Acts 19:28
And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) They were full of wrath, and cried out.—Better, they went on crying out, the tense implying continued action.

Great is Diana of the Ephesians.—The cry was probably the usual chorus of the festivals of Artemis. Stress was now laid on the distinctive adjective, “Great she was, whoever might attack her greatness.”

Acts 19:28-29. And when they heard, &c., they were full of wrath — The inflammatory speech of Demetrius, addressed to the superstition and avarice of the multitude, immediately produced the desired effect; the craftsmen, and all who were employed about the temple, were exasperated to the highest degree: and, enraged to think that both their trade and their religion were in danger, they ran about the city; and cried out, with great violence, Great is Diana of the Ephesians — Elsner has shown how frequently this epithet of great was given by the heathen to Jupiter, Diana, and others of their superior deities. And the whole city was filled with confusion — The common and natural effect of an intemperate zeal for a false religion; they rushed with one accord — Demetrius and his company, with the multitude that was gathered about them; into the theatre

Where criminals were wont to be thrown to the wild beasts; dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus — When they could not find Paul. Probably, they hoped to oblige them to fight with the wild beasts, as some think Paul had done before.

19:21-31 Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.Were full of wrath - Were greatly enraged - probably at the prospect of losing their gains.

Great is Diana ... - The term "great" was often applied by the Greeks to Diana. Thus, in Xenophon (Ephes. i.), he says, "I adjure you by your own goddess, the great (τὴν μεγάλην tēn megalēn) Diana of the Ephesians." The design of this clamor was doubtless to produce a persecution against Paul, and thus to secure a continuance of their employment. Often, when people have no arguments, they raise a clamor; when their employments are in danger of being ruined, they are filled with rage. We may learn, also, that when people's pecuniary interests are affected, they often show great zeal for religion, and expect by clamor in behalf of some doctrine to maintain their own interest, and to secure their own gains.

28, 29. Great is Diana of the Ephesians—the civic cry of a populace so proud of their temple that they refused to inscribe on it the name of Alexander the Great, though he offered them the whole spoil of his Eastern campaign if they would do it [Strabo in Howson]. The argument from their profit wrought very much upon them, especially meeting with their prejudicate opinions, having pretended antiquity and universality to confirm them.

Saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians; to show their abhorrence of what Paul had taught; and desiring her glory might be perpetual, whom Paul thought not worthy to be honoured at all.

And when they heard these sayings,.... Both the masters and the workmen;

they were full of wrath; against Paul and his doctrine:

and cried out, saying, great is Diana of the Ephesians; this goddess is frequently called in Heathen writers, Diana of the Ephesians, or the Ephesian Diana, because of her famous temple at Ephesus; and to distinguish her from all other Dianas: Pausanias makes mention of sixty Dianas at least, and yet seems not to have taken notice of them all; all of them had different epithets, by which they were distinguished from one another; the images were in different shapes, and they were worshipped with different rites: what seems most of all to distinguish the Ephesian Diana from others, is her having many paps; hence she is called, "multi mammia"; so Minutius Felix observes (t), that Diana is sometimes girt about on high as an huntress, and the Ephesian Diana is "mammis multis & uberibus extructa"; Just as the Isis of the Egyptians, which, Macrobius (u) says, signifies the earth; hence the whole body of the deity is covered with paps, because the whole universe is nourished by it: the priest of Diana of the Ephesians was an eunuch, and was obliged to abstain from all company; neither bathed, nor ate, nor drank with others, nor might he enter into the house of a private person; there was a feast kept every year in honour of her, at which young men in the flower of their age, and virgins well dressed, used to go to the temple in great pomp, keep the feast, and marry with each other. The temple was a sort of an asylum, as Heathen temples commonly were; and it had this particular privilege, that those that fled to it were freed from servitude (w). This goddess is called "great", agreeably to her name, for, "Diana", signifies "great" and venerable; because of her birth, being the daughter of Jupiter; and because of her great service, she was supposed to be of in assisting at births; and because of her magnificent temple and worship; and because she was worshipped by great persons: and here greatness is ascribed unto her, and a loud cry made of it, to animate one another, to gather a mob together, and to incense them and stir them up against the apostle and his companion: in the Arabic version, instead of Diana, it is Venus, both here and elsewhere, but wrongly.

(t) In Octavia, p. 22. (u) Saturnal. l. 1. c. 20. (w) Pausauias in Arcadicis, sive, l. 8. p. 476. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 20. & l. 6. c. 2. & c. 12.

And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 19:28-29. Μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτ. Ἐφ.] An enthusiastic outcry for the preservation of the endangered (and yet so lucrative!) majesty of the goddess.

ὥρμησαν namely, those who ran together along with Demetrius and his companions.

ὁμοθυμαδόν] here also: with one mind (in opposition to Deyling, Krebs, Loesner, and others, who think that, on account of Acts 19:32, it must be rendered simul); for they were at one on the point, that in the theatre something in general must be determined on against Paul and his companions for the defence of the honour of the goddess (Acts 19:34), although specially the most might not know τίνος ἕνεκεν συνεληλύθεισαν (Acts 19:32).

It is well known that the theatre was used for the despatch of public transactions and for popular assemblies (even for such as were tumultuary). See Wetstein in loc.; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 128. 9. Consequently the more easy it is to understand, why the vehement crowd poured itself into the great theatre.[101]

συναρπάσ.] First, they drew along with them the two fellow-travellers (συνεκδ.) of the apostle, and then rushed into the theatre. But it may also be conceived as simultaneous; while they carried along with them, they rushed, etc. Whether they fetched these two men from their lodgings, or encountered them in the streets, cannot be determined.

Caius is otherwise unknown, and is not identical with the Caius mentioned in Acts 20:4 (see in loc.), or with the one mentioned in Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:15.

Ἀρίσταρχ.] See Acts 20:4, Acts 27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24.

[101] It was one of the largest, as its ruins show. See Ottfr. Müller, Archäol. d. Kunst, p. 391.

Acts 19:28. ἔκραζον: “they cried continuously,” imperfect, see addition in .—Μεγάλη ἡ Ἄ.: omitting we have apparently the popular cry, or rather invocation: Great Artemis! as it was actually used in the cultus—the cry was not an argument against Paul’s doctrine, but rather a prayer to the goddess and queen of Ephesus, and so regarded it gives a vividness and naturalness to the scene, Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 135 ff., and “Diana,” u. s., p. 105; see , critical note.

28. And when they heard these sayings] The A.V. indicates that there is no Greek for the two last words. It is enough, with the Rev. Ver., to say “this.”

they were full of wrath] The verb in the original expresses that the anger grew as they listened. So better, filled with, as Rev. Ver. Demetrius had appealed to them in such wise as to excite them more by each fresh argument. Their self-interest first, and their pride and superstition afterwards.

and … Diana of the Ephesians] Here as before (Acts 19:24) the Greek name is Artemis.

Acts 19:28. Ἀκούσαντες, having heard this) viz. the artificers and workmen.

Verse 28. - This for these sayings, A.V.; filled with wrath for full of wrath, A.V. Great is Diana, etc. A notable instance of assertion and clamor crying down reason and truth. Acts 19:28Cried out (ἔκραζον)

The imperfect is graphic; they continued crying. This reiteration was a characteristic of the oriental orgiastic rites.

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