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Bible Commentaries
Acts 2

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Acts 2:1 . ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι , lit [114] , “when the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled” (filled up). R.V. renders “was now come,” and a question arises as to whether the words mean this, or that the day was only being filled up, and not fully come. Blass interprets the expression to mean a short time before the day of Pentecost, not the day itself. Weiss and others suppose that the expression refers to the completing of the interval of time between the Paschal Feast and Pentecost. Vulgate ( cf. Syriac) reads “cum complerentur dies Pentecostes,” and so all English versions have “days” except A. and R.V. The verb is only used by St. Luke in the N.T., twice in his Gospel, Luke 8:23 , and in the same sense as here, Luke 9:51 , and once more in the passage before us. We have the noun συμπλήρωσις in the same sense in LXX 2 Chronicles 36:21 , Dan. (Theod.) Acts 9:2 , 1Es 1:58 ; see Friedrich, ubi supra , p. 44. The mode of expression is Hebraistic, as we see also from Exodus 7:25 , Jeremiah 36:10 (LXX). St. Luke may be using the expression of a day which had begun, according to Jewish reckoning, at the previous sunset, and which thus in the early morning could not be said to be either fulfilled or past, but which was in the process of being fulfilled (Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol. , p. 90, 1895; Knabenbauer, in loco ). The parallel passage in Luke 9:51 cannot be quoted to support the view that the reference here is to a period preceding the day of Pentecost, since in that passage we have ἡμέρας , not ἡμέραν as here, and, although the interpretation of the word as referring to the approach of the Feast is possible, yet the circumstances and the view evidently taken by the narrator point decisively to the very day of the Feast (see Schmid, Biblische Theol. , p. 283). On the construction ἐν τῷ with the infinitive, see Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 232, 234, and Dalman, Die Worte Jesu , p. 27. It is quite in the style of St. Luke, who frequently employs it; cf. the Hebrew use of בְּ , Friedrich, p. 13, ubi supra , Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte , p. 75). On Spitta’s forced interpretation of the word, see p. 100. τῆς Πεντηκοστῆς : no occasion to add ἡμέρα , as the word was used as a proper name (although as an adjective ἡμέρα would of course be understood with it); cf. 2Ma 12:32 ( Tob 2:1 ), μετὰ δὲ τὴν λεγομ . Πεντηκοστήν . ἅπαντες , i.e. , the hundred-and-twenty as well as the Apostles (Chrysostom, Jerome), and the expression may also have included other disciples who were present in Jerusalem at the Feast (so Hilgenfeld, Wendt, Holtzmann). This interpretation appears to be more in accordance with the wide range of the prophecy, Acts 2:16-21 . ὁμοθυμαδὸν , see above on Acts 2:14 . ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό may simply = “together,” so that of the two expressions ὁμοῦ , R.V., and this phrase “alterum abundat” (Blass, Weiss); but the reference may be to the room in which they were previously assembled; cf. Acts 1:15 .

[114] literal, literally.

Verse 2

Acts 2:2 . ἄφνω : only in Acts, here, and in Acts 16:26 , Acts 28:6 ; Klostermann’s Vindiciæ Lucanæ , p. 55; several times in LXX, but also in classical Greek in Thuc., Dem., Eur. ἦχος ὥσπερ φερομ . πν . βιαίας , lit [115] , “a sound as if a violent gust were being borne along”. St. Chrysostom rightly emphasises the ὡς , so that the sound is not that of wind, but as of the rushing of a mighty wind (so too the tongues are not of fire, but as of fire ). The words describe not a natural but a supernatural phenomenon, as Wendt pointedly admits. Wind was often used as a symbol of the divine Presence, 2 Samuel 5:24 , Psalms 104:3 , 1 Kings 19:11 , Ezekiel 43:2 , etc.; cf. Josephus, Ant. , iii., 5, 2; vii., 4; here it is used of the mighty power of the Spirit which nothing could resist. St. Luke alone of the N.T. writers uses ἦχος Hebrews 12:19 being a quotation, and it is perhaps worth noting that the word is employed in medical writers, and by one of them, Aretæus, of the noise of the sea ( cf. ἤχους θαλάσσης , Luke 21:25 ). ὅλον τὸν οἶκον . If the Temple were meant, as Holtzmann and Zöckler think, it would have been specified, Acts 3:2 ; Acts 3:11 , Acts 5:21 .

[115] literal, literally.

Verse 3

Acts 2:3 . διαμεριζόμ . γλῶσσαι : the audible σημεῖον is followed by a visible: γλῶσσαι the organs of speech by which the wonderful works of God were to be proclaimed, so that the expression cannot be explained from Isaiah 5:24 , where the tongue of fire is represented as an organ of destruction (Wendt, note, in loco ). ὡσεὶ πυρός in their appearance and brightness. The words themselves therefore forbid reference to a natural phenomenon, to say nothing of the fact of the spiritual transformation of the Apostles which followed. Fire like wind was symbolic of the divine Presence, Exodus 3:2 , and of the Spirit who purifies and sanctifies, Ezekiel 1:13 , Malachi 3:2-3 (see Wetstein for classical instances of fire symbolical of the presence of the deity; cf., e.g. , Homer, Iliad , xviii., 214; Virgil, Æn. , ii., 683). διαμεριζ ., lit [116] , dividing or parting themselves off. R.V. “tongues parting asunder,” so that originally they were one, as one mighty flame of fire. This rendering is strictly in accordance with the meaning of the verb. Vulgate dispertitæ (the word used by Blass). διαμερίζω is used once again in Acts 2:45 in the active voice, and once only by St. Matthew and St. Mark (once by St. John as a quotation) in the middle voice, but six times by St. Luke in his Gospel; frequently in the LXX. ἐκάθισε (not - αν ), sc. , γλῶσσα (not πῦρ or πνεῦμα ἅγιον ), although the latter is advocated by Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bengel: “it sat,” R.V. The singular best expresses the result of the tongues parting asunder, and of the distribution to each and all. So too ἐφʼ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν , “upon each one of them,” R.V., cf. Acts 2:6 εἷς ἕκαστος (and Acts 2:8 ). The resting of a flame of fire upon the head as a token of the favour of Heaven may be illustrated from classical sources (see above and instances in Wetstein), but the thought here is not so much of fire as the token of divine favour, as of the tongue (as of fire) conferring a divine power to utter in speech divine things.

[116] literal, literally.

Verse 4

Acts 2:4 . ἀποφθέγγεσθαι a word peculiar to Acts, cf. Acts 5:14 and Acts 26:25 ; in the LXX used not of ordinary conversation, but of the utterances of prophets; cf. Ezekiel 13:9 , Micah 5:12 , 1 Chronicles 25:1 , so fitly here: ( cf. ἀποφθέγματα , used by the Greeks of the sayings of the wise and philosophers, and see also references in Wendt). ἐτέραις γλώσσαις , see additional note.

Verse 5

Acts 2:5 . κατοικοῦντες , probably used not merely of temporary dwellers for the Feast, but of the devout Jews of the Diaspora, who for the purpose of being near the Temple had taken up their residence in Jerusalem, perhaps for the study of the Law, perhaps to live and to die within the city walls (see St. Chrysostom’s comment on the word). They were not proselytes as is indicated by Ἰουδαῖοι , but probably devout men like Symeon, Luke 2:25 , who is described by the same word εὐλαβής , waiting for the consolation of Israel. The expression, as Zöckler points out, is not quite synonymous with that in Acts 2:14 (or with Luke 13:4 ), and he explains it as above. There is certainly no need to consider the word, with Spitta and Hilgenfeld, as an epithet added by a later editor, or to omit Ἰουδαῖοι , as Blass strongly urges (while Hilgenfeld desires to retain this word). The word may fairly be regarded as contrasted with Γαλιλαῖοι (Acts 2:7 ). The same view of it as applied here to foreign Jews who had their stated residence in Jerusalem is maintained by Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. ii., p. 291 (note) E.T. κατοικεῖν is used generally of taking up a permanent abode as in contrast to παροικεῖν used of temporary sojourn, and on the frequent use of the word in St. Luke, Friedrich, ubi supra , p. 39. But here it is followed most probably by εἰς not ἐν , constructio prægnans, cf. Wendt and Weiss as against W.H [117] (T.R. ἐν and so Blass in [118] ). Weiss, Apostelgeschichte , p. 36, regards this frequent use of εἰς as characteristic of the style of Acts, cf. Acts 9:21 , Acts 14:25 , and considers it quite inconceivable that ἐν would be changed into εἰς , although the reverse is likely enough to have happened (Wendt). εὐλαβεῖς , see Acts 8:2 . ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔθνους : “ from every nation,” so R.V.; “out of,” A.V., but this would represent ἐκ rather than ἀπό , and would imply that they belonged to these different nations, not that they were born Jews residing among them and coming from them (Humphry, Commentary on R.V. ). τῶν ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν , sc. ἐθνῶν . The phrase is used frequently in LXX, cf. Deuteronomy 2:25 , and in classical literature by Plato and Dem. If κατοικοῦντες includes the Jews who had come up to the Feast as well as those who had settled in Jerusalem from other countries, this expression is strikingly illustrated by the words of Philo, De Monarchia , ii. 1, p. 223. The Pentecost would be more largely attended even than the Passover, as it was a more favourable season for travelling than the early spring (see Wetstein, in loco ), and cf. Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. ii., pp. 291, 307, E.T.

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

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

Verse 6

Acts 2:6 . φωνῆς ταύτης : “when this sound was heard,” R.V. “Hic idem quod ἦχος comm [119] 2,” so Wetstein, who compares for φωνή in this sense Matthew 24:31 , 1 Corinthians 14:7-8 (2 Chronicles 5:13 ), and so most recent commentators ( cf. John 3:8 ); if human voices were meant, the plural might have been expected. But the word in singular might refer to the divine voice, the voice of the Spirit, cf. Matthew 3:17 ; Matthew 17:5 . The A.V., so too Grotius, following Erasmus, Calvin, render the word as if φήμη , but the two passages quoted from LXX to justify this rendering are no real examples, cf., e.g. , Genesis 45:16 , Jer. 27:46. τὸ πλῆθος : a characteristic word of St. Luke, occurring eight times in his Gospel, seventeen in Acts, and only seven times in rest of the N.T.; on the frequency with which St. Luke uses expressions indicative of fulness, see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , pp. 40, 102. In inscriptions the word seems to have been used not only of political but of religious communities, see Deissmann, Neue Bibel-studien , pp. 59, 60 (1897), and see below on Acts 15:30 . συνεχύθη from συνχύνω ( συνχέω ) only found in Acts, where it occurs five times ( cf. also σύγχυσις , Acts 19:29 ), see Moulton and Geden, sub v. For its meaning here cf. Genesis 11:7 ; Genesis 11:9 , 1Ma 4:27 , 2Ma 13:23 ; 2Ma 14:28 ; Vulg., mente confusa est . διαλέκτῳ : only in the Acts in N.T. The question has been raised as to whether it meant a dialect or a language. Meyer argued in favour of the former, but the latter rendering more probably expresses the author’s meaning, cf. Acts 1:19 , and also Acts 21:40 , Acts 22:2 , Acts 26:14 . The word is apparently used as the equivalent of γλῶσσα , Acts 2:11 , A. and R.V. “language”. As the historian in his list, Acts 2:9-10 , apparently is following distinctions of language (see Rendall, Acts , p. 177, and Appendix, p. 359), this would help to fix the meaning of the word διάλεκτος here. Wendt in revising Meyer’s rendering contends that the word is purposely introduced because γλῶσσα , Acts 2:3-4 , had just been employed not in the sense of language but tongue, and so might have been misunderstood if repeated here with λαλεῖν . On the other hand it may be urged that some of the distinctions in the list are those of dialect, and that St. Luke intentionally used a word meaning both language and dialect.

[119]omm. commentary, commentator.

Verse 7

Acts 2:7 . ἐξίσταντο : frequent in St. Luke, three times in his Gospel, eight in the Acts, elsewhere once in St. Paul, once in St. Matthew, four times in St. Mark. The word is often found in the LXX in various senses; cf. for its meaning here Genesis 43:33 , Jdt 13:17 ; Jdt 15:1 , 1Ma 15:32 ; 1Ma 16:22 . πάντες Γαλιλαῖοι : there is no need to suppose with Schöttgen (so Grotius, Olshausen) that the term implies any reference to the want of culture among the Galileans, as if in this way to emphasise the surprise of the questioners, or to explain the introduction of the term because the Galileans were “magis ad arma quam ad litteras et linguas idonei” (Corn. à Lapide). But if there is a reference to the peculiar dialect of the Galileans this might help to explain the introduction of Ἰουδαίαν in Acts 2:9 (Wetstein followed by Weiss, but see below). Weiss sees here, it is true, the hand of a reviser who thinks only of the Apostles and not of the hundred-and-twenty who could not be supposed to come under the term Γαλιλαῖοι . But whilst no doubt Γαλ . might be considered a fitting description of the Apostolic band (except Judas), Hilgenfeld well asks why the hundred-and-twenty should not have been also Galileans, if they had followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem.

Verse 8

Acts 2:8 . τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλ … ἐν ᾗ ἐγεννήθημεν used distributively as Acts 2:11 ταῖς ἡμετ . γλώσσαις shows and hence cannot be taken to mean that only one language common to all, viz. , Aramaic, was spoken on the outpouring of the Spirit.

Verses 9-11

Acts 2:9-11 . The list which follows has been described as showing the trained hand of the historian, whilst it has also been regarded as a distinctly popular utterance in Greek style (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 149; but see also Rendall, Acts , Introd., p. 13). But, as Dean Plumptre well remarks, the omission of many countries which one might have expected shows that the list was not a made up list after the event, but that St. Luke had accurately mentioned the nations present at the Feast. The reference throughout is of course to Jews of the Dispersion, and Schürer (see too Schöttgen) well parallels the description given here of the extent of the Diaspora with the description in Agrippa’s letter to the Emperor Caligula given by Philo ( Legat. ad Gaium , 36. Mang., ii., 587). All commentators seem to be agreed in regarding the list as framed to some extent on geographical lines, beginning from Parthia the furthest east. Mr. Page holds that the countries named may be regarded as grouped not only geographically but historically. Of the Jews of the Dispersion there were four classes: (1) Eastern or Babylonian Jews, corresponding in the list to Parthians, Medes, Elamites; (2) Syrian Jews, corresponding to Judæa, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia; (3) Egyptian Jews, corresponding to Egypt and the parts of Libya over against Cyrene; (4) Roman Jews. (1) Parthia, mentioned here only in the N.T., is placed first, not only because of the vast extent of its empire from India to the Tigris, but because it then was the only power which had tried issues with Rome and had not been defeated, “Parthia” B.D. (Rawlinson). In Mesopotamia, Elam, and Babylonia were to be found the descendants of the kingdom of the Ten Tribes and of the kingdom of Judah, transported thither by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, now and until the reign of Trajan the subjects of the Parthians, but always of political importance to Rome from their position on the eastern borders of the Empire (Schürer, ubi supra , div. ii., vol. ii., pp. 223, 224 E.T.). At the head of (2), Ἰουδαίαν is placed by Mr. Page, i.e. , at the head of the group with which in his view it is geographically connected. Of Asia, as of Syria, it could be said that Jews dwelt in large numbers in every city, and the statement that Jews had settled in the most distant parts of Pontus is abundantly confirmed by the Jewish inscriptions in the Greek language found in the Crimea. Seleucus Nicator granted to the Jews in Syria and Asia the same privileges as those bestowed upon his Greek and Macedonian subjects (Jos., Ant. , xii., 31); and to Antiochus the Great was due the removal of two thousand Jewish families from Mesopotamia and Babylonia to Lydia and Phrygia (Schürer, l. c. , and “Antiochus III.,” B.D. 2 ; Jos., Ant. , xii., 3, 4). Mr. Page uses the word Ἰουδαία as equivalent to the land of the Jews, i.e. , Palestine and perhaps also to some part of Syria. In the former sense the word could undoubtedly be employed (Hamburger, “Judâa,” Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 5; so too by classical writers and by Strabo, “Judæa,” B.D.). But it is very doubtful how far the term can be extended to include any part of Syria, although Josephus ( B.J. , iii., 3, 5) speaks of the maritime places of Judæa extending as far as Ptolemais. It may well be that Syria was regarded as a kind of outer Palestine, intermediate between it and heathendom (Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life , pp. 16 19, 71, 73). St. Jerome reads Syria instead of Judæa, a reading to which Blass apparently inclines. Tertullian conjectured Armenia, c. Jude 1:7 , and Idumæa (so again Spitta), Bithynia and India have been proposed. It is often very difficult to say exactly what is meant by Asia, whether the term refers to the entire Roman province, which had been greatly increased in the first century B.C. since its formation in 133 B.C., or whether the word is used in its popular sense, as denoting the Ægean coast lands and excluding Phrygia. Here the term is used with the latter signification (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire , p. 150, and also “Asia” in Hastings, B.D.). At the head of (3) stands Egypt, where the Jewish Dispersion, especially in Alexandria, played so important a part in the history of civilisation. The greatest prosperity of the Jews in Egypt began with Alexander the Great, but long before his time, in the seventh century B.C., Jewish immigrants were in the country (Schürer, ubi supra , pp. 226, 227, and “Alexandria,” B.D. 2 ). From Egypt the Dispersion penetrated further westward (Schürer, u. s. , pp. 230, 231, and note), and in Libya Cyrenaica or Pentapolitana, the modern Tripoli , the Jews were very numerous; cf. for their history in Cyrene 1Ma 15:23 ; 2Ma 2:23 ; Jos., Ant. , xvi., 6, 1, 5, and Acts 6:9 ; Acts 11:30 ; Acts 13:1 ; Schürer, u. s. , p. 232, and Merivale, Romans under the Empire , pp. 364, 365. The expression used here, τὰ μέρη τῆς Λ . τῆς κατὰ Κ ., affords a striking parallel to that used by Dio Cassius, ἡ πρὸς Κυρήνην Λιβύη , liii., 12; cf. also Jos., Ant. , xvi., 16; “Cyrene,” B.D. 2 , and Hastings’ B.D. In (4) we have οἱ ἐπιδ . Ῥωμαῖοι . There is no ground for supposing that any Jews dwelt permanently in Rome before the time of Pompey, although their first appearance there dates from the days of the Maccabees ( 1Ma 8:17 ; 1Ma 14:24 ; 1Ma 15:15 ff.). Of the numerous Jewish families brought to Rome by Pompey many regained their freedom, and settled beyond the Tiber as a regular Jewish community with the rights of Roman citizenship. In 19 A.D., however, the whole Jewish population was banished from the imperial city, Jos., Ant. , xviii., 3, 5; but after the overthrow of Sejanus it may be safely assumed that Tiberius allowed their return to Rome (Schürer, u. s. , p. 232 ff.). οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες Ῥωμαῖοι , “Sojourners from Rome,” R.V., i.e. , the Jews who live at Rome as sojourners Roman Jews. Others take ἐπιδ . as referring to the Roman Jews who were making a temporary sojourn in Jerusalem for the Feast, or for some other purpose, the word being thus in a certain degree opposed to the κατοικοῦντες (of permanent dwelling) in Acts 2:5 . Others again apparently take the expression as describing Roman Jews who, born in Rome, had taken up their dwelling in Jerusalem, and who are thus distinguished from those Jews who, born in Jerusalem, were Romans by right of Roman citizenship. The only other passage in which ἐπιδημοῦντες occurs is Acts 17:21 (but cf. Acts 18:27 , [120] and [121] (Blass)), and it is there used of the ξένοι sojourning in Athens, and so probably thus making a temporary sojourn, or who were not Athenians by birth or citizenship, as distinct from the regular inhabitants of Athens. Cf. Athenæus, viii., p. 361 F. οἱ Ῥώμην κατοικοῦντες , καὶ οἱ ἐνεπιδημοῦντες τῇ πόλει , which passage shows that ἐπιδ . “minus significat quam κατοικεῖν ” (Blass), and other instances in Wetstein. Hilgenfeld, whose pages contain a long discussion of recent views of the words in question, argues that according to what precedes we should expect καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες Ῥώμην , and according to what follows we should expect simply Ῥωμαῖοι , and he solves the difficulty by the arbitrary method of omitting καὶ οἱ ἐπιδ . before Ῥωμαῖοι , and Ἰουδ . τε καὶ προσήλυτοι after it, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol. , p. 93 ff. (1895); see further Actus Apost. , p. 260, 1899. Ἰουδαῖοί τε καὶ προσήλυτοι . Not only would St. Luke in writing to a Roman convert of social rank like Theophilus be likely to mention the presence of Roman Jews at the first Christian Pentecost, but he would also emphasise the fact that they were not only Jews, or of Jewish origin, but that proselytes from heathendom were also included (Felten, Belser). In thus explaining the words Felten refers them, with Erasmus and Grotius, to οἱ ἐπιδ . Ῥωμαῖοι only, whilst Overbeck, Weiss, Holtzmann, Wendt, Belser, so Page, Hackett, refer them to the whole of the preceding catalogue. It is evident that Schürer takes the same view, for in speaking of the large offerings contributed by proselytes to the Temple at Jerusalem he mentions that in stating the number of Jews of every nationality living in Jerusalem the Acts does not forget to mention the proselytes along with the Jews, Acts 2:10 ( u. s. , p. 307).

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

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

Verse 11

Acts 2:11 . Κρῆτες καὶ Ἄραβες : both names seem to have been added to the list as an after-thought. Even if we cannot accept Nösgen’s idea that St. Luke is repeating verbatim the account which he had received orally from an eyewitness who had forgotten the Arabians and Cretans in going through the list geographically, yet the introduction of the two names in no apparent connection with the rest ought to show us that we are not dealing with an artificial list, but with a genuine record of the different nations represented at the Feast. Belser, who endorses this view, supposes that St. Luke obtained his information from an eyewitness who added the Cretans and Arabians supplementarily, just as a person might easily forget one or two names in going through a long list of representative nations at a festival. It is possible, as Belser suggests, that the Cretans and Arabians were thinly represented at the Pentecost, although the notices in Josephus and Philo’s letter mentioned above point to a large Jewish population in Crete. The special mention of the Cretans is strikingly in accordance with the statement of the Jewish envoys to Caligula, viz. , that all the more noted islands of the Mediterranean, including Crete, were full of Jews, “Crete,” B.D., 2 and Schürer, u. s. , p. 232. In R.V. “Cretans”; which marks the fact that the Greek Κρῆτες is a dissyllable; in A.V. “Cretes” this is easily forgotten ( cf. Titus 1:12 ). μεγαλεῖα only found here in N.T.; the reading of T.R., Luke 1:49 , cannot be supported; cf. Psalms 70:0 (71):19, where the word occurs in LXX. (Hebrew, גְּדלוֹת ) Sir 17:9 ; Sir 18:4 ; Sir 18:33 , Sir 42:21 , 3Ma 7:22 , R. The word is found in Josephus, and also in classical Greek: used here not only of the Resurrection of the Lord (Grotius), but of all that the prophets had foretold, of all that Christ had done and the Holy Ghost had conferred.

Verse 12

Acts 2:12 . διηπόρουν : not found in LXX (only in Psalms 76:5 , and Daniel 2:3 , Symmachus), and peculiar to St. Luke in the N.T., once in his Gospel, Luke 9:7 (Luke 24:4 ἀπορεῖσθαι , W.H [122] and R.V.), and three times in Acts, cf. Acts 5:24 ; Acts 10:17 . διηποροῦντο in R.V. “were perplexed”; A. V. “were in doubt,” although in Luke 24:4 this or a similar word is rendered as in R.V., “were (much) perplexed”. The Greek conveys the thought of utter uncertainty what to think, rather than doubt as to which opinion of several is right (Humphry). The word no doubt is frequently found in classical writers, and is found also in Philo (not in Josephus), but it may be worth noting that ἀπορία , εὐπορία , διαπορεῖν , εὐπορεῖν are all peculiar to St. Luke, and were terms constantly employed by medical writers (Hobart, Medical Language , etc., p. 163). τί ἂν θέλοι τοῦτο εἶναι θέλω was constantly used in this sense in classical writers, see instances in Wetstein. On the popular use of θέλω instead of βούλομαι in later Greek, cf. Blass, Acta Apostolorum , p. 15. Blass points out that St. Luke’s employment of βούλομαι is characteristic of his culture, although it must be remembered that the Evangelist uses θέλω (as here) very frequently.

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

Verse 13

Acts 2:13 . ἕτεροι δὲ : although the word is ἕτεροι , not ἄλλοι , it is doubtful how far it indicates a distinct class from those mentioned as speaking in Acts 2:7-12 . At the same time not only πάντες , Acts 2:12 , but also the behaviour of the ἕτεροι , seems to separate them from the εὐλαβεῖς in Acts 2:5 . χλευάζοντες : but stronger with the intensifying διά than the simple verb in Acts 17:32 ; used in classical Greek, Dem., Plato, and in Polybius here only in N.T., not found in LXX, although the simple verb is used (see below). γλεύκους : if the rendering R.V. “new wine” is adopted, the ridicule was indeed ill-timed, as at the Pentecost there was no new wine strictly speaking, the earliest vintage being in August ( cf. Chrysostom and Oecumenius, who see in such a charge the excessive folly and the excessive malignity of the scoffers). Neither the context nor the use of the word elsewhere obliges us to suppose that it is used here of unfermented wine. Its use in Lucian, Ep., Sat. , xxii. (to which reference is made by Wendt and Page), and also in LXX, Job 32:19 , ὥσπερ ἀσκὸς γλεύκους ζέων δεδεμένος , points to a wine still fermenting, intoxicating, while the definition of Hesychius, τὸ ἀπόσταγμα τῆς σταφυλῆς πρὶν πατηθῇ , refers its lusciousness to the quality of its make (from the purest juice of the grape), and not of necessity to the brevity of its age, see B.D. “Wine”. It would therefore be best to render “sweet wine,” made perhaps of a specially sweet small grape, cf. Genesis 49:11 . “The extraordinary candour of Christ’s biographers must not be forgotten. Notice also such sentences as ‘but some doubted,’ and in the account of Pentecost, ‘these men are full of new wine’. Such observations are wonderfully true to human nature, but no less wonderfully opposed to any ‘accretion’ theory”: Romanes, Thoughts on Religion , p. 156.

Verse 14

Acts 2:14 . σταθεὶς δὲ Πέτρος : St. Chrysostom rightly remarks on the change which had passed over St. Peter. In the place where a few weeks before he had denied with an oath that he knew “the man,” he now stands forth to proclaim him as the Christ and the Saviour. It is quite characteristic of St. Luke thus to introduce participles indicating the position or gesture of the speaker ( cf. Friedrich, Zöckler, Overbeck); cf. St. Luke 18:11 ; Luke 18:40 ; Luke 19:8 , Acts 5:40 ; Acts 11:13 ; Acts 17:2 ; Acts 25:18 ; Acts 27:21 . σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα , and so with Matthias; cf. Acts 5:32 , and Acts 1:22 . ἐπῆρε τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ : this phrase is only found in St. Luke’s Gospel (Acts 11:29 ) and the Acts (Acts 14:11 , Acts 22:22 ), but it is quite classical, so in Demosthenes, and in LXX it occurs several times. ἀπεφθέγξατο : “spake forth,” R.V., cf. Acts 26:25 , expressive of the solemnity of the utterance, see above in Acts 2:4 , and showing that St. Peter’s words were inspired no less than the speaking with tongues (Weiss). ἄνδρες Ἰουδαῖοι : no word of reproach, but an address of respect; the words may be taken quite generally to indicate not only those previously present, but also those who were attracted by the noise. There is no need to suppose that St. Peter addressed the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Jews as if they had been the only scoffers as distinct from the pilgrims from other lands. It is no doubt possible that the first part of the speech was addressed to the native home-bred residents, and that in Acts 2:22 St. Peter in the word Ἰσραηλῖται includes all the Jews whether resident in Jerusalem or not. ἐνωτίσασθε : only here in N.T., but frequent in LXX, especially in the Psalms. It usually translates Hebrew הֶאֱזִין from Hebrew אֹזֶן = ear; cf. inaurire; Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 130. “Give ear unto my words,” R.V. Auribus percipite , Vulg.

Verse 15

Acts 2:15 . ὥρα τρίτη τῆς ἡμέρας : the words refer to the hour of early prayer, 9 A.M., the Jews previously did not partake of food, and on festal days they abstained from food and drink until the sixth hour (twelve o’clock). But if Schürer (see on Acts 3:1 , and Blass, in loco ) is right in specifying other hours for prayer, the expression may mean that St. Peter appeals to the early period of the day as a proof that the charge of drunkenness was contrary to all reasonable probability.

Verse 17

Acts 2:17 . ἐν ταῖς ἐσχ . ἡμέρ ., i.e. , the time immediately preceding the Parousia of the Messiah (Weber, Jüdische Theologie , p. 372). The expression is introduced here instead of μετὰ ταῦτα , LXX, to show that St. Peter saw in the outpouring of the Spirit the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy, Acts 2:28-31 (LXX), and the dawn of the period preceding the return of Christ in glory, Isaiah 2:2 , Micah 4:1 (2 Timothy 3:1 , James 5:3 , Hebrews 1:1 ). λέγει ὁ Θεός : introduced possibly from Joel 2:12 , although wanting in LXX and Hebrew. ἐκχεῶ : Hellenistic future, Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 41, 42, 58, cf. Acts 10:45 , Titus 3:6 . In LXX the word is used as here, not only in Joel, but in Zach. Acts 12:10 , Sir 18:11 ; Sir 24:33 , but very often of pouring forth anger. ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύμ . μου , “I will pour forth of my Spirit,” R.V., so in LXX, but in Heb., “I will pour out my Spirit”. The partitive ἀπό may be accounted for by the thought that the Spirit of God considered in its entirety remains with God, and that men acquire only a certain portion of its energies (so Wendt, Holtzmann). Or the partitive force of the word may be taken as signifying the great diversity of the Spirit’s gifts and operations. See also Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 151 (1893). πᾶσαν σάρκα , i.e. , all men; but this expression in itself suggests a contrast beween the weakness and imperfection of humanity and the all-powerful working of the divine Spirit. The expression is Hebraistic, cf. Luke 3:6 , John 17:2 , and Sir 45:4 , and often in LXX. In Joel’s prophecy the expression only included the people of Israel, although the divine Spirit should be no longer limited to particular prophets or favoured individuals, but should be given to the whole nation. If we compare Acts 2:39 , the expression would include at least the members of the Diaspora, wherever they might be, but it is doubtful whether we can take it as including the heathen as such in St. Peter’s thoughts, although Hilgenfeld is so convinced that the verse Acts 2:39 can only refer to the heathen that he refers all the words from καὶ πᾶσι to the end of the verse to his “author to Theophilus”. Spitta on the other hand regards the expression as referring only to the Jews of the Diaspora; if the Gentiles had been intended, he thinks that we should have had τοῖς εἰς μακρὰν ἔθνεσιν as in Acts 22:21 . Undoubtedly we have an analogous expression to Acts 2:39 in Ephesians 2:13 , οἳ ποτε ὄντες μακράν , where the words evidently refer to the heathen, but we must not expect the universalism of St. Paul in the first public address of St. Peter: for him it is still ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν , “our God,” Acts 2:39 , and even the expression, πρῶτον , Acts 3:26 , in which Holtzmann sees a reference to the extension of the Messianic blessings to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, need only mean that in St. Peter’s view these blessings could only be secured by the Gentile through becoming a proselyte to the faith of Israel. It is thus only that St. Peter’s subsequent conduct becomes intelligible. The reading αὐτῶν instead of ὑμῶν in the next clause before both υἱοὶ and θυγατέρες if it is adopted (Blass [123] ) would seem to extend the scope of the prophecy beyond the limits of Israel proper. θυγατέρες : as Anna is called προφῆτις , Luke 2:36 , so too in the Christian Church the daughters of Philip are spoken of as προφητεύουσαι , Acts 21:9 . νεανίσκοι : in LXX and Hebrew the order is reversed. It may be that Bengel is right in drawing the distinction thus: “Apud juvenes maximi vigent sensus externi, visionibus opportuni: apud senes sensus interni, somniis accommodati”. But he adds “Non tamen adolescentes a somniis, neque sensus a visionibus excluduntur” (see also Keil, in loco ), and so Overbeck, Winer, Wendt see in the words simply an instance of the Hebrew love of parallelism. καί γε (in LXX) = Hebrew וְגַם only here in N.T. and in Acts 17:27 W.H [124] (and possibly in Luke 19:42 ) = “and even,” Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 255. The only good Attic instance of καί γε with an intervening word is to be found in Lysias, in Theomn. , ii., 7, although not a strict parallel to the passage before us, Simcox, Language of the N. T. , p. 168.

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

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

Verse 18

Acts 2:18 . As there was to be no limit of sex or age, so too there was no limit of condition. The word μου is not in the Hebrew, only in the LXX, but as it is found in the latter and in Acts it is argued that the words δούλους and δούλας do not mean those of servile rank, but are applied in a general sense to those who are worshippers, and so servants of God. But in retaining the word μου we are not obliged to reject the literal meaning “bond-servants,” just as St. Peter himself, in addressing household servants and slaves, commands them to act ὡς δοῦλοι θεοῦ (1 Peter 2:16 ): “Intelliguntur servi secundum carnem, diversi a liberis. Acts 2:17 , sed iidem servi Dei,” Bengel. According to Maimonides, no slave could be a prophet, but as in Christ there was neither Jew nor Gentile, neither male nor female, so in Him there was neither bond nor free (see also Keil, in loco ). καὶ προφητεύσουσι : an explanatory addition of the speaker, or an interpolation from Acts 2:17 , not found either in Hebrew or LXX.

Verse 19

Acts 2:19 . The word σημεῖα is wanting in the Hebrew and the LXX, but the co-ordination of the two words τέρας and σημεῖον is frequent in the N.T. (John 4:48 , Acts 4:30 , Romans 15:19 , 2 Corinthians 12:12 ), and even more so in the LXX (Exodus 7:3 ; Exodus 7:9 , Deuteronomy 4:34 , Nehemiah 9:10 , Daniel 6:27 ), so also in Josephus, Philo, Plutarch, Polybius. For the distinction between the words in the N.T., see below on Acts 2:22 . τέρας is often used of some startling portent, or of some strange appearance in the heavens, so here fitly used of the sun being turned into darkness, etc. But God’s τέρατα are always σημεῖα to those who have eyes to see, and significantly in the N.T. the former word is never found without the latter. It is no doubt true to say that St. Peter had already received a sign from heaven above in the ἦχος ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ , and a sign upon the earth below in the λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις (Nösgen), but the whole context, Acts 2:19-21 , shows that St. Peter’s thoughts had passed from the day of Pentecost to a period of grace and warning which should precede the Parousia. No explanation, therefore, of the words which limits their fulfilment to the Pentecostal Feast (see Keil, in loco , and also his reference to the interpretation of the Rabbis) is satisfactory. σημεῖα is probably introduced into the text to emphasise the antithesis, as also are ἄνω and κάτω . αἷμα καὶ πῦρ : if we see in these words σημεῖα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς κάτω , there is no need to refer them to such startling phenomena as rain of blood, or fiery meteors, or pillars of smoke rising from the earth (so De Wette, Overbeck), but rather to the bloodshed and devastation of war (so Holtzmann, Wendt, Felten); cf. our Lord’s words, Matthew 24:6 ; Matthew 24:29 . Dean Plumptre thinks of the imagery as drawn from one of the great thunderstorms of Palestine, and cf. Weber, Jüdische Theologie , pp. 350, 351 (1897).

Verse 20

Acts 2:20 . For similar prophetic imagery taken from the startling phenomena of an eclipse in Palestine, cf. Isaiah 13:10 , Ezekiel 32:7 , Amos 8:9 . πρὶν ἢ ἐλθεῖν . The LXX omit ἤ , and Weiss contends that this is the reason of its omission here in so many MSS. Weiss retains it as in Acts 7:2 , Acts 25:16 ; cf. also Luke 2:26 (but doubtful). Blass omits it here, but retains it in the other two passages cited from Acts: “Ionicum est non Atticum”; cf. Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 130 (1893). τὴν ἡμέραν Κυρίον . It is most significant that in the Epistles of the N.T. this O.T. phrase used of Jehovah is constantly applied to the Coming of Jesus Christ to judgment; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 , 1 Corinthians 1:8 , 2 Corinthians 1:14 , Philippians 1:10 ; Sabatier, L’Apôtre Paul , p. 104. καὶ ἐπιφανῆ : if the word is to be retained, it means a day manifest to all as being what it claims to be, Vulgate manifestus , “clearly visible”; Luke 17:24 ; also 1 Timothy 6:14 , 2 Thessalonians 2:8 , where the word ἐπιφάνεια is used of the Parousia ( cf. Prayer-Book, “the Epiphany or Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles”). But in the Hebrew the word הַנּוֹרָא = “terrible,” not “clearly visible,” and the LXX here, as elsewhere, Habakkuk 1:7 , Malachi 1:14 (Judges 13:6 , A.), etc., has failed to give a right derivation of the word which it connects with רָאָה , to see, instead of with יָרֵא , to fear (Niph. נוֹרָא and Part [125] , as here, “terrible”). Zöckler holds that the LXX read not הַנּוֹרָא , but הָנּוֹדָא .

[125]art. grammatical particle.

Verse 21

Acts 2:21 . ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα , the usual LXX rendering of a common Hebrew phrase. The expression is derived from the way in which prayers addressed to God begin with the invocation of the divine name, Psalms 3:2 ; Psalms 6:2 , etc., and a similar phrase is found in classical writers, ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τοὺς θεούς , Xen., Cyr. , vii., 1, 35; Plat., Tim. , p. 27, c.; Polyb., xv., 1, 13. From this it was an easy step to use the phrase as meaning the worshippers of the one God, Genesis 4:26 ; Gen 12:8 , 2 Kings 5:4 . It is therefore significant that the Christian converts at Corinth are described by the same phrase, 1 Corinthians 1:2 . But just as in Romans 10:12 this same prophecy of Joel is beyond all doubt referred by St. Paul to the Lord Jesus, so here the whole drift of St. Peter’s speech, that the same Jesus who was crucified was made both Lord and Christ, points to the same conclusion, Acts 2:36 . In Joel Κύριος is undoubtedly used of the Lord Jehovah, and the word is here transferred to Christ. In its bearing on our Lord’s Divinity this fact is of primary importance, for it is not merely that the early Christians addressed their Ascended Lord so many times by the same name which is used of Jehovah in the LXX although it is certainly remarkable that in 1 Thess. the name is applied to Christ more than twenty times but that they did not hesitate to refer to Him the attributes and the prophecies which the great prophets of the Jewish nation had associated with the name of Jehovah, Zahn, Skizzen aus dem Leben der alten Kirche , pp. 8, 10, 16 (1894), and for the force of the expression, ἐπικ . τὸ ὄνομα , in 1 Corinthians 1:2 , see Harnack, History of Dogma , i., p. 29, E.T. ὃς ἂν ἐποκ ., “whosoever”: it would seem that in St. Peter’s address the expression does not extend beyond the chosen people; cf. Acts 5:36 . σωθήσεται : to the Jew salvation would mean safety in the Messianic kingdom, and from the penalties of the Messianic judgment; for the Christian there would be a partial fulfilment in the flight of the believers to Pella for safety when the Son of Man came in the destruction of Jerusalem; but the word carries our thoughts far beyond any such subordinate fulfilment to the fulness of blessing for body and soul which the verb expresses on the lips of Christ; cf. Luke 7:50 . And so St. Luke places in the forefront of Acts as of his Gospel the thought of Jesus not only as the Messiah, but also as the Σωτήρ , Luke 2:14 ; cf. Psalms of Sol. , Acts 4:2 (Ryle and James).

Verse 22

Acts 2:22 . Ἰσραηλῖται : the tone of St. Peter throughout is that of a man who would win and not repulse his hearers, cf. Acts 5:29 , and so he commences the second part of his speech, in proof that Jesus was both Lord and Christ, with a title full of honour, reminding his hearers of their covenant relation with God, and preparing them for the declaration that the covenant was not broken but confirmed in the person of Jesus. Ἰ . τὸν Ναζ ., “the Nazarene,” the same word (not Ναζαρηνός ) formed part of the inscription on the Cross, and it is difficult to believe with Wendt that there is no reference to this in St. Peter’s words ( cf. προσπήξαντες , Acts 2:23 ; Acts 2:36 ), although no doubt the title was often used as a description of Jesus in popular speech, Acts 4:10 , Acts 26:9 . No contrast could be greater than between Ἰησοῦς the despised Nazarene ( ὁ Ν . οὗτος , Acts 6:14 ) dying a felon’s death, and Ἰησοῦς Χριστός , Acts 5:38 , ὑψωθείς , Acts 5:33 , no longer upon the Cross, but at a seat on the right hand of the Father ( cf. John 12:12 ); again the marvellous change which had passed over St. Peter is apparent: “If Christ had not risen,” argues St. Chrysostom, “how account for the fact that those who fled whilst He was alive, now dared a thousand perils for Him when dead? St. Peter, who is struck with fear by a servant-maid, comes boldly forward” (so too Theophylact). ἄνδρα ἀποδεδειγ . ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς ὑμᾶς , “a man approved of God unto you,” R.V. The word, only used by St. Luke and St. Paul in the N.T. ( cf. Act 25:7 , 1 Corinthians 4:9 , 2 Thessalonians 2:4 ) = demonstrated, and “approved” in its old meaning would be a good equivalent; so in classical Greek, in Plato and Aristotle, shown by argument, proved, cf. Acts 25:7 . The sense of the word is given by the gloss in δεδοκιμασμένον . It occurs in Esther 2:9 , AB, and Acts 3:13 (LXX), and several times in the Books of the Maccabees (see Hatch and Redpath, sub v. ). ἄνδρα : Erasmus commends the wisdom of Peter, “qui apud rudem multitudinem Christum magnifice laudat, sed virum tantum nominat, ut ex factis paullatim agnoscant Divinitatem”. ἀπό : probably here not simply for ὑπό (as Blass, and Felten, and others). The phrase means “a man demonstrated to have come unto you from God by mighty works,” etc. If the words may not be pressed to mean our Lord’s divine origin, they at least declare His divine mission (John 3:2 ), divinitus (Wendt in loco ). δυνάμεσι καὶ τέρασι καὶ σημείοις : cf. 2 Corinthians 12:12 , Hebrews 2:4 , and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ; cf. Romans 15:19 . σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα : no less than eight times in Acts. δυνάμεις is often rendered in a way which rather obscures its true form and meaning. Lit [126] = “powers,” and so here in R.V. margin, where in the text we have “mighty works,” so in Hebrews 2:4 . St. Luke is fond of using δύναμις of the power inherent in Christ, and so the plural might well be used of the outward manifestations of this power in Christ, or through Him in His disciples. The word therefore seems in itself to point to the new forces at work in the world (Trench, N. T. Synonyms , ii., p. 177 ff.). τέρατα : the word is never used in the N. T. alone as applied to our Lord’s works or those of His disciples, and this observation made by Origen is very importaut, since the one word which might seem to suggest the prodigies and portents of the heathen world is never used unless in combination with some other word, which at once raises the N.T. miracles to a higher level. And so whilst the ethical purpose of these miracles is least apparent in the word τέρατα , it is brought distinctly into view by the word with which τέρατα is so often joined σημεῖα , a term which points in its very meaning to something beyond itself. Blass therefore is not justified in speaking of σημεῖα and τέρατα as synonymous terms. The true distinction between them lies in remembering that in the N.T. all three words mentioned in this passage have the same denotation but a different connotation they are all used for miracles, but miracles regarded from different points of view (see Sanday and Headlam, Romans , p. 406). οἷς ἐποίησεν … ὁ Θεὸς . The words, as Alford points out against De Wette, do not express a low view of our Lord’s miracles. The favourite word used by St. John for the miracles of Christ, ἔργα , exactly corresponds to the phrase of St. Peter, since these ἔργα were the works of the Father Whom the Son revealed in them ( cf. St. John 5:19 ; John 14:10 ). καθὼς καὶ αὐτοὶ οἴδατε : Weiss rightly draws attention to the emphatic pronoun. The fact of the miracles was not denied, although their source was so terribly misrepresented; cf. “Jesus Christ in the Talmud,” Laible, E.T. (Streane), pp. 45 50 (1893).

[126] literal, literally.

Verse 23

Acts 2:23 . τοῦτον , emphatic, ἔκδοτον delivered up, by Judas, not by God; only here in the N.T., but see instances from Josephus, also from classical Greek, in Wetstein. In Dan., Theod., Bel and the Dragon Acts 2:22 . ὡρισμένῃ βουλῇ : both favourite words of St. Luke: ὡρις . used by him five times in the Acts 10:42 ; Acts 11:29 ; Acts 17:26 ; Acts 17:31 ; once by St. Paul, Romans 1:4 ; once in Hebrews, Hebrews 4:7 , and only in St. Luke amongst the Evangelists, Luke 22:22 , where our Lord Himself speaks of the events of His betrayal by the same word, κατὰ τὸ ὡρισμένον ( cf. Acts 24:26 ). βουλῇ : Wendt compares the Homeric Διὸς δʼ ἐτελείετο βουλή . The phrase βουλή τοῦ Θ . is used only by St. Luke; once in his Gospel, Acts 7:30 , and three times in Acts 13:36 ; Acts 20:27 (whilst βουλή is used twice in the Gospel, eight times in the Acts, and only three times elsewhere in the N.T., 1 Corinthians 4:5 , Ephesians 1:2 , Hebrews 6:17 ), but cf. Wis 6:4 ; Wis 9:13 , and often ἡ βουλή Κυρίου in LXX. προγνώσει : the word is only found again in 1 Peter 1:2 . and its occurrence in that place, and the thoughts which it expresses, may be classed amongst the points of contact between Acts and 1 Peter (see at end of chap. 3). In the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, which at one time seemed to Peter impossible, cf. Matthew 16:22 , he now sees the full accomplishment of God’s counsel, cf. Acts 3:20 , and 1 Peter 1:20 (Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte , p. 53, and also 48 52). In this spiritual insight now imparted to the Apostle we see a further proof of the illuminating power of the Holy Ghost, the gift of Pentecost, which he himself so emphatically acknowledges in his first epistle (Acts 1:1-12 ). διὰ χειρῶν , best explained as a Hebraism. Cf. for the frequent use of this Hebraistic expression, Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 126, 127; and Simcox, Language of the N. T. , p. 141. In the LXX, cf. 2 Kings 14:27 , 1Ch 11:3 ; 1 Chronicles 29:5 . St. Luke is very fond of these paraphrases with πρόσωπον and χείρ see Friedrich, Das Lukasevangelium , pp. 8, 9, and Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte , p. 77; cf. Acts 5:12 , Acts 7:25 , Acts 11:30 , Acts 14:3 , Acts 15:23 , Acts 19:11 , so ἐν χειρί , εἰς χεῖρας . ἀνόμων : “lawless,” R.V., generally taken to refer to the Roman soldiers who crucified our Lord, i.e. , Gentiles without law, as in 1 Corinthians 9:21 , Romans 2:14 . In Wis 17:2 the same word is used of the Egyptians who thought to oppress the holy nation they are described as ἄνομοι . προσπήξαντες , sc. , τῷ σταυρῷ : a graphic word used only here, with which we may compare the vivid description also by St. Peter in Acts 5:29-32 , Acts 10:39 , cf. 1 Peter 2:24 the language of one who could justly claim to be a witness of the sufferings of Christ, 1 Peter 5:1 . The word is not found in LXX, cf. Dio Cassius. ἀνείλατε : an Alexandrian form, see for similar instances, Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , pp. 159, 160. The verb is a favourite with St. Luke, nineteen times in Acts, twice in the Gospel, and only once elsewhere in the Evangelists, viz. , Matthew 2:16 , and the noun ἀναίρεσις is only found in Acts 8:10 (Acts 22:20 ), cf. its similar use in classical Greek and in the LXX. The fact that St. Peter thus describes the Jewish people as the actual murderers of Jesus is not a proof that in such language we have an instance of anti-Judaism quite inconsistent with the historical truth of the speech (Baur, Renan, Overbeck), but the Apostle sees vividly before his eyes essentially the same crowd at the Feast as had demanded the Cross of Jesus before the judgment-seat of Pilate, Nösgen, Apostelgeschichte , p. 103. ὃν ὁ Θεὸς ἀνέστησε , “est hoc summum orationis,” Blass, cf. Acts 5:32 , and Acts 1:22 .

Acts 2:24 . λύσας τὰς ὠδῖνας τοῦ θαν .: R.V. “pangs” instead of “pains” (all previous versions) approaches nearer to the literal form of the word “birth-pangs,” the resurrection of Christ being conceived of as a birth out of death, as the Fathers interpreted the passage. The phrase is found in the Psalms, LXX Psalms 17:4 , Psalms 114:3 , but it is most probable that the LXX has here mistaken the force of the Hebrew חבל which might mean “birth-pangs,” or the cords of a hunter catching his prey. In the Hebrew version the parallelism, such a favourite figure in Hebrew poetry, decides in favour of the latter meaning, as in R.V. Psalms 18:4-5 (LXX 18), Sheol and Death are personified as hunters lying in wait for their prey with nooses and nets (Kirkpatrick, Psalms , in loco , the word מוֹקְשֵׁי meaning snares by which birds or beasts are taken (Amos 3:5 )). In the previous verse the parallelism is also maintained if we read “the waves of death” ( cf. 2 Samuel 22:5 ) “compassed me, the floods of ungodliness made me afraid”. It is tempting to account for the reading ὠδῖνας by supposing that St. Luke had before him a source for St. Peter’s speech, and that he had given a mistaken rendering of the word חבל . But it would certainly seem that λύσας and κρατεῖσθαι are far more applicable to the idea of the hunter’s cords, in which the Christ could not be bound, since He was Himself the Life. A similar mistake in connection with the same Hebrew word חבל may possibly occur in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and Luke 21:34 . There is no occasion to find in the word any reference to the death-pains of Christ (so Grotius, Bengel), or to render ὠδῖνες pains and snares (Olshausen, Nösgen), and it is somewhat fanciful to explain with St. Chrysostom (so Theophylact and Oecumenius) ὁ θάνατος ὤδινε κατέχων αὐτὸν καὶ τὰ δεινὰ ἔπασχε . καθότι : only found in St. Luke, in Gospel twice, and in Acts four times (Friedrich); generally in classical Greek καθʼ ὅ τι ( cf. Tob 1:12 ; Tob 13:4 ). οὐκ ἦν δυνατὸν … γὰρ : the words primarily refer to the proof which St. Peter was about to adduce from prophecy, and the Scripture could not be broken. But whilst Baur sees in such an expression, as also in Acts 3:15 , a transition to Johannine conceptions of the Person of Jesus, every Christian gladly recognises in the words the moral impossibility that the Life could be holden by Death. On the impersonal construction, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 151 (1893). κρατεῖσθαι … ὑπʼ , cf. Luke 24:16 (John 20:23 ), only in these passages in passive voice in N.T., but cf. for similar use of the passive voice, Malachi 2:9; Malachi 2:9 , and so in Dem. Schmid compares this verse where the internal necessity of Christ’s resurrection is thus stated with 1 Peter 3:18 , showing that the πνεῦμα in Him possessed this power of life ( Biblische Theologie des N. T. , p. 402).

Verse 25

Acts 2:25 . Δαυεὶδ γὰρ λέγει : the words which follow are quoted by St. Peter from Psalms 16:0 ; and it has been said that the Apostle’s argument would be the same if the Psalm were the work of some other author than David. But if the following Psalm and the Psalm in question may with considerable reason be attributed to the same author, and if the former Psalm, the seventeenth, may be referred to the period of David’s persecution by Saul, then David’s authorship of Psalm sixteen becomes increasingly probable (Kirkpatrick). In Delitzsch’s view whatever can mark a Psalm as Davidic we actually find combined here, e.g. , coincidences of many kinds which he regards as undoubtedly Davidic ( cf. Acts 5:5 with Acts 11:6 , Acts 5:10 with Acts 4:4 , Acts 5:11 with Acts 17:15 ), and he sees no reason for giving up the testimony afforded by the title. But it is plain that David’s experience did not exhaust the meaning of the Psalm, and St. Peter in the fulness of the gift of Pentecost interprets the words εἰς αὐτὸν , “with reference to Him,” i.e. , the Messiah ( cf. St. Paul’s interpretation of the same Psalm in Acts 13:35 ). On the application of the Psalm as Messianic, cf. Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah , ii., p. 717. Προωρώμην : not “I foresaw,” but “I beheld the Lord always before my face,” LXX; Heb., “I have set the Lord always before me”. Κύριον = Jehovah. ἐκ δεξιῶν μου : as a defence and helper. Cf. παραστάτης , Xen., Cyr. , iii., 3, 21. The imagery may be taken from that of the trials in which advocates stood at the right hand of their clients (Psalms 109:31 ), or there may be a reference to a champion who, in defending another, would stand on his right hand; cf. Psalms 110:5 ; Psalms 121:5 (Kirkpatrick, and Robertson Smith, Expositor , 1876, p. 351). ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ : although the verses which follow contain the chief Messianic references in St. Peter’s interpretation, yet in the fullest sense of the words the Christ could say προωρ . κ . τ . λ . (see Felten, in loco ). But because the Father was with Him, He could add διὰ τοῦτο εὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου : “the heart” in O.T. is not only the heart of the affections, but the centre of the man’s whole moral and intellectual nature (Oehler, Theol. des A.T. , p. 71). εὐφράνθη refers rather to a joyous state of mind, “was glad,” R.V., ἠγαλλιάσατο used of outward and active expression of joy is rendered “rejoiced,” R.V. (in A.V. the meaning of the two verbs is transposed). At the same time εὐφράνθη is sometimes used in LXX and N.T., as in modern Greek of festive enjoyment, Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 155. ἡ γλῶσσά μου : in Hebrew כְּבוֹדִי “my glory,” i.e. , my soul, my spirit ( cf. Genesis 49:6 , Schöttgen). The Arabs use a similar expression for the eye, the hand, or any member of the body held in special honour ( cf. Lumby on Psalms 108:1 ). ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ : flesh does not here mean the dead corpse but the living body (Perowne, Kirkpatrick). κατασκηνώσει , “shall dwell in safety,” R.V., “confidently,” margin (O.T.); the expression is used frequently of dwelling safely in the Promised Land. In N.T. the R.V. translates “shall dwell,” “tabernacle” margin, shall dwell as in a tent, a temporary abode. In its literal meaning, therefore, there is no reference to the rest of the body in the grave, or to the hope of resurrection from the grave, but the words must be understood of this life (Perowne); cf. Deuteronomy 33:12 ; Deuteronomy 33:28 , Psalms 4:8 ; Psalms 25:13 , Jeremiah 23:6 ; Jeremiah 33:16 . For the hope of the Psalmist, expressed in the following words, is primarily for preservation from death: “Thou wilt not give up my soul to Sheol [ i.e. , to the underworld, so that one becomes its prey], neither wilt thou suffer thy beloved one [singular] to see the pit” (so Delitzsch and Perowne, as also R. Smith and Kirkpatrick).

Verse 27

Acts 2:27 . In LXX and N.T. rightly εἰς ᾅδην . W.H [127] ; cf. also Briggs, Messianic Prophecies , p. 24; although in T.R. as usually in Attic, εἰς ᾅδου , sc. , δόμον . Blass regards as simply usurping in the common dialect the place of ἐν , but we can scarcely explain the force of the preposition here in this way. ἐγκαταλείψεις used of utter abandonment, cf. Psalms 22:1 ( cf. 2 Timothy 4:10 ; 2 Timothy 4:16 ). εἰς ᾅδην : whilst it is true that the Psalmist “says nothing about what shall happen to him after death” (Perowne), he expresses his conviction that his soul would not be given up to the land of gloom and forgetfulness, the abode of the dead, dark and cheerless, with which the Psalmist cannot associate the thought of life and light (see also on Acts 2:31 ). οὐδὲ δώσεις : in R.V. (O.T.) the word “suffer” is retained, but in R.V. (N.T.) we find “thou wilt not give,” the Hebrew נתן being used in this sense to permit, to suffer, to let, like δίδωμι and dare , Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 156 (1893). τὸν ὅσιόν σου : the Hebrew Châsîd which is thus sometimes translated in the LXX (Vulgate, Sanctus ) is often rendered “thy beloved one,” and the word denotes not only one who is godly and pious, but also one who is the object of Jehovah’s loving-kindness. The word might well be used of Him, Who was not only the Holy One of God, but ὁ ἀγαπητὸς υἱός , “the beloved Son”. On the word Châsîd see Kirkpatrick, Psalms , Appendix, p. 221. ἰδεῖν διαφθοράν : “corruption” or “the pit,” margin R.V. (O.T.), but in the N.T. simply “corruption” (A. and R.V.), Vulgate, corruptio . In the LXX the Hebrew שַׁחַת is often rendered διαφθορά , “corruption,” as if derived from שָׁחַת διαφθείρειν , “to corrupt”; not, however, in the sense of corruption, putridity, but of destruction. The derivation however is probably from שׁוּחַ , to sink down, hence it means a pit, and sometimes a sepulchre, a grave, Psalms 30:10 ; Psalm 55:24, so here “to see the grave,” i.e. , to die and be buried, cf. Psalms 49:10 (see Robinson’s Gesenius , p. 1053, note, twenty-sixth edition). Dr. Robertson Smith maintains that there are two Hebrew words the same in form but different in origin, one masculine = putrefaction or corruption , the other feminine = the deep or the pit . So far he agrees with the note in Gesenius, u. s. , that the word διαφθορά should here be rendered by the latter, the pit , but he takes the rendering, the deep or the pit , as an epithet not of the grave but of Sheol or Hades (see Expositor , p. 354, 1876, the whole paper on “The Sixteenth Psalm,” by Dr. R. Smith, should be consulted, and p. 354 compared with the note in Gesenius ), and this view certainly seems to fit in better with the parallelism.

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

Verse 28

Acts 2:28 . ἐγνώρισάς μοι ὁδοὺς ζωῆς : St. Peter quotes from the LXX, which has the plural ὁδούς so in Proverbs 5:6 , where Hebrew has the same word as here in the singular, the LXX translates ὁδοὺς ζωῆς . μετὰ τοῦ προσώπου σου , “with thy countenance” = “in thy presence,” margin; = Hebrew, “in thy presence”. The LXX πρόσωπον is a literal translation of the Hebrew פָּנִים , face or countenance , in the O.T. The expression is a common one in the O.T., “in God’s presence”; cf. Psalms 4:6 ; Psalms 17:15 ; Psalms 21:6 ; Psalms 140:13 . Grimm-Thayer explains ( με ) ὄντα μετὰ , etc., “being in thy presence” (see sub μετὰ , i. 2 b ). The force of the expression is strikingly seen in its repeated use in Numbers 6:25 ; cf. Exodus 33:14 ; Oehler, Theologie des A. T. , pp. 46, 56, 62, and Westcott, Hebrews , p. 272. And so the Psalm ends as it had begun with God; cf. Acts 2:2 , and Acts 2:11 . The Psalmist’s thoughts carried him beyond mere temporal deliverance, beyond the changes and chances of this mortal life, to the assurance of a union with God, which death could not dissolve; while as Christians we read with St. Peter a deeper and a fuller meaning still in the words, as we recall the Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Him, of Whom it was written: ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν .

Verse 29

Acts 2:29 . ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί : an affectionate form of address as compared with Acts 2:14 ; Acts 2:22 ( cf. Acts 7:2 , Acts 22:1 ), but still much more formal than Acts 3:17 , where we have ἀδελφοί alone in St. Peter’s pity for those who crucifying the Saviour knew not what they did. ἐξὸν , sc. , ἐστι (with infinitive), cf. 2 Corinthians 12:4 , only in N.T. Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 200 (1893), cf. LXX Esther 4:2 ; 4Ma 5:18 ; not “may I speak unto you,” but “I may say unto you,” R.V., not = ἔστω , but ἐστί ( ἔξεστι ), Wendt, in loco . μετὰ παρρησίας : on the phrase, see below, Acts 4:13 , and its repeated use by St. Luke; cf. Hebrews 4:16 ; Lat., cum fiducia , Westcott, Hebrews , p. 108. In the LXX the phrase is found, Leviticus 26:13 , Esther 8:12 , 1Ma 4:18 , Malachi 4:1; Malachi 4:1 ; 3Ma 7:12 . St. Peter will first of all state facts which cannot be denied, before he proceeds to show how the words used of David are fulfilled in “great David’s greater Son”. He speaks of David in terms which indicate his respect for his name and memory, and as Bengel well says, “est igitur hoc loco προθεραπεία , prævia sermonis mitigatio” (“est hæc προθερ . ut aiunt rhetores,” Blass, in loco ). τοῦ πατριάρχου , the name is emphatically used in the N.T. of Abraham; cf. Hebrews 7:4 (properly the ἄρχων ( auctor ), πατριᾶς ), and of the sons of Jacob, Acts 7:8-9 , and cf. 4Ma 7:19 , used of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the LXX it is used of the “heads of the fathers’ houses,” 1 Chronicles 9:9 ; 1 Chronicles 24:31 , in a comparatively lower sense. Here used, as a term of high honour, of David, regarded as the ancestor of the kingly race. See on the word and its formation, Kennedy, Sources of New Testament Greek , p. 114. ὅτι καὶ ἐτελεύτησε καὶ ἐτάφη : “that he both died and was buried,” R.V. St. Peter states notorious facts, and refers to them in a way which could not wound the susceptibilities of his hearers, whilst he shows them that David’s words were not exhausted in his own case. The argument is practically the same as that of St. Paul in Acts 13:36 from the same Psalm. καὶ τὸ μνῆμα αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ἐν ἡμῖν , i.e. , in Jerusalem, the mention of the tomb emphasises the fact and certainty of the death of David, and implies that his body had seen corruption. That David’s tomb was shown in the time of Nehemiah we know from Nehemiah 3:16 . From Jos., Ant. , vii., 15, 3; xiii., 8, 4; B. J. , i., 2, 5, we learn that Solomon had buried a large treasure in the tomb, and that on that account one of its chambers had been broken open by Hyrcanus, and another by Herod the Great. According to Jos., Ant. , xvi., 7, 1, Herod, not content with rifling the tomb, desired to penetrate further, even as far as the bodies of David and Solomon, but a flame burst forth and slew two of his guards, and the king fled. To this attempt the Jewish historian attributed the growing troubles in Herod’s family. In the time of Hadrian the tomb is said to have fallen into ruins. Whatever its exact site, it must have been within the walls, and therefore could not correspond with the so called “tombs of the kings” which De Saulcy identified with it. Those tombs are outside the walls, and are of the Roman period (Schürer, Jewish People , div. i., vol. i., p. 276, E.T., “David,” B.D. 2 ). Wetstein, in loco , quotes the testimony of Maundrell as to the sepulchres of David and his family being the only sepulchres within the walls. St. Jerome, Epist. , xlvi., writing to Marcella, expresses a hope that they might pray together in the mausoleum of David; so that at the end of the fourth century tradition must still have claimed to mark the spot.

Verse 30

Acts 2:30 . προφήτης : as David could not have spoken this Psalm of himself, he spoke it of some other, who was none other than the Messiah here the word is used in the double sense of one declaring God’s will, and also of one foretelling how that will would be fulfilled. ὑπάρχων : another favourite word of St. Luke, in his Gospel, and especially in Acts; in the former it is found seven times, and in the latter no less than twenty-four times, and in all parts (excluding τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ), Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , p. 7. It is not used by the other Evangelists. In the N.T., as in later Greek, it is often weakened into an equivalent of εἶναι ; Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 239. Here it may indicate that David was a prophet, not only in this one instance, but constantly with reference to the Messiah. ὅρκῳ ὤμοσεν , Hebraistic; cf. Acts 2:17 . Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 141 (1896); for the oath cf. Psalms 132:11 , 2 Samuel 7:16 . ἐκ καρποῦ τῆς ὀσφύος αὐτοῦ , i.e. , of his offspring. It is a common Hebraistic form of expression ὀσφύς read here, but κοιλία in Ps. 131:11 (LXX); cf. Genesis 35:11 and 2 Chronicles 6:9 (Hebrews 7:5 ). With regard to the human element in the Person of Jesus, Peter speaks of him as a descendant of David according to prophecy, as in the Synoptists and Romans 1:3 (Schmid). The exact expression, καρπὸς τῆς ὀσφύος , is not found in the LXX, but καρ . τῆς κοιλίας is found, not only in the Psalm quoted but in Micah 6:7 (Lamentations 2:20 ), where the same Hebrew words are used as in the Psalm: ὀσφύς in the LXX is several times a translation of another Hebrew word חֲלָצַיִם (dual). This partitive construction (supply τινα ) is also a Hebraistic mode of expression, and frequent in the LXX; cf. Acts 2:18 , Acts 5:2 . See Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 151 (1896).

Verse 31

Acts 2:31 . προϊδών , cf. Galatians 3:8 . The word ascribes prophetic consciousness to David in the composition of the Psalm, but, as we learn from St. Peter himself, that prophetic consciousness did not involve a distinct knowledge of the events foretold (1 Peter 1:10-12 ); that which the Holy Ghost presignified was only in part clear to the prophets, both as to the date of fulfilment and also as to historical shaping (Schmid, Biblische Theol. des N. T. , p. 395, and Alford, in loco ). ὅτι : introducing the words which follow as a fuller explanation, or simply as expressing a well-known fact. ἐγκατελείφθη … εἶδεν : aorists, not futures, because from St. Peter’s standpoint the prophecy had been already fulfilled (Felten, Wendt). With this verse we naturally compare the mention of Christ’s descent into Hades and His agency in the realms of the dead in St. Peter’s First Epistle, Acts 3:19 ( cf. Philippians 2:10 , Ephesians 4:9 , Romans 10:7 ; Zahn, Das Apost. Symbolum , pp. 71 74; but see also Schmid, ubi supra , p. 414). Thus while the words bore, as we have seen, a primary and lower reference to David himself, St. Peter was led by the Holy Ghost to see their higher and grander fulfilment in Christ. εἰς ᾅδου : on the construction see above on Acts 2:27 , and on the Jewish view of Sheol or Hades in the time of our Lord as an intermediate state, see Charles, Book of Enoch , p. 168 and p. 94, and compare also the interesting although indirect parallel to 1 Peter 3:19 , which he finds in The Book of the Secrets of Enoch , p. 45. ff.; Weber, Jüdische Theologie , pp. 163, 341.

Verse 32

Acts 2:32 . οὗ : may be masculine = Christ, cf. Acts 13:31 , but is taken as neuter by Blass (so too Overbeck, Holtzmann, Weiss, Wendt, Felten). Bengel remarks “nempe Dei qui id fecit,” and compares Acts 5:32 , Acts 10:41 , and 1 Corinthians 15:15 .

Verse 33

Acts 2:33 . οὖν : the Ascension is a necessary sequel to the Resurrection, cf. Weiss, Leben Jesu , iii., 409 ff. and in loco . Or the word may mark the result of the assured and manifold testimony to the Resurrection, to which the Apostle had just appealed: “Confirmata resurrectione Christi, ascensio non potest in dubium vocari,” Bengel. τῇ δεξιᾷ τοῦ Θεοῦ : best to take the words as an instrumental dative, so in Acts 5:31 , with the majority of recent commentators. On grammatical grounds it would be difficult to justify the rendering “ to the right hand ” (although taken in connection with Acts 5:34 it would give very good sense), since such a combination of the dative alone is found only in the poets, and never in prose in classical Greek. The only other instances adduced, Acts 21:16 and Revelation 2:16 , can be otherwise explained, cf. Winer-Moulton, xxxi., p. 268. On Judges 11:18 (LXX) quoted in support of the local rendering by Fritzsch, see Wendt’s full note in loco . The instrumental meaning follows naturally upon Acts 2:32 the Ascension, as the Resurrection, was the mighty deed of God, Philippians 2:9 . There is therefore no occasion to regard the expression with De Wette as a Hebraism, see Wetstein, in loco . ὑψωθείς , cf. especially John 12:32 , and Westcott’s note on John 3:14 . The word is frequently found in LXX. As Lightfoot points out, in our Lord Himself the divine law which He Himself had enunciated was fulfilled, ὁ ταπεινῶν ἑαυτὸν ὑψωθήσεται (Luke 14:11 ; Luke 18:14 ). τήν τε ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος κ . τ . λ ., see above on Acts 1:4 (Galatians 3:14 ). The language of St. Peter is in agreement with, but yet independent of, that in St. John, whilst it calmly certifies the fulfilment of our Lord’s promise. ἐξέχεε : “hath poured forth,” R.V. All previous English versions except Rhem. = A.V. The verb is used in the LXX in the prophecy cited above, Joel 2:28-29 ( cf. also Zechariah 12:10 ), although it is not used in the Gospels of the outpouring of the Spirit. τοῦτο : either the Holy Ghost, as the Vulgate takes it, or an independent neuter “this which ye see and hear,” i.e. , in the bearing and speech of the assembled Apostles. St. Peter thus leads his hearers to infer that that which is poured out is by its effects nothing else than the Holy Ghost. It is noteworthy that just as Joel speaks of God, the Lord Jehovah, pouring out of His Spirit, so the same divine energy is here attributed by St. Peter to Jesus. See above on Acts 2:17 .

Verse 34

Acts 2:34 . St. Peter does not demand belief upon his own assertion, but he again appeals to the Scriptures, and to words which could not have received a fulfilment in the case of David. In this appeal he reproduces the very words in which, some seven weeks before, our Lord Himself had convicted the scribes of error in their interpretation of this same Psalm (Matthew 22:44 , Mark 12:35 , Luke 20:41 ), and, “unlearned” in the eyes of the scribes, had answered the question which they could not answer, how David’s Son was also David’s Lord. No passage of Scripture is so constantly referred to in the N.T. as this 110th Psalm, cf. references above, and also 1 Corinthians 15:25 , Hebrews 1:13 ; Hebrews 5:6 ; Hebrews 7:17 ; Hebrews 7:21 ; Hebrews 10:13 . The Psalm was always regarded as Messianic by the Jews (Weber, Jüdische Theologie , p. 357 (1897); Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah , ii., 720 (Appendix); Cheyne, Origin of the Psalter , p. 35; Driver, Introduction to O. T. , pp. 362, 363; and if it had not been so in the time of our Lord, it is obvious that His argument would have missed its point if those to whom He addressed His question “What think ye of the Christ?” could have answered that David was not speaking of the coming Messiah. For earlier interpretations of the Psalm, and the patristic testimony to its Messianic character, see Speaker’s Commentary , iv., 427, and on the authorship see Gifford, Authorship of the 110 th. Psalm , with Appendix, 1895 (SPCK), and Delitzsch, Psalms , iii., pp. 163 176, E.T. κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου : κάθου contracted for κάθησο ( cf. also Mark 12:36 , Hebrews 1:13 ); this “popular” form, which is also found in the Fragments of the comic writers, is the present imperative of κάθημαι in modern Greek, Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 162. In the LXX it is frequently used (see Hatch and Redpath, sub. v. ). ἕως : the word does not imply that Christ shall cease to reign subsequently: the word here, as elsewhere, does not imply that what is expressed will only have place up to a certain time ( cf. Genesis 33:15 , Deuteronomy 7:4 , 2 Chronicles 6:23 ; cf. 1 Timothy 4:13 ), rather is it true to say that Christ will only then rightly rule, when He has subjugated all His enemies. ἄν with ἕως as here, where it is left doubtful when that will take place to which it is said a thing will continue (Grimm-Thayer, and instances sub ἕως , i., 1 b ). ὑποπόδιον , cf. Joshua 10:24 , referring to the custom of conquering kings placing their feet upon the necks of their conquered enemies (so Blass, in loco , amongst recent commentators).

Verse 36

Acts 2:36 . ἀσφαλῶς : used here emphatically; the Apostle would emphasise the conclusion which he is about to draw from his three texts; cf. Acts 21:34 , Acts 22:30 , and Wis 18:6 (so in classical Greek). πᾶς οἶκος Ἰσρ ., without the article, for οἶκος Ἰ . is regarded as a proper name, cf. LXX, 1 Samuel 7:2 , 1 Kings 12:23 , Nehemiah 4:16 , Ezekiel 45:6 , or it may be reckoned as Hebraistic, Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 147, 158. καὶ Κύριον καὶ Χριστόν : the Κύριος plainly refers to the prophetic utterance just cited. Although in the first verse of Psalms 110:0 the words τῷ Κυρίῳ μου are not to be taken as a name of God, for the expression is Adoni not Adonai (“the LORD saith unto my Lord,” R.V.), and is simply a title of honour and respect, which was used of earthly superiors, e.g. , of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Sisera, Naaman, yet St. Peter had called David a Prophet, and only in the Person of the Risen and Ascended Christ Who had sat down with His Father on His Throne could the Apostle see an adequate fulfilment of David’s prophecy, or an adequate realisation of the anticipations of the Christ. So in the early Church, Justin Martyr, Apol. , i., 60, appeals to the words of “the prophet David” in this same Psalm as foretelling the Ascension of Christ and His reign over His spiritual enemies. On the remarkable expression Χριστὸς Κύριος in connection with Psalms 110:1 , see Ryle and James, Psalms of Solomon , pp. 141 143, cf. with the passage here Acts 10:36 ; Acts 10:42 . In 1 Peter 3:15 we have the phrase Κύριον δὲ Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε κ . τ . λ . (R.V. and W.H [128] ), “sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord” (R.V.), where St. Peter does not hesitate to command that Christ be sanctified in our hearts as Lord, in words which are used in the O.T. of the LORD of hosts, Isaiah 8:13 , and His sanctification by Israel. If it is said that it has been already shown that in Psalms 110:1 Christ is referred to not as the Lord but as “my lord,” it must not be forgotten that an exact parallel to 1 Peter 3:15 and its high Christology may be found in this first sermon of St. Peter, cf. note on Acts 2:18-21 ; Acts 2:33 . τοῦτον τὸν Ι . ὃν ὑμεῖς ἐσταυρώσατε , “hath made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified,” R.V., so Vulgate. The A.V., following Tyndale and Cranmer, inverts the clauses, but fails to mark what Bengel so well calls aculeus in fine , the stinging effect with which St. Peter’s words would fall on the ears of his audience, many of whom may have joined in the cry, Crucify Him! (Chrysostom). Holtzmann describes this last clause of the speech as “ein schwerer Schlusstein zur Krönung des Gebäudes”.

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

Verse 37

Acts 2:37 . κατενύγησαν τὴν καρδίαν : no word could better make known that the sting of the last word had begun to work (see Theophylact, in loco ) = compungo , so in Vulg. The word is not used in classical Greek in the same sense as here, but the simple verb νύσσειν is so used. In LXX the best parallels are Genesis 34:7 , Ps. 108:16 (Psalms 109:16 ): cf. Cicero, De Orat. , iii., 34. “Hoc pœenitentiæ initium est, hic ad pietatem ingressus, tristitiam ex peccatis nostris concipere ac malorum nostrorum sensu vulnerari … sed compunctioni accedere debet promptitudo ad parendum,” Calvin, in loco . τί ποιήσωμεν ; conj., delib., cf. Luke 3:10 ; Luke 3:12 ; Luke 3:14 , Mark 12:14 ; Mark 14:12 , John 12:27 , Matthew 26:54 , Burton, Moods and Tenses of N. T. Greek , pp. 76, 126, and Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 28 ff. (1893). ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί : indicating respect and regard St. Peter’s address had not been in vain “ non ita dixerant prius ” Bengel; but now the words come as a response to St. Peter’s own appeal, Acts 5:29 , cf. also Oecumenius, (so too Theophylact), καὶ οἰκειωτικῶς αὐτοὺς ἀδελφοὺς καλοῦσιν , οὒς πρώην ἐχλεύαζον . μετανοήσατε , Luke 24:47 . The Apostles began, as the Baptist began, Matthew 3:2 , as the Christ Himself began, Matthew 4:17 , Mark 1:15 , with the exhortation to repentance, to a change of heart and life, not to mere regret for the past. On the distinction between μετανοεῖν and μεταμέλομαι , see Trench, N. T. Synonyms , i., 208. Dr. Thayer remarks that the distinction drawn by Trench is hardly sustained by usage, but at the same time he allows that μετανοεῖν is undoubtedly the fuller and nobler term, expressive of moral action and issues, as is indicated by the fact that it is often employed in the imperative ( μεταμέλομαι never), and by its construction with ἀπό , ἐκ cf. also Acts 20:31 , ἡ εἰς θεὸν μετάνοια (Synonyms in Grimm-Thayer, sub μεταμέλομαι ) Christian Baptism was not admission to some new club or society of virtue, it was not primarily a token of mutual love and brotherhood, although it purified and strengthened both, cf. Acts 2:44 ff.

Verse 38

Acts 2:38 . βαπτισθήτω : “Non satis est Christocredere, sed oportet et Christianum profiteri, Romans 10:10 , quod Christus per baptismum fieri voluit,” Grotius. John’s baptism had been a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, but the work of St. Peter and of his fellow-Apostles was no mere continuation of that of the Baptist, cf. Acts 19:4-5 . Their baptism was to be ἐπὶ ( ἐν ) τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰ . Χ . St. Peter’s address had been directed to the proof that Jesus was the Christ, and it was only natural that the acknowledgment of the cogency of that proof should form the ground of admission to the Christian Church: the ground of the admission to baptism was the recognition of Jesus as the Christ. The reading ἐπί (see especially Weiss, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 35, 36) brings this out more clearly than ἐν . It is much better to explain thus than to say that baptism in the name of one of the Persons of the Trinity involves the names of the other Persons also, or to suppose with Bengel (so Plumptre) that the formula in Matthew 28:19 was used for Gentiles, whilst for Jews or Proselytes who already acknowledged a Father and a Holy Spirit baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus sufficed; or to conjecture with Neander that Matthew 28:19 was not at first considered as a formula to be adhered to rigidly in baptism, but that the rite was performed with reference to Christ’s name alone. This difficulty, of which so much has been made, does not appear to have pressed upon the early Church, for it is remarkable that the passage in the Didache 1 , vii., 3, which is rightly cited to prove the early existence of the Invocation of the Holy Trinity in baptism, is closely followed by another in which we read (ix. 5) μηδεὶς δὲ φαγέτω μηδὲ πιέτω ἀπὸ τῆς εὐχαριστίας ὑμῶν , ἀλλʼ οἱ βαπτισθέντες εἰς ὄνομα Κυρίου , i.e. , Christ, as the immediate context shows. εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν εἰς , “unto” R.V., signifying the aim. It has been objected that St. Peter lays no stress upon the death of Christ in this connection, but rather upon His Resurrection. But we cannot doubt that St. Peter who had emphasised the fact of the crucifixion would have remembered his Master’s solemn declaration a few hours before His death, Matthew 26:28 . Even if the words in this Gospel εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν are rejected, the fact remains that St. Peter would have connected the thought of the forgiveness of sins, a prerogative which, as every Jew was eager to maintain, belonged to God and to God alone, with the (new) covenant which Christ had ratified by His death. Harnack admits that however difficult it may be to explain precisely the words of Jesus to the disciples at the Last Supper, yet one thing is certain, that He connected the forgiveness of sins with His death, Dogmengeschichte , i., pp. 55 and 59, see also “Covenant,” Hastings, B.D., p. 512. ὑμῶν : the R.V. has this addition, so too the Vulgate (Wycl. and Rheims). As each individual ἕκαστος was to be baptised, so each, if truly penitent, would receive the forgiveness of his sins. τὴν δωρεὰν , not χάρισμα as in 1 Corinthians 12:4 ; 1 Corinthians 12:9 ; 1 Corinthians 12:28 , for the Holy Ghost, the gift, was a personal and abiding possession, but the χαρίσματα were for a time answering to special needs, and enjoyed by those to whom God distributed them. The word is used specially of the gift of the Holy Ghost by St. Luke four times in Acts 8:20 ; Acts 10:45 ; Acts 11:17 , but by no other Evangelist ( cf. , however, Luke 11:13 ), cf. Hebrews 6:4 (John 4:10 ).

Verse 39

Acts 2:39 . ὑμῖν γὰρ : the promise was made to the very men who had invoked upon themselves and upon their children, St. Matthew 27:25 , the blood of the Crucified. See Psalms of Solomon , Acts 8:39 (Ryle and James’ edition, p. 88). πᾶσι τοῖς εἰς μακράν : no occasion with Wendt and others to limit the words to the Jews of the Diaspora. It must not be forgotten that the Apostles were not surprised that the Gentiles should be admitted to the Christian Church, but only that they should be admitted without conforming to the rite of circumcision. If we compare Acts 3:26 , and Ephesians 2:13 ; Acts 2:17 ( cf. Romans 10:13 ), it would seem that no restriction of race was placed upon the declaration of the Gospel message, provided that it was made to the Jew first (as was always Paul’s custom). Hilgenfeld interprets the words as referring beyond all doubt to the Gentiles, since ὑμῖν … ὑμῶν had already expressed the Diaspora Jews. But he contends that as Acts 2:26 plainly intimates that the address was delivered only to Israelites, the words in question are added by “the author to Theophilus”. He therefore places them in brackets. Jüngst in the same way thinks it well to refer them to the Redactor, and Feine refers them to Luke himself as Reviser. Weiss sees in the words an allusion to an O.T. passage which could only have been applied at first to the calling of the Gentiles, but which (in the connection in which it is here placed by the narrator) must be referred to the Jews of the Diaspora. It may well have been that (as in Holtzmann’s view) St. Peter’s audience only thought of the Jews of the Diaspora, but we can see in his words a wider and a deeper meaning, cf. Isaiah 5:26 , and cf. also Isaiah 2:2 , Zechariah 6:15 . Among the older commentators Oecumenius and Theophylact referred the words to the Gentiles. ὅσους ἂν προσκαλέσηται Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν . Wendt presses the to favour his view that St. Peter thinks only of the Jews and not of the Gentiles, since he speaks of “our God,” but Blass catches the meaning much better in his comment: “ ἡμῶν Israelitarum, qui idem gentes ad se vocat”. This gives the true force of προσκαλ ., “shall call unto him” (so R.V.). Oecumenius also comments on the words as revealing the true penitence and charity of Peter, ψυχὴ γὰρ ὅταν ἑαυτὴν καταδικάσῃ , οὐκ ἔτι φθονεῖν δύναται .

Verse 40

Acts 2:40 . ἑτέροις τε λόγοις πλείοσιν τε (not δὲ ), as so frequent in Acts; “inducit quæ similia cognataque sunt, δέ diversa,” Blass, in loco , and Grammatik des N. G. , p. 258. διεμαρτύρατο : the translation “testified,” both in A. and R.V., hardly gives the full form of the word. Its frequent use in the LXX in the sense of protesting solemnly, cf. Deuteronomy 4:26 ; Deu 8:19 , 1 Samuel 8:9 , Zechariah 3:7 (6), seems more in accordance with St. Peter’s words, who here as elsewhere (Acts 10:42 , Acts 13:5 , Acts 20:21 ) was not simply acting as a witness μαρτυρεῖν , but was also protesting against the false views of those he was addressing. It must not, however, be forgotten that in other passages in the LXX the verb may mean to bear witness (see Hatch and Redpath, sub v. ). In the N.T., as Wendt notes, it is used by St. Paul in the former sense of protesting solemnly in 1 Timothy 5:21 , 2Ti 2:14 ; 2 Timothy 4:1 . With this Mr. Page rightly compares its use in Acts 20:23 ( cf. also Acts 5:20 , μαρτύρομαι ), and Luke 16:28 . So too in classical writers. παρεκάλει : the imperfect suggests the continuous exhortation which followed upon the Apostles’ solemn protest (Weiss, in loco ). τῆς γενεᾶς τῆς σκολιᾶς ταύτης : the adjective is used to describe the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness, LXX, Deuteronomy 32:5 (and Psalms 77:8 ), a description used in part by Our Lord Himself, Matthew 17:17 , Luke 9:41 , and wholly by St. Paul, Philippians 2:15 . The correct translation “crooked,” R.V. (which A.V. has in Luke 3:5 , Philippians 2:15 ), signifies perversity in turning oft from the truth, whilst the A.V. “untoward” (so Tyndale) signifies rather backwardness in coming to the truth (Humphry, Commentary on R. V .), Hort, Judaistic Christianity , pp. 41, 42.

Verse 41

Acts 2:41 . Οἱ μὲν οὖν : a truly Lucan formula, see Acts 1:6 . There is no anacoluthon, but for the answering δέ see Acts 5:42 . The words therefore refer to those mentioned in Acts 5:37 ; in contrast to the three thousand fear came upon every person, ψυχή , so Mr. Page, on μὲν οὖν , in loco . Mr. Rendall finds the answering δέ in Acts 5:42 ; two phases of events are contrasted; three thousand converts are added in one day they clave stedfastly to the Christian communion. See also his Appendix on μὲν οὖν , p. 162. ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ : used in classical Greek, especially in Plato, of receiving a teacher or his arguments with acceptance, and in the N.T. of receiving with approval; cf. Acts 24:3 . The verb is only found in St. Luke in the N.T. with varying shades of meaning, twice in his Gospel, and five times in Acts in all parts. Only found in LXX in Apocryphal books, Tob 7:17 , Jdt 13:13 (but see Hatch and Redpath, sub v. ), and in the Books of the Maccabees; cf. Acts 18:27 , Acts 21:17 , Acts 24:3 , Acts 28:30 , see below. ἐβαπτίσθησαν . There is nothing in the text which intimates that the Baptism of the three thousand was performed, not on the day of Pentecost, but during the days which followed. At the same time it is not said that the Baptism of such a multitude took place at one time or in one place on the day of the Feast, or that the rite was performed by St. Peter alone. Felten allows that others besides the Twelve may have baptised. See his note, in loco , and also Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 183. προσετέθησαν , cf. Acts 2:47 , and Acts 5:14 , Acts 11:24 . In the LXX the same verb is used, Isaiah 14:1 , for a proselyte who is joined to Israel, so too Esther 9:27 . ψυχαὶ , “souls,” i.e. , persons. See on Acts 2:43 . ὡσωὶ τρισχίλιαι : the adverb is another favourite word of St. Luke (Friedrich) it is not found in St. John, and in St. Mark only once, in St. Matthew three times, but in St. Luke’s Gospel eight or nine times, and in Acts six or seven times. As in Acts 1:15 the introduction of the adverb is against the supposition that the number was a fictitious one. We cannot suppose that the influence and the recollection of Jesus had vanished within a few short weeks without leaving a trace behind, and where the proclamation of Him as the Christ followed upon the wonderful gift of tongues, in which many of the people would see the inspiration of God and a confirmation given by Him to the claims made by the disciples, hearts and consciences might well be stirred and quickened and the movement once begun was sure to spread (see the remarks of Spitta, Apostelgeschichte , p. 60, on the birthday of the Church, in spite of the suspicion with which he regards the number three thousand).

Verse 42

Acts 2:42 . The growth of the Church not merely in numbers but in the increase of faith and charity. In R.V. by the omission of καὶ before τῇ κλάσει two pairs of particulars are apparently enumerated the first referring to the close adherence of believers to the Apostles in teaching and fellowship, the second expressing their outward acts of worship; or the first pair may be taken as expressing rather their relation to man, the second their relation to God (Nösgen). Dr. Hort, while pointing out that the first term τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων (“the teaching,” R.V., following Wycliffe; cf. Matthew 7:28 , “doctrine,” A.V., which would refer rather to a definite system, unless taken in the sense of the Latin doctrina, teaching ) was obviously Christian, so that the disciples might well be called scribes to the kingdom, bringing out of their treasures things new and old, the facts of the life of Jesus and the glory which followed, facts interpreted in the light of the Law and the Prophets, takes the next words τῇ κοινωνίᾳ as separated altogether from τῶν ἀποστόλων , “and with the communion”: κοινωνία , in Dr. Hort’s view by parallelism with the other terms, expresses something more external and concrete than a spirit of communion; it refers to the help given to the destitute of the community, not apparently in money, but in public meals, such as from another point of view are called “the daily ministration” ( cf. Acts 6:2 , τραπέζαις ). There are undoubtedly instances of the employment of the word κοινωνία in this concrete sense, Romans 15:26 , 2Co 8:4 ; 2 Corinthians 9:13 , Hebrews 13:16 , but in each of these cases its meaning is determined by the context (and Zöckler, amongst recent commentators, would so restrict its meaning here). But, on the other hand, there are equally undoubted instances of κοινωνία referring to spiritual fellowship and concord, a fellowship in the spirit; cf. 2Co 6:4 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 , Philippians 2:1 , Galatians 2:9 , 1 John 1:3 ; 1 John 1:6-7 ; cf. also in classical writers, Arist., Ethic. , viii., 9, 12, ἐν κοινωνίᾳ ἡ φιλία ἐστί . Here, if the word can be separated from ἀπος ., it may be taken to include the inward fellowship and its outward manifestation, Acts 2:44 . May not a good parallel to this signification of the word be found in Philippians 1:5 , where κοινωνία , whilst it signifies co-operation in the widest sense, including fellowship in sympathy, suffering and toil, also indicates the special and tangible manifestation of this fellowship in the ready almsgiving and contributions of the Philippian Church; see Lightfoot, Philippians, in loco . The word naturally suggests the community of goods, as Weizsäcker points out, but as it stands here without any precise definition we cannot so limit it, and in his view Galatians 2:9 gives the key to its meaning in the passage before us the bond which united the μαθηταί was the consciousness of their belief in Christ, and in the name ἀδελφοί the relationship thus constituted gained its complete expression. τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου : no interpretation is satisfactory which forgets (as both Weizsäcker and Holtzmann point out) that the author of Acts had behind him Pauline language and doctrine, and that we are justified in adducing the language of St. Paul in order to explain the words before us, cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16 ; 1 Corinthians 11:24 , Acts 20:7 (and Acts 27:35 , Weizsäcker). But if we admit this, we cannot consistently explain the expression of a mere common meal. It may be true that every such meal in the early days of the Church’s first love had a religious significance, that it became a type and evidence of the kingdom of God amongst the believers, but St. Paul’s habitual reference of the words before us to the Lord’s Supper leads us to see in them here a reference to the commemoration of the Lord’s death, although we may admit that it is altogether indisputable that this commemoration at first followed a common meal. That St. Paul’s teaching as to the deep religious significance of the breaking of the bread carries us back to a very early date is evident from the fact that he speaks to the Corinthians of a custom long established; cf. “Abendmahl I.” in Hauck’s Real-Encyklopädie , heft i. (1896), p. 23 ff., on the evidential value of this testimony as against Jülicher’s and Spitta’s attempt to show that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper in the early Church rested upon no positive command of Jesus. Weizsäcker’s words are most emphatic: “Every assumption of its having originated in the Church from the recollection of intercourse with Him at table, and the necessity felt for recalling His death is precluded the celebration must rather have been generally observed from the beginning” Apostolic Age , ii., p. 279, E.T., and cf. Das apostol. Zeitalter , p. 594, second edition (1892), Beyschlag, Neutestamentliche Theol. , i., p. 155. Against any attempt to interpret the words under discussion of mere benevolence towards the poor (Isaiah 58:7 ) Wendt regards Acts 20:6-7 (and also Acts 27:35 ) as decisive. Weiss refers to Luke 24:30 for an illustration of the words, but the act, probably the habitual act of Jesus, which they express there, does not exhaust their meaning here. Spitta takes Acts 6:2 , διακονεῖν τραπέζαις as = κλάσις ἄρτου , an arbitrary interpretation, see also below. The Vulgate connects τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου with the preceding κοινωνία , and renders in communicatione fractionis panis , a rendering justified in so far as the κοινωνία has otherwise no definite meaning, and by the fact that the brotherly intercourse of Christians specially revealed itself in the fractio panis , cf. 1 Corinthians 10:16 , and Blass, in loco , and also [129] where he reads καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ τῆς κλάσεως τοῦ ἄρτου . But whilst Felten refers to the evidence of the Vulgate, and also to that of the Peshitto, which renders the words before us “in the breaking of the Eucharist” (so too in Acts 20:7 ), it is worthy of note that he refuses to follow the usual Roman interpretation, viz. , that the words point to a communion in one kind only, Apostelgeschichte , p. 94. It is possible that the introduction of the article before at least one of the words τῇ κλάσει ( cf. R.V.) emphasises here the Lord’s Supper as distinct from the social meal with which it was connected, whilst Acts 2:46 may point to the social as well as to the devotional bearing of the expression ( cf. Zöckler, note in loco ), and this possibility is increased if we regard the words τῶν ἀποστόλων as characterising the whole sentence in Acts 2:42 . But unless in both verses some deeper meaning was attached to the phrases τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου κλῶντες ἄρτον , it seems superfluous, as Schöttgen remarked, to introduce the mention of common food at the time of a community of goods. No doubt St. Chrysostom (so Oecum., Theophyl.) and Bengel interpret the words as simply = victus frugalis , but elsewhere St. Chrysostom speaks of them, or at least when joined with κοινωνία , as referring to the Holy Communion (see Alford’s note in loco ), and Bengel’s comment on Acts 2:42 must be compared with what he says on Acts 2:46 . καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς , “and [in] the prayers” R.V. Dr. Hort suggests that the prayers may well have been Christian prayers at stated hours, answering to Jewish prayers, and perhaps replacing the synagogue prayers (not recognised in the Law), as the Apostles’ “teaching” had replaced that of the scribes ( Judaistic Christianity , p. 44, and Ecclesia , p. 45). But the words may also be taken to include prayers both new and old, cf. Acts 4:24 , James 5:13 (Ephesians 2:19 , Colossians 3:16 ), and also Acts 3:1 , where Peter and John go up to the Temple “at the hour of prayer,” cf. Wendt, Die Lehre Jesu , ii., p. 159.

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

Verse 43

Acts 2:43 . πάση ψυχῇ , i.e. , every person, and so Acts 3:23 , Hebraistic, cf. כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ , Leviticus 7:17 ; Leviticus 17:12 , etc., and cf. 1Ma 2:38 . In Acts 2:41 the plural is used rather like the Latin capita in enumerations, cf. Acts 7:14 ; Acts 27:37 , and LXX, Genesis 46:15 , Exodus 1:5 , Numbers 19:18 , etc. But Winer-Moulton (p. 194, Acts 22:7 ) would press the meaning of ψυχή here, and contends that the fear was produced in the heart , the seat of the feelings and desires, so that its use is no mere Hebraism, although he admits that in Romans 13:1 (1 Peter 3:20 ) the single πᾶσα ψυχή = every person, but see l.c. φόβος , cf. Acts 3:10 , i.e. , upon the non-believers, for “perfect love casteth out fear”. Friedrich notes amongst the characteristics of St. Luke that in his two books one of the results of miraculous powers is fear. Here the φόβος means rather the fear of reverential awe or the fear which acted quasi freno (Calvin), so that the early growth of the Church was not destroyed prematurely by assaults from without. There is surely nothing inconsistent here with Acts 2:47 , but Hilgenfeld ascribes the whole of Acts 2:43 to his “author to Theophilus,” partly on the ground of this supposed inconsistency, partly because the mention of miracles is out of place. But it is nowhere stated, as Hilgenfeld and Weiss presuppose, that the healing of the lame man in Acts 3:1 ff. was the first miracle performed (see note there, and Wendt and Blass).

Verse 44

Acts 2:44 . πάντες δε κ . τ . λ ., cf. Acts 3:24 , all, i.e. , not only those who had recently joined, Acts 2:41 . ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ , see note on Acts 1:15 ; here of place. Theophylact takes it of the unanimity in the Church, but this does not seem to be in accordance with the general use of the phrase in the N.T. = ὁμοῦ , ἐπὶ τὸν αὐτὸν τόπον (Hesychius). Blass points out that ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ demands ἦσαν , and if we omit this word (W.H [130] ) we must supply ὄντες with ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ , as ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ εἶχον could not stand (W.H [131] ). The difficulty raised by Hilgenfeld, Wendt, Holtzmann, Overbeck, in this connection as to the number is exaggerated, whether we meet it or not by supposing that some of this large number were pilgrims who had come up to the Feast, but who had now returned to their homes. For in the first place, ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ cannot be taken to mean that all the believers were always assembled in one and the same place. The reading in [132] , Acts 2:46 , may throw light upon the expression in this verse καὶ καιʼ οἴκους ἦσαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό , or the phrase may be referred to their assembling together in the Temple, Acts 2:46 , and Acts 5:12 may be quoted in support of this, where all the believers apparently assemble in Solomon’s Porch. It is therefore quite arbitrary to dismiss the number here or in Acts 4:4 as merely due to the idealising tendency of the Apostles, or to the growth of the Christian legend. εἶχον ἅπαντα κοινά , “held all things common,” R.V. Blass and Weiss refer these words with ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ to the assembling of the Christians together for common meals and find in the statement the exact antithesis to the selfish conduct in 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 . But the words also demand a much wider reference. On the Community of Goods,” see additional note at end of chapter.

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

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

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

Verse 45

Acts 2:45 . τὰ κτήματα … τὰς ὑπάρξεις : according to their derivation, the former word would mean that which is acquired, and the latter that which belongs to a man for the time being. But in ordinary usage κτήματα was always used of real property, fields, lands, cf. Acts 5:1 , whilst ὑπάρξεις was used of personal property (= τὰ ὑπάρχοντα in Hebrews 10:34 ). This latter word, to, τὰ ὑπάρχοντα , was a favourite with St. Luke, who uses it eight times in his Gospel and in Acts 4:32 . No doubt κτῆμα is used in LXX for field and vineyard, Proverbs 23:10 ; Proverbs 31:16 , but the above distinction was not strictly observed, for τὰ ὑπάρχοντα , ὕπαρξις , are used both of movable and immovable property (see Hatch and Redpath, sub v. ). ἐπίπρασκον : all three verbs are in the imperfect, and if we remember that this tense may express an action which is done often and continuously without being done universally or extending to a complete accomplishment ( cf. Acts 4:34 , Acts 18:8 , Mark 12:41 ), considerable light may be thrown upon the picture here drawn (see Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 186, on the tense and this passage): “And kept getting … and distributing to all, as any man [ τις ] [not ‘every man,’ A.V.] had need”. See Rendall, Acts, in loco , and on Acts 4:32 , and Expositor , vii., p. 358, 3rd series. καθότι : peculiar to St. Luke; in Gospel twice, and in Acts four times, ἄν makes the clause more indefinite: it is found in relative clauses after ὅς , ὅστις , etc., with the indicative here it is best explained as signifying “accidisse aliquid non certo quodam tempore, sed quotiescumque occasio ita ferret,” quoted by Wendt from Herm., ad Vig. , p. 820; cf. Mark 6:56 , Blass, in loco , and Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 142 (1893). Grimm renders καθότι ἄν here “in so far,” or “so often as,” “according as”. Spitta refers Acts 2:45-47 to the Apostles only, but to justify this he is obliged to refer Acts 2:44 to his reviser. Hilgenfeld brackets the whole verse, referring it to his “author to Theophilus,” retaining Acts 2:44 , whilst Weiss also refers the whole verse to a reviser, who introduced it in imitation of St. Luke’s love of poverty as indicated in his Gospel. But by such expedients the picture of the whole body of the believers sharing in the Apostles’ life and liberality is completely marred.

Verse 46

Acts 2:46 . ὁμοθυμαδόν , see note on Acts 1:14 . προσκαρτεροῦντες , cf. Acts 1:14 . ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ : we are not told how far this participation in the Temple extended, and mention is only made in one place, in Acts 21:26 , of any kind of connection between the Apostles or any other Christians and any kind of sacrificial act. But that one peculiar incident may imply that similar acts were not uncommon, and their omission by the Christians at Jerusalem might well have led to an open breach between them and their Jewish countrymen (Hort, Judaistic Christianity , pp. 44, 45). No doubt the Apostles would recommend their teaching to the people by devout attendance at the Temple, cf. Acts 3:1 , Acts 5:20 ; Acts 5:42 , like other Jews. κατʼ οἶκον , R.V. “at home” (so in A.V. margin). But all other English versions except Genevan render the words “from house to house” (Vulgate, circa domos ), and this latter rendering is quite possible, cf. Luke 8:1 , Acts 15:21 ; Acts 20:20 . If we interpret the words of the meeting of the believers in a private house ( privatim in contrast to the ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ , palam ), cf. Romans 16:3 ; Romans 16:5 , 1 Corinthians 16:19 , Colossians 4:15 , Philemon 1:2 , it does not follow that only one house is here meant, as Wendt and Weiss suppose by referring to Acts 1:13 (see on the other hand Blass, Holtzmann, Zöckler, Spitta, Hort) there may well have been private houses open to the disciples, e.g. , the house of John Mark, cf. Dr. Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life , pp. 259, 260. Hilgenfeld, with Overbeck, rejects the explanation given on the ground that for this κατʼ οἴκους , or κατὰ τοὺς οἴκους , would be required an argument which does not however get over the fact that κατά may be used distributively with the singular according to him all is in order if Acts 2:42 follows immediately upon 41 a , i.e. , he drops 41 b altogether, and proceeds to omit also the whole of Acts 2:43 ; Acts 2:45 . κλῶντες ἄρτον : the question has been raised as to whether this expression has the same meaning here as in Acts 2:42 , or whether it is used here of merely ordinary meals. The additional words μετελάμβανον τροφῆς have been taken to support this latter view, but on the other hand if the two expressions are almost synonymous, it is difficult to see why the former κλῶντες ἄρτον should have been introduced here at all, cf. Knabenbauer in loco . It is not satisfactory to lay all the stress upon the omission of the article before ἄρτον , and to explain the expression of ordinary daily meals, an interpretation adopted even by the Romanist Beelen and others. In the Didache 1 the expression κλάσατε ἄρτον , chap. iv. 1, certainly refers to the Eucharist, and in the earlier chap. ix, where the word κλάσμα occurs twice in the sense of broken bread, it can scarcely refer to anything less than the Agape (Salmon, Introd. , p. 565, and Gore, The Church and the Ministry , p. 414, on the value of the Eucharistic teaching in the Didache 1 ). μετελ .: the imperf. denotes a customary act, the meaning of the verb with the gen [133] as here is frequently found in classical Greek; cf. LXX, Wis 18:9 , 4Ma 8:8 , AR., and Acts 16:18 . ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει : exulting, bounding joy; Vulgate, exultatione , “extreme joy,” Grimm, used by St. Luke twice in his Gospel, Luke 1:14 ; Luke 1:44 only twice elsewhere in the N.T., Hebrews 1:9 , quotation, and in Jude 1:24 . The word, though not occurring in classical Greek, was a favourite in the LXX, where it occurs no less than eighteen times in the Psalms alone. This “gladness” is full of significance it is connected with the birth of the forerunner by the angel’s message to Zacharias, Luke 1:14 ; the cognate verb ἀγαλλιάω , - άομαι , common to St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts, denotes the spiritual and exultant joy with which the Church age after age has rejoiced in the Song of the Incarnation, Luke 1:47 . ἀφελότητι καρδίας : rightly derived from a priv. and φελλεύς , stony ground = a smooth soil, free from stones (but see Zöckler, in loco , who derives ἀφέλεια , the noun in use in Greek writers, from φέλα , πέλλα , Macedon. a stone ). The word itself does not occur elsewhere, but ἀφέλεια , ἀφελής , ἀφελῶς are all found (Wetstein), and just as the adj [134] ἀφελής signified a man ἁπλοῦς ἐν τῷ βίῳ , so the noun here used might well be taken as equivalent to ἁπλότης (Overbeck) “in simplicity of heart,” simplicitate , Bengel. Wendt compares the words of Demosthenes, ἀφελὴς καὶ παρρησίας μεστός .

[133] genitive case.

[134] adjective.

Verse 47

Acts 2:47 . αἰνοῦντες τὸν Θεὸν : a favourite expression with St. Luke, cf. Gospel Acts 2:13 ; Acts 2:20 , Acts 19:37 , Acts 3:8-9 , elsewhere only in Romans 15:11 (a quotation), and Revelation 19:5 , with dative of person, W.H [135] The praise refers not merely to their thanksgivings at meals, but is characteristic of their whole devotional life both in public and private; and their life of worship and praise, combined with their liberality and their simplicity of life, helped to secure for them the result given in the following words, and an unmolested hearing in the Temple “Hunc inveniunt (favorem) qui Deum laudant” Bengel. αἰνέω is very frequent in the LXX, and nearly always of the praise of God, but cf. Genesis 49:8 , Proverbs 31:28 ; Proverbs 31:30-31 , Sir 44:1 , etc. ἔχοντες χάριν : if the life of the Church at this stage has been compared with that of her divine Master, inasmuch as it increased in wisdom and stature, another point of likeness may be found in the fact that the Church, like Christ, was in favour with God and man. χάριν : very frequent in St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts (Friedrich), only three times in the Gospel of St. John, and not at all in St. Matthew or St. Mark. In the O.T. it is often used of finding favour in the sight of God, and in the N.T. in a similar sense, cf. Luke 1:30 , Acts 7:46 . It is also used in the O.T. of favour, kindness, goodwill, especially from a superior to an inferior (Genesis 18:3 ; Genesis 32:5 , etc.), so too in the N.T., here, and in Acts 7:10 . See further note on Acts 14:3 . In Luke’s Gospel eight times, in Acts seventeen times. See also Plummer’s full note on Luke 4:22 , Sanday and Headlam’s Romans , p. 10, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v. Rendall would render “giving Him thanks before all the people,” and he refers to the fact that the phrase is always so rendered elsewhere (though once wrongly translated, Hebrews 12:28 ). But the phrase is also found in LXX, Exodus 33:12 , Esther 6:5; Esther 6:5 (see also Wetstein, in loco ) in the sense first mentioned. ὁ δὲ κύριος προσετίθει , i.e. , the Lord Christ, cf. Acts 2:36 (as Holtzmann, Wendt, Weiss, amongst others). The pure and simple life of the disciples doubtless commended them to the people, and made it easier for them to gain confidence, and so converts, but the growth of the Church, St. Luke reminds us, was not the work of any human agency or attractiveness. τοὺς σωζομένους : naturally connected with the prophecy in Acts 2:21 ( cf. Acts 5:40 ), so that the work of salvation there attributed to Jehovah by the Old Testament Prophet is here the work of Christ the inference is again plain with regard to our Lord’s divinity. The expression is rightly translated in R.V. (so too in 1 Corinthians 1:18 , 2 Corinthians 2:15 . See Burton, Moods and Tenses in N. T. Greek , pp. 57, 58). It has nothing to do, as Wetstein well remarks, with the secret counsels of God, but relates to those who were obeying St. Peter’s command in Acts 2:40 . An apt parallel is given by Mr. Page from Thuc., vii., 44.

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

Gift of Tongues , Acts 2:4 . λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις . There can be no doubt that St. Luke’s phrase ( cf. γλώσσαις καιναῖς , Mark 16:17 , W.H [136] , margin, not text), taken with the context, distinctly asserts that the Apostles, if not the whole Christian assembly (St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, including the hundred-and-twenty), received the power of speaking in foreign languages, and that some of their hearers at all events understood them, Acts 2:8 ; Acts 2:11 ( ἡμετέραις ). (On the phrase as distinguished from those used elsewhere in Acts and in 1 Cor., see Grimm-Thayer, sub v. , γλῶττα 2, and Blass, Acta Apost. , p. 50, “ γλῶττα etiam ap. att. per se est lingua peregrina vel potius vocabulum peregrinum”.) Wendt and Matthias, who have recently given us a lengthy account of the events of the first Christian Pentecost, both hold that this speaking with tongues is introduced by St. Luke himself, and that it is a legendary embellishment from his hand of what actually took place; the speaking with tongues at Pentecost was simply identical with the same phenomenon described elsewhere in Acts 10:46 , Acts 19:6 , and in 1 Corinthians 12:14 . This is plain from St. Peter’s own words in Acts 11:15 ; Acts 11:17 ; so in Acts 19:6 , the speaking with tongues is the immediate result of the outpouring of the Spirit. So too Wendt lays stress upon the fact that St. Paul says λαλεῖν γλώσσαις or γλώσση , but not λαλ . ἑτέρ . γλ . The former was evidently the original mode of describing the phenomenon, to which Luke recurs in his own description in Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6 , whereas in the passage before us his language represents the miraculous enhancement of the events of Pentecost. M’Giffert, in the same way, thinks that the writer of Acts, far removed moved from the events, could hardly avoid investing even the common phenomena of the Glossolalia with marvel and mystery. Wendt however admits that this embellishment was already accomplished by Christian tradition before Luke. But if St. Luke must have had every means of knowing from St. Paul the character of the speaking with tongues at Corinth, it does not seem unfair to maintain that he also had means of knowing from the old Palestinian Christians, who had been in union with the Church at Jerusalem from the beginning, e.g. , from a John Mark, or a Mnason ( ἀρχαῖος μαθητής , Acts 21:16 ), the exact facts connected with the great outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Schmid, Biblische Theologie , pp. 278, 279). But it is further to be noted that Wendt by no means denies that there was a miraculous element, as shown in the outpouring of the Spirit, in the events of the Pentecostal Feast, but that he also considers it quite unlikely that Luke’s introduction of a still further miraculous element was prompted by a symbolising tendency, a desire to draw a parallel between the Christian Pentecost and the miraculous delivery of the Law, according to the Jewish tradition that the one voice which proceeded from Sinai divided into seventy tongues, and was heard by the seventy nations of the world, each in their mother tongue (so Zeller, Pfleiderer, Hilgenfeld, Spitta, Jüngst and Matthias, and so apparently Clemen in his “Speaking with Tongues,” Expository Times , p. 345, 1899). But in the first place there is no convincing evidence at the early date of the Christian Pentecost of any connection in Jewish tradition between the Feast of Pentecost and the giving of the Law on Sinai ( cf. Schmid, Biblische Theologie , p. 286; Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i., 7, 1057, and Holtzmann, Apostelgeschichte , p. 330), and it is significant that neither Philo nor Josephus make any reference to any such connection; and in the next place it is strange, as Wendt himself points out, that if Luke had started with the idea of the importance of any such symbolism, no reference should be made to it in the subsequent address of Peter, whereas even in the catalogue of the nations there is no reference of any kind to the number seventy; the number actually given, Acts 2:9 ; Acts 2:11 , might rather justify the farfetched notice of Holtzmann ( u. s. , p. 331), that a reference is meant to the sixteen grandsons of Noah, Genesis 10:1-2 ; Genesis 10:6 ; Genesis 10:21 . Certainly Hebrews 2:2-4 cannot, as Schmid well points out against Holtzmann, lead to any such connection of ideas as the μερισμοὶ πνεύμ . ἁγ . are evidently the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit. We may readily admit that the miracle on the birthday of the Christian Church was meant to foreshadow the universal progress of the new faith, and its message for all mankind without distinction of nation, position, or age. But even if the Jewish tradition referred to above was in existence at this early date, we have still to consider whether the narrative in Acts could possibly be a copy of it, or dependent upon it. According to the tradition, a voice was to be expected from Heaven which would be understood by different men in their mother tongues, but in our narrative the Apostles themselves speak after the manner of men in these tongues. For to suppose that the Apostles all spoke one and the same language, but that the hearers were enabled to understand these utterances, each in his own language, is not only to do violence to the narrative, but simply to substitute one miraculous incident for another. Nor again, as Wendt further admits, is there any real ground for seeing in the miraculous event under consideration a cancelling of the confusion of tongues at Babel which resulted from rebellion against God, for the narrative does not contain any trace of the conception of a unity of language to which the Jewish idea appears to have tended as a contrast to the confusion of Babel (Test. xii., Patr., Jud. , xxv). The unity is not one of uniformity of speech but of oneness of Spirit and in the Spirit. At the same time there was a peculiar fitness in the fact that the first and most abundant bestowal of this divine gift should be given at a Feast which was marked above all others by the presence of strangers from distant lands, that a sign should thus be given to them that believed not, and that the firstfruits of a Gentile harvest should be offered by the Spirit to the Father (Iren., Adv. Haer , iii., 17), an assurance to the Apostles of the greatness and universality of the message which they were commissioned to deliver. But there is no reason to suppose that this power Of speaking in foreign languages was a permanent gift. In the first place the Greek language was known throughout the Roman Empire, and in the next place Acts 14:11 (see in loco ) seems to forbid any such view. The speaking with tongues in Acts 2:0 and in other passages of the N.T. may be classed as identical in so far as each was the effect of the divine Πνεῦμα , each a miraculous spiritual gift, marking a new epoch of spiritual life. But in Acts we have what we have not elsewhere the speaking in foreign tongues this was not the case in Corinth; there the speaking with tongues was absolutely unintelligible, it could not be understood without an interpreter, i.e. , without another gift of the divine Spirit, viz. , interpretation, 1 Corinthians 12:10 ; 1 Corinthians 12:30 (the word unknown inserted in A.V. in 1 Corinthians 14:0 is unfortunate), and the fact that the Apostle compares the speaking with tongues to a speaking in foreign languages shows that the former was itself no speaking in foreign tongues, since two identical things do not admit of comparison (Schmid, u. s. , pp. 288, 289).

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

Peter might well express his belief that Cornelius and those who spoke with tongues had also received the Holy Ghost, cf. Acts 10:44 , Acts 11:17 ; Acts 11:24 , in loco ; but it does not follow that the gift bestowed upon them was identical with that bestowed at Pentecost there were diversities of gifts from the bounty of the One Spirit. Felten, Apostelgeschichte , p. 78; Evans in Speaker’s Commentary on 1 Cor. , p. 334; Plumptre, B.D. 1 “Tongues, Gift of”; Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age , ii., pp. 272, 273, E.T., and Feine, Eine Vorkanonische Ueberlieferung des Lukas , n., p. 167; Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 177; Page, Acts of the Apostles , note on chap. Acts 2:4 ; and A. Wright, Some N. T. Problems , p. 277 ff.

The objection urged at length by Wendt and Spitta that foreign languages could not have been spoken, since in that case there was no occasion to accuse the Apostles of drunkenness, but that ecstatic incoherent utterances of devotion and praise might well have seemed to the hearers sounds produced by revelry or madness ( cf. 1 Corinthians 14:23 ), is easily met by noting that the utterances were not received with mockery by all but only by some, the word ἕτεροι apparently denoting quite a different class of hearers, who may have been unacquainted with the language spoken, and hence regarded the words as an unintelligible jargon.

Spitta attempts to break up Acts 2:1-13 into two sources, 1 a , 4, 12, 13, belonging to A, and simply referring to a Glossolalia like that at Corinth, whilst the other verses are assigned to [137] and the Redactor, and contain a narrative which could only have been derived from the Jewish tradition mentioned above, and introducing the notion of foreign tongues at a date when the Glossolalia had ceased to exist, and so to be understood. Spitta refers συμπληροῦσθαι Acts 2:1 to the filling up of the number of the Apostles in chap. 1, so that his source A begins καὶ ἐν τῷ συμπλ .… ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες π . ἁγ ., Apostelgeschichte , p. 52. It is not surprising that Hilgenfeld should speak of the narrative as one which cannot be thus divided, upon which as he says Spitta has in vain essayed his artificial analysis.

[137] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

Community of Goods . The key to the two passages, Acts 2:42 ff. and Acts 4:32 ff., is to be found in the expression in which they both agree, occurring in Acts 2:45 and Acts 4:35 , καθότι ἄν τις χρείαν εἶχεν . Such expressions indicate, as we have seen, not reckless but judicious charity (see also Ramsay, St. Paul , etc., p. 373, and reading in , Acts 2:45 ); they show wise management, as in early days St. Chrysostom noted in commenting on the words, so that the Christians did not act recklessly like many philosophers among the Greeks, of whom some gave up their lands, others cast great quantities of money into the sea, which was no contempt of riches, but only folly and madness ( Hom. , vii.). Not that St. Luke’s glowing and repeated description (on St. Luke’s way of sometimes repeating himself as here, see Harris, Four Lectures on the Western Text , p. 85) is to be confined to the exercise of mere almsgiving on the part of the Church. Both those who had, and those who had not, were alike the inheritors of a kingdom which could only be entered by the poor in spirit, alike members of a family and a household in which there was one Master, even Christ, in Whose Name all who believed were brethren. In this poverty of spirit, in this sense of brotherhood, “the poor man knew no shame, the rich no haughtiness” (Chrys.).

But whilst men were called upon to give ungrudgingly, they were not called upon to give of necessity: what each one had was still his own, τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτῷ , Acts 4:32 , although not even one ( οὐδὲ εῖς ) of them reckoned it so; the daily ministration in Acts 6:1 seems to show that no equal division of property amongst all was intended; the act of Barnabas was apparently one of charity rather than of communism, for nothing is said of an absolute surrender of all that he had; the act of Ananias and Sapphira was entirely voluntary, although it presented itself almost as a duty (Ramsay, u. s. ); Mark’s mother still retains her home at Jerusalem, Acts 12:12 , and it would seem that Mnason too had a dwelling there (see on Acts 21:16 ). At Joppa, Acts 9:36 ; Acts 9:39 , and at Antioch, Acts 11:29 , there was evidently no absolute equality of earthly possessions Tabitha helps the poor out of her own resources, and every man as he prospered sent his contributions to the Church at Jerusalem.

It is sometimes urged that this enthusiasm of charity and of the spirit ( ἐνθουσιασμός , as Blass calls it), which filled at all events the Church at Jerusalem, was due to the expectation of Christ’s immediate return, and that in the light of that event men regarded lands and possessions as of no account, even if ordinary daily work was not neglected (O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte , p. 233). But it is strange that if this is the true account of the action of the Church at Jerusalem, a similar mode of life and charity should not have found place in other Churches, e.g. , in the Church at Thessalonica, where the belief in Christ’s speedy return was so overwhelmingly felt (Felten). No picture could be more extraordinary than that drawn by O. Holtzmann of the Christian Church at Jerusalem, driven by the voice of Christian prophets to enjoin an absolutely compulsory community of goods in expectation of the nearness of the Parousia, and of Ananias and Sapphira as the victims of this tyrannical product of fanaticism and overwrought excitement. It is a relief to turn from such a strange perversion of the narrative to the enthusiastic language in which, whilst insisting on its idealising tendency, Renan and Pfleiderer alike have recognised the beauty of St. Luke’s picture, and of the social transformation which was destined to renew the face of the earth, which found its pattern of serving and patient love in Jesus the Friend of the poor, whose brotherhood opened a place of refuge for the oppressed, the destitute, the weak, who enjoyed in the mutual love of their fellows a foretaste of the future kingdom in which God Himself will wipe all tears from their eyes. Whatever qualifications must be made in accepting the whole description given us by Renan and Pfleiderer, they were at least right in recognising the important factor of the Person of Jesus, and the probability that during His lifetime He had Himself laid the foundations of the social movement which so soon ennobled and blessed His Church. It is far more credible that the disciples should have continued the common life in which they had lived with their Master than that they should have derived a social system from the institutions of the Essenes. There is no proof of any historical connection between this sect and the Apostolic Church, nor can we say that the high moral standard and mode of common life adopted by the Essenes, although in some respects analogous to their own, had any direct influence on the followers of Christ. Moreover, with points of comparison, there were also points of contrast. St. Luke’s notice, Acts 2:46 , that the believers continued steadfastly in the Temple, stands out in contrast to the perpetual absence of the Essenes from the Temple, to which they sent their gifts (Jos., Ant. , xviii. 2, 5); the common meals of the Essene brotherhood naturally present a likeness to St. Luke’s description of the early Christian Church, but whilst the Essenes dined together, owing to their scrupulosity in avoiding all food except what was ceremonially pure, the Christians saw in every poor man who partook of their common meal the real Presence of their Lord. Of all contemporary sects it may no doubt be said that the Christian society resembled most nearly the Essenes, but with this admission Weizsäcker well adds: “The Essenes, through their binding rules and their suppression of individualism, were, from their very nature, an order of limited extent. In the new Society the moral obligation of liberty reigned, and disclosed an unlimited future,” Apostolic Age , i., 58 (E.T.). It is often supposed that the after-poverty of the Church in Jerusalem, Romans 15:26 , Galatians 2:10 , etc., was the result of this first enthusiasm of love and charity, and that the failure of a community of goods in the mother city prevented its introduction elsewhere. But not only is the above view of the “communism” of the early Christians adverse to this supposition, but there were doubtless many causes at work which may account for the poverty of the Saints in Jerusalem, cf. Rendall, Expositor , Nov., 1893, p. 322. The collection for the Saints, which occupies such a prominent place in St. Paul’s life and words, may not have been undertaken for any exceptional distress as in the earlier case of the famine in Judæa, Acts 11:26 , but we cannot say how severely the effects of the famine may have affected the fortunes of the Jerusalem Christians. We must too take into account the persecution of the Christians by their rich neighbours; the wealthy Sadducees were their avowed opponents. From the first it was likely that the large majority of the Christians in Jerusalem would possess little of this world’s goods, and the constant increase in the number of the disciples would have added to the difficulty of maintaining the disproportionate number of poor. But we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that there was another and a fatal cause at work love itself had grown cold the picture drawn by St. James in his Epistle is painfully at variance with the golden days which he had himself seen, when bitter jealousy and faction were unknown, for all were of one heart and one soul, Zahn, Skizzen aus dem Leben der alten Kirche , p. 39 ff.; Zöckler, u.s. , pp. 191, 192; Wendt, in loco ; M‘Giffert, Apostolic Age , p. 67; Conybeare, “Essenes,” Hastings’ B.D.; Kaufmann, Socialism and Communism , p. 5 ff.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/acts-2.html. 1897-1910.
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