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Thou art permitted (επιτρεπετα σο). Literally, It is permitted thee. As if Agrippa were master of ceremonies instead of Festus. Agrippa as a king and guest presides at the grand display while Festus has simply introduced Paul.
For thyself (υπερ σεαυτου). Some MSS. have περ (concerning). Paul is allowed to speak in his own behalf. No charges are made against him. In fact, Festus has admitted that he has no real proof of any charges.
Stretched forth his hand (εκτεινας την χειρα). Dramatic oratorical gesture (not for silence as in 12:17; 13:16 ) with the chain still upon it (verse 29) linking him to the guard. First aorist active participle of εκτεινω, to stretch out.
Made his defence (απελογειτο). Inchoative imperfect of απολογεομα (middle), "began to make his defence." This is the fullest of all Paul's defences. He has no word of censure of his enemies or of resentment, but seizes the opportunity to preach Christ to such a distinguished company which he does with "singular dignity" (Furneaux). He is now bearing the name of Christ "before kings" (Ac 9:15 ). In general Paul follows the line of argument of the speech on the stairs (chapter Ac 22 ).
I think myself happy (ηγημα εμαυτον μακαριον). See on Mt 5:3 for μακαριος. Blass notes that Paul, like Tertullus, begins with captatio benevolentiae, but absque adulatione. He says only what he can truthfully speak. For ηγημα see Php 3:7; 1Ti 6:1 (perfect middle indicative of ηγεομα), I have considered.
That I am to make my defence (μελλων απολογεισθα). Literally, "being about to make my defence."
Whereof I am accused (ων εγκαλουμα). Genitive with εγκαλουμα as in 19:40 or by attraction from accusative of relative (α) to case of antecedent (παντων).
Especially because thou art expert (μαλιστα γνωστην οντα σε). Or like the margin, "because thou art especially expert," according as μαλιστα is construed. Γνωστην is from γινωσκω and means a knower, expert, connoisseur. Plutarch uses it and Deissmann (Light, etc., p. 367) restores it in a papyrus. Agrippa had the care of the temple, the appointment of the high priest, and the care of the sacred vestments. But the accusative οντα σε gives trouble here coming so soon after σου (genitive with επ). Some MSS. insert επισταμενος or ειδως (knowing) but neither is genuine. Page takes it as "governed by the sense of thinking or considering." Knowling considers it an anacoluthon. Buttmann held it to be an accusative absolute after the old Greek idiom. Τυχον is such an instance though used as an adverb (1Co 16:6 ). It is possible that one exists in Eph 1:18 . See other examples discussed in Robertson's Grammar, pp. 490f.
Customs and questions (εθων τε κα ζητηματων). Both consuetudinum in practicis and quaestionum in theoreticis (Bengel). Agrippa was qualified to give Paul an understanding and a sympathetic hearing. Paul understands perfectly the grand-stand play of the whole performance, but he refused to be silent and chose to use this opportunity, slim as it seemed, to get a fresh hearing for his own case and to present the claims of Christ to this influential man. His address is a masterpiece of noble apologetic.
Patiently (μακροθυμως). Adverb from μακροθυμος. Only here in the N.T., though μακροθυμια occurs several times. Vulgate has longanimiter. Long spirit, endurance, opposite of impatience. So Paul takes his time.
My manner of life (την μεν ουν βιωσιν μου). With μεν ουν Paul passes from the captatio benevolentiae (verses 1,2 ) "to the narratio or statement of his case" (Page). Βιωσις is from βιοω (1Pe 4:2 ) and that from βιος (course of life). This is the only instance of βιωσις yet found except the Prologue (10) of Ecclesiasticus and an inscription given in Ramsay's Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, Vol II, p. 650.
Know (ισασ). Literary form instead of the vernacular Koine οιδασιν. Paul's early life in Tarsus and Jerusalem was an open book to all Jews.
Having knowledge of me from the first (προγινωσκοντες με ανωθεν). Literally, "knowing me beforehand" (both προ and ανωθεν), from the beginning of Paul's public education in Jerusalem (Knowling). Cf. 2 Peter 3:17 .
If they be willing to testify (εαν θελωσιν μαρτυρειν). Condition of third class (εαν and subjunctive). A neat turning of the tables on the distinguished audience about Paul's Jerusalem reputation before his conversion.
After the straitest sect (την ακριβεστατην αιρεσιν). This is a true superlative (not elative) and one of the three (also αγιωτατος, Jude 1:20 , τιμιωτατος Re 18:12; 21:11 ) superlatives in -τατος in the N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 279f., 670), though common enough in the LXX and the papyri. Hαιρεσιν (choosing) is properly used here with Pharisees (Josephus, Life, 38).
Religion (θρησκειας). From θρησκευω and this from θρησκος (Jas 1:26 ), old word for religious worship or discipline, common in the papyri and inscriptions (Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary) for reverent worship, not mere external ritual. In N.T. only here, Jas 1:26f.; Col 2:18 .
I lived a Pharisee (εζησα Φαρισαιος). Emphatic position. Paul knew the rules of the Pharisees and played the game to the full (Ga 1:14; Php 3:5f. ). The Talmud makes it plain what the life of a Pharisee was. Paul had become one of the leaders and stars of hope for his sect.
And now (κα νυν). Sharp comparison between his youth and the present.
To be judged for the hope (επ' ελπιδι--κρινομενος). The hope of the resurrection and of the promised Messiah ( 13:32). Page calls verses 6-8 a parenthesis in the course of Paul's argument by which he shows that his life in Christ is a real development of the best in Pharisaism. He does resume his narrative in verse 9, but verses 6-8 are the core of his defence already presented in Ga 3; Ro 9-11 where he proves that the children of faith are the real seed of Abraham.
Our twelve tribes (το δωδεκαφυλον ημων). A word found only here in N.T. and in Christian and Jewish writings, though δωδεκαμηνον (twelve month) is common in the papyri and δεκαφυλος (ten tribes) in Herodotus. Paul's use of this word for the Jewish people, like Jas 1:1 (ταις δωδεκα φυλαις, the twelve tribes), shows that Paul had no knowledge of any "lost ten tribes." There is a certain national pride and sense of unity in spite of the dispersion (Page).
Earnestly (εν εκτενεια). A late word from εκτεινω, to stretch out, only here in N.T., but in papyri and inscriptions. Page refers to Simeon and Anna (Lu 2:25-28 ) as instances of Jews looking for the coming of the Messiah. Note the accusative of νυκτα κα ημεραν as in 20:31.
Hope to attain (ελπιζε καταντησα). This Messianic hope had been the red thread running through Jewish history. Today, alas, it is a sadly worn thread for Jews who refuse to see the Messiah in Jesus.
I am accused by Jews (εγκαλουμα υπο Ιουδαιων). The very word used in 23:28 (ενεκαλουν) which see, and by Jews of all people in the world whose mainspring was this very "hope." It is a tremendously effective turn.
Incredible with you (απιστον παρ' υμιν). This old word απιστον (α privative and πιστος) means either unfaithful (Lu 12:46 ), unbelieving (Joh 20:27 ), or unbelievable as here). Paul turns suddenly from Agrippa to the audience (παρ' υμιν, plural), most of whom were probably Gentiles and scouted the doctrine of the resurrection as at Athens ( 17:32).
If God doth raise the dead (ε ο θεος νεκρους εγειρε). Condition of the first class assuming that God does raise dead people. Only God can do it. This rhetorical question needs no answer, though the narrative resumed in verse 9 does it in a way.
I verily thought with myself (εγω μεν ουν εδοξα εμαυτω). Personal construction instead of the impersonal, a touch of the literary style. Paul's "egoism" is deceived as so often happens.
I ought (δειν). Infinitive the usual construction with δοκεω. Necessity and a sense of duty drove Paul on even in this great sin (see on 23:1), a common failing with persecutors.
Contrary (εναντια). Old word (adjective), over against, opposite (Ac 27:4 ), then hostile to as here.
I both shut up many (πολλους τε κατεκλεισα). Effective aorist active of κατακλειω, old word to shut down like a trap door, in N.T. only here and Lu 3:20 . Double use of τε (both--and).
Having received authority from the chief priests (την παρα των αρχιερεων εξουσιαν λαβων). "The authority," he says. Paul was the official persecutor of the saints under the direction of the Sanhedrin. He mentions "chief priests" (Sadducees), though a Pharisee himself. Both parties were co-operating against the saints.
And when they were put to death (αναιρουμενων τε αυτων). Genitive absolute with present passive participle of αναιρεω.
I gave my vote against them (κατηνεγκα ψηφον). "I cast down my pebble" (a black one). The ancient Greeks used white pebbles for acquittal (Re 2:17 ), black ones for condemnation as here (the only two uses of the word in the N.T.). Paul's phrase (not found elsewhere) is more vivid than the usual καταψηφιζω for voting. They literally cast the pebbles into the urn. Cf. συμψηφιζω in Ac 19:19 , συγκαταψεφιζο in Ac 1:26 . If Paul's language is taken literally here, he was a member of the Sanhedrin and so married when he led the persecution. That is quite possible, though he was not married when he wrote 1Co 7:7f. , but a widower. It is possible to take the language figuratively for approval, but not so natural.
Punishing (τιμωρων). Old word τιμωρεω originally to render help, to succor (τιμωρος, from τιμη and ουρος), then to avenge (for honour). In N.T. only here and 22:5.
I strove to make them blaspheme (ηναγκαζον βλασφημειν). Conative imperfect active of αναγκαζω, old verb from αναγκη (necessity, compulsion). The tense, like the imperfect in Mt 3:14; Lu 1:59 , leaves room to hope that Paul was not successful in this effort, for he had already said that he brought many "unto death" ( 22:4).
I persecuted (εδιωκον). Imperfect active again, repeated attempts. The old verb διωκω was used to run after or chase game and then to chase enemies. The word "persecute" is the Latin persequor, to follow through or after. It is a vivid picture that Paul here paints of his success in hunting big game, a grand heresy hunt.
Even unto foreign cities (κα εις εξω πολεις). We know of Damascus, and Paul evidently planned to go to other cities outside of Palestine and may even have done so before the fateful journey to Damascus.
With the authority and commission (μετ' εξουσιας κα επιτροπης). Not merely "authority" (εξουσια), but express appointment (επιτροπη, old word, but here only in N.T., derived from επιτροπος, steward, and that from επιτρεπω, to turn over to, to commit).
At midday (ημερας μεσης). Genitive of time and idiomatic use of μεσος, in the middle of the day, more vivid than μεσημβριαν ( 22:6).
Above the brightness of the sun (υπερ την λαμπροτητα του ηλιου). Here alone not in Ac 9; 22 , though implied in 9:3; 22:6 , "indicating the supernatural character of the light" (Knowling). Luke makes no effort to harmonize the exact phrases here with those in the other accounts and Paul here (verse 16) blends together what Jesus said to him directly and the message of Jesus through Ananias ( 9:15). The word λαμπροτης, old word, is here alone in the N.T.
Shining round about me (περιλαμψαν με). First aorist active participle of περιλαμπω, common Koine verb, in N.T. only here and Lu 2:9 .
When we were all fallen (παντων καταπεσοντων ημων). Genitive absolute with second aorist active participle of καταπιπτω. In the Hebrew language (τη Εβραιδ διαλεκτω). Natural addition here, for Paul is speaking in Greek, not Aramaic as in 22:2.
It is hard for thee to kick against the goad (σκληρον σο προς κεντρα λακτιζειν). Genuine here, but not in chapters 9,22 . A common proverb as Aeschylus Ag. 1624: Προς κεντρα μη λακτιζε. "It is taken from an ox that being pricked with a goad kicks and receives a severer wound" (Page). Cf. the parables of Jesus (Mt 13:35 ). Blass observes that Paul's mention of this Greek and Latin proverb is an indication of his culture. Besides he mentions (not invents) it here rather than in chapter 22 because of the culture of this audience. Κεντρον means either sting as of bees (II Macc. 14:19) and so of death (1Co 15:55 ) or an iron goad in the ploughman's hand as here (the only two N.T. examples). Note plural here (goads) and λακτιζειν is present active infinitive so that the idea is "to keep on kicking against goads." This old verb means to kick with the heel (adverb λαξ, with the heel), but only here in the N.T. There is a papyrus example of kicking (λακτιζω) with the feet against the door.
Arise and stand (αναστηθ κα στηθ). "Emphatic assonance" (Page). Second aorist active imperative of compound verb (ανιστημ) and simplex (ιστημ). "Stand up and take a stand."
Have I appeared unto thee (ωφθην σο). First aorist passive indicative of οραω. See on Lu 22:43 .
Both of the things wherein thou hast seen me (ων τε ειδες με). The reading με (not in all MSS.) makes it the object of ειδες (didst see) and ων is genitive of α (accusative of general reference) attracted to the case of the unexpressed antecedent τουτων. Paul is thus a personal eyewitness of the Risen Christ (Lu 1:1; 1Co 4:1; 9:1 ).
And of the things wherein I will appear unto thee (ων τε οφθησομα σο). Here again ων is genitive of the accusative (general reference) relative α attracted to the case of the antecedent τουτων or εκεινων as before. But οφθησομα is first future passive of οραω and cannot be treated as active or middle. Page takes it to mean "the visions in which I shall be seen by you," the passive form bringing out the agency of God. See those in Ac 18:9; 23:11; 2Co 12:2 . The passive voice, however, like απεκριθην and εφοβηθην, did become sometimes transitive in the Koine (Robertson, Grammar, p. 819).
Delivering thee (εξαιρουμενος σε). Present middle participle of εξαιρεω, old verb and usually so rendered, but the old Greek also uses it for "choose" as also in LXX (Isa 48:10 ). The papyri give examples of both meanings and either makes good sense here. God was continually rescuing Paul "out of the hands of Jews and Gentiles and Paul was a chosen vessel" ( 9:15). Modern scholars are also divided.
To open (ανοιξα). First aorist active infinitive of purpose.
That they may turn (του επιστρεψα). Another infinitive of purpose first aorist active (genitive case and articular), epexegetic to ανοιξα.
That they may receive (του λαβειν). Another genitive articular infinitive of purpose subordinate (epexegetic) to του επιστρεψα.
Sanctified by faith in me (ηγιασμενοις πιστε τη εις εμε). Perfect passive participle of αγιαζω, instrumental case of πιστε, article before εις εμε ("by faith, that in me"). These important words of Jesus to Paul give his justification to this cultured audience for his response to the command of Jesus. This was the turning point in Paul's career and it was a step forward and upward.
I was not disobedient (ουκ εγενομην απειθης). Litotes again, "I did not become (second aorist middle indicative of γινομα) disobedient" (απειθης, old word already in Lu 1:17 ).
Unto the heavenly vision (τη ουρανιω οπτασια). A later form of οψις, from οπταζω, in LXX, and in N.T. (Lu 1:22; 24:23; Ac 26:19; 2Co 12:1 ). Only time that Paul uses it about seeing Christ on the Damascus road, but no reflection on the reality of the event.
But declared (αλλα απηγγελλον). Imperfect active of απαγγελλω, repeatedly.
Throughout all the country of Judea (πασαν τε την χωραν της Ιουδαιας). The accusative here in the midst of the datives (τοις εν Δαμασκωι, Ιεροσολυμοισ, τοις εθνεσιν) seems strange and Page feels certain that εις should be here even though absent in Aleph A B. But the accusative of extent of space will explain it (Robertson, Grammar, p. 469).
Doing works worthy of repentance (αξια της μετανοιας εργα πρασσοντας). Accusative case of present active participle πρασσοντας because of the implied αυτους with the present infinitive μετανοειν (repent) and επιστρεφειν (turn), though the dative πρασσουσιν could have been used to agree with εθνεσιν (Gentiles). Cf. Mt 3:8 for similar language used of the Baptist. Paul, the greatest of theologians, was an interesting practical preacher.
Assayed to kill me (επειρωντο διαχειρισασθα). Conative imperfect middle of πειραω, the old form of the later Koine πειραζω so common in the Koine, but in N.T. here only. Some MSS. have it in Ac 9:26; Heb 4:15 . The old verb διαχειριζω, to take in hand, middle to lay hands on, to slay, occurs in N.T. only here and 5:30 which see.
Having therefore obtained (ουν τυχων). Second aorist active participle of old verb τυγχανω.
The help that is from God (επικουριας της απο του θεου). Old word from επικουρεω, to aid, and that from επικουρος, ally, assister. Only here in N.T. God is Paul's ally. All of the plots of the Jews against Paul had failed so far.
Both to small and great (μικρω τε κα μεγαλω). Dative singular (rather than instrumental, taking μαρτυρουμενος middle, not passive) and use of τε κα links the two adjectives together in an inclusive way. These two adjectives in the singular (representative singular rather than plural) can apply to age (young and old) or to rank (Re 11:18 ) as is specially suitable here with Festus and Agrippa present. In Ac 8:10 (Heb 8:11 ) the phrase explains παντες (all).
Saying nothing but what (ουδεν εκτος λεγων ων). "Saying nothing outside of those things which." The ablative relative ων is attracted into the case of the unexpressed antecedent τουτων and so ablative after εκτος (adverbial preposition common in LXX, the papyri. In N.T. here and 1Co 6:18; 15:27; 2Co 12:2f. ). Cf. Lu 16:29 about Moses and the prophets.
How that the Christ must suffer (ε παθητος ο Χριστος). Literally, "if the Messiah is subject to suffering." Ε can here mean "whether" as in Heb 7:15 . This use of a verbal in -τος for capability or possibility occurs in the N.T. alone in παθητος (Robertson, Grammar, p. 157). This word occurs in Plutarch in this sense. It is like the Latin patibilis and is from pascho. Here alone in N.T. Paul is speaking from the Jewish point of view. Most rabbis had not rightly understood Isa 53 . When the Baptist called Jesus "the Lamb of God" (Joh 1:29 ) it was a startling idea. It is not then "must suffer" here, but "can suffer." The Cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to the rabbis.
How that he first by the resurrection of the dead (ε πρωτος εξ αναστασεως νεκρων). Same construction with ε (whether). This point Paul had often discussed with the Jews: "whether he (the Messiah) by a resurrection of dead people." Others had been raised from the dead, but Christ is the first (πρωτος) who arose from the dead and no longer dies (Ro 6:19 ) and proclaims light (φως μελλε καταγγελλειν). Paul is still speaking from the Jewish standpoint: "is about to (going to) proclaim light." See verse 18 for "light" and Lu 2:32 .
Both to the people and to the Gentiles (τω τε λαω κα τοις εθνεσιν). See verse 17. It was at the word Gentiles (εθνη) that the mob lost control of themselves in the speech from the stairs (22:21f. ). So it is here, only not because of that word, but because of the word "resurrection" (αναστασις).
As he thus made his defence (ταυτα αυτου απολογουμενου). Genitive absolute again with present middle participle. Paul was still speaking when Festus interrupted him in great excitement.
With a loud voice (μεγαλη τη φωνη). Associative instrumental case showing manner (Robertson, Grammar, p. 530) and the predicate use of the adjective, "with the voice loud" (elevated).
Thou art mad (μαινη). Old verb for raving. See also Joh 10:20; Ac 12:15; 1Co 14:23 . The enthusiasm of Paul was too much for Festus and then he had spoken of visions and resurrection from the dead (verse 8). "Thou art going mad" (linear present), Festus means.
Thy much learning doth turn thee to madness (τα πολλα σε γραμματα εις μανιαν περιτρεπε). "Is turning thee round." Old verb περιτρεπω, but only here in N.T. Festus thought that Paul's "much learning" (="many letters," cf. Joh 7:15 of Jesus) of the Hebrew Scriptures to which he had referred was turning his head to madness (wheels in his head) and he was going mad right before them all. The old word μανια (our mania, frenzy, cf. maniac) occurs here only in N.T. Note unusual position of σε between πολλα and γραμματα (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 418, 420)
But speak forth (αλλα αποφθεγγομα). Verb for dignified and elevated discourse, a word from the literary Koine, not the vernacular. In N.T. only here and 2:4,14 which see. It occurs three times in Vettius Valens in a "mantic" sense. Paul was not ruffled by the rude and excited interruption of Festus, but speaks with perfect courtesy in his reply "words of truth and soberness." The old word σωφροσυνη (soundness of mind) from σωφρων (and that from σως and φρην) is directly opposed to "madness" (μανια) and in N.T. occurs only here and 1Ti 2:15 .
For the king knoweth of these things (επιστατα γαρ περ τουτων ο βασιλευς). Επιστατα (present middle probably Ionic form of εφιστημ) is a literary word and suits well here (cf. 24:10).
Freely (παρρησιαζομενος). Present middle participle, speaking fully, making a clean breast of it. From παρρησια (παν, ρησις) (cf. 13:46).
Is hidden from him (λανθανειν αυτον). Escapes his notice. Infinitive in indirect discourse after πειθομα (I am persuaded).
I know that thou believest (οιδα οτ πιστευεις). Paul had "cornered" Agrippa by this direct challenge. As the Jew in charge of the temple he was bound to confess his faith in the prophets. But Paul had interpreted the prophets about the Messiah in a way that fell in with his claim that Jesus was the Messiah risen from the dead. To say, "Yes" would place himself in Paul's hands. To say "No" would mean that he did not believe the prophets. Agrippa had listened with the keenest interest, but he slipped out of the coils with adroitness and a touch of humour.
With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian (εν ολιγω με πειθεις Χριστιανον ποιησα). The Authorized rendering is impossible: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Εν ολιγω does not mean "almost." That would require ολιγου, παρ' ολιγον, or δε ολιγου. It is not clear, however, precisely what εν ολιγο does mean. It may refer to time (in little time) or a short cut, but that does not suit well εν μεγαλω in verse 29. Tyndale and Crammer rendered it "somewhat" (in small measure or degree). There are, alas, many "somewhat" Christians. Most likely the idea is "in (or with) small effort you are trying to persuade (πειθεις, conative present active indicative) me in order to make me a Christian." This takes the infinitive ποιησα to be purpose (Page renders it by "so as") and thus avoids trying to make ποιησα like γενεσθα (become). The aorist is punctiliar action for single act, not "perfect." The tone of Agrippa is ironical, but not unpleasant. He pushes it aside with a shrug of the shoulders. The use of "Christian" is natural here as in the other two instances (11:26; 1Pe 4:16 ).
I would to God (ευξαιμην αν τω θεω). Conclusion of fourth-class condition (optative with αν), undetermined with less likelihood, the so-called potential optative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1021). Polite and courteous wish (first aorist middle optative of ευχομα).
Whether with little or with much (κα εν μικρω κα εν μεγαλω). Literally, "both in little and in great," or "both with little and with great pains" or "both in some measure and in great measure." Paul takes kindly the sarcasm of Agrippa.
Such as I am (τοιουτους οποιος κα εγω ειμ). Accusative τοιουτους with the infinitive γενεσθα. Paul uses these two qualitative pronouns instead of repeating the word "Christian."
Except these bonds (παρεκτος των δεσμων τουτων). Ablative case with παρεκτος (late preposition for the old παρεκ). Paul lifts his right manacled hand with exquisite grace and good feeling.
Rose up (ανεστη). Second aorist active of ανιστημ (intransitive), agreeing only with "the king" (ο βασιλευς). The entertainment was over.
They spake one to another (ελαλουν προς αλληλους). Imperfect active, describing the eager conversation of the dignitaries about Paul's wonderful speech.
Nothing worthy of death or bonds (ουδεν θανατου η δεσμων αξιον). This is the unanimous conclusion of all these dignitaries (Romans, Jews, Greeks) as it was of Festus before ( 25:25). But Paul had not won any of them to Christ. The conclusion leaves Festus in a predicament. Why had he not set Paul free before this?
This man might have been set at liberty (Απολελυσθα εδυνατο ο ανθρωπος ουτος). Conclusion of the second class condition (determined as unfulfilled) without αν as in 24:19 because of εδυνατο (verb of possibility, Robertson, Grammar, p. 1014). Note perfect passive infinitive απολελυσθα from απολυω. He certainly "could have been set free." Why was it not done?
If he had not appealed unto Caesar (ε μη επεκεκλητο Καισαρα). Condition of the second class with the past perfect middle indicative (op. cit., p. 1015) of επικαλεω (cf. 25:11f. ). But Paul only appealed to Caesar after Festus had tried to shift him back to Jerusalem and had refused to set him free in Caesarea. Festus comes out with no honour in the case. Since Agrippa was a favourite at court perhaps Festus would be willing to write favourably to Caesar.
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