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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
Acts 21

 

 

Verses 1-16

Acts 20:1 to Acts 21:16.] JOURNEY OF PAUL TO MACEDONIA AND GREECE, AND THENCE TO JERUSALEM.


Verse 1

Acts 21:1.] The E. V., ‘After we had gotten from them,’ does not come up to the original: δείκνυσι τὴν βίαν τῷ εἰπεῖν ἀποσπασθέντας ἀπʼ αὐτὦν, Chrys.

εὐθυδρομ.] See ref., having run before the wind. Cos, opposite Cnidus and Halicarnassus, celebrated for its wines ( εὔκαρπος πᾶσα, οἴνῳ δὲ καὶ ἀρίστη, καθάπερ χίος κ. λέσβος, Strab. xiv. 2), rich stuffs (‘nec Coæ referunt jam tibi purpuræ,’ Hor. iv. 13. 13), and ointments ( γίνεται δὲ μύρα κάλλιστα κατὰ τόπους.… ἀμαράκινον δὲ κῶον καὶ μήλινον, Athen(140) xv. p. 688). The chief town was of the same name (Hom. Il. β. 677), and had a famous temple of Æsculapius (Strabo, ibid.). It was the birth-place of Hippocrates. The modern name, Stanchio, is a corruption of ἐς τὰν κῶ [as Stamboul for Constantinople is of ἐς τὰν πόλιν]. See Winer, Realw.

Rhodes was at this time free, cf. Strabo, xiv. 2; Tac. Ann. xii. 58: ‘Redditur Rbodiis libertas, adempta sæpe aut firmata, prout bellis externis meruerant, aut domi seditione deliquerant.’ See also Suet. Claud. 25, ‘Rhodiis (libertatem) ob pœitentiam veterum delictorum reddidit.’ It was reduced to a Roman province under Vespasian, Suet. Vesp. 8. The situation of its chief town is praised by Strabo, 1. c.

The celebrated Colossus was at this time broken and lying in ruins, ib. Patara, in Lycia (‘caput gentis,’ Liv. xxxvii. 15), a large maritime town, a short distance E. of the mouth of the Xanthus. It had a temple and oracle of Apollo, Herod, i. 182. ‘Delius et Patareus Apollo,’ Hor. iii. 4. There are considerable ruins remaining, Fellows, Asia Minor, p. 219 ff. Lycia, p. 115 ff. Winer, Realw. Here they leave their ship hired at Troas, or perhaps at Neapolis (see note on Acts 20:16), and avail themselves of a merchant ship bound for Tyre.


Verse 3

3. ἀναφανέντες] for the construction, see reff. and Winer, edn. 6, § 39. 1: having been shewn Cyprus, literally. Wetst. cites from Theophanes, p. 392, περιεφέροντο ἐν τῷ πελάγει, ἀναφανέντων δὲ αὐτῶν τὴν γῆν, εἶδον αὐτοὺς οἱ στρατηγοί. ‘The graphic language of an eyewitness, and of one familiar with the phraseology of seamen, who, in their own language, appear to raise the land in approaching it.’ Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul. But would not this remark rather apply to the active participle? Compare ‘aerias Phæacum abscondimus arces,’ Æn. iii. 291.

εὐώνυμον] sc. αὐτήν, i.e. to the E. This would be the straight course from Patara to Tyre.

ἐπλ. εἰς σ.,—we held our course, steered, for Syria.

κατήλθ.] we came down to, the result of having borne down upon.

τύρον] This city, so well known for its commercial importance and pride, and so often mentioned in the O. T. prophets, was now a free town (Jos. Ant. xv. 41. Strabo, xvi. 2, οὐχ ὑπὸ τῶν βασιλέων δʼ ἐκρίθησαν αὐτόνομοι μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ῥωμαίων) of the province of Syria.

ἐκεῖσε] If this is an adv. of motion as generally, the reference may be to the carrying and depositing the cargo in the town (De Wette), or to the thitherward direction of the voyage (Meyer): but in the only other place where ἐκεῖσε occurs (ref. [see also ref. Job]) it simply = ἐκεῖ, so that perhaps no motion is included.

ἀποφορτ.] The pres. part. indicates the intention, as διαπερῶν before.


Verse 4

4. δέ] Implying, ‘the crew indeed were busied with unlading the ship: but we, having sought out (by enquiry) the disciples.’ … ‘Finding disciples’ (E.V.) is quite wrong. It is not improbable that Paul may have preached at Tyre before, when he visited Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21) after his conversion,—and again when he confirmed the churches (ch. Acts 15:41): τοὺς μαθ. seems to imply this.

ἡμ. ἑπτ.] The time taken in unlading:—they apparently proceeded in the same ship, see Acts 21:6.

The notice here is very important, that these Tyrian disciples said to Paul by the Spirit, that he should not go to Jerusalem,—and yet he went thither, and, as he himself declares, δεδεμένος τῷ πνεύματι, bound in spirit by the leading of God. We thus have an instance of that which Paul asserts 1 Corinthians 14:32, that the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets, i.e., that the revelation made by the Holy Spirit to each man’s spirit was under the influence of that man’s will and temperament, moulded by and taking the form of his own capacities and resolves. So here: these Tyrian prophets knew by the Spirit, which testified this in every city (ch. Acts 20:23), that bonds and imprisonment awaited Paul. This appears to have been announced by them, shaped and intensified by their own intense love and anxiety for him who was probably their father in the faith (see [ τοὺς μαθ. above, and] Acts 21:5). But he paid no regard to the prohibition, being himself under a leading of the same Spirit too plain for him to mistake it. see below, Acts 21:10 ff.


Verse 5

5. ἐξαρτίσαι] This is ordinarily a naval word, signifying to fit out or refit a ship (with or without πλοῖον, Passow). But this can hardly be the meaning here. Meyer would render ‘when we had spent these days in refitting,’ so that τ. ἡμ. would be the accusative of duration,—‘when we had refitted during the days.’ But not to mention that τὰς ἡμ., without ταύτας, would be harsh in such a connexion,—is not the aorist ἐξαρτίσαι fatal to the rendering? Would it not in this case be present, if implying the continued action during the days,—perfect, if implying that that action was over (in which latter case ἡμ. would be dative)? The aorist, as almost invariably in dependent clauses, must refer to some one act occurring at one time. So that if the meaning given by Theoph., Œc(141) πληρῶσαι (Hesych(142) τελειῶσαι) be found no where else, it is almost necessary so to understand the word here. And it is doing no violence to its import: the same verb which indicates the completion of a ship’s readiness for a voyage, might well be applied to the completion of a period of time. Our own word ‘fulfil’ has undergone a similar change of meaning since its first composition: and πληρῶσαι is used both of manning a ship and of fulfilling a period of time.

ἐξελθ.] from the house where they were lodged.

ἕως ἔξω τ. π.] “We passed through the city to the western shore of the ancient island, now the peninsula, hoping to find there a fitting spot for the tent, in the open space between the houses and the sea.” Robinson, iii. 392.

ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλόν] “Yet had we looked a few rods further, we should have found a very tolerable spot by a threshing-floor, where we might have pitched close upon the bank, and enjoyed, in all its luxury, the cool sea-breeze, and the dashing of the surge upon the rocky shore.” id. ibid.


Verse 7

7. τὸν πλοῦν διανύς.] Having ended our voyage, viz. the whole voyage, from Neapolis to Syria. The E.V., ‘when we had finished our course from Tyre,’ is allowable, but this would more probably have been τὸν ἀπὸ τύρου. ‘With their landing at Ptolemais their voyage ended: the rest of the journey was made by land.’ (De Wette.) ἀπὸ τύρου will thus be taken with κατηντήσαμεν.

πτολεμαΐδα] Anciently Accho ( ἀκχώ, LXX, Judges 1:31,—in Gr. and Rom. writers ἄκη, Ace), called Ptolemais from (probably) Ptolemy Lathurus (Jos. Antt. xiii. 12. 2 ff., see 1 Maccabees 10:56 ff; 1 Maccabees 11:22; 1 Maccabees 11:24; 1 Maccabees 12:45; 1 Maccabees 12:48; 2 Maccabees 13:24). It was a large town with a harbour (Jos. Antt. xviii. 6. 3). It was never (Judges 1:31) fully possessed by the Jews, but belonged to the Phœnicians, who in after times were mixed with Greeks. But after the captivity a colony of Jews is found there (Jos. B. J. ii. 18. 5). The emperor Claudius gave it the ‘civitas,’ whence it is called by Pliny, Acts 21:17; xxxvi. 65, ‘Colonia Claudii Cæsaris.’ It is now called St. Jean d’Acre, and is the best harbour on the Syrian coast, though small. It lies at the end of the great road from Damascus to the sea. Population now about 10,000.

The distance from Ptolemais to Cæsarea is forty-four miles. For Cæsarea, see on ch. Acts 10:1.


Verse 8

8. φιλ. τ. εὐαγγ.] It is possible that he may have had this appellation from his having been the first to travel about preaching the gospel: see ch. Acts 8:5 ff. The office of Evangelist, see reff., seems to have answered very much to our missionary: Theodoret, on Ephesians 4:11, says, ἐκεῖνοι περιΐόντες ἐκήρυττον: and Euseb. H. E. iii. 37, ἔργον ἐπετέλουν εὐαγγελιστῶν, τοῖς ἔτι πάμπαν ἀνηκόοις τοῦ τῆς πίστεως λόγου κηρύττειν τὸν χριστὸν φιλοτιμούμενοι, καὶ τὴν τῶν θείων εὐαγγελίων παραδιδόναι γραφήν. The latter could hardly have been part of their employment so early as this; nor had εὐαγγέλιον in these times the peculiar meaning of a narrative of the life of Christ, but rather embraced the whole good tidings of salvation by Him, as preached to the Jews and Heathens. See Neander, Pfl. u. L., pp. 258, 264.

Euseb., iii. 31, apparently mistakes this Philip for the Apostle: as did also (see Valesius’s note, Euseb. l. c.) Clement of Alexandria and Papias.

ὄντος ἐκ τ. ἑπτά] See ch. Acts 6:5, and note. Meyer and Winer (edn. 6, § 20. l. c.) well remark (see De Wette also), that the participle without the article implies that the reason why they abode with him was that he was one of the seven: ‘ut qui esset,’ &c. and in English being (one) of the seven. The fact of Philip being settled at Cæsarea, and known as ὁ εὐαγγελιστής, seems decisive against regarding the occurrence of ch. Acts 6:3 ff. as the establishment of any permanent order in the church.


Verse 9

9.] This notice is inserted apparently without any immediate reference to the history, but to bring so remarkable a circumstance to the knowledge of the readers. The four daughters had the gift of προφητεία: see on ch. Acts 11:27. Eusebius (see, however, his mistake above) gives from Polycrates traditional accounts of them,—that two were buried at Hierapolis, and one at Ephesus. From that passage, and one cited from Clement of Alex. ( δύο θυγατέρες αὐτοῦ γεγηρακυῖαι παρθένοι, Polycr., Euseb. iii. 31.… φίλιππος τὰς θυγατέρας ἀνδράσιν ἐξέδωκε, Clem(143), Eus(144) iii. 30), it would appear that two were afterwards married, according to tradition.

To find an argument for the so-called ‘honour of virginity’ in this verse, only shews to what resources those will stoop who have failed to apprehend the whole spirit and rule of the gospel in the matter. They are met however on their own ground by an argument built on another misapprehension (that of Philip being a deacon in the ecclesiastical sense): ὥστε οὖν καὶ τῷ κοινωνήσαντι γάμων διακονεῖν ἔξεστι.


Verse 10

10.] This Agabus in all probability is identical with the Agabus of ch. Acts 11:28. That there is no reference to that former mention of him, might be occasioned by different sources of information having furnished the two narratives.


Verse 11

11.] Similar symbolical actions accompanying prophecy are found 1 Kings 22:11; Isaiah 20:2; Jeremiah 13:1 ff.; Ezekiel 4:1 fr., 9 ff.; Acts 5:1, &c. De Wette remarks that τάδε λέγει τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον is the N. T. prophetic formula, instead of τάδε λέγει ὁ κύριος of the O. T.


Verse 12

12. τοῦ μή] A similar gen. after exhortation, is found ch. Acts 15:20.


Verse 13

13.] The τότε, which has been changed in the rec. for the ordinary copula, gives solemnity to the answer about to be related: q. d. It was then that Paul said.

συνθρύπτοντες] The present part. does not imply the endeavour merely, here or any where else, but as Meyer quotes from Schaefer, Eurip. Phœn. 79, ‘Vere incipit actus, sed ob impedimenta caret eventu.’

γάρ] Either, ‘your proceeding is in vain, for …’—or ‘cease to do so, for.…’

εἰς ἱερ] on my arrival at: the motion to, which was the subject in question, is combined with that which might result on it: see reff. and ch. Acts 2:39.


Verse 14

14. τ. κ. τὸ θέλ. γιν.] One of the passages from which we may not unfairly infer, that the Lord’s prayer was used by the Christians of the apostolic age. See note on 2 Timothy 4:18.


Verse 15

15. ἐπισκευασάμενοι] The remarkable variety of reading in this word shews that much difficulty has been found in it. The rec. ἀποσκευασάμενοι (which may perhaps have arisen from the mixture of ἀποταξάμενοι (D) with ἐπισκευασάμενοι), would mean, not, ‘having deposited our (useless) baggage,’—but, ‘having discharged our baggage,’ ‘unpacked the matters necessary for our journey to Jerusalem, from our coffers.’ But ἐπισκ. is the better supported reading, and suits the passage better: having packed up, made ourselves ready for the journey. ‘Carriages’ in the E. V. is used, as at Judges 18:21 (where it answers to τὸ βάρος, LXX-B), for baggage, things carried.


Verse 16

16.] Two renderings are given to the latter clause of this verse: (1) making ΄νάσωνι, &c. depend on ἄγοντες, and agreeing by attr. with , as E. V., ‘and brought with them one Mnason, … with whom we should lodge’ (so Beza, Calvin, Wolf, Schött., &c.): and (2) resolving the attraction into ἄγοντες παρὰ ΄νάσωνα, παρʼ ᾧ ξ. ‘bringing us to Mnason,’ &c. (So Grot., Valcknaer, Bengel, De Wette, Meyer, al.) Both are legitimate: and it is difficult to choose between them. The probability of Mnason being a resident at Jerusalem, and of the Cæsarean brethren going to introduce the company to him, seems to favour the latter: as also does the fact that Luke much more frequently uses ἄγω with a person followed by a preposition than absolutely. Of Mnason nothing further is known.

ἀρχαίῳ probably implies that he had been a disciple ἐξ ἀρχῆς, and had accompanied our Lord during His ministry. See ch. Acts 11:15, where the term ἐξ ἀρχῆς is applied to the time of the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit.


Verse 17

17. οἱ ἀδελφοί] The Christians generally: not the Apostles and elders, as Kuin., who imagines from Acts 21:20-21, that ‘cœtus non favebat Paulo.’ But (1) this is by no means implied: and (2) James and the elders are not mentioned till Acts 21:18.


Verses 17-23

17–23:35.] PAUL AT JERUSALEM: MADE PRISONER, AND SENT TO CÆSAREA.


Verse 18

18. ἰάκωβον] James, ‘the brother of the Lord:’ the president of the church at Jerusalem: see ch. Acts 12:17; Acts 15:13, Galatians 2:12, and notes,—and Prolegg. to the Epistle of James, vol. iv. pt. 1, § i. 24–37.


Verse 19

19.] On the particular kind of attraction (reff.), in a gen. plur. after a partitive adjective, see Winer, edn. 6, § 24. 2. b.


Verse 20

20.] While they praised God for, and fully recognized, the work wrought by him among the Gentiles, they found it requisite to advise him respecting the suspicion under which he laboured among the believing Jews. They,—led, naturally perhaps, but incorrectly (see 1 Corinthians 7:18), by some passages of Paul’s life (and of his already written Epistles?), in which he had depreciated legal observances in comparison with faith in Christ, and spoken strongly against their adoption by Gentile converts,—apprehended that he advised on the part of the Hellenistic believers, an entire apostasy from Moses and the ordinances of the law.

θεωρεῖς] This can hardly be a reference (as Olsh.) to the elders present, as representatives of the μυριάδες of believing Jews; for only those of Jerusalem were there:—but refers to Paul’s own experience, and knowledge of the vast numbers of the Jews who believed at Jerusalem, and elsewhere in Judæa.

πόσαι μυριάδες is perhaps not to be strictly taken: see reff. Baur suspects, on account of this expression, that the words τῶν πεπιστ. are spurious; but quite without reason. Eusebius quotes from Hegesippus (H. E. ii. 23), πολλῶν καὶ τῶν ἀρχόντων πιστευόντων ἦν θόρυβος τῶν ἰουδαίων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ φαρισαίων λεγόντων ὅτι κινδυνεύει πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ἰησοῦν τὸν χριστὸν προσδοκᾷν. On the other hand, Origen (tom. i. in Joann. § 2, vol. iv. p. 3) says, that probably the whole number of believing Jews at no time had amounted to 144,000. On εἰσὶνὑπάρχουσι, see note, ch. Acts 16:20-21.


Verse 21

21. κατηχήθησαν] they were sedulously informed (at some time in the mind of the speaker. The sense of the aor. must be preserved. Below, Acts 21:24, it is the perfect): viz., by the anti-Pauline judaizers.

τοῖς ἔθεσιν] The dat. of the rule, or form, after which: see reff.


Verse 22

22. πάντως δ. συνελθ. πλ.] Not, as E. V., Calv., Grot., Calov., ‘the multitude must needs come together,’ i.e. there must be a meeting of the whole church ( τὸ πλῆθος, ch. Acts 2:6): but a multitude (of these Judaizers) will certainly come together: ‘they will meet and discuss your proceeding in a hostile manner.’


Verse 23

23. εὐχήν] A vow of Nazarites. This vow must not be confounded, historically or analogically, with that of ch. Acts 18:18; see note there, and Numbers 6:2-21.


Verse 24

24. παραλαβών] having taken to thyself, as comrades.

ἁγν. σὺν αὐτ.] become a Nazarite with them. The same expression occurs in the LXX, Numbers 6:3, in describing the Nazarite’s duties.

δαπάν. ἐπʼ αὐτ.] “More apud Judæos receptum erat, et pro insigni pietatis officio habebatur, ut in pauperum Nasiræorum gratiam ditiores sumptus erogarent ad sacrificia (see Numbers 6:14 ff.) quæ dum illi tonderentur, offerre necesse erat.” Kypke. Jos. Antt. xix. 6.1, relating Agrippa’s thank-offerings at Jerusalem, says, διὸ καὶ ναζιραίων ξυρᾶσθαι διέταξε μάλα συχνούς.

On the shaving the head, see Numbers 6:18.

De Wette remarks: ‘James and the elders made this proposal, assuming that Paul could comply with it salvâ conscientiâ,—perhaps also as a proof, to assure themselves and others of his sentiments: and Paul accepted it salvâ conscientiâ. But this he could only have done on one condition, that he was sure by it not to contribute in these four Nazarites to the error of justification by the works of the law. He might keep, and encourage the keeping of the law,—but not with the purpose of thereby deserving the approbation of God.’


Verse 25

25.] See ch. Acts 15:28-29.


Verse 26

26.] Paul himself entered into the vow with them ( σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁγν.), and the time settled (perhaps the least that could be assigned: the Mischna requires thirty days) for the completion of the vow, i.e. the offering and shaving of their heads, was seven days. No definite time is prescribed in Numbers 6, but there seven days is the time of purification in case of uncleanness during the period of the vow.

διαγγέλλων] making known to the ministers of the temple.

τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν] the fulfilment, i.e. that he and the men had come to fulfil: announcing their intention of fulfilling.

ἕως οὗ προσηνέχθη.] ‘donec offerretur,’ Vulg. The aor. indic. is unusual in an indirect construction, where the aor. subj. is almost always found (ch. Acts 23:12; Acts 23:21; Acts 25:21). But we have Plato, Gorg. p. 506, ἡδέωςἂνδιελεγόμην, ἕως αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ ἀμφίονος ἀπέδωκα ῥῆσιν,—and Cratyl. 396, οὐκ ἂν ἐπαυόμην διεξιὼν ἕως ἀπεπειράθην τῆς σοφίας ταυτησὶ τί ποιήσει. (De W.)

ἡ προσφορά] See Numbers 6:13-17.


Verse 27

27. αἱ ἑπτ. ἡμ.] Of the votive period: not (as Chrys. and Bede(145)) since Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem. Five days of the seven had passed: see on ch. Acts 24:11. Cf. on the whole, Bp. Wordsworth’s note.

ἀπὸ τ. ἀς.] From Ephesus and the neighbourhood, where Paul had so long taught. ‘Paulus, dum fidelibus placandis intentus est (viz. the believing Jews), in hostium furorem incurrit (viz. of the unbelieving Asiatic Jews).’ Calv., in Meyer, who adds, ‘In how many ways had those who were at Jerusalem this Pentecost, already persecuted Paul in Asia?’

Notice the similarity of the charge against him to that against Stephen, ch. Acts 6:13.


Verse 28

28. ελληνας] The generic plural: only one is intended, see next verse. They meant, into the inner court, which was forbidden to Gentiles.


Verse 29

29. τρόφ.] See ch. Acts 20:4, note. We here learn that he was an Ephesian.


Verse 30

30.] The Levites shut the doors to prevent profanation by a riot, and possibly bloodshed, in the temple: hardly, as Bengel, ‘ne templi tutela uteretur Paulus:’—the right of asylum was only (Exodus 21:13-14) for murder unawares (Meyer). But by Acts 21:14 there, and by Joab’s fleeing to the altar, 1 Kings 2:28 ff., we see that it was resorted to on other occasions.


Verse 31

31. ζητούντων κ. τ. λ.] By beating him: see Acts 21:32.

ἀνέβη] went (was carried) up; up, either because of his high station, as commanding officer, or because he was locally stationed in the tower Antonia, overlooking (from the N.W.) the temple, where the riot was.

τῷ χιλιάρχῳ τ. σπ.] Claudius Lysias (ch. Acts 23:26), the tribune of the cohort (whose proper complement was 1000 men).


Verse 33

33. ἁλύς. δυσί] See ch. Acts 12:6. He would thus be in the custody of two soldiers.

τίς [ ἂν] εἴη, who he might be (subjective possibility): and τί ἐστιν πεπ., what he had done (assuming that he must have done something).


Verse 34

34. παρεμβ.] The camp or barracks attached to the tower Antonia;—or perhaps ‘into the tower’ itself: but the other is the more usual meaning of παρεμβ. “For a full history and description of the fortress of Antonia, see Robinson, i. pp. 431, 435; Williams, Holy City, i. 99; ii. 403–411; Howson, ii. 311.” Wordsworth.


Verse 35

35. ἀναβαθμ.] The steps leading up into the tower. The description of the tower or fort Antonia in Jos. B. J. v. 5. 8, sets the scene vividly before us:— πυργοειδὴς δὲ οὖσα τὸ πᾶν σχῆμα, κατὰ γωνίαν τέσσαρσιν ἑτέροις διείληπτο πύργοις· ὧν οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι πεντήκοντα τὸ ὕψος, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τῇ μεσημβρινῇ καὶ κατʼ ἀνατολὴν γωνίᾳ κείμενος ἑβδομήκοντα πηχῶν ἦν, ὡς καθορᾷν ὅλον ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἱερόν. καθὰ δὲ συνῆπτο ταῖς τοῦ ἱεροῦ στοαῖς, εἰς ἀμφοτέρας εἶχε καταβάσεις· διʼ ὧν κατιόντες οἱ φρουροί, καθῆστο γὰρ ἀεὶ ἐπʼ αὐτῆς τάγμα ῥωμαίων, καὶ διϊστάμενοι περὶ τὰς στοὰς μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων, ἐν ταῖς ἑορταῖς τὸν δῆμον, ὡς μήτι νεωτερισθείη, παρεφύλαττον· φρούριον γὰρ ἐπέκειτο τῇ πόλει μὲν τὸ ἱερόν, τῷ ἱερῷ δὲ ἡ ἀντωνία.


Verse 37

37. ἑλληνιστὶγιγ.] as ‘Græce nescire,’ Cic. pro Flacc. 4,— τοὺς συριστὶ ἐπισταμένους, Xen. Cyr. vii. 5. 31: and reff. There is no ellipsis of λαλεῖν.


Verse 38

38. οὐκ ἄρα σὺ εἶ] Thou art not then, as I believed.… The E. V., after the Vulg., ‘art not thou’ … (‘nonne tu es …’) would require ἆρʼ οὐ or οὔκουν, Winer, edn. 6, § 57. 3. See also Luke 17:17; John 18:37.

αἰγύπτιος] The inference of the tribune was not, as in Bengel, ‘Græce loquitur: ergo est Ægyptius;’ but the very contrary to this. His being able to speak Greek is a proof to Lysias that he is not that Egyptian. This Egyptian is mentioned by Josephus, Antt. xx. 8. 6, ἀφικνεῖται δέ τις ἐξ αἰγύπτου κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν εἰς τὰ ἱεροσόλυμα, προφήτης εἶναι λέγων, καὶ συμβουλεύων τῷ δημοτικῷ πλήθει σὺν αὐτῷ πρὸς ὄρος τὸ προσαγορευόμενον ἐλαιῶν ἔρχεσθαι, ὃ καὶ τῆς πόλεως ἄντικρυς κείμενον ἀπέχει στάδια πέντε· θέλειν γάρ, ἔφασκεν, αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖθεν ἐπιδεῖξαι, ὡς κελεύσαντος αὐτοῦ πίπτοι τὰ τῶν ἱεροσολύμων τείχη, διʼ ὧν τὴν εἴσοδον αὐτοῖς παρέξειν ἐπηγγέλλετο. φῆλιξ δὲ ὡς ἐπύθετο ταῦτα, κελεύει τοὺς στρατιώτας ἀναλαβεῖν τὰ ὅπλα, καὶπροσβάλλει τοῖς περὶ τὸν αἰγύπτιον· καὶ τετρακοσίους μὲν αὐτῶν ἀνεῖλε, διακοσίους δὲ ζῶντας ἔλαβεν. ὁ δὲ αἰγύπτιος αὐτὸς διαδράσας ἐκ τῆς μάχης ἀφανὴς ἐγένετο. But in B. J. ii. 13. 5, he says of the same person, περὶ τρισμυρίους ἀθροίζει τῶν ἠπατημένων, περιαγαγὼν δὲ αὐτοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἐρημίας εἰς τὸ ἐλαιῶν καλ. ὄρ. κ. τ. λὥστε συμβολῆς γενομένηςδιαφθαρῆναι κ. ζωγρηθῆναι πλείστους τῶν σὺν αὐτῷ. It is obvious that the numerical accounts in Jos. are inconsistent with our text, and with one another. This latter being the case, we may well leave them out of the question. At different times of his rebellion, his number of followers would be variously estimated; and the tribune would naturally take it as he himself or his informant had known it, at some one period. That this is so, we may see by noticing that our narrative speaks of his leading out,—whereas Josephus’s numbers are those whom he brought back from the wilderness against Jerusalem, by which time his band would have augmented considerably.

τοὺς τετρ.] the four thousand,—the matter being one of notoriety.

σικαρίων] From sica, a dagger; they are described by Jos. B. J. ii. 13. 3, ἕτερον εἶδος λῃστῶν ἐν ἱεροσολύμοις ὑπεφύετο, οἱ καλούμενοι σικάριοι, μεθʼ ἡμέραν καὶ ἐν μέσῃ τῇ πόλει φονεύοντες ἀνθρώπους· μάλιστα δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἑορταῖς μισγόμενοι τῷ πλήθει, καὶ ταῖς ἐσθήσεσιν ὑποκρύπτοντες μικρὰ ξιφίδια, τούτοις ἔνυττον τοὺς διαφόρουςπρῶτος μὲν οὖν ὑπʼ αὐτῶν ἰωνάθης ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἀποσφάζεται· μετὰ δὲ αὐτὸν καθʼ ἡμέραν ἀνῃροῦντο πολλοί … The art. is generic.


Verse 39

39. μέν] Our indeed,—implying ‘not the Egyptian, but,’—exactly renders it: I indeed am: so Aristoph. Plut. 355, μὰ δίʼ ἐγὼ μὲν οὔ. See Hartung, Partikellehre, ii. 413.

οὐκ ἀσήμου πόλ.] See note, ch. Acts 9:11.

The expression is an elegant one, and very common. Wetst. gives many examples, and among them one from Eurip. Ion 8, ἐστὶν γὰρ οὐκ ἄσημος ἑλλήνων πόλις.

There was distinction in his being a πολίτης of an urbs libera. “Many of the coins of Tarsus bear the epigraphs μητρόπολις and αὐτόνομος.” Wordsw. from Akermann, p. 56.


Verse 40

40. τῇ ἑβρ. διαλ.] The Syro-Chaldaic, the mother-tongue of the Jews in Judæa at this time: his motive is implied (ch. Acts 22:2) to be, that they might be the more disposed to listen to him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Acts 21:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/acts-21.html. 1863-1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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