Acts 19:41
And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
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19:32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.Dismissed the assembly - τὴν ἐκκλησίαν tēn ekklēsian. The word usually translated "church." Here it is applied to the irregular and tumultuous "assemblage" which had convened in a riotous manner. 40. For we—the public authorities.

are in danger of being called in question—by our superiors.

The people were persuaded quietly to depart to their homes. Thus God one way or other, sometimes by friends, and sometimes by foes, kept his church and people from being ruined; and his hand is not shortened. And when he had thus spoken,.... Or delivered this oration, made use of the above arguments, reasonings, and expostulations:

he dismissed the assembly; he ordered them to break up, and every one to return home in peace, and go about his own business; and thus Paul, and his companions, were delivered from an imminent danger they were exposed to.

And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
Acts 19:41. τὴν ἐκκλησίαν: the word may imply, as Ramsay thinks, that the secretary thus recognised the meeting as an ἐκκλησία to shield it, as far as he could, from Roman censure. The attitude of the secretary is that of a man altogether superior to, and almost contemptuous of, the vulgar mob (cf. οὗτος in , Acts 19:38), and there is no apparent desire on his part to deny Paul’s right to preach, provided that the Apostle respected the laws and institutions of the city.

On the historical character of the incidents narrated at Ephesus, the graphic description and the intimate knowledge of the life of the city, see Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, p. 143, and the same writer “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B. D. Every detail tends to confirm the faithfulness of the picture drawn of Ephesian society A.D. 57 (cf. Knabenbauer, p. 340). Wendt also is so impressed with the vividness of the scene as it is narrated, that he considers that we are justified in referring the narrative to a source which we owe to an actual companion of St. Paul, and in regarding it as an historical episode, and he refers in justification to Lightfoot, Cont. Rev., p. 292 ff., 1878; see Wendt’s edition, 1888, pp. 429, 430, and also edition 1899, p. 316, note. Whilst Baur and Overbeck give an unfavourable verdict as to the historical truthfulness of the Ephesian tumult, a verdict which Wendt condemns, Zeller is constrained to acknowledge the very minute details which tell in favour of the narrative, and for the invention of which there is no apparent reason. Amongst more recent critics, Weizsäcker can only see in the story the historian’s defence of Paul and the same tendency to make events issue in the success of his missionary propaganda: 1 Corinthians 15:32 he takes literally, and the tumult recorded in Acts gives us only a faint and shadowy outline of actual reminiscences: nothing is left of the wild beasts except a tumult in the theatre, and the Apostle against whom the violence is mainly directed is himself absent. But as Wendt rightly maintains, 1 Corinthians 15:32 is much rather to be taken as referring figuratively to a struggle with men raging against the Apostle’s life; nor are we shut up of necessity to the conclusion that 1 Corinthians 15:32 and Acts 19:23 ff. refer to one and the same event (so Hilgenfeld, Zöckler), see note on p. 414. McGiffert, whilst taking 1 Corinthians 15:32 literally (although he inclines to identify Acts 19 with 2 Corinthians 1:8, so too Hilgenfeld), admits as against Weizsäcker the general trustworthiness of St. Luke’s account, since it is too true to life, and is related too vividly to admit any doubt as to its historic reality (p. 282). Hilgenfeld too, Zw. Th., p. 363, 1896, agrees that the whole narrative is related in a way true to life, and refers it with the possible exception of ὡς ἐπὶ ὥρας δύο in Acts 19:34 to his good source : it could not possibly have been invented by the “author to Theophilus”. Even here Clemen and Jüngst can only see an interpolation, referred by the former to Redactor, i.e., Acts 19:15-41 with the possible exception of Acts 19:33 to Redactor Antijudaicus; and by the latter also to his Redactor, i.e., Acts 19:23-41.41. And … assembly] This he could do in his official capacity. Probably the last argument which he used would have most weight with his audience. If such riotous conduct were reported at Rome it might lead to a curtailment of the privileges of their city.
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