Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.Chap. 13:1-14:28.] First missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas. Henceforward the history follows Saul (or Paul, as he is now (ver. 9) and from this time denominated), his ministry, and the events of his life, to the exclusion (with the sole exception of the council in ch. 15) of all the other Apostles.
13:1.] The τινες of the rec. has been interpolated, to make it appear that the persons mentioned were not the only prophets and teachers at Antioch. The enumeration is probably inserted on account of the solemnity of the incident about to be related, that it might be known who they were, to whom the Holy Spirit entrusted so weighty a commission. That those enumerated were all then present, is implied by the τε … καί: see ch. 1:13.
προφῆται] See on ch. 11:27.
διδάσκ.] Those who had the χάρισμα διδασκαλίας, see 1Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11. They were probably less immediately the organs of the Holy Spirit than the προφῆται, but under His continual guidance in the gradual and progressive work of teaching the Word (see Neander, Pfl. u. L. p. 58).
Συμεὼν ὁ καλ. Νίγερ] Nothing is known of him. From his appellation of Niger, he may have been an African proselyte.
Λούκιος] A Lucius, probably the same person, is mentioned Romans 16:21 as a συγγενής of Paul. There is no reason to suppose him the same with Λουκᾶς (Lucanus),—but the contrary; for why should Paul in this case use two different names? See Colossians 4:14; 2Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24 Wetstein, believing them to be the same, quotes Herodotus, iii. 131, πρῶτοι μὲν Κροτωνιῆται ἰητροὶ ἐλέγοντο ἀνὰ τὴν Ἑλλάδα εἶναι, δεύτεροι δὲ Κυρηναῖοι, which certainly is curious enough.
Μαναήν] The same name with Menahem (Μαναήμ or -ην LXX) the king of Israel, 2Kings 15:14. A certain Essene, of this name, foretold to Herod the Great, when a boy going to school, that he should be king of the Jews (Jos. Antt. xv. 10. 5). And in consequence, when he came to the throne, he honoured Manaen, and πάντας ἀπʼ ἐκείνου τοὺς Ἐσσηνοὺς τιμῶν διετέλει. It is then not improbable that this Manaen may have been a son of that one: but see below. The Herod here meant was Antipas, who with his brother Archelaus (both sons of Herod the Great by Malthace a Samaritan woman, see Matthew 14:1, note) παρά τινι ἰδιώτῃ τροφὰς εἶχον ἐπὶ Ῥώμης, Antt. xvii. 1. 3. Both were at this time exiles, Antipas at Lyons, Archelaus at Vienne.
σύντροφος] Probably ‘collactaneus’ (Vulg.), foster-brother; not, ‘brought up with,’ for, if he had been brought up with Antipas, he would also have been with Archelaus: see above.
In this case, his mother may have called her infant by the name of the person who had brought the Essenes into favour with Herod, and no relationship with that person need have existed.
Σαῦλος] mentioned last, perhaps because the prophets are placed first, and he was not one, but a teacher: or it may be, that he himself furnished the account. This circumstance, which has been objected to by some as invalidating the accuracy of the account, is in fact an interesting confirmation of it, as being eminently characteristic of him who spoke as in 1Corinthians 15:9; 2Corinthians 12:6; Ephesians 3:8. See Baumgarten’s striking remarks on this, vol. ii. p. 7 ff. From the arrangement of the copulæ, it would seem as if Barnabas, Symeon, and Lucius were prophets,—Manaen and Saul, teachers.
2. λειτουργούντων] The general word for the priestly service among the Jews, to which now had succeeded that of προφῆται and διδάσκαλοι in the Christian church: ministering is therefore the only word adequate to render it, as E.V. after the Vulg. ‘ministrantibus Domino:’—more closely to define it is not only impracticable, but is narrowing an expression purposely left general. Chrys. explains it by κηρυττόντων,—alii aliter: and the Romanist expositors understand the sacrifice of the mass to be meant; but in early times the word had no such reference (see reff., and Suicer sub voce).
εἶπεν τὸ πν. τὸ ἅγ.] viz. by one of the prophets present, probably Symeon or Lucius: see above. The announcement being to the church, and several persons being mentioned, we can hardly, with Meyer, suppose it to have been an inner command merely to some one person, as in the case of Philip, ch. 8:29.
δή gives precision and force to the command, implying that it was for a special purpose, and to be obeyed at the time: see reff.
τὸ ἔργον] Certainly, by ver. 4, we may infer that there had been, or was simultaneously with this command, a divine intimation made to Barnabas and Saul of the nature and direction of this work. In general, it had already been pointed out in the case of Saul, ch. 9:15; 22:21; 26:17. It consisted in preaching to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, Ephesians 3:8. In virtue of the foundation of the Gentile churches being entrusted to them, Saul and Barnabas become after this Apostles, not vice versa; nor is there the least ground for the inference that this was a formal extension of the apostolic office, the pledge of its continuance through the episcopacy to the end of time. The apostolic office terminated with the apostolic times, and by its very nature, admitted not of continuance: the episcopal office, in its ordinary sense, sprung up after the apostolic times (see the remarkable testimonies cited by Gieseler, I. i. p. 115 f. note, from Jerome on Titus 1:5, vol. vii. p. 694 f., and Epist. lxxxii. ad Hieron. 33, vol. ii. p. 290): and the two are entirely distinct. The confusion of the two belongs to that unsafe and slippery ground in church matters, the only logical refuge from which is in the traditional system of Rome. See the curious and characteristic note in Wordsw., in which he attempts to prove the identity of the two offices: and compare with it the words of Jerome, on Titus 1:5, p. 695 f., “Episcopi noverint se magis consuetudine quam dispositionis dominicæ veritate presbyteris esse majores, et in commune debere ecclesiam regere.”
3. νηστ. κ. προσευξ.] not, ‘jejunio et precibus (viz. of ver. 2) peractis,’ Kuin.: this was a new fasting and special prayer for Barnabas and Saul. Fasting and prayer have ever been connected with the solemn times of ordination by the Christian church; but the ‘jejunia quatuor temporum,’ or ‘ember days at the four seasons,’ for the special purpose of ordinations, were probably not introduced till the fourth or even fifth century. See Bingham, iv. 6. 6.
ἐπιθ. τ. χ. αὐτ.] See on ch. 6:6.
4. ἐκπεμφ.] Under the guidance of the Spirit, who directed their course.
Σελεύκειαν] A very strong fortified city (supposed impregnable, Strabo, xvi. p. 751), fifteen miles from Antioch,—on the Orontes, and five miles from its month. It was founded and fortified by Seleucus Nicator (Strabo, xvi. 749), who was buried there (Appian, Syr. 63). It was called seleucia ad mare,—and Pieria, or ἡ ἐν Πιερίᾳ, from Mount Pierius, on which it was built, to distinguish it from other Syrian towns of the same name. This mountain is called Coryphæus, Polyb. v. 59, where is a minute description of the town and its site. Among other particulars he mentions, πρόσβασιν δὲ μίαν ἔχει κατὰ τὴν ἀπὸ θαλάττης πλευρὰν κλιμακωτὴν καὶ χειροποίητον, ἐγκλίμασι καὶ σκαλώμασι πυκνοῖς καὶ συνεχέσι διειλημένην. This excavated way is to this day conspicuous amongst the ruins of the city. It was under the Seleucid kings the capital of a district Selencis,—and, since Pompey’s time, a free city, Strabo, xvi. 751. Plin. v. 21 (Winer, Realw.; and Mr. Lewin, Life of St. Paul, from an art, by Col. Chesney in the Geogr. Society’s Transactions.)
εἰς Κύπρον] The lofty outline of Cyprus is visible from the mouth of the Orontes (C. and H., edn. 2, i. p. 164). see below, ver. 7. It was the native country of Barnabas,—and, as John Mark was his kinsman, they were likely to find more acceptance there than in other parts.
5.] Salamis was the nearest port to Seleucia on the eastern side of the island. It had a good harbour (λιμένα ἔχουσα κλαυστὸν χειμερινόν, Scylax, Peripl. p. 41). It was the residence of a king anciently (Herod. iv. 162), and always one of the chief cities of the island. There were very many Jews there, as appears by there being more than one synagogue. Their numbers may have been increased by the farming of the copper-mines by Augustus to Herod. On the insurrection of the Jews in the reign of Trajan, Salamis was nearly destroyed, and they were expelled from the island. Its demolition was completed by an earthquake in the reign of Constantine, who (or his immediate successors) rebuilt it and gave it the name of Constantia. The ruins of this latter place are visible near the modern Famagosta, the Venetian capital of the island (Winer, Realw., and C. and H. pp. 171, f.).
ὑπηρέτην] Probably for the administration of baptism: see also 1Corinthians 1:14-17.
6.] Paphos is on the western shore, with the length of the island between it and Salamis. It is Nea Paphos which is meant, about eight miles north of the Paphos more celebrated in classic poets for the temple and worship of Venus. It was destroyed by an earthquake in Augustus’s reign, but rebuilt by him, Dio Cass. liv. 23. It is now called Baffa, and contains some important ruins. (Winer, Realw.)
τινὰ μάγον, κ.τ.λ.] On the prevalence of such persons at this time, see ch. 8:9, note. The Roman aristocracy were peculiarly under the influence of astrologers and magicians, some of whom were Jews. We read of such in connexion with Marius, Pompey, Crassus, Cæsar,—and later with Tiberius: and the complaints of Horace and Juvenal shew how completely, and for how long a time, Rome was inundated with Oriental impostors of every description. See Hor. Sat. i. 2.1; Juv. Sat. iii. 13-16; vi. 542-546; x. 93, and C. and H. pp. 177 ff.
Βαριησοῦς] He had given himself the Arabic title of Elymas, ‘the wise man’ (from the same root as the Turkish ‘Ulemah’), interpreted ὁ μάγος in our text.
7. τῷ ἀνθυπάτῳ] The Greek term for the Latin ‘proconsul,’ the title of the governor of those provinces which were (semblably) left by the emperors to the government of the senate and people. The proconsul was appointed by lot, as in the times of the republic; carried with him the lictors and fasces as a consul: but had no military power, and held office only for a year (Dio Cass. liii. 13). This last restriction was soon relaxed under the emperors, and they were retained five or even more years. The imperial provinces, on the other hand, were governed by a military officer, a Proprætor (ἀντιστράτηγος) or Legatus (πρεσβευτής) of the Emperor who was girded with the sword, and not revocable unless by the pleasure of the Emperor. The minor districts of the imperial provinces were governed by Procurators (ἐπίτροποι). (C. and H. pp. 173 ff.: Dio Cassius, liii. 13, 15: Merivale, Hist. of the Romans under the Empire, ch. 32) The title ἡγεμών, used in the N. T. of the procurator of Judæa, of the legatus of Syria, and of the emperor himself, is a general term for any governor. But we never find the more definite title of ἀνθύπατος assigned in the N. T. to a legatus. Cyprus, as Dio Cassius informs us, liii. 12, was originally an imperial province, and consequently was governed by a proprætor or legatus (so also Strabo, xiv. 685, γέγονε στρατηγικὴ ἐπαρχία καθʼ αὑτὴν … ἐγένετο ἐπαρχία ἡ νῆσος, καθάπερ καὶ νῦν ἐστι, στρατηγική): but immediately after he relates that Augustus ὕστερον τὴν Κύπρον κ. τὴν Γαλατίαν τὴν περὶ Νάρβωνα τῷ δήμῳ ἀπέδωκεν, αὐτὸς δὲ τὴν Δαλματίαν ἀντέλαβε. And in liv. 4, repeating the same, he adds, καὶ οὕτως ἀνθύπατοι καὶ ἐς ἐκεῖνα τὰ ἔθνη πέμπεσθαι ἤρξαντο. The title of Proconsul is found on Cyprian coins, both in Greek and Latin. (See C. and H. p. 187, who give an inscription (Boeckh, No. 2632) of the reign of Claudius, a.d. 52, mentioning the ἀνθύπατοι, a former and a present one, Julius Cordus and L. Annius Bassus.)
Nothing more is known of this Sergius Paulus. Another person of the same name is mentioned by Galen, more than a century after this, as a great proficient in philosophy. He was of consular rank, and is probably the Sergius Paulus who was consul with L. Venuleius Apronianus, a.d. 168, in the reign of M. Aurelius. Another S. P. was one of the consules suffecti in a.d. 94: but this could hardly have been the same.
8. Ἐλύμας] See above on ver. 6. διαστρέψαι … ἀπό] A pregnant construction, as ἀπέστησεν ὀπίσω, ch. 5:37.
9. ὁ καὶ Παῦλος] This notice marks the transition from the former part of his history, where he is uniformly called Saul, to the latter and larger portion, where he is without exception known as Paul. I do not regard it as indicative of any change of name at the time of this incident, or from that time: the evidence which I deduce from it is of a different kind, and not without interest to enquirers into the character and authorship of our history. Hitherto, our Evangelist has been describing events, the truth of which he had ascertained by research and from the narratives of others. But henceforward there is reason to think that the joint memoirs of himself and the great Apostle furnish the material of the book. In those memoirs the Apostle is universally known by the name Paul, which superseded the other. If this was the first incident at which Luke was present, or the first memoir derived from Paul himself, or, which is plain, however doubtful may be the other alternatives, the commencement of that part of the history which is to narrate the teaching and travels of the Apostle Paul,—it would be natural that a note should be made, identifying the two names as belonging to the same person.
The καί must not be understood as having any reference to Sergius Paulus, ‘who also (as well as Sergius) was called Paul.’ Galen (see above) uses the same expression in speaking of his Sergius Paulus: Σέργιός τε, ὁ καὶ Παῦλος.…, and then, a few lines down, calls him ὁ Παῦλος. It signifies that Paulus was a second name borne by Saul, in conformity with a Jewish practice as old as the captivity (or even as Joseph, see Genesis 41:45), of adopting a Gentile name. Mr. Howson traces it through the Persian period (see Daniel 1:7; Esther 2:7), the Greek (1 Macc. 12:16; 16:11; 2 Macc. 4:29), and the Roman (ver. 1; ch. 1:23; 18:8, &c.), and the middle ages, down to modern times. Jerome has conjectured that the name was adopted by Saul in memory of this event: ‘Diligenter attende, quod hic primum Pauli nomen inceperit. Ut enim Scipio, subjecta Africa, Africani sibi nomen assumpsit, et Metellus, Creta insula subjugata, insigne Cretici suæ familiæ reportavit;—et imperatores nunc usque Romani ex subjectis gentibus Adiabenici, Parthici, Sarmatici nuncupantur: ita et Saulus ad prædicationem gentium missus, a primo ecclesiæ spolio Proconsule Sergio Paulo victoriæ suæ tropæa retulit, erexitque vexillum ut Paulus diceretur e Saulo.’ (In Ep. ad Philemon 1:1, vol. vii. pp. 746 f.) It is strange that any one could be found capable of so utterly mistaking the character of St. Paul, or of producing so unfortunate an analogy to justify the mistake. (I may observe that Wordsw.’s apology, that Jerome does not say that the Apostle gave himself this name on this account, is distinctly precluded by Jerome’s language, “erexitque vexillum ut Paulus diceretur e Saulo.” This Wordsw., translating the final words “and instead of Saul was called Paul,” has missed seeing. Notice too Augustine’s “amavit,” below.) It is yet stranger that Augustine should, in his Confessions (viii. 4, vol. i. p. 753), adopt the same view: ‘Ipse minimus Apostolorum tuorum … ex priore Saulo Paulus vocari amavit, ob tam magnæ insigne victoriæ.’ (Elsewhere Augustine gives another, but not much better reason: ‘Paulus Apostolus, cum Saulus prius vocaretur, non ob aliud, quantum mihi videtur, hoc nomen elegit, nisi ut se ostenderet parvum, tanquam minimum Apostolorum.’ De Spir. et Lit. c. 7, vol. x. p. 207.) So also Olshausen. A more probable way of accounting for the additional name is pointed out by observing that such names were often alliterative of or allusive to the original Jewish name:—as Grotius in his note: ‘Saulus qui et Paulus: id est, qui, ex quo cum Romanis conversari cœpit, hoc nomine, a suo non abludente, cœpit a Romanis appellari. Sic qui Jesus Judæis, Græcis Jason (or Justus, Colossians 4:11): Hillel, Pollio: Onias, Menelaus (Jos. Antt. xii. 5. 1): Jakim (= Eliakim), Alcimus. Apud Romanos, Silas, Silvanus, ut notavit Hieronymus: Pasides, Pansa, ut Suetonius in Crassitio: Diocles, Diocletianus: Biglinitza, soror Justiniani, Romane Vigilantia.’
ἀτενίσας εἰς αὐτόν] It seems probable that Paul never entirely recovered his sight as before, after the δόξα τοῦ φωτὸς ἐκείνου. We have several apparent allusions to weakness in his sight, or to something which rendered his bodily presence contemptible. In ch. 23:1, the same expression, ἀτενίσας τῷ συνεδρίῳ, occurs, and may have some bearing (see note there) on his not recognizing the high priest. See also Galatians 4:13, Galatians 4:15; Galatians 6:11, and 2Corinthians 12:7, 2Corinthians 12:9, and notes. The traditional notices of his personal appearance (see C. and H. p. 181, note) represent him as having contracted and overhanging eyebrows.
Whatever the word may imply, it appears like the graphic description of an eye witness, who was not Paul himself. So also περιάγων ἐζήτει χειραγωγούς, below.
10. υἱὲ διαβ.] Meyer supposes an indignant allusion to the name Bar-jesus. This is possible, though hardly probable (see below). διαβ., which usually has the article, is elsewhere found without it only in (1Peter 5:8) Revelation 12:9, 22. See Moulton’s Winer, p. 155, note 1.
πάς. δικ., of all that is right.
διαστρ. κ.τ.λ.] The οὐ παύσῃ evidently makes this apply, not to Elymas’s conduct on this occasion merely, but to his whole life of imposture and perversion of others. The especial sin was, that of laying hold of the nascent enquiry after God in the minds of men, and wresting it to a wrong direction.
κυρίου, here and ver. 11, is Jehovah. If, as some suppose, the reading of the name Bar-jesus is Bar-jehu, the repetition may be allusive: as in the other case might the ἐχθρὲ πάς. δικαιοσύνης to the name Jesus. But Meyer supposes the various readings in the forms of the name (Barsuma, Barjesuban) to have arisen from a desire to reverence the Name Jesus.
τυφλὸς μὴ βλέπων] so μνήσθητι μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ, Deuteronomy 9:7.
11. ἄχρι καιροῦ] The punishment was only temporary, being accompanied with a gracious purpose to the man himself, to awaken repentance in him. The sense given to ἄχρι κ. by Tittmann and Meyer here and at ref. Luke, of ἕως τέλους, is one of which it seems to me incapable.
ἀχλὺς κ. σκότος] In the same precise and gradual manner is the healing of the lame man, ch. 3:8, described: ἔστη (first), κ. περιεπάτει. So here, first a dimness came on him,—then total darkness. And we may conceive this to have been evinced by his gestures and manner under the infliction.
12. ἐπὶ τῇ διδ. τ. κυρ.] Hesitating as he had been before between the teaching of the sorcerer and that of the Apostle, he is amazed at the divine power accompanying the latter, and gives himself up to it. It is not said that he was baptized: but the supposition is not thereby excluded: see ver. 48; ch. 17:12, 34; 18:8, first part.
13. οἱ περὶ Π.] Is there not a trace of the narrator being among them, in this expression?
Henceforward Paul is the principal person, and Barnabas is thrown into the background.
Πέργην τ. Παμφ.] Perga lies on the Cestrus, which flows into the bay of Attaleia. It is sixty stadia from the mouth (εἶθʼ ὁ Κέστρος ποταμός, ὃν ἀναπλεύσαντι σταδίους ἑξήκοντα Πέργη πόλις, Strabo, xiv. p. 667), “between and upon the sides of two hills, with an extensive valley in front, watered by the river Cestrus, and backed by the mountains of the Taurus.” (C. and H. vol. i. p. 195, from Sir C. Fellows’s Asia Minor.) The remains are almost entirely Greek, with few traces of later inhabitants (p. 194 and note).
The inhabitants of Pamphylia were nearly allied in character to those of Cilicia (οἱ Πάμφυλοι, πολὺ τοῦ Κιλικίου φίλου μετέχοντες, Srabo, xii. § 7): and it may have been Paul’s design, having already preached in his own province, to extend the Gospel of Christ to this neighbouring people.
John probably took the opportunity of some ship sailing from Perga. His reason for returning does not appear, but may be presumed from ch. 15:38 to have been, unsteadiness of character, and unwillingness to face the dangers abounding in this rough district (see below). He afterwards, having been the subject of dissension between Paul and Barnabas, ch. 15:37-40, accompanied the latter again to Cyprus; and we find him at a much later period spoken of by Paul, together with Aristarchus and Jesus called Justus, as having been a comfort to him (Colossians 4:10, Colossians 4:11): and again in 2Timothy 4:11, as profitable to him for the ministry.
14. διελθόντες] It is not improbable that during this journey Paul may have encountered some of the ‘perils by robbers’ of which he speaks, 2Corinthians 11:26. The tribes inhabiting the mountains which separate the table-land of Asia Minor from the coast, were notorious for their lawless and marauding habits. Strabo says of Isauria, λῃστῶν ἅπασαι κατοικίαι (xii. 6), and of the Pisidians, καθάπερ οἱ Κίλικες, λῃστρικῶς ἤσκηνται, xii. 7. He gives a similar character of the Pamphylians.
Ἀντιόχεια ἡ Πισιδία or πρὸς Πισιδίᾳ, Strabo, xii. 8, was founded originally (Strabo, ib.) by the Magnetes on the Meander, and subsequently by Seleucus Nicator, and became, under Augustus, a Roman colony (ἔχουσα ἐποικίαν Ῥωμαίων, Strabo, ib.:—‘Pisidarum colonia Cæsarea, eadem Antiocheia.’ Plin. v. 24.
‘In Pisidia juris Italici est colonia Antiochensium,’ Paulus, Digest. i. 15). Its position is described by Strabo as being on a hill, and was unknown or wrongly placed till Mr. Arundell found its ruins at a place now called Yalobatch, answering to Strabo’s description: where since an inscription has been found with the letters Antiocheae Caesare (C. and H. pp. 205, 207 note).
15.] The divisions of the law and prophets at present in use among the Jews were probably not yet arranged. Before the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Law only was read in the synagogues: but, this having been forbidden by him, the Prophets were substituted:—and, when the Maccabees restored the reading of the Law, that of the prophets continued as well.
ἀπέστειλαν] Then they were not sitting in the πρωτοκαθεδρίαι, Matthew 23:6, but somewhere among the congregation. The message was probably sent to them as having previously to this taught in the city, and thus being known to have come for that purpose. See, as illustrating our narrative, Luke 4:17 ff. and notes.
16. κατασείσας τ. χειρί] As was his practice; see ch. 21:40. See also ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα, ch. 26:1.
On the character, &c. of Paul’s speeches reported in the Acts, see Prolegg. § i. 13; ii. 17.
The contents of this speech (vv. 16-41) may be thus arranged: I. Recapitulation of God’s ancient deliverances of His people and mercies towards them, ending with His crowning mercy, the sending of the Deliverer and promised Son of David (vv. 16-25). II. The history of the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, and of God’s fulfilment of His promise by raising Him from the dead (vv. 26-37). III. The personal application of this to all present,—the announcement to them of justification by faith in Jesus, and solemn warning against the rejection of Him (vv. 38-41). It is in the last degree unsafe to argue, as Wordsworth has done, that, because Strabo asserts the language of the Pisidians to have been neither Greek nor Lydian, St. Paul must have spoken to them by virtue of his miraculous gift of tongues. To the question put by Wordsw., “In what language did St. Paul preach in Pisidia?” we may reply, seeing that he preached in the synagogue after the reading of the law and prophets, “In the same language as that in which the law and prophets had just been read.”
οἱ φοβ. τ. θ.] The (uncircumcised) proselytes of the gate; not excluding even such pious Gentiles, not proselytes in any sense, who might be present. The speech, from the beginning and throughout, is universal in its application, embracing Jews and Gentiles.
17. τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου] ‘Hoc dicit Pisidis, Judæos digito monstrans’ (Grot.). Or rather, perhaps by the τούτου indicating, without gesture, the people in whose synagogue they were assembled.
τ. πατ. ἡμῶν] It is evident that the doctrine so much insisted on afterwards by Paul, that all believers in Christ were the true children of Abraham, was fully matured already: by the τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου he alludes to the time when God was the God of the Jews only: by this ἡμῶν he unites all present in the now extended inheritance of the promises made to the fathers.
ὕψωσεν] Evidently an allusion to Isaiah 1:2, where the word is also used in the sense of ‘bringing up,’ nourishing to manhood. This was done by increasing them in Egypt so that they became a great nation: see ref. Gen. There is no reference to any exaltation of the people during their stay in Egypt: whether by their deliverance (Calv., Heinr., Elsner), or by the miracles of Moses (Meyer), or by Joseph’s preferment to honour (Beza, Grot.).
18. ἐτροφοφόρησεν] That this is the right reading, is rendered highly probable by manuscript authority here and still more in the LXX of ref. Deut., and, I conceive, decided by the Heb. of that passage, and by the expansion of the same image in Numbers 11:12. The compound verb (from ὁ, not ἡ, τροφός, as the similitude is that of a man (אִישׁ) bearing his son) implies carrying and caring for, as a nurse: see ref. Macc.
The unusual transitive sense of κατεκληρονόμησεν, justified by reff. LXX, has not been understood by the copyists, and has led to the rec. reading.
From the occurrence of manifest references, in these opening verses of the speech, to Deu_1 and Isa_1, combined with the fact that these two chapters form the present lessons in the synagogues on one and the same sabbath, Bengel and Stier conclude that they had been then read. It may have been so: but see on ver. 15.
20.] Treating the reading of (see var. readd.) as an attempt at correcting the difficult chronology of our verse, and taking the words as they stand, no other sense can be given to them, than that the time of the judges lasted 450 years. The dative ἔτεσιν (see ch. 8:11) implies the duration of the period between ταῦτα (the division of the land), and Samuel the prophet, inclusive. And we have exactly the same chronological arrangement in Josephus; who reckons (Antt. viii. 3. 1) 592 years from the Exodus to the building of Solomon’s temple,—arranging the period thus: (1) forty years in the wilderness: (2) twenty-five years under Joshua (στρατηγὸς δὲ μετὰ τὴν Μωυσέως τελευτὴν πέντε κ. εἴκοσι, Antt. v. 1. 29): (3) Judges (below): (4) forty years under Saul, see on ver. 21: (5) forty years under David, 1Kings 2:11: (6) four years of Solomon’s own reign. This gives 592-149 = 443 years (about, ὡς, 450) for the Judges, including Samuel. That this chronology differs widely from 1Kings 6:1, is most evident,—where we read that Solomon began his temple in the four hundred and eightieth (LXX, four hundred and fortieth) year after the Exodus. All attempts to reconcile the two are arbitrary and forced. I subjoin the principal. (1) Perizonius and others assume that the years during which the Israelites were subject to foreign tyrants in the time of the Judges are not reckoned in 1Kings 6:1, and attempt, by adding them, to make out the period—in direct contradiction to the account there, which is, not that the Judges lasted a certain number of years, but that Solomon began to build his temple in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Exodus. (2) Calovius, Mill, &c. supply γενόμενα after πεντήκοντα, and construe, these things ‘which happened in the space of 450 years,’ viz. from the birth of Isaac to the division of the land. But why the birth of Isaac? The words too will not bear this construction. (3) Olshausen conceives the 450 years may include all from the Exodus, as far as the building of the temple. But to this the objection which he himself mentions is fatal, viz. that μετὰ ταῦτα and ἐκεῖθεν must beyond dispute give the termini a quo and ad quem of the period. (4) Others suppose various corruptions, here or at 1Kings 6:1, and by arbitrary conjecture emend so as to produce accordance.
It seems then that Paul followed a chronology current among the Jews, and agreeing with the book of Judges itself (the spaces of time in which, added together = exactly 450), and that adopted by Josephus, but not with that of our present Hebrew text of 1Kings 6:1. The objection to this view, that Josephus is not consistent with himself (Olsh.),—but in Antt. xx. 10. 1, contra Apion. ii. 2 gives another chronology, has arisen from not observing that in the latter places, where he states 612 years to have elapsed from the Exodus to Solomon’s temple, he reckons in the twenty years occupied in building the temple and the king’s house, 1Kings 6:38; 1Kings 7:1. His words are, Antt. xx. 10. 1, ἀφʼ ἧς ἡμέρας οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἐξέλιπον Αἴγυπτον Μωυσέως ἄγοντος, μέχρι τῆς τοῦ ναοῦ κατασκευῆς, ὃν Σολομῶν ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἀνήγειρεν, ἔτη δυοκαίδεκα πρὸς τοῖς ἑξακοσίοις. To reckon in the thirteen years during which he was building his own house may be an inaccuracy, but there is no inconsistency.
Wordsworth, contrary to his usual practice, takes refuge in the amended text of ABC, and then characterizes in the severest language those who have had the moral courage to abide by the more difficult reading, charging them with “arbitrary caprice,” “gratifying a sceptical appetite,” &c. I cite this as an example of that elastic criticism, which by any means within reach, and at any price, smooths away every difficulty from the sacred text.
Σαμουήλ] mentioned as the terminus of the period of the Judges, also as having been so nearly concerned in the setting up over them of Saul and David.
21. Σαοὺλ … ἄνδρα ἐκ φ. Β.] It may be not altogether irrelevant to notice that a Saul, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, was speaking; and to trace in this minute specification something characteristic and natural.
ἔτη τεσσεράκοντα] So also Josephus: ἐβασίλευσε Σαοὺλ Σαμουήλου ζῶντος ἔτη ὀκτὼ πρὸς τοῖς δέκα· τελευτήσαντος δὲ δύο καὶ εἴκοσι, Antt. vi. 14. 9. In the O. T. the length of Saul’s reign is not specified; 1Samuel 7:2 gives no reason, as Bengel thinks, why Saul’s reign should have been less than twenty years, as the twenty years there mentioned do not extend to the bringing up of the ark by David, but only to the circumstances mentioned in the following verses. Biscoe has well shewn (p. 399), that as Saul was a young man when anointed king, and Ishbosheth his youngest son (1Chronicles 8:33) was forty years old at his death (2Samuel 2:10), his reign cannot have been much short of that period. It is clearly against the construction to suppose Samuel’s time as well as Saul’s included in the forty years, following as they do upon the ἔδωκεν. Yet this has been done by the majority of Commentators.
22. μεταστήσας] having deposed him (reff.): in this case, by his death, for David was not made king till then. Or perhaps μεταστ. may refer to the sentence pronounced against Saul, 1Samuel 13:14, or 15:23, 28, and ἤγειρεν to the whole process of the exaltation of David to be king. But I prefer the former.
ᾧ κ. εἶπεν μ.] The two passages, Psa_89: (88 LXX) 20, and 1Samuel 13:14, are interwoven together: both were spoken of David, and both by prophetic inspiration. They are cited from memory, neither τὸν τοῦ Ἰεσσαί nor ὅς … μου being found in them. These latter words are spoken of Cyrus, see reff. That such citations are left in their present shape in our text, forms a strong presumption that we have the speeches of Paul verbatim as delivered by him, and no subsequent general statement of what he said, in which case the citations would have been corrected by the sacred text.
23. κατʼ ἐπαγγ. ἤγαγεν] viz. the promise in ref. Zech. (LXX), where the very word ἄγω is used; not however excluding the many other promises to the same effect.
The reading σωτηρίαν has probably arisen from the contracted way of writing Ἰησοῦν, thus: σωτηραῑν; and then from ver. 26 σωτηρίαν was adopted.
24. εἰσόδου] referring to ἤγαγεν above—his coming forward publicly. 25.
25.] As John was fulfilling his course (the expression is peculiar to Paul, see reff.) he said (not once but habitually).
τί ἐμὲ ὑπ. εἶν.] Not, ‘I am not that which ye suppose me to be,’ as Vulg. (reading τίνα,—quem me arbitramini esse, non sum ego); Luth., Grot., Kuin.,—making τί (or τίνα) relative, which it will not bear (see note on 1Corinthians 15:2); but What suppose ye me to be? I am not He. See Luke 3:15 ff.
26. [The same two classes (see on ver. 16), Jews and God-fearing gentiles, are here again addressed.]
τ. σωτηρίας ταύτης] viz. the salvation implied in Jesus being a σωτήρ—salvation by Him.
27.] The position of ἡμῖν at the commencement of its clause in the last verse shews the emphasis to be on it, and now the reason is given—for the Jews in Jerusalem have rejected it. See ch. 22:18-21.
τὰς φωνάς is not governed by ἀγνοήσαντες, which makes the sentence an unusually harsh one in construction, requiring αὐτόν to be supplied after κριν., and αὐτάς after ἐπλήρωσαν. The καί, as often, merely introduces, without the emphasis implied by our ‘even,’ a new element into the sentence. It is perhaps hardly possible to find in our language or the Latin any one word which may give exactly this slight shade of meaning, and no more: paraphrased, the sense might be (but imperfectly and clumsily) thus represented: in their ignorance of Him (not only rejected His salvation, but) by judging Him, fulfilled the voices of the prophets, &c.
29.] The two verbs ἐτέλεσαν and ἔθηκαν have still the same subject, viz. of οἱ κατοικοῦντες κ.τ.λ. De Wette rightly remarks, that Paul, in this compendious narrative, makes no distinction between friend and foe in what was done to our Lord, but regards both as fulfilling God’s purpose regarding him. I may add, that there is also a contrast between what men did to Him, and ὁ δὲ θεὸς ἤγειρεν αὐτόν.
Joseph and Nicodemus, be it observed, were both ἄρχοντες.
Paul touches but lightly on the cross of Christ, and hastens on to the great point, the Resurrection, as the fulfilment of prophecy and seal of the Messiahship of Jesus.
31.] The νῦν gives peculiar force to the sentence. Who are at this moment witnesses,—living witnesses; q. d. ‘I am not telling you a matter of the past merely, but one made present to the people of the Jews (τῷ λαῷ) by living and autoptic testimony.’
32. ἡμεῖς ὑμᾶς] He and Barnabas were not of the number of the συναναβάντες, ver. 31, nor was their mission to the Jewish people. ‘They are at this moment witnessing to the people, we, preaching to you.’ Stier observes (Red. d. Apost. p. 367) how entirely Paul sinks himself, his history and commission from Christ, in the great object of his preaching.
ἀναστήσας] The meaning having raised Him from the dead is absolutely required by the context: both because the word is repeated with ἐκ νεκρῶν (ver. 34), and because the Apostle’s emphasis throughout the passage is on the Resurrection (ver. 30) as the final fulfilment (ἐκπεπλήρωκεν) of God’s promises regarding Jesus. This is maintained by Luther, Hammond, Le Clerc, Meyer, &c.: the other meaning, ‘having raised up,’ as in ch. 7:37, προφήτην ὑμῖν ἀναστήσει ὁ κύριος,—by Calvin, Beza, Calov., Wolf, Michaelis, Rosenm., Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olsh., and by Mr. Humphry. Meyer well remarks, that this meaning would hardly in our passage have been thought of or defended, had it not been that the subjoined citation from Psa_2 has been thought necessarily to apply to our Lord’s mission upon earth.
33.] The reading ἐν τῷ πρώτεῳ ψαλμῷ is explained thus: “hic psalmus qui nobis secundus est olim primus fuit, quod is qui præcedit, tanquam proœmium, numeratus non esset.” Rosenm. Arg. Psa_2 St. Paul refers the prophecy in its full completion to the Resurrection of our Lord: similarly in Romans 1:4, ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει … ἑξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν.
34. μηκέτι μέλλ.] Compare Romans 6:9, χριστὸς ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν οὐκέτι ἀποθνήσκει· θἁνατος αὐτοῦ οὐκέτι κυριεύει. It is interesting to trace the same shades of thought in the speeches and epistles of Paul; and abundant opportunity of doing so will occur as we proceed.
But here the ὑποστρ. εἰς διαφθ. does not merely imply death, so that Jesus should have once undergone it, and no more hereafter, as the E. V. seems to imply: but we must supply ‘to die, and in consequence to’ before the words, understanding them as the result of death, if it had dominion over him: thus the clause answers even more remarkably to Romans 6:9.
τὰ ὅσια is the LXX rendering of חַסְדֵי, ref. Isa., which in 2Chronicles 6:42, they have translated τὰ ἐλέη. The word ‘holy’ should have been preserved in the E. V., as answering to τὸν ὅσιόν σου below; the mercies of David, holy and sure: or my holy promises which I made sore unto David. 35. διότι καί
35. διότι καί] wherefore also,—correspondent to which purpose, of His Christ not seeing corruption.
ἑτέρῳ] viz. ψαλμῷ, referring to ver. 33.
λέγει] viz. ὁ θεός, not David: the subject is continued from vv. 32 and 34, and fixed by εἴρηκεν and δώσω just preceding. δώσεις and ὅσιον accurately correspond to δώσω and ὅσια before. See on ch. 2:27.
36.] The psalm, though spoken by David, cannot have its fulfilment in David.
ἰδίᾳ γενεᾷ] The dative commodi, not ‘sua generatione,’ which is flat in the extreme. David ministered only to the generation in which he lived: but διὰ τούτου, remission of sins is preached ὑμῖν, and to all who believe on Him.
τῇ τοῦ θ. βουλῇ is best taken with ὑπηρετήσας, not with ἐκοιμήθη:—as E. V., after he had served his own generation by the will (i.e. according to the appointment) of God. His whole course was marked out and fixed by God—he fulfilled it, and fell asleep. I prefer this, because joining τῇ τοῦ θ. β. with ἐκοιμήθη seems to diminish the importance of that verb in the sentence. (See, on the whole, 2Samuel 7:12; 1Kings 2:10.)
προσετ. κ.τ.λ.] An expression arising from the practice of burying families together: see reff. and passim in O. T.
38.] Paul speaks here of justification only in its lowest sense, as negative, and synonymous with remission of sins; he does not unfold here that higher sense of δικαιόω, the accounting righteous, which those who have from God are δίκαιοι ἐκ πίστεως. It is the first office of the Spirit by which he spoke, ἐλέγχειν περὶ ἁμαρτίας, before He ἐλέγχει περὶ δικαιοσύνης: therefore he dwells on the ἄφεσις ἁμαρτιῶν, merely just giving a glimpse of the great doctrine of justification, of which he had such wonderful things to write and to say.
39.] [And] from all things, from which ye could not in (under) the law of Moses be justified, in Him (as ἐν χριστῷ, ἐν κυρίῳ passim) every believer is (habitual pres.) justified. ἀπὸ πάντων (ἀφʼ) ὧν, from all things (sins), from which.… but not implying that in the law of Moses there might be justification from some sins;—under the law there is no justification (ἐν νόμῳ οὐδεὶς δικαιοῦται παρὰ τῷ θεῷ, Galatians 3:11):—but = Christ shall do for you all that the law could not do: leaving it for inference, or for further teaching, that this was absolutely all: that the law could do nothing. The same thought is expanded Romans 8:3, Romans 8:4, τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου, ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, ὁ θεὸς κ.τ.λ.… ἵνα τὸ δικαίωμα τ. νόμου πληρωθῇ ἐν ἡμῖν. This interpretation will be the more clearly established, when we remember that δικαιοῦν ἀπὸ ἁμαρτίας was not in any sense, and could not be, the office of the law, by which came the knowledge of sin. The expression δικαιοῦν ἀπὸ is only once used again by Paul (ref.), and that where he is arguing against the continuing in sin. ὁ πιστεύων is not to be joined with ἐν τούτῳ, which (see above) is contrasted with ἐν νόμῳ Μ. It is quite in Paul’s manner to use πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων thus absolutely: see Romans 1:16; Romans 3:22; Romans 10:4 (Galatians 3:22). Still less, with Luther, can we take as far as δικαιωθῆναι with ver. 38, and make ἐν τούτῳ.… δικαιοῦται a separate sentence.
40.] The object of preaching the Gospel to the Jews first was for a testimony to them: its reception was almost uniformly unfavourable: and against such anticipated rejection he now warns them.
τοῖς προφ.] The book of the prophets: see ch. 3:18, note.
41. καταφρονηταί] So the LXX for בַּגּוֹיִם, ‘among the heathen,’ for which they seem to have read בּוֹגְדִים. So the Arabic, ‘videte arrogantes:’ and the Syriac, ‘videte transgressores.’ (Kuinoel.)
The prophecy was spoken of the judgment to be inflicted by means of the Chaldæans: but neither this nor any other prophecy is confined in its application to the occasion of which it was once spoken, but gathers up under it all analogous procedures of God’s providence: such repeated fulfilments increasing in weight, and approaching nearer and nearer to that last and great fulfilment of all the promises of grace and all the threats of wrath, by which every prophetic word shall be exhausted.
42.] The insertions in the rec. have been made (see var. readd.) partly perhaps to remove the ambiguity in αὐτῶν, and to supply a subject to παρεκάλουν. But they confuse the sense.
ἐξιόντων αὐτ., As they (the congregation) were going out, they (the same) besought.
On the N.T. construction, παρεκάλουν λαληθῆναι, i.e. the passive inf. after verbs of commanding, exhorting, &c., see Buttmann, Grammatik des N. T.-lichen Sprachgebrauchs, § 141. 5, p. 236. He traces it to the influence of the Latin jubere and the like. See, among his many examples, Mark 5:43; Mark 6:27; ch. 5:21; 22:24; 25:21.
τὸ μεταξὺ σάβ. appears, by the usage of Luke, to mean the next sabbath-day, not ‘the following week.’ This last rendering would hardly suit εἰς, which fixes a definite occasion,—nor ver. 44, which gives the result. The ref. to Josephus abundantly justifies this use of μεταξύ.
43. λυθ. δὲ τ. ς.] After the breaking up of the synagogue. οἵτινες
οἵτινες] Paul and Barnabas; and αὐτοῖς, to the Jews and proselytes: not vice versâ, as Calvin inclines to believe: see a similar expression ch. 11:23. There too, we have ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ similarly used of the work of the Gospel begun in the hearts of the converts. See also reff.
44.] Whether ἐρχ. or ἐχ. be read, the sense will be on the following sabbath-day: not, as Heinrichs, ‘on the following week-day.’
συνήχθη] ‘In the synagogue;’ it was the sight of the Gentile crowds in their house of prayer which stirred up the jealousy of the Jews.
45. ἀντιλ. καί] These words (see var. readd.) form a graphic repetition, passing from the particular thing which they did, viz. contradict the words spoken by Paul, to the spirit in which they did it, viz. a contradictious and blaspheming one. It is no Hebraism.
46. πρῶτον] See ch. 3:26; Romans 1:16.
47.] Agreeing with LXX-Aא, B reading δέδωκα for τέθεικα. They refer the σε not to themselves as teachers (as Meyer seems to think), but to Christ.
48. τεταγμένοι] The meaning of this word must be determined by the context. The Jews had judged themselves unworthy of eternal life: the Gentiles, as many as were disposed to eternal life, believed. By whom so disposed, is not here declared: nor need the word be in this place further particularized. We know, that it is God who worketh in us the will to believe, and that the preparation of the heart is of Him: but to find in this text pre-ordination to life asserted, is to force both the word and the context to a meaning which they do not contain. The key to the word here is the comparison of ref. 1 Cor. εἰς διακονίαν τοῖς ἁγίοις ἔταξαν ἑαυτούς, with ref. Rom. αἱ οὖσαι (ἐξουσίαι) ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τεταγμέναι εἰσίν: in both of which places the agents are expressed, whereas here the word is absolute. See also ch. 20:13. The principal interpretations are: (1) Calvin, &c., who find here predestination in the strongest sense: ‘orainatio ista nonnisi ad æternum Dei consilium potest referri’ … ‘ridiculum autem cavillum est referre hoc ad credentium affectum, quasi Evangelium receperint qui animis rite dispositi erant.’ So the Vulgate, ‘præordinati:’ and Aug. ‘destinati: (2) ‘Qui juxta ordinem a Deo institutum dispositi erant’ (Franz, Calov.: but not Bengel (as De W.), who explains it as I have done above): (3) ‘Quibus, dum fidem doctrinæ habebant, certa erat vita beata’ (Morus, Kuinoel): (4) ‘Qui ad vitam æternam se ordinarant’ (Grot., Limborch, Wolf, al.): (5) ‘Quotquot erant dispositi, applicati, i.e. apti facti oratione Pauli ad vitam æt. adipiscendam’ (Bretschneider): (6) taking τετ. militari sensu, ‘Qui de agmine et classe erant sperantium vel contendentium ad v. æ.’ (Mede, and similarly Schöttg.) There are several other renderings, but so forced as to be mere caricatures of exegesis: see Meyer. It may be worth while to protest against all attempts to join ἐπίστευσαν with εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, which usage will not bear. Wordsworth well observes that it would be interesting to enquire what influence such renderings as this of præordinati in the Vulgate version had on the minds of men like St. Augustine and his followers in the Western Church in treating the great questions of free will, election, reprobation, and final perseverance: and on some writers in the reformed churches who, though rejecting the authority of that version, were yet swayed by it away from the sense of the original here and in ch. 2:47. The tendency of the Eastern Fathers, who read the original Greek, was, he remarks, in a different direction from that of the Western School.
50. τὰς σεβ. γυν.] Women had a strong religious influence both for and against Christianity: see for the former ch. 16:14; 17:4; Philippians 4:3; 1Corinthians 7:16: for the latter, compare Josephus’s statement (B. J. ii. 20.2), that the majority of the wives of the Damascenes were proselytes, with ch. 9:22-25. Strabo (vii. 3: C. and H. i. p. 219) says, ἅπαντες τῆς δεισιδαιμονίας ἀρχηγοὺς οἴονται τὰς γυναῖκας αὗται δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας προκαλοῦνται πρὸς τὰς ἐπὶ πλέον θεραπείας τῶν θεῶν καὶ ἑορτὰς καὶ ποτνιασμούς.
These were proselytes of the gate, or at least inclined to Judaism.
ἐξέβαλον] Though the πρῶτοι τῆς πόλεως, at the instigation, probably, of their wives, were concerned, this seems to have been no legal expulsion: for we find them revisiting Antioch on their return, ch. 14:21;—but only a compulsory retirement for peace, and their own safety’s sake.
51.] As commanded by our Lord, Matthew 10:14, where see note.
Ἰκόνιον] A populous city, east of Antioch in Pisidia, lying in a fertile plain at the foot of, and almost surrounded by, Mount Taurus. It is reckoned by Xenophon (Anab. i. 2. 19) as belonging to Phrygia,—by Strabo (xii. 568) and Cicero (ad Famil. xv. 4) to Lycaonia, of which it was practically the capital,—by Ammianus Marcellinus (xiv. 2) to Pisidia. At this time, it was the capital of a distinct territory, ruled by a tetrarch (Plin. N. H. v. 27), and probably on that account is not reckoned to any of the above-mentioned districts. It became famous in the middle ages as the capital of the Seljukian Sultans, and had a great part in the growth of the Ottoman empire. It is now Konín, a town of 30,000 inhabitants. (Winer, Realw.; C. and H. i. pp. 220, f.)
52.] See, for similar “joyful perorations,” as Wordsworth well designates them, Luke 24:52; ch. 5:41; 12:24.