha apostolatus Paulini cum hoc ipso conversionis articulo incipit,” Bengel; and see specially Beyschlag, Studien und Kritiken, p. 220, 1864, on Galatians 1:15 (Witness of the Epistles, p. 379, 1892); and, further, the introduction and omission of Ananias are in themselves strong corroborations of the naturalness of the three accounts of the Conversion. Thus in chap. 22, Acts 26:12, cf. Acts 9:10, “non conveniebat in hunc locum uberior de An. narratio, Acts 9:10 ff., sed conveniebat præconium ejus, quod non est illic” (Blass); so too it was natural and important to emphasise before a Jewish audience the description of Ananias (in Acts 9:10 he is simply τις μαθητής) as εὐλαβὴς κατὰ τὸν κόμον, well reported of by all the Jews, whereas in 26 “tota persona Ananiæ sublata est, quippe quæ non esset apta apud hos auditores” (Blass). The three narratives agree in the main facts (see notes in comment., and Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, 2nd edit., p. 216), and “the slight variations in the three accounts do not seem to be of any consequence,” Ramsay, Saint Paul, p. 379, cf. also Renan, Apostles, p. 13, E.T., Salmon, Introd., p. 121. Clemen, who agrees in the main with Wendt in regarding 26 as the original narrative, refers chap. 9 to his Redactor Antijudaicus, and chap. 22 to his Redactor Judaicus; he sees evidences of the hand of the former in 9, 10, 15, 17, and of the latter in Acts 22:12; Acts 22:14. If Acts 22:17 f., and the words in Acts 26:15, πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους, do not fit in with this theory, they are ascribed by Clemen to the later Redactor Antijudaicus; but the latter expression πρὸς π. ἀνθ. is already contained in the meaning of the original source, Acts 26:17; Acts 26:20 a and c (20b belonging, according to Clemen, to the Redactor Judaicus). Space forbids any further examination of passages in the three narratives with regard to which the partition critics, Clemen and Jüngst, are again hopelessly at variance with each other, but cf. Jüngst, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 84, 87, 89, 94, and the strictures of Knabenbauer, Actus Apostolorum, p. 11 (1899). But it is strange to find that Clemen should be prepared to fall back upon the view of Baur, Paulus, Acts 2:13, that the narrative of Paul’s blindness was derived from the spiritual blindness referred to in Acts 26:17, and that therefore this narrative is evidently older than the other accounts in 9 and 22, which introduce a tragical blindness. As Wendt points out, there is no hint in the text that Paul’s blindness was symbolical, and there is nothing to suggest the circumstantial narratives relating to Ananias in the phrase Acts 26:17, which relates not to the Apostle’s own conversion, but to his power of converting others.


Verse 16

Acts 26:16. ἀλλὰ ἀνάστηθι: “Prostravit Christus Paulum ut eum humiliaret; nunc eum erigit ac jubet bono esse animo,” Calvin; for the expression cf. Ezekiel 2:1-2.— προχειρ., cf. Acts 3:14, Acts 22:14, Acts 9:15, σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς.— ὑπηρέτην καὶ μάρτυρα ὧν τε εἶδες, so like the Twelve, and cf. also αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου, Luke 1:1; in Cor. Acts 4:1 St. Paul speaks of himself as ὑπηρέτης.— ὧν τε εἶδές με, see critical note, “wherein thou hast seen me,” R.V., cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1, quite in harmony with the stress which the Apostle there lays upon “seeing the Lord”.— ὧν τειὀφθ. = τούτων : “and of the things wherein I will appear to thee,” so A. and R.V. Cf. Acts 18:9; Acts 22:18; Acts 22:21; Acts 23:11, 2 Corinthians 12:2. ὀφθ., future passive (Grimm-Thayer), cannot be rendered “I will make thee to see,” or “I will communicate to thee by vision,” as if = ἐγὼ ὑποδείξω, Acts 9:16. For construction see Page, and Blass, in loco.


Verse 17

Acts 26:17. ἐξαιρούμενός σε: “delivering,” A. and R.V. Vulgate, eripiens, and so the word is elsewhere rendered in N.T., cf. Acts 7:10; Acts 7:34, Acts 12:11, Acts 23:27, Galatians 1:4, and below, Acts 26:22; so very frequently in LXX (although twice in the sense below, Job 36:21, Isaiah 48:10). It may be called a Lucan-Pauline word (only twice elsewhere in N.T.; in St.Matthew 5:29; Matthew 18:9, but in an entirely different signification). Blass renders it as above, and points out that there is no reason for rendering it “choosing” in this one passage, a sense which is not at all fitted to the context; for the language cf. 1 Chronicles 16:35, Jeremiah 1:8, so Wendt (1899, but in the sense below previously), Weiss, Felten, Hackett, Bethge, Knabenbauer. It is no objection to say that Paul was not delivered, but was persecuted all his life long, for he was delivered in the sense of deliverance to proclaim the message for which he was sent as an Apostle. On the other hand Overbeck, Rendall, Page, so C. and H. take it in the sense of “choosing,” cf. Acts 9:15, σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς. Grimm-Thayer is doubtful. Rendall urges that the word cannot mean “delivering” without some phrase such as ἐκ χειρός, as common in the LXX, but cf. on the other hand LXX, Judges 10:15; Judges 18:28 A, Psalms 30:2; Psalms 49:15, Hosea 5:14, etc. But how could Paul be said to be chosen ἐξ ἐθνῶν? The phrase would certainly sound strange to him as a description of his own position. Rendall also objects that in 1 Chronicles 16:35 the word means to gather the scattered exiles from among the heathen as the context shows, but the Hebrew verb נָצַל means to deliver, and is so rendered, l. c., in A. and R. V. It is also urged that λαός is always the name of honour, and that elsewhere the enemies of the Apostle were named ἰουδαῖοι; but not only is the collocation “the people and the Gentiles” a common one, cf. Acts 26:23, Romans 15:10, but λαός is used of the unbelieving Jews in describing hostility to the Gospel, cf. Acts 4:27, Acts 12:4. Agrippa would understand the distinction between λαός and ἔθνη. ἐγὼ “denotat auctoritatem mittentis,” Bengel.— ἀποστέλλω: Paul receives his Apostolic commission direct from Christ as much as the Twelve; Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:16-17, Romans 1:5 (Matthew 10:16, John 20:21-23); cf. Acts 1:25.


Verse 18

Acts 26:18. ἀνοῖξαι ὀφθ. αὐτῶν, cf. Acts 9:8; Acts 9:40, and also Matthew 9:30; so too Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:7. Both Jews and Gentiles were blinded ( οὕς above, referring to both), the former because seeing they saw not, Matthew 13:13, Romans 11:8; the latter in that knowing God in His creation they glorified Him not as God, and their senseless heart was darkened, Romans 1:21; and to both St. Paul proclaimed the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Ephesians 1:18. The infinitive of purpose depending on ἀποστέλλω, Burton, p. 157; Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 169 (1893).— ἐπιστρέψαι: “that they may turn,” R.V. (” to turn them,” margin, so A.V.); in St. Luke, who uses the verb more frequently than any other N.T. writer, it is nearly always intransitive, except in Luke 1:16-17, Moulton and Geden, while Grimm adds Acts 26:20 below; so here all E.V(401) before the authorised, cf. Vulgate, “ut convertantur” (Humphry). If we thus take ἐπισ. as intransitive, it is subordinate to the previous infinitive of purpose, ἀνοῖξαι, and τοῦ λαβεῖν again subordinate to ἐπιστ., expressing the final result aimed at (Page, and see also Wendt’s note, in loco (1899)).— ἀπὸ σκότους εἰς φῶς: throughout St. Paul’s Epistles the imagery was frequent with reference not only to Gentiles but also to Jews, cf. Romans 2:19; Romans 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, Ephesians 5:18, Colossians 1:12. The words gain in interest here if we think of them as corresponding with the Apostle’s own recovering from blindness, spiritual and physical (Plumptre).— τοῦ σατανα, Blass, Gram., pp. 32, 144; no less than ten times by St. Paul in his Epistles; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12 (Colossians 1:13. ἐξουσία σκότους, Luke 22:53). There is no reason to suppose with Bengel that St. Paul is here referring to Gentiles rather than to Jews, for whilst the Jews no doubt would regard the Gentiles as loving σκότος and in the power of Satan, cf. also Luke 13:16; Luke 22:31, Acts 5:3. For current ideas with regard to Satan and the teaching of the N.T. cf. Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., p. 775; Charles, Book of Enoch, Introd., p. 52, and Assumption of Moses, x., 1, where Satan is apparently represented as the head of the kingdom of evil; cf. in the N.T. Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 2:15, for the whole hierarchy of evil spirits at the disposal of Satan, and 2 Thessalonians 2:9; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14 for his supernatural powers of deceiving or preventing men; see especially Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. 145.— τοῦ λαβεῖν: expressing the ultimate object of ἀνοῖξαι (see above, and Weiss, in loco).— ἄφεσιν ἁμαρ., Acts 3:16, the language here is quite Pauline, cf. Colossians 1:12-14, where also deliverance out of the power of darkness and forgiveness of sins in the Son of God’s love are connected as here.— τῇ πίστει εἰς ἐμέ: may be connected with λαβεῖν, faith in Christ as the condition of forgiveness placed emphatically at the end; cf. Acts 10:43, A. and R.V. connect the words with ἡγιασμένοις, so Vulgate.— κλῆρον ἐν τοῖς ἡγιας., cf. Acts 20:32, Colossians 1:12.


Verse 19

Acts 26:19. ὅθεν: “wherefore,” R.V., so in Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:18 (locally in Luke 11:24, Acts 14:26; Acts 28:13); probably best taken here as referring to the whole revelation from Acts 26:12, marking the natural result of what had gone before; not used in St. Paul’s Epistles.— βασ. .: “cum ad sua facta redeat, apte regem denuo compellat,” Blass, marking the commencement of his real defence.— ἀπειθὴς: only in Luke and Paul in N.T., cf. Luke 1:17; Romans 1:30, 2 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:16; Titus 3:3; in LXX and in classical Greek.— ὀπτασίᾳ: here and here only Paul himself apparently speaks of the appearance of Christ vouchsafed to him before Damascus by this word, but ὀπτασία, as Beyschlag shows, is not confined to appearances which the narrators regard as visions, cf. Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23, and its meaning must be explained from the entire “objectivity” with which St. Paul invests the whole narrative of his Conversion, cf. Witness of the Epistles, p. 383 (1892), and p. 380 for further reference to Beyschlag in Studien und Kritiken, 1864, 1890, and his Leben Jesu, i., p. 435. In modern Greek ὀπτασία = a vision (Kennedy).


Verse 20

Acts 26:20. ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἐν δ.: “both to them of Damascus first, and at Jerusalem,” reading τε (see critical note) after πρῶτον, thus closely connecting Damascus and Jerusalem as the scenes of Paul’s first activity, cf. Acts 9:20; Acts 9:28.— εἰς πᾶσάν τε τὴν χώραν τῆς ., see critical note. If we read accusative simply without εἰς= accusative of space marking the extension of the preaching. Blass solves the difficulty by regarding εἰς = ἐν, ut sæpe. The statement seems to contradict Galatians 1:22, and there is no mention of such a widely extended preaching at this time in Acts. It has therefore been held by some that reference is made to the preaching at the time of Saul’s carrying relief with Barnabas from Antioch to Jerusalem, Acts 11:30, Acts 12:25 (Zöckler and Rendall), while others refer the passage to Rome Acts 15:10 (Weiss), and others combine Acts 11:29-30, Acts 15:3 = Romans 15:10. Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 382, regards the statement as so directly contradictory to all other authorities that he practically follows Blass in (402) text, and reads εἰς πᾶσαν χώραν ἰουδαίοις τε καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσι, “in every land to both Jews and Gentiles”. The text he regards as not Lucan and hardly Greek, see also Blass, in loco; χώρα τῆς ἰουδαίας ought to be τῶν ἰουδ., as in Acts 10:39, etc. But see in defence of reading in T.R. as against Blass, and the reference of the words to the journeys in Acts 11:30, Acts 15:3, Wendt, in loco (1899). The general meaning given to the words by Blass is at all events in accordance with the view of the speech as a summary, and not as an account in detail, of the Apostle’s work (C. and H., p. 620). Dr. Farrar, St. Paul, i., 228, ingeniously supposes that Paul may have preached on his way from Damascus to Jerusalem in the guest chambers of the Jewish synagogues, so that he may not have come into contact with any Christian communities, and he would thus explain Galatians 1:22.— ἀπήγγελλον: imperfect, denoting continuous preaching; here only of preaching the Gospel, but cf. Acts 17:30 W.H(403), where God announces to men everywhere to repent, μετανοεῖν, a striking similarity in language with Paul’s words here (cf. 1 John 1:2-3).— ἐπιστρέφειν, cf. for the expression Acts 14:15, and see above on Acts 26:18.— ἄξια τῆς μετανοίας ἔργα: “worthy of their repentance,” R.V. margin, i.e., of the repentance which they profess. In the Gospels καρπούς, καρπόν, here ἔργα, but cf. Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 5:11, Colossians 1:10, Titus 3:8, and ἀξίους with genitive rei, more frequent in St. Luke and St. Paul than in any other N.T. writers.— πράσσοντας: used in N.T. sometimes of good, sometimes of evil, actions; in classical Greek ποιεῖν is more frequent de inhonestis, cf. Xen., Mem., iii., 9, 4, see Grimm, sub v.


Verse 21

Acts 26:21.— ἔνεκα τούτων: because I preached to Jews and Gentiles alike, proclaiming one Gospel to both, and placing both on an equality before God (not for profaning the Temple), cf. Acts 21:28. On ἕνεκα see Blass, Gram., p. 21. This Attic form of the word is read here by all authorities, and Blass notes it as characteristic of the literary style of this address before Agrippa, see above on Acts 26:4.— συλλαβόμενοι, Acts 1:16, Acts 12:3. So also in each of the Gospels in the active voice, of a violent arrest; in passive see above, Acts 23:27, and frequent in same sense in LXX, and 1 and 2 Macc.— ἐπειρῶντο: here only in N.T. in middle, but see critical note on Acts 9:26. Cf. 1 Maccabees 12:10, 2 Maccabees 10:12, 3 Maccabees 1:25; 3 Maccabees 2:32, 4 Maccabees 12:3. Imperfect because the attempt was not actually made.— διαχειρ., see on Acts 5:30. The whole description ranks as a summary without giving all the details of the events which led up to the Apostle’s imprisonment.


Verse 22

Acts 26:22. ἐπικουρίαςτῆς παρὰ ( ἀπὸ) θεοῦ: “the help that is from God,” R.V., i.e., the help which cometh from God only; only here in N.T., cf. Wisdom of Solomon 13:18 ( ἐμπειρίας, 2), for the use of the same phrase cf. instances in Wetstein from Polybius; the word is found in Josephus, but also frequently in classical Greek, of succour against foes.— τυχὼν: no idea of chance, cf. 2 Timothy 2:10; the aid was divine, not human.— οὖν, see Wendt, and references, Blass, Gram., p. 267, Winer-Moulton, liii., 10, 4.— ἕστηκα: sto salvus, Bengel, after these repeated dangers. The A.V. hardly gives the force of the word; it is a Pauline expression, cf. Ephesians 6:13-14, Colossians 4:12, so Knabenbauer, subsisto incolumis.— μαρτυρούμενος: “testifying,” A.V., yet μαρτυρόμενος, see critical note, would rather signify “testifying,” so R.V., see on Acts 6:3. Grimm-Thayer, if the reading in T.R. is retained, evidently considers that it should be rendered as passive, “testified to both by small and great”. But μαρτυρόμενος marks most appropriately the office of bearing testimony to which Paul was appointed.— μικρῷ τε καὶ μεγάλῳ: if taken to mean “both small and great,” the words would have a special force in thus being spoken before Festus and Agrippa, but if = young and old, i.e., before all men, cf. Acts 8:10, Hebrews 8:11; cf. Genesis 19:4; Genesis 19:11, etc., but in Revelation 11:18; Revelation 13:16; Revelation 19:5, reference is made rather to rank than to age, and the latter meaning may well be included here; cf. Deuteronomy 1:17, Job 3:19, Wisdom of Solomon 6:7.— οὐδὲν ἐκτὸς λ. ὧν τε οἱ πρ.… μελλόντων = οὐδὲν ἐκτὸς τούτων ἐλάλησαν μέλλοντᾳ, cf. Revelation 17:8 Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 135. μελλ. γίγ., cf. Luke 21:36; ἐκτὸς, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:27; the word is only used by St. Paul elsewhere in N.T. (except Matthew 23:26), cf. 1 Kings 10:13, 2 Chronicles 9:12; 2 Chronicles 17:19.— οἱ προφ.… καὶ ΄.: more naturally Moses and the prophets, Luke 16:29; Luke 16:31, and cf. Acts 28:23, but Moses may have been mentioned to influence the Sadducean element in the audience: the historical Christ was always the subject of St. Paul’s preaching “Jesus is the Christ,” and the historical Christ was also the ideal Christ; cf. Acts 3:13, 1 Corinthians 15:3. See on this verse critical note, and Wendt (1899), p. 397, note.


Verse 23

Acts 26:23. εἰ = Hebrews 7:15, i.e., as is most certain from the authority of Scripture, “how that the Christ,” R.V.— παθητὸς: “must suffer,” R.V. (“although is subject to suffering,” margin), cf. Vulgate, passibilis (not patibilis); no question here of the abstract possibility of, or capacity for, suffering, although primarily the Greek word implies this, but of the divine destination to suffering, cf. Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44, 1 Corinthians 15:2-3, see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.; Justin Martyr, c. Tryph., c. 89, παθητὸν τὸν χριστόν, ὅτι αἱ γραφαὶ κηρύσσουσι, φανερόν ἐστι. But the same dialogue, c. 90, enables us to realise that even where the idea of a suffering Messiah was entertained, nothing was more abhorrent than the idea of the cross as the outward expression of such sufferings: “If the Messiah can suffer,” cries the Jew Trypho, “yet he cannot be crucified; he cannot die such a shameful, dishonourable death”. See also cc. 36, 76. For the incompatibility of the idea of a suffering Messiah with the ideas current in the time of Jesus see Dalman, Der Leidende und der Sterbende Messias, p. 30, and references may be made to Witness of the Epistles, pp. 360, 361, for other authorities to the same effect; cf. Matthew 16:22, Luke 18:34; Luke 24:21, John 12:34, 1 Corinthians 1:23, Galatians 5:11; see above on Acts 3:18 (p. 113). If we render εἰ if or whether it does not indicate that there was any doubt in Paul’s mind; but he simply states in the hypothetical form the question at issue between himself and the Jews.— εἰ πρῶτος: “that he first by the resurrection of the dead,” R.V., closely connected with the preceding; the Messiah was to suffer, but “out of his resurrection from the dead” assurance was given not only that the Suffering Messiah and the Triumphant Messiah were one, but that in Him, the true Messiah, all the O.T. prophecies of the blessings of light and life, to Jew and Gentile alike, were to be fulfilled, cf. Isaiah 49:6, Acts 13:47 (Isaiah 9:1-2; Isaiah 60:1). This on the whole seems better than to limit the words to the fact that life and immortality had been brought to light by the resurrection of the Christ: φῶς means more than the blessing of immortality in the future, it means the present realisation of the light of life, cf. Acts 26:18, and Luke 2:32, of a life in the light of the Lord. πρῶτος closely connected with ἐξ ἀναστ., as if = πρωτότοκος ἐκ νέκρων, Colossians 1:18, 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:23, or as if the Apostle would emphasise the fact that Christ first rose in the sense of rising to die no more, Romans 6:9, and so proclaimed light, etc.— καταγγέλλειν: “to proclaim,” R.V., cf. Acts 16:17, Acts 17:3; Acts 17:23.— λαῷ καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσι, see above Acts 26:17; even in the Pharisaic hope expressed in Psalms of Solomon, 17, cf. Acts 26:32, we see how far the Gentiles would necessarily be from sharing on an equality with the Jews in the Messianic kingdom, see Ryle and James, Introd., 53, and also for later literature, Apocalypse of Baruch, lxxii., Edersheim on Isaiah 60, Jesus the Messiah, ii., pp. 728, 729.


Verse 24

Acts 26:24. ἀπολ.: the present participle, indicating that Festus broke in upon the speech, cf. Acts 4:1.— μεγ. τῇ φ.: raising his voice, because interrupting in surprise and astonishment, and no doubt with something of impatience if not of anger (Chrysostom).— ΄αίνῃ: a hyperbolic, but not a jesting expression; the mention not only of a resurrection, but the expressed belief that this Christ Whom Festus could only describe as “one who was dead,” Acts 25:19, should bring light not only to Jews but even to Gentiles, to Romans like himself, was too much—such a belief could only result from a disturbed brain, cf. Acts 17:32 for the effect of the announcement of a resurrection and a judgment on the polished Athenians, cf. St.John 10:20, where our Lord’s words provoked a similar pronouncement by the Jews, the learned Jews of the capital. μαίνεσθαι: “qui ita loquitur ut videatur mentis non compos esse,” Grimm, cf. Acts 12:15, 1 Corinthians 14:23, opposite to σωφροσύνης ῥήματα ἀποφθ. (see also Page’s note); cf. the passage in Wisdom of Solomon 5:3-4, and Luckock, Footsteps of the Apostles, etc., ii., p. 263.— τὰ πολλά σε γράμματα: “thy much learning,” R.V., giving the force of the article perhaps even more correctly, “that great learning of thine”. It is possible that the words may refer simply to the learning which Paul had just shown in his speech, of which we may have only a summary, and γράμμ. may be used of the sacred writings from which he had been quoting, and to which in his utterances he may have applied the actual word, and so Festus refers to them by the same term, cf. 2 Timothy 3:15. Others refer the word to the many rolls which St. Paul had with him, and which he was so intent in studying. It is possible that the word may be used here as in John 7:15, of sacred learning in general, of learning in the Rabbinical schools, and perhaps, as it is employed by a Roman, of learning in a more general sense still, although here including sacred learning = μαθήματα, cf. Plat., Apol., 26 D. If books alone had been meant βιβλία or βίβλοι would have been the word used.— περιτρέπει εἰς μανίαν: “doth turn thee to madness,” R.V., cf. our English phrase “his head is turned,” literally “turn thee round” (Humphry), cf. Jos., Ant., ix., 4, 4, ii., 4, 1. It is possible that Festus used the expression with a certain delicacy, since in using it he recognises how much wisdom Paul had previously shown (Weiss, Bethge). After such an expression of opinion by Festus, and owing to the deference of Agrippa to the Romans, Knabenbauer thinks that the king could not have expressed himself seriously in the words which follow in Acts 26:28.


Verse 25

Acts 26:25. οὐ μαίνομαι κ. φ.: whatever may have been the sense in which Festus addressed Paul, there is no doubt as to the courtesy of the Apostle’s answer, μετὰ ἐπιεικείας ἀποκρινόμενος, Chrys. κράτιστε: “most excellent,” R.V., see above, Acts 1:1.— ἀληθ. καὶ σωφροσ.: veritas not veracitas, objective truth; no suspicion had been raised against St. Paul’s truthfulness of character (cf. John 18:37); as our Lord stood before Pilate as a witness for the truth, so His Apostle stands face to face with a Roman sceptic as a witness to the existence of a world of real existences and not of mere shadows and unrealities (Bethge, p. 294). σωφρ.: the opposite of madness, cf. Plato, Protag., 323 (404) (Xen., Mem., i., 1, 16), ἐκεῖ σωφροσύνην ἡγοῦντο εἶναι τἀληθῆ λέγειν, ἐνταῦθα μανίαν. The two nouns are only found here in St. Luke’s writings, but cf. σωφρονεῖν, Luke 8:35, Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 5:13; cf. ῥήματα ζωῆς, chap. Acts 5:20.— ἀποφθ., cf. Acts 2:4; Acts 2:14, of the Pentecostal utterances, and of the solemn utterances of St. Peter; “aptum verbum,” Bengel. St. Paul was speaking with boldness like St. Peter, and under the same divine inspiration; in LXX of the utterances of the prophets, cf. 1 Chronicles 25:1, of philosophers, and of oracular responses; like the Latin profari and pronuntiare, see above on Acts 2:4. and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.


Verse 26

Acts 26:26. ἐπίσταται γὰρ: here only with περί: in proof that his words were words of soberness, and that he was basing his statements on facts, St. Paul appeals to the knowledge of Agrippa, a knowledge which he would have gained from his close connection with the Jewish religion, but also to some extent perhaps from the events of his father’s reign, for Herod Agrippa had beheaded James with a sword, and had cast Peter into prison: “patet hoc,” says Bengel, “nam etiam Christianum nomen sciebat”.—If καὶ is retained, “to whom also,” i.e., because of his knowledge just mentioned.— παῤῥησιασ.: “freely,” R.V., everywhere else R.V. renders “boldly”; verb only in Luke and Paul, see on Acts 9:27; the Apostle spoke freely because of the king’s full knowledge, but his boldness is also shown in his question to the king, and to the reply which he makes to it in the king’s name, Acts 26:27.— λανθάνειν γὰρ αὐτόν κ. τ. λ.: if οὐδέν and τι are both retained, see critical note, τι may be taken adverbially, “in any degree,” but see Winer-Moulton, Leviticus , 9, b., and Wendt’s note, in loco, p. 399 (1899).— ἐν γωνίᾳ πεπραγ., cf. Luke 7:17; Luke 23:8. Blass notes this expression, Gram., p. 4, as a proof that Paul used more literary expressions than usual in addressing his audience, and no doubt the expression was used by classical writers, cf. Plato, Gorg., 485 D Epict., Diss., ii., 12, 17, and other instances in Wetstein, cf. angulus, Ter., Adelph., v., 2, 10.


Verse 27

Acts 26:27. πιστεύεις; the question and answer were quite natural as addressed to a Jewish king; it was a belief which St. Paul could justly presuppose in every Jew, even in one like Agrippa, educated amongst the Romans. The question may well have been asked as a proof that the words which had preceded were words of truth and soberness, and that the king could so regard them, even if Festus could not; if Agrippa believed the prophets—as Paul affirmed—he could not regard the fulfilment of their prophecies as irrational. Or we may view the question as taking up, after the interruption of Festus, the statement of Acts 26:22-23, and as a forcible appeal to Agrippa, as to one who could judge whether in the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth there was anything really contrary to the picture of the Messiah drawn by the Hebrew prophets. It is possible that the Apostle meant to add a second ground for the knowledge of the king; not only were these events not done in a corner, but they had been prophesied by the prophets, in whom Agrippa believed; but instead of thus stating a fact, he addresses the king with increasing urgency and emotion, as one specially interested in religious questions, Acts 26:3 (Zöckler, Meyer).


Verse 28

Acts 26:28. ἐν ὀλίγῳ με πείθεις χ. γένεσθαι, see critical note, “with but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian,” R.V. reading ποιῆσαι, and πείθεις being used de conatu (so Zockler in his 2nd edition); cf. προσήλυτον ποιεῖν, Matthew 23:15. Schmiedel, Encycl. Bibl., i., 754, inclines to explain the phrase χ. ποιῆσαι as a Latinism: Christianum agere, to play the part of a Christian. Weiss sees in the words a gentle irony, as if Agrippa would answer St. Paul’s appeal to his belief in the prophets by intimating that it was not so simple a matter to become a Christian, even if one, as a Jew, believed in the prophets. Or we may regard Agrippa as rejecting, not so much in banter as in cold disdain, the enthusiasm of the orator, and adopting the tone of a certain Jewish orthodoxy (Zockler), not, i.e., the indifference of the Roman, but that of the Sadducees to the prophets. The A.V. “almost” must be abandoned, even if we retain γενέσθαι, for ἐν ὀλίγῳ cannot be so rendered, either here or elsewhere in the N.T.; παρʼ ὀλίγον, or ὀλίγου or ὀλίγον δεῖ would be required as the classical expression for “almost”. The best parallel is Ephesians 3:3, ἐν ὀλίγῳ: “in a few words”: so A. and R.V. (cf. 1 Peter 5:12). But if in the next verse we read μεγάλῳ instead of πολλῷ, so R.V. (see critical note), it seems best to understand πόνῳ with ὀλίγῳ, as this noun could fitly stand with both μεγάλῳ and ὀλίγῳ = with little trouble, with little cost. The R.V. rendering of the two verses reads as if πολλῷ was retained in Acts 26:29, whereas μεγάλῳ is the reading adopted in R.V. text. So far as N.T. usage is concerned, ἐν ὀλίγῳ might be rendered “in a short time” (cf. James 4:14, 1 Peter 1:6, Revelation 17:10, so in classical Greek), but this rendering also is excluded by ἐν ὀλίγῳ καὶ ἐν μεγάλῳ in the next verse. Wendt maintains that ἐν ὀλίγῳ may still be rendered “almost”; the phrase is instrumental, as if expressing the thought contained in ὀλίγου δεῖ, and meaning that a little was wanted to attain the aim = almost; so St. Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Jerusalem; Luther, Beza, Grotius = propemodum. The answer of Agrippa, therefore, need not be taken ironically, as by most moderns, but in earnest (cf. Acts 26:32, where his favourable opinion supports this view), although Wendt acknowledges that his confession was only half-hearted, as is seen by his desire to conclude the interview (Wendt, 1888, note, p. 530, and 1899, p. 400, to the same effect, so too Schürer, Jewish People, div. i., vol. ii., p. 198, note). If we read πείθῃ, see critical note, we render “with but little thou art persuading thyself that thou canst make me a Christian,” taking up πείθομαι of Acts 26:26. This reading is adopted by Blass and Belser, but the former takes ἐν ὀλίγῳ as meaning brevi tempore in this verse (so in Plato, Apol., 22 B), but in Acts 26:29 he takes it as = facile, whilst ἐν μεγάλῳ (which he reads) = difficile. Belser, however, takes the phrase ἐν ὀλίγῳ in the same sense in both verses, “with little trouble or pains”. St. Chrysostom thought that the phrase ἐν ὀλίγῳ was used by Agrippa in one sense and by St. Paul in another (so too Lewin, cf. Grimm-Thayer and Plumptre); Blass apparently obliges us to adopt the same view, but there is nothing in the context to support it (Wendt, Belser).— χριστ.: there is nothing strange in this use of the word by Agrippa; he may have become acquainted with it in his knowledge of the Christian movement (see above), and the term could easily have spread from Antioch over the district which he ruled. It is difficult to say in what sense he used the term; and no doubt the shade of meaning which we attach to his employment of it will depend upon the meaning which we give to the rest of his answer—a meaning earnest or contemptuous. Thus on the former supposition it is possible that he may have used the word instead of the despised “Nazarene,” to indicate his half-friendly attitude towards Christianity, and his relative recognition of it by connecting it with the name which was cherished by every Jew, although the context shows that he had no intention whatever of allowing Paul’s persuasive powers further scope; see Wendt (1899), who points out as against Lipsius that there is nothing unhistorical in the introduction of the name here, as if the writer presupposed that it would be familiar to every Jew. On the other hand, although a Jew, Agrippa, before such an audience, might well have used a term with which the Romans also would probably have been familiar, and if he spoke contemptuously (so Blass, Rendall) he would naturally employ a title which had been given in scorn, and which apparently at this period even the Christians themselves had not accepted; see below, and note on Acts 11:26.


Verse 29

Acts 26:29. εὐξαίμην ἄν: on the optative with ἄν, Burton, p. 80, Blass, Gram., p. 202, Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 40 (1893); with dative only here in N.T.— καὶ ἐν ὀλ. καὶ ἐν μεγ.: “whether with little or with much,” R.V. See critical note and Acts 26:28, i.e., with little or much trouble, and cost.— σήμερον: to be joined not with γενέσθαι (as Chrysostom, Bengel), but With τοὺς ἀκούοντάς μου.— οὐ μόνον, Burton, pp. 183, 184, μὴ μόνον with infinitive only in Galatians 4:18.— τοιούτους ὁποῖος κἀγώ εἰμι, he does not repeat the word “Christian,” which perhaps he would not recognise (Blass): “tales qualis ego sum, sive Chr. appellare vis, sive alio vel contemptiore nomine”. γενέσθαιεἰμι: “might become such as I am,” R.V., thus giving the difference between γέν. and εἰμι; by whatever name he might be called, the Apostle knew what he actually was (1 Corinthians 9:9).— παρεκτὸς τῶν δεσμῶν τούτων; not figurative but literal; although the plural may be used rhetorically (Weiss), cf. Tac., Ann., iv., 28. παρεκτὸς: Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9 (see W.H(405)) (2 Corinthians 11:28, adv(406)), Didaché, vi., 1, Test., xii., Patr., Zab., 1; “suavissima ἐπιθεραπεία et exceptio,” Bengel. Faith and Hope—of these the Apostle had spoken, and his closing words reveal a Love which sought not its own, was not easily provoked, and took no account of evil: “totum responsum et urbanissimum et Christiano nomine dignissimum,” Blass.


Verse 30

Acts 26:30. καὶ ταῦτα εἰπόντος αὐτοῦ: of these words are not retained, see critical note, their omission seems to make the rising up more abrupt (subito consurgit, Blass), and probably this is the meaning of the passage, although the order of rank is maintained in leaving the chamber. For the vividness of the whole narrative see Zöckler and Wendt, and cf. McGiffert, Apostolic Age, p. 355.— ἀνέστη, Lucan, see on ἀναχωρ. Suet., Nero, 15; cf. Acts 23:19, and note on Acts 25:12.


Verse 31

Acts 26:31. πράσσει, present tense: “agit de vitæ instituto” (Grotius, Blass).


Verse 32

Acts 26:32. ἐδύνατο: a true affirmative imperfect of verbs denoting obligation or possibility, when used to affirm that a certain thing could or should have been done under the circumstances narrated; therefore not correct to speak of an omitted ἄν, since the past necessity was not hypothetical or contrary to fact, but actual, Burton, p. 14, but cf. Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 114; cf. Acts 24:19, Acts 27:21.— εἰ μὴ ἐπεκ. καίσαρα: the appeal had been made and accepted and Paul must be sent to Rome, but doubtless the decision of Agrippa would have great weight with Festus, and would greatly modify the letter which he would send to Rome with the prisoner (see above, p. 499), and we may thus account for the treatment of Paul on his arrival in the capital, Acts 28:16. The circumstance that the innocence of Paul is thus established at the mouth of various personages, and now by Agrippa, himself a Jew, as well as by Festus, a Roman, has been made the ground of objection to the narrative by Baur, Zeller, Overbeck, Weizsäcker, Schmiedel. But whilst we may frankly admit that St. Luke no doubt purposely introduced these varied testimonies to Paul’s innocence, this is no proof of the incorrectness of his statements (Wendt, Matthias). If we grant, as St. Luke affirms, that the primary cause of the Apostle’s imprisonment was the fanatical rage of the Jews against him as a despiser and enemy of the national religion, it is quite conceivable that those who were called to inquire into the matter without such enmity and prejudice should receive a strong impression of his innocence, and should give expression to their impressions. On the other hand, the description in Acts enables us to see how Paul, in spite of such declarations in his favour, might find himself compelled to appeal to Cæsar. Had he acted otherwise, and if release had followed upon the verdict of his innocence, he was sure that sooner or later the implacable Jews would make him their victim. McGiffert, u. s., p. 356, observes that even if both Agrippa and Festus were convinced of the Apostle’s innocence, this would not prevent Festus from seeing in him a dangerous person, who would stir up trouble and cause a riot wherever he went; such a man could not have been set at liberty by Festus as a faithful Roman official; but see above on Acts 25:12. On the whole narrative see Zöckler, p. 311; Bethge, p. 260 (for phraseology). Zöckler supposes as a foundation for the narrative a written account by Luke himself, perhaps an eyewitness, at an early period after the events. Wendt (1899) also takes the view that the writer of the narrative had probably been in the personal company of St. Paul at Cæsarea before the start on the journey for Rome, Acts 27:1, and that the reason that he does not employ the first person in the narrative of 25, 26, is because the facts narrated in these two chapters did not immediately concern him, although he was in Cæsarea during their process. In referring to the account of St. Paul’s conversion as given in ch. 26 it is noteworthy that McGiffert, p. 120, speaks of it as occurring “in a setting whose vividness and verisimilitude are unsurpassed”.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 26:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-26.html. 1897-1910.

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Monday, July 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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