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Bible Commentaries
Acts 16

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Acts 16:1 . κατήντησε : only in Luke and Paul, nine times in Acts, four times in Paul, Acts 18:19 ; Acts 18:24 , Acts 20:15 , Acts 21:7 , Acts 25:13 , Acts 26:7 , Acts 27:12 , Acts 28:13 , 1 Corinthians 10:11 ; 1 Corinthians 14:36 , Ephesians 4:13 , Philippians 3:11 . But whilst in St. Paul it is used in a figurative sense, it is used eight times by St. Luke of arriving at a place and making some stay there, cf. 2Ma 4:21 ; 2Ma 4:44 . The fact that the verb is thus used frequently in the second part of Acts and not in 1 12 is surely easily accounted for by the subjects of the narrative (Hawkins, Horæ Synopticæ , p. 147). εἰς Δέρβην καὶ Λ .: if we read εἰς before Λ ., also (see critical note): “he came also to Derbe and to Lystra”. The purpose was implied in Acts 15:36 , but here places mentioned in the inverse order of Acts 14:6 since coming from Cilicia through the “Cilician Gates” St. Paul would visit Derbe first, see Hastings’ B.D., “Derbe” (Ramsay). The two places are grouped together as a region according to the Roman classification (Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 110, 179). The second εἰς before Λ . marks that while Derbe is mentioned as a place visited, Lystra is the scene of the events in the sequel. καὶ ἰδού : indicating the surprising fact that a successor to Mark was found at once (so Weiss); whilst Hort still more significantly marks the form of the phrase by pointing out that St. Luke reserves it for sudden and as it were providential interpretations, Ecclesia , p. 179, cf. Acts 1:10 , Acts 8:17 , Acts 10:17 , Acts 11:7 : however disheartening had been the rupture with Barnabas, in Timothy Paul was to find another “son of consolation,” cf. Hort’s comment on 1 Timothy 1:18 in this connection, u. s. , pp. 179 185. It must not however be forgotten that there are good reasons for seeing in Timothy not the successor of Barnabas (this was Silas), but of Mark. It could hardly be said of one in the position of Silas that he was like Mark a ὑπηρέτης , on a mere subordinate footing, whereas on the other hand the difference of age between Barnabas and Timothy, and their relative positions to St. Paul would have naturally placed Timothy in a subordinate position from the first. ἐκεῖ , i.e. , at Lystra, most probably. The view that reference is made not to Lystra but to Derbe arises from supposing that in Acts 20:4 the word Δερβαῖος refers to Timothy and not to Gaius, the truth being that Timothy is not described because already well known. Certainly the fact that his character was testified of by those of Lystra, as well as St. Paul’s reference to Lystra in 2 Timothy 3:11 , seems to favour Lystra as being at all events the home of Timothy, if not his birthplace. There is no reason why the Gaius mentioned as of Macedonia, Acts 19:29 , should be identified with the Gaius of Acts 20:4 . Gaius was a very common name, and in the N.T. we have apparently references to four persons bearing the name. Blass however refers Δερβαῖος in Acts 20:4 to Timothy. υἱὸς γυναικός τ . Ἰουδ . πιστῆς π . δὲ Ε .: such marriages although forbidden by the law, Ezra 10:2 , were sanctioned under certain conditions, cf. Acts 24:24 in the case of Drusilla, wife of Aziz, king of Emesa (see also C. and H., p. 203), who became a proselyte and actually accepted circumcision. In the Diaspora such marriages would probably be more or less frequent, especially if the husband became a proselyte. In this case even if he were ranked as one, it could only have been as a “proselyte of the gate,” otherwise Timothy would surely have been circumcised. We cannot argue from the fact that the boy had been trained in the Jewish Scriptures that his father was a proselyte, for the early training of the child was evidently, the work of the mother, 2 Timothy 3:15 . But such a duty according to Jewish law rested primarily upon the father, and the fact that the father here is described as a Greek, without any qualifying adjective as in the case of the wife, indicates that he was a heathen, see Weiss, in loco ; Edersheim, Jewish Social Life , p. 115. The mother, Eunice (on spelling see Hastings’ B.D.), may conceivably have been a proselyte, as the name is Greek, as also that of Lois, but Ἰουδ . seems to indicate that she was a Jewess by birth. Whether she was a widow or not we cannot say, although there is some evidence, see critical note, which points to the influence of some such tradition. On the picture of a Jewish home, and the influence of a Jewish mother, see Edersheim, u. s. πιστῆς : Lydia uses the same term of herself in Acts 16:15 . Both mother and son were probably converted in St. Paul’s former visit, and there is no reason to suppose with Nösgen that the conversion of the latter was a proof of the growth of the Church in the Apostle’s absence.

Verse 2

Acts 16:2 . ἐμαρτυρεῖτο , cf. Acts 6:3 , Acts 10:22 , Acts 22:12 . The good report which may well have been formed to some extent by the aptitude and fitness which Timothy had shown in the Church during St. Paul’s absence may also have helped the Apostle in the selection of his future companion. The union of Lystra and Iconium is quite natural for common intercourse, Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 178. There is no reason to suppose with Rendall that Iconium would be the home of Eunice, as the synagogue and principal Jewish colony were there, see Edersheim, u. s.

Verse 3

Acts 16:3 . περιέτεμεν αὐτὸν : the act might be performed by any Israelite; cf. Genesis 17:23 for a similar phrase which may indicate that St. Raul performed the act himself. See also Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia , ii., 674; the marriage and the exemption of Timothy from the Mosaic law may be regarded as typical of a relaxation of the exclusive Jewish standard in Lycaonia and Phrygia, and an approximation of the Jew to the pagan population around him, confirmed as it is by the evidence of inscriptions. διὰ τοὺς Ἰ .: the true answer to the objection raised against Paul’s conduct may be found in his own words, 1 Corinthians 9:20 ( cf. 1 Corinthians 7:19 ). As a missionary he would have to make his way amongst the unbelieving Jews in the parts which were most hostile to him, viz. , Antioch and Iconium, on his road into Asia. All along this frequented route of trade he would find colonies of Jews in close communication, and the story of Timothy’s parentage would be known (Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 180). But if so, his own usefulness and that of Timothy would be impaired, since his Jewish countrymen would take offence at seeing him in close intercourse with an uncircumcised person (a reason which McGiffert admits to be conceivable, Apostolic Age , p. 232), and Timothy would have been unacceptable to them, since with a Jewish mother and with a Jewish education he would be regarded as one who refused to adhere to the Jewish rule: “partus sequitur ventrem” (see Wetstein and Nösgen), and to remedy the one fatal flaw which separated him from them: see, however, B. Weiss, Die Briefe Pauli an . , Introd., p. 2, who disagrees with this reason, whilst he lays stress on the other reason mentioned above. On the other hand, both among unbelieving and Christian Jews alike the circumcision of Timothy would not fail to produce a favourable impression. Amongst the former the fact that the convert thus submitted even in manhood to this painful rite would have afforded the clearest evidence that neither he nor his spiritual father despised the seal of the covenant for those who were Jews according to the flesh, whilst the Christian Jews would see in the act a loyal adherence to the Jerusalem decree. It was no question of enforcing circumcision upon Timothy as if it were necessary to salvation; it was simply a question of what was necessary under the special circumstances in which both he and Paul were to seek to gain a hearing for the Gospel on the lines of the Apostolic policy: “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”; “neque salutis æternæ causa Timotheus circumciditur, sed utilitatis, Blass, cf. Godet, Epître aux Romains , i., pp. 43, 44; Hort, Judaistic Christianity , pp. 85 87; Knabenbauer, in loco . “There is no time in Paul’s life when we should suppose him less likely to circumcise one of his converts,” says McGiffert, u. s. , p. 233, but there were converts and converts, and none has pointed out more plainly than McGiffert that the case of Titus and that of Timothy stood on totally different grounds, and none has insisted on this more emphatically than St. Paul himself: ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ Τίτος , Galatians 2:3 . The case of Titus was a case of principle: Titus was a Greek, and if St. Paul had yielded, there would have been no need for the Apostle’s further attendance at the conference as the advocate of freedom for the Gentile Churches. In the words Ἕλλην ὤν , Galatians 2:3 , there may have been a tacit allusion to the different position of Timothy, whose parentage was different, and not wholly Gentile as in the case of Titus. For a defence of the historical nature of the incident as against the strictures of Baur, Zeller, Overbeck, Weizsäcker, see Wendt, 1898 and 1899, who regards St. Paul’s action as falling under the Apostle’s own principle, 1 Corinthians 9:19 . ὑπῆρχεν : Blass translates fuerat , and sees in the word an intimation that the father was no longer living, otherwise we should have ὑπάρχει , cf. Salmon, Hermathena , xxi., p. 229.

Verse 4

Acts 16:4 . A proof of St. Paul’s loyalty to the Jerusalem compact. The decree had not been delivered in Syria and Cilicia (where the letter had been already received), but in Galatia St. Paul delivers it. Wendt regards Acts 16:4-5 as interpolated by the author, who desires to give a universal importance to the decree which had previously been read to a few specified Churches (so too Spitta, Jüngst, Hilgenfeld, Clemen, who refers the verses to his Redactor Antijudaicus). But St. Paul might well feel himself bound to deliver the decree to the Churches evangelised by him before the conference in Jerusalem. Weiss, therefore, is probably right in pointing out that as no mention is again made of any similar proceeding, the action was confined to the Pauline Churches which had been previously founded, Churches which were, as it were, daughter Churches of Antioch. δόγματα : in the N.T. only in Luke and Paul (cannot be supported in Hebrews 11:23 ), and only here of the decrees of the Christian Church relative to right living, cf. Ignat., Magnes. , xiii., 1; Didaché , xi., 3. In 3MMalachi 1:3 it is used of the rules and requirements of the Mosaic Law, cf. its use by Philo, see further Plummer on Luke 2:1 , and Grimm, sub v . Dr. Hort refers the word back to Acts 15:22 , ἔδοξεν , and so κεκρ . to κρίνω Acts 15:19 ( cf. Acts 21:25 ), used by St. James. In these expressions he sees “more than advice,” but “less than a command,” and so here he regards “resolutions” as more nearly expressing the force of this passage, Ecclesia , pp. 81, 82; see however above on Acts 15:19 .

Verse 5

Acts 16:5 . αἱ μὲν οὖν ἐκκ .: the last time ἐκκλησία is used by St. Luke, except of the Jerusalem Church, and in the peculiar case of the elders at Ephesus, Hort, Ecclesia , p. 95. Rendall, Appendix , μὲν οὖν , p. 165, connects this verse with the following paragraph, cf. Acts 9:31 , so apparently Blass in β . ἐστερεοῦντο : only used in N.T. in Acts, cf. Acts 3:7 ; Acts 3:16 , and only here in this figurative sense, and it is very possible that St. Luke as a medical man might thus employ the verb which he had twice used in its literal sense, cf. similar instances in Hobart’s Introd. , p. xxxii.; here as in Acts 6:7 , Acts 9:31 , we have the outward growth of numbers and the inward in the steadfast holding of the faith, extensive and intensive.

Verse 6

Acts 16:6 . διελθόντες δὲ τὴν Φ . καὶ τὴν Γ . χώραν , see critical notes, and also additional note at the end of chap. 18. If we follow R.V. text and omit the second τὴν , and regard both Φ . and Γ . as adjectives with Ramsay and Lightfoot (so Weiss and Wendt, cf. adjective Πισιδίαν , Acts 13:14 ; but see also Acts 18:23 ), under the vinculum of the one article we have one district, “the Phrygo-Galatic country,” i.e. , ethnically Phrygian, politically Galatian; see also Turner, “Chronology of the N.T.,” Hastings’ B.D., i., 422, and “The Churches of Galatia,” Dr. Gifford, Expositor , July, 1894. But Zahn, Einleitung , i., 134, objects that if Ramsay sees in Acts 16:6 a recapitulation of the journey, and action in Acts 16:4-5 , and includes under the term Phrygo-Galatia the places visited in the first missionary journey, we must include under the term not only Iconium and Antioch, but also Derbe and Lystra. But the two latter, according to Acts 14:6 , are not Phrygian at all, but Lycaonian. Ramsay, however, sufficiently answers this objection by the distinction which he draws between the phrase before us in Acts 16:6 and the phrase used in Acts 18:23 : τὴν Γαλατικὴν χώραν καὶ Φρυγίαν . In the verse before us reference is made to the country traversed by Paul after he left Lystra, and so we have quite correctly the territory about Iconium and Antioch described as Phrygo-Galatic; but in Acts 18:23 Lystra and Derbe are also included, and therefore we might expect “Lycaono-Galatic and Phrygo-Galatic,” but to avoid this complicated phraseology the writer uses the simple phrase: “the Galatic country,” while Phrygia denotes either Phrygia Galatica or Phrygia Magna, or both, and see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , pp. 77 and 91 93, and Expositor , August, 1898. Dr. Gifford, in his valuable contribution to the controversy between Prof. Ramsay and Dr. Chase, Expositor , July 1894, while rejecting the North-Galatian theory, would not limit the phrase “the Phrygian and Galatian region” to the country about Iconium and Antioch with Ramsay, but advocates an extension of its meaning to the borderlands of Phrygia and Galatia northward of Antioch. κωλυθέντες : a favourite word in St. Luke, both in Gospel and Acts, six times in each, cf. Acts 8:36 , Acts 10:47 . How the hindrance was effected we are not told, whether by inward monitions, or by prophetic intimations, or by some circumstances which were regarded as providential warnings: “wherefore they were forbidden he does not say, but that they were forbidden he does say teaching us to obey and not ask questions,” Chrys., Hom. , xxxiv. On the construction of κωλυθ . with διῆλθον (see critical notes) cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 89; St. Paul , p. 211; Expositor (Epilogue), April, 1894, and Gifford, u. s. , pp. 11 and 19. Both writers point out that the South Galatian theory need not depend upon this construction, whether we render it according to A.V. or R.V., see further Askwith, Epistle to the Galatians , p. 46, 1899.

Verse 7

Acts 16:7 . κατὰ τὴν Μ .: “over against Mysia,” R.V., i.e. , opposite Mysia, or perhaps, on the outskirts of Mysia, cf. Acts 27:7 , and Herod., i., 76, κατὰ Σινώπην , Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 194, Wendt, p. 354 (1888), and Gifford, u. s. , p. 13. If we read εἰς for κατά (2), it means that they endeavoured to go out of Asia into the Roman province Bithynia on the north, Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 195. ἐπείραζον : for a similar use of the verb cf. Acts 9:26 , Acts 24:6 . τὸ Πνεῦμα , add Ἰησοῦ , see critical note. Doctrinally, the expression shows that the Spirit may be called the Spirit of Christ, Romans 8:9 , or of Jesus, no less than the Spirit of God, Rom., l. c. , Matthew 10:20 ; see Westcott, Historic Faith , p. 106.

Verse 8

Acts 16:8 . παρελθόντες : “passing by Mysia”. Ramsay renders “neglecting Mysia,” cf. St. Paul , pp. 194, 196, 197, i.e. , passing through it without preaching. McGiffert, p. 235, so Wendt (1899), following Ramsay. Rendall, p. 278, explains “passing along or alongside of Mysia,” i.e. , skirting it, the southern portion of it. The words cannot mean passing by without entering. Mysia was part of Asia, but there was no disobedience to the divine command, which, while it forbade them to preach in Mysia did not forbid them to enter it. Troas could not be reached without crossing Mysia; Blass sees this clearly enough (but note his reading): “non prætereunda sed transeunda erat Mysia, ut ad Ægæum mare venirent,” Blass, in loco, cf. also Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 76; Wendt (1899), in loco . Τρωάδα : a town on the sea coast (Alexandria Troas, in honour of Alexander the Great), a Roman colony and an important port for communication between Europe and the north-west of Asia Minor, opposite Tenedos, but not to be identified with New Ilium , which was built on the site of ancient Troy, considerably further north. It was not reckoned as belonging to either of the provinces Asia or Bithynia, cf. also Acts 20:5 , 2 Corinthians 2:13 , 2 Timothy 4:13 : C. and H., pp. 215 and 544, Renan, St. Paul , p. 128, Zöckler, in loco .

Verse 9

Acts 16:9 . καὶ ὅραμα : used by St. Luke eleven times in Acts elsewhere (in N.T. only once, Matthew 17:19 ), three times in 1 12., and eight times in 12 28 (see Hawkins, Horæ Synoptiœ , p. 144). But St. Luke never uses ὄναρ ; sometimes ὅρ . διὰ νυκτός as here, sometimes ὅρ . alone. It is quite arbitrary on the part of Baur, Zeller, Overbeck to interpret this as a mere symbolical representation by the author of the Acts of the eagerness of the Macedonians for the message of salvation; see as against this view not only Wendt and Zöckler but Spitta, p. 331. Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol. , ii., p. 189, 1896, thinks that the “author to Theophilus” here used and partly transcribed an account of one of the oldest members of the Church of Antioch who had written the journey of St. Paul partly as an eye-witness, and see for the question of the “We” sections Introduction. ἀνήρ τις ἦν Μ .: Ramsay, here in agreement with Renan, identifies this man with St. Luke, St. Paul , pp. 202, 203. But it can scarcely be said that anything in the narrative justifies this identification. Ramsay asks: Was Luke already a Christian, or had he come under the influence of Christianity through meeting Paul at Troas? and he himself evidently sympathises entirely with the former view. The probability, however, of previous intercourse between Luke and Paul has given rise to some interesting conjectures possibly they may have met in student days when Luke studied as a medical student in the university (as we may call it) of Tarsus; in the passage before us the succeeding words in Acts 16:10 lead to the natural inference that Luke too was a preacher of the Gospel, and had already done the work of an Evangelist. Ramsay admits that the meeting with Luke at Troas may have been sought by Paul on the ground of the former’s professional skill, p. 205. He further maintains that Paul could not have known that the man was a Macedonian unless he had been personally known to him, but surely the man’s own words sufficiently implied it (Knabenbauer), even if we do not agree with Blass, in loco , that Paul must have recognised a Macedonian by his dress. At all events it is quite unnecessary with Grotius (so Bede) to suppose that reference is made to the angel of Macedonia, “angelus Macedoniam curans,” Daniel 10:12 . On the importance of this verse in the “We” sections see Introduction: Ramsay, p. 200, Blass, Proleg. , p. x.

Verse 10

Acts 16:10 . εἰς Μ .: It is easy to understand St. Paul’s eagerness to follow the vision after he had been twice hindered in his purpose, although it may well be that neither he nor St. Luke regarded the journey from Troas to Philippi as a passage from one continent to another continent Macedonia and Asia were two provinces of the Roman empire, Ramsay, p. 199. But in the good Providence of Him Who sees with larger other eyes than ours St. Paul’s first European Church was now founded, although perhaps it is venturesome to say that the Gospel was now first preached on the continent of Europe, as the good tidings may have reached Rome through the Jews and proselytes who heard St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, cf. Acts 2:9 ; see McGiffert’s remarks, pp. 235, 236, on the providential guidance of St. Paul at this juncture, and Lightfoot, Biblical Essays “The Churches of Macedonia”. συμβιβάζοντες , see on Acts 9:22 .

Verse 11

Acts 16:11 . ἀναχθέντες , see on Acts 13:13 . εὐθυδρομήσαμεν : only in Acts here and in Acts 21:1 , nowhere else in N.T., not in LXX or Apocrypha but used by Philo, cf. St. Luke’s true Greek feeling for the sea, Ramsay, p. 205. Strabo used εὐθύδρομος , p. 45, and elsewhere St. Luke’s language may point to the influence of the great geographer; see Plumptre’s Introduction to St. Luke’s Gospel. Σαμοθρᾴκην : an island of the Ægean sea on the Thracian coast about half-way between Troas and Neapolis, but with adverse winds or calms the voyage from Philippi to Troas takes five days, Acts 20:6 . Samothracia, with the exception of Mount Athos, was the highest point in this part of the Ægean, and would have been a familiar landmark for every Greek sailor, see C. and H., pp. 220, 221. Νεάπολιν : modern Cavallo , the harbour of Philippi, lying some miles further north: Thracian, but after Vespasian reckoned as Macedonian; opposite Thasos, C. and H., p. 221; Renan, Saint Paul , p. 139. τῇ τε ἐπιούσῃ , sc. , ἡμέρᾳ , cf. Acts 20:15 , Acts 21:18 , with ἡμέρᾳ added, Acts 7:26 , Acts 23:11 , so too in classical Greek, Polyb., Jos.; in N.T., phrase only found in Acts: mark the exact note of time.

Verse 12

Acts 16:12 . ἐκεῖθέν τε εἰς Φ .: on or near the site of Krenides ( Wells or Fountains ), so called from its founder Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. Near Philippi, Octavius and Anthony had decisively defeated Brutus and Cassius, and to that event it owed the honour of being made a Roman colony with the jus Italicum (R.V., “a Roman colony”), or in other words, “a miniature likeness of the great Roman people,” cf. Lightfoot, Philippians , p. 51. Hence both in St. Luke’s account of the place, and in St. Paul’s Epistle we are constantly face to face with the political life of Rome, with the power and pride of Roman citizenship. But its geographical position really invested Philippi with its chief importance, thoroughfare as it was on the great Egnatian Way for the two continents of Europe and Asia. At Philippi we are standing at the confluence of the stream of Europe and Asiatic life; we see reflected in the evangelisation of Philippi as in a mirror the history of the passage of Christianity from the East to the West, Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 49; Renan, St. Paul , p. 140; McGiffert, Apostolic Christianity , p. 239; Speaker’s Commentary , vol. iii., 580; C. and H., p. 202 ff. πρώτη τῆς μερίδος , see Additional note. κολωνία : “a Roman colony,” R.V., there were many Greek colonies, ἀποικία or ἐποικία , but κολ . denoted a Roman colony, i.e. , a colony enjoying the jus Italicum like Philippi at this time, governed by Roman law, and on the model of Rome; see “Colony” in B.D. 2 and Hastings’ B.D. ἦμεν … διατρ ., see above on Acts 1:10 ; characteristic Lucan construction.

Verse 13

Acts 16:13 . πόλεως , see critical notes, and C. and H., p. 226, note. παρὰ ποταμόν : “by a river side,” A. and R.V., see critical notes; here Ramsay sees in the omission of the article a touch of local familiarity and renders “by the river side”. On the other hand Weiss holds that the absence of the article merely denotes that they supposed they should find a place of prayer, since a river provided the means for the necessary purifications. οὗ ἐνομ . προσευχὴ εἶναι , see critical notes: “where there was wont to be held a meeting for prayer” (Ramsay); on the nominative see above. A further difficulty lies in the word ἐνομίζετο . Can it bear the above rendering? Rendall, p. 103, thinks that it hardly admits of it; on the other hand Wendt and Grimm compare 2Ma 14:4 , and see instances of the use of the passive voice in L. and ., Herod., vi., 138. Thuc., iv., 32. Wendt renders “where there was according to custom a place for prayer”. The R.V. reads οὗ ἐνομίζομεν προσευχὴν εἶναι , “where we supposed there was a place of prayer”. There is very good authority for rendering προσευχή , “a place of prayer,” cf. 3Ma 7:20 ; Philo, In Flacc. , 6; Jos., Vita , 54, cf. also Juvenal, iii., 295, and Tertullian, Adv. Nat. , i., 13, etc. To these instances we may add a striking use of the word in an Egyptian inscription, possibly of the third century B.C., Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , pp. 49, 50, see also Curtius, Gesammelte Abhandlungen , ii. 542. No doubt the word occurs also in heathen worship for a place of prayer, Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. ii., p. 69, E.T., cf. also Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 214. Where there were no synagogues, owing perhaps to the smallness of the Jewish believers or proselytes, there may well have been a προσευχή , and St. Luke may have wished to mark this by the expression he chooses (in Acts 17:1 he speaks of a συναγωγή at Thessalonica), although on the other hand it must not be forgotten that προσευχή might be used of a large building capable of holding a considerable crowd (Jos., u. s. ), and we cannot with certainty distinguish between the two buildings, Schürer, u. s. , pp. 72, 73. That the river side (not the Strymon, but a stream, the Gangas or Gangites, which flows into the larger river) should be chosen as the place of resort was very natural for the purpose of the Levitical washings, cf. also Juvenal, Sat. , iii., 11, and long before Tertullian’s day the Decree of Halicarnassus, Jos., Ant. , xiv., 10, 23, cf. Psalms 137:1 , Ezra 8:15 ; Ezra 8:21 , cf. Plumptre’s note on Luke 6:12 . ταῖς συνελθαύσαις γυν : “which were come together,” R.V., i.e. , on this particular occasion; A. V. “resorted”. It is noticeable that in the three Macedonian towns, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berœa, women are specially mentioned as influenced by the Apostle’s labours, and, as in the case of Lydia, it is evident that the women of Philippi occupied a position of considerable freedom and social influence. See this picture fully borne out by extant Macedonian inscriptions, which assign to women a higher social position in Macedonia than was the case for instance in Athens, Lightfoot, Philippians , pp. 55, 56; Ramsay, St. Paul , pp. 224, 227, 252. In this lies an answer to the strictures of Hilgenfeld, who regards the whole of Acts 16:13 as an interpolation of the “author to Theophilus,” and so also the expression πορ . ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν προσευχήν , whereas it was quite natural that Paul should go frequently to the Jewish house of prayer.

Verse 14

Acts 16:14 . Λυδία : she may have taken her name “a solo natali,” as Grotius and others have thought, like many of the libertinae , Afra, Græca, Syra; but the name was a popular one for women, cf. its frequent use in Horace. Renan takes it as meaning “the Lydian,” and compares Κορινθία in inscriptions, St. Paul , p. 116, cf. also Zahn, Einleitung , i., 375, but on the other hand, Nösgen, in loco . πορφυρόπωλις : a seller of purple at Philippi of the purple dyed garments from Thyatira, which formed the finest class of her wares. It is evident that she must have possessed a considerable amount of capital to carry on this trade, and we may note that she was thus in a position to help Paul in the expenses connected with his trial, without endorsing Renan’s view that she was his wife, St. Paul , p. 148; see below on Acts 24:26 . The expression σεβ . τὸν Θεόν shows that she was “a proselyte of the gate”; she could easily have gained her knowledge of the Jewish religion as she was πόλεως Θυατείρων where a Jewish colony had been planted, and there is reason to believe that the Jews were specially devoted to the dyeing industry for which Thyatira and the Lydian land in general were noted. Thus the inscriptions make it certain that there was a guild of dyers οἱ βαφεῖς at Thyatira, cf. Spohn, Miscell. erud. ant. , p. 113; Blass in loco ; Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia , i., p. 145; Renan, St. Paul , p. 146, note; Zahn, Einleitung , i., p. 376. According to Strabo, Thyatira was a Mysian town, but Ptolemy, Acts 16:2 , describes it as belonging to Lydia. ἤκουεν : imperfect, denoting continuous hearing; the baptism would naturally follow after a period of hearing and instruction, “quod evenit aor [293] διήνοιξεν declaratur” Blass, see also Bengel. διήνοιξε τὴν καρδίαν , cf. Acts 17:3 , Ephesians 1:18 ; in LXX, cf. Hosea 2:15 (17), Malachi 1:4; Malachi 1:4 . The verb is frequent in St. Luke, Luke 24:31-32 ; Luke 24:45 , and in Acts 2:23 quotation, Acts 7:56 ; Acts 17:3 ; only once elsewhere in N.T., Mark 7:34 . “To open is the part of God, to pay attention that of the woman,” Chrysostom: ὥστε καὶ θεῖον καὶ ἀνθρώπινον ἦν . τοῖς λ . ὑπὸ τοῦ Π .: C. and H. see an indication of St. Luke’s own modesty: “ we spake” in Acts 16:13 , but now only Paul is mentioned.

[293] aorist tense.

Verse 15

Acts 16:15 . ὁ οἶκος : as in the case of Cornelius, so here, the household is received as one into the fold of Christ, cf. Acts 16:33 and Acts 18:8 . We cannot say whether children or not were included, although we may well ask with Bengel: “quis credat in tot familiis nullum fuisse infantem?” but nothing against infant baptism, which rests on a much more definite foundation, can be inferred from such cases, “Baptism,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 242. Possibly Euodia and Syntyche and the other women, Philippians 4:2-3 , may have been included in the familia of Lydia, who may have employed many slaves and freed women in her trade. εἰ κεκρίκατε : almost=since you have judged me, viz. , by my baptism; or εἰ if instead of ἐπεὶ chosen with delicate modesty. μείνατε : this has been called the first instance of the hospitality which was afterwards so characteristic of the early Church, and enforced by the words of St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. John alike; 1 Peter 4:9 , Romans 12:13 , 1 Timothy 5:10 , etc., 3 John 1:5 , cf. Clement, Cor [294] , i., 17, and see Westcott on Hebrews 13:2 , Uhlhorn, Charity in the Early Church , pp. 91, 325, E.T.; “Hospitality” in B.D. 2 , and Smith and Cheetham, Dict. of Christ. Antiq. Another trait is thus marked in the character of Lydia, the same generosity which afterwards no doubt made her one of the contributors to the Apostle’s necessities, as a member of a Church which so frequently helped him. παρεβιάσατο : only used by St. Luke, once in Luke 24:29 , in the same sense as here, cf. LXX, 1 Samuel 28:23 , Gen 19:9 , 2 Kings 2:17 ; 2 Kings 5:16 (A omits). The word expresses urgency, but not compulsion (in classical Greek it is used of violent compulsion). The word may imply that Paul and his companions at first declined, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:9 (so Chrys., Bengel), although on occasion he accepted the aid of Christian friends, Philippians 4:15 , and the hospitality of a Christian host, Romans 16:23 ; or it may refer to the urgent entreaty of Lydia in expression of her thankfulness.

[294] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 16

Acts 16:16 . If we add the article τὴν , see critical note: “to the place of prayer,” R.V. πνεῦμα Πυθῶνος : in R.V., accusative, see critical note, “a spirit, a Python,” margin, i.e. , a ventriloquist (Ramsay). The passage most frequently quoted in illustration is Plutarch, De defectu Orac. , ix., from which it appears that ventriloquists who formerly took their name from Εὐρυκλῆς a famous ventriloquist ( cf. Arist., Vesp. , 1019) were called Πύθωνες . The word ἐγγαστρίμυθος , ventriloquist (Hebrew אוֹב ), of which Πύθων is thus used as an equivalent, is the term employed in the LXX, Leviticus 19:31 ; Leviticus 20:6 ; Leviticus 20:27 , 1 Samuel 28:7 , etc., for those that have a familiar spirit ( cf. also the use of the two words ἐγγαστρ . and Πύθων amongt the Rabbis, R. Salomo on Deuteronomy 18:11 , and instances in Wetstein), i.e. , a man or a woman in whom is the spirit of divination; Gesenius uses אוֹב for the divining spirit, the python, supposed to be present in the body of a sorcerer or conjurer, and illustrates from this passage in Acts, and adds that the LXX usually render אֹבוֹת correctly by ἐγγαστρίμυθοι , ventriloquists , since amongst the ancients this power of ventriloquism was often misused for the purposes of magic. But in addition to ventriloquism, it would certainly seem from the narrative in Acts that some prophetic power was claimed for the maiden, μαντευομένη , so Blass in describing the ἐγγαστρ . “credebatur dæmon e ventre illorum loqui et vaticinari,” cf. τὴν Εὐρυκλέους μαντείαν , Arist., u. s. ); so too Suidas explains Πύθων as δαιμόνιον μαντικόν , connecting the word directly with the Pythian serpent or dragon, the reputed guardian of the oracle at Delphi, slain by Apollo, the successor to the serpent’s oracular power. If therefore the girl was regarded as inspired by the Pythian Apollo, the expression in T.R. simply expresses the current pagan estimate of her state; this is the more probable as the physicians of the time, e.g. , Hippocrates, spoke of the way in which some symptoms of epilepsy were popularly attributed to Apollo, Neptune, etc.; article “Divination,” B.D. 2 , i., 490; C. and H., p. 231, smaller edition; Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 54; Plumptre and Wendt, in loco , and Page on the derivation of the word. ἐργασίαν : only in Luke and Paul; A. and R.V. “gain,” although primarily the word denotes work done, so Rendall, “business”; Wis 13:19 well illustrates its use here. The word is used of gain ( quæstus ), Xen., Mem. , iii., 10, 1. τοῖς κυρίοις αὐτῆς , Acts 16:19 , seems to imply not successive but joint owners (on the plural in Luke see Friedrich, p. 21). μαντευ .: if Luke had believed in her power he would more probably have used προφητεύειν . μαντευ . used only here in N.T., but it is significant that in LXX it is always employed of lying prophets or of divination contrary to the law, e.g. , Deuteronomy 18:10 , 1 Samuel 28:8 (9), Ezekiel 13:6 ; Ezekiel 21:29 (34), Micah 3:11 , etc. The Greeks themselves distinguished between the two verbs and recognised the superior dignity of προφητεύειν ; e.g. , Plato contrasts the μάντις who more or less rages ( cf. derivation μανία , μαίνομαι , thus fitly used of Pythonesses, Sibyls, and the like) with the προφήτης , Timæus , 71 E, 72 A, , Trench, Synonyms , i., 26.

Verse 17

Acts 16:17 . κατακολουθήσασα , but if we follow R.V. the present participle denotes that she continuously followed after ( κατά ), and kept crying ( ἔκραζε ). The verb is only used by St. Luke in N.T., cf. Luke 23:35 ; in LXX, Jeremiah 17:16 , Dan., LXX, Acts 9:10 , Esther 7:1; Esther 7:1 , Judges 11:6 , 1Ma 6:23 , but not in same literal sense as here; used by Polyb., Plut., Jos. οὗτοι : placed emphatically first (see also Friedrich, pp. 10, 89). If we turn to the Gospel narratives of those possessed with evil spirits, as affording an analogy to the narrative here, we recall how Jesus had found recognition, cf. Mark 1:24 ; Mark 3:11 , Luke 4:41 (where the same verb, κράζω , is used of the ἀκάθαρτα πνεύματα καὶ δαιμόνια ). τοῦ Θ . τοῦ ὑψ .: similar title used by the demoniacs in Mark 5:7 , Luke 8:28 ; see Plumptre’s note on former passage. Both Zeller and Friedrich note that Luke alone employs ὁ ὑψ . of God without any word in apposition, Luke 1:32 ; Luke 1:35 ; Luke 1:76 ; Luke 6:35 , Acts 7:48 , and that we have the title with τοῦ Θεοῦ , both in his Gospel and Acts. (Hebrews 7:1 , probably from Genesis 14:18 .) ἡμῖν ὑμῖν very strongly supported, see critical note. But ἡμῖν might easily have been altered into ὑμῖν , as the former would appear to be an unfitting expression for the evil spirit: but ἡμῖν may point to that disturbed and divided consciousness which seems to have been so characteristic of the possessed (Edersheim); at one time the girl was overmastered by the evil spirit who was her real Κύριος , at another she felt a longing for deliverance from her bondage, and in ἡμῖν she associates herself with those around her who felt a similar longing for some way of salvation, for we must by no means regard her as a mere impostor (Ramsay).

Verse 18

Acts 16:18 . διαπονηθεὶς , only here and in Acts 4:2 in N.T.; its use in LXX in two passages only does not help us much, see Acts 4:2 , and in classics it is not used in the sense required here. Aquila uses it four times of the Hebrew עָצַב in passages which show that the word may combine the ideas of grief, pain, and anger, Genesis 6:6 ; Genesis 34:7 , 1 Samuel 20:3 ; 1 Samuel 20:34 . It may be noticed that the word and other compounds of πονεῖν are frequent in medical writers. Παραγγέλλω , see on Acts 1:4 . The same strong word is used of our Lord, Luke 8:29 , where He charged another unclean spirit to come out. ὀνόματι , see above on Acts 3:6 , “Demonology,” Hastings’ B.D., where reference is made to Sayce, Hibbert Lect. , pp. 302 347, as to the belief in the powerful efficacy of the name , the name meaning to an ancient Semite personal power and existence. ἐξελθεῖν ἀπʼ αὐτῆς : the phrase occurs in Luke much more frequently than in any other N.T. writer; nine times in his Gospel of the coming out of evil spirits, as here. Rendall sees in the phrase the medical accuracy of the writer in describing the process of the cure; the evil spirit must not only come out, but depart, pp. 104, 280; it must however be remembered that St. Matthew uses the same phrase twice of the departure of evil spirits from men, Matthew 12:43 , Matthew 17:18 . Paul charges the evil spirit to depart; it departed, and with it departed the master’s hope of gain (see also Weiss, in loco ). αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ : “that very hour,” R.V., cf. Acts 22:13 , eo ipso tempore ; peculiar to Luke, cf. Luke 2:38 ; Luke 10:21 ; Luke 12:12 ; Luke 20:19 ; Luke 24:33 (so too Friedrich, p. 37). We are not told anything further of the history of the girl, but we may well believe that she too would partake of the generous help of Lydia, and of the other Christian women at Philippi, who would see in her no longer a bondservant to the many lords who had had dominion over her, but a sister beloved in the One Lord.

Verse 19

Acts 16:19 . ὅτι ἐξ . ἡ ἐλπὶς κ . τ . λ .: “The most sensitive part of ‘civilised’ man is his pocket,” Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 237, and we can see how bitter was the hostility excited both here and at Ephesus when the new faith threatened existing pecuniary profits. ἐπιλαβ .: here with hostile intent, see above on Acts 9:27 and further on Acts 17:19 . εἵλκυσαν : with violence, so ἕλκω in James 2:4 (Acts 21:30 ), cf. Saul before his conversion, Acts 8:3 , σύρων . “Everywhere money the cause of evils: O that heathen cruelty! they wished the girl to be still a demoniac, that they might make money by her!” Chrys., Hom. , xxx., 5. εἰς τὴν ἀγ .: where the magistrates would sit, as in the Roman forum. ἄρχοντας … στρατηγοῖς : it is of course possible that the two clauses mean the same thing, and that the expressions halt, as Lightfoot and Ramsay maintain, between the Greek form and the Latin, between the ordinary Greek term for the supreme board of magistrates in any city ἄρχοντες , and the popular Latin designation στρατηγοί , prætores (“non licet distinguere inter ἀρχ . et στρατ .,” Blass, so O. Holtzmann, Weiss, Wendt). But the former may mean the magistrates who happened to be presiding at the time in the forum , whereas the milder verb προσαγαγόντες may imply that there was another stage in the case, and that it was referred to the στρατηγοί , the prætors (as they called themselves), because they were the chief magisterial authorities, and the accusation assumed a political form. Meyer and Zöckler, H. Holtzmann distinguish between the two, as if ἄρχ . were the local magistrates of the town, cf. πολιτάρχης , Acts 17:6 . In the municipia and coloniæ the chief governing power was in the hands of duoviri who apparently in many places assumed the title of prætors, cf. Cicero, De Leg. Agr. , ii., 34, where he speaks with amusement of the duoviri at Capua who showed their ambition in this way, cf. Horace, Sat. , i., 5, 34. A duumvir of Philippi is a title borne out by inscriptions, Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 51, note; Felten, p. 315.

Verse 20

Acts 16:20 . οὗτοι , contemptuously Ἰουδ . ὄντες : If the decree of Claudius expelling the Jews from Rome had been enacted, it would have easily inflamed the minds of the people and the magistrates at Philippi against the Jews ( cf. Acts 18:2 , so Holtzmann). Of the bad odour in which the Jews were held we have also other evidences, cf. Cicero, Pro Flacco , xxviii.; Juvenal, xiv., 96 106. On the attitude of the Romans towards the Jews see Sanday and Headlam, Romans , p. xix. ff. It was of this intense feeling of hatred and contempt felt by Romans and Greeks alike that the masters of the maiden availed themselves: “causa autem alia atque prætextus caussæ,” Blass; the real cause was not a religious but a social and mercenary one, see above on Acts 16:19 , and Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 131; where the accusation was brought on purely religious grounds, as, e.g. , at Corinth, Acts 18:13 , the Roman governor declined to be judge of such matters. ἐκταράσσουσιν : “exceedingly trouble” ( ἐκ ), cf. LXX, Psalms 17:4 , 87:16, Wis 17:3-4 , see Hatch and Redpath, xviii., 7; Plut., Cor [295] , 19., more often in classical Greek, συνταράσσω .

[295] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 21

Acts 16:21 . ἔθη : religious customs here; the charge ostensibly put forward was really that of introducing a religio illicita, licita as it was for the Jews themselves. No doubt the fact that they were Jews presented in itself no ground of accusation, but their Jewish nationality would suggest the kind of customs with the introduction of which it would be easy to charge them, e.g. , circumcision. The introduction of Jewish habits and mode of life included under ἔθη , cf. Acts 6:14 , Acts 21:21 , would upset the whole social system, so that here, as on other occasions, the missionaries suffered from being identified with their Jewish countrymen. οὑκ ἔξ . παραδέχεσθαι : Wetstein, in loco; Marquardt, Röm. Staatsrecht , iii., 70, and see preceding verse, cf. Acts 15:5 , Acts 21:21 . In LXX, cf. Exodus 23:0 . Ῥωμαίοις οὑσι : in natural contrast (at the end of the sentence) to the despised Jews: as inhabitants of a Roman colonia they could lay claim to the proud title. On the force of ὑπάρχοντες and οὗσι see Alford’s note in loco.

Verse 22

Acts 16:22 . συνεπέστη : only here in N.T., cf. Acts 18:12 , not in LXX, but cf. Numbers 16:3 , used in classical Greek, but not in same sense. No reason is given, but the ὄχλος would have been easily swayed by hatred of the Jews, and further incensed perhaps at finding an end put to their love of the revelations of fortune-telling. περιῤῥήξ . αὐτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια , i.e. , they rent off the garments of Paul and Silas; just as there is no change of subject before ἐπιθ ., so here probably what was done by the lictors is said to have been done by the magistrates. There is no need to suppose with Bengel that the prætors tore off the prisoners’ clothes with their own hands. Grotius (but see on the other hand Calvin’s note in loco ) takes the words as meaning that the prætors rent off their own clothes (reading αὑτῶν ); so Ramsay speaks of the prætors rending their garments in horror at the ἀσέβεια , the impiety. But not only would such an act be strange on the part of Roman magistrates, but also the verb seems to make against the interpretation; it means in classical and in later Greek to rend all round, tear off, cf. the numerous instances in Wetstein, and so it expresses the rough way in which the lictors tore off the garments of the prisoners. In 2Ma 4:38 the word is used of tearing off the garments of another, see Wendt’s (1888) note in loco. ῥαβδίζειν : to beat with rods: thrice St. Paul suffered this punishment, 2 Corinthians 11:25 , grievous and degrading, of a Roman scourging, cf. his own words in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 , ὑβρισθέντες ὡς οἴδατε ἐν Φιλίπποις . Nothing can be alleged against the truthfulness of the narrative on the ground that Paul as a Roman citizen could not have been thus maltreated. The whole proceeding was evidently tumultuary and hasty, and the magistrates acted with the high-handedness characteristic of the fussy provincial authorities; in such a scene St. Paul’s protest may well have been made, but would very easily be disregarded. The incident in Acts 22:25 , which shows us how the Apostle barely escaped a similar punishment amidst the tumult and shouts of the mob in Jerusalem, and the instances quoted by Cicero, In Verr. , v., 62, of a prisoner remorselessly scourged, while he cried “inter dolorem crepitumque plagarum” Civis Romanus sum , enables us to see how easily Paul and Silas (who probably enjoyed the Roman citizenship, cf. Acts 16:37 ) might have protested and yet have suffered.

Verse 23

Acts 16:23 . δεσμοφύλακι , Lucian, Tox. , 30; Jos., Ant. , ii., 5, 1, LXX ἀρχιδεσμοφύλαξ , Genesis 39:21-23 ; Genesis 40:3 A, Genesis 41:10 A ( cf. the word ἀρχισωματοφύλαξ , Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 93). Chrysostom and Oecumenius identify him with Stephanus, but he was the first-fruits of Achaia, 1 Corinthians 16:15 .

Verse 24

Acts 16:24 . ἐσωτέραν : comparative for superlative, as often in N.T. (Blass). Not necessarily underground, but a part of the prison which would have been further from such light and air as could be had. τὸ ξύλον , Hebrew סַד , Job 33:11 (A κυκλώματι ), cf. Arist., Eq. , 367, 393, 705; Herod., vi., 75; ix., 37; and instances in Wetstein, Liv., viii., 28, Plaut., Capt. , iii., 70, Latin nervus . So Eusebius uses the word of the martyrs in Gaul (see Alford). In Jeremiah’s case another and equivalent word is used in the Heb. 29:26 = LXX ἀπόκλεισμα . The same Hebrew is used in 2 Chronicles 16:10 , where LXX has simply φυλακή . ἠσφαλίσατο : only elsewhere in N.T. in Matthew 27:64-66 ; in LXX and Polyb., cf. critical note, Acts 16:30 in [296] .

[296] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 25

Acts 16:25 . κατὰ δὲ τὸ μεσονύκτιον : neuter of the adjective μεσονύκτιος , cf. Acts 20:7 , Luke 11:5 , elsewhere only in Mark 13:35 , often in medical writers, also in Arist., Strabo, Plutarch; in LXX, Judges 16:3 A, Ruth 3:8 , Ps. 118:62 (Isaiah 59:10 ). προσευχόμενοι , see on chap. Acts 12:12 . ὕμνουν with accusative Hebrews 2:12 only, cf. Ephesians 5:19 , Colossians 3:16 , Trench, Syn [297] , ii., 129. “Hoc erat gaudium in Spiritu sancto: in carcere ubi nec genua flectere, nec manus tollere poterant” Wetstein, cf. too the often-quoted words of Tertullian Ad Martyres , ii.: “Nihil crus sentit in nervo quum animus in cœlo est,” and Chrys., Hom. , xxxvi., “This let us also do, and we shall open for ourselves not a prison, but heaven. If we pray, we shall be able even to open heaven. Elias both shut and opened heaven by prayer.” ἐπηκροῶντο : used by Plato (Comicus), and referred to by Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 73, as one of the rare words mainly colloquial common to N.T. and the comic poets; it occurs also in Lucian, and in Test. , xii., Patr. Not found in LXX (but the cognate noun of hearing so as to obey in 1 Samuel 15:22 ). But it is peculiar to St. Luke in N.T., and it was the technical word in medical language for auscultation; the word might therefore naturally be employed by him to denote attentive hearing as God “gave songs in the night”. Both verbs ὕμν . and ἐπηκ . are in the imperfect; they were singing, and the prisoners were listening, when the earthquake happened.

[297] synonym, synonymous.

Verse 26

Acts 16:26 . ἄφνω , see on Acts 2:2 . σεισμὸς , cf. Acts 4:31 , where the divine nearness and presence were manifested in a similar manner; the neighbourhood and the period were conspicuous for such convulsions of nature, cf. Plumptre on Matthew 24:7 , and Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 221. παραχρῆμα , see critical notes. ἀνεῴχθησάν τε … αἱ θύραι πᾶσαι : any one who has seen a Turkish prison, says Prof. Ramsay, will not wonder at this; “each door was merely closed by a bar, and the earthquake, as it passed along the ground, forced the door-posts apart from each other, so that the bar slipped from its hold, and the door swung open,” and see further description on same page. ἀνέθη , cf. Acts 27:40 , nowhere else in N.T. in same sense; in LXX we have the same collocation of words in Malachi 4:2 . See also for the phrase, Plut., Alex. , 73; see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 101. If we ask, Why did not the prisoners escape? the answer is that a semi-Oriental mob would be panic-stricken by the earthquake, and there is nothing strange in the fact that they made no dash for safety; moreover, the opportunity must have been very quickly lost, for the jailor was not only roused himself, but evidently called at once to the guard for lights; see Ramsay’s description, u. s. , and the comments of Blass, in loco , and Felten, note, p. 318, to the same effect as Ramsay, that the prisoners were panic-stricken, and had no time to collect their thoughts for flight.

Verse 27

Acts 16:27 . ἔξυπνος : only here in N.T., once in LXX, Esther 3:3; Esther 3:3 , of Darius waking from sleep. μάχαιραν : article omitted in T.R., see critical note. Weiss thinks that the omission occurs since in Acts 12:2 , and five times in Luke, no article is found with μάχαιρα . τὴν = his sword, cf. Mark 14:47 . ἤμελλεν , cf. Acts 3:3 , Acts 5:35 , Acts 12:6 , etc., characteristic Lucan word, see Friedrich, p. 12. The act was quite natural, the act of a man who had lost in his terror his self-control (Weiss). ἑαυτὸν ἀναιρεῖν : to avoid the disgraceful fate which would be allotted to him by Roman law, according to which the jailor was subjected to the same death as the escaped prisoners would have suffered (Wetstein, in loco ), cf. Acts 12:19 , Acts 27:42 . νομίζων , see on Acts 7:25 . It seems hypercritical to ask, How could Paul have seen that the jailor was about to kill himself? That there must have been some kind of light in the outer prison is evident, otherwise the jailor could not have even seen that the doors were open, nor is there any difficulty in supposing that Paul out of the darkness of the inner prison would see through the opened doors any one in the outer doorway, whilst to the jailor the inner prison would be lost in darkness. Moreover, as Blass notes, Paul may have heard from the jailor’s utterances what he meant to do: “neque enim tacuisse putandus est” (see also Ramsay, Felten, Hackett, Lumby, in loco ).

Verse 28

Acts 16:28 . μηδὲν πράξ . σεαυτῷ κακόν : Blass remarks that the distinction between πράσσειν and ποιεῖν is not always precisely observed in N.T., and takes it as = Attic, μ . ποιησῆς . πράσσειν is not found in St. Matthew or St. Mark and only twice in St. John, whilst by St. Luke it is used six times in his Gospel, thirteen times in Acts, elsewhere in N.T. only by Paul. Philippi was famous in the annals of suicide (C. and H.); see also Plumptre’s note in loco. ἅπαντες γάρ ἐ .: “Multa erant graviora, cur non deberet se interficere; sed Paulus id arripit, quod maxime opportunum erat” Bengel.

Verse 29

Acts 16:29 . φῶτα : “lights,” R.V., plural, and only in plural in later Greek, cf. 1Ma 12:29 , of fires in a military encampment; “the prisoners’ chains were loosed, and worse chains were loosed from himself; he called for a light, but the true heat was lighted in his own heart” Chrys., Hom. , xxxvi. εἰσεπήδησε , cf. Acts 14:14 , ἐκπ ., both verbs only in Luke in N.T. In LXX, cf. Amos 5:19 , Sus., Acts 16:26 , especially the latter, found also in classical Greek. ἔντρομος γεν ., see above. προσέπεσε : he may have known of the words of the maiden, Acts 16:17 , and recognised their truth in the earthquake, and in the calmness and demeanour of Paul; hence too his question.

Verse 30

Acts 16:30 . Κύριοι , in respect, cf. John 20:15 . ἵνα σωθῶ ; the word of the maiden σωτηρία and the occurrence of the night may well have prompted the question. The context, Acts 16:31 , seems to indicate the higher meaning here, and the question can scarcely be limited to mere desire of escape from personal danger or punishment. On the addition in [298] see critical note.

[298] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

Verse 31

Acts 16:31 . ἐπὶ τὸν Κ .: “non agnoscunt se dominos ” Bengel they point him to the One Lord. οἶκος … οἰκίᾳ : the first word is most frequently used in Attic Greek, and in the N.T. for household, cf. Acts 16:15 , but both words are used in Attic, and in the N.T., for familia . σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου : “and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house,” R.V., not as if his faith could save his household, as A.V. might imply, but that the same way was open to him and to them (Alford, see also Meyer-Wendt, and Page).

Verse 32

Acts 16:32 . καὶ ἐλάλησαν : before baptism instruction.

Verse 33

Acts 16:33 . ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ τῆς νυκτὸς , cf. Acts 16:18 , “at that hour of the night”; the jailor will not delay for a moment his first Christian duty, Matthew 25:36 . ἔλουσεν ἀπὸ τῶν πληγῶν : “and washed them of their stripes,” Ramsay; i.e. , the stains of the wounds caused by the lictors (for similar construction of λούειν ἀπό see Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 54). Hobart, p. 112, compares Galen’s words, τὸ αἷμα τοῦ τετρωμένου μέρους ἀποπλῦναι . καὶ οἱ αὐτοῦ πάντες : for the bearing of the words on Infant Baptism, see on Acts 16:15 . It may of course be said that the expression evidently implies the same persons who are instructed in Acts 16:32 , but it cannot be said that the phrase may not include any other members of the household. The two washings are put in striking juxtaposition: the waters of baptism washed the jailor from deeper stains and more grievous wounds than those of the lictors’ rods, Chrys., Hom. , xxxvi. παραχρῆμα , emphatic, see above on p. 106.

Verse 34

Acts 16:34 . ἀναγαγών τε αὐτοὺς : τε closely connects this second proof of his thankfulness with the first ἀναγ .: “he brought them up into,” R.V.; Blass thinks that the ἀνά means that he brought them up from underground, but it may simply mean that the house was built over the prison; see also Knabenbauer in loco. παρέθηκε τράπ .: the phrase is a classical one, so in Homer, also in Polyb.; so in Homer a separate table is assigned to each guest, Odys. , xvii., 333; xxii., 74. But the word is also used as implying the meal on the table see . and ., cf. Tob 2:2 , παρετέθη μου ἡ τράπεζα , . Psalms 77:20 . Paul makes no question about sitting at meat with the uncircumcised (Weiss). ἠγαλλιάσατο : it is suggestive that St. Luke uses the cognate noun of this same verb to describe the intense exulting gladness of the early Church at Jerusalem in their social life, Acts 2:46 here was indeed an Agape, a Feast of Love, cf. 1 Peter 1:6 ; 1Pe 1:8 ; 1 Peter 4:13 (Matthew 5:12 , Revelation 19:7 ); in St. Luke the word occurs twice in his Gospel, Luke 1:47 , Luke 10:21 , and in Acts 2:26 , quotation (see above); not found in classical Greek, but formed probably from ἀγάλλομαι , Hellenistic, often in LXX. At the same time the word πεπιστευκώς , perfect participle, shows that this fulness of joy was caused by his full profession of belief; it was the joy of the Holy Ghost which followed on his baptism: “rejoiced greatly with all his house, having believed on the Lord,” gaudebat quod crediderat , Blass (reading imperfect ἠγαλλιᾶτο , see critical note). See also Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 194 (1893). πανοικὶ (- εὶ , W.H [299] , App., p. 154), cf. παραπληθεί , Luke 23:18 . In LXX the word is found, Exodus 1:1 , but A has - κίᾳ 3Ma 3:27 , where A has also - κίᾳ . On St. Luke’s fondness for πᾶς and its related forms see Friedrich, p. 6. The form preferred in Attic is πανοικησίᾳ . The word in text is found in Jos., Philo, and in Plato, Eryx. , p. 392 C., cf. Blass, in loco , and Proleg. , p. 19.

[299] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 35

Acts 16:35 . ἀπέσ . οἱ στρατηγοὶ : we are not told the reason of this sudden change in the action of the prætors, and no doubt the omission may fairly account for the reading in , see critical notes. At the same time it is quite characteristic of St. Luke to give the plain facts without entering upon explanations. Meyer thinks that they were influenced by the earthquake, while Wendt rather inclines to the view that they were incited to this action, so inconsistent with their former conduct, by fresh intelligence as to their own hasty treatment of the missionaries; Ramsay combines both views, and see also St. Paul , p. 224, on the contrast brought out by St. Luke, and also on the Bezan text; see to the same effect Zöckler, in loco. Blass accounts for the change of front on the part of the prætors by supposing that they saw in the earthquake a sign that they had insulted a foreign deity, and that they had therefore better dismiss his servants at once, lest further mischief should result. τοὺς ῥαβ .: “the lictors” R.V. margin, apparently as the duoviri aped the prætors, so the lictors carried the fasces and not the baculi, cf. Cicero, De Leg. Agr. , ii., 34; Farrar, St. Paul , i., 493; Grimm-Thayer, sub v. , and references in Wetstein: διὰ τί λικτώρεις τοὺς ῥαβδούχους ὀνομάζουσι ; Plut., Quæst. Rom. 67.

Verse 36

Acts 16:36 . νῦν οὖν , Lucan, cf. Acts 10:33 , Acts 15:10 , Acts 23:15 . ἐν εἰρήνῃ (omitted by ): the jailor may well have used the words in a deeper sense after the instruction of Paul, and his own admission to citizenship in a kingdom which was “righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost”.

Verse 37

Acts 16:37 . Δείραντες ἡμᾶς δ .: in flagrant violation of the Lex Valeria, B.C. 500, and the Lex Porcia B.C. 248; see also Cicero, In Verrem , v., 57, 66, it was the weightiest charge brought by Cicero against Verres. To claim Roman citizenship falsely was punishable with death, Suet., Claud. , xxv. ἀκατακρίτους : “uncondemned” gives a wrong idea, cf. also Acts 22:25 , although it is difficult to translate the word otherwise. The meaning is “without investigating our cause,” res incognita , “causa cognita multi possunt absolvi; incognita quidem condemnari nemo potest,” Cicero, In Verrem , i., 9, see also Wetstein, in loco. The word is only found in N.T., but Blass takes it as = Attic, ἄκριτος , which might be sometimes used of a cause not yet tried . The rendering “uncondemned” implies that the flogging would have been legal after a fair trial, but it was illegal under any circumstances, Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 224. δημοσίᾳ . contrasted with λάθρα , so a marked contrast between ἔβαλον εἰς φυλ . and ἐκβάλλουσιν . Ῥωμαίους ὑπάρχοντας : “Roman citizens as we are,” the boast made by the masters of the girl, Acts 16:21 . St. Paul, too, had his rights as a Roman citizen, see below on Acts 22:28 . The antithesis is again marked in the Apostles’ assertion of their claim to courtesy as against the insolence of the prætors they wish ἐκβάλλειν λάθρα ; nay, but let them come in person ( αὐτοί ), and conduct us forth ( ἐξαγαγέτωσαν ). οὐ γὰρ : non profecto; Blass, Grammatik , pp. 268, 269, “ut sæpe in responsis,” see also Page, in loco. ἐξαγ .: not only his sense of justice, but the fact that the public disgrace to which they had been subjected would seriously impede the acceptance of the Gospel message, and perhaps raise a prejudice to the injury of his Philippian converts, would prompt Paul to demand at least this amount of reparation. Wetstein’s comments are well worth consulting.

Verse 38

Acts 16:38 . ἀνήγγειλαν , see critical notes. ἐφοβήθησαν , so the chief captain, Acts 22:29 ; and no wonder, for the illegal punishment of Roman citizens was a serious offence. If convicted, the magistrates would have been degraded, and incapable in future of holding office; cf. Cicero, In Verrem , v., 66; Rep. , ii., 31; and see Blass, note on Acts 22:29 , Grotius, in loco , and O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte , p. 99. In A.D. 44 the Rhodians had been deprived by Claudius of their privileges for putting some Roman citizens to death ( Speaker’s Commentary, in loco ).

Verse 39

Acts 16:39 . See addition in , critical note. The fear of a further riot expressed by the magistrates is exactly what we should expect in the cities of the Ægean lands, which were always weak in their municipal government. [300] also expresses the naïve way in which the magistrates not only try to throw the blame upon the people, but wanted to get out of a difficulty by procuring the withdrawal from the city of the injured parties, Ramsay, u. s. , p. 224. The Greek pointedly and dramatically expresses the change in the whole situation: ἐλθόντες παρεκάλεσαν ἐξαγαγόντες ἠρώτων ! (Wendt).

[300] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

Verse 40

Acts 16:40 . εἰς , see critical notes; they would not leave the city without once more visiting the household out of which grew the Church dearest to St. Paul; see Lightfoot’s remarks on the growth of the Church from “the Church in the house,” Philippians , pp. 57, 58. ἐξῆλθον : the third person indicates that the narrator of the “We” section, Acts 16:9-10 , remained at Philippi, Timothy probably accompanying Paul and Silas. In Acts 20:5 we again have ἡμᾶς introduced, and the inference is that St. Luke remained at Philippi during the interval, or at least for a part of it; and it is reasonable to infer that he laboured there in the Gospel, although he modestly refrains (as elsewhere) from any notice of his own work. The Apostle’s first visit to Philippi represented in epitome the universality of the Gospel, so characteristic of St. Luke’s record of our Lord’s teaching, and so characteristic of the mind of St. Paul. Both from a religious and social point of view the conversions at Philippi are full of significance. The Jew could express his thankfulness in his morning prayer that God had not made him a Gentile a woman a slave. But at Philippi St. Paul taught in action the principle which he enforced in his Galatian Epistle, Galatians 3:28 , and again in writing to the Colossians 3:11 : “Christ was all and in all”; in Him the soothsaying slave-girl, the proselyte of Thyatira, the Roman jailor, were each and all the children of God, and fellow-citizens with the saints, Lightfoot, Introduction to Philippians; Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers , pp. 15, 26, 137 (second edition).

The narrative of St. Paul’s visit to Philippi has been made the object of attack from various quarters. Most of the objections have been stated and met by Professor Ramsay, and a summary of them with their refutation is aptly given in a recent article by Dr. Giesekke ( Studien und Kritiken , 1898) described at length in the Expository Times , March, 1898, see also Knabenbauer, pp. 292, 293. The view that the narrative is simply a fiction modelled upon the escape of St. Peter in Acts 4:31 ; Acts 4:12 is untenable in face of the many differences in the narratives (see the points of contrast in Nösgen, Apostel geschichte , pp. 315, 316). (Schneckenburger in his list of parallels between Peter and Paul in Acts apparently makes no mention of the supposed parallel here.) Zeller’s attempt to connect the narrative with the story in Lucian’s Toxaris , c. 27, is still more absurd, cf. Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 262 (second edition), and Farrar, St. Paul , i., 501, whilst more recently Schmiedel (1898) attempts to find a parallel in Euripides, Bacchæ , 436 441, 502, 602 628, see Wendt’s note, p. 282 (1899). Weizsäckcr boldly refuses to admit even the imprisonment as a fact, and regards only the meeting of Paul with the soothsayer as historical. But it should be noted that he allows the Apostle’s intercourse with Lydia and his instruction of the women to be genuine historical incidents, and he makes the important remark that the name of Lydia is the more credible, since the Philippian Epistle seems to support the idea that women received Paul and contributed to the planting of the Church ( Apostolic Age , i., 284, E.T.). Holtzmann represents in a general manner the standpoint of modern advanced criticism, when he divides the narrative of the events at Philippi into two parts, the one concerned with events transacted under the open heaven, belonging not only to the “We” source but bearing also the stamp of reality, whilst the other part is not guaranteed by the “We” source, and is full of legendary matter. Thus Acts 16:25-34 are dismissed as a later addition, and Ramsay’s fresh and careful explanations are dismissed by Holtzmann as “humbug”! Theologische Literaturzeitung , No. 7, 1899.

Additional Note. Chap. Acts 16:12 , “which is a city of Macedonia, the first of the district,” R.V. This might mean, so far as πρώτη is concerned, that Philippi was the city nearest in the district, and the city which they first reached. Neapolis, which actually came first on the route, was not generally regarded as Macedonian but Thracian; so Lightfoot, Rendall, O. Holtzmann. Or it might also mean that it was “the chief” (A.V.), the leading city of its division of Macedonia (Ramsay). Here again Ramsay sees a proof of St. Luke’s intimate acquaintance with the rivalries of the Greek cities, and of his special interest in Philippi. In B.C. 167 the province Macedonia had been divided by the Romans into four districts, μερίς , and even if this division were obsolete at the time, another would be likely to succeed to it (so Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 158, as against Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 50, who takes πρώτη as denoting not the political but the geographical position of Philippi.) At this time Amphipolis was the chief ( πρώτη ) city of the district to which both it and Philippi belonged, but though Amphipolis held the rank, Philippi claimed the same title, a case of rivalry between two or even three cities which often occurred. This single passage Ramsay regards as conclusive of the claims of Philippi, see St. Paul , p. 207, and Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia , ii., 429. As to whether μερίς can be used in the sense of a division of a province, cf. Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 158, and the instances quoted from Egypt, and also Expositor , October, 1897, p. 320, as against Hort’s limitation of the term. Hort, W.H [301] , App. 96 (to whose view Rendall inclines, cf. also Zahn, Einleitung , i., p. 375), thinks that μερίδος must be a corruption, and proposes Πιερίδος , Pieria being an ancient name of that part of Macedonia; but he declines to draw any positive conclusion in its favour. Wendt, following Meyer, regards πρώτη as signifying rank, and so far he is in agreement with Ramsay. But as Amphipolis was really the chief town of the district, he contends that πόλις κολωνία might be taken as one phrase (see also Hackett, Overbeck, Weiss, Holtzmann), and so he regards the whole expression as signifying that Philippi is spoken of as the most considerable colony-town in that district of Macedonia, whilst he agrees with Hort and Lightfoot in maintaining that πρώτη is only classical as an absolute title of towns in Asia Minor. This Ramsay allows, but the title was frequent in Asia and Cilicia, and might easily have been used elsewhere, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 156; Holtzmann quite admits that the term may have been applied as in Asian towns to signify the enjoyment of certain privileges. For Ramsay’s criticism of Codex [302] , which substitutes κεφαλὴ τῆς Μ . and omits μερίδος altogether, see Church in the Roman Empire , pp. 156, 157, and Expositor, u. s. , κεφαλή being evidently substituted because the term πρώτη is ambiguous, and so liable to be misunderstood. Blass himself finds fault with , and also considers πρώτη wrong, not only because Amphipolis was superior in rank, but because Thessalonica was called πρώτη Μακεδόνων , C. T. Gr [303] , 1967. But this would not prevent the rivalry amongst other towns in the various subdivisions of the province. Blass reads in β πρώτης μερίδος (a reading which Lightfoot thinks might deserve some consideration, though unsupported, if the original Roman fourfold division of the provinces were still maintained, see above, p. 355), and takes it as referring to Philippi as a city of the first of the four regiones .

[301] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

[302] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[303] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 16". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/acts-16.html. 1897-1910.
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