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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 23 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Certain of the Jews. Some of the Jews. They were more than forty in number, Ac 23:13.

Banded together. Made an agreement, or compact. They conspired to kill him.

And bound themselves under a curse. See the margin. The Greek is, "they anathematized themselves;" i.e., they bound themselves by a solemn oath. They invoked a curse on themselves, or devoted themselves to destruction, if they did not do it. Lightfoot remarks, however, that they could be absolved from this vow by the Rabbins, if they were unable to execute it. Under various pretences they could easily be freed from such oaths, and it was common to take them; and if there was any difficulty in fulfilling them, they could easily apply to their religious teachers and be absolved.

That they would neither eat nor drink. That is, that they would do it as soon as possible. This was a common form of an oath, or curse, among the Jews. Sometimes they only vowed abstinence from particular things, as from meat or wine. But in this case, to make the oath more certain and binding, they vowed abstinence from all kinds of food and drink till they had killed him. Who these were—whether their were Sadducees or not—is not mentioned by the sacred writer. It is evident, however, that the minds of the Jews were greatly inflamed against Paul; and as they saw him in the custody of the Roman tribune, and as there was no prospect that he would punish him, they resolved to take the matter into their own hands. Michaelis conjectures that they were of the number of the Sicarii, or cut-throats, with which Judea then abounded. See Barnes "Ac 21:38".

It is needless to remark that this was a most wicked oath. It was a deliberate purpose to commit murder; and it shows the desperate state of morals among the Jews at that time, and the infuriated malice of the people against the apostle.

{|} "Certain" "Some" {f} "Certain" Ac 23:21,30; 25:3

{1} "oath" "with an oath of execration" {g} "till" Ps 31:13

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