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Bible Commentaries
Acts 28

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Acts 28:1 . διασωθέντες , see on Acts 27:43 . Used by Josephus of his own shipwreck and escape, Vita , 3, and in Xen. and Thuc. of coming safely to a place. τότε ἐπέγ .: not imperfect as in Acts 27:39 ; here denoting the immediate recognition of the place after they had once gained safety (Weiss, Rendall, C.H.). St. Paul’s Bay is several miles distant from Valetta, the harbour which the sailors doubtless knew previously, see also Breusing, p. 190, Vars, p. 243, and J. Smith, pp. 140 and 148, 4th edition. Μελίτη , see critical note; Malta, cf. Diod. Sic., v., 12, Strabo, vi., 2, Ovid, Fasti , iii., 567, Sicula Melita as distinct from Melita Illyrica ( Meleda ). There is no need here to refute the view that the latter, in the Adriatic Sea on the coast of Dalmatia, is meant. This view depends chiefly upon the narrow view of the meaning of the Adria Acts 27:27 , see also below on Acts 28:2-3 . It was first put forward in the tenth century by Constantine the Porphyrogenite, and was advocated in the last century by a Dalmatian monk, Padre Georgi, himself a native of Meleda, no doubt jealous for the honour of his birthplace and his monastery. Its chief champion may be said to be W. Falconer, in his Dissertation on St. Paul’s Voyage , 1817, republished in 1870 by his nephew, Judge Falconer. This last was an unsuccessful attempt to controvert the arguments of J. Smith in favour of Malta, who may be said to have established his case to demonstration (see for a candid description of Falconers view “Adria” (Dickson), Hastings’ B.D.). More recent nautical authorities have most decisively confirmed the view of J. Smith, cf. Breusing, p. 190, and Vars, p. 242. Quite apart from the strong local tradition in favour of Malta, and the testimony of the Apocryphal Acta Petri et Pauli in favour of Γαυδομελέτη ( Gosso-Malta ) (for references to Lipsius’ edition, Wendt and Zöckler, in loco ), it is not too much to say that Meleda could not have been reached without a miracle under the circumstances of weather described in the narrative, cf. Dean Howson’s “Melita,” B.D. 1 , ii., pp. 315 317, and Zahn (in answer to Mommsen), Einleitung , ii., p. 422.

Verse 2

Acts 28:2 . βάρβαροι , i.e. , they were not a Greek-speaking population, cf. Romans 1:14 (not barbarians in the modern sense of rude and uncivilised); they were of Phœnician descent, and came under the Roman dominion in the second Punic War, Livy, xxi., 51. Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 343, sees in the title an indication that the writer was himself of Greek nationality. For the use of the term in classical Greek, and by Philo and Josephus, see “Barbarian” (F. C. Conybeare), Hastings’ B.D., Grimm-Thayer, sub v. , and Mr. Page’s note. (In 2Ma 2:21 the writer describes Judas Maccabæus as chasing “barbarous multitudes,” τὰ βάρβαρα πλήθη , retorting on the Greeks the epithet habitually applied by them to all nations not their own, Speaker’s Commentary .) See further the evidence of coins and inscriptions in Zahn, Einleitung , ii., 422, proving as against Mommsen that the Phœnician tongue had not died out in the island, and cf. above, Introd., p. 8. οὐ τὴν τυχ ., cf. Acts 19:11 , “nocommon kindness,” R.V. (and so A.V. in Acts 19:11 ). φιλαν .: see note on Acts 27:3 . The word is found in LXX, Esther 8:13 , 2Ma 6:22 ; 2Ma 14:9 , Malachi 3:15; Malachi 3:15 ; Malachi 3:18; Malachi 3:18 , and in classical Greek, but it was a word which a physician would be very likely to employ, for Hippocrates speaks of “philanthropy” in a physician as ever accompanying a real love of his profession. Galen distinguishes between those who healed through “philanthropy” and those who healed merely for gain, and even a more generous diet for the sick was called φιλανθρωποτέρα τροφή , Hobart, p. 296. The word is used here only and in Titus 3:4 in N.T. ἀνάψ . γὰρ πυράν , Luke 12:49 , James 3:5 ; if we read the simple verb (see critical note) we have it three times with λύχνον in Luke 8:16 ; Luke 11:33 ; Luke 15:8 , and nowhere else in N.T. (except with meaning “to touch”). πυράν : only here and in Acts 28:3 in N.T., cf. Jdt 7:5 , 1Ma 12:28 , 2Ma 1:22 ; 2Ma 10:36 (see H. and R.), and similar phrases in classical Greek. προσελάβοντο , cf. Acts 17:5 , Acts 18:26 for similar use, and five times by St. Paul; cf. 2Ma 10:15 , see critical note. ἐφεστῶτα , cf. Polyb., xviii. 3, 7; in N.T. 2 Timothy 4:6 , only in Luke and Paul, præsentem , Wetstein, “present,” A. and R.V. Weiss and De Wette take it as meaning that the rain suddenly came upon them. ψῦχος : this and the mention of the rain prove that St. Paul’s ship could not have encountered a sirocco wind, i.e. , from the south-east, for this only blows for two or three days, and even in November is hot and sultry (Hackett). W.H [424] read ψύχος , but Weiss, Wendt, Blass as above, see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 68.

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

Verse 3

Acts 28:3 . συστρέψαντος : here only in Acts, but cf. Acts 11:27 , Acts 16:39 , in [425] text; = exemplum αὐτουργίας , Bengel. Cf. Matthew 17:22 , W.H [426] , R.V. margin; of collecting men, 2Ma 14:30 . φρυγάνων : brushwood, copse; the furze still growing near St. Paul’s Bay would well afford material for a fire (Lewin), and it may be quite true that wood is found nowhere else but in a place at a distance from the Bay; in classical Greek used in plural for dry sticks, especially firewood; here only in N.T., but several times in LXX, for straw, stubble, and bramble. τι before πλῆθος , see critical note: implying as much as he could carry, Weiss; πλ . used elsewhere of persons. ἔχιδνα : the objection that no poisonous serpents are found to-day in Malta, like that based on the absence of wood in Acts 28:2 , may well be dismissed as “too trivial to deserve notice; such changes are natural and probable in a small island, populous and long civilised,” Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 343, Breusing, p. 191, Vars, p. 243; so too J. Smith, p. 151, 4th edition, refers to the gradual disappearance of the viper in Arran as the island became more frequented, and cf. Hackett’s note for similar proof. Mr. Lewin, as late as 1853, believed that he saw a viper near St. Paul’s Bay, St. Paul , ii. 200. ἐκ : “out of,” but if ἀπό “by reason of,” R.V. margin, “from the heat,” the viper numbed by the cold felt the sudden heat, and was restored to activity, cf. on its habits (Hackett), ἀπό “in causæ significatu sæpe apud Græcos,” Grotius, Bengel. cf. Acts 20:9 , and Luke 21:26 . ἐξελθοῦσα , see critical note. διεξ . supported by Meyer and Alford, as if the serpent glided out through the sticks. θέρμης : only in Luke in N.T., but in classics and in LXX, Job 6:17 , Psalms 18:0 (19):6, Ecclesiastes 4:11 , Sir 38:28 ; often used in medical writers instead of θερμότης (Hobart), but the latter is also used in Hipp. καθῆψε : only here in N.T., but frequent in classical Greek, and usually in middle, although not found in LXX, cf. however Symm., καθάπτεσθαι , Cant. i. 6, cf. Epict., Diss. , iii., 20, 10, i.e. , τοῦ τραχήλου : (Grimm): Blass, Page, Felten render “bit,” momordit . So Nösgen and Zöckler, who think that this is evidently meant from the context, although not necessarily contained in the verb itself; Dioscorides used it of poisonous matter introduced into the body (Hobart, p. 288). Blass thus expresses the force of the aorist, “momento temporis hoc factum est, priusquam . manum retraxisset”.

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

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

Verse 4

Acts 28:4 . τὸ θηρίον : “the beast,” R.V. Although this is the meaning of the Greek word, it is to be noted that St. Luke uses it here exactly as the medical writers, who applied it to venomous serpents in particular, to the viper, ἔχιδνα (so Aristotle), and an antidote made chiefly from the flesh of vipers went by the name ἡ θηριακή (Hobart, Zahn, Knabenbauer), and those bitten by a viper were called θηριόδηκτοι . κρεμ . ἐκ : “hanging from,” R.V., it clung by its mouth to the hand of Paul, construction as in classical Greek, cf. 2Ma 6:10 . πάντως : only in Luke and Paul, expressing strong affirmation, cf. Acts 21:22 , and Luke 4:23 ; cf. Tob 14:8 , Malachi 3:13; Malachi 3:13 . φονεύς , a murderer, and therefore justice demands his life, death for death; they saw that he was a prisoner perhaps from his chains (Bengel); at all events the solders would have guarded him, as we may infer from Acts 27:42 . ἡ Δίκη : “justice,” R.V., cf. Hesiod, Theog. , 902; so in Soph., Ant. , 544; Œd. Col. , 1384; for the personification cf. Wis 1:8 ; Wis 11:20 , and several instances in 4 Macc., see Grimm-Thayer, sub v. The Maltese may have heard the name from the Greeks or Romans, or they may have honoured a goddess of their own, whose name Luke here represents by ἡ Δ ., “debile lumen naturæ … nec quis sit ὁ Δίκαιος Justus Ultor norunt”, Bengel. διασωθέντα , see on Acts 27:43 . οὐκ εἴασεν : “hath not suffered,” they thought of him as already dead, as if the deadly bite had already done its work; not sinit , as Vulgate, but sivit .

Verse 5

Acts 28:5 . ἀποτ .: only in Luke, Luke 9:5 , in parallel in Matt. and Mark, ἐκτ ., cf. Lamentations 2:7 , and in classical Greek, Eur., Bacch. , 253. ἔπαθεν οὐδὲν κακόν , cf. Mark 16:18 , Luke 10:19 .

Verse 6

Acts 28:6 . οἱ δέ …: Paul shook off the viper the natives looked for a fatal result. They knew the deadly nature of the bite, and their subsequent conduct shows that they regarded it as nothing short of miraculous that Paul escaped. So St. Luke evidently wishes to describe the action, see on μέν οὖν , Acts 28:5 , and δέ , Rendall, Acts , p. 161, Appendix. προσεδόκων , see below. πίμπρασθαι , from the form πίμπρημι , present infinitive passive, see critical note, and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 122; cf. in LXX, Numbers 5:21-22 ; Numbers 5:27 , πρήθειν , H. and R., of parts of the body becoming swollen. In classical Greek πίμπρασθαι means “to take fire,” and πρήθειν “to cause to swell,” and those two ideas are combined, as in the word πρηστήρ ; “a venomous snake, the bite of which caused both inflammation and swelling” (Page, in loco ), cf. Lucan, ix. 790. In the N.T. the verb is peculiar to St. Luke, and it is the usual medical word for inflammation (Hobart, Zahn) in Hipp., Aret., Galen. καταπίπτειν : only in Luke in N.T., cf. Luke 8:6 , Acts 26:14 , it was used by medical writers of persons falling down suddenly from wounds, or in epileptic fits; Hipp., Galen (Hobart, Zahn), cf. the asp-bitten Charmian in Ant. and Cleo. (Shakespeare), Acts 5:0 , Scene 2. ἄφνω : only in Acts 2:2 ; Acts 16:26 . προσδ .… ἄτοπον : the two words are described by Hobart as exactly those which a medical man would use (so too Zahn), and he gives two instances of the latter word from Galen, in speaking of the bite of a rabid dog, or of poison, p. 289. The word is used elsewhere in N.T. of something morally amiss; cf. Luke 23:41 , Acts 25:5 , 2 Thessalonians 3:2 , but here evidently of something amiss physically. In R.V. it is rendered in each passage “amiss”. The word in N.T. is confined to Luke and Paul, but it is found several times in LXX in an ethical sense (as in N.T., except in loco ), cf. Job 4:8 ; Job 11:11 ; Job 27:6 ; Job 34:12 ; Job 35:13 , Prov. 24:55 (Proverbs 30:20 ), cf. 2Ma 14:23 ; so too in Thucydides, Josephus, Plutarch, etc.; but it is used of any harm happening to a person as here, cf. Jos., Ant. , viii., 14, 4; xi., 5, 2; Herodian, iv., 11. προσδοκία , peculiar to St. Luke in N.T.; cf. Luke 21:26 , Acts 12:11 , and προσδοκάω , in Luke six times, in Acts five, was, no doubt, frequently used in medical language (Hobart, Zahn) for the expectation of the result of a disease or paroxysm “when they were long in expectation,” R.V.), but in Jos., Ant. , viii., 14, 4, we have καὶ μηδὲν τῶν ἀτόπων προσδοκᾷν , and in Herodian, iv., 11, μηδὲν ἄτοπον προσδοκοῦντες · εἰς αὐτὸν γιν ., cf. Luke 4:23 (Klostermann, Weiss). μεταβαλλόμενοι , so frequently in classics without τὴν γνώμην , cf. Jos., B. J. , v., 9, 3. θεὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι : it is perhaps fanciful to suppose with Grotius and Wetstein that they compared him to the infant Hercules, or to Æsculapius represented with the serpent, but the latter is undoubtedly right in adding, “eleganter autem hic describitur vulgi inconstantia”; we naturally compare with Chrysostom the startling change in the people of Lystra, Acts 14:11 ; Acts 14:19 , “Aut latro inquiunt aut deus … datur tertium: homo Dei” (Bengel).

Verse 7

Acts 28:7 . χωρία : “lands,” R.V. Vulgate, prædia . In this passage τόπος and χωρίον occur together, but whilst the former is used of place indefinitely, the latter is used of a definite portion of space enclosed or complete in itself; cf. John 4:5 ; Grimm-Thayer’s Syn [427] , sub v. , τόπος . τῷ πρώτῳ : an official title technically correct in Malta, Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 343, honoraria appellatio , so too Schmiedel, Encycl. Bibl. , i., 47, 1899; as his father was alive, he would not have been called from his estates (see, however, O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitge-schichte , p. 106), but the inscriptional authorities confirm the first view, a Greek inscription giving πρῶτος Μελιταίων καὶ Πάτρων , applied to a Roman Knight, Prudens by name, ἱππεὺς Ῥ ., so that Publius may well have been of the same rank, and in a Latin inscription we have municipii Melitensium primus omnium , see Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 422; Blass, in loco ; Zöckler, Holtzmann, Knabenbauer, also Alford, Lewin, Hackett, Renan; possibly the conjecture may be correct that the Greek and Latin inscriptions give a translation of a title which the Romans already found in vogue in the island. Publius would be naturally the chief authority in the island under the Roman prœtor of Sicily, Cic., Verr. , iv., 18. Ποπλίῳ : Greek form for the prænomen Publius, “nomen a populus derivatum,” Blass; Ramsay, p. 343, thinks that Poplius may = the Greek rendering of the nomen Popilius , but that the peasantry may have spoken of him familiarly by his prætnomen Publius. Tradition makes him bishop of Malta (Felten, Knabenbauer). ἀναδεξ .: only here of hospitable reception = ὑποδέχεσθαι , Acts 17:7 ; φιλοφ ., Malachi 3:9; Malachi 3:9 , 4Ma 8:5 ; in the former passage φιλοφ . ἀποδεχθείς , so in Jos., Ant. , xiv., 8, 5, φιλοφ . ὑποδέχεσθαι , and instances in Wetstein, see above on Acts 28:2 . ἡμᾶς : some take the word as referring to Paul and his companions, Luke and Aristarchus (as it seems to lead on to what follows), perhaps including Julius, whilst others point out that he may have entertained the whole crew for the short space of time mentioned, as the ἡμέρας τρεῖς indicates that the entertainment was only provisional; probably he had a large number of slaves (Nösgen, Weiss). Publius may well have been officially responsible for the needs of the Roman soldiers and their prisoners, but φιλοφ . indicates that the duty was performed with generous courtesy. ἐξένισεν : entertained (as his guests), cf. Acts 10:6 ; Acts 10:23 , etc., Hebrews 13:2 . The traditional site was at Civita Vecchia, the old capital of the island, where St. Paul spent the three months, and another tradition places it on the way from St. Paul’s Bay to the capital.

[427] synonym, synonymous.

Verse 8

Acts 28:8 . πυρετοῖς : the use of the plural for a fever is peculiar to St. Luke in N.T., and quite medical, Hobart, J. Smith, Zahn ( cf. Luke 4:38-39 ); although the plural is found in Dem., Lucian in the sense of “intermittent attacks of fever,” but Hobart shows that the term was very common in Hipp., and he also quotes from Aretæus and Galen. Each of the other Evangelists uses πυρετός , but in the singular, never in the plural. The disease was common in Malta (J. Smith and C. and H.). δυσεντερίᾳ , see critical note, “dysentery,” R.V.; “Lucas medicus morbos accuratius describere solet,” Wetstein; another medical term, peculiar to St. Luke in N.T., often joined with πυρετός by Hippocrates (Hobart, Zahn). συνεχ ., cf. Luke 4:38 , συνεχομένη πυρετῷ μεγάλῳ , where St. Luke not only speaks of πυρ . μέγας , where Matthew and Mark (Matthew 8:14 and Mark 1:30 ) have simply πυρετός , but also introduces the term συνεχ . where they have πυρέσσουσα ; ἔχεσθαι and συνέχ . are both used by the medical writers as in these passages, although no doubt συνέχεσθαι is sometimes found with a word like νοσήματι in classical Greek ( cf. Grotius. in loco , Hobart, Zahn, Weiss), so in Hippocrates, ὑπὸ δυσεντερίης ἐχομένῳ , and τοῖσιν ὑπὸ τῆς ἡρακλείης νόσου συνεχομένοισιν ; nine times in St. Luke, elsewhere only three times in N.T., and once in St.Matthew 4:24 , in a way similar to St. Luke, but joined there not only with νόσοις , but with a word ( βασάνοις ) which the medical writers (so St. Luke) never employ of bodily disease. Ιάσατο αὐτόν , cf. Mark 16:18 , the word is more frequently used by the medical writers for “healing” than any other (Hobart), and it occurs in St. Luke’s writings fourteen times and once figuratively, in St. Matthew four times and once figuratively, once in St. Mark, three times in St. John, once figuratively, and in the rest of the N.T. three times, but in each case figuratively. In answer to the attempts to regard the miraculous element as an addition to the narrative here, as in the previous chapter, it may be sufficient to quote the remarks of Weizsäcker: “The stormy voyage and shipwreck form the central point of the narrative: to this is appended the residence at Malta. In the former, Paul reveals himself as a prophet; in the latter, as the possessor of miraculous power. We should make a vast mistake, however, if we were to infer from this that the simple travel-record had here been revised by a writer intent upon artificially glorifying the Apostle as a worker of miracles. The narrative is an indivisible whole; it is impossible to disentangle the mere history of travel from it, or to strip away the miraculous additions,” Apostolic Age , ii., p. 126, E.T.

Verse 9

Acts 28:9 . ἐθεραπεύοντο : “were cured,” R.V. Lekebusch, pp. 382, 393, and Holtzmann, in loco , think that the medical skill of St. Luke may also have been instrumental in effecting these cures, and this is urged on the ground that ἡμᾶς , Acts 28:10 , intimates that not only St. Paul received honour in return for the cures effected. But such a conjecture must remain quite uncertain, although it is no doubt quite possible that as we have here a verb which properly denotes medical treatment ( cf. θεραπεία , Luke 9:11 ) for the restoration of health, the care ( cura ) of medical skill was freely added by St. Luke, and enhanced the debt which the sick owed.

Verse 10

Acts 28:10 . πολλαῖς τιμαῖς : “with many honours,” A. and R.V., used quite generally, so in Vulgate, “multis honoribus”; even in the expression “honos habendus medico,” Cic., Ad Div. , xvi., 9, we need not limit the word to the honorarium ; so in 1 Timothy 5:17 τιμῆς is used quite generally, and in Sir 38:1 it is very doubtful whether in the expression “honour a physician,” τίμα ἰατρόν , the verb refers to payment. There is therefore no need to take the word as referring to a physician’s fee in money, as Wordsworth, Humphry, Plumptre, although the word may have been so used by a physician; but it was scarcely likely that St. Paul would have received such a reward for his services, to say nothing of the fact that it was contrary to Christ’s commands, Matthew 10:8 . καὶ ἀναγ . ἐπέθεντο : “and when we sailed they put on board,” R.V., so Ramsay, ἀναγ ., technical term, Acts 27:2-3 . τὰ πρὸς τὴν χ ., see critical note, frequently in Luke and Paul, both in singular and plural, and often in LXX, cf. Acts 20:34 , Romans 12:13 , used here quite generally; it may have included money, but no doubt things needful, post naufragium , Bengel.

Verse 11

Acts 28:11 . τρεῖς μῆνας : no account is given of St. Paul’s doings in Malta, or of his preaching or founding a Church, but the writer’s interest is centred on the Apostle’s journey to Rome, and what immediately concerns it. ἀνήχ ., see above on Acts 13:13 ; in the earlier part of February, as the shipwreck took place probably before the middle of November (Ramsay), but Blass thinks March, as he places the shipwreck about the commencement of December, but with a favourable wind the ship would risk the voyage, even before the regular sailing season commenced (so Wendt and Ramsay). Ἀλεξ .: very likely a corn ship, driven for refuge by the same gale; on the accent here and in Acts 27:6 see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 73. παρακεχειμακότι : only in Luke and Paul in N.T., cf. Acts 27:12 , 1 Corinthians 16:6 , Titus 3:12 , and in classical Greek. παρασήμῳ Διοσκ .: “whose sign was the Twin Brothers,” R.V., i.e. , Castor and Pollux; or perhaps in a ship “marked with the image or figure of the Dioscuri,” or the latter word in the dative may be a dedicatory inscription marked “To the Dioscuri,” i.e. , in honour of them, so Wendt, Holtzmann, Grimm-Thayer. Others take παρας as a noun, so Alford, Page, quoting from an inscription found near Lutro and given by J. Smith, in which reference is made to a Dionysius of Alexandria as gubernator navis parasemo Isopharia . Phryn. prefers the form Διόσκοροι Blass has ᾧ ἦν παράσημον Διοσκούρων , see critical note and Blass, in loco; cf. for the word 3Ma 2:29 . Castor and Pollux were best known as the tutelary gods of sailors, and probably at this date they were both the insigne and the tutela of the ship. St. Cyril of Alexandria tells us that it was always the Alexandrian method to ornament each side of the prow with the figures of deities, probably in this case Castor and Pollux, one on each side of the vessel; and we may further note that the twin brothers were specially honoured in the district of Cyrenaica, not far from Alexandria ( Schol. , Pind., Pyth. , v., 6). For other classical notices cf. Hor., Od. , i., 3, 2; iii., 29, 64; Catull. , iv., 27; lxviii., 65; Eur., Helen. , 1663, and “Castor and Pollux,” B.D. 2 , and “Dioscuri,” Hastings’ B.D. The mention of the ship’s sign shows the minuteness of the information of an eyewitness, and the fact that an Alexandrian ship thus wintered in the island is a strong piece of incidental evidence in favour of the identification of the island with Malta; the latter would be a natural harbour for a ship of Alexandria on the way to Italy, but Meleda would be altogether out of the course (see J. Smith, p. 278, fourth edit.).

Verse 12

Acts 28:12 . καταχ .: “touching at,” R.V., Ramsay, cf. Acts 27:3 . We are not told that St. Paul landed, but the local tradition makes him the founder of the Sicilian Church, C. and H., p. 663, small edit. Συρ .: ( Siragosa ) about 100 miles distant from Malta, the capital of Sicily, and a Roman colony; in a mercantile city St. Paul would find countrymen and Jewish proselytes; it was moreover a city of great historical interest, and a usual stopping-place for Alexandrian ships on their voyage to Italy; see C. and H., p. 662, u. s. , and notices in Strabo, vi., p. 270 (but see also Grimm-Thayer, sub v. , Συρ .); Cicero, Verr. , iv., 53; Pliny, N.H. , iii., 8, and B.D., sub v. For accentuation cf. also Grimm-Thayer. τρεῖς ἡμέρας : probably to wait for a favouring breeze from the south. ἐπεμείναμεν : with accusative of time, cf. Acts 10:48 , Acts 21:4 ; Acts 21:10 , Acts 28:14 below, 1 Corinthians 16:7 .

Verse 13

Acts 28:13 . περιελθόντες : so A. and R.V., but latter in margin περιελόντες , see critical note. Ramsay also following T.R. points out that the latter reading could hardly signify more than “cast off” (“cast loose,” margin, R.V.), unnecessary here although important information in Acts 27:40 , where τὰς ἀγκ . is added, and the meaning is evidently different. Ramsay renders “by tacking” (the verb referring to the frequent alteration of the ship’s course); they worked up to Rhegium by good seamanship as they could not go straight across, J. Smith, C. and H., p. 663, small edit. Mr. Lewin, St. Paul , 2, p. 736, takes a different view, and thinks that they were obliged to stand out to sea to fill their sails, and so to come to Rhegium by a circuitous sweep. R.V. renders simply “made a circuit,” so Grimm-Thayer. W.H [428] , ii., p. 226, explain their rendering “weighed anchor” by the use of the verb in Acts 27:40 (but see Blass above), the elliptic employment of transitive verbs being common in Greek nautical language as in English, and by the opinion that the run from Syracuse to Rhegium could not be described as circuitous, unless the ship was thrown out by contrary winds (but see above); Mr. Rendall supports W.H [429] , Mr. Page the opposite, following T.R., so Smith, p. 156, fourth edit., and see critical note above, and Wendt (1899), p. 418. A.V. “fetched a compass,” so Tyndale, which formerly meant that they made a circuit, but the phrase is now obsolete, cf. 2 Samuel 5:23 , 2 Kings 3:9 , same Greek verb in LXX. Ῥήγιον : Reggio , Titus put in here on his way from Judæa to Puteoli bound for Rome, Suet., Tit. , 5; and we learn from Jos., Ant. , xix., 2, 5, that Caligula began to construct a harbour for the corn-ships of Egypt, although he never finished it. The place was situated at the southern entrance to the Straits of Messina, here little more than a few miles in breadth between it and the city Messina (on its name from ῥήγνυμι , because Sicily was at this point rent away from Italy, see Grimm-Thayer, sub v. , and Wetstein). St. Paul was said to have visited Messina, and to have given the Christians a bishop, Acta Petri, Acta Pauli , Lipsius, p. ix. (Zöckler). The coins show us that here too the Dioscuri were the patron deities. κατην . only in Luke and Paul, see Acts 16:1 , cf. 2Ma 4:44 . ἐπιγ .: “a south wind sprang up,” R.V., here only in N.T., cf. Thuc., iii., 74, iv., 30; Xen., Hell. , iii., 2, 17, oborto Austro , Blass, or it may mean coming after or in succession to, ἐπί , the previous adverse wind. δευτεραῖοι , cf. πεμπταῖοι , Acts 20:6 , Blass in [430] , John 11:39 , Philippians 3:5 , so in classical Greek. The distance is about 180 miles, and J. Smith, p. 217, 4th edit., points out that if we suppose the ship to sail at seven knots an hour the voyage would take about twenty-six hours, and St. Luke’s account is shown to be very accurate; see also Ramsay and Hackett for examples of the ancient rate of sailing quite in accordance with the facts before us. Ποτιόλους ( Pozzuoli ), in earlier days Dicaearchia; its new name was Latin, probably from the mineral springs in the neighbourhood a puteis , or perhaps a putendo (C. and H.). It was not only a great landing-place for travellers from the East, but the great harbour for Alexandrian corn-ships, as also for the trade from Syria and Spain (Renan, Saint Paul , p. 558). Seneca, Epist. , 77, gives us a vivid description of the interest taken in the arrival of the corn-ships, since the people of Rome depended so much upon this cargo for food. The importance gained by the place is shown by the fact that it gave its name to the bay, once the Bay of Cumæ, now the Bay of Naples, but in St. Paul’s day Sinus Puteolanus . Here St. Ignatius desired to land that he might follow the footsteps of St. Paul to Rome ( Martyr. , v.), see further Jos., Ant. , xvii., 12, 1, xviii., 7, 2; Strabo, xvii., 1, 7, and Wetstein’s references. For modern writers cf. also Lewin, St. Paul , ii. 218, and Farrar, ii., 386; their description shows how the Apostle’s eyes now rested upon “one of the loveliest of earthly scenes”.

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

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

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

Verse 14

Acts 28:14 . ἀδελφούς , see on Acts 1:15 , they may have been from Alexandria, as the commerce between it and Puteoli was so considerable; the absence of the article indicates that the writer knew nothing of their presence previously, but at all events Blass is right when he says, “non magis mirum est Puteolis Christianos ante Paulum fuisse quam Romæ”. Probably after Rome itself Puteoli was the most ancient Jewish community in Italy. Jews were there as early as B.C. 4, after the death of Herod the Great, Jos., Ant. , xvii., 12, 1; B. J. , ii., 7, 1, and Schürer accepts the notice of the existence of a Christian Church as in the text, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. ii., p. 241, E.T., so too O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte , p. 108; see also Lightfoot, Philippians , p. 26. Rhegium and Puteoli are the only two Italian towns mentioned in the N.T. (except, of course, Rome itself), and when we consider that Puteoli was the most important port, not only for ships from Alexandria, but also from Syria, there is nothing surprising in the fact that Christianity found an early and an easy entrance; at Pompeii, not far from Puteoli, Christianity had made its way, and before 79 A.D. it was discussed by the gossiping loungers in the street (Ramsay). παρεκ .: “we were entreated to tarry,” R.V. Ramsay (so Blass), rendering “we were consoled among them, remaining seven days” (see critical note), thinks that R.V., although strongly supported, is irreconcilable with St. Paul’s situation as a prisoner. Julius was a Roman officer, and discipline was natural to him, however friendly he was towards Paul. Blass compares Acts 20:12 , and Zöckler also prefers the inferior reading on account of this more usual meaning of παρακαλεῖν . Probably the seven days’ delay was needful for Julius to report his arrival at Rome, and to receive further orders from the capital, perhaps with regard to the disposal of the prisoners, but St. Paul must have been rejoiced at the opportunity of celebrating a Sunday with the little Christian Church at Puteoli, cf. Acts 20:6 , Acts 21:4 . καὶ οὕτως : “and so we came to Rome,” about 140 miles, cf. Acts 27:25 , “destinatum itineris terminum,” Blass, cf. the article before Ῥ ., Blass, Gram. , p. 149, so Bengel (but see Page’s note). Others take οὕτως as simply = after the stay of seven days, a notice which leads on to Acts 28:15 , and makes us to understand how the brethren came to meet us, since news would easily have reached Rome, and a deputation of the brethren have arrived at Appii Forum. On the former view the writer marks the conclusion and the aim of the long journey ( cf. εἰς τὴν Ῥ . before the verb; in Acts 28:12-13 , names of places follow the verb without any article, Weiss), and there is a kind of triumph in the words: like an emperor who has fought a naval battle and overcome, Paul entered into that most imperial city; he was nearer now to his crown; Rome received him bound, and saw him crowned and proclaimed conqueror: cf. Chrys. Others take ἤλθ . as = ἐπορευόμεθα , the actual end of the journey following in Acts 28:16 (see on the other hand Wendt, in loco , 1888). But Acts 28:15 may possibly be taken as adding an episode which commences, as it were, a new section of the Apostle’s work in the meeting with the brethren from Rome, the journey itself being regarded as completed in Acts 28:14 (Nösgen). If we read εἰσήλθομεν in Acts 28:16 , see critical note, the word emphasises apparently the actual entry into the city, “and when we entered into,” R.V., or it may simply take up the conclusion of Acts 28:14 (so Wendt, who sees no difficulty in the words). Ramsay, however, draws another distinction between Acts 28:14 ; Acts 28:16 (to which Wendt (1899) refers, without endorsing it), and thinks that the double expression of arrival is due to the double meaning which the name of a city-state bears in Greek ( St. Paul , pp. III, 347, and Expositor , Jan., 1899); thus Rome might be restricted to the walls and buildings, or it might include the whole ager Romanus , and so in Acts 28:14 , “we reached the State Rome,” we passed through two points in the ager Romanus , Acts 28:15 , and in Acts 28:16 , “we entered the (walls of) Rome”.

Verse 15

Acts 28:15 . κἀκεῖθεν , see on Acts 14:26 . τὰ περὶ ἡμῶν : phrase only in Luke and Paul, see above on p. 481. The natural supposition is that there were two companies; one met them in advance at Appii Forum, and the other nearer Rome at the Tres Tabernæ. εἰς ἀπάντησιν , cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 , Matthew 25:6 ; Matthew 27:32 (W.H [431] margin), frequent in LXX, cf. Polyb., v., 26, 8. See Plumptre’s note on the meeting of Cicero on this same road on his return from exile, Senate and people going out to meet him; for St. Paul’s friends in Rome see Lightfoot, Philippians , Introd., and p. 171 ff.; Sanday and Headlam, Romans , 18, 27, 34, 40, etc., Godet, L’Épître aux Romains , ii., 599 ff. Aquila and Priscilla would be amongst them. Ἀππίου φόρου : situated on the great Appian Way, near the modern Treponti , 43 miles from Rome, Cic., Ad Att. , ii., 10; Hor., Sat. , i., 5, 3, and for the distance, Itin. Ant. , p. 107, Itin. Hier. , p. 611 (see however on this point Encycl. Bibl. , p. 267, 1899). Probably its name was due to Appius Claudius as the constructor of this part of the road, Livy, ix., 29, and even in the time of St. Paul it seems to have been connected in some way with the Appian family. It was situated at the northern end of a canal which ran thither from a few miles apparently above Terracina through the district of the Pomptine Marshes. The boatmen of whom Horace speaks in his lively description, u. s. , were employed in conveying passengers in boats towed by mules along this canal. The Appian Way itself was parallel with the canal, so that the centurion and the Apostle might have travelled by either, and this uncertainty as to the route no doubt made the Roman Christians wait at Appii Forum. Night travellers apparently preferred the boat. The R.V. renders “The Market of Appius” (really the Greek is a transliteration of the Latin Appii forum, as the words stood in 1611, “forum” (not Forum), Hastings’ B.D.). The word apparently implied what we should call a borough or assize town, cf. Forum Julium, etc. The picture drawn by Horace suggests a sharp contrast between the holy joy of the Christian meeting and the coarse vice and rude revelry which so often filled the wretched little town (Plumptre, C. and H.). Τριῶν Ταβ .: Tres Tabernæ , frequent halting-place, deversorium , about 33 miles from Rome on the Via Appia, probably at the point where the road from Antium crosses it, near the modern Cisterna . At this time it was a place of some importance, cf. Cic., Ad Att. , ii., 12. The Latin tabernæ = a shop of any kind, and would require an adjective like deversoria ( sc. taberna ) to be equivalent to a tavern in the modern sense, Lewin, Saint Paul , ii. 224. εὐχ . τῷ Θεῷ ἔλαβε θάρσος , cf. Job 17:9 , whether Ramsay is correct in connecting this encouragement with the chronic disorder of the Apostle, which would often occasion fits of depression, it is evident that St. Paul, who was so full of sympathy, “the heart of the world,” and craved for sympathy from others, may well have felt that he was still a prisoner, and the recent perilous voyage may also have left its mark upon him. Anyhow, the meeting with Christian friends, and the thought that these Christians were not ashamed either of the Gospel of Christ, or of Paul the prisoner, even in Rome, may well have endued his soul with much strength. Bishop Lightfoot, Phil. , pp. 16, 17 (so too Hort, Judaistic Christianity , p. 113), thinks that the words may intimate that it was a relief to St. Paul to find that some members at least of the Roman Church were favourably disposed towards him; but, as Zöckler points out, there is certainly no proof here, at least, that the Church was composed preponderatingly of Jewish Christians, or that Paul was glad that he received a welcome in a Church so composed, and we have no direct evidence of the existence of an anti-Pauline Jewish party among the Roman Christians; but in the presence of the brethren St. Paul would see a proof that this love was not merely in word or in letter, but in deed and in truth: “videbat Christum etiam Romæ esse,” Bengel.

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

Verse 16

Acts 28:16 . ἤλθομεν , see critical note. They would enter by the Porta Capena. On the words which follow see critical note. They are retained by Blass and Ramsay, although these writers differ as to their interpretation, while Lightfoot, Phil. , pp. 7, 8, admitting that the balance of existing authorities is against them, inclines to see in the words a genuine tradition, even if no part of the original text. For Ramsay’s view see above on Acts 27:1 . Blass takes the expression τῷ στρατ . to refer to Afranius Burrus (and to this identification Lightfoot attaches much probability). It is striking that both before and after Burrus there were two “prefects,” Tac., Ann. , xii., 42, xiv., 51, whereas Luke writes τῷ στρατ ., “the captain of the guard”; but on the other hand we can scarcely draw any decisive argument from this, because the writer may refer merely to the “prefect” in charge of this particular case, whether he had a colleague or not. καθʼ ἑαυτόν , see critical note for addition in [432] text. Not only the goodwill of the centurion, and the services which St. Paul had rendered, but also the terms in which Festus had reported the case in the elogium , would combine to secure this favour. The words do not imply that Paul was kept in prison in the camp apart from the other prisoners, but, as in Acts 28:23 ; Acts 28:30 , that he was allowed to have a house or lodging in the city (Ramsay); he could scarcely have summoned the Jews to the camp, Acts 28:17 (Bethge), see also Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 103. τῷ φυλάσσοντι αὐτὸν στρατ .: custodia militaris , he was still bound to a soldier by a light chain, so that he could not go in and out as he pleased, but the form which his custody took has been well compared to that which Herod Agrippa underwent, who was confined at one time in Rome, Jos., Ant. , xviii., 6, 5, at first in the camp, and afterwards on the accession of Gaius in a house of his own, although still under military custody, cf. Acts 24:27 .

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

Verse 17

Acts 28:17 . The whole section Acts 28:17-28 is referred by Hilgenfeld to the “author to Theophilus”. In Acts 28:20 the Paul bound for the hope of Israel belongs only to the “author to Theophilus,” cf. Acts 23:6 , Acts 26:6 ; it is only the same author who still supposes him to bear the chain, Acts 26:29 , which according to Acts 22:29-30 , had been long removed. A reference to the passages in question is sufficient to show the unreasonableness of this criticism. In this same section Clemen can only see his two redactors, Judaicus and Antijudaicus, at work again, the latter in Acts 28:25-28 , and the former in Acts 28:16-24 . But it will be noticed that Wendt (1899) still allows that an historical kernel lies at the foundation of the narrative, and although he does not speak so unhesitatingly as in 1888, he still allows that it is not inconceivable that Paul soon after his arrival in Rome should seek to enter into relations with the Jews there, to convince them if possible of his innocence, and to prevent any unfavourable influences on their part upon his trial. μετὰ ἡμεράς τρεῖς : an intimation of Paul’s continuous energy; the previous days may well have been employed in receiving his own friends, and in making his summons known. τῶν Ἰου .: the edict of Claudius, cf. Acts 18:2 , had evidently been very transient in its effects, and the Jews soon returned; possibly they may only have emigrated to the neighbourhood, e.g. , to Aricia (Schürer). πρώτους , cf. Acts 13:50 , Acts 25:2 , Luke 19:47 , here including the ἀρχισυνάγωγοι , the γερουσιάρχαι , the ἄρχοντες and others, Sanday and Headlam, Romans , p. 23, or the word may perhaps be used of social distinction, including the officers named. The Jews in Rome were divided into no less than seven synagogues. It does not of course follow that all came in answer to the Apostle’s characteristic summons, as he always turned to his countrymen first. Rendall renders “those that were of the Jews first,” as if Paul invited first the members of the synagogues who were Jews, intending to reserve the devout Gentiles for the second place; see R.V. renderings in loco . συνελθ .: it was natural that Paul should thus assemble them, and that he should then endeavour to show that although a prisoner he was guiltless of any offence against the Jewish nation; otherwise he could not expect the representatives of his people to listen to his message; so far it would be difficult to find an intimation of anything unhistorical (see Blass, in loco ). ἐγὼ : the word probably occurring first, W.H [433] , R.V. Weiss, seems to indicate from its emphatic position that the Apostle’s chief concern on this occasion was to vindicate himself. ἔλεγε : imperfect, “quia expectatur responsum,” Blass, see note on Acts 3:3 . ἀδελφοὶ … λαῷ … πατρῴοις : all indicate the same conciliatory spirit: “mira certe Pauli mansuetudo” (Calvin). ποιήσας : “though I had done,” R.V., i.e. , at the time he was taken prisoner there had been nothing done by him to merit such treatment. τῷ λαῷ , cf. Acts 21:28 . The man who could write Romans 9:1 ff. and 1 Corinthians 7:18 ( cf. Acts 9:21 ) might justly use such words. παρεδόθην , cf. Acts 21:11 . The words ascribe primarily to the Jews a share in the imprisonment of which they appear as only the indirect cause, cf. Acts 21:33 , but Paul summarises the chief points and does not enter into minute details; moreover his words were strictly true, for he would have been freed by the Romans in Jerusalem had not the outcry of the Jews stamped him as a malefactor. For similar instances of a main summary cf. Acts 2:23 , Acts 13:29 , Acts 21:11 , Acts 23:27 .

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

Verse 18

Acts 28:18 . ἀνακ ., cf. Acts 24:8 , Acts 25:6 ; Acts 25:26 , referring here to the judicial inquiries of Felix and Festus.

Verse 19

Acts 28:19 . ἀντιλ .: the word is a mild one to describe the bitter enmity of the Jews (“clementer dicit,” Bengel); they are not actually represented as speaking against Paul’s acquittal, although they are evidently presupposed as doing so by the proposal of Festus, Acts 25:9 , and by the belief that sooner or later he would fall a victim to their plots the Apostle was no doubt compelled ( ἠναγκάσθην ) to appeal. Holtzmann seems to forget the part played by the Jews, and their bitter enmity, when he says that in reality Paul was compelled to appeal not by the Jews, but by Festus; see also critical note. τοῦ ἔθνους μου : they were still his nation, and he was not ashamed to call them so, as a true patriot, when he stood before a foreign tribunal; cf. Acts 24:17 , Acts 26:4 , “see what friendliness of expression, he does not hold them in odium,” Chrysostom.

Verse 20

Acts 28:20 . διὰ ταύτην … προσλαλῆσαι : “for this cause therefore did I intreat you to see and to speak with me ,” R.V. text; in margin a comma is placed after ὑμᾶς , “call for you, to see and to speak with you ”: but the former seems the more likely, for as a prisoner St. Paul would hardly go out into the synagogue. ἔνεκεν , see critical note; if εἵνεκεν , the word is only used by St. Luke amongst the Evangelists; cf. Luke 4:18 (quotation), Luke 18:29 , and elsewhere only by St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:10 ; Ionic form (see Winer-Schmiedel, p. 50). τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ Ἰ ., cf. Acts 26:6 . περίκειμαι : for construction, Winer-Moulton, xxxii., 5; cf. 4Ma 12:3 ; Clem. Rom., 2 Cor. , i. 6 ( bis ). Nothing could be more pathetic than this reference to the chain, cf. Ephesians 3:1 ; Ephesians 4:1 ; Ephesians 6:20 ; the words might well serve as an introduction to what was to follow, the Christian prisoner and the Jewish leaders all had “one hope of their calling,” and in that hope they and he were one.

Verse 21

Acts 28:21 . πρὸς αὐτὸν : the emphatic position of the words may indicate, as Weiss suggests, that as Paul had spoken to them up to this point of a personal matter, so they in reply spoke with a like reference. αὔτε γράμματα , i.e. , no official letters from the Sanhedrim this was practically impossible, for it is not likely that any ship had left Cæsarea before Paul’s departure with such intelligence (so Weiss, Blass, Hackett). τῶν ἀδελ ., i.e. , of the Jewish nation, cf. Acts 28:17 . The Jews do not assert that they know nothing of Paul, but only that with reference to the statement which he had just made they had received no report ( ἀπήγ ., cf. R.V., so Acts 4:23 ), or had any of his countrymen spoken evil of him. The aorists point to this limitation of the assertion (Page’s note, and Nösgen, in loco ), and this view prevents us from seeing any contradiction between Acts 28:21-22 , for if the statement in the former verse be taken quite generally of Paul’s work, the Jews contradicted themselves in Acts 28:22 , where they evidently include Paul in this sect ( ταύτης ), of which they knew that it was everywhere spoken against. πονηρόν : the stress need not be laid on this word, as if the sentence meant that they had heard something about Paul, but nothing evil; it may well have been chosen with reference to the Apostle’s own expression, οὐδὲν ἐναντίον .

Verse 22

Acts 28:22 . ἀξιοῦμεν δὲ : “but we think good,” cf. Acts 15:38 . They acknowledge that no report had reached them to invalidate the statements which Paul had just made as to the causes of his imprisonment, but ( δέ ) they would hear not from others, but from himself ( παρὰ σοῦ ). ἃ φρονεῖς : evidently no reference to any special view of Christianity as characterising St. Paul’s own teaching, but a reference to his claim to be imprisoned for the hope of Israel. αἱρ … Christianity was for them only a sect, and therefore they could not understand the Apostle’s identification of it with the Jewish national hope. See note on Acts 28:17 . γνωστόν … ἡμῖν : if the view is correct that the edict of Claudius, see chap. Acts 18:2 , was occasioned by the early preaching of Christianity in Rome, it is possible that the dislocation of the Jewish community then caused may help at all events to explain why the Christian Church in Rome did not grow out of the Jewish synagogue in the capital to the same context as elsewhere, see Sanday and Headlam, Romans , pp. 21, 22. It may no doubt be urged that the Christian Church in Rome was not entirely a heathen-Christian Church, and that, as the names in Romans 16:0 indicate, it contained a Jewish element. But it is quite conceivable that in the capital, with its two million inhabitants, the Jews, who had only recently returned to the city, should know nothing beyond what is here indicated in such general terms of a poor and obscure sect who dwelt no longer in the Jewish quarter. It is also worthy of consideration that the Jews of Rome, whilst not guilty of any untruth in what they had just said as to their knowledge of the Christian sect, may have expressed themselves in this guarded manner from political reasons. If St. Paul’s statement in Acts 28:18 as to the favourable bearing of the Roman authorities towards him was true, it was but natural that the Jews should wish to refrain from hasty or hostile action towards a prisoner who was evidently treated with consideration in his bonds; they would rather act thus than revive an old quarrel which might again lead to their own political insecurity, see especially Lightfoot, Philippians , pp. 15, 16; Felten, in loco ; and, further, Rendall, p. 352. Nothing said by the Jews contradicts the existence of a Christian community in Rome, nor is it said that they wished to learn the Christian tenets from Paul, as if they knew nothing of them from their own knowledge, or as if they knew nothing of the causes of the opposition to the Christian faith; motives of curiosity and of policy might well have prompted a desire to hear Paul speak for himself, and with such motives there was apparently mingled a tone of contempt for a sect of which they might fairly say, from the experience of their countrymen, and from their own experience in Rome, πανταχοῦ ἀντιλέγεται : ἀντιλ . Lucan-Pauline; only once elsewhere; cf. John 19:12 . See [434] text above.

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

Verse 23

Acts 28:23 . ταξάμενοι : cf. Matthew 28:16 , and Polyb., xviii., 36, 1, for a similar phrase; a mutual arrangement between the two parties; only here in the middle voice in Acts. τὴν ξενίαν : may = τὸ μίσθωμα , Acts 28:30 (Weiss, Holtzmann), or it may refer to entertainment in the house of a friend, cf. Acts 21:16 , and Philem., Acts 28:22 . Lewin urges that although we can well understand that Paul’s friends would wish to entertain him, we have no evidence that the strictness of the military guard was thus far relaxed, and he also presses the fact that Suidas and Hesychius explain ξενία = κατάλυμα , καταγώγιον , as if it meant a place of sojourn for hire; see especially for the whole question Lewin, St. Paul , ii. 238; but see on the other hand Lightfoot, Philippians , p. 9, who lays stress on N.T. passages quoted above, and Grimm-Thayer, sub v. πλείονες : more than at the first time; Blass takes it as = plurimi , cf. Acts 2:40 , Acts 13:31 . ἐξετίθετο , cf. Acts 11:4 , Acts 18:26 , and in Acts 7:21 in a different sense, nowhere else in N.T. J. Weiss and Vogel both lay stress upon the recurrence of the word in the medical writer Dioscorides; for other references, Grimm-Thayer, sub v. It is possible that the middle here, as in Acts 11:4 , gives it a reflexive force, the Apostle vindicates his own conduct (Rendall). Μωσέως : from the law of Moses, whose enemy he was represented to be, no less than from the Prophets. πείθων suavissime , Bengel; on the conative present participle see Burton, p. 59, but here the word is used not simply de conatu ; it refers here to the persuasive power of St. Paul’s words, although it does not say that his words resulted in conviction. ἀπὸ πρωῒ ἕως ἑσπέρας , cf. for similar expressions Exodus 18:13-14 A, Job 4:20 [435] S, and other passages where πρωΐθεν is similarly used (H. and R.).

[435] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

Verse 24

Acts 28:24 . οἱ μὲν … οἱ δὲ …, cf. Acts 14:4 , Acts 17:32 , whether the verb means simply listened to what was said (Rendall), or simply denotes an attitude of receptivity (Nösgen), the fact that Paul addresses to both classes his final words indicates that the degree of belief to which they attained was not sufficient to convince even the well-disposed Jews to throw in their lot with Paul. Perhaps it is best to remember that the tenses are in the imperfect: “some were being persuaded of the things, etc.,” and this also keeps up the reference to the previous πείθων , persuadere studens (Blass, Plumptre). οἱ δὲ ἠπίσ .: “and some disbelieved,” R.V., or “continued in their disbelief”. The verb only here in Acts, but cf. Luke 24:11 ; Luke 24:41 , Mark 16:11 ; Mark 16:16 , 1 Peter 2:7 , Wis 10:7 ; Wis 12:17 ; Wis 18:13 (see H. and R.), etc.

Verse 25

Acts 28:25 . ἀσύμφωνοι , cf. Wis 18:19 and Dan., LXX, Bel., Acts 28:15 ; cf. for the phrase Diod. Sic., iv., 1, the word is found in Josephus, but also in classical Greek. δέ : the best attested reading marks sharply and emphatically the turn of affairs; there may have been Pharisees among the well-disposed Jews, and to these Paul may have made an appeal when the hope of Israel, now as formerly, was in question, cf. Acts 23:6 ; but if so, they would not decide to rank themselves amongst “the Pharisees that believed” however imperfectly, and of them as well of the unbelievers the writer can only say ἀπελύοντο , cf. for middle Exodus 33:11 , and so Polyb., iii., 34, 12. εἰπόντος τοῦ Π .: the words do not mean that they departed because Paul so spoke, but almost = ἀπολυομένων εἶπεν (so Blass, Nösgen). It may be that Paul’s words of censure were partly directed against the spirit which prompted the Jews to depart all together; in other words to suppress the differences which had evidently arisen amongst them, for the sake of an outward show of fellowship, lest they should again be charged as tumultuantes (Nösgen); but beyond all this, in their absence of brotherly love for one who still claimed them as his ἀδελφοί , in the unbelief of some, in the want of the courage of their convictions in others, St. Paul saw a fulfilment of that hardness and dulness of heart of which the prophet had spoken. ῥῆμα ἕν : “ one word,” emphatically drawing attention to the prophetical utterance which followed; it was evening, the night was drawing on, and (Acts 28:23 ) so too for the disbelieving nation: the day was far spent, the night was at hand (Bethge). καλῶς , cf. Matthew 15:7 , Mark 7:6 ; Mark 7:9 (as in these two passages placed first with strong indignation, Page), Mark 12:28 , Luke 20:39 , the word often occurs in St. Paul’s Epistles. It is remarkable that the same prophetic quotation with which the Christ had opened His teaching by parables, which is cited in all four of the Evangelists, should thus form the solemn close of the historical books of the N.T. See above on Matthew 13:14 , Mark 4:12 , Luke 8:10 , and John 12:40 , where the same words are quoted by St. John to explain the rejection of Christ’s own teaching, just as here by St. Paul to explain the rejection of the teaching about Christ. “Est hoc extremum dictum Pauli in Actis, neque fortuito esse videtur; totius enim fere libri summam continet ad gentis evangelium a Judæis jam translatum esse, quippe spretum ab eis” (Blass), cf. the course of events in Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Acts 13:42 , Acts 18:6 , Acts 19:9 . τὸ Π . τὸ Ἅ .: the solemnity of the words is intensified by thus introducing the Holy Ghost, rather than merely the human agent, as Himself speaking (see also critical note); and not only so, but by thus intimating that they were resisting not man but God, cf. Acts 7:51 . ἡμῶν : if we read ὑμῶν the word indicates that St. Paul would not identify himself with the unbelieving Jews, cf. Acts 7:52 , the indignant words of St. Stephen, which the speaker had himself heard.

Verse 26

Acts 28:26 . πορεύθητι … εἰπέ : the quotation is accurately taken from the LXX, Isaiah 6:9-10 , and the first line is additional to the words otherwise given in full by St. Matthew; as the speaker is the messenger to the Jews who condemns this hardness of heart, he applies to himself the word πορ .

Verse 27

Acts 28:27 . ἰάσωμαι , see critical note; the indicative future as in R.V. adds to the force and vigour of the passage; after μή it represents the action of the verb as more vividly realised as possible and probable than is the case when the subjunctive is used (Page), see also Winer-Moulton, lvi., 2 a ; Bethge, p. 331; cf. Luke 12:58 , Acts 21:24 (Blass). It is significant that Luke the physician should thus cite as almost the last words of his record a prophecy ending with ἰάσομαι (Plummer, St. Luke , Introd., p. lxvi.).

Verse 28

Acts 28:28 . γνωστὸν οὖν : for the word similarly used cf. Acts 2:14 , Acts 4:10 ; Acts 13:38 . τοῦτο τὸ σωτ ., see critical note; cf. LXX, Psalms 66:2 ; Psalms 97:2-3 . σωτ ., adjective, neuter of σωτήριος , used substantively (as in classical Greek), so often in LXX of the Messianic salvation; cf. Luke 2:30 ; Luke 3:6 , Ephesians 6:17 , and Clem. Rom., Cor [436] , xxxv., 12, xxxvi. 1. The word is used only by St. Luke and St. Paul, see Plummer, note on Luke 3:6 . For the whole expression here cf. Acts 13:26 , where words very similar are used by Paul, and with very similar results, Acts 13:46 . τοῦτο , emphatic this, the very message of God’s salvation, this is what I am declaring to you. αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται : “they will also hear,” R.V. The words thus rendered may not convey so plainly a reproach to the Jews as in A.V., but at the same time they express something more than the mere fact that Gentiles as well as Jews will now hear the message; that message will not only be sent ( ἀπεστάλη ), but also heard; the καί may well indicate that whilst the Jews will hear with the ear only as distinct from the understanding, the Gentiles will not only hear, but really ( καί ) listen (see Rendall and Weiss, in loco ). At the same time we must remember that as a background to what the Apostle here says we have his words in Romans 9-11, and the thought which he had expressed to the Roman Church that God had not really cast away His people, but whilst through their unbelief the Gentiles had been called, yet that inclusion of the heathen in the Messianic kingdom would rouse the Jews to jealousy, and that thus all Israel would be saved, Romans 11:11 ; cf. Romans 10:19 ; Sanday and Headlam, Romans , p. 341 ff. We can scarcely doubt that the words are uttered not merely to condemn, but to lead to repentance; at all events it would not be possible to find stronger words against his own countrymen than those written by St. Paul in his earliest Epistle, 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 ; and yet we know how St. Paul, for those same countrymen, could wish himself accused; so Bethge, as against Overbeck, who can only see that in Acts the belief of the Gentiles results not in a noble jealousy, but in the bitter envy of the Jews. But there blends with the tone of sadness a note of triumph in the words αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται , the future of his message is assured, and we may borrow two words as an inscription for these closing pages of St. Luke’s second treatise the last word of the Apostle, and the last of the historian ἀκούσονται … ἀκωλύτως the word of God was heard and welcomed, and that word was not bound, see the suggestive remarks of Bethge, p. 335, and Zöckler on Acts 28:31 .

[436] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

Verse 29

Acts 28:29 . See critical note. συζήτησιν , rixa , Blass; possibly this may have helped to delay the Apostle’s trial, as apparently some of the Jews would not have moved in the matter.

Verse 30

Acts 28:30 . ἔμεινε δὲ : Blass (so also Hackett, Lekebusch) makes the important remark that the aorist shows that Paul’s condition was changed after the two years, cf. ἐκάθισε , Acts 18:11 (see also Burton, pp. 19, 20). When, therefore, Luke wrote his history, the inference is that the Apostle had been liberated either from prison or by death. Blass indicates another change, viz. , that he may have been removed into the prætorium, and that his trial was just coming on. ἰδίῳ μισθ ., see above on Acts 28:23 . That the Apostle should have been able to hire a house at his own expense receives confirmation from the coincidence with Philippians 4:10 ; Philippians 4:14 ; Philippians 4:18 ; others have suggested (Wendt, 1899, Knabenbauer) that he may have gained the means of hiring it by his own work. See in this connection Rendel Harris, Four Lectures, etc. , pp. 50, 51, and the extract from the Armenian Version of Ephrem’s Commentary on the Acts. It would seem that Ephrem imagined that the rent of the lodging was paid by the proceeds of the cloak and books (2 Timothy 4:13 ). Lightfoot, Philippians , p. 9, holds that ἰδίῳ certainly distinguishes the μίσθωμα here from the ξενία above, see his note, and Grimm-Thayer, in loco . It is quite true that μίσθωμα is not used in this sense of a hired house elsewhere (indeed it is used especially of the wages of hire in a bad sense, Deuteronomy 23:18 , Micah 1:7 , Ezekiel 16:31 ), but Lightfoot admits that it may be used here exceptionally as a translation of the Latin conductum , meaning here a suite of apartments only, not the whole house (Lewin), the Latin meritoria ( sc. loca ) seems to be used very much in this same double sense of μίσθωμα . διετίαν ὅλην , cf. Acts 24:27 , only in Luke, not in classical Greek, but in Philo (see also Grimm-Thayer, and Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 86), so too τριετίαν only in Luke; see on Acts 20:31 The two years were spent not only in preaching, but in writing, as we may fairly believe, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. ἀπεδέχετο , see above, Acts 15:4 , Acts 21:7 , apparently greater freedom than in Cæsarea, Acts 24:23 ; if it was not for the notice in Philippians 1:13 ; Philippians 1:17 , we might almost suppose that the Apostle was liberated on security or on bail; cf. the account of the imprisonment of Agrippa I. in Rome; see p. 486. πάντας : all, both Jews and Gentiles; not only the latter, as Bengel thought: “neminem excludebat Dei exemplo,” Grotius. εἰσπορ ., see on Acts 9:28 , most frequent in Luke, Friedrich, p. 7; see critical note.

Verse 31

Acts 28:31 . τὰ περὶ : on the phrase see p. 481. τοῦ Κ . Ἰ . Χ ., see critical note, and cf. Acts 11:17 , Acts 15:26 , the full phrase corresponds with the solemn conclusion of the book. μετὰ π . παῤῥ .: the phrase with or without πάσης four times in Acts, and nowhere else in N.T., see on p. 128. In Jerusalem by the Twelve, Acts 4:29 , and in Rome no less than in Jerusalem by St. Paul, the witness was given “with all boldness,” cf. Philippians 1:14 ; and so the promise in the vision vouchsafed to the Apostle of the Gentiles was verified, Acts 23:11 , and the aim of the Gentile historian fulfilled when the Gospel was thus preached boldly and openly, ἕως ἐσχ . τῆς γῆς , see note on Acts 1:8 . ἀκωλύτως : “eadem plane dicuntur in ep. ad Phil. Roma data, Acts 1:12 sqq.,” Blass, and the word of God had free course and was glorified. The adverb is found in Plato, Epict., Herodian, and also in Josephus. In LXX the adjective is found in Wis 7:22 , and the adverb is used by Symm., Job 34:31 . There is a note of triumph in the word, Bengel, Zöckler, and we may note with Wordsworth and Page the cadence of these concluding words, μετα π . π . ἀκωλ . But all this does not forbid the view that the writer intended to give a third book to complete his work. This latter view is strongly insisted upon by Prof. Ramsay, St. Paul , p. 23 ff., while Bishop Lightfoot, B.D., i., 27, can see no conceivable plea for any third treatise, if the purpose of the narrative is completed by Paul coming to Rome and there delivering his message, so, although less strongly, Harnack, Chron. , i. p. 248, see note on Acts 1:8 . But Prof. Ramsay has received the strong support not only of Zöckler, and curiously enough of Spitta, Apostelgeschichte , p. 318, but still more recently amongst English writers of Rendall, and in Germany of Dr. Zahn. Just as in St. Luke’s Gospel Luke 24:44 forms not merely a starting point for, but an anticipation of, the succeeding history, or just as Luke 24:44-53 contain in a summary what is afterwards related in greater detail, Acts 1:2 , so in Acts 28:30-31 of Acts 28:0 we have, as it were, a brief sketch of what succeeded the events hitherto recorded, and an anticipation of what followed upon them. This probability remains quite apart from the additional force which is given to it if Ramsay is right in regarding πρῶτος , Acts 1:1 , as signifying not simply πρότερος , but the first of a series, a view strongly supported by Zahn, Einleitung , ii., p. 371. Certainly the aorist, Acts 28:30 (see above), and the expression διετίαν ὅλην seem to show that some fact was known to the writer which followed the close of the two years, and we can therefore hardly say that he wrote no more because he knew no more, unless we also suppose that he wrote his history at the conclusion and not during the course of the two years. This he may have done while the result of St. Paul’s first trial was still unknown, although Philippians 1:25-27 ; Philippians 2:24 , Philemon 1:22 , show us plainly with what confidence the Apostle awaited the issue. At all events almost any conjecture seems more probable than that the writer should have concluded so abruptly if he had nothing more to chronicle than the immediate and tragic death of his hero! Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 162, Spitta, Zur Geschichte und Litteratur des Urchristentums , I., 15, 16. To say with Jülicher, Einleitung , p. 27, that he refrained from doing this because in such an event he would chronicle not the triumph but the defeat of the Gospel is certainly a strange argument, and no one has given a better answer to it than Harnack by asking, Since when did the early Christians regard martyrdom as a defeat? Is the death of Christ, or of Stephen, in the mind of the author of Acts a defeat? is it not rather a triumph? Chron. , i., 247. The elaborate discussion of the abrupt conclusion in Acts by Wendt, 1899, pp. 31, 32, is entirely based upon the assumption that Luke was not the author of Acts, and that therefore this author, whoever he was, wrote no more because his information failed him, and he knew no more. This could not have been so in the case of Luke, who was with the Apostle at Rome, as we have from undoubted testimony quite apart from Acts. See further Introd. For the release of St. Paul, his subsequent journeys to Spain and to the East, and his second imprisonment, see in support, Zahn, Einleitung , i., p. 435 ff., Harnack, Chron. , i., 239, Spitta, u. s. , Salmon, Introd. , p. 403 ff., Die zweite römische Gefangenschaft des Apostels Paulus , Steinmeyer (1897), and Critical Review (July), 1898. There were many possible reasons why the hearing of St. Paul’s appeal was so long delayed. The record of the previous proceedings forwarded by Festus may have been lost in the wreck, and it was therefore necessary to wait for fresh official information, as the prisoner’s accusers had not arrived. And when they arrived, it is very possible that they may have been glad to interpose fresh obstacles, and that they would be content to keep Paul bound as before; as evidence was probably wanted, not only from Jerusalem, but from various parts of the empire, the interposition of these fresh delays was easy. St. Paul had himself suggested that the Jews in Asia ought to be summoned, or to be present, Acts 24:19 . That such delays would not be unusual we may learn from Tacitus, e.g., Ann. , xiii., 43; cf. Suet., Nero , 15. When we remember how long a delay occurred in the case of the Jewish priests, the friends of Josephus, Vita , 3, who were sent to Rome by Felix to plead their cause, it ceases to be surprising that St. Paul was detained so long without a trial; see on the whole question Lewin, St. Paul , ii., 277 ff.; Lightfoot, Phil. , p. 4; Knabenbauer, Actus Apostolorum , pp. 453, 454, 1899.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 28". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/acts-28.html. 1897-1910.
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