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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 3 - Verse 23

Verse 23. And it shall come to pass. It shall be or shall occur. This is not the usual word rendered "it shall come to pass." It is a word commonly expressing futurity, but here it conveys the notion of obligation. In this verse Peter has not quoted the passage in Deuteronomy literally, but he has given the sense.

Every soul. Every person, or individual. Soul is often put for the whole man by the Hebrews, Ac 7:14; Jos 10:28.

Hear that prophet. That is, obey his instructions. He shall have authority to declare the will of God; and he that does not obey him refuses to obey God. Comp. Lu 10:16; Joh 13:20.

Shall be destroyed. This quotation, is made according to the sense, and not literally. In the Hebrew the expression is, (De 18:19,) "l will require it of him," i.e. I will hold him answerable, or responsible for it; I will punish him. This expression the LXX. have rendered by "I will take vengeance on him." The idea of the passage is, therefore, that God would punish the man that would not hear the prophet, without specifying the particular way in which it should be done. The usual mode of punishing such offences was by cutting the offender off from among the people, Ex 30:33; 12:15,19; Ex 31:14; Nu 15:31; 19:13; Le 7:20,21,25,27, etc. The sense is, that he should be punished in the usual manner; i.e. by excision, or by being destroyed from among the people. The word translated shall be destroyed means, properly, to exterminate; wholly to devote to ruin, as of a wicked people, a wicked man whose life is taken, etc. To be destroyed from among the people means, however, to be excommunicated, or to be deprived of the privileges of a people. Among the Jews this was probably the most severe punishment, that could be inflicted. It involved the idea of being cut off from the privileges of sacrifice and worship in the temple and in the synagogue, etc., and of being regarded as a heathen and an outcast. The idea which Peter expressed here, was that the Jews had exposed themselves to the severest punishment in rejecting and crucifying the Lord Jesus, and that they should, therefore, repent of this great sin, and seek for mercy. The same remark is applicable still to men. The Scriptures abundantly declare the truth, that if sinners will not hear the Lord Jesus, they shall be destroyed. And it becomes each individual to inquire with honesty whether he listens to his instructions, and obeys his law, or whether he is rejecting him and following the devices and desires of his own heart.

{*} "soul" "every one"

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