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Chapter 5

5:1 Sold [epōlēsen]. Aorist active indicative again, for a single case.

5:2 Kept back [enosphisato]. First aorist middle indicative of [nosphizō], old verb from [nosphi], afar, apart, and so to set apart, to separate for oneself, but only here, verse 3; Tit 2:10 in the N.T. His wife also being privy to it [suneiduiēs kai tēs gunaikos]. Genitive absolute with second perfect participle of [sunoida], to know together with one, “his wife also knowing it together with him.” Brought a certain part [enegkas meros ti]. Aorist active participle of [pherō], for a definite act. The praise of Joseph was too much for Ananias, but he was not willing to turn over all. He wanted praise for giving all and yet he took care of himself by keeping some. Thus he started the Ananias Club that gave a new meaning to his lovely name (God is gracious).

5:3 Filled [eplērōsen]. The very verb used of the filling by the Holy Spirit (4:31). Satan the adversary is the father of lies (Joh 8:44). He had entered into Judas (Lu 22:3; Joh 13:27) and now he has filled the heart of Ananias with a lie. To lie to the Holy Spirit [pseusasthai se to pneuma to hagion]. Infinitive (aorist middle) of purpose with accusative of general reference [se] and the accusative of the person (object) as often in Greek writers, though here only in the N.T. with this verb. Usual dative of the person in verse 4 [anthrōpois], men, [tōi theōi], God). The Holy Spirit had been given them to guide them into truth (Joh 15:13).

5:4 Whiles it remained [menon]. Present active participle of mend, unsold, Peter means. After it was sold [prathen]. First aorist passive of [pipraskō], to sell. How is that thou hast conceived [Ti hoti ethou]. Quid est quod. See Lu 2:49. See also Ac 5:9. Second aorist middle indicative second person singular of [tithēmi]. The devil filled his heart (verse 3), but all the same Ananias did it too and is wholly responsible.

5:5 Hearing [akouōn]. Present active participle of [akouō], while hearing. Fell down [pesōn]. Second aorist active participle of [piptō], fell all of a sudden while listening. Gave up the ghost [exepsuxen]. First aorist active indicative of [ekpsuchō], late verb in LXX and Hippocrates, to breathe out, to expire. In the N.T. only here, verse 10; 12:23. It is needless to blame Peter for the death of Ananias. He had brought the end upon himself. It was the judgment of God. Physically the nervous shock could have caused the collapse.

5:6 The young men [hoi neōteroi]. Literally the younger men (contrast with [hoi presbuteroi], the elder men). Same as [neaniskoi] in verse 10 and so no order in the young church. Perhaps these young men were acting as ushers or actual pallbearers. Wrapped him round [sunesteilan]. First aorist active indicative of [sustellō], old verb, to draw together, or contract (1Co 7:29), to roll together, to wrap with bandages, to enshroud as here. Nowhere else in the N.T. Frequent in medical writers. They may have used their own mantles. The time for burial was short in Jerusalem for sanitary reasons and to avoid ceremonial defilement.

5:7 And it was about the space of three hours after [egeneto de hōs hōrōn triōn diastēma]. Literally “Now there came an interval [diastēma], distance, space between) of about [hōs] three hours.” When [kai]. This use of [kai] after [egeneto] is characteristic of Luke’s style in the Gospel. Not knowing [mē eiduia]. Feminine singular of second perfect active participle of [oida]. [] usual negative of the participle in the Koinē.

5:8 For so much [tosoutou]. Genitive of price. Perhaps Peter pointed to the pile of money at the feet of the apostles ( verse 2). The use of [ei] in direct questions appears in Luke (Lu 13:23; 22:49) as in the LXX like the Hebrew im and in Ac 1:6; 19:2, etc.

5:9 Ye have agreed together [sunephōnēthē humin]. First aorist passive indicative of [sumphōneō] (to voice together, symphony), impersonal with dative; It was agreed together by you (or for you). “Your souls were allured together respecting this deceit” (Vincent). To tempt the Spirit of the Lord [peirasai to pneuma kuriou]. Like “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” It was close to the unpardonable sin which was attributing the manifest work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebub. The feet [hoi podes]. Graphic picture by Peter as he heard the steps of the young men at the door.

5:10 Immediately [parachrēma]. Hence her death was regarded as supernatural like that of Ananias. By her husband [pros ton andra autēs]. Face to face to her husband.

5:11 Upon the whole church [eph’ holēn tēn ekklēsian]. Here [ekklēsia] for the first time in Acts of the believers in Jerusalem. Twice already in the Gospels, once of the whole body of believers or the Kingdom (Mt 16:18), the other of the local body (Mt 18:17). In Ac 7:38 it is used of the whole congregation of Israel while in 19:32 it is used of a public assembly in Ephesus. But already in Ac 8:3 it is applied to the church which Saul was persecuting in their homes when not assembled. So here the etymological meaning of “assembly” disappears for “the church” were now the scattered saints hiding in their separate homes. The whole body of believers in Jerusalem and all who heard of the fate of Ananias and Sapphira (beautiful, her name means) were in awe and dread. It was already a dangerous thing to be a follower of Christ unless one was willing to walk straight.

5:12 Were wrought [egineto]. Imperfect middle, wrought from time to time. With one accord [homothumadon]. As already in 1:14; 2:46; 4:24 and later 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 15:25; 18:21; 19:29, old adverb and only in Acts in the N.T. Here “all” is added. In Solomon’s Porch again as in 3:11 which see.

5:13 Durst [etolma]. Imperfect active of [tolmaō], old verb, not to fear or shun through fear, boldly to take a stand. The fate of Ananias and Sapphira continued to hold many in check. Join [kollasthai]. Present middle infinitive of [kollaō], old verb to cleave to like glue as in Lu 15:15 which see. Seven times in Acts (9:26; 10:28; 17:34). The outsiders (the rest) preferred, many of them, to remain outside for the present, especially the rulers. Howbeit the people [all’—ho laos]. Probably individuals among the people, the populace as distinct from the rulers and hostile outsiders.

5:14 Were the more added [māllon prosetithento]. Rather [māllon] instead of decrease as one might expect. Imperfect passive indicative of [prostithēmi] common [mi] verb, kept on being added. Both of men and women [andrōn te kai gunaikōn]. The distinction between [andres] and [gunaikes] and to be considered in connection with [andres] in 4:4 which see.

5:15 Insomuch that [hōste]. With the present infinitive [ekpherein] and [tithenai], regular Greek idiom for result. Into the streets [eis tas plateias]. Supply [hodous] (ways), into the broad ways. On beds and couches [epi klinariōn kai krabattōn]. Little beds [klinaria] diminutive of [klinē] and camp beds or pallets (see on Mr 2:4, 9, 11). As Peter came by [erchomenou Petrou]. Genitive absolute with present middle participle. At the least his shadow might overshadow [kan hē skia episkiasei]. Future active indicative with [hina] (common with [hopōs] in ancient Greek) and [kan] (crasis for [kai ean] = even if), even if only the shadow. The word for shadow [skia], like our “sky”) is repeated in the verb and preserved in our “overshadow.” There was, of course, no virtue or power in Peter’s shadow. That was faith with superstition, of course, just as similar cases in the Gospels occur (Mt 9:20; Mr 6:56; Joh 9:5) and the use of Paul’s handkerchief (Ac 19:12). God honours even superstitious faith if it is real faith in him. Few people are wholly devoid of superstition.

5:16 Came together [sunērcheto]. Imperfect middle, kept on coming. Round about [perix]. Old adverb, strengthened form of [peri], only here in the N.T. Vexed [ochloumenous]. Present passive participle of [ochleō], to excite a mob [ochlos] against one, to trouble, annoy. Old word, only here in the N.T., though [enochleō] in Lu 6:18. Were healed every one [etherapeuonto hapantes]. Imperfect passive, were healed one at a time, repetition.

5:17 Which is the sect of the Sadducees [hē ousa hairesis tōn Saddoukaiōn]. Literally, “the existing sect of the Sadducees” or “the sect which is of the Sadducees,” [] being the article, not the relative. [Hairesis] means a choosing, from [haireomai], to take for oneself, to choose, then an opinion chosen or tenet (possibly 2Pe 2:1), then parties or factions (Gal 5:20; 1Co 11:19; possibly 2Pe 2:1). It is applied here to the Sadducees; to the Pharisees in Ac 15:5; 26:5; to the Christians in 24:5-14; 28:22. Already Luke has stated that the Sadducees started the persecution of Peter and John (Ac 4:1f.). Now it is extended to “the apostles” as a whole since Christianity has spread more rapidly in Jerusalem than before it began.

5:18 With jealousy [zēlou]. Genitive case. Old word from zeō, to boil, our zeal. In itself it means only warmth, ardour, zeal, but for a bad cause or from a bad motive, jealousy, envy, rivalry results (Ac 13:45). Common in the epistles. In public ward [en tērēsei dēmosiāi]. As in 4:3 only with [dēmosiāi] (public) added, in the public prison, perhaps not the “common” prison, but any prison is bad enough. In verse 19 it is called “the prison” [tēs phulakēs], the guardhouse.

5:20 And stand [kai stathentes]. First aorist passive participle (intransitive, ingressive aorist), take a stand. Bold and pictorial command. All the words of this life [panta ta rhēmata tēs zōēs tautēs]. Not just a Hebraism for “all these words of life.” Probably “this life” which the Sadducees deny and of which the angel is now speaking, this eternal life. (Joh 6:63,68; 1Co 15:19).

5:21 About daybreak [hupo ton orthron]. From [ornumi], to stir up, to arouse, so the dawn (Lu 24:1; Joh 8:2). Old word, but in the N.T. only these three passages. “Under the dawn” or “about dawn.” Sub lucem. The temple doors would be open for early worshippers and traffickers (Joh 2:14). Taught [edidaskon]. Imperfect active, began to teach. The council [to sunedrion]. The Sanhedrin. The senate [tēn gerousian]. From [gerōn], an old man, just as the Latin senatus is from senex, old. Like the [gerontes] in Homer and the Elder Statesmen in Japan. Apparently the senate of the people were also part of the Sanhedrin and the use of “and” [kai] is explanatory and adds this item in particular. Page thinks that this group of elders were not members of the Sanhedrin at all. To the prison house [eis to desmōtērion], another word for prison [tērēsis dēmosia] in verse 18, [hē phulakē] in verse 19). See also verses 22, 23, 25. This from [desmos], bond, and [tēreō], to keep, place where bound men are kept.

5:22 The officers [hoi hupēretai]. Under-rowers, literally (Mt 5:25). The servants or officers who executed the orders of the Sanhedrin. Shut [kekleismenon]. Perfect passive participle of [kleiō]. Shut tight. Standing at the doors [hestōtas epi tōn thurōn]. Graphic picture of the sentinels at the prison doors.

5:24 They were much perplexed [diēporoun]. Imperfect active of [diaporeō] old verb by Luke only in the N.T. See already on Ac 2:12. They continued puzzled. Whereunto this would grow [ti an genoito touto]. More exactly, As to what this would become. Second aorist middle optative of [ginomai] with [an], the conclusion of a condition of the fourth class (undetermined with less likelihood of determination), the unexpressed condition being “if the thing should be allowed to go on.” The indirect question simply retains the optative with [an] (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1021, 1044). If they had only known how this grain of mustard seed would grow into the greatest tree on earth and how dwarfed the tree of Judaism would be beside it!

5:26 Brought [ēgen]. Imperfect active of [agō], was bringing (leading), slowly no doubt, and solemnly. But without violence [ou meta bias]. Literally, not with violence. For they feared [ephobounto gar]. Imperfect middle, still feared, kept on fearing. Lest they be stoned [mē lithasthōsin]. Negative purpose with [] (like [hina mē], probably with “not with violence,” though possible with “they feared.” They handled the apostles gently for fear of being stoned themselves by the people. First aorist passive subjunctive of [lithazō] (from [lithos], stone), old verb to pelt with stones (Ac 14:19; Joh 10:31-33).

5:27 They set them [estēsan]. First aorist active indicative (transitive) of [histēmi].

5:28 We straitly charged [Paraggeliāi parēggeilamen]. Like the Hebrew idiom (common in the LXX), though found in Greek, with charging (instrumental case) we charged (cf. same idiom in Lu 22:15). Somewhat like the cognate accusative. The command referred to occurs in Ac 4:17, 18 and the refusal of Peter and John in 4:20. To bring upon us [epagagein eph’ hēmās]. Note repetition of [epi]. Second aorist active infinitive of [epagō], old verb, but in the N.T. only here and 2Pe 2:1, 5. The Sanhedrin gladly took the blood of Christ on their heads and their children to Pilate (Mt 27:25). Paul tried to save the Jews (Ac 18:6; 22:20). “This man” [tou anthrōpou toutou]. Contemptuous slur and refusal to call the name of Jesus as in the Talmud later.

5:29 We must [dei]. Moral necessity left them no choice. They stood precisely where Peter and John were when before the Sanhedrin before (Ac 4:20). Obey [peitharchein]. Old verb from [peithomai] and [archē], to obey a ruler. Only by Luke and Paul in the N.T.

5:30 Ye slew [diecheirisasthe]. First aorist middle indicative of [diacheirizomai], old verb from [dia] and [cheir] (hand), to take in hand, manage, to lay hands on, manhandle, kill. In the N.T. only here and Ac 26:21. Hanging him upon a tree [kremasantes epi xulou]. First aorist active participle of [kremannumi] [kremannuō] seen already in Mt 18:6 and Lu 23:39). Peter refers to De 21:23 as Paul does in Ga 3:13, the curse pronounced on every one who “hangs upon a tree.”

5:31 Exalt [upsōsen] In contrast to their murder of Christ as in 2:23f. Peter repeats his charges with increased boldness. With his right hand [tēi dexiāi autou]. So instrumental case, or at his right hand (locative case), or even “to his right hand” (dative case) as in 2:33. Prince and Saviour [archēgon kai sōtēra]. See on 3:15. Clearly “Prince” here. To give [tou dounai]. Genitive of articular infinitive (second aorist active of [didōmi] of purpose.

5:32 We are witnesses [hēmeis esmen martures]. As in 2:32. Things [rhēmatōn]. Literally, sayings, but like the Hebrew dabhar for “word” it is here used for “things.” And so is the Holy Ghost [kai to pneuma to hagion]. The word for “is” [estin] is not in the Greek, but this is plainly the meaning. Peter claims the witness of the Holy Spirit to the raising of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, by the Father.

5:33 Were cut to the heart [dieprionto]. Imperfect passive of [diapriō] old verb [dia, priō], to saw in two [dia], to cut in two (to the heart). Here it is rage that cuts into their hearts, not conviction of sin as in Ac 2:37. Only here and Ac 7:54 (after Stephen’s speech) in the N.T. (cf. Simeon’s prophecy in Lu 2:35). Were minded [eboulonto]. Imperfect middle of [boulomai]. They were plotting and planning to kill [anelein], as in Ac 2:23; Lu 23:33 which see) then and there. The point in 4:7 was whether the apostles deserved stoning for curing the cripple by demoniacal power, but here it was disobedience to the command of the Sanhedrin which was not a capital offence. “They were on the point of committing a grave judicial blunder” (Furneaux).

5:34 Gamaliel [Gamaliēl]. The grandson of Hillel, teacher of Paul (Ac 22:3), later president of the Sanhedrin, and the first of the seven rabbis termed “Rabban.” It is held by some that he was one of the doctors who heard the Boy Jesus in the temple (Lu 2:47) and that he was a secret disciple like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, but there is no evidence of either position. Besides, he appears here as a loyal Pharisee and “a doctor of the law” [nomodidaskalos]. This word appears already in Lu 5:17 of the Pharisaic doctors bent on criticizing Jesus, which see. Paul uses it of Judaizing Christians (1Ti 1:7). Like other great rabbis he had a great saying: “Procure thyself a teacher, avoid being in doubt; and do not accustom thyself to give tithes by guess.” He was a man of judicial temper and not prone to go off at a tangent, though his brilliant young pupil Saul went to the limit about Stephen without any restraint on the part of Gamaliel so far as the record goes. Gamaliel champions the cause of the apostles as a Pharisee to score a point against the Sadducees. He acts as a theological opportunist, not as a disciple of Christ. He felt that a temporizing policy was best. There are difficulties in this speech of Gamaliel and it is not clear how Luke obtained the data for the address. It is, of course, possible that Saul was present and made notes of it for Luke afterwards. Had in honour of all the people [timios panti tōi laōi]. Ethical dative. [Timios] from [timē], old word meaning precious, dear. The men [tous anthrōpous]. Correct text as in verse 35, not “the apostles” as Textus Receptus.

5:35 Take heed [prosechete heautois]. Hold your mind [noun], unexpressed) for or on yourselves (dative case), the usual idiom.

5:36 Theudas [Theudas]. Luke represents Gamaliel here about A.D. 35 as speaking of a man who led a revolt before that of Judas the Galilean in connection with the enrolment under Quirinius (Cyrenius) in A.D. 6. But Josephus (Ant. XX. 5, 1) tells of a Theudas who led a similar insurrection in the reign of Claudius about A.D. 44 or 45. Josephus (Ant. XVIII. 1, 6; XX. 5, 2; War ii. 8, 1 and 17, 8) also describes Judas the Galilean or Gaulonite and places him about A.D. 6. It is not certain that Josephus and Luke (Gamaliel) refer to the same Theudas as the name is an abbreviation of Theodosus, a common name. “Josephus gives an account of four men named Simon who followed each other within forty years, and of three named Judas within ten years, who were all instigators of rebellion” (Hackett). If the same Theudas is meant, then either Josephus or Luke (Gamaliel) has the wrong historical order. In that case one will credit Luke or Josephus according to his estimate of the two as reliable historians. To be somebody [einai tina]. Indirect assertion with the infinitive and the accusative of general reference [heauton] and [tina], predicate accusative. [Tina] could be “anybody” or “somebody” according to context, clearly “somebody” of importance here. Joined themselves [proseklithē]. Correct text and not [prosekollēthē] (Textus Receptus). First aorist passive indicative of [prosklinō], old verb to lean towards, to incline towards. Here only in the N.T. Was slain [anēirethē]. First aorist passive of [anaireō] (cf. verse 33). Obeyed [epeithonto]. Imperfect middle, kept on obeying. Were dispersed [dieluthēsan]. First aorist passive indicative (effective aorist) of [dialuō], old verb to dissolve, to go to pieces. Here only in the N.T.

5:37 Of the enrolment [tēs apographēs]. Described by Josephus (Ant. XV. 1, 1). The same word used by Luke of the first enrolment started by Augustus B.C. 8 to 6 (Lu 2:2). See the discussion on Lu 2:2. This is the second enrolment in the fourteen year cycle carried on for centuries as shown by numerous dated papyri. Ramsay (The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the N.T.) has produced proof from inscriptions that Quirinius was twice in Syria as Luke reports (Robertson, Luke the Historian in the Light of Research). Drew away [apestēse]. Causative sense of the first aorist active indicative of [aphistēmi], made people [laon], no need of “some of the”) to revolt (apostatize) with him. He also [kakeinos], crasis for [kai ekeinos]. That one, also. Were scattered abroad [dieskorpisthēsan]. First aorist (effective) passive indicative of [diaskorpizō], old verb to disperse. Used of sheep (Mr 14:27), of property (Lu 15:13). Aorist here after imperfect [epeithonto] as in verse 36.

5:38 Refrain from [apostēte apo]. Second aorist (ingressive) active imperative of [aphistēmi] of verse 37. Do ye stand off from these men. “Hands off” was the policy of Gamaliel. For if—be [hoti ean—ēi]. [Hoti] gives the reason for the advice. Gamaliel presents two alternatives in terms of two conditional clauses. The first one is stated as a condition of the third class, [ean] with the present subjunctive [ēi], undetermined with prospect of determination. Assuming that it is from men, “it will be overthrown” [kataluthēsetai], first future passive of [kataluō], to loosen down like a falling house) as was true of the following of Theudas and Judas the Galilean.

5:39 But if it is of God [ei de ek theou estin]. The second alternative is a condition of the first class, determined as fulfilled, [ei] with the present indicative. By the use of this idiom Gamaliel does put the case more strongly in favor of the apostles than against them. This condition assumes that the thing is so without affirming it to be true. On the basis of this alternative Gamaliel warns the Sanhedrin that they cannot “overthrow” [katalusai] these men for they in that case must “overthrow” God, lest haply ye be found [mē pote—hurethēte], negative purpose with first aorist passive subjunctive) even to be fighting against God [kai theomachoi], late adjective from [theos] and [machomai], in LXX and here only in the N.T.).

5:40 To him they agreed [epeisthēsan autōi]. First aorist passive indicative of [peithō], to persuade, the passive to be persuaded by, to listen to, to obey. Gamaliel’s shrewd advice scored as against the Sadducaic contention (verse 17). Not to speak [mē lalein]. The Sanhedrin repeated the prohibition of 4:18 which the apostles had steadily refused to obey. The Sanhedrin stood by their guns, but refused to shoot. It was a “draw” with Gamaliel as tactical victor over the Sadducees. Clearly now the disciples were set free because only the Sadducees had become enraged while the Pharisees held aloof.

5:41 They therefore [hoi men oun]. No answering [de]. They were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the Name [katēxiōthēsan huper tou onomatos atimasthēnai]. First aorist passive indicative of [kataxioō], old verb to count worthy. Three times in N.T. (Lu 20:35; Ac 5:41; 2Th 1:5). First aorist passive infinitive of [atimazō], old verb to make one dishonoured [atimos]. Forms here an oxymoron [oxus], sharp, [moros], foolish) pointedly foolish saying “which is witty or impressive through sheer contradiction or paradox as laborious idleness, sublime indifference” (Vincent). The apostles felt honoured by dishonour. Note the same use of “the Name” as in Jas 2:7; 3Jo 1:7. With the Jews this absolute use of “the Name” meant Jehovah. The Christians now apply it to Jesus.

5:42 Every day [pāsan hēmeran]. Accusative of extent of time, all through every day. In the temple and at home [en tōi hierōi kai kat’ oikon]. This was a distinct triumph to go back to the temple where they had been arrested (verse 25) and at home or from house to house, as it probably means (cf. 2:46). It was a great day for the disciples in Jerusalem. They ceased not [ouk epauonto]. Imperfect middle. They kept it up. Jesus as the Christ [ton Christon Iēsoun]. Jesus is the direct object of the participles [didaskontes] (teaching) and [euaggelizomenoi] (preaching or evangelizing) while “the Christ” [ton Christon] is the predicate accusative. These words give the substance of the early apostolic preaching as these opening chapters of Acts show, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of promise. Gamaliel had opened the prison doors for them and they took full advantage of the opportunity that now was theirs.

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