|« Prev||Acts 28||Next »|
Then we knew (τοτε επεγνωμεν). Second aorist (ingressive) active indicative of επιγινωσκω. Then we recognized. See 27:39.
Was called (καλειτα). Present passive indicative retained in indirect discourse.
Melita (Μελιτη). Not Μιλετενη as only B reads, a clerical error, but retained in the text of Westcott and Hort because of B. Page notes that the island was Malta as is shown from the name, the location, the presence of a ship from Alexandria bound for Rome wintering there (verse 11), and the mention of Syracuse as the next stop after leaving (verse 12).
The barbarians (ο βαρβαρο). The Greeks called all men "barbarians" who did not speak Greek (Ro 1:14 ), not "barbarians" in our sense of rude and uncivilized, but simply "foreign folk." Diodorus Siculus (V. 12) says that it was a colony of the Phoenicians and so their language was Punic (Page). The word originally meant an uncouth repetition (βαρβαρ) not understood by others (1Co 14:11 ). In Col 3:11 Paul couples it with Scythian as certainly not Christian. These are (with verse 4 below) the only N.T. instances.
Showed us (παρειχαν). Imperfect active of παρεχω with -αν instead of -ον as ειχαν in Mr 8:7 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 339). It was their habit on this occasion, Luke means, they kept on showing.
No common kindness (ου την τυχουσαν φιλανθρωπιαν). The old word φιλανθρωπια (φιλος, ανθρωπος), love of mankind, occurs in the N.T. only here and Tit 3:4 (adverb in 27:3). See on 19:11 for this use of ου την τυχουσαν, "not the kindness that happens every day." They were not "wreckers" to take advantage of the calamity.
They kindled a fire (αψαντες πυραν). The only N.T. example and verse 3 of the old word πυρα (from πυρ, fire), a pile of burning fuel (sticks). First aorist active participle of απτω, to set fire to, to kindle. Cf. αναπτω in Lu 12:49 .
Received us all (προσελαβοντο παντας ημας). Second aorist middle (indirect indicative of προσλαμβανω. They took us all to themselves (cf. Ac 18:26 ).
The present (τον εφεστωτα). Second perfect active participle (intransitive) of εφιστημ, "the rain that stood upon them" (the pouring rain). Only in Luke and Paul in N.T.
When Paul had gathered (συστρεψαντος του Παυλου). Genitive absolute with first aorist active participle of συστρεφω, old verb to twist or turn together or roll into a bundle. In N.T. only here and Mt 17:22 .
A bundle of sticks (φρυγανων τ πληθος). "Some multitude (or pile) of dry twigs" (φρυγανων from φρυγω or φρυσσω, to dry. Only here in N.T.).
Laid (επιθεντος). So genitive absolute again with second aorist active participle of επιτιθημ, to place upon. Few things show Paul to better advantage than this incident.
By reason of the heat (απο της θερμης). Old word, only here in N.T. Ablative case with απο (from the heat). The viper was in a state of torpor in the bundle of sticks. The heat wakened him.
A viper (εχιδνα). The old word used by the Baptist of the Pharisees (Mt 3:7; Lu 3:7 ) and by Jesus also (Mt 12:34; 23:33 ). It is objected that there is little wood in the island today and no vipers, though Lewin as late as 1853 believes that he saw a viper near St. Paul's Bay. But the island now has 1,200 people to the square mile and snakes of any kind have a poor chance. The viper has also disappeared from Arran as the island became more frequented (Knowling). Ramsay thinks that the small constrictor (Coronella Austriaca) which still exists in the island may be the "viper," though it has no poison fangs, but clings and bites. The natives thought that it was a poisonous viper.
Fastened on his hand (καθηψε της χειρος αυτου). First aorist active indicative of καθαπτω, to fasten down on with the genitive case. Old verb, here only in N.T. Cf. Mr 16:18 .
The beast (το θηριον). Diminutive of θηρ and so little beast. See on Mr 1:13 . Aristotle and the medical writers apply the word to venomous serpents, the viper in particular (Knowling), as Luke does here. Vincent calls attention to the curious history of our word "treacle" for molasses (Latin theriaca) from θηριακη, an antidote made from the flesh of vipers. Coverdale translates Jer 8:22 : "There is no more treacle in Gilead." Jeremy Taylor: "We kill the viper and make treacle of him."
Hanging from his hand (κρεμαμενον εκ της χειρος αυτου). Vivid picture of the snake dangling from Paul's hand. Present middle participle of κρεμαμα, late form for κρεμαννυμ, to hang up, to suspend (cf. Ga 3:13 ).
No doubt (παντως). Literally, By all means, old adverb. Cf. 21:22; Lu 4:23; 1Co 9:22 . Only by Luke and Paul in the N.T. "They knew that he was a prisoner being taken to Rome on some grave charge, and inferred that the charge was murder" (Page).
Yet Justice (δικη). An abstraction personified like the Latin Justitia (Page). The natives speak of Δικη as a goddess, but we know nothing of such actual worship in Malta, though the Greeks worshipped abstractions as in Athens.
Hath not suffered (ουκ ειασεν). Did not suffer. They look on Paul as a doomed man as good as dead. These people thought that calamity was proof of guilt, poor philosophy and worse theology.
Shook off (αποτιναξας). First aorist active participle of αποτινασσω, to shake off. Rare word (Euripides, Galen, LXX). In N.T. only here and Lu 9:5 .
But they expected (ο δε προσεδοκων). Imperfect active, were expecting, continued to expect.
That he would have swollen (αυτον μελλειν πιμπρασθα). More exactly, "Expecting him to be about (or that he was about) to swell up." Πιμπρασθα is present middle infinitive from πιμπρημ, to blow, to burn, to inflame, to cause to swell. Πρηθω, to swell, seems connected and both use the aorist επρησα. Our word "inflammation" likewise means a burning and a swelling. This verb is a common medical term used as Luke has it. It occurs here only in N.T.
Or fallen down dead suddenly (η καταπιπτειν αφνω νεκρον). Rather, "or was about to fall down dead suddenly." The two common results of a bite by a viper or other poisonous snake, both medical terms used by Luke.
But when they were long in expectation (επ πολυ δε αυτων προσδοκωντων). Genitive absolute. "But while they were expecting for much time."
Nothing amiss come to him (μηδεν ατοπον εις αυτον γινομενον). "Nothing out of place coming to him" (present middle participle). Μηδεν the usual negative of the participle and the accusative case the object of θεωρουντων (genitive absolute).
Changed their minds (μεταβαλομενο). Aorist middle (direct) participle of μεταβαλλω, old verb to turn about or around, turning themselves about, changing their minds. Plato uses this very verb in middle voice for changing the mind.
That he was a god (αυτον εινα θεον). Accusative and infinitive in indirect discourse. At Lystra Paul was first received as a god (Mercury) and then they stoned him to kill him (Ac 14:11,19 ). So fickle is popular favour.
To the chief man of the island (τω πρωτω της νησου). An official title correct in Malta (Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 343). An inscription in Malta calls Prudens "Primate of the Maltese" (πρωτος Μελιταιων). Here it is plainly a title and not the common use seen in 13:50; 25:2; 28:17 .
Publius (Ποπλιω). This Greek name (πραενομεν) can be derived either from Ποπιλιυς or Πυβλιυς (cf. πυβλιχυς for ποπυλιχυς from ποπυλυς). Entertained us (εξενισεν ημας). Paul and his companions (Luke and Aristarchus). Was Julius included? On ξενιζω see Ac 10:23 .
Courteously (φιλοφρονως). This old adverb from φιλοφρων (φιλοσ, φρεν, friendly mind) occurs here alone in the N.T. In a kindly or friendly manner, all the more so because of the original suspicion of Paul as a criminal.
Sick (συνεχομενον). "Held together." Common verb again for the sick as in Lu 4:38 .
Of fever (πυρετοις). Instrumental case, and plural "fevers," medical term for intermittent attacks of fever (Demosthenes, Lucian, medical writers).
Dysentery (δυσεντεριω). Instrumental case also. Late form of the older δυσεντερια and only here in N.T. Our very word dysentery. Another medical term of which Luke uses so many. Hippocrates often mentions these two diseases together.
Laying his hands on him healed him (επιθεις τας χειρας αυτω ιασατο αυτον). Either like the laying on of hands in Jas 5:14 , the gift of healing (1Co 12:9f. ), or the tender interest of Jesus when he took hold of the hand of Peter's mother-in-law (Mr 1:31 ). Ramsay argues that ιαομα is employed here of the miraculous healing by Paul while θεραπευω is used of the cures by Luke the physician (verse 9). This is a general distinction and it is probably observed here, but in Lu 6:18 (which see) both verbs are employed of the healings by Jesus.
Came and were healed (προσηρχοντο κα εθεραπευοντο). Imperfect middle and imperfect passive. A regular stream of patients came during these months. Luke had his share in the honours, "us" (ημας), and no doubt his share in the cures.
With many honours (πολλαις τιμαις). Instrumental case. The word was often applied to payment for professional services as we today speak of an honorarium.
They put on board (επεθεντο). Second aorist middle indicative of επιτιθημ, to put on. The idea of "on board" is merely suggested by αναγομενοις (when we sailed) "the things for our needs" (τα προς τας χρειας).
Which had wintered (παρακεχειμακοτ). Perfect active participle of παραχειμαζω, to pass the winter. Old verb, in N.T. only 27:12; 28:11; 1Co 16:6; Tit 3:12 . The locative case agreeing with πλοιω. Navigation in the Mediterranean usually opened up in February (always by March), spring beginning on Feb. 9 (Page).
Whose sign was the Twin Brothers (παρασημω Διοσκουροις). The word παρασημω can be either a substantive (as Revised Version has it) or an adjective "marked by the sign," examples of both uses common in ancient Greek. Διοσκουροις is in apposition with παρασημω. The word means the twin sons (κουρος or κορος) of Zeus (Διος, genitive of Ζευς) and Leda, viz., Castor and Pollux. The Attic used the dual, τω Διοσκορω. Castor and Pollux were the tutelary deities of sailors whose figures were painted one on each side of the prow of the ship. This sign was the name of the ship. So they start in another grain ship of Alexandria bound for Rome.
Touching (καταχθεντες). First aorist passive participle of καταγω, to go down to land, just the opposite of ανηχθημεν in verse 11 from αναγω, to go up to sea.
At Syracuse (εις Συρακουσας). The chief city of Sicily and eighty miles from Malta. Perhaps open weather and a southerly wind helped them across. Here it was that Alcibiades wrecked the power and glory of Athens. Why the ship spent three days we do not know.
We made a circuit (περιελθοντες). Second aorist active of περιερχομα, to go around, old verb, already in 19:13. See also Heb 11:37; 1Ti 5:13 . But Westcott and Hort read περιελοντες after Aleph B (from περιαιρεω) as in 27:40, though here it could only mean casting loose, for which no other authority exists. At any rate the ship had to tack to reach Rhegium and was not able to make a straight course (ενθυδρομεω, 16:11).
Rhegium (Ρηγιον) is from ρηγνυμ, to break off, the place where the land breaks off, the southern entrance to the straits of Messina.
A south wind sprang up (επιγενομενου νοτου). Genitive absolute again, and for all the world like that fatal south wind in 27:13, but with no bad results this time, though the weather was plainly treacherous at this early season.
To Puteoli (εις Ποτιολους). It was 182 miles from Rhegium and would require 26 hours (Page). It was eight miles northwest from Neapolis (Naples) and the chief port of Rome, the regular harbour for the Alexandrian ships from Rome. Portions of the great mole are said to be still visible.
Where we found brethren (ου ευροντες αδελφους). Possibly from Alexandria, but, as Blass observes, it is no more strange to find "brethren" in Christ in Puteoli when Paul arrives than in Rome. There was a large Jewish quarter.
Seven days (ημερας επτα). Accusative of extent of time. Paul and his party remained so long at the urgent request of the brethren. He was still a prisoner, but clearly Julius was only too glad to show another courtesy to Paul to whom they all owed their lives. It was 130 miles by land from Puteoli to Rome over one of the great Roman roads.
And so we came to Rome (κα ουτως εις την Ρομην ηλθαμεν). So at last. Luke is exultant as Page observes: Paulus Romae captivus: triumphus unicus. It is the climax of the book of Acts (19:21; 23:11 ), but not the close of Paul's career. Page rightly remarks that a new paragraph should begin with verse 15, for brethren came from Rome and this part of the journey is touched with the flavour of that incident. The great event is that Paul reached Rome, but not as he had once hoped (Ro 15:22-29 ).
When they heard of us (ακουσαντες τα περ ημων). How "they heard the things concerning us" we do not know. Good news had its way of travel even before the days of telegraph, telephone, daily papers. Possibly Julius had to send on special couriers with news of his arrival after the shipwreck. Possibly some of the brethren in Puteoli at once (beginning of the week) sent on news to the brethren in Rome. The church in Rome had long ago received Paul's letter from Corinth at the hands of Phoebe.
To meet us (εις απαντησιν ημιν). Idiomatic phrase, "for meeting with us" (associative instrumental case). Koine word απαντησις from verb απανταω, to meet, in N.T. only here; Mt 25:6; 1Ti 4:17 . Use after εις rather than infinitive like a translation Hebraism (Robertson, Grammar, p. 91).
As far as the Market of Appius (αχρ Αππιου Φορου). The Forum of Appius, 90 miles from Puteoli, 40 from Rome, on the great Appian Way. The Censor Appius Claudius had constructed this part of the road, B.C. 312. Paul probably struck the Appian Way at Capua. Portions of this great stone highway are still in use. If one wishes to tread where Paul trod, he can do it here. Appii Forum had a bad reputation, the haunt of thieves, thugs, and swindlers. What would this motley crowd think of Paul chained to a soldier?
Three Taverns (Τριων Ταβερνων). Genitive case after αχρ like Αππιου Φορου. About 30 miles from Rome. Tres Tabernae.
Whom (ους). Two groups of the disciples came (one Gentile, one Jewish, Rackham thinks), one to Appii Forum, the other to Three Taverns. It was a joyous time and Julius would not interfere.
Took courage (ελαβε θαρσος). The old substantive θαρσος is here alone in the N.T. Jesus himself had exhorted Paul to be of good courage (θαρσε Ac 23:11 ) as he had done the disciples (Joh 16:33 ). Paul had passed through enough to cause depression, whether he was depressed or not, but he deeply appreciated this kindly sympathy.
Paul was suffered to abide by himself (επετραπη τω Παυλω μενειν καθ' εαυτον). Second aorist passive of επιτρεπο, to permit or allow. Literally, "It was permitted to Paul to abide by himself." Some late documents (Textus Receptus) here add: "The centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard" (or the στρατοπεδαρχ). This officer used to be considered Burrus who was Prefect of the Praetorian Guard A.D. 51-62. But it is by no means certain that Julius turned the prisoners over to this officer. It seems more likely that Julius would report to the captain of the Peregrini. If so, we may be sure that Julius would give a good report of Paul to this officer who would be kindly disposed and would allow Paul comparative freedom (living by himself, in his lodging, verse 23, his own hired house verse 30, though still chained to a soldier).
With the soldier that guarded him (συν τω φυλασσοντ αυτον στρατιωτη). Probably a new soldier every day or night, but always with this soldier chained to his right hand day and night. Now that Paul is in Rome what can he do for Christ while he awaits the outcome of his own appeal to Nero?
Those that were the chief of the Jews (τους οντας των Ιουδαιων πρωτους). This use of πρωτος for the leading men of a city or among the Jews we have already had in 13:50; 25:2; Lu 19:47 . Literally, "Those that were first among the Jews." The position of the participle οντας between the article and the adjective πρωτους is regular (Robertson, Grammar, p. 777).
When they were come together (συνελθοντων αυτων). Genitive absolute again. Paul could not go to the synagogue, as his custom was, being a bound prisoner. So he invited the Jewish leaders to come to his lodging and hear his explanation of his presence in Rome as a prisoner with an appeal to Caesar. He is anxious that they may understand that this appeal was forced upon him by Festus following Felix and lot because he has come to make an attack on the Jewish people. He was sure that false reports had come to Rome. These non-Christian Jews accepted Paul's invitation.
Nothing against (ουδεν εναντιον). Adjective here as in 26:9, not preposition as in 7:10; 8:32 . From εν and αντιος (αντ), face to face. Concessive participle ποιησας as in verse 4 (διασωθεντα) which see.
Yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans (δεσμιος εξ Ιεροσολυμων παρεδοθην εις τας χειρας των Ρομαιων). This condensed statement does not explain how he "was delivered," for in fact the Jews were trying to kill him when Lysias rescued him from the mob ( 22:27-36). The Jews were responsible for his being in the hands of the Romans, though they had hoped to kill him first.
Desired (εβουλοντο). Imperfect middle of attempted action or picture of their real attitude. This is a correct statement as the words of both Felix and Festus show.
Because there was (δια το--υπαρχειν). Accusative case with δια (causal use) with the articular infinitive, "Because of the being no cause of death in me" (εν εμο, in my case, αιτια, usual word for crime or charge of crime).
When the Jews spake against it (αντιλεγοντων των Ιουδαιων). Genitive absolute again, αντιλεγοντων (αντιλεγω) common verb for speaking against as in 13:45. Clementer dicit (Bengel). "The word is a mild one to describe the bitter enmity of the Jews" (Knowling).
I was constrained (ηναγκασθην). "I was compelled," first aorist passive indicative of αναγκαζω, the very word used of Paul's efforts to get the Christians to blaspheme ( 26:11) which see. Paul was compelled to appeal to Caesar (see 25:11,12 for this phrase), unless Paul was willing to be the victim of Jewish hate when he had done no wrong.
Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of (ουχ ως του εθνους μου εχων τ κατηγορειν). This use of ως with a participle (εχων) is common in Greek for the alleged reason. The genitive case with the infinitive κατηγορειν is regular. Paul says εθνος instead of λαος as in 24:17; 26:4 .
Did I intreat (παρεκαλεσα). Did I invite you.
Because of the hope of Israel (εινεκεν της ελπιδος του Ισραελ). Genitive with preposition εινεκεν. The hope of the Messiah is his point as in 26:6.
I am bound with this chain (την αλυσιν ταυτην περικειμα). This old verb means to lie around as in Lu 17:2; Heb 12:1 . But it is also used as the passive of περιτιθημ, to place around with the accusative of περιτιθημ retained. It is a transitive passive. Paul does not lie around the chain, but the chain lies around him, a curious reversal of the imagery (Robertson, Grammar, p. 815).
Letters (γραμματα). Official documents from the Sanhedrin about the charges against Paul.
Any harm of thee (τ περ σου πονηρον).
Evil (πονηρον). The three aorists (εδεξαμεθα, απηγγειλεν, ελαλησεν) cover the past. These Jews do not mean to say that they had never heard of Paul. It is hardly likely that they had heard of his appeal to Caesar, "for how could the news have reached Rome before Paul?" (Page).
But we desire (αξιουμεν δε). Old verb αξιοω, to deem worthy, to think right or proper as in 15:38 which see. They think it only fair to hear Paul's side of his case.
Concerning this sect (περ της αιρεσεως ταυτης). Paul had identified Christianity with Judaism (verse 20) in its Messianic hope. The language seems to imply that the number of Christians in Rome was comparatively small and mainly Gentile. If the edict of Claudius for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome (Ac 18:2 ) was due to disturbance over Christ (Χρηστυς), then even in Rome the Jews had special reason for hostility towards Christians.
Everywhere spoken against (πανταχου αντιλεγετα). Cf. verse 19. The line of cleavage between Jew and Christian was now sharply drawn everywhere.
Appointed (ταξαμενο). First aorist middle participle of τασσω. Formal arrangement as in Mt 28:16 when Jesus appointed the mountain for his meeting in Galilee.
In great number (πλειονες). Comparative of πολυς, "more than a few."
Expounded (εξετιθετο). Imperfect middle of εκτιθημ, to set forth, as in 11:4; 18:26 . He did it with detail and care and spent all day at it, "from morning till evening" (απο πρω εως εσπερας). In N.T. only here, 4:3 and Lu 24:29 , though common word.
Persuading them concerning Jesus (πειθων αυτους περ του Ιησου). Conative present active participle, trying to persuade. It was only about Jesus that he could make good his claim concerning the hope of Israel (verse 20). It was Paul's great opportunity. So he appealed both to Moses and to the prophets for proof as it was his custom to do.
Some believed (ο μεν επειθοντο). Imperfect passive indicative of πειθω. More exactly, "some began to be persuaded" (inchoative).
Some disbelieved (ο δε ηπιστουν). Imperfect active of απιστεω, to disbelieve, continued to disbelieve. It is usually so.
When they agreed not (ασυμφωνο οντες). Old adjective, only here in N.T., double compound (α privative, συμ, φωνη), without symphony, out of harmony, dissonant, discordant. It was a triumph to gain adherents at all in such an audience.
They departed (απελυοντο). Imperfect middle (direct) indicative, "They loosed themselves from Paul." Graphic close.
After that Paul had spoken one word (ειποντος του Παυλου ρημα εν). Genitive absolute. One last word (like a preacher) after the all day exposition.
To your fathers (προς τους πατερας υμων). So Aleph A B instead of ημων (our) like Stephen in 7:52 whose words Paul had heard. By mentioning the Holy Spirit Paul shows (Knowling) that they are resisting God ( 7:52).
Say (ειπον). Second aorist active imperative instead of the old form ειπε. The quotation is from Isa 6:9,10 . This very passage is quoted by Jesus (Mt 13:14,15; Mr 4:12; Lu 8:10 ) in explanation of his use of parables and in Joh 12:40 the very point made by Paul here, "the disbelief of the Jews in Jesus" (Page). See on Matthew for discussion of the language used. Here the first time ("go to this people and say") does not occur in Matthew. It is a solemn dirge of the doom of the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah foreseen so long ago by Isaiah.
This salvation (τουτο το σωτηριον). Adjective from σωτηρ (Saviour), saving, bringing salvation. Common in the old Greek. The neuter as here often in LXX (as Ps 67:2 ) as substantive like σωτηρια (cf. Lu 3:6 ).
They will also hear (αυτο κα ακουσοντα). Αυτο as opposed to the rejection by the Jews, "vivid and antithetical" (Page).
Two whole years (διετιαν ολην). Only here in N.T. and 24:27 which see. During these busy years in Rome Paul wrote Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Epistles that would immortalize any man, unless, forsooth, one or more of them was written from Ephesus or Caesarea, which has not yet been proven.
In his own hired dwelling (εν ιδιω μισθωματ). Old word, here only in N.T., that which is hired for a price (from μισθοω and that from μισθος, hire).
Received (απεδεχετο). Imperfect middle of αποδεχομα, received from time to time as they came, all that came (εισπορευομενους) from time to time.
teaching (διδασκων), the two things that concerned Paul most, doing both as if his right hand was not in chains, to the amazement of those in Rome and in Philippi (Php 1:12-14 ).
None forbidding him (ακωλυτως). Old adverb from α privative and the verbal adjective κωλυτος (from κωλυω, to hinder), here only in the N.T. Page comments on "the rhythmic cadence of the concluding words." Page rejects the notion that the book is an unfinished work. It closes with the style of a concluded work. I agree with Harnack that Luke wrote the Acts during this period of two years in Rome and carried events no further because they had gone no further. Paul was still a prisoner in Rome when Luke completed the book. But he had carried Paul to "Rome, the capital of the world, Urbi et Orbi" (Page). The gospel of Christ has reached Rome. For the fate of Paul we must turn elsewhere. But Luke had the presence of Paul while he carried the Acts to its triumphant conclusion. Ramsay can give a good deal in proof of his claim that Luke is the greatest of all historians. Beyond a doubt his rank is high and the world can never repay its debt to this cultured physician who wrote the Gospel and the Acts.
|« Prev||Acts 28||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version