Ac 21:1-16. Sailing from
Ephesus, They Land at Tyre, and Thence
Sailing to Ptolemais, They Proceed by
Land to Cæsarea and Jerusalem.
1. we were gotten—"torn."
from them—expressing the difficulty
and pain of the parting.
with a straight course—running before
the wind, as Ac 16:11.
unto Coos—Cos, an island due south
from Miletus, which they would reach in about six hours, and coming
close to the mainland.
the day following unto Rhodes—another
island, some fifty miles to the southeast, of brilliant classic memory
thence unto Patara—a town on the
magnificent mainland of Lycia, almost due east from Rhodes. It was the
seat of a celebrated oracle of Apollo.
2. And finding a ship—their former one
going no farther, probably.
to Phœnica—(See on Ac 11:19).
went abroad—One would almost think
this extracted from a journal of the voyage, so graphic are its
3. when we … discovered—"sighted,"
as the phrase is.
Cyprus, we left it on the left
hand—that is, steered southeast of it, leaving it on the
Syria, and landed at Tyre—the
celebrated seat of maritime commerce for East and West. It might be
reached from Patara in about two days.
there the ship was to unlade her
burden—which gave the apostle time for what follows.
4-6. finding disciples—finding out the
disciples, implying some search. They would expect such, from what is
recorded, Ac 11:19.
Perhaps they were not many; yet there were gifted ones among them.
who said to Paul … that he should not go
up to Jerusalem—(See on Ac 20:23; also
see on Ac 21:11-14).
5. they all brought us on our way with wives and
children … and we kneeled down on the shore and
prayed—(See on Ac 20:36). Observe here
that the children of these Tyrian disciples not only were taken
along with their parents, but must have joined in this act of solemn
worship. See on Eph 6:1.
7. when we had finished our
course—completing the voyage
from Tyre, we came—which they would do
the same day.
to Ptolemais—anciently called Accho
1:31), now St. Jean d'Acre,
and saluted the brethren, and abode,
&c.—disciples gathered probably as at Tyre, on the occasion
mentioned (Ac 11:19).
8-10. next day we that were of Paul's
company departed—(The words "the were of Paul's company" are
omitted in the best manuscripts. They were probably added as the
connecting words at the head of some church lessons).
and came to Cæsarea—a run along
the coast, southward, of some thirty miles.
Philip the evangelist—a term answering
apparently very much to our missionary [Howson], by whose ministry such joy had been
diffused over Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch had been baptized (Ac 8:4-40).
one of the seven—deacons, who had
"purchased to himself a good degree" (1Ti 3:13). He and Paul now meet for the first
time, some twenty-five years after that time.
9. the same man had four daughters … which
did prophesy—fulfilling Joe 2:28 (see Ac 2:18). This is mentioned, it would seem,
merely as a high distinction divinely conferred on so devoted a servant
of the Lord Jesus, and probably indicates the high tone of religion in
10. tarried there many—"a good
days—Finding himself in good time for
Pentecost at Jerusalem, he would feel it a refreshing thing to his
spirit to hold Christian communion for a few days with such a
there came down from Judea—the news of
Paul's arrival having spread.
a certain prophet … Agabus—no
doubt the same as in Ac 11:28.
11-14. So shall the Jews bind the man that owneth
this girdle, &c.—For though the Romans did it, it was at
the Jews' instigation (Ac 21:33; Ac 28:17). Such dramatic methods of announcing
important future events would bring the old prophets to remembrance.
(Compare Isa 20:2, &c.; Jer 13:1, and Eze 5:1, &c.). This prediction and that at
21:4) were intended, not to
prohibit him from going, but to put his courage to the test and when he
stood the test, to deepen and mature it.
12. we and they at that place—the
besought him—even with tears, Ac 21:13.
not to go to Jerusalem.
13. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and
to break mine heart—Beautiful union of manly resoluteness and
womanly tenderness, alike removed from mawkishness and stoicism!
I am ready not to be bound only—"If
that is all, let it come."
but to die, &c.—It was well he
could add this, for he had that also to do.
15, 16. we took up our carriages—"our
and went up to Jerusalem—for the
fifth time after his conversion, thus concluding his third
missionary tour, which proved his last, so far as recorded;
for though he accomplished the fourth and last part of the missionary
plan sketched out (Ac 19:21)—"After I have been at Jerusalem,
I must also see Rome"—it was as "a prisoner of Jesus Christ."
16. went with us … and brought with
them—rather, "brought us to."
One Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple,
&c.—not an "aged" disciple, but probably "a disciple of old
standing," perhaps one of the three thousand converted on the day of
Pentecost, or, more likely still, drawn to the Saviour Himself during
His lifetime. He had come, probably, with the other Cyprians (Ac 11:20), to Antioch, "preaching the Lord
Jesus unto the Grecians," and now he appears settled at Jerusalem.
Ac 21:17-40. Paul Reports
the Events of His Third Missionary Journey—In the Temple, Purifying
Himself from a Jewish Vow, He Is Seized
by a Mob and Beaten to the Danger of His Life—The Uproar Becoming Universal, the Roman Commandant Has Him
Brought in Chains to the Fortress, from the Stairs of Which He Is
Permitted to Address the
The apostle was full of anxiety about this visit to
Jerusalem, from the numerous prophetic intimations of danger awaiting
him, and having reason to expect the presence at this feast of the very
parties from whose virulent rage he had once and again narrowly escaped
with his life. Hence we find him asking the Roman Christians to wrestle
with him in prayer, "for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love
of the Spirit, that he might be delivered from them that believed
not in Judea," as well as "that his service which he had for
Jerusalem (the great collection for the poor saints there) might be
accepted of the saints" (Ro 15:30, 31).
17-19. the brethren received us
gladly—the disciples generally, as distinguished from the
official reception recorded in Ac 21:18.
18. Paul went in with us unto James; and all the
elders were present—to "report himself" formally to the
acknowledged head of the church at Jerusalem, and his associates in
office. See on Ac 15:13. Had any other of the
apostles been in Jerusalem on that occasion, it could hardly fail to
have been noted.
19. he declared particularly—in
what God had wrought among the Gentiles by his
ministry—as on previous occasions (Ac 14:27; and see Ro 15:15); no doubt referring to the insidious
and systematic efforts of the Judaizing party in a number of places to
shrivel the Church of Christ into a Jewish sect, and his own
20-25. they glorified the Lord,
&c.—constrained to justify his course, notwithstanding the
Jewish complexion of the Christianity of Jerusalem.
21. they are informed … that thou teachest
all the Jews which are among the Gentiles—those residing in
to forsake Moses, &c.—This calumny
of the unbelieving Jews would find easy credence among the Christian
zealots for Judaism.
23. we have four men—Christian Jews, no
which have a vow—perhaps kept ready on
24. be at charges with them—that is,
defray the expense of the sacrifices legally required of them, along
with his own, which was deemed a mark of Jewish generosity.
25. touching the Gentiles … we have written
and concluded that they observe no such things, &c.—This
shows that with all their conciliation to Jewish prejudice, the Church
of Jerusalem was taught to adhere to the decision of the famous council
held there (Ac 15:19-29).
26. to signify—that is, announce to the
the accomplishment of the days of
purification, &c.—(See on Nu
27-30. the Jews … of Asia—in all
likelihood those of Ephesus (since they recognized Trophimus
apparently as a townsman, Ac 21:29),
embittered by their discomfiture (Ac 19:9, &c.).
29. Trophimus—(See on Ac 20:4).
30. took Paul, and drew him out of the temple; and
forthwith the doors were shut—that the murder they meant to
perpetrate might not pollute that holy place.
31. tidings came—literally, "went up,"
that is, to the fortress of Antonia, where the commandant resided. See
on Ac 21:32. This part of the narrative is
32. the chief captain—"the chiliarch,"
or tribune of the Roman cohort, whose full number was one thousand
33. commanded him to be bound with two
chains—(See on Ac 12:6).
34. some cried one thing—The difficulty
would be so to state his crimes as to justify their proceedings to a
to be carried into the castle—rather,
perhaps, "the barracks," or that part of the fortress of Antonia
appropriated to the soldiers. The fort was built by Herod on a high
rock at the northwest corner of the great temple area, and called after
35, 36. Away with him—as before of his
Lord (Lu 23:18; Joh 19:15).
37-40. Art not thou that Egyptian,
&c.—The form of the question implies that the answer is to be
in the negative, and is matter of some surprise: "Thou art not then?"
38. madest an uproar, &c.—The
narrative is given in Josephus [Wars
of the Jews, 2.8.6; 13.5], though his two allusions and ours seem
to refer to different periods of the rebellion.
39. a citizen of no mean city—(See on Ac 16:37).
40. stood on the stairs—"What nobler
spectacle than that of Paul at this moment! There he stood, bound with
two chains, ready to make his defense to the people. The Roman
commander sits by, to enforce order by his presence. An enraged
populace look up to him from below. Yet in the midst of so many
dangers, how self-possessed is he, how tranquil!" [Chrysostom (or in his name) in Hackett].
a great silence—the people awed at the
permission given him by the commandant, and seeing him sitting as a
in the Hebrew tongue—the
Syro-Chaldaic, the vernacular tongue of the Palestine Jews since