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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Acts 2

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 2

Acts 2:1. ἅπαντες ὁμοθυμαδόν] Lachm. and Tisch. read πάντες ὁμοῦ, after A B C* א, min. Vulg. Correctly: the ὁμοθυμαδόν, so very frequent in the Acts, unintentionally supplanted the ὁμοῦ found elsewhere in the N. T. only in John; πάντεξ (which is wanting in א*) critically goes along with the reading ὁμοῦ.

Acts 2:2. καθήμενοι] Lachm. Tisch. Born. read καθεζόμενοι, according to C D. The Recepta (comp. on Acts 20:9) is more usual in the N. T., and was accordingly inserted.

Acts 2:3. ὡσεί] is wanting only in א*.

ἐκάθισεν] Born., following D* א*, Syr. utr. Arr. Copt. Ath. Did. Cyr., reads ἐκάθισαν. A. correction occasioned by γλῶσσαι.

Acts 2:7. After ἐξίσταντο δὲ Elz. has πάντες, which Lachm. Scholz, Tisch. Born. have erased, following B D, min. and several VSS. and Fathers. From Acts 2:12.

πρὸς ἀλλήλους] is wanting in A B C א, 26, Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Vulg. Theodoret. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. It was, as self-evident, easily passed over. Its genuineness is supported by the reading πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Acts 2:12, instead of ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον, which is found in 4, 14, al., Aeth. Vulg. Chrys. Theophyl., and has manifestly arisen from this passage.

Acts 2:12. τί ἂν θέλοι τοῦτο εἶναι] Lachm. Born. read τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι, following A B C D, min. Chrys.: A has θέλει after τοῦτο. But after λέγειν the direct expression was most familiar to the transcribers (comp. Acts 2:7).

Acts 2:13. διαχλευάζοντες] Elz. reads χλευάζοντες, against preponderating testimony.

Acts 2:16. ʼιωήλ] Tisch. and Born. have deleted this word on too weak authority (it is wanting among the codd. only in D).

Acts 2:17. ἐνυπνίοις] Elz. reads ἐνύπνια, against decisive codd. From LXX. Joel 3:1.

Acts 2:22. αὐτοί] Elz. reads καὶ αὐτοί. But Lachm. and Tisch. have correctly deleted καί, in accordance with A B C* D E א, min. and several VSS. and Fathers. καί, both after καθώς and before αὐτοί, was very familiar to the transcribers.

Acts 2:23. After ἔκδοτον Elz. and Scholz read λαβόντες, which is wanting in A B C א*, min. and several VSS. and Fathers. An addition to develope the construction.

Instead of χειρῶν, Lachm. Tisch. Born. have χειρός; following A B C D א, min. Syr. p. Aeth. Ath. Cyr. And justly, as χειρῶν was evidently inserted for the sake of the following ἀνόμων.

Acts 2:24. θανάτου] D, Syr. Erp. Copt. Vulg. and several Fathers read ᾅδου. So Born. From Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31.

Acts 2:27. ᾅδον] Lachm. Born. and Tisch. read ᾅδηυ, which was already recommended by Griesb., in accordance with A B C D א, min. Clem. Epiph. Theophyl. As in the LXX. Psalms 16:10, the reading is also different, A having ᾅδου and B ᾅδην the text here is to be decided merely by the preponderance of testimonies, which favours ᾅδην.

Acts 2:30. Before καθίσαι, Elz. Scholz, Born, read τὸ κατὰ σάρκα ἀναστήσειν τὸν χριστόν, which is wanting in A B C D** א, min. and most VSS. and several Fathers, has in other witnesses considerable variation, and, as already Mill correctly saw, is a marginal gloss inserted in the text.

Instead of τοῦ θρόνου, Lachm. Born. Tisch. read τὸν θρόνον, according to A B C D א, min. Eus. This important authority, as well as the circumstance that ἐπί with the genitive along with καθίζειν is very usual in the N. T. (comp. Luke 22:20; Acts 12:21; Acts 25:6; Acts 25:17; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 23:2; Matthew 25:31), decides for the accusative.

Acts 2:31. κατελείφθη A B C D E א, min. and several Fathers read ἐγκατελείφθη. Recommended by Griesb., and adopted by Lachm. Tisch. Born. From Acts 2:27. Therefore not only is ᾅδην (instead of ᾅδου) read by Tisch., but also after κατελείφθη there is read by Elz. ψυχὴ αὐτοῦ, for the omission of which the authorities decide.

οὔτεοὔτε is according to important testimony to be received, with Lachm. Tisch. Born., instead of οὐοὐδέ, as the reading given in the text appears likewise to have been formed from Acts 2:27.

Acts 2:33. ὑμεῖς] Elz. Scholz have νῦν ὑμεῖς. But, according to A B C* D א, min. and many VSS. and Fathers, Lachm. Born. Tisch. have erased νῦν, which is an addition by way of gloss.

Acts 2:37. ποιήσομεν] ποιήσωμεν is found in A C E א, min. Fathers. But the deliberative subjunctive was the more usual. Comp. on Acts 4:16.

Acts 2:38. ἔφη] is, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be erased, as it is entirely wanting in B min. Vulg. ms. Aug., and other witnesses read φησὶν, which they have partly after μετανοήσ. (A C א, 15, al.), partly after αὐτούς (D). A supplementary addition.

Acts 2:40. διεμαρτύρατο] Elz. Scholz read διεμαρτύρετο, against decisive testimony. A form modelled after the following imperfect

Acts 2:41. After οὖν, Elz. Scholz read ἀσμένως, which Lachm. and Tisch. have deleted, in accordance with far preponderating testimony. A strengthening addition.

Acts 2:42. καὶ, before τῇ κλάσει is rejected by decisive testimony (erased by Lachm. Tisch. Born.).

Acts 2:43. ἐγένετο] Lachm. Tisch. Born. read ἐγίνετο, according to A B C D א, min. Vulg. Copt. Syr. utr. This considerable attestation prevents us from assuming a formation resembling what follows; on the contrary, ἐγένετο has been inserted as the more usual form.

Acts 2:47. τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ] is wanting in A B C א, Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Arm. Vulg. Cyr. Deleted by Lachm., after Mill and Bengel. It was omitted for the sake of conformity to Acts 2:41, because ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, Acts 3:1, was considered as still belonging to Acts 2:47, and therefore Acts 3:1 began with πετρὸς δέ (so Lachm.).


Verse 1

Acts 2:1.(109) When the day of Pentecost became full, i.e. when the day of Pentecost had come, on the day of Pentecost. The day is, according to the Hebrew mode (see Gesen. Thes. s.v. מלא), conceived as a measure to be filled up (comp. also Acts 9:23; Luke 2:6; Luke 22:9; Luke 22:51, and many similar passages in the N. T. and in the Apocrypha); so long as the day had not yet arrived, but still belonged to the future, the measure was not yet filled, but empty. But as soon as it appeared, the fulfilment, the making the day full, the συ΄πλήρωσις (comp. 3 Esdr. 1:58; Daniel 9:2) therewith occurred; by which, without figure, is meant the realization of the day which had not hitherto become a reality. The expression itself, which concerns the definite individual day, is at variance with the view of Olshausen and Baumgarten, who would have the time from Easter to be regarded as becoming full. Quite without warrant, Hitzig (Ostern und Pfingst, p. 39 f.) would place the occurrence not at Pentecost at all. See, in opposition to this, Schneckenb. p. 198 f.

πεντηκοστή] is indeed originally to be referred to the ἡμέρα understood; but this supplementary noun had entirely fallen into disuse, and the word had become quite an independent substantive (comp. 2 Maccabees 12:32). πεντηκοστή also occurs in Tobit 2:1, quite apart from its numeral signification, and ἐν τῇ πεντηκοστῇ ἑορτῇ is there: on the Pentecost-feast. See Fritzsche in loc. The feast of Pentecost, חַג שָּׁבֻעוֹת, Deuteronomy 16:9-10 ( ἁγία ἑπτὰ ἑβδομάδων, Tob. I.c.), was one of the three great festivals, appointed as the feast of the grain-harvest (Exodus 23:16; Numbers 28:26), and subsequently, although we find no mention of this in Philo and Josephus (comp. Bauer in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 680), regarded also as the celebration of the giving of the law from Sinai, falling (Exodus 19:1) in the third month (Danz in Meuschen, N. T. ex Talm. ill. p. 741; Buxt. Synag. p. 438). It was restricted to one day, and celebrated on the fiftieth day after the first day of the Passover (Leviticus 23:15-16); so that the second paschal day, i.e. the 16th of Nisan, the day of the sheaf offering, is to be reckoned as the first of these fifty days. See Lightfoot and Wetstein in loc.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 476 f.; Keil, Archäol. § 83. Now, as in that year the Passover occurred on the evening of Friday (see on John 18:28), and consequently this Friday, the day of the death of Jesus, was the 14th of Nisan, Saturday the 15th, and Sunday the 16th, the tradition of the ancient church has very correctly placed the first Christian Pentecost on the Sunday.(110) Therefore the custom—which, besides, cannot be shown to have existed at the time of Jesus—of the Karaites, who explained שבת in Leviticus 23:15 not of the first day of the Passover, but of the Sabbath occurring in the paschal week, and thus held Pentecost always on a Sunday (Ideler, II. p. 613; Wieseler, Synop. p. 349), is to be left entirely out of consideration (in opposition to Hitzig); and it is not to be assumed that the disciples might have celebrated with the Karaites both Passover and Pentecost.(111) But still the question arises: Whether Luke himself conceived of that first Christian Pentecost as a Saturday or a Sunday? As he, following with Matthew and Mark the Galilean tradition, makes the Passover occur already on Thursday evening and be partaken of by Jesus Himself, and accordingly makes the Friday of the crucifixion the 15th of Nisan; so he must necessarily—but just as erroneously—have conceived of this first πεντηκοστή as a Saturday (Wieseler, Chronol. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 19), unless we should assume that he may have had no other conception of the day of Pentecost than that which was in conformity with the Christian custom of the Sunday celebration of Pentecost; which, indeed, does not correspond with his account of the day of Jesus’ death as the 15th Nisan, but shows the correctness of the Johannine tradition.

ἦσαν πάντες ὁμοῦ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] Concerning the text, see the critical remarks; concerning ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, see on Acts 1:15. These πάντες, all, were not merely the apostles, but all the followers of Jesus then in Jerusalem, partly natives and partly strangers, including the apostles. For, first of all, it may certainly be presumed that on the day of Pentecost, and, moreover, at the hour of prayer (Acts 2:15), not the apostles alone, but with them also the other μαθηταί—among whom there were, without doubt, many foreign pilgrims to the feast—were assembled. Moreover, in Acts 2:14 the apostles are distinguished from the rest. Further, the πάντες, designedly added, by no means corresponds to the small number of the apostles (Acts 1:26), especially as in the narrative immediately preceding mention was made of a much greater assembly (Acts 1:15); it is, on the contrary, designed—because otherwise it would have been superfluous—to indicate a still greater completeness of the assembly, and therefore it may not be limited even to the 120 persons alone. Lastly, it is clear also from the prophetic saying of Joel, adduced in Acts 2:16 ff., that the effusion of the Spirit was not on the apostles merely, but on all the new people of God, so that ἅπαντες (Acts 2:1) must be understood of all the followers of Jesus (of course, according to the latitude of the popular manner of expression).


Verse 2

Acts 2:2 describes what preceded the effusion of the Spirit as an audible σημεῖον—a sound occurring unexpectedly from heaven as of a violent wind borne along (comp. πνεῦμα βίαιον, Arrian. Exp. Al. ii. 6. 3; Pausan. x. 17. 11). The wonderful sound is, by the comparison ( ὥσπερ) with a violent wind, intended to be brought home to the conception of the reader, but not to be represented as an actual storm of wind (Eichhorn, Heinrichs), or gust (Ewald), or other natural phenomenon (comp. Neander, p. 14).(112) Comp. Hom. Od. vi. 20.

οἶκον] is not arbitrarily and against N. T. usage to be limited to the room (Valckenaer), but is to be understood of a private house, and, indeed, most probably of the same house, which is already known from Acts 1:13; Acts 1:15 as the meeting-place of the disciples of Jesus. Whether it was the very house in which Jesus partook of the last supper (Mark 14:12 ff.), as Ewald conjectures, cannot he determined. If Luke had meant the temple, as, after the older commentators, Morus, Heinrichs, Olshausen, Baumgarten, also Wieseler, p. 18, and Lange, Apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 14, assume, he must have named it; the reader could not have guessed it. For (1) it is by no means necessary that we should think of the assembly on the first day of Pentecost and at the time of prayer just as in the temple. On the contrary, Acts 2:1 describes the circle of those met together as closed and in a manner separatist; hence a place in the temple could neither be wished for by them nor granted to them. Nor is the opinion, that it was the temple, to be established from Luke 24:53, where the mode of expression is popular. (2) The supposition that they were assembled in the temple is not required by the great multitude of those that flocked together (Acts 2:6). The private house may have been in the neighbourhood of the temple; but not even this supposition is necessary, considering the miraculous character of the occurrence. (3) It is true that, according to Joseph. Antt. viii. 3. 2, the principal building of the temple had thirty halls built around it, which he calls οἴκους; but could Luke suppose Theophilus possessed of this special knowledge? “But,” it is said, (4) “the solemn inauguration of the church of Christ then presents itself with imposing effect in the sanctuary of the old covenant,” Olshausen; “the new spiritual temple must have … proceeded from the envelope of the old temple,” Lange. But this locality would need first to be proved! If this inauguration did not take place in the temple, with the same warrant there might be seen in this an equally imposing indication of the entire severance of the new theocracy from the old. Yet Luke has indicated neither the one nor the other idea, and it is not till Acts 2:44 that the visit to the temple emerges in his narrative.

Kaiser (Commentat. 1820, pp. 3–23; comp. bibl. Theol. II. p. 41) infers from ἦσανἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, Acts 2:1, as well as from οἶκος, καθή΄ενοι, οὐ ΄εθύουσιν, Acts 2:15, etc., that this Christian private assembly, at the first feast of Pentecost, had for its object the celebration of the Agapae. Comp. Augusti, Denkwürdigkeiten aus der christl. Arch. IV. p. 124. An interpretation arbitrarily put into the words. The sacredness of the festival was in itself a sufficient reason for their assembling, especially considering the deeply excited state of feeling in which they were, and the promise which was given to the apostles for so near a realization.

οὗ ἦσαν καθεζόμενοι] where, that is, in which they were sitting. We have to conceive those assembled, ere yet the hour of prayer (Acts 2:15) had arrived (for in prayer they stood), sitting at the feet of the teachers.


Verse 3

Acts 2:3. After the audible σημεῖον immediately follows the visible. Incorrectly Luther: “there were seen on them the tongues divided as if they were of fire.”(113) The words mean: There appeared to them, i.e. there were seen by them, tongues becoming distributed, fire-like, i.e. tongues which appeared like little flames of fire, and were distributed (Acts 2:45; Luke 22:17; Luke 23:34) upon those present (see the following ἐκάθισε κ. τ. λ.). They were thus appearances of tongues, which were luminous, but did not burn; not really consisting of fire, but only ὡσεὶ πυρός; and not confluent into one, but distributing themselves severally on the assembled. As only similar to fire, they bore an analogy to electric phenomena; their tongue-shape referred as a σημεῖον to that miraculous λαλεῖν which ensued immediately after, and the fire-like form to the divine presence (comp. Exodus 3:2), which was here operative in a manner so entirely peculiar. The whole phenomenon is to be understood as a miraculous operation of God manifesting Himself in the Spirit, by which, as by the preceding sound from heaven, the effusion of the Spirit was made known as divine, and His efficacy on the minds of those who were to receive Him was enhanced. A more special physiological definition of the ση΄εῖα, Acts 2:2-3, is impossible. Lange, Apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 19, fancifully supposes that the noise of the wind was a streaming of the heavenly powers from above, audible to the opened visionary sense, and that the tongues of fire were a disengaging of the solar fire-power of the earth and its atmosphere (?). The attempts, also, to convert this appearance of fire-like tongues into an accidental electric natural occurrence (Paulus, Thiess, and others) are in vain; for these flames, which make their appearance, during an accumulation of electric matter, on towers, masts, and even on men, present far too weak resemblances; and besides, the room of a house, where the phenomenon exclusively occurred, was altogether unsuited for any such natural development. The representation of the text is monstrously altered by Heinrichs: Fulgura cellam vere pervadebant, sed in inusitatas imagines ea effinxit apostolorum commota mens; as also by Heumann: that they believed that they saw the fiery tongues merely in the ecstatic state; and not less so by Eichhorn, who says that “they saw flames” signifies in rabbinical usus loquendi: they were transported into ecstatic excitement. The passages adduced by Eichhorn from Schoettgen contain no merely figurative modes of expression, but fancies of the later Rabbins to be understood literally in imitation of the phenomena at Sinai,—of which phenomena, we may add, a real historical analogue is to be recognised in our passage.

ἐκάθισέ τε] namely, not an indefinite subject, something (Hildebrand, comp. Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 118 [E. T. 134]), but such a γλῶσσα ὡσεὶ πυρός. If Luke had written ἐκάθισαν (see the critical remarks), the notion that one γλῶσσα sat upon each would not have been definitely expressed. Comp. Winer, p. 481 [E. T. 648]. Oecumenius, Beza, Castalio, Schoettgen, Kuinoel, incorrectly take πῦρ as the subject, since, in fact, there was no fire at all, but only something resembling fire; ὡσεὶ πυρός serves only for comparison, and consequently πῦρ cannot be the subject of the continued narrative. Others, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, Luther, Calvin, Wolf, Bengel, Heinrichs et al., consider the πνεῦμα ἅγιον as subject. In that case it would have to be interpreted, with Fritzsche (Conject. I. p. 13): καθίσαντος ἐφʼ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ἐπλήσθησαν ἅπαντες πνεύ΄ατος ἁγίου, and Matthew 17:18 would be similar. Very harsh, seeing that the πνεῦ΄α ἅγιου, in so far as it sat on the assembled, would appear as identical with its symbol, the fiery tongues; but in so far as it filled the assembled, as the πνεῦ΄α itself, different from the symbol.

The τέ joining on to the preceding (Lachm. reads καί, following insufficient testimony) connects ἐκάθισε κ. τ. λ. with ὤφθησαν κ. τ. λ. into an unity, so that the description divides itself into the three acts: ὤφθησαν κ. τ. λ., ἐπλήσθησαν κ. τ. λ., and ἤρξαντο κ. τ. λ., as is marked by the thrice recurring καί.


Verse 4

Acts 2:4. After this external phenomenon, there now ensued the internal filling of all who were assembled,(114) without exception ( ἐπλ. ἅπαντες, comp. Acts 2:1), with the Holy Spirit, of which the immediate result was, that they, and, indeed, these same ἅπαντες (comp. Acts 4:31)—accordingly not excluding the apostles (in opposition to van Hengel)

ἤρξαντο λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις. Earlier cases of being filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:41; Luke 1:47; John 20:22; comp. also Luke 9:55) are related to the present as the momentary, partial, and typical, to the permanent, complete, and antitypical, such as could only occur after the glorifying of Jesus (see Acts 2:33; John 16:7; John 7:39).

ἤρξαντο] brings into prominence the primus impetus of the act as its most remarkable element.

λαλεῖν ἑτέραις γλώσσαις] For the sure determination of what Luke meant by this, it is decisive that ἑτέραις γλώσσαις on the part of the speakers was, in point of fact, the same thing which the congregated Parthians, Medes, Elamites, etc., designated as ταῖς ἡ΄ετέραις γλώσσαις (comp. Acts 2:8 : τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἡ΄ῶν). The ἕτεραι γλῶσσαι therefore are, according to the text, to be considered as absolutely nothing else than languages, which were different from the native language of the speakers. They, the Galileans, spoke, one Parthian, another Median, etc., consequently languages of another sort (Luke 9:29; Mark 16:13; Galatians 1:6), i.e. foreign (1 Corinthians 14:21); and these indeed—the point wherein precisely appeared the miraculous operation of the Spirit—not acquired by study ( γλώσσαις καιναῖς, Mark 16:17). Accordingly the text itself determines the meaning of γλῶσσαι as languages, not: tongues (as van Hengel again assumes on the basis of Acts 2:3, where, however, the tongues have only the symbolic destination of a divine σημεῖον(115)); and thereby excludes the various other explanations, and in particular those which start from the meaning verba obsoleta et poetica (Galen, exeg. glossar. Hippocr. Prooem.; Aristot. Ars poet. 21. 4 ff., 22. 3 f.; Quinctil. 1. 8; Pollux. 2. 4; Plut. Pyth. Orac. 24; and see Giese, Aeol. Dial. p. 42 ff.). This remark holds good (1) of the interpretation of Herder (von d. Gabe der Sprachen am ersten christl. Pfingstf., Riga, 1794), that new modes of interpreting the ancient prophets were meant; (2) against Heinrichs, who (after A. G. Meyer, de charismate τῶν γλωσσῶν, etc., Hannov. 1797) founds on that assumed meaning of γλῶσσαι his explanation of enthusiastic speaking in languages which were foreign indeed, different from the sacred language, but were the native languages of the speakers; (3) against Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 33 ff., 1830, p. 45 ff. The latter explains γλῶσσαι as glosses, i.e. unusual, antiquated poetical and provincial expressions. According to him, we are not to think of a connected speaking in foreign languages, but of a speaking in expressions which were foreign to the language of common life, and in which there was an approximation to a highly poetical phraseology, yet so that these glosses were borrowed from different dialects and languages (therefore ἑτέραις). Against this explanation of the γλῶσσαι, which is supported by Bleek with much erudition, the usus loquendi is already decisive. For γλῶσσα in that sense is a grammatico-technical expression, or at least an expression borrowed from grammarians, which is only as such philologically beyond dispute (see all the passages in Bleek, p. 33 ff., and already in A. G. Meyer, l.c.; Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 741). But this meaning is entirely unknown to ordinary linguistic usage, and particularly to that of the O. and N. T. How should Luke have hit upon the use of such a singular expression for a thing, which he could easily designate by words universally intelligible? How could he put this expression even into the mouths of the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, etc.? For ἡμετέραις γλώσσαις, Acts 2:11, must be explained in a manner entirely corresponding to this. Further, there would result for ἡμετέραις a wholly absurd meaning. ἡμέτεραι γλώσσαι, forsooth, would be nothing else than glosses, obsolete expressions, which are peculiar only to the Parthians, or to the Medes, or to the Elamites, etc., just as the ἀττικαὶ γλῶσσαι of Theodorus (in Athen. xiv. p. 646 c, p. 1437, ed. Dindorf) are provincialisms of Attica, which were not current among the rest of the Greeks. Finally, it is further decisive against Bleek that, according to his explanation of γλῶσσα transferred also to 1 Corinthians 12:14, no sense is left for the singular term γλώσσῃ λαλεῖν; for γλῶσσα could not denote genus locutionis glossematicum ( λέξις γλωσσηματική, Dionys. Hal. de Thuc. 24), but simply a single gloss. As Bleek’s explanation falls to the ground, so must every other which takes γλῶσσαι in any other sense than languages, which it must mean according to Acts 2:6; Acts 2:8; Acts 2:11. This remark holds particularly (4) against the understanding of the matter by van Hengel, according to whom the assembled followers of Jesus spoke with other tongues than those with which they formerly spoke, namely, in the excitement of a fiery inspiration, but still all of them in Aramaic, so that each of those who came together heard the language of his own ancestral worship from the mouth of these Galileans, Acts 2:6.

From what has been already said, and at the same time from the express contrast in which the list of nations (Acts 2:9-11) stands with the question οὐκ ἰδοὺ πάντεςγαλιλαῖοι (Acts 2:7), it results beyond all doubt that Luke intended to narrate nothing else than this: the persons possessed by the Spirit began to speak in languages which were foreign to their nationality instead of their mother-tongue, namely, in the languages of other nations,(116) the knowledge and use of which were previously wanting to them, and were only now communicated in and with the πνεῦμα ἅγιον. Comp. Storr, Opusc. II. p. 290 ff., III. p. 277 ff.; Milville, Obss. theol. exeg. de dono linguar. Basil. 1816. See also Schaff, Gesch. d. apost. K. p. 201 ff., ed. 2; Ch. F. Fritzsche, Nova opusc. p. 304 f. The author of Mark 16:17 has correctly understood the expression of Luke, when, in reference to our narrative, he wrote καιναῖς instead of ἑτέραις. The explanation of foreign languages has been since the days of Origen that of most of the Church Fathers and expositors; but the monstrous extension of this view formerly prevalent, to the effect that the inspired received the gift of speaking all the languages of the earth (Augustin.: “coeperunt loqui linguis omnium gentium”), and that for the purpose of enabling them to proclaim the gospel to all nations, is unwarranted. “Poena linguarum dispersit homines: donum linguarum dispersos in unum populum collegit,” Grotius. Of this the text knows nothing; it leaves it, on the contrary, entirely undetermined whether, over and above the languages specially mentioned in Acts 2:9-11, any others were spoken. For the preaching of the gospel in the apostolic age this alleged gift of languages was partly unnecessary, as the preachers needed only to be able to speak Hebrew and Greek (comp. Schneckenb. neutest. Zeitgesch. p. 17 ff.), and partly too general, as among the assembled there were certainly very many who did not enter upon the vocation of teacher. And, on the other hand, such a gift would also have been premature, since Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, would, above all, have needed it; and yet in his case there is no trace of its subsequent reception, just as there is no evidence of his having preached in any other language than Hebrew and Greek.

But how is the occurrence to be judged of historically? On this the following points are to be observed:—(1) Since the sudden communication of a facility of speaking foreign languages is neither logically possible nor psychologically and morally conceivable, and since in the case of the apostles not the slightest indication of it is perceptible in their letters or otherwise (comp., on the contrary, Acts 14:11); since further, if it is to be assumed as having been only momentary, the impossibility is even increased, and since Peter himself in his address makes not even the slightest allusion to the foreign languages,—the event, as Luke narrates it, cannot be presented in the actual form of its historical occurrence, whether we regard that Pentecostal assembly (without any indication to that effect in the text) as a representation of the entire future Christian body (Baumgarten) or not. (2) The analogy of magnetism (adduced especially by Olshausen, and by Baeumlein in the Würtemb. Stud. VI. 2, p. 118) is entirely foreign to the point, especially as those possessed by the Spirit were already speaking in foreign languages, when the Parthians, Medes, etc., came up, so that anything corresponding to the magnetic “rapport” is not conceivable. (3) If the event is alleged to have taken place, as it is narrated, with a view to the representation of an idea,(117) and that, indeed, only at the time and without leaving behind a permanent facility of speaking languages (Rossteuscher, Gabe der Sprachen, Marb. 1850, p. 97: “in order to represent and to attest, in germ and symbol, the future gathering of the elect out of all nations, the consecration of their languages in the church, and again the holiness of the church in the use of these profane idioms, as also of what is natural generally”), such a view is nothing else than a gratuitously-imported subjective abstraction of fancy, which leaves the point of the impossibility and the non-historical character of the occurrence entirely unsettled, although it arbitrarily falls back upon the Babylonian confusion of tongues as its corresponding historical type. This remark also applies against Lange, Apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 22 ff., according to whose fanciful notion the original language of the inner life by which men’s minds are united has here reached its fairest manifestation. This Pentecostal language, he holds, still pervades the church as the language of the inmost life in God, as the language of the Bible, glorified by the gospel, and as the leaven of all languages, which effects their regeneration into the language of the Spirit. (4) Nevertheless, the state of the fact can in nowise be reduced to a speaking of the persons assembled in their mother—tongues, so that the speakers would have been no native Galileans (Paulus, Eichhorn, Schulthess, de charismatib. sp. s., Lips. 1818, Kuinoel, Heinrichs, Fritzsche, Schrader, and others); along with which David Schulz (d. Geistesgaben d. ersten Christen, Breslau, 1836) explains ἑτέραις γλώσσαις even of other kinds of singing praise, which found utterance in the provincial dialects contrary to their custom and ability at other times. Thus the very essence of the narrative, the miraculous nature of the phenomenon, is swept away, and there is not even left matter of surprise fitted to give sufficient occasion for the astonishment and its expressions, if we do not, with Thiess, resort even to the hypothesis that the speakers had only used the Aramaic dialects instead of the Galilean. Every resolution of the matter into a speaking of native languages is directly against the nature and the words of the narrative, and therefore unwarranted. (5) Equally unwarranted, moreover, is the conversion, utterly in the face of the narrative, of the miracle of tongues into a miracle of hearing, so that those assembled did not, indeed, speak in any foreign tongue, but the foreigners listening believed that they heard their own native languages. See against this view, Castalio in loc., and Beza on x. 46. This opinion (which Billroth on 1 Cor. strangely outbids by his fancy of a primeval language which had been spoken) is already represented by Gregory of Nazianzus, Orat. 41, as allowable by the punctuation of Acts 2:6; is found thereafter in the Pseudo-Cyprian (Arnold), in the appendix to the Opp. Cypr. p. 60, ed. Brem. (p. 475, ed. Basil. 1530), in Beda, Erasmus, and others; and has recently been advocated especially by Schnecken-burger, Beitr. p. 84; comp. üb. den Zweck d. Apostelgesch. p. 202 ff.:(118) legend also presents later analogous phenomena (in the life of Francis Xavier and others). (6) The miraculous gift of languages remains the centre of the entire narrative (see Ch. F. Fritzsche, nova opusc. p. 309 ff.; Zeller, p. 104 ff.; Hilgenf. d. Glossolalie, p. 87 ff.), and may in nowise be put aside or placed in the background, if the state of the fact is to be derived entirely from this narrative. If we further compare Acts 10:46-47, the καθὼς καὶ ἡμεῖς in that passage shows that the λαλεῖν γλώσσαις, which there occurred at the descent of the Spirit on those assembled, cannot have been anything essentially different from the event in Acts 2. A corresponding judgment must in that case be formed as to Acts 19:6. But we have to take our views of what the γλώσσαις λαλεῖν really was, not from our passage, but from the older and absolutely authentic account of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:14; according to which it (see comm. on 1 Corinthians 12:10) was a speaking in the form of prayer—which took place in the highest ecstasy, and required an interpretation for its understanding—and not a speaking in foreign languages. The occurrence in Acts 2. is therefore to be recognised, according to its historical import, as the phenomenon of the glossolalia (not as a higher stage of it, in which the foreign languages supervened, Olshausen), which emerged for the first time in the Christian church, and that immediately on the effusion of the Spirit at Pentecost,—a phenomenon which, in the sphere of the marvellous to which it belongs, was elaborated and embellished by legend into a speaking in foreign languages, and accordingly into an occurrence quite unique, not indeed as to substance, but as to mode (comp. Hilgenfeld, p. 146), and far surpassing the subsequently frequent and well-known glossolalia, having in fact no parallel in the further history of the church.(119) How this transformation—the supposition of which is by no means to be treated with suspicion as the dogmatic caprice of unbelief (in opposition to Rossteuscher, p. 125)—took place, cannot be ascertained. But the supposition very naturally suggests itself, that among the persons possessed by the Spirit, who were for the most part Galileans (in the elaborated legend; all of them Galileans), there were also some foreigners, and that among these very naturally the utterances of the Spirit in the glossolalia found vent in expressions of their different national languages, and not in the Aramaic dialect, which was to them by nature a foreign language, and therefore not natural or suitable for the outburst of inspired ecstasy. If this first glossolalia actually took place in different languages, we can explain how the legend gradually gave to the occurrence the form which it has in Luke, even with the list of nations, which specifies more particularly the languages spoken. That a symbolical view of the phenomenon has occasioned the formation of the legend, namely, the idea of doing away with the diversity of languages which arose, Genesis 11, by way of punishment, according to which idea there was to be again in the Messianic time εἷς λαὸς κυρίου καὶ γλῶσσα μία (Test. XII. Patr. p. 618), is not to be assumed (Schneckenburger, Rossteuscher, de Wette), since this idea as respects the γλῶσσα μία is not a N. T. one, and it would suit not the miracle of speaking, such as the matter appears in our narrative, but a miracle of hearing, such as it has been interpreted to mean. The general idea of the universal destination of Christianity (comp. Zeller, Hilgenfeld) cannot but have been favourable to the shaping of the occurrence in the form in which it appears in our passage.

The view which regards our event as essentially identical with the glossolalia, but does not conceive the latter as a speaking in foreign languages, has been adopted by Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 50 ff., whose explanation, however, of highly poetical discourse, combined with foreign expressions, agrees neither with the ἑτέρ. γλ. generally nor with Acts 2:8; Acts 2:11; by Baur in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1830, 2, p. 101 ff., who, however, explains on this account ἑτέρ. γλ. as new spirit-tongues,(120) and regarded this expression as the original one, but subsequently in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 618 ff., amidst a mixing up of different opinions, has acceded to the view of Bleek; by Steudel in the Tüb. Zeitschr. 1830, 2, p. 133 ff., 1831, 2, p. 128 ff., who explains the Pentecostal event from the corresponding tone of feeling which the inspired address encountered in others,—a view which does not at all suit the concourse of foreign unbelievers in our passage; by Neander, who, however (4th edition, p. 28), idealizes the speaking of inspiration in our passage too indefinitely and indistinctly; by Wieseler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 743 ff., 1860, p. 117, who makes the ἑρμηνεία γλωσσῶν be described according to the impression made upon the assembled Jews,—an idea irreconcilable with our text (Acts 2:6-12); by de Wette, who ascribes the transformation of the glossolalia in our passage to a reporter, who, from want of knowledge, imported into the traditional facts a symbolical meaning; by Hilgenfeld, according to whom the author conceived the gift of languages as a special γένος of speaking with tongues; by van Hengel, who sees in the Corinthian glossolalia a degenerating of the original fact in our passage; and by Ewald (Gesch. d. apost. Zeitalt. p. 123 ff., comp. Jahrb. III. p. 269 ff.), who represents the matter as the first outburst of the infinite vigour of life and pleasure in life of the new-born Christianity, which took place not in words, songs, and prayers previously used, nor generally in previous human speech and language, but, as it were, in a sudden conflux and moulding-anew of all previous languages, amidst which the synonymous expressions of different languages were, in the surging of excitement, crowded and conglomerated, etc.,—a view in which the appeal to the ἀββὰ πατήρ and μαρὰν ἀθά is much too weak to do justice to the ἑτέραις γλώσσαις as the proper point of the narrative. On the other hand, the view of the Pentecostal miracle as an actual though only temporary speaking in unacquired foreign languages, such as Luke represents it, has been maintained down to the most recent times (Baeumlein in the Würtemb. Stud. 1834, 2, p. 40 ff.; Bauer in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 658 ff., 1844, p. 708 ff.; Zinsler, de charism. τοῦ γλ. λαλ. 1847; Englmann, v. d. Charismen, 1850; Maier, d. Glossalie d. apost. Zeitalt. 1855; Thiersch, Kirche im apost. Zeitalt. p. 67; Rossteuscher, Baumgarten, Lechler; comp. also Kahnis, vom heil. Geiste, p. 61 ff., Dogmat. I. p. 517, Schaff, and others), a conception which Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 206 ff., supports by the significance of Pentecost as the feast of the first fruits, and Baumgarten, at the same time, by its reference to the giving of the law. But by its side the procedure of the other extreme, by which the Pentecostal occurrence is entirely banished from history,(121) has been carried out in the boldest and most decided manner by Zeller (p. 104 ff.), to whom the origin of the narrative appears quite capable of explanation from dogmatic motives (according to the idea of the destination of Christianity for all nations) and typical views.(122)

καθώς, as, in which manner, i.e. according to the context: in which foreign language.

ἀποφθέγγεσθαι] eloqui (Lucian. Zeux. 1, Paras. 4, Plut. Mor. p. 405 E, Diog. L. i. 63), a purposely chosen word (comp. Acts 2:14, Acts 26:25) for loud utterance in the elevated state of spiritual gifts (1 Chronicles 25:1; Ecclus. Prolog. ii.; comp. ἀπόφθεγμα, Deuteronomy 32:2, also Zechariah 10:2), also of false prophets, Ezekiel 13:19; Mich. Acts 5:12. See, generally, Schleusner, Thes. I. p. 417; also Valckenaer, p. 344; and van Hengel, p. 40.


Verse 5

Acts 2:5 gives, as introductory to what follows, preliminary information how it happened that Jews of so very diversified nationality were witnesses of the occurrence, and heard their mother-languages spoken by the inspired. Stolz, Paulus, and Heinrichs are entirely in error in supposing that Acts 2:5 refers to the λαλεῖν ἑτέρ. γλ., and that the sense is: “Neque id secus quam par erat, nam ex pluribus nationibus diverse loquentibus intererant isti coetui homines,” etc. The context, in fact, distinguishes the ʼιουδαῖοι and the γαλιλαῖοι (so designated not as a sect, but according to their nationality), clearly in such a way that the former are members of the nation generally, and the latter are specially and exclusively Galileans. See also van Hengel, p. 9.

ἦσανκατοικοῦντες] they were dwelling, is not to be taken of mere temporary residence (Kuinoel, Olshausen, and others), but of the domicile (Luke 13:4; Acts 7:48; Acts 9:22, al.; Plat. Legg. ii. p. 666 E, xii: p. 969 C) which they had taken up in the central city of the theocracy, and that from conscientious religious feelings as Israelites (hence εὐλαβεῖς, comp. on Luke 2:25). Comp. Chrys.: τὸ κατοικεῖν εὐλαβείας ἦν σημεῖον· πῶς; ἀπὸ τοσούτων γὰρ ἐθνῶν ὄντες καὶ πατρίδας ἀφέντεςᾤκουν ἐκεῖ.

τῶν ὑπὸ τὸν οὐραν.] sc. ἐθνῶν, of the nations to be found under heaven (Bernhardy).

ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν is classical, ὑπὸ τὸν ἥλιον. Comp. Plat. Ep. p. 326 C, Tim. p. 23 C. The whole expression has something solemn about it, and is, as a popular hyperbole, to be left in all its generality. Comp. Deuteronomy 2:25; Colossians 1:23.


Verse 6

Acts 2:6. τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης] this sound, which, inasmuch as οὗτος points back to a more remote noun, is to be referred to the wind-like rushing of Acts 2:2, to which also γενομ. carries us back. Comp. John 3:8. Luke represents the matter in such a way that this noise sounded forth from the house of meeting to the street, and that thereby the multitude were induced to come thither. In this case neither an earthquake (Neander) nor a “sympathy of the susceptible” (Lange) are to be called in to help, because there is no mention of either; in fact, the wonderful character of the noise is sufficient. Others, as Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Bleek, Schulz, Wieseler, Hilgenfeld, think that the loud speaking of the inspired is here meant. But in that case we should expect the plural, especially as this speaking occurred in different languages; and besides, we should be obliged to conceive this speaking as being strong, like a crying, which is not indicated in Acts 2:4; therefore Wieseler would have it taken only as a definition of time, which the aorist does not suit, because the speaking continues. Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Castalio, Vatablus, Grotius, Heumann, and Schulthess take φωνή in the sense of φήμη. Contrary to the usus loquendi; even in Genesis 45:16 it is otherwise.

συνεχύθη mente confusa est (Vulgate), was perplexed. Comp. Acts 9:22; 1 Maccabees 4:27; 2 Maccabees 10:30; Herod, 8:99; Plat. Ep. 7, p. 346 D Diod. S. 4:62; Lucian. Nigr. 31.

εἷς ἕκαστος] annexes to the more indefinite ἤκουον the exact statement of the subject. Comp. John 16:32; Acts 11:29 al.; Jacobs, ad Achill. Tat. p. 622; Ameis on Hom. Od. x. 397; Bernhardy, p. 420.

διαλέκτῳ] is here also not national language, but dialect (see on Acts 1:19), language in its provincial peculiarity. It is, as well as in Acts 2:8, designedly chosen, because the foreigners who arrived spoke not entirely different languages, but in part only different dialects of the same language. Thus, for example, the Asiatics, Phrygians, and Pamphylians, respectively spoke Greek, but in different idioms; the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, Persian, but also in different provincial forms. Therefore, the persons possessed by the Spirit, according to the representation of the text, expressed themselves in the peculiar local dialects of the ἑτέρων γλωσσῶν. The view that the Aramaic dialect was that in which all the speakers spoke (van Hengel), appears—from Acts 2:8; from the list of nations, which would be destitute of significance; from προσήλυτοι (Acts 2:10), which would be meaningless; and from Acts 2:11,(123) as well as from the opinions expressed in Acts 2:12-13, which would be without a motive—as an exegetical impossibility, which is also already excluded by εἷς ἕκαστος in Acts 2:6.

λαλούντων αὐτῶν] not, of course, that all spoke in all dialects, but that one spoke in one dialect, and another in another. Each of those who came together heard his peculiar dialect spoken by one or some of the inspired. This remark applies in opposition to Bleek, who objects to the common explanation of λαλεῖν ἑτέρ. γλώσσαις, that each individual must have spoken in the different languages simultaneously. The expression is not even awkward (Olshausen), as it expresses the opinion of the people comprehended generally, and consequently even the summary αὐτῶν is quite in order.


Verse 7-8

Acts 2:7-8. ἐξίσταντο denotes the astonishment now setting in after the first perplexity, Acts 2:6; ἐθαύμαζον is the continuing wonder resulting from it. Comp. Mark 6:51.

ἰδού] to be enclosed within two commas.

πάντες οὗτοι κ. τ. λ.] pointing out: all the speakers present. It does not distinguish two kinds of persons, those who spoke and those who did not speak (van Hengel); but see Acts 2:4. The dislocation occasioned by the interposition of εἰσίν brings the πάντες οὗτοι into more emphatic prominence.

γαλιλαῖοι] They wondered to hear men, who were pure Galileans, speak Parthian, Median, etc. This view, which takes γαλ. in the sense of nationality, is required by Acts 2:8; Acts 2:11, and by the contrast of the nations afterwards named. It is therefore foreign to the matter, with Herder, Heinrichs, Olshausen, Schulz, Rossteuscher, van Hengel, and older commentators, to bring into prominence the accessory idea of want of culture (uncultivated Galileans); and erroneous, with Stolz, Eichhorn, Kuinoel, and others, to consider γαλ. as a designation of the Christian sect—a designation, evidence of which, moreover, can only be adduced from a later period. Augusti, Denkwürd. IV: pp. 49, 55. It is erroneous, also, to find the cause of wonder in the circumstance that the Galileans should have used profane languages for so holy an object (Kuinoel). So, in opposition to this, Ch. F. Fritzsche, nova opusc. p. 310.

καὶ πῶς] καί, as a simple and, annexes the sequence of the sense; and (as they are all Galileans) how happens it that, etc.

ἡμεῖς ἀκούομεν ἕκαστος κ. τ. λ.] we on our part (in contrast to the speaking Galileans) hear each one, etc. That, accordingly, ἐγεννήθ. is to be understood distributively, is self-evident from the connection (comp. ταῖς ἡμετ. γλώσσαις, Acts 2:11); therefore van Hengel(124) wrongly objects to the view of different languages, that the words would require to run: πῶς ἡμ. ἀκ. τ. ἰδ. διαλ., ἐν ἕκαστος ἐγεννήθη.

ἐν ἐγεννήθ. designation of the mother-tongue, with which one is, in the popular way of expressing the matter, born furnished.


Verses 9-11

Acts 2:9-11. πάρθοιἄραβες is a more exact statement, placed in apposition, of the subject of ἐγεννήθημεν. After finishing the list, Acts 2:11, Luke again takes up the verb already used in Acts 2:8, and completes the sentence already there begun, but in such a way as once more to bring forward the important point τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ, only in a different and more general expression, by ταῖς ἡμετ. γλώσσαις. Instead, therefore, of simply writing λαλούντ. αὐτ. τὰ μεγαλ. τ· θεοῦ without this resumption in Acts 2:11, he continues, after the list of nations, as if he had said in Acts 2:8 merely καὶ πῶς ἡμεῖς.

The list of nations itself, which is arranged not without reference to geography, yet in a desultory manner (east, north, south, west), is certainly genuine (in opposition to Ziegler, Schulthess, Kuinoel), but is, of course, not to be considered, at any rate in its present order and completeness, as an original constituent part of the speech of the people (which would be psychologically inappropriate to the lively expression of strong astonishment), but as an historical notice, which was designedly interwoven in the speech and put into the mouth of the people, either already in the source whence Luke drew, or by Luke himself, in order to give very strong prominence to the contrast with the preceding γαλιλαῖοι.

ʼελαμῖται, on the Persian Gulf, are so named in the LXX. (Isaiah 21:2); called by the Greeks ʼελυμαῖοι. See Polyb. 5. 44. 9, al. The country is called ʼελυμαΐς, Pol. xxxi. 11. 1; Strabo, xvi. p. 744.

ʼιουδαίαν] There is a historical reason why Jews should be also mentioned in this list, which otherwise names none but foreigners. A portion of those who had received the Spirit spoke Jewish, so that even the native Jews heard their provincial dialect. This is not at variance with the ἑτέραις γλώσσαις, because the Jewish dialect differed in pronunciation from the Galilean, although both belonged to the Aramaic language of the country at that time; comp. on Matthew 26:73. Heinrichs thinks that ʼιουδαίαν is inappropriate (comp. de Wette), and was only included in this specification in fluxu orationis; while Olshausen holds that Luke included the mention of it from his Roman point of view, and in consideration of his Roman readers. What a high degree of carelessness would either suggestion involve! Tertull. c. Jude 1:7, read Armeniam. Conjectural emendations are: ʼιδουμαίαν (Caspar Barth), ʼινδίαν (Erasmus Schmid), βιθυνίαν (Hemsterhuis and Valckenaer). Ewald guesses that Syria has dropped out after Judaea.

τὴν ʼασίαν] is here, as it is mentioned along with individual Asiatic districts, not the whole of Asia Minor, nor yet simply Ionia (Kuinoel), or Lydia (Schneckenburger), to which there is no evidence that the name Asia was applied; but the whole western coast-region of Asia Minor (Caria, Lydia, Mysia), according to Plin. H. N. v. 28; see Winer, Realw., Wieseler, p. 32 ff.

τὰ μέρη τῆς λιβύης τῆς κατὰ κυρήνην] the districts of the Libya situated towards Cyrene, i.e. Libya Cyrenaica, or Pentapolitana, Upper Libya, whose capital was Cyrene, nearly one-fourth of the population of which were Jews; see Joseph. Antt. xiv. 7. 2, xvi. 6. 1.(125) So many of the Cyrenaean Jews dwelt in Jerusalem, that they had there a synagogue of their own (Acts 6:9).

οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες ῥωμαῖοι] the Romans

Jews dwelling in Rome and the Roman countries of the West generally—residing (here in Jerusalem) as strangers (pilgrims to the feast, or for other reasons). On ἐπιδημ., as distinguished from κατοικοῦντες, comp. Acts 17:21. Plat. Prot. p. 342 C: ξένος ὢν ἐπιδημήσῃ. Legg. viii. p. 8, 45 A Dem. 1352. 19; Athen. viii. p. 361 F: οἱ ῥώμην κατοικοῦντες καὶ οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες τῇ πόλει. As ἐπιδημοῦντες, they are not properly included under the category of κατοικοῦντες in the preparatory Acts 2:5, but are by zeugma annexed thereto.

ʼιουδαῖοί τε καὶ προσήλυτοι is in apposition not merely to οἱ ἐπιδ. ῥωμαῖοι (Erasmus, Grotius, van Hengel, and others), but, as is alone in keeping with the universal aim of the list of nations, to all those mentioned before in Acts 2:9-10. The native Jews ( ʼιουδαῖοι) heard the special Jewish local dialects, which were their mother-tongues; the Gentile Jews ( προσήλυτοι) heard their different non-Hebraic mother-tongues, and that likewise in the different idioms of the several nationalities.

κρῆτες καὶ ἄραβες] are inaccurately brought in afterwards, as their proper position ought to have been before ʼιουδ. τε καὶ προσήλ., because that statement, in the view of the writer, held good of all the nationalities.

τ. ἡμετέραις γλώσσαις] ἡμετ. has the emphasis of contrast: not with their language, but with ours. Comp. Acts 2:8. That γλώσσ. comprehends also the dialectic varieties serving as a demarcation, is self-evident from Acts 2:6-10. The expression τ. ἡμετ. γλ. affirms substantially the same thing as was meant by ἑτέραις γλώσσαις in Acts 2:4.

τὰ μεγαλεῖα τ. θεοῦ] the great things of God (which God has done; comp. Psalms 71:19; Sirach 17:8; Sirach 18:3; Sirach 33:8; 3 Maccabees 7:22). It is the glorious things which God has provided through Christ, as is self-evident in the case of that assembly in that condition. Not merely the resurrection of Christ (Grotius), but “tota huc οἰκονομία gratiae pertinet,” Calovius. Comp. Acts 10:46.


Verse 12-13

Acts 2:12-13. διηπόρ.] see on Luke 9:7.

τί ἂν θέλοι τοῦτο εἶναι;] The optative with ἄν, in order to denote the hypothetically conceived possibility: What might this possibly wish to be? i.e. What might—if this speaking in our native languages, this strange phenomenon, is designed to have any meaning—be to be thought of as that meaning? Comp. Acts 17:18; Herm. ad Viger. p. 729; Bernhardy, p. 410 f. On the distinction of the sense without ἂν, see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. v. 7. 33. Comp. also Maetzner, ad Antiph. p. 130. On θέλειν of impersonal things, see Wetstein and Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 370 B.

ἕτεροι] another class of judges, consequently none of the impartial, of whom there was mention in Acts 2:7-12, but hostile persons (in part, doubtless, of the hierarchical party) who drew from the well-known freer mode of life of Jesus and His disciples a judgment similar to Luke 7:34, and decided against the disciples.

διαχλευάζοντες] mocking; a stronger expression than the simple verb, Dem. 1221. 26; Plat. Ax. p. 364 B Polyb. xvii. 4. 4, xxxix. 2. 13; used absolutely also, Polyb. xxx. 13. 12. The scoffers explain the enthusiasm of the speakers, which struck them as eccentric, and the use of foreign languages instead of the Galilean, as the effect of drunken excitement. Without disturbing themselves whence this foreign speaking (according to the historical position of the matter: this speaking with tongues) had come and become possible to the Galileans, they are arrested only by the strangeness of the phenomenon as it struck the senses, and, in accordance with their own vulgarity, impute it to the having taken too much wine. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:23. The contents of the speaking (van Hengel) would not, apart from that form of utterance as if drunk with the Spirit, have given ground for so frivolous an opinion, but would rather have checked it. The judgment of Festus concerning Paul (Acts 26:24) is based on an essentially different situation.

γλεύκους] γλεῦκος τὸ ἀπόσταγμα τῆς σταφυλῆς πρὶν πατηθῇ, Hesychius. Job 32:19; Lucian. Ep. Sat. 22, Philops. 39. 65; Nic. Al. 184. 299. Comp. γλευκοπότης, Leon. Tar. 18; Apollonid. 10.


Verse 14-15

Acts 2:14-15. σταθείς] as in Acts 5:20, Acts 17:22, Acts 27:21; Luke 19:8; Luke 18:11. The introduction of the address (he stood up, etc.) is solemn.

σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα] thus Matthias is already included, and justly; Acts 2:32, comp. with Acts 1:22. We may add that Grotius aptly remarks (although contradicted by Calovius): “Hic incipit (Petrus) nominis sui a rupe dicti meritum implere.”

ἀπεφθ.] as in Acts 2:4 : but not as if now Peter also had begun to speak ἑτέραις γλώσσ. (van Hengel). That speaking is past when Peter and the eleven made their appearance; and then follows the simple instruction regarding it, intelligible to ordinary persons, uttered aloud and with emphasis.

κατοικοῦντες] quite as in Acts 2:5. The nominative with the article, in order to express the imperative address. See Bernhardy, p. 67.

τοῦτο] namely, what I shall now explain to you.

Concerning ἐνωτίζεσθαι (from οὖς), auribus percipere, which is foreign to the old classical Greek, but in current use in the LXX. and the Apocrypha, see Sturz, Dial. Al. p. 166. In the N. T. only here. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 520.

οὐ γάρ] γάρ justifies the preceding summons. The οὗτοι, these there, does not indicate that the apostles themselves were not among those who spoke in a miraculous manner, as if the gift of tongues had been a lower kind of inspired speech (1 Corinthians 14:18-19; so de Wette, at variance with Acts 2:4); but Peter, standing up with the eleven, places himself in the position of a third person, pointing to the whole multitude, whom he would defend, as their advocate; and as he did so, the reference of this apology to himself also and his fellow-apostles became self-evident in the application. This also applies against van Hengel, p. 64 f.

ὥρα τρίτη] about nine in the morning; so early in the day, and at this first of the three hours of prayer (see on Acts 3:1), contemporaneously with the morning sacrifice in the temple, people are not drunk! Observe the sober, self-collected way in which Peter speaks.


Verse 16-17

Acts 2:16-17. But this (which has just taken place on the part of those assembled, and has been accounted among you as the effect of drunkenness) is the event, which is spoken of by the prophet Joel.

Joel 3:1-5 (LXX. Acts 2:28-31) is freely quoted according to the LXX. The prophet, speaking as the organ of God, describes the σημεῖα which shall directly precede the dawn of the Messianic period, namely first the general effusion of the fulness of the Holy Spirit, and then frightful catastrophes in heaven and on earth. This prophecy, Peter says, has now entered upon its accomplishment.

καὶ ἔσται] and it will be the case: quite according to the Hebrew (and the LXX.) וְהָיָה. The καί in the prophetic passage connects it with what precedes, and is incorporated in the citation.

ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις] The LXX., agreeing with the Hebrew, has only μετὰ ταῦτα. Peter has inserted for it the familiar expression אַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1, al.) by way of more precise definition (as Kimchi also gives it; see Lightfoot). This denotes the last days of the pre-Messianic period—the days immediately preceding the erection of the Messianic kingdom (which, according to the N. T. view, could not but take place by means of the speedily expected Parousia of Christ); see 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; and as regards the essential sense, also Hebrews 1:1. Comp. Weiss, Petrin. Lehrbegr. p. 82 f.

ἐκχεῶ] a later form of the future. Winer, p. 74 [E. T. 91]. The outpouring figuratively denotes the copious communication. Titus 3:6; Acts 10:45. Comp. Acts 1:5, and see on Romans 5:5.

ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου] deviating from the Hebrew אֶת־ריחִי. The partitive expression (Bernhardy, p. 222) denotes that something of the Spirit of God conceived as a whole—a special partial emanation for the bestowal of divers gifts according to the will of God (Hebrews 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12)—will pass over to every individual ( ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα(126)).

πᾶσαν σάρκα every flesh, i.e. omnes homines, but with the accessory idea of weakness and imperfection, which the contrast of the highest gift of God, that is to be imparted to the weak mortal race, here presents. Comp. Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 1:29; Matthew 24:22; Luke 3:6. In Joel כָּל־בָּשָׂר certainly refers to the people of Israel, conceived, however, as the people of God, the collective body of whom (not merely, as formerly, individual prophets) shall receive the divine inspiration. Comp. Isaiah 54:13; John 6:45. But as the idea of the people of God has its realization, so far as the history of redemption is concerned, in the collective body of believers on Christ without distinction of nations; so also in the Messianic fulfilment of that prophecy meant by Peter, and now begun, what the prophet has promised to all flesh is not to be understood of the Jewish people as such (van Hengel, appealing to Acts 2:39), but of all the true people of God, so far as they believe on Christ. The first Messianic effusion of the Spirit at Pentecost was the beginning of this fulfilment, the completion of which is in the course of a progressive development that began at that time with Israel, and as respects its end is yet future, although this end was by Peter already expected as nigh.

καὶ προφητεύσουσινἐνυπνιασθήσονται describes the effects of the promised effusion of the Spirit. προφητεύσουσιν, afflatu divino loquentur (Matthew 7:22), is by Peter specially recognised as a prediction of that apocalyptically inspired speaking, which had just commenced with the ἑτέραις γλώσσαις. This we may the more warrantably affirm, since, according to the analogy of Acts 19:6, we must assume that that speaking was not mere glossolalia in the strict sense, but, in a portion of the speakers’ prophecy. Comp. the spiritual speaking in Corinth.

οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν] the male and female members of the people of God, i.e. all without exception. Peter sees this also fulfilled by the inspired members of the Christian theocracy, among whom, according to Acts 1:14, there were at that time also women.

ὁράσεις ἐνυπνίοις] visions in waking and in sleeping, as forms of the ἀποκάλυψις of God, such as often came to the prophets. This prophetic distinction, Joel predicts, will, after the effusion of the Spirit in its fulness, become common property. The fulfilment of this part of the prophecy had, it is true, not yet taken place among the members of the Christian people of God, but was still before them as a consequence of the communication of the Spirit which had just occurred; Peter, however, quotes the words as already fulfilled (Acts 2:16), because their fulfilment was necessarily conditioned by the outpouring of the Spirit, and was consequently already in idea included in it.

νεανίσκοι πρεσβύτεροι belong likewise, as the preceding clause ( υἱοὶ θυγατέρες), to the representation of the collective body as illustrated per μερισμόν. The ὁράσεις correspond to the lively feelings of youth; ἐνύπνια, to the lesser excitability of more advanced age; yet the two are to be taken, not as mutually exclusive, but after the manner of parallelism.

The verb, with the dative of the cognate noun, is here ( ἐνυπνίοις ἐνυπνιασθ., they will dream with dreams; comp. Joel 3:1) a Hebraism, and does not denote, like the similar construction in classic Greek, a more precise definition or strengthening of the notion conveyed by the verb (Lobeck, Paral. p. 524 f.).


Verse 18

Acts 2:18. A repetition of the chief contents of Acts 2:17, solemnly confirming them, and prefixing the persons concerned.

καί γε] and indeed, Luke 19:42; Herm. ad Viger. p. 826. It seldom occurs in classical writers without the two particles being separated by the word brought into prominence or restricted, in which case, however, there is also a shade of meaning to be attended to; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 319.

We must not explain the δούλους μου and the δούλας μου with Heinrichs and Kuinoel, in accordance with the original text, which has no μου, of servile hominum genus, nor yet with Tychsen (Illustratio vaticinii Joel iii. Gott. 1788) of the alienigenae (because slaves were wont to be purchased from abroad): both views are at variance with the μου, which refers the relation of service to God as the Master. It is therefore the male and female members of the people of God (according to the prophetic fulfilment: of the Christian people of God) that are meant, inasmuch as they recognise Jehovah as their Master, and serve Him: my male and female worshippers; comp. the Hebrew עֶבֶד יְהוָּה. In the twofold μου Peter agrees with the translators of the LXX.,(127) who must have had another reading of the original before them.


Verse 19-20

Acts 2:19-20. After this effusion of the Spirit I shall bring about ( δώσω, as at Matthew 24:24) catastrophes in heaven and on earth (the latter are mentioned at once in Acts 2:19, the former in Acts 2:20) as immediate heralds of the Messianic day. Peter includes in his quotation this element of the prophecy, because its realization (Acts 2:16), conditioned by the outpouring of the Spirit which necessarily preceded it, presented itself likewise essentially as belonging to the allotted portion of the ἔσχαται ἡμέραι. The dreadful events could not but now—seeing that the effusion of the Spirit preceding them had already commenced—be conceived as inevitable and very imminent; and this circumstance could not but mightily contribute to the alarming of souls and their being won to Christ. As to τέρατα and σημεῖα, see on Matthew 24:24; Romans 15:19.

αἷμακαπνοῦ contains the σημεῖα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, namely, bloodshed (war, revolt, murder) and conflagration. Similar devastations belonged, according to the later Jewish Christology also, to the dolores Messiae. See on Matthew 24:6-7. “Cum videris regna se invicem turbantia, tunc expectes vestigia Messiae;” Beresh. rabb. sec. 41. The reference to blood-rain, fiery meteors, and pillars of smoke arising from the earth (de Wette, comp. Kuinoel), is neither certainly in keeping with the original text of the prophecy, nor does it satisfy the analogy of Matthew 24

ἀτμίδα καπνοῦ] vapour of smoke ( ἀτμίς, Plat. Tim. p. 87 E, yet in classical writers more usually ἀτμός, is the more general idea). Comp. on such combinations, Lobeck, Paral. p. 534.

Acts 2:20. Meaning: the sun will become dark, and the moon appear bloody. Comp. on Matthew 24:29; also Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7.

πρὶν ἐλθεῖν] ere there shall have come. See Klotz, ad Devar. p. 728 f.

τὴν ἡμέραν κυρίου] i.e. according to the sense of the prophetic fulfilment of the words: the day of Christ, namely of His Parousia. Comp. on Romans 10:13. But this is not, with Grotius, Lightfoot, and Kuinoel, following the Fathers, to be considered as identical with the destruction of Jerusalem (which belongs to the σημεία of the Parousia, to the dolores Messiae). See on Matthew 24:29.

τὴν μεγάλην κ. ἐπιφανῆ] the great ( κατʼ ἐξοχήν, fraught with decision, comp. Revelation 16:14) and manifest, i.e. which makes itself manifest before all the world as that which it is. Comp. the frequent use of ἐπιφάνεια for the Parousia (2 Thessalonians 2:8, al.). The Vulgate aptly renders: manifestus. Instead of ἐπιφανῆ, the Hebrew has הַנּו ̇רָא, terribilis, which the LXX., deriving from ראה, has incorrectly translated by ἐπιφανῆ, as also elsewhere; see Biel and Schleusn. Thes. s.v. But on this account the literal signification of ἐπιφαν. need not be altered here, where the text follows the LXX.


Verse 21

Acts 2:21. And every one who shall have invoked the name of the Lord,—this Peter wishes to be understood, according to the sense of the prophetic fulfilment, of the invocation of Christ (relative worship: see on Acts 7:59; Romans 10:12; Philippians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 1:2); just as he would have the σωθήσεται understood, not of any sort of temporal deliverance, but of the saving deliverance of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 4:12, Acts 15:11), which Jesus on His return will found; and hence he must now (Acts 2:22-36) demonstrate Jesus the crucified and risen and exalted one, as the Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36). And how undauntedly, concisely, and convincingly he does so! A first fruit of the outpouring of the Spirit.


Verse 22

Acts 2:22. τούτους] like τούτο, Acts 2:14, the words which follow. See Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 3, ad Anab. ii. 5. 10.

τὸν ναζωραῖον is, in the mouth of the apostle, only the current more precise designation of the Lord (comp. Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10), not used in the sense of contempt (comp. Acts 6:14, Acts 24:5) for the sake of contrast to what follows, and possibly as a reminiscence of the superscription of the cross (Beza and others), of which there is no indication in the text (such as perhaps: ἄνδρα δέ).

ἄνδρα ἀπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀποδεδειγμ.] a man on the part of God approved, namely, in his peculiar character, as Messiah, ἀπό stands neither here nor elsewhere for ὑπό, but denotes the going forth of the legitimation from God (divinitus), Joseph. Antt. vii. 14. 5; Poppo, ad Thuc. i. 17. 1; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 280 [E. T. 326].

εἰς ὑμᾶς] in reference to you, in order that He might appear to you as such, for you.

δυνάμ. κ. τέρασι κ. σημείοις] a rhetorical accumulation in order to the full exhaustion of the idea (Bornem. Schol. in Luc. p. xxx.), as regards the nature of the miracles, their appearance, and their destination. Comp. Acts 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4.

ἐν μέσῳ ὑμῶν] in the midst of you, so that it was beheld jointly by you all.


Verse 23

Acts 2:23. τοῦτον] an emphatic repetition. See Schaef. Melet. p. 84; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 225. There is to be no parenthesis before it. This one … delivered up, ye have by the hand of lawless men(128) affixed and made way with: Acts 10:39; Luke 22:2; Luke 23:32. By the ἀνό΄οι are to be understood Gentiles (1 Corinthians 9:21; Romans 1:14), and it is here more especially the Roman soldiers that are meant, by whose hand Christ was affixed (nailed to the cross), and thereby put to death. On ἔκδοτον, comp. Drac. 26, and examples from Greek writers in Raphel and Kypke, also Lobeck, Paral. p. 531. It refers to the delivering up of Jesus to the Jews, which took place on the part of Judas. This was no work of men, no independent success of the treachery (which would, in fact, testify against the Messiahship of Jesus!), but it happened in virtue of the fixed (therefore unalterable) resolve and (in virtue of the) foreknowledge of God. On βουλή, comp. the Homeric διὸς δʼ ἐτελείετο βουλή, Il. i. 5, Od. xi. 297.

πρόγνωσις is here usually taken as synonymous with βουλή; but against all linguistic usage.(129) Even in 1 Peter 1:2, comp. Acts 2:20, the meaning praescientia (Vulgate) is to be retained. See generally on Romans 8:29. God’s βουλή (comp. Acts 4:28) was, that Jesus was to delivered up, and the mode of it was present to Him in His prescience, which, therefore, is placed after the βουλή. Objectively, no doubt, the two are not separate in God, but the relation is conceived of after the analogy of the action of the human mind.

The dative is, as in Acts 15:1, that in which the ἔκδοτον has its ground. Without the divine βουλὴ κ. τ. λ. it would not have taken place.

The question, How Peter could say to those present: Ye have put Him to death, is solved by the remark that the execution of Christ was a public judicial murder, resolved on by the Sanhedrim in the name of the whole nation, demanded from and conceded by the Gentiles, and accomplished under the direction of the Sanhedrim (John 19:16); comp. Acts 3:13 f. The view of Olshausen, that the death of Christ was a collective act of the human race, which had contracted a collective guilt, is quite foreign to the context.


Verse 24

Acts 2:24. τὰς ὠδῖνας] Peter most probably used the common expression from the O. T.: חֶבְלֵי מָוֶת, snares of death, in which the θάνατος personified is conceived as a huntsman laying a snare. Psalms 18:5 f., Psalms 116:3. See Gesen. Thes. I. p. 440. The LXX. erroneously translates this expression as ὠδῖνες θανάτου, misled by חֵבֶל, dolor (Isaiah 66:7), in the plural חֲבָלִים, used particularly of birth-pangs. See the LXX. Psalms 18:5; 2 Samuel 22:6. But Luke—and this betrays the use of a Hebrew source directly or indirectly—has followed the LXX., and has thus changed the Petrine expression vincula mortis into dolores mortis. The expression of Luke, who with ὠδῖνες could think of nothing else than the only meaning which it has in Greek, gives the latter, and not the former sense. In the sense of Peter, therefore, the words are to be explained: after he has loosed the snares of death (with which death held him captive); but in the sense of Luke: after he has loosed the pangs of death. According to Luke (comp. on πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, Colossians 1:18), the resurrection of Jesus is conceived as birth from the dead. Death travailed ( θάνατος ὤδινε κατέχων αὐτόν, Chrys.) in birth-throes even until the dead was raised again. With this event these pangs ceased, they were loosed; and because God has made Christ alive, God has loosed the pangs of death. On λύσας, see LXX. Job 39:3; Soph. O. C. 1612, El. 927; Aelian. H. A. xii. 5. Comp. Plat. Pol. ix. p. 574 A: μεγάλαις ὠδῖσί τε καὶ ὀδύναις συνέχεσθαι. The aorist participle is synchronous with ἀνέστησε. To understand the death-pangs of Christ, from which God freed Him “resuscitando eum ad vitam nullis doloribus obnoxiam” (Grotius), is incorrect, because the liberation from the pains of death has already taken place through the death itself, with which the earthly work of Christ, even of His suffering, was finished (John 19:30). Quite groundless is the assertion of Olshausen, that in Hellenistic Greek ὠδῖνες has not only the meaning of pains, but also that of bonds, which is not at all to be vouched by the passages in Schleusn. Thes. V. p. 571.

καθότι: according to the fact, that; see on Luke 1:7.

οὐκ ἦν δύνατον which is afterwards proved from David. It was thus impossible in virtue of the divine destination attested by David. Other reasons (Calovius: on account of the unio personalis, etc.) are here far-fetched.

κρατεῖσθαι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ] The θάνατος could not but give Him up; Christ could not be retained by death in its power, which would have happened, if He, like other dead, had not become alive again and risen to eternal life (Romans 6:9). On κρατεῖσθαι ὑπό, to be ruled by, comp.4 Maccabees 2:9; Dem. 1010. 17. By His resurrection Christ has done away death as a power (2 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:25 f.).


Verse 25

Acts 2:25. εἰς αὐτόν] so that the words, as respects their fulfilment, apply to Him. See Bernhardy, p. 220.

The passage is from Psalms 16:8 ff., exactly after the LXX. David, if the Psalm, which yet certainly is later, belonged to him, or the other suffering theocrat who here speaks, is, in what he affirms of himself, a prophetic type of the Messiah; what he says of the certainty that he should not succumb to the danger of death, which threatened him, has received its antitypical fulfilment in Christ by His resurrection from the dead. This historical Messianic fulfillment of the Psalm justified the apostle in its Messianic interpretation, in which he has on his side not rabbinical predecessors (see Schoettgen), but the Apostle Paul (Acts 13:35 f.). The προωρώμην κ. τ. λ., as the LXX. translates שִׁוּיחִי, is, according to this ideal Messianic understanding of the Psalm, Christ’s joyful expression of His continued fellowship with God on earth, since in fact ( ὅτι) God is by His side protecting and preserving Him; I foresaw the Lord before my face always, i.e. looking before me with the mind’s glance (Xen. Hell. iv. 3. 16; otherwise, Acts 21:9), I saw Jehovah always before my face.

ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἐστίν] namely, as protector and helper, as παραστάτης (Xen. Cyr. iii. 3, 21). Concerning ἐκ δεξιῶν, from the right side out, i.e. on the right of it, see Winer, p. 344 [E. T. 459]. The figurative element of the expression is borrowed from courts of justice, where the advocates stood at the right of their clients, Psalms 109:31.

ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶ] without figure: that I may remain unmoved in the state of my salvation. On the figurative use—frequent also in the LXX., Apocr., and Greek authors (Dorville, ad Char. p. 307)—of σαλεύειν, comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2.


Verse 26

Acts 2:26. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted. The aorists denote an act of the time described by προωρώμην κ. τ. λ., the joyful remembrance of which is here expressed.

καρδία μου, לִכִּי: the heart, the centre of personal life, is also the seat of the moral feelings and determinations of the will: Delitzsch, Psych. p. 248 ff.

Instead of γλῶσσά μου, the Hebrew has כְבוֹדִי, i.e. my soul (Psalms 7:6; Psalms 30:12, et al.; see Schoettgen, p. 415), in place of which the LXX. either found a different reading or gave a free rendering.

ἔτι δὲ καὶ σάρξ μου κ. τ. λ.] but moreover also my flesh (body) shall tabernacle, that is, settle itself by way of encampment, on hope, by which the Psalmist expresses his confidence that he shall not perish, but continue in life—while, according to Peter, from the point of view of the fulfilment that has taken place in Christ, these words εἰς χριστόν (Acts 2:25) prophetically express that the body of Christ will tarry in the grave on hope, i.e. on the basis of the hope of rising from the dead. Thus what is divinely destined for Christ

His resurrection—appears in poetic mould as the object of the hope of His body.

ἔτι δὲ καί] Comp. Luke 14:26; Acts 21:28; Soph.O. R. 1345.

ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι] as in Romans 4:18.


Verse 27

Acts 2:27. What now the Psalmist further says according to the historical sense: For Thou wilt not leave my soul to Hades (i.e. Thou wilt not suffer me to die in my present life-peril), and wilt not give Thy Holy One (according to the Ketîbh of the original: Thy holy ones, the plural of category, comp. Hupfeld in loc.) to see corruption—is by Peter, as spoken εἰς χριστόν, taken in accordance with the prophetical meaning historically fulfilled in Him: Thou wilt not forsake my soul in Hades (after it shall have come thither; see Kühner, § 622; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 287 [E. T. 333]), but by the resurrection wilt again deliver it,(130) and wilt not suffer Thy Holy One (the Messiah) to share corruption, i.e. according to the connection of the sense as fulfilled, putrefaction (comp. Acts 13:34 ff.).(131) Instead of διαφθοράν, the original has שַׁחַת, a pit, which, however, Peter, with the LXX., understood as διαφθορά, and accordingly has derived it not from שׁוּחַ, but from שָׁחַת, διαφθείρω; comp. Job 17:14.

On δώσεις, comp. Acts 10:40. The meaning is: Thou wilt not cause, that, etc. Often so also in classical writers from Homer onward. As to ἰδεῖν in the sense of experiencing, comp. on Luke 2:26.


Verse 28

Acts 2:28. Thou hast made known to me ways of life; Thou wilt fill me with joy in presence of Thy countenance, meant by the Psalmist of the divine guidance in saving his life, and of the joy which he would thereafter experience before God, refers, according to its prophetic sense, as fulfilled in Christ, to His resurrection, by which God practically made known to him ways to life, and to his state of exaltation in heaven, where he is in the fulness of blessedness with God.

μετὰ τοῦ προσώπου σου] אֶת־פַּנֶיךָ, in communion with Thy countenance (seen by me). Comp. Hebrews 9:24.


Verse 29

Acts 2:29. ΄ετὰ παῤῥησίας] frankly and freely, without reserve; for the main object was to show off a passage honouring David, that it had received fulfilment in a higher and prophetical sense in another. Bengel well remarks: “Est igitur hoc loco προθεραπεία, praevia sermonis mitigatio.”

David is called πατριάρχης as the celebrated ancestor of the kingly family, from which the nation expected their Messiah.

ὅτι] that (not for). Peter wishes to say of David what is notorious, and what it is allowable for him to say on account of this very notoriety; therefore with ἐξόν there is not to be supplied, as is usually done, ἔστω, but ἐστί ( ἔξεστι).

ἐν ἡμῖν] David was buried at Jerusalem. Nehemiah 3:16; Joseph. Antt. vii. 15. 3, xiii. 8. 4, Bell. Jud. i. 2. 5. In τὸ μνῆμα αὐτοῦ, his sepulcher, there is involved, according to the context, as self-evident: “cum ipso Davidis corpore corrupto; molliter loquitur,” Bengel.


Verses 29-31

Acts 2:29-31. Proof that David in this passage of his Psalm has prophetically made known the resurrection of Christ.


Verses 30-32

Acts 2:30-32. οὖν] infers from the previous καὶ τὸ μνῆμα αὐτοῦταύτης, whence it is plain that David in the Psalm, l.c., as a prophet and divinely conscious progenitor of the future Messiah, has spoken of the resurrection of Christ as the one who should not be left in Hades, and whose body should not decay.

καὶ εἰδώς] see 2 Samuel 7:12.

ἐκ καρποῦ τ. ὀσφύος αὐτοῦ] sc. τινά. On the frequent supplying of the indefinite pronoun, see Kühner, II. p. 37 f.; Fritzsche, Conject. I. 36. The well-known Hebrew-like expression καρπὸς τῆς ὀσφύος αὐτοῦ (Psalms 132:11) presupposes the idea of the uninterrupted male line of descent from David to Christ. Comp. Hebrews 7:5; Genesis 35:11; 2 Chronicles 6:9; and see remark after Matthew 1:18.

καθίσαι ἐπὶ τ. θρόνον αὐτοῦ] to sit on His throne (Xen. Anab. ii. 1. 4), namely, as the Messiah, who was to be the theocratic consummator of the kingdom of David (Mark 11:10; Acts 15:16). Comp. Luke 1:32.

προϊδών] prophetically looking into the future. Comp. Galatians 3:8.

ὅτι οὐ κατελ.] since He, in fact, was not left, etc. Thus has history proved that David spoke prophetically of the resurrection of the Messiah. The subject of κατελείφθη κ. τ. λ. is not David (Hofm. Schriftbew. II. l, p. 115)—which no hearer, after Acts 2:29, could suppose—but χριστός; and what is stated of Him in the words of the Psalm itself is the triumph of their historical fulfilment, a triumph which is continued and concluded in Acts 2:32.

τοῦτον τὸν ἰησοῦν] has solemn emphasis; this Jesus, no other than just Him, to whom, as the Messiah who has historically appeared, David’s prophecy refers.

οὗ] neuter: whereof. See Bernhardy, p. 298.

μάρτυρες] in so far as we, His twelve apostles, have conversed with the risen Christ Himself. Comp. Acts 1:22, Acts 10:41.


Verse 33

Acts 2:33. οὖν] namely, in consequence of the resurrection, with which the exaltation is necessarily connected.

τῇ δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ] by the right hand, i.e. by the power of God, v. 31; Isaiah 63:12. Comp. Vulgate, Luther, Castalio, Beza, Bengel, also Zeller, p. 502, and others. The rendering: to the right hand of God, however much it might be recommended as regards sense by Acts 2:34, is to be rejected, seeing that the construction of simple verbs of motion with the dative of the goal aimed at, instead of with πρός or εἰς, belongs in classical Greek only to the poets (see the passages from Homer in Nägelsb. p. 12, ed. 3, and, besides, Erfurdt, ad Antig. 234; Bernhardy, p. 95; Fritzsche, Conject. I. p. 42, the latter seeking to defend the use as legitimate), and occurs, indeed, in late writers(132) (see Winer, p. 201 f.[E. T. 268 f.]), but is without any certain example in the N. T., often as there would have been occasion for it; for Acts 21:16 admits of another explanation, and Revelation 2:16 is not at all a case in point. In the passage of the LXX. Judges 11:18, deemed certain by Fritzsche, τῇ γῇ ΄ωάβ (if the reading is correct) is to be connected, not with ἦλθεν, but as appropriating dative with ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν ἡλίου. Concerning κύρῳ ἰέναι, Xen. Anab. i. 2. 26, see Bornemann, ed. Lips. The objection, that by the right hand of God is here inappropriate (de Wette and others), is not tenable. There is something triumphant in the element emphatically prefixed, which is correlative to ἀνέστησεν θεός (Acts 2:32); God’s work of power was, as the resurrection, so also the exaltation. Comp. Philippians 2:9. A Hebraism, or an incorrect translation of לְמִינִי (Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1832, p. 1038; de Wette; Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 205), has been unnecessarily and arbitrarily assumed.

τήν τε ἐπαγγ. τ. ἁγ. πν. λαβ. παρὰ τ. πατρ.] contains that which followed upon the ὑψωθείς, and hence is not to be explained with Kuinoel and others: “after He had received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father;” but: “after He had received the (in the O. T.) promised (Acts 1:4) Holy Spirit from His Father. See on Luke 24:49.

τοῦτο is either, with Vulgate, Erasmus, Beza, Kuinoel, and others, to be referred to the πνεῦμα ἅγιον, so that the corresponds to the explanatory id quod (Kühner, § 802. 2), or—which, on account of the annexed to τοῦτο, is more natural and more suitable to the miraculous character—it is, with Luther, Calvin, and others, to be taken as an independent neuter: He poured forth (just now) this, what ye (in effectu) see and hear (in the conduct and speech of those assembled). Accordingly, Peter leaves it to his hearers, after what had previously been remarked ( τήν τε ἐπαγγ.… πατρός), themselves to infer that what was poured out was nothing else than just the πνεῦμα ἅγιον.(133)

The idea that the exalted Jesus in heaven receives from His Father and pours forth the Holy Spirit, is founded on such instructions of Christ as John 15:26; John 16:7. Comp. on Acts 1:4.


Verse 34-35

Acts 2:34-35. γάρ] The fundamental fact of the previous statement, namely, the τῇ δεξιᾷ θεοῦ ὑψωθείς, has still to be proved, and Peter proves this also from a saying of David, which has not received its fulfilment in David itself.

λέγει δὲ αὐτός] but he himself says, but it is his own declaration; and then follows Psalms 110:1, where David distinguishes from himself Him who is to sit at the right hand of God, as His Lord ( τῷ κυρίῳ μου). This King, designated by τῷ κυρίῳ μου of the Psalm, although it does not proceed from David (see on Matthew 22:43), is, according to the Messianic destination and fulfilment of this Psalm,(134) Christ, who is Lord of David and of all the saints of the O. T.; and His occupying the throne (sit Thou at my right hand) denotes the exaltation of Christ to the glory and dominion of the Father, whose σύνθρονος He has become; Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 1:13; Ephesians 1:21 f.


Verse 36

Acts 2:36. The Christological aim of the whole discourse, which, as undoubtedly proved after what has been hitherto said ( οὖν), is emphatically at the close set down for recognition as the summary of the faith now requisite. In this case ἀσφαλῶς (unchangeably) is marked with strong emphasis.

πᾶς οἶκος ʼισρ.] without the article, because οἶκ. ʼισρ. has assumed the nature of a proper name. Comp. LXX. 1 Kings 12:23; Ezekiel 45:6, al. Winer, p. 105 [E. T. 137]. The. whole people is regarded as the family of their ancestor Israel ( בֵּית יְשְׂרָאֵל).

καὶ κύριον αὐτὸν κ. χριστόν] him Lord (ruler generally, comp. Acts 10:36) as well as also Messiah. The former general expression, according to which He is ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, Romans 9:5, and κεφαλὴ ὑπὲρ πάντα, Ephesians 1:22, the latter special, according to which He is the σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου, v. 31, John 4:42, and κεφαλὴ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18, together characterize the Messianic possessor of the kingdom, which God has made Christ to be by His exaltation, seeing that He had in His state of humiliation emptied Himself of the power and glory, and was only reinstated into them by His exaltation. Previously He was indeed likewise Lord and Messiah, but in the form of a servant; and it was after laying aside that form that He became such in complete reality.(135) It is not to be inferred from such passages as this and Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38; Acts 17:31 (de Wette), that the Book of Acts represents the Messianic dignity of Jesus as an acquisition in time; against which view even παρὰ τοῦ πατρός in our passage (Acts 2:33), compared with the confession in Matthew 16:16, John 16:30, is decisive, to say nothing of the Pauline training of Luke himself. Comp. also Acts 2:34.

αὐτόν is not superfluous, but τοῦτον τὸν ʼιησοῦν is a weighty epexegesis, which is purposely chosen in order to annex the strongly contrasting ὃν ὑμεῖς ἐσταυρώσατε (comp. Acts 3:13, Acts 7:52), and thus to impart to the whole address a deeply impressive conclusion. “Aculeus in fine,” Bengel.


Verse 37

Acts 2:37. But after they heard it (what was said by Peter) they were pierced in the heart.

κατανύσσειν, in the figurative sense of painful emotion, which penetrates the heart as if stinging, is not found in Greek writers (who, however, use νύσσειν in a similar sense); but see LXX. Ps. 108:16: κατανενυγμένον τῇ καρδίᾳ, Genesis 34:7, where κατενύγησαν is illustrated by the epexegesis: καὶ λυπηρὸν ἦν αὐτοῖς σφόδρα. Sirach 14:1; Sirach 12:12; Sirach 20:21; Sirach 47:21; Susann. 11 (of the pain of love). Compare also Luke 2:35. The hearers were seized with deep pain in their conscience on the speech of Peter, partly for the general reason that He whom they now recognised as the Messiah was murdered by the nation, partly for the more special reason that they themselves had not as yet acknowledged Him, or had been even among His adversaries, and consequently had not recognised and entered upon the only way of salvation pointed out by Peter.

On the figure of stinging, comp. Cic. de orat. iii. 34 (of Pericles): “ut in eorum mentibus, qui audissent, quasi aculeos quosdam relinqueret.”

τί ποιήσομεν] what shall we do? (Winer, p. 262 [E. T. 348].) The inquiry of a need of salvation surrendering itself to guidance. An opposite impression to that made by the discourse of Jesus in Nazareth, Luke 4:28.

ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί] an affectionate and respectful address from broken hearts already gained. Comp. on Acts 1:16. “Non ita dixerunt prius,” Bengel.


Verse 38

Acts 2:38. What a definite and complete answer and promise of salvation! The μετανοήσατε demands the change of ethical disposition as the moral condition of being baptized, which directly and necessarily brings with it faith (Mark 1:15); the aorist denotes the immediate accomplishment (comp. Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22), which is conceived as the work of energetic resolution. So the apostles began to accomplish it, Luke 24:47.

ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι ʼιησ χριστοῦ] on the ground of the name, so that the name “Jesus Messiah” as the contents of your faith and confession, is that on which the becoming baptized rests. βαπτίζ. is only here used with ἐπί; but comp. the analogous expressions, Luke 21:8; Luke 24:47; Acts 5:28; Acts 5:40; Matthew 24:5, al.

εἰς denotes the object of the baptism, which is the remission of the guilt contracted in the state before μετάνοια. Comp. Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11.

καὶ λήψ.] καί consecutivum. After reconciliation, sanctification; both are experienced in baptism.

τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος] this is the δωρεά itself. Hebrews 6:4; Acts 10:45; Acts 11:17.


Verse 39

Acts 2:39. Proof of the preceding λήψεσθε κ. τ. λ.: for to you belongs the promise (concerned); yours it is, i.e. you are they in whom the promise (of the communication of the Spirit) is to be realized.

τοῖς εἰς μακράν] to those who are at a distance, that is, to all the members of the Jewish nation, who are neither dwellers here at Jerusalem, nor are now present as pilgrims to the feast, both Jews and Hellenists. Comp. also Baumgarten. Others, with Theophylact, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Calvin, Piscator, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Heinrichs, de Wette, Lange, Hackett, also Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 148, and bibl. Theol. p. 149, explain it of the Gentiles. Comp. Ephesians 2:13. But, although Peter might certainly conceive of the conversion of the Gentiles, according to Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 49:1, al., in the way of their coming to and passing through Judaism, yet the mention of the Gentiles here (observe the emphatically preceding ὑμῖν) would be quite alien from the destination of the words, which were intended to prove the λήψεσθε κ. τ. λ. of Acts 2:38. The conversion of the Gentiles does not here belong to the matter in hand. Beza, whom Casaubon follows, understood it of time (2 Samuel 7:19, comp. the classical οὐκ ἐς μακράν): longe post futuros, but this is excluded by the very conception of the nearness of the Parousia.

As to the expression of direction, εἰς μακρ., comp. on Acts 22:5.

ὅσους ἂν προσκαλ. κ. τ. λ.] contains the definition of πᾶσι τοῖς εἰς μακράν: as many as God shall have called to Himself, namely, by the preaching of the gospel, by the reception of which they, as members of the true theocracy, will enter into Christian fellowship with God, and will receive the Spirit.


Verse 40

Acts 2:40. Observe the change of the aorist διεμαρτύρατο (see the critical notes) and imperfect παρεκάλει: he adjured them (1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, often also in classical writers), after which followed the continued exhortation, the contents of which was: Become saved from this (the now living) perverse generation away, in separating yourselves from them by the μετάνοια and baptism.

σκολιός] crooked, in a moral sense = ἀδικός. Comp. on Philippians 2:15.


Verse 41

Acts 2:41. ΄ὲν οὖν] namely, in consequence of these representations of the apostle. We may translate either: they then who received his word (namely, σώθητε κ. τ. λ.), comp. Acts 8:4 (so Vulgate, Luther, Beza, Bengel, Kuinoel, and others); or, they then (those indicated in Acts 2:37), after they received his word, etc., comp. Acts 1:6, Acts 8:25, Acts 15:3 (so Castalio, de Wette). The latter is correct, because, according to the former view of the meaning, there must have been mention previously of a reception of the word, to which reference would here be made. As this is not the case, those present in general are meant, as in Acts 2:37, and ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ (Acts 2:40) stands in a climactic relation to κατενύγησαν (Acts 2:37).

προσετέθησαν] were added (Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14; Acts 11:24), namely, to the fellowship of the already existing followers of Jesus, as is self-evident from the context.

ψυχαί] persons, according to the Hebrew נֶפֶשּׁ, Exodus 1:5; Acts 7:14; 1 Peter 3:20; this use is not classical, since, in the passages apparently proving it (Eur. Androm. 612, Med. 247, al.; see Kypke, II. p. 19), ψυχή means, in the strict sense, soul (life).

The text does not affirm that the baptism of the three thousand occurred on the spot and simultaneously, but only that it took place during the course of that day ( τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ). Observe further, that their baptism was conditioned only by the μετάνοια and by faith on Jesus as the Messiah; and, accordingly, it had their further Christian instruction not as a preceding, but as a subsequent, condition (Acts 2:42).


Verse 42

now describes what the reception of the three thousand had as its consequence; what they, namely the three thousand and those who were already believers before (for the whole body is the subject, as is evident from the idea of προσετέθησαν), as members of the Christian community under the guidance of the apostles perseveringly did

Acts 2:42 now describes what the reception of the three thousand had as its consequence; what they, namely the three thousand and those who were already believers before (for the whole body is the subject, as is evident from the idea of προσετέθησαν), as members of the Christian community under the guidance of the apostles perseveringly did.(136) The development of the inner life of the youthful church follows that great external increase. First of all: they were perseveringly devoted to the instruction (2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Corinthians 14:6) of the apostles, they were constantly intent on having themselves instructed by the apostles.

τῇ κοινωνίᾳ] is to be explained of the mutual brotherly association which they sought to maintain with one another. Comp. on Philippians 1:5. See also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 141 f., and Ewald. The same in substance with the ἀδελφότης, 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Peter 5:9. It is incorrect in Wolf, Rosenmüller, and others to refer it to τῶν ἀποστόλων, and to understand it of living in intimate association with the apostles. For καὶ τῇ κοινων. is, as well as the other three, an independent element, not to be blended with the preceding. Therefore the views of others are also incorrect, who either (Cornelius a Lapide and Mede as quoted by Wolf) take the following (spurious) καί as explicativum (et communione, videlicet fractione panis et precibus), or suppose a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν (Homberg) after the Vulgate: et communicatione fractionis panis, so that τῇ κοινων. would already refer to the Agapae. Recently, following Mosheim (de rebus Christ, ante Const. M. p. 114), the explanation of the communication of charitable gifts to the needy has become the usual one. So Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Baumgarten, also Löhe, Aphorism. p. 80 ff., Harnack, christl. Gemeindegottesd. p. 78 ff., Hackett, and others.(137) But this special sense must have been indicated by a special addition, or have been undoubtedly suggested by the context, as in Romans 15:26; Hebrews 13:16; especially as κοινωνία does not in itself signify communicatio, but communio; and it is only from the context that it can obtain the idea of fellowship manifesting itself by contributions in aid, etc., which is not here the case.

τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου] in the breaking of their bread ( τοῦ .). By this is meant the observance of common evening-meals (Luke 24:30), which, after the manner of the last meal of Jesus, they concluded with the Lord’s Supper (Agapae, Jude 1:12). The Peschito and several Fathers, as well as the Catholic Church,(138) with Suicer, Mede, Wolf, Lightfoot, and several older expositors, arbitrarily explain it exclusively of the Eucharist; comp. also Harnack, l.c. p. 111 ff. Such a celebration is of later origin; the separation of the Lord’s Supper from the joint evening meal did not take place at all in the apostolic church, 1 Corinthians 11. The passages, Acts 20:7; Acts 20:11, Acts 27:35, are decisive against Heinrichs, who, after Kypke, explains the breaking of bread of beneficence to the poor (Isaiah 58:7), so that it would be synonymous with κοινωνία (but see above).

ταῖς προσευχαῖς] The plural denotes the prayers of various kinds, which were partly new Christian prayers restricted to no formula, and partly, doubtless, Psalms and wonted Jewish prayers, especially having reference to the Messiah and His kingdom.

Observe further in general the family character of the brotherly union of the first Christian church.


Verse 43

Acts 2:43. But fear came upon every soul, and many miracles, etc. Luke in these words describes: (1) what sort of impression the extraordinary result of the event of Pentecost made generally upon the minds ( πάσῃ ψυχῇ, Winer, p. 147 [E. T. 194]) of those who did not belong to the youthful church; and (2) the work of the apostles after the effusion of the Spirit. Therefore τέ is the simple copula, and not, as is often assumed, equivalent to γάρ.

ἐγίνετο] (see the critical note) is in both cases the descriptive imperfect. Comp., moreover, on the expression, Hom. Il. i. 188: πηλείωνι δʼ ἄχος γένετο, xii. 392, al. Elsewhere, instead of the dative, Luke has ἐπί with the accusative, or ἔμφοβος γίνεται.

φόβος, as in Mark 4:41, Luke 1:63; Luke 7:16, etc., fear, dread, which are wont to seize the mind on a great and wonderful, entirely unexpected, occurrence. This φόβος, occasioned by the marvellous result which the event of Pentecost together with the address of Peter had produced, operated quasi freno (Calvin), in preventing the first internal development of the church’s life from being disturbed by premature attacks from without.

διὰ τῶν ἀποστ.] for the worker, the causa efficiens, was God. Comp. Acts 2:22; Acts 4:30; Acts 15:12.


Verse 44-45

Acts 2:44-45. But ( δέ, continuative) as regards the development of the church-life, which took place amidst that φόβος without and this miracle-working of the apostles, all were ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό. This, as in Acts 1:15, Acts 2:1, is to be understood as having a local reference, and not with Theophylact, Kypke, Heinrichs, and Kuinoel: de animorum consensu, which is foreign to N. T. usage. They were accustomed all to be together. This is not strange, when we bear in mind the very natural consideration that after the feast many of the three thousand—of whom, doubtless, a considerable number consisted of pilgrims to the feast—returned to their native countries; so that the youthful church at Jerusalem does not by any means seem too large to assemble in one place.

καὶ εἶχον ἅπαντα κοινά] they possessed all things in common, i.e. all things belonged to all, were a common good. According to the more particular explanation which Luke himself gives ( καὶ τὰ κτήματαεἶχε, comp. Acts 4:32), we are to assume not merely in general a distinguished beneficence, liberality, and mutual rendering of help,(139) or “a prevailing willingness to place private property at the disposal of the church” (de Wette, comp. Neander, Baum garten, Lechler, p. 320 ff., also Lange, apost. Zeitalt. I. p. 90, and already Mosheim, Diss, ad hist. eccl. pertin. II. p. 1 ff., Kuinoel, and others); but a real community of goods in the early church at Jerusalem, according to which the possessors were wont to dispose of their lands and their goods generally, and applied the money sometimes themselves (Acts 2:44 f., Acts 4:32), and sometimes by handing it to the apostles (Acts 5:2), for the relief of the wants of their fellow-Christians. See already Chrysostom. But for the correct understanding of this community of goods and its historical character (denied by Baur and Zeller), it is to be observed: (1) It took place only in Jerusalem. For there is no trace of it in any other church; on the contrary, elsewhere the rich and the poor continued to live side by side, and Paul in his letters had often to inculcate beneficence in opposition to selfishness and πλεονεξία. Comp. also James 5:1 ff.; 1 John 3:17. And this community of goods at Jerusalem helps to explain the great and general poverty of the church in that city, whose possessions naturally—certainly also in the hope of the Parousia speedily occurring—were soon consumed. As the arrangement is found in no other church, it is very probable that the apostles were prevented by the very experience acquired in Jerusalem from counselling or at all introducing it elsewhere. (2) This community of goods was not ordained as a legal necessity, but was left to the free will of the owners. This is evident, from Acts 5:4; Acts 12:12. Nevertheless, (3) in the yet fresh vigour of brotherly love (Bengel on Acts 4:34 aptly says: “non nisi summo fidei et amoris flori convenit”), it was, in point of fact, general in the church of Jerusalem, as is proved from this passage and from the express assurance at Acts 4:32; Acts 4:34 f., in connection with which the conduct of Barnabas, brought forward in Acts 4:36, is simply a concrete instance of the general practice. (4) It was not an institution borrowed from the Essenes(140) (in opposition to Grotius, Heinrichs, Ammon, Schneckenburger). For it could not have arisen without the guidance of the apostles; and to attribute to them any sort of imitation of Essenism, would be devoid alike of internal probability and of any trace in history, as, indeed, the first fresh form assumed by the life of the church must necessarily be conceived as a development from within under the impulse of the Spirit. (5) On the contrary, the relation arose very naturally, and that from within, as a continuation and extension of that community of goods which subsisted in the case of Jesus Himself and His disciples, the wants of all being defrayed from a common purse. It was the extension of this relation to the whole church, and thereby, doubtless, the putting into practice of the command Luke 12:33, but in a definite form. That Luke here and in Acts 4:32; Acts 4:34 expresses himself too strongly (de Wette), is an arbitrary assertion. Schneckenburger, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 514 ff., and Ewald have correctly apprehended the matter as an actual community of goods. Comp. Ritschl, altkath. Kirche, p. 232.

τὰ κτήματα] the landed possessions (belonging to him). See v. 1; Xen. Oec. 20. 23; Eustath. ad Il. vi. p. 685. ὑπάρξεις: possessions in general, Polyb. ii. 17. 11; Hebrews 10:34, and Bleek in loc.

αὐτα] it, namely, the proceeds. The reference is involved in the preceding verb ( ἐπίπρασκον). Comp. Luke 18:22; John 12:5. See generally, Winer, p. 138 [E. T. 181 f.].

καθότι τις χρείαν εἶχε] just as any one had need, ἄν with the indicative denotes: “accidisse aliquid non certo quodam tempore, sed quotiescunque occasio ita ferret.” Herm. ad Viger. p. 820. Comp. Acts 4:35; Mark 6:56; Krüger, Anab. i. 5. 2; Kühner, ad Mem. i. 1. 16; and see on 1 Corinthians 12:2.


Verse 46

Acts 2:46. καθʼ ἡμέραν] daily. See Bernhardy, p. 241.

On προσκαρτερεῖν ἐν, to be diligent in visiting a place, comp. Susann. 6.

ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ] as confessors of the Messiah of their nation, whose speedy appearance in glory they expected, as well as in accordance with the example of Christ Himself, and with the nature of Christianity as the fulfilment of true Judaism, they could of course have no occasion for voluntarily separating themselves from the sanctuary of their nation; on the contrary, they could not but unanimously ( ὁμοθυμ.) consider themselves bound to it; comp. Luke 24:53.

κλῶντες ἄρτον] breaking bread, referring, as in Acts 2:42, to the love-feasts. The article might stand as in Acts 2:42, but is here not thought of, and therefore not put. It would mean: their bread.

κατʼ οἶκον] Contrast to ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ; hence: at home, in meetings in their place of assembly, where they partook of the meal (perhaps in detachments). Comp. Philemon 1:2. So most commentators, including Wolf, Bengel, Heinrichs, Olshausen, de Wette. But Erasmus, Salmasius, and others explain it domatim, from house to house. So also Kuinoel and Hildebrand. Comp. Luke 8:1; Acts 15:21; Matthew 24:7. But there is nowhere any trace of holding the love-feasts successively in different houses; on the contrary, according to Acts 1:13, it must be assumed that the new community had at the very first a fixed place of assembly. Luke here places side by side the public religious conduct of the Christians and their private association; hence after ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ the express κατʼ οἶκον was essentially necessary.(141)

μετελάμβανον τροφῆς] they received their portion of food (comp. Acts 27:33 f.), partook of their sustenance. Plat. Polit. p. 275 C: παιδείας μετειληφέναι καὶ τροφῆς.

Acts 2:46 is to be paraphrased as follows: In the daily visiting of the temple, at which they attended with one accord, and amidst daily observance of the love-feast at home, they wanted not sustenance, of which they partook in gladness and singleness of heart.

ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει] this is the expression of the joy in the Holy Spirit, as they partook of the daily bread, “fructus fidei et character veritatis,” Bengel. And still in the erection of the kingdom believers are ἄμωμοι ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει, Jude 1:24. This is, then, the joy of triumph.

ἀφελότης] plainness, simplicity, true moral candour. Dem. 1489. 10 : ἀφελὴς καὶ παῤῥησίας μεστός. The word is not elsewhere preserved in Greek, but ἀφέλεια is (Ael. V. H. iii. 10, al.; Polyb. vi. 48. 4).


Verse 47

Acts 2:47. αἰνοῦντες τ. θεόν] is not to be restricted to giving thanks at meals, but gives prominence generally to the whole religious frame of spirit; which expressed itself in the praises of God (comp. de Wette). This is clearly evident from the second clause of the sentence, καὶ ἔχοντεςλαόν, referring likewise to their relation in general. That piety praising God, namely, and this possession of the general favour of the people, formed together the happy accompanying circumstances, under which they partook of their bodily sustenance with gladness and simple heart.

πρὸς ὅλ. τ. λαόν] possessing favour (on account of their pious conduct) in their relation to the whole people.(142) Comp. Romans 5:1.

κύριος] i.e. Christ, as the exalted Ruler of His church.

τούς σωζομένους] those who were being saved, i.e. those who (by their very accession to the church) became saved from eternal perdition so as to partake in the Messianic kingdom, Comp. Acts 2:40.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 2:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-2.html. 1832.

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