Acts 22:22
And they gave him audience to this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Away with such a fellow from the earth.—The scene was ominously like that in which St. Stephen’s speech ended. Immediate execution without the formality of a trial—an eager craving for the blood of the blasphemer—this was what their wild cries demanded and expressed. On the words themselves, see Note on Acts 21:36.

Acts 22:22. And they gave him audience — Heard him with quietness and attention; unto this word — Till he began to speak of his mission to the Gentiles, and this in such a manner as implied that the Jews were in danger of being cast off; but no sooner did he mention this, than the multitude, especially such of them as had come from Asia, became instantly perfectly enraged, and cried out with vehemence, Away with such a fellow from the earth — Such an impudent blasphemer; for it is not fit that he should live — Any longer upon it, since he shows himself to be such a traitor to God, and an enemy to his chosen people, in pretending to have a commission to go and preach to the ignorant and reprobated Gentiles. Thus the men that have been the greatest blessings of their age, have often been represented, not only as the burdens of the earth, but as the pests of their generation. He who was worthy of the greatest honours in life is condemned as not worthy of life itself!22:22-30 The Jews listened to Paul's account of his conversion, but the mention of his being sent to the Gentiles, was so contrary to all their national prejudices, that they would hear no more. Their frantic conduct astonished the Roman officer, who supposed that Paul must have committed some great crime. Paul pleaded his privilege as a Roman citizen, by which he was exempted from all trials and punishments which might force him to confess himself guilty. The manner of his speaking plainly shows what holy security and serenity of mind he enjoyed. As Paul was a Jew, in low circumstances, the Roman officer questioned how he obtained so valuable a distinction; but the apostle told him he was free born. Let us value that freedom to which all the children of God are born; which no sum of money, however large, can purchase for those who remain unregenerate. This at once put a stop to his trouble. Thus many are kept from evil practices by the fear of man, who would not be held back from them by the fear of God. The apostle asks, simply, Is it lawful? He knew that the God whom he served would support him under all sufferings for his name's sake. But if it were not lawful, the apostle's religion directed him, if possible, to avoid it. He never shrunk from a cross which his Divine Master laid upon his onward road; and he never stept aside out of that road to take one up.And they gave him audience - They heard him patiently.

Unto this word - The word "Gentile."

Away with such a fellow - Greek: "take such a man from the earth," that is, "put him to death." It is language of strong indignation and abhorrence. The reasons of their induction were, not that they supposed that the Gentiles could not be brought into covenant with God, for they would themselves compass sea and land to make one proselyte, but:

(1) That they believed that Paul taught that they might be saved without conforming to the Law of Moses; and,

(2) His speech implied that the Jews were more hardened than the Gentiles, and that he had a greater prospect of success in bringing them to God than he had in regard to the Jews.

22, 23. gave him audience to this word … then … Away with such a fellow from the earth, &c.—Their national prejudices lashed into fury at the mention of a mission to the Gentiles, they would speedily have done to him as they did to Stephen, but for the presence and protection of the Roman officer. They gave him audience unto this word; they had heard all the rest of St. Paul’s discourse without any gainsaying, either thinking it did not much concern them whether it were true or false, or else, being convinced of the truth of it, they were silent; but when the mercy of God unto any but themselves is mentioned, they are not able to bear with it. Though they themselves refused the offers of God’s mercy, yet they could not endure that it should be tendered unto others; especially that others should be preferred before them in the tendering of it.

Away with such a fellow from the earth; that is: Kill him; encouraging one another to so barbarous a murder, or exciting their rulers unto it. And they gave him audience unto this word..... The Ethiopic version reads, "and I heard him so speaking unto me"; as if it was to be understood of the apostle hearing Christ speaking to him concerning his mission to the Gentiles; whereas the words refer to the Jews attending quietly to the apostle, till he came to that part of his oration. They heard him patiently, and did not offer to molest him, or hinder his speaking, and being heard, till he came to mention his mission to the Gentiles: all the rest they either did not understand, or looked upon it as an idle tale, as the effect of madness and enthusiasm, at least as containing things they had nothing to do with; but when he came to speak of the Gentiles, and to pretend to a divine mission to them, this they could not bear; for nothing was more offensive, irritating, and provoking to them, than to hear of the calling of the Gentiles, whom they were for depriving of all blessings, and for engrossing all to themselves; see Romans 10:20.

and then lift up their voices; in a very loud and clamorous manner, as one man:

and said, away with such a fellow from the earth; take away his life from the earth: this they said either to the chief captain, to do it, or as encouraging one another to do it:

for it is not fit that he should live; he does not deserve to live, he is unworthy of life; it is not agreeable to the rules of justice that he should be spared; it is not convenient, and it may be of bad consequence should he be continued any longer; he may do a deal of mischief, and poison the minds of the people with bad notions, and therefore it is not expedient that he should live.

{2} And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.

(2) Resolute and stubborn pride will neither embrace the truth itself, neither allow others to receive it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 22:22. Ἄχρι τούτου τοῦ λόγου] namely, Acts 22:21, εἶπε πρός με· πορεύου, ὅτι εἰς ἔθνη μακρ. ἐξαποστ. σε. This expression inflamed the jealousy of the children of Abraham in their pride and contempt of the Gentiles, all the more that it appeared only to confirm the accusation in Acts 21:28. It cannot therefore surprise us that the continuation of the speech was here rendered impossible, just as the speech of Stephen and that of Paul at the Areopagus was broken off on analogous occasions of offence (which Baur makes use of against its historical character).

οὐ γὰρ καθῆκεν κ.τ.λ.] for it was not fit that he should remain in life; he ought not to have been protected in his life, when we designed to put him to death (Acts 21:31). Comp. Winer, p. 265 [E. T. 352]Acts 22:22. ἐπῆραν τὴν φ., see on Acts 2:14.—αἶρε, cf. Acts 21:36, emphasised here, by ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς; present tense, a continuous cry.—καθῆκον: only used by St. Paul elsewhere in N.T., cf. Romans 1:28. The imperfect, καθῆκεν, see critical note, implies that long ago he ought to have been put to death “for it was not fit,” etc., non debebat (or debuerat) vivere, Winer-Moulton, lxi. 2. καθ- = προσῆκον Att. In LXX, Deuteronomy 21:17, Ezekiel 21:27 (32), and other passages, also several times in Books of Macc. (see H. and R.). For construction cf. Burton, p. 15.22–29. Fury of the Jews. The Chief Captain orders Paul to be scourged, but on hearing that he is a roman, recalls the order in alarm

22. unto this word] It is probable that, though listening, they were not well-pleased at some things which they heard. Their pent-up feelings broke into instant execration at the hated word.

and then lift up] The Rev. Ver. omits “then” for which there is no word in the original, but it is needed for the English sense, and would be therefore better retained.

for it is not fit] The best authorities read “It was not fit.” And this no doubt expresses the feeling of the mob. They had listened for a time, but when the speaker made mention of “the Gentiles” they were at once clear that he ought long ago to have been destroyed. He had been all along a man who was not fit to live.Acts 22:22. Τούτου, this word) concerning the Gentiles. Nor did they willingly hear him as to JESUS.—γῆς, from the earth) They make him unworthy to be borne by the earth.Verse 22. - They for then, A.V.; voice for voices, A.V. Unto this word. They could not bear the idea of the Gentiles being admitted into the kingdom of God. It was a blow to their pride of exclusiveness. The leveling-up of the Gentiles seemed to be as intolerable as the leveling-down of themselves, as spoken of e.g. Isaiah 1:10; Ezekiel 16:45, etc. They gave him audience (ἤκουον)

The imperfect. Up to this word they were listening.

Lifted up their voice, etc

"Then began one of the most odious and despicable spectacles which the world can witness, the spectacle of an oriental mob, hideous with impotent rage, howling, yelling, cursing, gnashing their teeth, flinging about their arms, waving and tossing their blue and red robes, casting dust into the air by handfuls, with all the furious gesticulations of an uncontrolled fanaticism" (Farrar). Hackett cites Sir John Chardin ("Travels into Persia and the East Indies") as saying that it is common for the peasants in Persia, when they have a complaint to lay before their governors, to repair to them by hundreds or a thousand at once. They place themselves near the gate of the palace, where they suppose they are most likely to be seen and heard, and there set up a horrid outcry, rend their garments, and throw dust into the air, at the same time demanding justice. Compare 2 Samuel 16:13.

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