Acts 23:19
Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that you have to tell me?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
23:12-24 False religious principles, adopted by carnal men, urge on to such wickedness, as human nature would hardly be supposed capable of. Yet the Lord readily disappoints the best concerted schemes of iniquity. Paul knew that the Divine providence acts by reasonable and prudent means; and that, if he neglected to use the means in his power, he could not expect God's providence to work on his behalf. He who will not help himself according to his means and power, has neither reason nor revelation to assure him that he shall receive help from God. Believing in the Lord, we and ours shall be kept from every evil work, and kept to his kingdom. Heavenly Father, give us by thy Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake, this precious faith.Took him by the hand - As an expression of kindness and civility. He did it to draw him aside from the multitude, that he might communicate his message privately. 19. took him by the hand—This shows that he must have been quite in his boyhood, and throws a pleasing light on the kind-hearted impartiality of this officer. He took him by the hand, as a token of courtesy; these commanders showing an excellent example of humanity and pity towards their inferiors and supposed criminals. There are several reasons given of this great civility here used, as the chief captain’s naturally meek temper; or his policy to satisfy for the injury he had done to Paul, in binding him, being a Roman; nay, some think that he, as well as Felix the governor, hoped for money to be given unto him, Acts 24:26: but all these are but guesses. It is sure, whatever any of these causes were or were not, God is to be seen and acknowledged in it, who hath the hearts of all men in his bands, and turneth them as it pleaseth him, Proverbs 21:1. Then the chief captain took him by the hand,.... Some have thought that the reason of this was, that he expected that the young man had brought him a present in his hand, from Paul; but this is to represent him as a sordid mercenary man, which ought not to be said, without sufficient proof; rather this should be considered as an instance of civility and humanity, and what showed him to be a man of breeding and good manners; and might be done partly out of respect to Paul, and partly to encourage the young man to use freedom in the account he was about to give him:

and went with him aside privately; concluding by his coming from Paul, and perceiving by the account of the centurion, that he had a secret to communicate to him; wherefore it was acting a wise and prudent part to take him into a private room, and hear what he had to say:

and asked him, what is that thou hast to tell me? thereby giving the young man an opportunity, and encouraging him to relate the secret to him.

Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 23:19. ἐπιλαβ.: “ut fiduciam adolescentis confirmaret,” Bengel, so Knabenbauer; on ἐπιλ. see note, Acts 17:19.—τῆς χειρὸς αὐτοῦ, cf. Luke 8:54, Winer-Moulton, xxx. 8 d; see Calvin’s note on the humanitas (as he calls it) of the centurion in thus receiving the young man.—ἀναχ.: used also in Acts 26:31, but not by Luke in his Gospel, although found in the other Evangelists.—κατʼ ἰδίαν ἐπυν.: “asked him privately,” R.V., as suggested by the order of the Greek.19. the chief captain took him by the hand] The messenger from a Roman citizen was entitled to some consideration, and the action of the chief captain is meant to encourage the young man. The chief captain would naturally incline to favour Paul after his conversation with him, rather than his Jewish accusers. We can gather this from the tone of the letter which he subsequently sent to Cæsarea.

and went with him aside privately, and asked him] The adverb “privately” is better joined with the verb “asked” as in the Rev. Ver.: this is more in accordance with the Greek order, and such an adverb is somewhat out of place with the first verb, in which privacy is implied without such an addition.Acts 23:19. Ἐπιλαβόμενος, having taken hold of the hand) so as to give confidence to the youth.Verse 19. - And for then, A.V.; going aside asked him privately for went with him aside privately, and asked him, A.V. Took him by the hand (ἐπιλαβόμενος τῆς χειρὸς); see above, Acts 17:19, note. The action denotes a kindly feeling towards St. Paul, as indeed his whole conduct does (comp. Acts 24:23; Acts 27:3; also Daniel 1:9 and Psalm 106:46).
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