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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Acts 10

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 10

Acts 10:1. After τις, Elz. Scholz have ἦν, which Lachm. Tisch. and Born. have deleted. It is wanting in A B C E G א, min., in the VSS. and Theophyl.; it was inserted (after Acts 9:36), because the continuous construction of Acts 10:1-3 was mistaken. Almost according to the same testimony the usual τέ, Acts 10:2, after ποιῶν is condemned as an insertion.

Acts 10:3. ὡσεί] Lachm. and Born. read ὡσεὶ περί, after A B C E א, min. Dam. Theophyl. 2. Rightly; the περί after ὡσεί was passed over as superfluous.

Acts 10:5. After σίμωνα read, with Lachm. Tisch. Born., τινα, according to A B C, min. Copt. Arm. Syr. p. (in the margin) Vulg. The indefinite τινα appeared not suited to the dignity of the prince of the apostles, and was therefore omitted.

After Acts 10:6, Elz. (following Erasm.) has οὗτος λαλήσει σοι, τί σε δεῖ ποιεῖν, which, according to decisive testimony, is to be rejected as an interpolation from Acts 9:6, Acts 10:32. The addition, which some other witnesses have instead of it: ὅς λαλήσει ῥήματα πρός σε, ἐν οἷς σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ πᾶς οἶκός σου, is from Acts 9:14.

Acts 10:7. αὐτῷ] Elz. has τῷ κορνηλίῳ, against decisive testimony. On similar evidence αὐτοῦ after οἰκετ. (Elz. Scholz) is deleted.

Acts 10:10. αὐτῶν] So Lachm. Born. Tisch. instead of the usual ἐκείνων, which has far preponderant evidence against it, and was intended to remedy the indefiniteness of the αὐτῶν.

ἐπέπεσεν] A B C א, min. Copt. Or. have ἐγένετο, which Griesb. approved, and Lachm. Tisch. Born. have adopted, and that rightly, as it is preponderantly attested, and was easily replaced by the more definite ἐπέπεσεν (Clem.: ἔπεσεν) as its gloss.

Acts 10:11. After καταβαῖνον, Elz. has ἐπʼ αὐτόν, which is wanting in A B C** E א, min. VSS. Or. Defended, indeed, by Rinck (as having been omitted in conformity to Acts 11:5); but the very notice καὶ ἦλθεν ἄχρις ἐμοῦ, Acts 11:5, has here produced the addition ἐπʼ αὐτόν as a more precise definition.

δεδεμένον καί] is wanting in A B C** E א, min. Arm. Aeth. Vulg. Or. Cyr. Theodoret. Deleted by Lachm. But see Acts 9:5.

Acts 10:12. τῆς γῆς] is wanting in too few witnesses to be regarded as spurious. But Lachm. and Tisch. have it after ἑρπετά, according to A B C E א, min. VSS. and Fathers. Rightly; see Acts 11:6, from which passage also the usual καὶ τὰ θηρία before καὶ τὰ ἑρπετά is interpolated, τά before ἑρπετά and πετεινά is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted.

Acts 10:16. εὐθύς] So Lachm. and Tisch. after A B C E א, min. Copt. Aeth. Vulg. But Elz. Scholz have πάλιν, which is introduced from Acts 11:10, although defended by Born. (who places it after ἀνελ.) on account of its appearing superfluous.

Acts 10:17. καὶ ἰδού] Lachm. reads ἰδού, after A B א, min.; but καί was unnecessary, and might appear disturbing.

Acts 10:19. διενθυμουμένου] Elz. has ἐνθυμ. against decisive evidence. Neglect of the double compound, elsewhere not occurring in the N. T.

ἄνδρες] Elz. Lachm. Scholz add to this τρεῖς, which is wanting in D G H min. VSS. and Fathers. An addition, after Acts 10:7; Acts 11:11; instead of which B has δύο (Acts 10:7), which Buttmann in the Stud. u. Krit. 1860, p. 357, unsatisfactorily defends by the artificial assumption—not confirmed by the expression in Acts 10:8—that the soldier was only taken with him as escort and attendant.

Acts 10:20. Instead of ὅτι, Elz. διότι, against decisive evidence.

Acts 10:21. After ἄνδρας, Elz. has τοὺς ἀπεσταλμένους ἀπὸ τοῦ κορνηλίου πρὸς αὐτόν, against A B C D E G א, min. and most VSS. Chrys. An addition, because Acts 10:21 commences a church-lesson.

Acts 10:23. ἀναστάς] is wanting in Elz., but is just as certainly protected by decisive testimony, and by its being apparently superfluous, as πέτρος, which in Elz. stands before ἐξῆλθε, is condemned by A B C D א, min. and several VSS. as the subject written on the margin.

Acts 10:25. τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν] Elz. has merely εἰσελθεῖν. But τοῦ is found in A B C E G א, min. Chrys. Bas. Theophyl. See the exegetical remarks.

Born. reads Acts 10:25 thus: προσεγγίζοντος δὲ τοῦ πέτρου εἰς τὴν καισάρειαν, προδραμὼν εἷς τῶν δούλων διεσάφησεν παραγεγονέναι αὐτόν· δὲ κορνήλιος ἐκπηδήσας καὶ συναντήσας αὐτῷ πεσὼν πρὸς τοὺς πόδας προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν, only after D, Syr. p. (on the margin); an apocryphal attempt at depicting the scene, and how much of a foil to the simple narrative in the text!

Acts 10:30. After ἐνάτην, Elz. has ὥραν, which, according to preponderant testimony, is to be rejected as a supplementary addition. Lachm. has also deleted νηστεύων καί, after some important codd. (including א) and several VSS. But the omission is explained by there being no mention of fasting in Acts 10:3.

Acts 10:32. ὃς παραγενόμ. λαλήσει σοι] is wanting in Lachm., after A B א, min. Copt. Aeth. Vulg. But the omission took place in accordance with Acts 10:6.

Acts 10:33. Instead of ὑπό, read, with Lachm. Tisch. Born. according to preponderating evidence, ἀπό (E παρά).

Instead of θεοῦ, Lachm. and Tisch. have κυρίου, according to predominant attestation; θεοῦ is a mechanical repetition from the preceding, in which the reading ἐνώπ. σου (Born.) is, on account of too weak attestation, to be rejected.

Acts 10:36. ὅν] is wanting in A B א**, loti. Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Vulg. Ath. Deleted by Lachm.; but the omission very naturally suggested itself, in order to simplify the construction.

Acts 10:37. ἀρξάμενον] A C D E H א, min. have ἀρξάμενος, which Lachm. has on the margin. A D Vulg. Cant. Ir. add γάρ, which Lachm. puts in brackets. Born. has ἀρξάμενος γάρ. But ἀρξάμενον is necessary, according to the sense.

Acts 10:39. After ἡμεῖς, Elz. has ἐσμεν, against decisive testimony. A supplementary addition.

Acts 10:42. αὐτός] B C D E G, min. Syr. utr. Copt. Sahid. have οὗτος. Recommended by Griesb. and adopted by Lachm. and Born. An erroneous correction. See the exegetical remarks.

Acts 10:48. αὐτούς] αὐτοῖς is neither strongly enough attested (A א), nor in accordance with the sense.

τοῦ κυρίου] A B E א, min. VSS. Fathers have ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. So Lachm. An alteration, in order to denote the specific character of the baptism more definitely. Hence some codd. and VSS. have both together. So Born, after D.


Verse 1-2

Acts 10:1-2. καισαρείᾳ] See on Acts 8:40.

The centurion was of the Italian cohort, which, stationed at Caesarea, consisted of Italians, not of natives of the country, like many other Roman troops in Syria. Such a Roman auxiliary corps was appropriately stationed at the place where the procurator had his residence, for the maintenance of tranquillity. See Schwarz, de cohorte Italica et Augusta, Altorf. 1720; Wieseler, Chronol. p. 145, and Beiträge z. Würdig. d. Evangelien, 1869, p. 327 f.

εὐσεβὴς κ. φοβούμενος τ. θεόν] pious and fearing God. The latter is the more precise definition of the more general εὐσεβής. Cornelius was a Gentile, who, discontented with polytheism, had turned his higher interest towards Judaism, and satisfied a deeper pious want in the earnest private worship of Jehovah along with all his family. Judaism (as Stoicism and the like in the case of others) was for him the philosophical-religious school, to which he, although without being a proselyte, addicted himself in his heart and devotional life. Hence his beneficence (Acts 10:2) and his general esteem among the Jews (Acts 10:22). Comp. the centurion of Capernaum, Luke 7. Others consider him, with Mede, Grotius, Fecht (de pietate Cornelii, Rostoch. 1701), Deyling, Hammond, Wolf, Ernesti, Ziegler, Paulus, Olshausen, Neander, Lechler, and Ritschl, as a proselyte of the gate.(254) But this is at variance with Acts 10:28; Acts 10:34-35; Acts 11:1; Acts 11:18; Acts 15:7, where he is simply put into the class of the Gentiles,—a circumstance which cannot he referred merely to the want of circumcision, as the proselytes of the gate also belonged to the communion of the theocracy, and had ceased to be non-Jews like absolute foreigners. See Ewald, Alterth. p. 313; Keil, Archäol. I. p. 317. And all the great importance which this event has in a connected view of the Book of Acts, has as its basis the very circumstance that Cornelius was a Gentile. Least of all can his proselytism be proved from the expression φοβούμενος τὸν θεόν itself, as the general literal meaning of this expression can only be made by the context (as Acts 13:16; Acts 13:26) to apply to the worship of proselytes; but here we are required by Acts 10:35 to adhere to that general literal meaning without this particular reference. It is to be considered, moreover, that had Cornelius been a proselyte of the gate, it would have, according to Acts 15:7, to be assumed that hitherto no such proselyte at all had been converted to Christianity, which, even apart from the conversion of the Ethiopian, chap.8., is—considering the many thousand converts of which the church already consisted—incredible, particularly as often very many were admitted simultaneously (Acts 2:41, Acts 4:4), and as certainly the more unprejudiced proselytes were precisely the most inclined to join the new theocracy.

Accordingly the great step which the new church makes in its development at chap. 10. consists in this, that by divine influence the first Gentile, who did not yet belong to the Jewish theocratic state, becomes a Christian, and that directly, without having first made the transition in any way through Mosaism. The extraordinary importance of this epoch-making event stands in proportion to the accumulated miraculous character of the proceedings. The view, which by psychological and other assumptions and combinations assigns to it along with the miraculous character also a natural instrumentality (Neander, p. 115 f.), leads to deviations from the narrative, and to violences which are absolutely rejected by the text. See, on the other hand, Zeller, p. 179 ff., and Baumgarten. The view which rejects the historical reality of the narrative, and refers it to a set purpose in the author (Baur, Zeller), seeks its chief confirmation in the difficulties which the direct admission of the Gentiles had for long still to encounter, in what is narrated in chap, 15., and in the conduct of Peter at Antioch, Galatians 2:11 ff. (comp. also Schwegler, nachapostol. Zeitalt. I. p. 127 ff.; Gfrörer, heil. Sage, I. p. 415; Holtzmann, Judenth. u. Christenth. p. 679 f.). But, on the other hand, it is to be observed, that not even miracles are able at once to remove in the multitude deeply rooted national prejudices, and to dispense with the gradual progress of psychological development requisite for this end (comp. the miracles of Jesus Himself, and the miracles performed on him); that further, in point of fact the difficulties in the way of the penetration of Christianity to the Gentiles were exceedingly great (see Ewald, p. 250 ff.; Ritschl, althath. K. p. 138 ff.); and that Peter’s conduct at Antioch, with a character so accessible to the impressions of the moment (comp. the denial), is psychologically intelligible as a temporary obscuration of his better conviction once received by way of revelation, at variance with his constant conduct on other occasions (see on Galatians 2:14), and therefore by no means necessitates the presupposition that the extraordinary divine disclosure and guidance, which our passage narrates, are unhistorical. Indeed, the reproach which Paul makes to Peter at Antioch, presupposes the agreement in principle between them in respect to the question of the Gentiles; for Paul designates the conduct of Peter as ὑπόκρισις, Galatians 2:13.


Verse 3

Acts 10:3. εἶδεν is the verb belonging to ἀνὴρκορνήλ., Acts 10:1, and ἑκατοντ.… διαπαντός is in apposition to κορνήλ.

The intimation made to Cornelius is a vision in a waking condition, caused by God (during the hour of prayer, which was sacred to the centurion on account of his high respect for Judaism), i.e. a manifestation of God made so as to be clearly perceptible to the inner sense of the pious man, conveyed by the medium of a clear ( φανερῶς) angelic appearance in vision, which Cornelius himself, Acts 10:30, describes more precisely in its distinctly seen form, just as it at once on its occurrence made the corresponding impression upon him; hence Acts 10:4 : ἔμφοβος γενόμ. and τί ἐστι, κύριε. Comp. Luke 24:5. Eichhorn rationalized the narrative to the effect that Cornelius, full of longing to become acquainted with the distinguished Peter now so near him, learned the place of his abode from a citizen of Joppa at Caesarea, and then during prayer felt a peculiar elevation of mind, by which, as if by an angel, his purpose of making Peter’s acquaintance was confirmed. This is opposed to the whole representation; with which also Ewald’s similar view fails to accord, that Cornelius, uncertain whether or not he should wish a closer acquaintance with Peter, had, “as if irradiated by a heavenly certainty and directed by an angelic voice,” firmly resolved to invite the apostle at once to visit him

ὡσεὶ περὶ ὥρ. ἐνάτ. (see the critical remarks): as it were about the ninth hour. Circumstantiality of expression. See Bornemann in loc.


Verse 4

Acts 10:4. εἰς μνημόσυνον ἐνώπ. τ. θεοῦ] is to be taken together, and denotes the aim or the destination of ἀνέβησαν (comp. Matthew 26:13): to be a mark, i.e. a token of remembrance, before God, so that they give occasion to God to think on thee. Comp. Acts 10:31. The sense of the whole figurative expression is: “Thy prayers and thine alms have found consideration with God; He will fulfil the former(255) and reward the latter.” See Acts 10:31.

ἀνέβησαν is strictly suited only to αἱ προσευχαί, which, according to the figurative embodiment of the idea of granting prayer, ascend from the heart and mouth of man to God (comp. Genesis 18:2; Exodus 2:23; 1 Maccabees 5:31); but it is by a zeugma referred also to the alms, which have excited the attention of God, to requite them by leading the pious man to Christ. The opinion (Wolf, Bengel, Eichhorn, and others) that ἀνέβ. is based on the Jewish notion (Tobit 12:12; Tobit 12:15; Revelation 8:4) that prayers are carried by the angels to the throne of God, is as arbitrarily imported into the text as is the view (Grotius, Heinrichs, and others) that εἰς ΄νη΄όσυνον signifies instar sacrificii (comp. on the idea, Psalms 141:2), because, forsooth, the LXX. express אַזְכָּרָה by ΄νη΄όσυνον, Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 2:16; Leviticus 5:12; Leviticus 6:15; Numbers 5:26; comp. Sirach 32:7; Sirach 38:11; Sirach 45:16. In all these passages the sense of a memorial-offering is necessarily determined by the context, which is not the case here with the simple ἀνέβησαν.

On the relation of the good works of Cornelius to his faith, Gregory the Great, in Ez. Hom. 19, already correctly remarks that he did not arrive at faith by his works, but at the works by his faith. The faith, however cordial and vivid it was, was in his case up till now the Old Testament faith in the promised Messiah, but was destined, amidst this visitation of divine grace, to complete itself into the New Testament faith in Jesus as the Messiah who had appeared. Thus was his way of salvation the same as that of the chamberlain, chap. 8. Comp. also Luther’s gloss on Acts 10:1.


Verses 5-7

Acts 10:5-7. The tanner, on account of his trade, dwelt by the [Mediterranean] sea, and probably apart from the city, to which his house belonged (“Cadavera et sepulcra separant et coriarium quinquaginta cubitos a civitate.” Surenh. Mischn. xi. 9. Comp. Artemid. i. 53). See Walch, de Simone coriario, Jen. 1757.

The τινά is added to σίμωνα (see the critical remarks) from the standpoint of Cornelius, as to him Peter was one unknown.

εὐσεβῆ] the soldier, one of the men of the cohort specially attached and devoted to Cornelius ( τῶν προσκαρτ. αὐτῷ), had the same religious turn of mind as his master, Acts 10:2. On προσκαρτ., comp. Acts 8:13; Dem. 1386. 6 : θεραπαίνας τὰς νεαίρᾳ τότε προσκαρτερούσας. Polyb. xxiv. 5. 3.


Verse 9-10

Acts 10:9-10. On the following day (for Joppa was thirty miles from Caesarea), shortly before the arrival of the messengers of Cornelius at Peter’s house, the latter was, by means of a vision effected by divine agency in the state of ecstasy, prepared for the unhesitating acceptance of the summons of the Gentile; while the feeling of hunger, with which Peter passed into the trance, served the divine revelation as the medium of its special form.

ἐπὶ τὸ δῶμα] for the flat roofs (comp. Luke 5:19; Luke 12:3; Luke 17:31) were used by the Hebrews for religious exercises, prayers, and meditations. Winer, Realw. s.v. Dach. Incorrectly Jerome, Luther, Pricaeus, Erasmus, Heinrichs, hold that the ὑπερῷον is meant. At variance with N. T. usage; even the Homeric δῶμα (hall) was something different (see Herm. Privatalterth. § 19. 5); and why should Luke not have employed the usual formal word ὑπερῷον (Acts 1:13-14, Acts 9:37; Acts 9:39, Acts 20:8)? Moreover, the subsequent appearance is most in keeping with an abode in the open air.

ἕκτην] See on Acts 3:1. πρόσπεινος, hungry, is not elsewhere preserved; the Greeks say πειναλέος.

ἤθελε γεύσασθαι] he had the desire to eat (for examples of the absolute γεύσασθαι, see Kypke, II. p. 47)—and in this desire, whilst the people of the house ( αὐτῶν) were preparing food ( παρασκευαζόντων, see Elsner, Obss. p. 408; Kypke, l.c.) the ἔκστασις came upon him ( ἐγένετο, see the critical remarks), by which is denoted the involuntary setting in of this state. Comp. Acts 5:5; Acts 5:11; Luke 1:65; Luke 4:37. The ἔκστασις itself is the waking but not spontaneous state, in which a man, transported out of the lower consciousness (2 Corinthians 12:2-3) and freed from the limits of sensuous restriction as well as of discursive thought, apprehends with his higher pneumatic receptivity divinely presented revelations, whether these reach the inner sense through visions or otherwise. Comp. Graf in the Stud. u. Krit. 1859, p. 265 ff.; Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 285.


Verses 11-13

Acts 10:11-13. Observe the vividly introduced historical present θεωρεῖ.

τέσσαρσιν ἀρχαῖς δεδεμ.] attached with four ends, namely, to the edges of the opening which had taken place in heaven. Chap. Acts 11:5 requires this explanation, not the usual one: “bound together at the four corners.” Nor does the text mention anything of ropes, bound to which it was let down. The visionary appearance has something marvellous even in the way of its occurrence. We are to imagine the vessel (whose four corners, moreover, are without warrant explained by Augustine, Wetstein, Bengel, Lange, and others as pointing to the four quarters of the world), looking like a colossal four-cornered linen-cloth ( ὀθόνη), letting itself down, while the corners attached to heaven support the whole. On ἀρχαί, extremitates, see Jacobs, ad Anthol. XI. p. 50.

πάντα τὰ τετράποδα] The formerly usual interpretation: “four-footed beasts of all sorts, i.e. of very many kinds” is linguistically erroneous. The phenomenon in its supernatural visionary character exhibits as present in the σκεῦος ( ἐν ὕπηρχε) all four-footed beasts, reptiles, and birds (all kinds of them) without exception.(256) In a strangely arbitrary manner Kuinoel, after Calovius and others, holds that these were only unclean animals. See on Acts 10:14.

τοῦ οὐρανοῦ] See on Matthew 6:26.

ἀναστάς] Perhaps Peter lay during the trance. Yet it may also be the mere call to action: arise (Acts 9:11; Acts 9:39, Acts 8:26, and frequently; comp. on Acts 8:26).

θῦσον] occide (Vulg.), slay, not: sacrifice, as 1 Maccabees 1:47 (Thiersch), see Acts 10:10.


Verses 14-16

Acts 10:14-16. Peter correctly recognises in the summons θῦσον κ. φάγε, Acts 10:13, the allowance of selection at his pleasure among all the animals, by which, consequently, the eating of the unclean without distinction was permitted to him. Hence, and not because only unclean animals were seen in the vessel, his strongly declining μηδαμῶς κύριε! This κύριε is the address to the—to him unknown—author of the voice, not to Christ (Schwegler, Zeller).

Concerning the animals which the Jews were forbidden to eat, see Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14:1 ff.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 194 ff.; Saalschütz, Mos. B. p. 251 ff.

ὅτι οὐδέποτε ἔφαγον πᾶν κοινὸν ἀκάθαρτ.] for never ate I anything common or unclean (the Talmudic פסול או טמא), i.e. for any profane thing I have always left uneaten. does not stand for καί (which Lachm. and Tisch. read, after A B א, min. VSS. Clem. Or.; perhaps correctly, see Acts 11:8), but appends for the exhaustion of the idea another synonymous expression. Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 277; Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xl. f. κοινός = βέβηλος; the opposite of ἅγιος (Ezekiel 42:20).

καὶ φωνή] and a voice (not φωνή, because here other words were heard) came again the second time to him ( πάλιυ ἐκ δευτέρου, pleonastically circumstantial; see on Matthew 26:42; comp. on John 4:54).

θεὸς ἐκαθάρισε, σὺ μὴ κοίνου] what God has cleansed, make not thou common (unclean). The miraculous appearance with the divine voice (Acts 10:13) had done away the Levitical uncleanness of the animals in question; they were now divinely cleansed; and thus Peter ought not, by his refusal to obey that divine bidding, to invest them with the character of what is unholy—to transfer them into the category of the κοινόν (Romans 14:14). This were man’s doing in opposition to God’s deed.

ἐπὶ τρίς] for thrice, which “ad confirmationem valuit” (Calvin); ἐπί, denotes the terminus ad quem. Bernhardy, p. 252. Comp. ἐς τρίς, Herod, i. 86; Xen. Anab. vi. 4. 16; and Wetstein.

The object aimed at in the whole vision was the symbolical divine announcement that the hitherto subsisting distinction between clean and unclean men (that hedge between Jews and Gentiles!) was to cease in Christianity, as being destined for all men without distinction of nation (Acts 10:34-35). But in what relation does the θεὸς ἐκαθάρισε stand to the likewise divine institution of the Levitical laws about food? This is not answered by reference to “the effected and accomplished redemption, which is regarded as a restitution of the whole creation” (Olshausen), for this restoration is only promised for the world-period commencing with the Parousia (Acts 3:20; Matthew 19:28 : Romans 8:19 ff.); but rather by pointing out that the institution of those laws of food was destined only for the duration of the old theocracy. They were a divine institution for the particular people of God, with a view to separate them from the nations of the world; their abolition could not therefore but be willed by God, when the time was fully come at which the idea of the theocracy was to be realized through Christ in the whole of humanity (Acts 10:35; Romans 3.; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; John 10:16). Comp. Matthew 15:17-18. The abolition therefore does not conflict with Matthew 5:17, but belongs to the fulfillment of the law effected by Christ, by which the distinction of clean and unclean was removed from the Levitical domain and (comp. Romans 2:28-29) raised into the sphere of the moral idea. See also on Romans 15:14; Matthew 5:17.


Verses 17-20

Acts 10:17-20. The ἔκστασις was now over. But when Peter was very doubtful in himself what the appearance, which he had seen, might mean (comp. Luke 8:9; Luke 15:26). The true import could not but be at once suggested to him by the messengers of Cornelius, who had now come right in front of the house, to follow whom, moreover, an internal address of the Spirit urged him.

ἐν ἑαυτῷ] i.e. in his own reflection, contrasted with the previous ecstatic condition.

διηπόρ.] as in Acts 5:24, Acts 2:12.

καὶ ἰδού] See on Acts 1:10.

ἐπὶ τὸν πυλῶνα] at the door. See on Matthew 26:71.

φωνήσαντες] Kuinoel quite arbitrarily: “sc. τινὰ, evocato quopiam, quod Judaei domum intrare metuebant, ver.18.” They called below at the door of the house, without calling on or calling forth any particular person, but in order generally to obtain information from the inhabitants of the house, who could not but hear the calling. That Peter had heard the noise of the men and the mention of his name, that he had observed the men, had recognised that they were not Jews, and had felt himself impelled by an internal voice to follow them, etc., are among the many arbitrary additions (“of a supplementary kind”) which Neander has allowed himself to make in the history before us.

ἀλλὰ ἀναστὰς κατάβηθι] ἀλλά with the imperative denotes nothing more than the adversative at. “Men seek thee: but (do not let yourself be sought for longer and delay not, but rather) arise (as Acts 10:13) and go down.” The requisition with ἀλλά breaks off the discourse and renders the summons more urgent. See Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 370; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 17 f.

μηδὲν διακρινόμ.] in no respect (Jak. i. 6; Bernhardy, p. 336) wavering (see on Romans 4:20); for I, etc. The πνεῦμα designates Himself as the sender of the messengers, inasmuch as the vision (Acts 10:3-7) did not ensue without the operation of the divine Spirit, and the latter was thus the cause of Cornelius sending the messengers.

ἐγώ] with emphasis. Chrysostom rightly calls attention to the κύριον and the ἐξουσία of the Spirit.


Verses 22-25

Acts 10:22-25. ΄αρτυρούμ.] as in Acts 6:3.

ἐχρηματ.] See on Matthew 2:12. The communication on the part of the angel (Acts 10:4-7) is understood as a divine answer to the constant prayer of Cornelius (Acts 10:2).

Peter and his six (Acts 11:12) companions had not traversed the thirty miles from Joppa to Caesarea in one day, and therefore arrived there only on the day after their departure. The messengers of Cornelius, too, had only arrived at Peter’s abode on the second day (Acts 10:8-9), and had passed the night with him (Acts 10:23), so that now ( τῇ ἐπαύριον, Acts 10:24) it was the fourth day since their departure from Caesarea. Cornelius expected Peter on this day, for which, regarding it as a high family-festival, he had invited his (certainly like-minded) relatives and his intimate friends ( τοὺς ἀναγκ. φίλους, see Wetstein; Kypke, II. p. 50).

ὡς δὲ ἐγένετο τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τὸν π.] but when it came to pass that Peter entered. This construction is to be regarded as a very inaccurate, improper application of the current infinitive with τιοῦ. No comparison with the Hebrew וַיְהִי לָבוֹא, Genesis 15:12 (Gesenius, Lehrgebr. p. 787), is to be allowed, because וַיְהִי does not stand absolutely, but has its subject beside it, and because the LXX. has never imitated this and similar expressions (Gesenius, l.c.) by ἐγένετο τοῦ. The want of corresponding passages, and the impossibility of rationally explaining the expression, mark it as a completely isolated(257) error of language, which Luke either himself committed or adopted from his original source,—and not (in opposition to Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 848, and Rinck, Lucubr. crit. p. 64) as a corruption of the transcribers, seeing that the most important witnesses decide in favour of τοῦ, and its omission in the case of others is evidently a correction. Comp. now also Winer, p. 307 [E. T. 412].

ἐπὶ τ. πόδας] at the feet of Peter. Comp. Luke 8:41; Luke 17:16; Mark 5:22; John 11:32, al.

προσεκύνησε] See on Matthew 2:2. He very naturally conjectured, after the vision imparted to him, that there was something superhuman in the person of Peter (comp. on Luke 5:8); and to this, perhaps, the idea of heroes, to which the centurion had not yet become a stranger, contributed.


Verses 26-29

Acts 10:26-29. κἀγὼ αὐτός] also I myself, I also for mine own part, not otherwise than you. See on Romans 7:25.

συνομιλ αὐτῷ] in conversation with him. The word occurs elsewhere in Tzetz. Hist. iii. 377, συνόμιλος in Symm. Job 19:19.

εἰσῆλθε] namely, into the room. In Acts 10:25, on the other hand, τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τ. π. was meant of the entrance by the outer door into the house.

Ye know how (how very) unallowed it is, etc.

ἀθέμιτον] (2 Maccabees 6:5) is a later form (Plut., Dion. Hal., etc., 1 Peter 4:3) for the old classical ἀθέμιστον (Herod. vii. 33; Xen. Mem. i. 1. 9, Cyrop. i. 6. 6). The prohibition to enter into closer fellowship with men of another tribe,(258) or (even but) to come to them, comp. Acts 11:3, is not expressly found in the Pentateuch, but easily resulted of itself from the lofty consciousness of the holy people of God contrasted with the unholy heathen (Ewald, Alterth. p. 310), and pervades the later Judaism with all the force of contempt for the Gentiles (see, e.g., Lightfoot on Matthew 18:17). The passage Matthew 23:5, and the narrative of the conversion of Izates king of Adiabene in Joseph. Antt. xx. 2. 4 f., appear to testify against the utterance of Peter in our passage, and therefore Zeller, p. 187, holds it as unhistorical But Peter speaks here from the standpoint of the Judaistic theory and rule, which is not invalidated by exceptional cases (as Josephus I.c.) and by abuses (as in the making of proselytes, Matt. I.c.). Not even if Cornelius had been a proselyte of the gate (but see on Acts 10:1-2) could the historical character of the saying be reasonably doubted; for the Rabbinical passages adduced with that view (according to which the proselyte is to regard himself as a member of the theocracy, as Schemoth Rabba 19 f., 118. 3, ad Exodus 12:3) apply only to complete converts (proselytes of righteousness, comp. Sohar p. 22. 27 : “quamvis factus sit proselytus, attamen nisi observet praecepta legis, habendus adhuc est pro ethnico”), and are, moreover, outweighed by other expressions of contempt towards proselytes, as, e.g., Babyl. Niddah f. 13. 2 : “Proselyti sunt sicut scabies Israeli.” It is erroneous to derive the principle which Peter here expresses from Pharisaism (Schoettgen), or to limit it to an intentional going in quest of them (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 39), or, according to Acts 11:3, to the eating (Ebrard, Lange, Ewald), which must have been made clear from the context.

ἀναντιῤῥήτ.] without contradiction, Polyb. xxiii. 8. 11, vi. 7. 7, xxviii. 11. 4. Comp. ἀναντιλέκτως, Lucian. Cal. 6, Conviv. 9. “Sanctum fidei silentium,” Calvin.

καὶ ἐμοὶ θεὸς ἔδειξε] Contrast to ὑ΄εῖς ἐπίστασθε. The element of contrast lies not in the copula, but in the relation of the two clauses: Ye know … and to me God has showed. Comp. Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 102; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 147; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. 3:7. 6. Very often so in John. The θεὸς ἔδειξε took place through the disclosure by means of the vision, Acts 10:3 ff., the allegorical meaning of which Peter understood.

μηδένα κ. τ. λ] namely, in and for itself.

τίνι λόγῳ] with what reason, i.e. wherefore. See examples from classical writers in Kypke. Comp. on Matthew 5:32. The dative denotes the mediate cause. Comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 512 C: τίνι δικαίῳ λόγῳ τοῦ μηχανοποιοῦ καταφρονεῖς;


Verse 30

Acts 10:30. The correct view is that which has been the usual one since Chrysostom (held by Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Kuinoel, Olshausen): Four days ago I was fasting until this hour (i.e. until the hour of the day which it now is), and was praying at the ninth hour, ἀπὸ τετάρτης ἡμέρας is quarto abhinc die, on the fourth day from the present (counting backwards), and the expression is to be explained as in John 11:18; John 21:8; Revelation 14:20 (see Winer, p. 518 f. [E. T. 697 f.]. Comp. Exodus 12:15, ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἡμέρας: on the first day before. Cornelius wishes to indicate exactly (1) the day and hour when he had seen the vision,—namely, on the fourth day before, and at the ninth hour; and (2) in what condition he was when it occurred,—namely, that he had been engaged that day in an exercise of fasting, which he had already continued up to the very hour of that day, which it now was; and in connection with this exercise of fasting, he had spent the ninth hour of the day—the prayer-hour—in prayer, and then the vision had surprised him, καὶ ἰδοὺ κ. τ. λ. Incorrectly, Heinrichs, Neander, de Wette render: For four days I fasted until this hour (when the vision occurred, namely, the ninth hour), etc. Against this view it may be decisively urged that in this way Cornelius would not specify at all the day on which he had the vision, and that ταύτης cannot mean anything else than the present hour.

ἐνώπ. τ. θεοῦ] Acts 10:3. Revelation 16:19. The opposite, Luke 12:6.


Verse 33

Acts 10:33. ἐνώπιον τοῦ κυρίου (see critical remarks), לְפְנֵי יְהֹוָה in conspectu Dei. Cornelius knows that it is God, who so wonderfully arranged everything, before whose eyes this assembly in the house stands. He knows Him to be present as a witness.

ἀπό (see the critical remarks), on the part of, divinitus. See Winer, p. 347 f. [E. T. 463].


Verse 34-35

Acts 10:34-35. ἀνοίξας κ. τ. λ.] as in Acts 8:35.

With truth (so that this insight, which I have obtained, is true; comp. on Mark 12:14, and Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 137 ff.) I perceive that God is not partial, allowing Himself to be influenced by external relations not belonging to the moral sphere; but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh rightness (acts rightly, comp. Psalms 15:2; Hebrews 11:33; Luke 1:20; the opposite, Matthew 7:23) is acceptable to Him,—namely, to be received into the Christian fellowship with God. Comp. Acts 15:14. Peter, with the certainty of a divinely-obtained conviction, denies in general that, as regards this acceptance, God goes to work in any way partially; and, on the other hand, affirms in particular that in every nation ( ἄν τε ἀκρόβυστός ἐστιν, ἄν τε ἐμπερίτομος, Chrysostom), etc. To take this contrast, Acts 10:35, as no longer dependent on ὅτι, but as independent (Luther, Castalio, and many others), makes its importance the more strongly apparent. What is meant is the ethico-religious preliminary frame requisite for admission into Christianity, which must be a state of fellowship with God similar to the piety of Cornelius and his household, however different in appearance and form according to the degree of earlier knowledge and morality in each case, yet always a being given or a being drawn of God (according to the Gospel of John), and an attitude of heart and life toward the Christian salvation, which is absolutely independent of difference of nationality. The general truth of the proposition, as applied even to the undevout and sinners among Jews and Gentiles, rests on the necessity of μετάνοια as a preliminary condition of admission (Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, al.). It is a misuse of this expression when, in spite of Acts 10:43, it is often adduced as a proof of the superfluousness of faith in the specific doctrines of Christianity; for δεκτὸς αὐτῷ ἐστι in fact denotes (Acts 10:36 ff.) the capability, in relation to God, of becoming a Christian, and not the capability of being saved without Christ. Bengel rightly says: “non indifferentismus religionum, sed indifferentia nationum hic asseritur.”

Respecting προσωπολήπτης, not found elsewhere, see on Galatians 2:6.


Verses 36-38

Acts 10:36-38. The correct construction is, that we take the three accusatives: τὸν λόγον, Acts 10:36, τὸ γενόμ. ῥῆμα, Acts 10:37, and ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπὸ ναζαρ., Acts 10:38, as dependent on ὑμεῖς οἴδατε, Acts 10:37, and treat οὗτός ἐστι πάντων κύριος as a parenthesis. Peter, namely, in the τὸν λόγον already has the ὑμεῖς οἴδατε in view; but he interrupts himself by the insertion οὗτόςκύριος, and now resumes the thought begun in Acts 10:36, in order to carry it out more amply, and that in such a way that he now puts ὑμεῖς οἴδατε first, and then attaches the continuation in its extended and amplified form by ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπὸ ναζ. by way of apposition. The message, which He (God, Acts 10:35) sent to the Israelites (comp. Acts 13:26), when He made known salvation through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all!)—ye know the word, which went forth through all Judaea, having begun from Galilee after the baptism which John preached

Jesus of Nazareth (ye know), how God anointed Him (consecrated Him to be the Messianic King, see on Acts 4:27) with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing, etc. This view is quite in keeping with the hurriedly aggregated and inartistic mode of expression of Peter, particularly at this urgent moment of extraordinary and profound emotion. Comp. on Ephesians 2:1; Winer, p. 525 [E. T. 706]. The most plausible objection to this construction is that of Bengel (comp. de Wette): “Noverant auditores historiam, de qua mox, non item rationes interiors, de quibus hoc versu.” But the contents of the λόγος is, in fact, stated by εἰρήνην διὰ . χ. so generally and, without its rationes interiors, so purely historically, that in that general shape it could not be anything strange to hearers, to whom that was known, which is said in Acts 10:37-38. Erasmus, Er. Schmid, Homberg, Wolf, Heumann, Beck (Obss. crit. exeg., I. p. 13), Heinrichs, Kuinoel make the connection almost as we have given it; but they attach ὑμεῖς οἴδατε to τὸν λόγον, and take to τὸ γενόμενον ῥῆμα as apposition to τὸν λόγον,—by which, however, οὗτός ἐστι πάντων κύριος makes its weight, in keeping with the connection, far less sensibly felt than according to our view, under which it by the very fact of its high significance as an element breaks off the construction. Others refer τὸν λόγον ὃν κ. τ. λ. to what precedes, in which case, however, it cannot be taken either as for ὃν λόγον (Beza, Grotius; comp. Bengel and others), or with Olshausen, after Calvin and others, for κατὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν κ. τ. λ.; but would have, with de Wette (comp. Baumgarten and Lange), to be made dependent on καταλαμβ., or to be regarded as an appositional addition (Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 134 [E. T. 153]), and consequently would be epexegetical of ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιδεκτὸς αὐτῷ ἐστι. In this case εἰρήνη would have to be understood of peace between Jews and Gentiles. But even apart from this inadmissible explanation of εἰρήνην (see below), the λόγος of Acts 10:36, so far as it proclaims this peace, is something very different from the doctrine indicated in Acts 10:35, in which there is expressed only the universally requisite first step towards Christianity. Moreover, Peter could not yet at this time say that God had caused that peace to be proclaimed through Christ (for this he required a further development starting from his present experience), for which a reference to Acts 1:8 and to the universalism of Luke’s Gospel by no means suffices. Pfeiffer in the Stud. u. Krit. 1850, p. 401 ff., likewise attaching it to what precedes, explains thus: he is in so far acceptable to him, as he has the destination of receiving the message of salvation in Christ; so that thus εὐαγγελιζ. would be passive (Luke 7:22; Hebrews 4:2; Hebrews 4:6), and τὸν λόγον, as also εἰρήνην, would be the object to it. But this is linguistically incorrect, inasmuch as it would require at least the infinitive instead of εὐαγγελιζόμενος; and besides, εὐαγγελίζομαί τι, there is something proclaimed to me, is foreign to the N. T. usage. Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 151 f., gives the meaning: “Every one who fears God and does right, by him the gospel may be accepted;” so that τὸν λόγον would stand by attraction for λόγος, which is impossible (in 1 Peter 2:7 it is otherwise). According to Ewald, p. 248, τὸν λόγον κ. τ. λ. is intended to be nothing but an explanation to δικαιοσύνην. A view which is the more harsh, the further τ. λόγον stands removed from δικαιοσ., the less τὸν λόγον ὃν κ. τ. λ. coincides as regards the notion of it with δικαιοσ., and the more the expression ἐργάζεσθαι λόγον is foreign to the N. T.

εἰρήνην is explained by many (including Heinrichs, Seyler, de Wette) of peace between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:17), but very arbitrarily, since no more precise definition is annexed, although the Jews are just named as the receivers of the gospel. Nor is there in what follows any mention of that peace. Hence it is to be generally taken as = שָׁלוֹם, salvation, and the whole Messianic salvation is meant, which God has made known through Christ to the children of Israel; not specially peace with God (Romans 5:1, Calovius, and others), which yet is the basis of salvation. Comp. on Romans 10:15.

διὰ . χ. belongs to εὐαγγ., not to εἰρήνην (Bengel and others); for εὐαγγ. εἰρ. διὰ . χ. contains the more precise explanation of the τὸν λόγ. ὃν ἀπέστ., consequently must also designate Jesus as the sent of God, through whom the λόγος is brought.

πάντων] not neuter (Luther and others), but masculine. Christ is Lord of all, of Jews and Gentiles, like God Himself (Romans 3:29; Romans 10:12), whose σύνθρονος He is; comp. Romans 10:12; Romans 14:9; Ephesians 4:5 f. The aim of this emphatically added remark is to make the universal destination of the word primarily sent to the Jews to be felt by the Gentile hearers, who were not to regard themselves as excluded by ὃν ἀπέστ. τοῖς υἱοῖς ἰσρ. Comp. Acts 10:43.

ῥῆμα] word, not the things (de Wette and older expositors), which it does not mean even in Acts 5:32; Luke 2:15. Comp. on Matthew 4:4. It resumes the preceding τὸν λόγον. On γενόμ., comp. Luke 3:2. Concerning the order of the words (instead of τὸ καθʼ ὁλ. τ. ἰουδ. γενόμ. ῥῆμα), see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 2. 18.

In Acts 10:38 the discourse now passes from the word, the announcement of which to the Jews was known to the hearers, to the announcer, of whose Messianic working they would likewise have knowledge.

ὡς ἔχρισεν αὐτόν] renders prominent the special divine Messianic element in the general ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπὸ ναζ. ( οἴδατε(259)). Comp. Luke 24:20. As to the idea of this χρίειν, see on Acts 4:27.

ὃς διῆλθεν] him ( αὐτόν), who (after receiving this anointing) went through (Galilee and Judaea, Acts 10:37) doing good, and in particular healing, etc.

In the compound verb καταδυναστ. is implied hostile domination, James 2:6; Wisdom of Solomon 2:10; Wisdom of Solomon 15:14; Sirach 48:12; Xen. Symp. ii. 8; Strabo, vi. p. 270; Joseph. Antt. xii. 2. 3; Plut. de Is. et Osir. 41: καταδυναστεῦον καταβιαζόμενον. Comp. καταδουλοῦν.

΄ετʼ αὐτοῦ is not spoken according to a “lower view” (de Wette), against which, see on Acts 2:36; but the metaphysical relation of Christ to the Father is not excluded by this general expression (comp. John 16:32), although in this circle of hearers it did not yet demand a specific prominence. Comp. Bengel: “parcius loquitur pro auditorum captu de majestate Christi.”


Verses 36-43

Acts 10:36-43. After this general declaration regarding the acceptableness for Christianity, Peter now prepares those present for its actual acceptance, by shortly explaining the characteristic dignity of Jesus, inasmuch as he (1) reminds them of His earthly work to His death on the cross (Acts 10:36-39); (2) then points to His resurrection and to the apostolic commission which the disciples had received from the Risen One (Acts 10:40-42); and finally, (3) mentions the prophetic prediction, which indicates Jesus as the universal Reconciler by means of faith on Him (Acts 10:43). Comp. Seyler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1832, p. 55 f.


Verses 39-41

Acts 10:39-41. ὃν καὶ ἀνεῖλον] namely, οἱ ἰουδαῖοι. ὃν refers to the subject of ἐποίησεν. There lies at the bottom of the καί, also, the conception of the other persecutions, etc., to which even the ἀνεῖλον was added. See on the climactic idea indicated by καί after relatives, Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 136.

ἀνεῖλ. κρεμάσ.] as in Acts 2:23.

ἐπὶ ξύλου] as in Acts 5:30.

καὶ ἔδωκεν κ. τ. λ.] and granted (comp. Acts 2:27) that He should become manifest (by visible appearances, Acts 1:3; John 21:1), not to all the people, but to witnesses who (quippe qui) are chosen before of God, (namely) to us, who, etc.

τοῖς προκεχειρ. ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ] Peter with correct view regards the previous election of the apostles to be witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:3, Acts 2:22, Acts 3:22, al.) as done by God (John 17:6; John 17:9; John 17:11; John 6:37); they are apostles διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1, al.), ἀφωρισμένοι εἰς εὐαγγ. θεοῦ (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15). And with the προ in προκεχειρ. he points back to the time of the previous choice as disciples, by which their election to be the future witnesses of the resurrection in reality took place. On προχειροτονεῖν (only here in the N. T.), comp. Plat. Legg. vi. p. 765 B.

μετὰ τὸ ἀναστ. αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν] is not, with Cameron and Bengel, to be connected with ἐμφανῆ γενέσθαι, Acts 10:40,(260) so that οὐ παντὶ αὐτῷ would have to be arbitrarily and violently converted into a parenthesis; but with οἵτινες συνεφ. κ. συνεπ. αὐτῷ, which even without the passages, Acts 1:4, Luke 24:41; Luke 24:43, John 21:12, would have nothing against it, as the body of the Risen One was not yet a glorified body. See on Luke 24:51, note; Ignat. ad Smyrn. 5; Constitt. Ap. vi. 30. 5. The words clearly exhibit the certainty of the attested bodily resurrection, but annexed to Acts 10:40 they would contain an unimportant self-evident remark. The apparent inconsistency of the passage with Luke 22:18 is removed by the more exact statement to Matthew 26:29; see on that passage.


Verse 42

Acts 10:42. τῷ λαῷ] can only denote the Jewish people, seeing that the context speaks of no other (Acts 10:41), and cannot include the Gentiles also (Kuinoel). But the contents of ὅτινεκρῶν is so different from Matthew 28:20 (also Acts 1:8), that there must be here assumed a reference to another expression of the Risen One (for He is the subject of παρήγγ.) unknown to us.

ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιννεκρῶν] that He (no other) is the Judge ordained by God (in His decree) over living (who are alive at the Parousia, 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52) and dead (who shall then be already dead). Comp. 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5. Incorrectly Olshausen (resting on Matthew 22:32!) understands by ζώντων κ. νεκρ. the spiritually living and dead. This meaning would require to be suggested by the context, but is here quite foreign to it. Comp. Romans 14:19-20; Acts 17:31.


Verse 43-44

Acts 10:43-44. Now follows the divinely attested way of salvation unto this Judge of the living and dead.

πάντες οἱ προφ.] comp. Acts 3:24.

That every one who believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins by means of His name (of the believing confession of it, by which the objectively completed redemption is subjectively appropriated, Romans 3:25; Romans 10:10, al.). The general πάντα τὸν πιστ. εἰς αὐτ., which lays down no national distinction, is very emphatically placed at the end, Romans 3:22. Thus has Peter opened the door for further announcing to his hearers the universalism of the salvation in Christ. But already the living power of his words has become the vehicle of the Holy Spirit, who falls upon all the hearers, and by His operations makes the continuation of the discourse superfluous and—impossible. Comp. on Acts 11:15.

Here the unique example of the outpouring of the Spirit before baptism—treated, indeed, by Baur as unhistorical and ascribed to the set purpose influencing the author—is of itself intelligible from the frame of mind, now exalted after an extraordinary manner to the pitch of full susceptibility, in those present. The appropriate degree of receptivity was there; and so, for a special divine purpose, the πνεῦμα communicated itself according to the free will of God even before baptism.(261) Olshausen thinks that this extraordinary circumstance took place for the sake of Peter, in order to make him aware, beyond a doubt, in this first decisive instance, that the Gentiles would not be excluded from the gift of the Spirit. But Peter had this illumination already (Acts 10:34 f.); and besides, this object would have been fully attained by the outpouring of the Spirit after baptism. We may add that the quite extraordinary and, in fact, unique nature of the case stands decidedly opposed to the abuse of the passage by the Baptists.(262)

(261) “Liberum gratia habet ordinem,” Bengel. Not the necessity, but the possibility of the bestowal of the Spirit before baptism, was implied by the susceptibility which had already emerged. The design of this extraordinary effusion of the Spirit is, according to ver. 45, to be found in this, that all scruples concerning the reception of the Gentiles were to be taken away from the Jewish-Christians who were present in addition to Peter, and thereby from the Christians generally. What Peter had just said: πάντα τὸν πιστεύοντα εἰς αὐτόν, was at once divinely affirmed and sealed by this σημεῖον in such a way that now no doubt at all could remain concerning the immediate admissibility of baptism. Chrysostom strikingly calls this event the ἀπολογίαν μεγάλην, which God had arranged beforehand for Peter. That it could not but, at the same time, form for the latter himself the divine confirmation of the revelation already imparted to him, is obvious of itself.


Verse 45-46

Acts 10:45-46. οἱ ἐκ περιτ. πιστοί] those who were believers from the circumcision, i.e. believers who belonged to the circumcised, the Jewish-Christians. Comp. Acts 11:2; Romans 4:12; Galatians 2:12; Colossians 4:11; Titus 1:10. On περιτομή in the concrete sense, comp. Romans 3:30; Romans 4:9; Romans 4:12; Romans 15:8; Galatians 2:7; Philippians 3:3.

ὅσοι συνῆλθ. τ. ιι.] see Acts 10:23.

ἐπὶ τὰ ἔθνη] Cornelius and his company now represented, in the view of those who were astonished, the Gentiles as a class of men generally; for the article signifies this. Observe also the perfect; the completed fact lay before them.

γάρ] reason assigned ab effectu.

λαλούντων γλώσσαις] γλώσσαις (or γλώσσῃ) λαλεῖν is mentioned as something well known to the church, without the ἑτέραις, by the characteristic addition of which the event recorded in chap. 2 is denoted as something singular and not identical with the mere γλώσσαις λαλεῖν, as it was there also markedly distinguished by means of the list of peoples. Now if, in the bare γλώσσαις λαλεῖν, this γλώσσαις were to be understood in the same sense as in chap. 2. according to the representation of the narrator, then—as Bleek’s conception, “to speak in glosses,” is decidedly to be rejected (see on chap. 2)—no other meaning would result than: “to speak in languages,” i.e. to speak in foreign languages (different from their mother tongue), and therefore quite the same as ἑτέραις γλώσσαις λαλεῖς. But against this we may decisively urge the very expression ἑτέραις (with which agrees καιναῖς in the apocryphal passage, Mark 16:17) only added in chap. 2, and almost ostentatiously glorified as the chief matter, but not inserted at all elsewhere (here or at chap. 19 or 1 Corinthians 12-14). So much the more decidedly is γλώσσαις here and in Acts 19:6 not to be completed by mentally supplying ἑτέραις (so Baur still, and others, following the traditional interpretation), but(263) to be explained: “with tongues,” and that in such a way that Luke himself has meant nothing else (not: “in languages”) than the to him well-known glossolalia of the apostolic church, which was here manifested in Cornelius and his company, but from which he has conceived and represented the event of Pentecost as something different and entirely extraordinary, although the latter also is, in its historical substance, to be considered as nothing else than the first speaking with tongues (see on chap. 2). Cornelius and his friends spoke with tongues, i.e. they spoke not in the exercise of reflective thought (of the νοῦς, 1 Corinthians 14:9), not in intelligible, clear, and connected speech, but in enraptured eucharistic ecstasy, as by the involuntary exercise of their tongues, which were just organs of the Spirit. See the more particular exposition at 1 Corinthians 12:10.


Verse 47-48

Acts 10:47-48. Can any one, then, withhold the water, in order that these be not baptized? The water is in this animated language conceived as the element offering itself for the baptism. So urgent now appeared the necessity for completing on the human side the divine work that had miraculously emerged. Bengel, moreover, well remarks: “Non dicit: jam habent Spiritum, ergo aqua carere possunt.” The conjunction of water and Spirit could not but obtain its necessary recognition.

τοῦ μὴ βαπτ. τούτ.] genitive according to the construction κωλύειν τινά τινος, and μή after verbs of hindering, as in Acts 14:18.

καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς] as also we, the recipients of the Spirit of Pentecost. This refers to the prominent and peculiar character of the enraptured speaking, by which the fact then occurring showed itself as of a similar kind to that which happened on Pentecost (Acts 11:15). But καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς cannot be held as a proof that by γλώσσαις λαλεῖν is to be understood a speaking in foreign languages (in opposition to Baumgarten, who thinks that he sees in our passage “the connecting link between the miracle of Pentecost and the speaking with tongues in the Corinthian church”), for it rather shows the essential identity of the Pentecostal event with the later speaking with tongues, and points back from the mouth of the apostle to the historical form of that event, when it had not yet been transformed by tradition into a speaking of languages.

προσέταξέ] The personal performance of baptism did not necessarily belong to the destined functions of the apostolic office. See on 1 Corinthians 1:17.

ἐν τῷ ὀνομ. τοῦ κυρ.] belongs to βαπτισθ., but leaves untouched the words with which the baptism was performed. As, namely, the name of Jesus Christ is the spiritual basis of the being baptized (see on Acts 2:38, comp. Acts 8:35 f.) and the end to which it refers (Acts 19:5), so it is also conceived as the entire holy sphere, in which it is accomplished, and out of which it cannot take place.

ἐπιμεῖναι] to remain. And he remained and had fellowship at table with them, Acts 11:3. So much the more surprising is his ὑπόκρισις at Antioch, Galatians 2:11 ff.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 10:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-10.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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