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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Acts 3

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 3

Acts 3:3. After ἐλεημοσ., λαβεῖν is to be defended, which is wanting in D, min. Theophyl. Lucif. and some VSS., and is wrongly deleted by Heinr. and Bornem. The authorities which omit it are too weak, especially as the complete superfluousness of the word (it is otherwise in Acts 3:5) rendered its omission very natural.

Acts 3:6. ἔγειραι καί] is wanting in B D א, Sahid.; deleted by Bornem. But as Peter himself raises up the lame man, Acts 3:7, this portion of the summons would more easily be omitted than added from Luke 5:23; Luke 6:8; comp. Acts 7:14. Lachm. and Tisch. have the form ἔγειρε; rightly, see on Matthew 9:5; Mark 2:9.

Acts 3:7. After ἤγειρε, A B C א min., the VSS., and some Fathers, have αὐτόν. Adopted by Lachm. A usual addition.

Acts 3:11. αὐτοῦ] Elz. has τοῦ ἰαθέντος χωλοῦ, against decisive testimony. A church-lesson begins with Acts 3:11.

Acts 3:13. καὶ ʼισαὰκ κ. ʼιακώβ] Lachm. and Bornem. read καὶ θεὸς ʼισαὰκ, κ. θεὸς ʼιακώβ, following A C D א, 15, 18, 25, several VSS., Chrys., and Theophyl. From Matthew 22:32 (therefore also several of these witnesses have the article before θεός), and LXX. Exodus 3:6.

μέν] is wanting in Elz., but is to be defended on the authority of A B C E א, min., VSS., and Fathers, and because no corresponding δέ follows.

Acts 3:18. αὐτοῦ (not αὑτοῦ) is, with Lachm. and Tisch., according to decisive evidence, to be placed after χριστόν, and not after προφητῶν (Elz. Scholz).

Acts 3:20. προκεχειρισμένον] Elz.: προκεκηρυγμένον, against decisive evidence. A gloss (Acts 3:18; Acts 3:21 ff.) more precisely defining the meaning according to the context (comp. also Acts 13:23 f.).

Acts 3:21. τῶν] Elz.: πάντων, against decisive testimony. Introduced to make the statement stronger, in accordance with Acts 3:24.

ἀπʼ αἰῶνος] is wanting in D, 19, Arm. Cosm. Tert. Ir.; so Born. It was considered objectionable, because, strictly speaking, no prophets existed ἀπʼ αἰῶνος. The position after ἁγίων (Lachm. Tisch.) is so decidedly attested that it is not to be derived from Luke 1:70.

Acts 3:22. Instead of μέν, has μὲν γάρ, against decisive evidence, γάρ was written on the margin, because the connection was not understood.

πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας] is wanting in A B C א, min. Syr. Copt. Vulg. It is placed after εἶπεν in D E, VSS., and Fathers. So Born. Rightly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. An addition by way of gloss.

Acts 3:23. Instead of if ἐξολοθρ., A B C D, Lachm. Born. Tisch. read ἐξολεθρ. An etymological alteration, which often occurs also in Codd. of the LXX. Comp. the variations in Hebrews 11:28.

Acts 3:24. κατήγγειλαν] Elz.: προκατήγγειλαν, against decisive evidence. A gloss of more precise definition.

Acts 3:25. οἱ υἱοί] Elz.: υἱοί. But the article, which before υἱοί was easily left out by a transcriber, is supported by preponderant witnesses, as is also the ἐν wanting before τῷ σπέρμ. in Elz., which was omitted as superfluous.

Acts 3:26. After αὑτοῦ Elz. has ʼιησοῦν, against many and important authorities. A familiar addition, although already read in A B.

ὑμῶν] C, min. VSS. Ir. have αὐτῶν (so Lachm.) or αὐτοῦ. The original ὑμῶν was first changed into αὐτοῦ (in conformity with ἕκαστον), and then the plural would be easily inserted on account of the collective sense. The pronoun is entirely wanting in B.


Verse 1

Acts 3:1. After the description of the first peaceful and prosperous life of the church, Luke now, glancing back to Acts 2:43, singles out from the multitude of apostolic τέρατα κ. σημεῖα that one with which the first persecution was associated.

ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] here also in a local reference (see on Acts 1:15; comp. LXX: 2 Samuel 2:13; Joseph. Antt. xvi. 8. 6); not merely at the same time and for the same object, but also in the same way, i.e. together, יַחְדָּיו, 2 Sam. l.c. Prominence is here given to the united going to the temple and the united working, directing special attention to the keeping together of the two chief apostles.

ἀνέβαινον] they were in the act of going up.

ἐπὶ τὴν ὥραν τῆς προσευχῆς] ἐπί, used of the definition of time, in so far as a thing extends to a space of time; see on Mark 15:1; Nägelsb. on the Iliad, p. 284, ed. 3. Hence: during the hour, not equivalent to περὶ τὴν ὥραν (Alberti, Obss., Valckenaer, Winer, and many others). Concerning the three hours of prayer among the Jews: the third (see on Acts 2:15), the sixth (noon), and the ninth (that of the evening sacrifice in the temple), see Lightfoot, Schoettgen, and Wetstein, in loc. Comp. Acts 10:3; Acts 10:9.

The Attic mode of writing ἐνάτην is decidedly attested in the Book of Acts.


Verse 2

Acts 3:2. χωλὸς ἐκ κοιλ. μητρ.] born lame. Comp. Acts 14:8; John 9:1. And he was above forty years old, Acts 4:22.

The imperfect ἐβαστάζετο, he was being brought, denotes the action in reference to the simultaneous ἀνέβαινον, Acts 3:1; and ἐτίθουν, its daily repetition.

τὴν λεγομ. ὡραίαν] which bears the by-name (see Schaefer, Melet. p. 14) “Beautiful.” The proper name was, “gate of Nicanor.” It lay on the. eastern side of the outermost court of the temple, leading towards the valley of Kidron, and is described by Josephus, Bell. v. 5. 3, as surpassingly splendid: τῶν δὲ πυλῶν αἱ μὲν ἐννέα χρυσῷ καὶ ἀργύρῳ κεκαλυμμέναι πανταχόθεν ἦσαν, ὁμοίως τε παραστάδες καὶ τὰ ὑπέρθυρα· μία δὲ ἔξωθεν τοῦ νεῶ κορινθίου χαλκοῦ πολὺ τῇ τιμῇ τὰς καταργύρους καὶ περιχρύσους ὑπεράγουσα. καὶ δύο μὲν ἑκάστου τοῦ πυλῶνος θύραι, τριάκοντα δὲ πηχῶν τὸ ὕψος ἑκάστης, καὶ τὸ πλάτος ἦν πεντεκαίδεκα. Others (Wagenseil, Lund, Bengel, Walch) understand it of the gate Susan, which was in the neighbourhood of Solomon’s porch, and at which the market for pigeons and other objects for sacrifice was held. But this is at variance with the signification of the word ὡραῖος; for the name Susan is to be explained from the Persian capital ( שׁוּשַׁן, town of lilies), which, according to Middoth, 1 Kal. 3, was depicted on the gate. שׁוּשַׁן, 1 Kings 5:18).">(143) Others (Kuinoel, et al.) think that the gate Chulda, i.e. tempestiva, leading to the court of the Gentiles, is meant. See Lightf. Hor. ad Joh. p. 946 f. But this derivation of the name (from חלד tempus) cannot be historically proved, nor could Luke expect his reader to discover the singular appellation porta tempestiva in ὡραίαν, seeing that for this the very natural “porta speciosa” (Vulg.) could not but suggest itself.

Among the Gentiles also beggars sat at the gates of their temples (Martial. 1:112)—a usage probably connected with the idea (also found in ancient Israel) of a special divine care for the poor (Hermann, Privatalterth. § 14. 2).

τοῦ αἰτεῖν] eo fine, ut peteret.


Verses 3-5

Acts 3:3-5. ΄έλλοντας εἰσιέναι εἰς τ. ἱερ.] For it was through this outermost gate that the temple proper was reached.

ἠρώτα ἐλεημοσ. λαβ.] he asked that he might receive an alms. Modes of expression used in such a case (Merere in me; In me benefac tibi, and the like) may he seen in Vajicra rabb. f. 20. 3, 4.

On λαβεῖν, which in itself might be dispensed with, see Winer, p. 565 [E. T. 760].

ἀτενίσαςβλέψον εἰς ἡμᾶς] They would read from his look, whether he was spiritually fitted for the benefit to be received. “Talis intuitus non caruit peculiar! Spiritus motu; hinc fit, ut tarn secure de miraculo pronuntiet,” Calvin. Comp. Acts 13:9.

ἐπεῖχεν αὐτοῖς] The supplying of τὸν νοῦν serves to make the sense clear. Comp. Luke 14:7; 1 Timothy 4:16. He was attentive, intent upon them. Comp. Schweigh. Lex. Herod. i. p. 241, and Lex. Polyb. p. 238.


Verse 6

Acts 3:6. δίδωμι] I give thee herewith.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ.… περιπάτει] by virtue of the name (now pronounced) of Jesus the Messiah, the Nazarene, arise and walk, ἐν denotes that on which the rising and walking were causally dependent. Mark 16:17; Luke 10:17; Acts 4:10; Acts 16:18. Comp. the utterance of Origen, c. Cels. 1, against the assertion of Celsus, that Christians expelled demons by the help of evil spirits: τοσοῦτον γὰρ δύναται τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ʼιησοῦ. This name was the focus of the power of faith, through which the miraculous gift of the apostles operated. Comp. on Matthew 7:22; Luke 9:49; Luke 10:17; Mark 16:17. A dico or the like is not (in opposition to Heinrichs, Kuinoel, and others) to be supplied with ἐν τ. ὀνόμ. κ. τ. λ. Observe, moreover, first, the solemnity of the ʼιησοῦ χριστοῦ τοῦ ναζ.; and secondly, that χριστοῦ, as in Acts 2:38, cannot yet be a proper name. Comp. John 17:3; John 1:42.


Verse 7-8

Acts 3:7-8. αὐτὸν τῆς δεξιᾶς] comp. Mark 9:27, and see Valckenaer, ad Theocr. iv. 35.

ἐστερεῶθησαν] his feet were strengthened, so that they now performed their function, for which they had been incapacitated in the state of lameness, of supporting the body in its movements.

αἱ βάσεις are the feet, as in Wisdom of Solomon 13:18; Joseph. Antt. vii. 5. 5; Plat. Tim. p. 92 A, and in later Greek writers.

τὰ σφυρά: the anklebones, tali (very frequent in the classics), after the general expression subjoining the particular.

ἐξαλλόμενος] springing up, leaping into the air. Xen. Cyr. vii. 1. 32; Anab. vii. 3. 33; LXX. Isaiah 55:12. Not: exsiliens, videlicet e grabbato (Casaubon), of which last there is no mention.

καὶ εἰσῆλθετὸν θεόν] This behaviour bears the most natural impress of grateful attachment (comp. Acts 3:11), lively joy ( περιπατ. καὶ ἁλλόμενος,—at the same time as an involuntary proof of his complete cure for himself and for others), and religious elevation. The view of Thiess—that the beggar was only a pretended cripple who was terrified by the threatening address of Peter into using his feet, and afterwards, for fear of the rage of the people, prudently attached himself to the apostles—changes the entire narrative, and makes the apostle himself (Acts 3:12; Acts 3:16; Acts 4:9-10) the deceiver. Peter had wrought the cure in the possession of that miraculous power of healing which Jesus had imparted to His apostles (Luke 9:1), and the supernatural result cannot in that case, any more than in any other miracle, warrant us to deny its historical character, as is done by Zeller, who supposes that the general χωλοὶ περιπατοῦσιν, Luke 7:22, Matthew 15:31, has here been illustrated in an individual instance.


Verse 10

Acts 3:10. ʼεπεγίνωσκον αὐτὸν, ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] A well-known attraction. Winer, p. 581 [E. T. 781].

πρὸς τὴν ἐλεημοσ.] for the sake of alms.

καθήμενος] See on John 9:8.

ἐπὶ τῇ ὡραίᾳ π.] ἐπί: immediately at; on the spot of the Beautiful gate. See on John 4:6.

θἀμβους καὶ ἐκστάσ.] astonishment and surprise at what had happened to him—an exhaustive designation of the highest degree of wonder. Comp. θαῦμα καὶ θάμβος, Plut. de audit. 8. 145, and similar expressions, Lobeck, Paral. p. 60 f.


Verse 11

Acts 3:11. κρατοῦντος] But as he held fast Peter and John, i.e. in the impulse of excited gratitude took hold of them and clung to them, in order not to be separated from his benefactors. Comp. John 20:23; Revelation 2:25; Revelation 3:11; Song of Solomon 3:4 : ἐκράτησα αὐτὸν καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκα αὐτόν. Polyb. viii. 20. 8; Eur. Phoen. 600; Plut. Mor. p. 99 D. There is no sanction of usage for the meaning commonly given, and still adopted by Olshausen and De Wette: assectari. For in Colossians 2:19 κρατεῖν occurs in its proper sense, to hold fast; the LXX. 2 Samuel 3:6 is not at all in point, and in Achill. Tat. 5 :p. 309, ἐπεχείρει με κρατεῖν is: me retinere conabatur.

As to the porch of Solomon, see on John 10:23.

ἔκθαμβοι] the plural after the collective noun λαός. Kühner. ad Xen. Anab. ii. 1. 6. Ast, ad Plat. Legg. I. p. 63. Nägelsb. on the Iliad, ii. 278. Comp. Acts 5:16.


Verse 12

Acts 3:12. ἀπεκρίνατο] he began to speak, as a reply to the astonishment and concourse of the people, which thereby practically expressed the wish for an explanation. See on Matthew 11:25. Observe the honourable address, ἄνδρ. ʼισρ., as in Acts 2:22, Acts 5:35, Acts 13:16, Acts 21:28.

τί θαυμάζετε ἐπὶ τούτῳ;] The wonder of the people, namely, was unfounded, in so far as they regarded the healing as an effect of the δύναμις εὐσεβ. of the apostles themselves.

τούτῳ] is neuter; see Acts 3:10 : at this. As to the , an, introducing the second question, observe that the course of thought without interrogation is as follows: Your astonishment is groundless, provided that you were reasonably entitled to regard us as the workers of this cure. The is accordingly: or else, if you think that you must wonder why, etc.

ἡμῖν emphatically prefixed: ἰδίᾳ is then correlative.

εὐσεβείᾳ] “quasi sit praemium pietatis nostrae a Deo nobis concessum,” Heinrichs. In us lies neither the causa effectiva nor the causa meritoria.

πεποιηκόσι τοῦ περιπ. αὐτόν] to be taken together: as if we had been at work, in order that he might walk. That this telic designation of that which was done is given with the genitive of the infinitive, is certainly to be traced to the frequent use of this form of expression in the LXX. (see Winer, p. 306 [E. T. 410]); but the conception of the aim is not on that account to be obliterated as the defining element of the expression, especially as even in classical writers this mode of conception is found, and presents itself in the expression ποιεῖν ὅπως. See, e.g., Herod, 1. 117: ποιεῖν …, ὅπως ἔσται ʼιωνίη ἐλευθέρη, v. 109, i. 209. Comp. πράσσειν ὅπως, Krüger on Thuc. i. 56. The ποιεῖν is conceived as striving.


Verse 13

Acts 3:13. Connection: Do not regard this cure as our work (Acts 3:12); no, God, the peculiar God of our fathers, glorified (by this cure, comp. John 9:3 f., Acts 9:4) His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up (what a stinging contrast!), etc.

τ. πατέρων ἡμ.] embraces the three patriarchs. Comp. on Romans 9:5.

The venerated designation: “the God of Abraham,” etc. (Exodus 3:15 f.), heightens the blame of the contrast.

ἐδόξασε] namely, inasmuch as He granted such a result by means of His name (Acts 3:6).

τὸν παῖδα] is not to be explained, after the Vulgate, with the older interpreters (and still by Heinrichs, Kuinoel), as filium, since only υἱὸς θεοῦ is throughout used of Christ in this sense; but with Piscator, Bengel, Nitzsch (Stud. u. Krit. 1828, p. 331 ff.), Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten, and others, as servum; and the designation of the Messiah as the fulfiller of the divine counsel: servant of God, has arisen from Isaiah 40-66, namely, from the Messianic reference of the עֶבֶד יְהֹוָה there. Comp. Matthew 12:18. So also in Acts 3:26; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30. Observe that an apostle is never called παῖς (but only δοῦλος) θεοῦ. Comp. especially Acts 4:29 f.

ὃν ὑμεῖς μέν] This μέν, which pierces the conscience of the hearers, is not followed by any corresponding δέ. Comp. on Acts 1:1. The connection before the mind of Luke was: whom you have indeed delivered up, etc., but God has raised from the dead. But by κρίναντος ἐκείνου ἀπολύειν he was led away from carrying out this sentence, and induced to give to it another turn.

παρεδώκατε] namely, to Pilate.

ἠρνήσασθε αὐτόν] i.e. ye have denied that He is the Messiah, John 19:14-15; Luke 23:2. Comp. also Acts 7:35. The object of the denial was obvious of itself, since Jesus had just been spoken of as the παῖς τοῦ θεοῦ. Observe, moreover, that with ἠρνήσ. αὐτόν the relative construction is not carried on, but with rhetorical emphasis the sentence is continued independent of it: and ye have denied Him (comp. Bernhardy, p. 304; Kühner, § 799). This is in keeping with the liveliness of the discourse and its antitheses; but without such a breaking off of the construction αὐτόν would be quite superfluous, as the regimen remains the same as before.

κατὰ πρόσωπον] towards the face; ye have denied Him even unto the face of Pilate (so audaciously!). Comp. Galatians 2:11. There is no Hebraism. See Jacobs, ad Achill. Tat. p. 612; Schweighäuser, Lex. Polyb. p. 540.

κρίναντος ἐκείνου ἀπολύειν] although the latter had decided to release (him). See John 19:4; Luke 23:16. ἐκείνου is designedly used instead of αὐτοῦ, in order to make the contrast felt between what Pilate judged and what they did. Comp. Acts 3:14. See Krüger and Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iv. 3. 20; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 319; and the examples from Plato in Ast, Lex. I. p. 658. Chrys. well says: ὑμεῖς ἐκείνου θελήσαντος οὐκ ἠθελήσατε.


Verse 14-15

Acts 3:14-15. ὑμεῖς δέ] Contrast to κρίναντος ἐκ. ἀπολύειν; Acts 3:13.

τὸν ἅγιον καὶ δίκαιον] the κατʼ ἐξοχήν Holy (consecrated to God, inasmuch as He is the עֶבֶד יְהֹוָה) and Just (innocent and entirely righteous, see on John 16:10). Comp. Isaiah 53:11. To this characteristic description of Jesus ἄνδρα φονέα (Barabbas, see Luke 23:19; comp. on John 18:40) forms a purposely chosen contrast: a man who was a murderer. Comp. Soph. O. C. 948: ἄνδρα πατροκτόνον. O. R. 842: ἄνδρας λῃστάς. It is more emphatic, more solemn, than the simple φονέα but ἄνθρωπον φονέα would have been more contemptuous, Bernhardy, p. 48.

χαρισθῆναι ὑμῖν] condonari vobis (Ducker, ad Flor. iii. 5. 10), that he should by way of favour be delivered to you. Plut. C. Gracch. 4; Acts 25:11; Acts 27:24; Philemon 1:22. See Loesner, Obss. p. 172 f.

τὸν δὲ ἀρχηγὸν τῆς ζωῆς] forms a double contrast, namely, to ἄνδρα φονέα and to ἀπεκτείνατε. It means: the author (Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 12:2; Micah 1:13; 1 Maccabees 9:61; Plat. Locr. p. 96 C Tim. p. 21 E) of life, inasmuch as Christ by His whole life-work up to His resurrection was destined (Acts 3:20-21) to provide eternal life, all that is included in the Messianic σωτηρία (Hebrews 2:10). See John 3:16; John 11:25; 2 Timothy 1:10. The inclusion, however, of physical life (de Wette, Hackett), according to the idea of John 1:4, has no support in the text, nor would it have been so understood by the hearers, although even Chrysostom comes ultimately to the idea of the original Living one.

ὃν θεὸςοὗ ἡμεῖς κ. τ. λ.] great in its simplicity. The latter, in which οὗ is neuter, is the burden of the apostolic consciousness. Comp. on Acts 2:32. Observe, moreover, on Acts 3:14-15 : “Graphice sane majestatem illam apostolicam expressit, quam illi fuisse in dicendo vel una ejus testatur epistola,” Erasmus. The Epistle of Peter is written as with runic characters.


Verse 16

Acts 3:16. ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει τοῦ ὀνόμ. αὐτοῦ] on account of faith in His name (which we acknowledge as that of the Messiah), i.e. because we believe in His Messiahship. On ἐπί, of the cause on which the fact rests, on the ground, of, see Bernhardy, p. 250; as to the genitive of the object with πίστις, see on Romans 3:22. Others—particularly Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, and Olshausen—understand ἐπί of the aim (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 475): in order that faith in Jesus may be excited in you (and at the same time in the healed man himself, according to Olshausen). But the very connection of thought is in favour of the first explanation. For καὶ ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει κ. τ. λ. attaches itself closely to the preceding οὗ ἡμεῖς μάρτυρές ἐσμεν; so that Peter, immediately after mentioning the testimony, brings forward the extraordinary efficacy of the faith on which this apostolic testimony is based. Still more decisive is the parallelism of the second clause of the verse, in which the thought of the first clause is repeated emphatically, and with yet more precise definition.

τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ] so far, namely, as the cure was effected by means of His name pronounced, Acts 3:6. Observe the weighty repetition and position at the end.

πίστις διʼ αὐτοῦ] the faith wrought (in us) through Him. Through Christ was the faith (namely, in Him as the Messiah) wrought in Peter and John (and in the apostles generally), partly by means of His whole manifestation and ministry during His life (Matthew 16:16; John 1:14), partly by means of the resurrection and effusion of the Spirit. The view which takes πίστις of trust in God brought about through Christ (comp. 1 Peter 1:21; Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 324; bibl. Theol. p. 139, after de Wette), is not in keeping with the first half of the verse, which has already specifically determined the object of πίστις.

ταύτην] δεικτικῶς. For the bodily soundness of the man, who was present (Acts 3:11), was apparent to their eyes. On ὁλοκληρ., comp. Plut. Mor. p.1063 F Plat. Tim. p. 44 C: ὁλόκληρος ὑγιής τε παντελῶς.

ἀπέναντι πάντ. ὑμ.] corresponds to ὃν θεωρεῖτε in the first clause of the verse. The faith, etc., gave to him this restoration in the presence of you all; so that no other way of its coming to pass was at all to be thought of.


Verse 17-18

Acts 3:17-18. Peter now pitches his address in a tone of heart-winning gentleness, setting forth the putting to death of Jesus (1) as a deed of ignorance (Acts 3:17), and (2) as the necessary fulfilment of the divine counsel (Acts 3:18).

καὶ νῦν] and now, i.e. et sic, itaque; so that νῦν is to be understood not with reference to time, but as: in this state of matters.(144) Comp. Xen. Anab. iv. 1. 19, and Kühner in loc. See also Acts 7:34, Acts 10:5, Acts 22:16; John 2:2-8; 2 John 1:5.

ἀδελφοί] familiar, winning. Chrys.: αὐτῶν τὰς ψυχὰς εὐθέως τῇ τῶν ἀδελφῶν προσηγορίᾳ παρε΄υθήσατο. Comp. on the other hand, Acts 3:12 : ἄνδρες ἰσραηλῖαι.

κατὰ ἄγνοιαν] unknowingly (Leviticus 22:14), since you had not recognised Him as the Messiah; spoken quite in the spirit of Jesus. See Luke 23:34; comp. Acts 13:27. “Hoc ait, ut spe veniae eos excitet,” Pricaeus. Comp. also 1 Peter 1:14. The opposite κατὰ πρόθεσιν, κατὰ προαίρεσιν.

ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ ἄρχ. ὑ΄ῶν] namely, have acted ignorantly. Wolf (following the Peshito) refers the comparison merely to ἐπράξατε: scio vos ignorantia adductos, ut faceretis sicut duces vestri. But it would have been unwise if Peter, in order to gain the people, had not purposed to represent in the same mild light the act also of the Sanhedrists ( ἄρχοντες), on whom the people depended. Comp. 1 Corinthians 2:8.

Acts 3:18. But that could not but so happen, etc. Comp. Luke 24:44 ff.

πάντων τῶν προφητῶν] comp. Luke 24:27. The expression is neither to be explained as a hyperbole (Kuinoel) nor from the typical character of history (Olshausen), but from the point of view of fulfilment, in so far as the Messianic redemption, to which the divine prediction of all the prophets referred (comp. Acts 10:43), has been realized by the sufferings and death of Jesus. Looking back from this standpoint of historical realization, it is with truth said: God has brought into fulfilment that which He declared beforehand by all the prophets, that His Messiah should suffer. On τ. χριστὸν αὐτοῦ, comp. Acts 4:26; Luke 2:26; Luke 9:20; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10.

οὓτω] so, as it has happened, vers. 14, 15, 17.


Verse 19

Acts 3:19. οὖν] infers from Acts 3:17 f.

μετανοήσατε] see on Acts 2:38. The ἐπιστρέψατε (comp. Acts 26:20), connected with it, expresses the positive consequence of the μετανοεῖν. “Significatur in resipiscente applicatio sui ad Deum,” Bengel.

εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθ. κ. τ. λ] contains the aim (namely, the mediate aim: the final aim is contained in Acts 3:20) which repentance and conversion ought to have. The idea of the forgiveness of sins is here represented under the figure of the erasure of a handwriting. See on Colossians 2:14. Comp. Psalms 51:9; Isaiah 43:25; Dem. 791. 12 : ἐξαλήλιπται τὸ ὀφλημα. Baptism is not here expressly named, as in Acts 2:38, but was now understood of itself, seeing that not long before thousands were baptized; and the thought of it has suggested the figurative expression ἐξαλειφθ.: in order that they may be blotted out (namely, by the water of baptism). The causa meritoria of the forgiveness of sins is contained in Acts 3:18 ( παθεῖν τὸν χ.). Comp. Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 258. The causa apprehendens (faith) is contained in the required repentance and conversion.


Verse 20

Acts 3:20. The final aim of the preceding exhortation. In order that times of refreshiny may come. Peter conceives that the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως and the Parousia ( καὶ ἀποστείλῃ κ. τ. λ.) will set in, as soon as the Jewish nation is converted to the acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah. It required a further revelation to teach him that the Gentiles also were to be converted—and that directly, and not by the way of proselytism—to Christ (chap.10).

ὅπως ἄν, with the subjunctive (Acts 15:17; Luke 2:35; Romans 3:4; Matthew 6:5), denotes the purpose that is to be attained in dependence on a supposition (here: in this event; if ye comply with the summons). See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 289; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 685 f. This ἄν, consequently, is not equivalent to ἐάν (Vulg.: ut cum venerint), in which case an apodosis which would be wanting is arbitrarily supplied in thought (see Erasmus and, recently, Beelen). Others (Beza, Castalio, Erasmus Schmid, Eckermann, et al.) consider ὅπως as a particle of time = ὅτε: quandocunque venerint. Against this it may be decisively urged, in point of linguistic usage, that in Greek writers (in Herod, and the poets) the temporal ὅπως is joined with the indicative or optative, but does not occur at all in the N. T.; and, in point of fact, the remission of sins takes place not for the first time at the Parousia, but at once on the acceptance of the gospel.

καιροὶ ἀναψύξ.] seasons of refreshing: namely, the Messianic, as is self-evident and is clear from what follows. It is substantially the same as is meant in Luke 2:25 by παράκλησις τοῦ ἰσραήλ,—namely, seasons in which, through the appearance of the Messiah in His kingdom, there shall occur blessed rest and refreshment for the people of God, after the expiration of the troublous seasons of the αἰὼν οὗτος (2 Timothy 3:1; Galatians 1:4; Acts 14:22).(145) The αἰῶνες οἱ ἐπερχόμενοι in chap. Acts 2:7 are not different from these future καιροί. This explanation is shown to be clearly right by the fact that Peter himself immediately adds, as explanatory of καιροὶ ἀναψύξ.: καὶ ἀποστείλῃ τὸν προκεχειρ. ὑμῖν ἰησ. χ., which points to the Parousia. Others rationalizing have, at variance with the text, explained the καιροὶ ἀναψ. either of the time of rest after death (Schulz in the Bibl. Hag. 5. p. 119 ff.), or of deliverance from the yoke of the ceremonial law (Kraft, Obss. sacr. Fasc. IX. p. 271 ff.), or of the putting off of penal judgment on the Jews (Barkey), or of the sparing of the Christians amidst the destruction of the Jews (Grotius, Hammond, Lightfoot), or of the glorious condition of the Christian church before the end of the world (Vitringa). On ἀνάψυξις, comp. LXX. Exodus 8:15; Aq. Isaiah 28:12; Strabo, x. p. 459.

ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ κυρίου] The times, which are to appear, are rhetorically represented as something real, which is to be found with God in heaven, and comes thence, from the face of God, to earth. Thus God is designated as αἴτιος of the times of refreshing (Chrysostom).

τὸν προκεχ. ὑμῖν . χ.] Jesus the Messiah destined for you (for your nation). On προχειρίζομαι (Acts 22:14, Acts 26:16), properly, I take in hand; then, I undertake, I determine, and with the accusative of the person: I, appoint one. Comp. 2 Maccabees 3:7; 2 Maccabees 8:9; Polyb. vi. 58. 3; Plut. Galb. 8; Diod. Sic. xii. 22; Wetstein and Kypke in loc.; Schleusn. Thes. iv. p. 513. Analogous is τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκλεκτός, Luke 23:35.


Verse 21

Acts 3:21. Whom the heaven must receive (as the place of abode appointed for Him by God until the Parousia). Taken thus,(146) οὐρανόν is the subject (Beza, Piscator, Castalio, and others, the Socinians, also Kuinoel, de Wette, Baumgarten, Lechler, Hackett), and δεῖ does not stand for ἔδει, as if Peter wished historically to narrate the ascension; but the present tense places before the eyes the necessity of the elevation of Christ into heaven as an absolute relation, which as such is constantly present until the Parousia (Acts 3:20, and ἄχρι χρόνων κ. τ. λ., Acts 3:21). Hence also the infinitive is not of the duration of the action ( δέχεσθαι), but of its absolute act ( δέξασθαι) Others find the subject in ὅν: who must occupy heaven (so Luther and many of the older Lutherans, partly in the interest of Christ’s ubiquity; also Bengel, Heinrichs, Olshausen, Lange, Weiss, et al.); “Christus coelum debuit occupare ceu regiam suam,” Calovius. But against this view the linguistic usage of δέχεσθαι, which never signifies occupare,(147) is decisive. Comp. on the other hand, Plat. Theaet. p. 177 A: τελευτήσαντας αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖνος μὲν τῶν κακῶν καθαρὸς τόπος οὐ δέξεται, Soph. Trach. 1075: ὦναξ αἵδη δέξαι με. Occupare would be κατέχειν. Comp. Soph. Ant. 605: κατέχεις ὀλύμπου μαρμαρόεσσαν αἴγλαν.

On the ΄έν solitarium Grotius aptly remarks, that it has its reference in ἄχρι χρόνου ἀποκαταστ., “quasi dicat: ubi illud tempus venerit, ex coelo in terras redibit.”

ἄχρι χρόνων ἀποκαταστ. πάντων] until times shall have come, in which all things will be restored. Before such times set in, Christ comes not from heaven. Consequently the times of the αἰὼν μέλλων itself—the καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως—cannot be meant; but only such times as shall precede the Parousia, and by the emergence of which it is conditioned, that the Parousia shall ensue. Accordingly the explanation of the universal renewal of the world unto a glory such as preceded the fall ( παλιγγενεσία, Matthew 19:28; comp. Romans 8:18 ff.; 2 Peter 3:13) is excluded, seeing that that restoration of all things ( πάντων) coincides with the Parousia (in opposition to de Wette, as well as many older expositors, who think on the resurrection and the judgment). The correct interpretation must start from Malachi 4:6 as the historical seat of the expression, and from Matthew 17:11, where Christ Himself, taking it from Malachi, has made it His own. Accordingly the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων can only be the restoration of all moral relations to their original normal condition. Christ’s reception in heaven—this is the idea of the apostle—continues until the moral corruption of the people of God is removed, and the thorough moral renovation, the ethical restitutio in integrum, of all their relations shall have ensued. Then only is the exalted Christ sent from heaven to the people, and then only does there come for the latter the ἀνάψυξις from the presence of God, Acts 3:20. What an incitement neither to neglect nor to defer repentance and conversion as the means to this ἀποκατάστασις πάντων! The mode in which this moral restitution must take place is, according to Acts 3:22, beyond doubt,—namely, by rendering obedience in all points to what the Messiah has during His earthly ministry spoken. Observe, moreover, that πάντων is not masculine (Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 85, and bibl. Theol. p. 145), but neuter, as in Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12 (comp. Acts 3:22, κατὰ πάντα, ὅσα); and that ἀποκατάστασις cannot be otherwise taken than in its constant literal meaning, restoration (Polyb. iv. 23. 1; v. 2. 11; xxvii. 10. 7; Dion. Hal. x. 8; also Plat. Ax. p. 370), wherein the state lost and to be restored is to be conceived as that of the obedience of the theocracy towards God and His messenger (Acts 3:22). The state of forgiveness of sin (Acts 3:19) is not identical with this, but previous to it, as ὅπως κ. τ. λ (Acts 3:20) shows: the sanctification following the reconciliation.

ὧν ἐλάλησεν κ. τ. λ] The attracted ὧν refers to χρόνων: of which he has spoken, etc. On λαλεῖν τι, in this sense, comp. Matthew 26:13; Plat. Ax. p. 366 D Soph. Phil. 110. So also λέγειν τι, to tell of something; see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 23 A Phaed. p. 79 B. Others refer it to πάντων, and explain: usque ad tempus, quo omnia eventum habebunt,(148) quae, etc.; by which Peter is supposed to mean either the conquest of Messiah’s enemies and the diffusion of the Christian religion (Rosenmüller, Morus, Stolz, Heinrichs), or the destruction of the Jewish state (Grotius, Hammond, Bolten), or the erection of the Messianic kingdom and the changes preceding it, the diffusion of Christianity, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment (Kuinoel). Incorrectly, as ἀποκατάστασις, in the sense of impletio, εἰς πέρας ἐλθεῖν (Oecumenius), and the like, is without warrant in usage; and as little does it admit the substitution of the idea realization (Grotius, Schneckenburger in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 517, Lechler).

ἀπ ̓ αἰῶνος] since the world began, to be taken relatively. See on Luke 1:70.


Verses 22-24

Acts 3:22-24. Connection: What has just been said: “By the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning,” is now set forth more particularly in two divisions,—namely: (1) Moses, with whom all O. T. prophecy begins (comp. Romans 10:19), has announced to the people the advent of the Messiah, and the necessity of obedience to Him, Acts 3:22-23. Thus has he made a beginning in speaking of the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων, which in fact can only be brought about by obedience to all which the Messiah has spoken. (2) But also the collective body of prophets from Samuel onwards (that is, the prophets in the stricter sense), etc., Acts 3:24.

΄ωυσῆς] The passage is Deuteronomy 18:15 f., 19,(149) which, applying according to its historical sense to the prophetic order generally which presents itself to the seer collectively as in one person, has received its highest fulfilment in Christ as the realized ideal of all the Old Testament interpreters of God, consequently as the ἀληθινὸς προφήτης.(150) Comp. Acts 7:37.

ὡς ἐ΄έ] as He has raised up me by His preparation, calling, commission, and effectual communion. Bengel well remarks regarding the Messianic fulfilment: “Similitudo non officit excellentiae.”

ἔσται δέ] see on Acts 2:17.

ἐξολοθρ. ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ] In the LXX. it runs after the original text: ἐγὼ ἐκδικήσω ἐξ αὐτοῦ. Peter, in order to express this threat according to its more special import, and thereby in a manner more deterrent and more incentive to the obedience required,(151) substitutes for it the formula which often occurs in the Pentateuch after Genesis 17:14 : נִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשּׁ הַהִיא מֵעַמֶּיהָ, which is the appointment of the punishment of death excluding forgiveness; see Gesen. Thes. II. p. 718; Ewald, Alterth. p. 419. The apostle, according to his insight into the Messianic reference and significance of the whole passage, understands by it exclusion from the Messianic life and ejection to Gehenna, consequently the punishment of eternal death, which will set in at the judgment. On ἐξολοθρεύω, funditus perdo, frequent in the LXX., the Apocrypha, and in the Test. XII. Patr., also in Clem. Rom. (who has only the form ἐξολεθρ.), only known to later Greek, see Kypke, II. p. 27; Sturz, Dial. Mac. p. 166 f.

καὶδέ] i.e. Moses on the one hand, and all the prophets on the other. Thus over against Moses, the beginner, who was introduced by ΄έν, there is placed as similar in kind the collective body. See as to καὶδέ, on John 6:51, and observe that δέ is attached to the emphasized idea appended ( πάντες); comp. Baeuml. Partik. p. 149.

All the prophets from Samuel and those that follow, as many as have spoken, have also, etc.,—evidently an inaccurate form of expression in which two constructions are mixed up,—namely: (1) All the prophets from Samuel onward, as many of them as have spoken, have also, etc.; and (2) All the prophets, Samuel and those who follow, as many of them as have spoken, have also, etc. Winer, p. 588 [E. T. 789]. The usual construction since Casaubon, adopted also by Valckenaer and Kuinoel, is that of the Vulgate: “et omnes prophetae a Samuel, et deinceps qui locuti sunt,” so that it is construed καὶ ὅσοι τῶν καθεξῆς ἐλάλ.; it yields a tautology, as those who follow after are already contained in πάντες οἱ προφῆται ἀπὸ σ. Van Hengel’s (Adnotatt. in loca nonnulla N. T. p. 101 ff.) expedient, that after τῶν καθεξῆς there is to be supplied ἕως ʼιωάννου, and after προφῆται, ἀρξάμενοι, is simply arbitrary in both cases.

After Moses Samuel opens the series of prophets in the stricter sense. He is called in the Talmud also (see Wetstein) magister prophetarum. For a prophecy from 2 Sam., see Hebrews 1:5. Comp. Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 143 ff.

κ. τῶν καθεξῆς] “longa temporum successione, uno tamen consensu,” Calvin.

τὰς ἡ΄έρας ταύτας] i.e. those days, of which Moses has spoken what has just been quoted, namely, the χρόνοι ἀποκαταστ. πάντ., which necessarily follows from ὧν ἐλάλησεν θεὸς κ. τ. λ., Acts 3:21. Hence we are not to understand, with Schneckenburger, Weiss, Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 140), the time of the present as referred to; in which view Hofmann would change the entire connection, so as to make Acts 3:22-24 serve as a reason for the call to repentance in Acts 3:19 whereas it is evident that ὧν ἐλάλησεν κ. τ. λ., Acts 3:21, must be the element determining the following appeals to Moses and the prophets.


Verse 25

Acts 3:25. Ye(152) are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant, i.e. ye belong to both, inasmuch as what was promised by the prophets and pledged in the covenant is to be realized for and in you, as the recipients in accordance with promise and covenant. Comp. Acts 2:39; Romans 9:4; Romans 15:8. On υἱοὶ τῆς διαθήκης, comp. the rabbinical passages in Wetstein. Concerning υἱός, used to denote closer connection (like בֵּן), see on Matthew 8:12. Incorrectly Lightfoot, Wolf, and Kuinoel render: “prophetarum discipuli (Matthew 7:27; so the Greek παῖδες; Blomf. Gloss. Perss. 408), because then υἱοί (in the same signification does not suit τῆς διαθήκης. Hence, incorrectly, also Michaelis, Morus, Heinrichs: “e vestra natione provenerunt prophetae.”

διαθήκη, covenant. For God bound Himself by covenant to bless all generations through the seed of Abraham, on the condition, namely, that Abraham obeyed His command (Genesis 12:1). On διέθετο, comp. Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:16; Genesis 15:18, al.; 1 Maccabees 1:11. So with διαθήκην also in the classics.

πρὸς τοὺς πατ. ἡμ.] πρός denotes the ethical direction. Bernhardy, p. 265. Abraham is conceived as representative of the forefathers; hence it is said that God had bound Himself towards the fathers when He spoke to Abraham.

καὶ ἐν τῷ σπέρ΄ατί σου] καί, and, quite as in Acts 2:17.

The quotation (Genesis 22:18; comp. Acts 18:18, Acts 12:3) is not exactly according to the LXX. According to the Messianic fulfilment, from which point of view Peter grasps and presents the prophetic meaning of the passage (see Acts 3:26), ἐν τῷ σπ. σου is not collective, but: in thy descendant, namely, the Messiah (comp. Galatians 3:16), the future blessing of salvation has its causal ground. As to πατριαί, gentes, here nations, see on Ephesians 3:15.


Verse 26

Acts 3:26. Progress of the discourse: “This bestowal—in accordance with God’s covenant-arrangements—of salvation on all nations of the earth through the Messiah has commenced with you,” to you first has God sent, etc.

πρῶτον] sooner than to all other nations. “Praevium indicium de vocatione gentium,” Bengel. Romans 1:16; Romans 11:11. On this intimation of the universality of the Messianic salvation Olshausen observes, that the apostle, who at a later period rose with such difficulty to this idea (ch. 10), was doubtless, in the first moments of his ministry, full of the Spirit, raised above himself, and in this elevation had glimpses to which he was still, as regards his general development, a stranger. But this is incorrect: Peter shared the views of his people, that the non-Jewish nations would be made partakers in the blessings of the Messiah by acceptance of the Jewish theocracy. He thus still expected at this time the blessing of the Gentiles through the Messiah to take place in the way of their passing through Mosaism. “Caput et summa rei in adventu Messiae in eo continetur, quod omnes omnino populi adorent Jovam illumque colant unanimiter,” Mikrae Kodesch, f. 108. 1. “Gentes non traditae snnt Israeli in hoc saeculo, at tradentur in diebus Messiae,” Berish. rab. f. 28. 2. See already Isaiah 2:2 f., Isaiah 60:3 ff.

ἀναστήσας] causing His servant to appear (the aorist participle synchronous with ἀπέστ.). This view of ἀναστ. is required by Acts 3:22. Incorrectly, therefore, Luther, Beza, Heumann, and Barkey: after He has raised Him from the dead.

εὐλοῦντα ὑμᾶς] blessing you. The correlate of ἐνευλογ., Acts 3:25. This efficacy of the Sent One procuring salvation through His redeeming work is continuous.

ἐν τῷ ἀποστρέφειν] in the turning away, i.e. when ye turn from your iniquities (see on Romans 1:29), consequently denoting that by which the εὐλογεῖν must be accompanied on the part of the recipients (comp. Acts 4:30)—the moral relation which must necessarily be thereby brought about. We may add, that here the intransitive meaning of ἀποστρέφειν,(153) and not the transitive, which Piscator, Calvin, Hammond, Wetstein, Bengel, Morus, Heinrichs adopt (when He turns away), is required by the summons contained in Acts 3:19.

The issue to which Acts 3:25-26 were meant to induce the hearers—namely, that they should now believingly apprehend and appropriate the Messianic salvation announced beforehand to them by God and assured by covenant, and indeed actually in the mission of the Messiah offered to them first before all others—was already expressed sufficiently in Acts 3:19, and is now again at the close in Acts 3:26, and that with a sufficiently successful result (Acts 4:4); and therefore the hypothesis that the discourse was interrupted while still unfinished by the arrival of the priests, etc. (Acts 4:1), is unnecessary.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-3.html. 1832.

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Thursday, October 17th, 2019
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