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19:1 While Apollos was at Corinth [en tōi ton Apollō einai en Korinthōi]. Favourite idiom with Luke, [en] with the locative of the articular infinitive and the accusative of general reference (Lu 1:8; 2:27, etc.). Having passed through the upper country [dielthonta ta anōterika merē]. Second aorist active participle of [dierchomai], accusative case agreeing with [Paulon], accusative of general reference with the infinitive [elthein], idiomatic construction with [egeneto]. The word for “upper” [anōterika] is a late form for [anōtera] (Lu 14:10) and occurs in Hippocrates and Galen. It refers to the highlands (cf. Xenophon’s Anabasis) and means that Paul did not travel the usual Roman road west by Colossae and Laodicea in the Lycus Valley, cities that he did not visit (Col 2:1). Instead he took the more direct road through the Cayster Valley to Ephesus. Codex Bezae says here that Paul wanted to go back to Jerusalem, but that the Holy Spirit bade him to go into Asia where he had been forbidden to go in the second tour (16:6). Whether the upper “parts” [merē] here points to North Galatia is still a point of dispute among scholars. So he came again to Ephesus as he had promised to do (18:21). The province of Asia included the western part of Asia Minor. The Romans took this country B.C. 130. Finally the name was extended to the whole continent. It was a jewel in the Roman empire along with Africa and was a senatorial province. It was full of great cities like Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea (the seven churches of Re 2; 3), Colossae, Hierapolis, Apamea, to go no further. Hellenism had full sway here. Ephesus was the capital and chief city and was a richer and larger city than Corinth. It was located at the entrance to the valley of the Maeander to the east. Here was the power of Rome and the splendour of Greek culture and the full tide of oriental superstition and magic. The Temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the world. While in Ephesus some hold that Paul at this time wrote the Epistle to the Galatians after his recent visit there, some that he did it before his recent visit to Jerusalem. But it is still possible that he wrote it from Corinth just before writing to Rome, a point to discuss later. Certain disciples [tinas mathētas]. Who were they? Apollos had already gone to Corinth. They show no connection with Priscilla and Aquila. Luke calls them “disciples” or “learners” [mathētas] because they were evidently sincere though crude and ignorant. There is no reason at all for connecting these uninformed disciples of the Baptist with Apollos. They were floating followers of the Baptist who drifted into Ephesus and whom Paul found. Some of John’s disciples clung to him till his death (Joh 3:22-25; Lu 7:19; Mt 14:12). Some of them left Palestine without the further knowledge of Jesus that came after his death and some did not even know that, as turned out to be the case with the group in Ephesus.
19:2 Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? [ei pneuma hagion elabete pisteusantes?]. This use of [Pi] in a direct question occurs in 1:6, is not according to the old Greek idiom, but is common in the LXX and the N.T. as in Lu 13:23 which see (Robertson, Grammar, p. 916). Apparently Paul was suspicious of the looks or conduct of these professed disciples. The first aorist active participle [pisteusantes] is simultaneous with the second aorist active indicative [elabete] and refers to the same event. Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was [All’ oude ei pneuma hagion estin ēkousamen]. The reply of these ignorant disciples is amazing. They probably refer to the time of their baptism and mean that, when baptized, they did not hear whether [ei] in indirect question) the Holy Spirit was [estin] retained as in Joh 7:39). Plain proof that they knew John’s message poorly.
19:3 Into what [eis ti]. More properly, Unto what or on what basis (Robertson, Grammar, p. 592). Clearly, Paul felt they had received a poor baptism with no knowledge of the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism [to Iōanou baptisma]. Last mention of John the Baptist in the N.T. They had been dipped in other words, but they had not grasped the significance of the ordinance.
19:4 With the baptism of repentance [baptisma metanoias]. Cognate accusative with [ebaptisen] and the genitive [metanoias] describing the baptism as marked by (case of species or genus), not as conveying, repentance just as in Mr 1:4 and that was the work of the Holy Spirit. But John preached also the baptism of the Holy Spirit which the Messiah was to bring (Mr 1:7f.; Mt 3:11f.; Lu 3:16). If they did not know of the Holy Spirit, they had missed the point of John’s baptism. That they should believe on him that should come after him, that is on Jesus [eis ton erchomenon met’ auton hina pisteusōsin, tout’ estin eis ton Iēsoun]. Note the emphatic prolepsis of [eis ton erchomenon met’ auton] before [hina pisteusōsin] with which it is construed. This is John’s identical phrase, “the one coming after me” as seen in Mr 1:7; Mt 3:11; Lu 3:16; Joh 1:15. It is not clear that these “disciples” believed in a Messiah, least of all in Jesus. They were wholly unprepared for the baptism of John. Paul does not mean to say that John’s baptism was inadequate, but he simply explains what John really taught and so what his baptism signified.
19:5 The name of the Lord Jesus [to onoma ton kuriou Iēsou]. Apollos was not rebaptized. The twelve apostles were not rebaptized. Jesus received no other baptism than that of John. The point here is simply that these twelve men were grossly ignorant of the meaning of John’s baptism as regards repentance, the Messiahship of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Hence Paul had them baptized, not so much again, as really baptized this time, in the name or on the authority of the Lord Jesus as he had himself commanded (Mt 28:19) and as was the universal apostolic custom. Proper understanding of “Jesus” involved all the rest including the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Luke does not give a formula, but simply explains that now these men had a proper object of faith (Jesus) and were now really baptized.
19:6 When Paul had laid his hands upon them [epithentos autois tou Paulou cheiras]. Genitive absolute of second aorist active participle of [epitithēmi]. This act of laying on of the hands was done in Samaria by Peter and John (8:16) and in Damascus in the case of Paul (9:17) and was followed as here by the descent of the Holy Spirit in supernatural power. They spake with tongues [elaloun glōssais]. Inchoative imperfect, began to speak with tongues as in Jerusalem at Pentecost and as in Caesarea before the baptism. Prophesied [eprophēteuon]. Inchoative imperfect again, began to prophesy. The speaking with tongues and prophesying was external and indubitable proof that the Holy Spirit had come on these twelve uninformed disciples now fully won to the service of Jesus as Messiah. But this baptism in water did not “convey” the Holy Spirit nor forgiveness of sins. Paul was not a sacramentalist.
19:8 Spake boldly [eparrēsiazeto]. Imperfect middle, kept on at it for three months. Cf. same word in 18:26. Persuading [peithōn]. Present active conative participle of [peithō], trying to persuade (28:23). Paul’s idea of the Kingdom of God was the church of God which he (Jesus, God’s Son) had purchased with his own blood (Ac 20:28, calling Christ God). Nowhere else had Paul apparently been able to speak so long in the synagogue without interruption unless it was so at Corinth. These Jews were already interested (18:30).
19:9 But when some were hardened [hōs de tines esklērunonto]. Imperfect passive of [sklērunō], causative like hiphil in Hebrew, to make hard [sklēros] or rough or harsh (Mt 25:24). In LXX and Hippocrates and Galen (in medical writings). In N.T. only here and Ro 9:18 and 4 times in Heb 3:8, 13, 15; 4:7, 8 quoting and referring to Ps 95:8 about hardening the heart like a gristle. The inevitable reaction against Paul went on even in Ephesus though slowly. Disobedient [epeithoun]. Imperfect again, showing the growing disbelief and disobedience [apeithēs], both ideas as in 14:2; 17:5, first refusal to believe and then refusal to obey. Both [sklērunō] and [apeitheō] occur together, as here, in Ecclus. 30:12. Speaking evil of the Way [kakologountes tēn hodon]. Late verb from [kakologos] (speaker of evil) for the old [kakōs legō]. Already in Mr 7:10; 9:39; Mt 15:4. Now these Jews are aggressive opponents of Paul and seek to injure his influence with the crowd. Note “the Way” as in 9:2 for Christianity. He departed from them [apostas ap’ autōn]. Second aorist active participle of [aphistēmi], made an “apostasy” (standing off, cleavage) as he did at Corinth (18:7, [metabas], making a change). Separated the disciples [aphōrisen tous mathētas]. First aorist active indicative of [aphorizō], old verb to mark limits (horizon) as already in 13:2. Paul himself was a spiritual Pharisee “separated” to Christ (Ro 1:1). The Jews regarded this withdrawal as apostasy, like separating the sheep from the goats (Mt 25:32). Paul now made a separate church as he had done at Thessalonica and Corinth. In the school of Tyrannus [en tēi scholēi Turannou]. [Scholē] (our school) is an old word from [schein] [echō] to hold on, leisure and then in later Greek (Plutarch, etc.) a place where there is leisure as here. Only this example in the N.T. This is the Greek notion of “school,” the Jewish being that of “yoke” as in Mt 11:29. The name Tyrannus (our tyrant) is a common one. It is an inscription in the Columbarium of the Empress Livia as that of a physician in the court. Furneaux suggests the possibility that a relative of this physician was lecturing on medicine in Ephesus and so as a friend of Luke, the physician, would be glad to help Paul about a place to preach. It was probably a public building or lecture hall with this name whether hired by Paul or loaned to him. The pagan sophists often spoke in such halls. The Codex Bezae adds “from the fifth hour to the tenth” as the time allotted Paul for his work in this hall, which is quite possible, from just before midday till the close of the afternoon (from before the noon meal till two hours before sunset) each day. Here Paul had great freedom and a great hearing. As the church grows there will be other places of meeting as the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (1Co 16:19).
19:10 For two years [epi etē duo]. Note [epi] with accusative for extent of time as in verse 8, [epi mēnas treis] and often. But in 20:31 Paul said to the Ephesian elders at Miletus that he laboured with them for the space of “three years.” That may be a general expression and there was probably a longer period after the “two years” in the school of Tyrannus besides the six months in the synagogue. Paul may have preached thereafter in the house of Aquila and Priscilla for some months, the “for a while” of verse 22. So that all they which dwelt in Asia heard [hōste pantas tous katoikountas tēn Asian akousai]. Actual result with [hōste] and the infinitive with accusative of general reference as is common (also verse 11) in the Koinē (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 999f.). Paul apparently remained in Ephesus, but the gospel spread all over the province even to the Lycus Valley including the rest of the seven churches of Re 1:11; 2; 3. Demetrius in verse 26 will confirm the tremendous influence of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus on Asia. Forty years after this Pliny in his famous letter to Trajan from Bithynia will say of Christianity: “For the contagion of this superstition has not only spread through cities, but also through villages and country places.” It was during these years in Ephesus that Paul was greatly disturbed over the troubles in the Corinthian Church. He apparently wrote a letter to them now lost to us (1Co 5:9), received messages from the household of Chloe, a letter from the church, special messengers, sent Timothy, then Titus, may have made a hurried trip himself, wrote our First Corinthians, was planning to go after the return of Titus to Troas where he was to meet him after Pentecost, when all of a sudden the uproar raised by Demetrius hurried Paul away sooner than he had planned. Meanwhile Apollos had returned from Corinth to Ephesus and refused to go back (1Co 16:12). Paul doubtless had helpers like Epaphras and Philemon who carried the message over the province of Asia, Tychicus, and Trophimus of Asia who were with him on the last visit to Jerusalem (verses 22, 29; 20:4). Paul’s message reached Greeks, not merely Hellenists and God-fearers, but some of the Greeks in the upper circles of life in Ephesus.
19:11 Special miracles [dunameis ou tas tuchousas]. “Powers not the ones that happen by chance,” “not the ordinary ones,” litotes for “the extraordinary.” All “miracles” or “powers” [dunameis] are supernatural and out of the ordinary, but here God regularly wrought [epoiei], imperfect active) wonders beyond those familiar to the disciples and completely different from the deeds of the Jewish exorcists. This phrase is peculiar to Luke in the N.T. (also 28:2), but it occurs in the classical Greek and in the Koinē as in III Macc. 3:7 and in papyri and inscriptions (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 255). In Samaria Philip wrought miracles to deliver the people from the influence of Simon Magus. Here in Ephesus exorcists and other magicians had built an enormous vogue of a false spiritualism and Paul faces unseen forces of evil. His tremendous success led some people to superstitious practices thinking that there was power in Paul’s person.
19:12 Handkerchiefs [soudaria]. Latin word for [sudor] (sweat). Used in Lu 19:20; Joh 11:44; 20:7. In two papyri marriage-contracts this word occurs among the toilet articles in the dowry (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 223). Aprons [simikinthia]. Latin word also, semicinctilum [semi, cingo]. Only here in the N.T. Linen aprons used by servants or artisans (Martial XIV. 153). Paul did manual work at Ephesus (20:34) and so wore these aprons. Departed [apallalsethai]. Present passive infinitive with [hōste] for actual result as in verse 10. If one wonders how God could honour such superstitious faith, he should remember that there is no power in superstition or in magic, but in God. If God never honoured any faith save that entirely free from superstition, how about Christian people who are troubled over the number 13, over the moon, the rabbit’s foot? The poor woman with an issue of blood touched the hem of Christ’s garment and was healed (Lu 8:44-46) as others sought to do (Mt 14:36). God condescends to meet us in our ignorance and weakness where he can reach us. Elisha had a notion that some of the power of Elijah resided in his mantle (2Ki 2:13). Some even sought help from Peter’s shadow (Ac 5:15).
19:13 Of the strolling Jews, exorcists [tōn perierchomenōn Ioudaiōn exorkistōn]. These exorcists travelled around [peri] from place to place like modern Gypsy fortune-tellers. The Jews were especially addicted to such practices with spells of sorcery connected with the name of Solomon (Josephus, Ant. VIII. 2.5). See also Tobit 8:1-3. Jesus alludes to those in Palestine (Mt 12:27; Lu 11:19). The exorcists were originally those who administered an oath (from [exorkizō], to exact an oath), then to use an oath as a spell or charm. Only instance here in the N.T. These men regarded Paul as one of their own number just as Simon Magus treated Simon Peter. Only here these exorcists paid Paul the compliment of imitation instead of offering money as Magus did. To name over [onomazein epi]. They heard what Paul said and treated his words as a magic charm or spell to drive the evil spirits out. I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth [Horkizō humas ton Iēsoun hon Paulos kērussei]. Note two accusatives with the verb of swearing (cf. Mr 5:7) as a causative verb (Robertson, Grammar, p. 483). The papyri furnish numerous instances of [horkizō] in such constructions (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 281). Note also the article with Jesus, “the Jesus,” as if to identify the magic word to the demons with the addition “whom Paul preaches.” They thought that success turned on the correct use of the magical formula. The Ephesian mysteries included Christianity, so they supposed.
19:14 Seven sons of Sceva [Skeuā hepta huioi]. Who this Sceva was we do not know. If a high priest, he was highly connected in Jerusalem (cf. 5:24). Some MSS. have ruler instead of priest. His name may be Latin in origin. [Skeuā] has Doric form of genitive. But that he had seven sons in this degraded business shows how Judaism had fared poorly in this superstitious city. Did they imagine there was special power in the number seven?
19:15 Jesus I know [ton Iēsoun ginōskō]. “The (whom you mention) Jesus I recognize [ginōskō]” and “the (whom you mentioned) Paul I am acquainted with [ton Paulon epistamai].” Clear distinction between [ginōskō] and [epistamai]. But who are ye? [humeis de tines este?]. But you, who are you? Emphatic prolepsis.
19:16 Leaped on them [ephalomenos ep’ autous]. Second aorist (ingressive) middle participle of [ephallomai], old verb to spring upon like a panther, here only in the N.T. Mastered [katakurieusas]. First aorist (effective) active participle of [katakurieuō], late verb from [kata] and [kurios], to become lord or master of. Both [amphoterōn]. Papyri examples exist where [amphoteroi] means “all” or more than “two” (Robertson, Grammar, p. 745). So here [amphoteroi] includes all seven. “Both” in old English was used for more than two. So that [hōste]. Another example (verses 10, 11) of [hōste] with the infinitive for result. Naked [gumnous]. Probably with torn garments, Wounded [tetraumatismenous]. Perfect passive participle of [traumatizō], old verb to wound, from [trauma] (a wound). In the N.T. only here and Lu 20:12.
19:17 Was magnified [emegaluneto]. Imperfect passive. To make great. It was a notable victory over the powers of evil in Ephesus.
19:18 Came [ērchonto]. Imperfect middle, kept coming, one after another. Even some of the believers were secretly under the spell of these false spiritualists just as some Christians today cherish private contacts with so-called occult powers through mediums, seances, of which they are ashamed. Confessing [exomologoumenoi]. It was time to make a clean breast of it all, to turn on the light, to unbosom their secret habits. Declaring their deeds [anaggellontes tas praxeis autōn]. Judgment was beginning at the house of God. The dupes (professing believers, alas) of these jugglers or exorcists now had their eyes opened when they saw the utter defeat of the tricksters who had tried to use the name of Jesus without his power. The boomerang was tremendous. The black arts were now laid bare in their real character. Gentile converts had a struggle to shake off their corrupt environment.
19:19 Not a few of them that practised curious arts [hikanoi tōn ta perierga praxantōn]. Considerable number of the performers or exorcists themselves who knew that they were humbugs were led to renounce their evil practices. The word [perierga] (curious) is an old word [peri, erga] originally a piddler about trifles, a busybody (1Ti 5:13), then impertinent and magical things as here. Only two examples in the N.T. It is a technical term for magic as the papyri and inscriptions show. Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 323) thinks that these books here burned were just like the Magic Papyri now recovered from Egypt. Burned them in the sight of all [katekaion enōpion pantōn]. Imperfect active of [katakaiō]. It probably took a good while to do it, burned them completely (up, we say; down, the Greeks say, perfective use of [kata]. These Magical Papyri or slips of parchment with symbols or magical sentences written on them called [Ephesia Grammata] (Ephesian Letters). These Ephesian Letters were worn as amulets or charms. They brought them together [sunenegkantes]. Second aorist active participle of [sunpherō]. What a glorious conflagration it would be if in every city all the salacious, blasphemous, degrading books, pamphlets, magazines, and papers could be piled together and burned. They counted [sunepsēphisan]. First aorist active indicative of [sunpsēphizō], to reckon together. In LXX (Jer 29:49). Only here in N.T. [Sunkatapsēphizō] in 1:26. Fifty thousand pieces of silver [arguriou muriadas pente]. Five ten thousand [muriadas] pieces of silver. Ephesus was largely Greek and probably the silver pieces were Greek drachmae or the Latin denarius, probably about ten thousand dollars or two thousand English pounds.
19:20 Mightily [kata kratos]. According to strength. Only here in N.T., common military term in Thucydides. Such proof of a change counted. Grew and prevailed [ēuxanen kai ischuen]. Imperfect actives, kept growing and gaining strength. It was a day of triumph for Christ in Ephesus, this city of vast wealth and superstition. Ephesus for centuries will be one of the centres of Christian power. Timothy will come here and John the Apostle and Polycarp and Irenaeus.
19:21 Purposed in the spirit [etheto en tōi pneumati]. Second aorist middle indicative for mental action and “spirit” expressed also. A new stage in Paul’s career begins here, a new division of the Acts. Passed through [dielthōn]. Word [dierchomai] used ten times in Acts (cf. 19:1) of missionary journeys (Ramsay). Macedonia and Achaia [tēn Makedonian kai Achaian]. This was the way that he actually went, but originally he had planned to go to Achaia (Corinth) and then to Macedonia, as he says in 2Co 1:15f., but he had now changed that purpose, perhaps because of the bad news from Corinth. Already when he wrote I Corinthians he proposed to go first to Macedonia (1Co 16:5-7). He even hoped to spend the winter in Corinth “if the Lord permit” and to remain in Ephesus till Pentecost, neither of which things he did. I must also see Rome [dei me kai Rōmēn idein]. This section of Acts begins with Rome in the horizon of Paul’s plans and the book closes with Paul in Rome (Rackham). Here he feels the necessity of going as in Ro 1:15 he feels himself “debtor” to all including “those in Rome” (Ro 1:16). Paul had long desired to go to Rome (Rom 1:10), but had been frequently hindered (Ro 1:13), but he has definitely set his face to go to Rome and on to Spain (Ro 15:23-29). Paley calls sharp attention to this parallel between Ac 19:21 and Ro 1:10-15; 15:23-29. Rome had a fascination for Paul as the home of Aquila and Priscilla and numerous other friends (Ro 16), but chiefly as the capital of the Roman Empire and a necessary goal in Paul’s ambition to win it to Jesus Christ. His great work in Asia had stirred afresh in him the desire to do his part for Rome. He wrote to Rome from Corinth not long after this and in Jerusalem Jesus in vision will confirm the necessity [dei] that Paul see Rome (Acts 23:11).
19:22 Timothy and Erastus [Timotheon kai Eraston]. Paul had sent Timothy to Corinth (1Co 4:17) and had requested kindly treatment of this young minister in his difficult task of placating the divided church (1Co 16:10-11) that he might return to Paul as he evidently had before Paul leaves Ephesus. He then despatched Titus to Corinth to finish what Timothy had not quite succeeded in doing with instructions to meet him in Troas. Now Timothy and Erastus (cf. Ro 16:23; 2Ti 4:20) go on to Macedonia to prepare the way for Paul who will come on later. He himself stayed in Asia for a while [autos epeschen chronon eis tēn Asian]. Literally, He himself had additional time in Asia. Second aorist active indicative of [epechō], old and common idiom, only here in the N.T. in this sense and the verb only in Luke and Paul. The reason for Paul’s delay is given by him in 1Co 16:8f., the great door wide open in Ephesus. Here again Luke and Paul supplement each other. Pentecost came towards the end of May and May was the month of the festival of Artemis (Diana) when great multitudes would come to Ephesus. But he did not remain till Pentecost as both Luke and Paul make plain.
19:23 No small stir [tarachos ouk oligos]. Same phrase in 12:18 and nowhere else in the N.T. Litotes. Concerning the Way [peri tēs hodou]. See this phrase for Christianity in 9:2; 19:9; 24:22 which see, like the “Jesus Way” of the Indians. There had already been opposition and “stir” before this stage (cf. 19:11-20). The fight with wild beasts in 1Co 15:32 (whatever it was) was before that Epistle was written and so before this new uproar. Paul as a Roman citizen could not be thrown to wild beasts, but he so pictured the violent opponents of Christ in Ephesus.
19:24 Demetrius, a silversmith [Dēmētrios argurokopos]. The name is common enough and may or may not be the man mentioned in 3Jo 1:12 who was also from the neighbourhood of Ephesus. There is on an inscription at Ephesus near the close of the century a Demetrius called [neopoios Artemidos] a temple warden of Artemis (Diana). Zoeckler suggests that Luke misunderstood this word [neopoios] and translated it into [argurokopos], a beater [koptō], to beat) of silver [arguros], silver), “which made silver shrines of Artemis” [poiōn naous] (argurous) [Artemidos]. It is true that no silver shrines of the temple have been found in Ephesus, but only numerous terra-cotta ones. Ramsay suggests that the silver ones would naturally be melted down. The date is too late anyhow to identify the Demetrius who was [neopoios] with the Demetrius [argurokopos] who made little silver temples of Artemis, though B does not have the word [argurous]. The poor votaries would buy the terra-cotta ones, the rich the silver shrines (Ramsay, Paul the Traveller, p. 278). These small models of the temple with the statue of Artemis inside would be set up in the houses or even worn as amulets. It is a pity that the Revised Version renders Artemis here. Diana as the Ephesian Artemis is quite distinct from the Greek Artemis, the sister of Apollo, the Diana of the Romans. This temple, built in the 6th century B.C., was burnt by Herostratus Oct. 13 B.C. 356, the night when Alexander the Great was born. It was restored and was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. Artemis was worshipped as the goddess of fertility, like the Lydian Cybele, a figure with many breasts. The great festival in May would offer Demetrius a golden opportunity for the sale of the shrines. Brought no little business [pareicheto ouk oligēn ergasian]. Imperfect middle, continued to bring (furnish, provide). The middle accents the part that Demetrius played as the leader of the guild of silversmiths, work for himself and for them. Unto the craftsmen [tais technitais]. The artisans from [technē] (craft, art). Trade guilds were common in the ancient world. Demetrius had probably organized this guild and provided the capital for the enterprise.
19:25 Whom he gathered together [hous sunathroisas]. First aorist active participle of [sunathroizō], old verb to assemble together [athroos], a crowd), in the N.T. only here and Ac 12:12. With the workmen of like occupation [kai tous peri ta toiauta ergatas]. “And the workmen concerning such things,” apparently those who made the marble and terra-cotta shrines who would also be affected in the same way. It was a gathering of the associated trades, not for a strike, for employer and employees met together, but in protest against the preaching of Paul. We have our wealth [hē euporia hēmin estin]. The wealth is to us (dative of possession). This old word for wealth occurs here alone in the N.T. It is from [eu] and [poros], easy to pass through, easy to accomplish, to be well off, wealthy, welfare, weal, well-being, rich. Demetrius appeals to this knowledge and self-interest of the artisans as the basis for their zeal for Artemis, piety for revenue.
19:26 At Ephesus [Ephesou]. Genitive of place as also with [Asias] (Asia). Cf. Robertson, Grammar, pp. 494f. This Paul [ho Paulos houtos]. Contemptuous use of [houtos]. Hath turned away [metestēsen]. Changed, transposed. First aorist active indicative, did change. Tribute to Paul’s powers as a preacher borne out by Luke’s record in 19:10. There may be an element of exaggeration on the part of Demetrius to incite the workmen to action, for the worship of Artemis was their wealth. Paul had cut the nerve of their business. There had long been a Jewish colony in Ephesus, but their protest against idolatry was as nothing compared with Paul’s preaching (Furneaux). Which are made with hands [hoi dia cheirōn ginomenoi]. Note the present tense, made from time to time. No doubt Paul had put the point sharply as in Athens (Ac 17:29). Isaiah (Isa 44:9-17) had pictured graphically the absurdity of worshipping stocks and stones, flatly forbidden by the Old Testament (Ex 20:4; Ps 135:15-18). The people identified their gods with the images of them and Demetrius reflects that point of view. He was jealous of the brand of gods turned out by his factory. The artisans would stand by him on this point. It was a reflection on their work.
19:27 This our trade [touto to meros]. Part, share, task, job, trade. Come into disrepute [eis apelegmon elthein]. Not in the old writers, but in LXX and Koinē. Literally, reputation, exposure, censure, rejection after examination, and so disrepute. Their business of making gods would lose caste as the liquor trade (still called the trade in England) has done in our day. They felt this keenly and so Demetrius names it first. They felt it in their pockets. Of the great goddess Artemis [tēs megalēs theas Artemidos]. She was generally known as the Great [hē Megalē]. An inscription found at Ephesus calls her “the greatest god” [hē megistē theos]. The priests were eunuchs and there were virgin priestesses and a lower order of slaves known as temple-sweepers [neōkoroi], verse 35). They had wild orgiastic exercises that were disgraceful with their Corybantic processions and revelries. Be made of no account [eis outhen logisthēnai]. Be reckoned as nothing, first aorist passive infinitive of [logizomai] and [eis]. Should even be deposed of her magnificence [mellein te kai kathaireisthai tēs megaleiotētos autēs]. Note the present infinitive after [mellein], ablative case (so best MSS.) after [kathaireō], to take down, to depose, to deprive of. The word [megaleiotēs] occurs also in Lu 9:43 (the majesty of God) and in 2Pe 1:16 of the transfiguration of Christ. It is already in the LXX and Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, p. 363) thinks that the word runs parallel with terms used in the emperor-cult. All Asia and the world [holē (hē) Asia kai (hē) oikoumenē]. See 11:28 for same use of [oikoumenē]. An exaggeration, to be sure, but Pausanias says that no deity was more widely worshipped. Temples of Artemis have been found in Spain and Gaul. Multitudo errantium non efficit veritatem (Bengel). Even today heathenism has more followers than Christianity. To think that all this splendour was being set at naught by one man and a despised Jew at that!
19:28 They were filled with wrath [genomenoi plereis thumou]. Having become full of wrath. Cried out [ekrazon]. Inchoative imperfect, began to cry out and kept it up continuously. Reiteration was characteristic of the orgiastic exercises. The Codex Bezae adds after [thumou] (wrath): [Dramontes eis tēn amphodon] (running into the street), which they certainly did after the speech of Demetrius. Great is Artemis of the Ephesians [Megalē hē Artemis Ephesiōn]. D (Codex Bezae) omits [hē] (the) and makes it read: “Great Artemis of the Ephesians.” This was the usual cry of the votaries in their orgies as the inscriptions show, an ejaculatory outcry or prayer instead of an argument as the other MSS. have it. That is vivid and natural (Ramsay, Church in the Roman Empire, pp. 135ff.). Yet on this occasion the artisans were making an argumentative protest and plea against Paul. An inscription at Dionysopolis has “Great is Apollo.”
19:29 With the confusion [tēs sugchuseōs]. Genitive case after [eplēsthē]. An old word, but in the N.T. only here, from verb [sugcheō], to pour together like a flood (only in Acts in the N.T.). Vivid description of the inevitable riot that followed “the appearance of such a body in the crowded agora of an excitable city” (Rackham) “vociferating the city’s watch-word.” They rushed [hōrmēsan]. Ingressive aorist active indicative of [hormaō], old verb for impetuous dashing, a case of mob psychology (mob mind), with one accord [homothumadon] as in Ac 1:14, etc.). Into the theatre [eis to theatron]. A place for seeing [theaomai] spectacles, originally for dramatic representation (Thucydides, Herodotus), then for the spectators, then for the spectacle or show (1Co 4:9). The theatre (amphitheatre) at Ephesus can still be traced in the ruins (Wood, Ephesus) and shows that it was of enormous size capable of seating fifty-six thousand persons (some estimate it only 24,500). It was the place for large public gatherings of any sort out of doors like our football and baseball parks. In particular, gladiatorial shows were held in these theatres. Having seized Gaius and Aristarchus men of Macedonia [sunarpasantes Gaion kai Aristarchon Makedonas]. See 6:12 for this same verb. They wanted some victims for this “gladiatorial” show. These two men were “Paul’s companions in travel” [sunekdēmous Paulou], together [sun] with Paul in being abroad, away from home or people [ek-dēmous], late word, in the N.T. only here and 2Co 8:19). How the mob got hold of Gaius (Ac 20:4) and Aristarchus (20:4; 27:2; Col 4:10; Phm 1:24) we do not know whether by accidental recognition or by search after failure to get Paul. In Ro 16:4 Paul speaks of Priscilla and Aquila as those “who for my life laid down their own necks.” Paul lived with them in Ephesus as in Corinth. It is possible that Demetrius led the mob to their house and that they refused to allow Paul to go or to be seized at the risk of their own lives. Paul himself may have been desperately ill at this time as we know was the case once during his stay in Ephesus when he felt the answer of death in himself (2Co 1:9) and when God rescued him. That may mean that, ill as he was, Paul wanted to go and face the mob in the theatre, knowing that it meant certain death.
19:30 And when Paul was minded to enter in unto the people [Paulou de boulomenou eiselthein eis ton dēmon]. Genitive absolute. Plainly Paul wanted to face the howling mob, whether it was the occasion pictured in 2Co 1:9 or not. “St. Paul was not the man to leave his comrades in the lurch” (Knowling). Suffered him not [ouk eiōn auton]. Imperfect of [eaō], common verb to allow, what Gildersleeve called the negative imperfect (Robertson, Grammar, p. 885), denoting resistance to pressure. The more Paul insisted on going the more the disciples refused to agree to it and they won.
19:31 Certain also of the chief officers of Asia [tines de kai tōn Asiarchōn]. These “Asiarchs” were ten officers elected by cities in the province who celebrated at their own cost public games and festivals (Page). Each province had such a group of men chosen, as we now know from inscriptions, to supervise the funds connected with the worship of the emperor, to preside at games and festivals even when the temple services were to gods like Artemis. Only rich men could act, but the position was eagerly sought. Being his friends [ontes autōi philoi]. Evidently the Asiarchs had a high opinion of Paul and were unwilling for him to expose his life to a wild mob during the festival of Artemis. They were at least tolerant toward Paul and his preaching. “It was an Asiarch who at Smyrna resisted the cry of the populace to throw Polycarp to the lions” (Furneaux). Besought him [parekaloun auton]. Imperfect active, showing that the messengers sent had to insist over Paul’s protest. “Not to adventure himself” [mē dounai heauton]. It was a hazard, a rash adventure “to give himself” (second aorist active infinitive of [didōmi]. Just this sense of “adventure” with the idiom occurs only here in the N.T., though in Polybius V., 14, 9. But the phrase itself Paul uses of Jesus who gave himself for our sins (Ga 1:4; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14). It is not the first time that friends had rescued Paul from peril (Ac 9:25,30; 17:10,14). The theatre was no place for Paul. It meant certain death.
19:32 Some therefore cried one thing and some another [alloi men oun allo ti ekrazon]. This classical use of [allos allo] (Robertson, Grammar, p. 747) appears also in 2:12; 21:34. Literally, “others cried another thing.” The imperfect shows the repetition (kept on crying) and confusion which is also distinctly stated. For the assembly was in confusion [ēn gar hē ekklēsia sunkechumenē]. The reason for the previous statement. Periphrastic past perfect passive of [sugcheō, sugchunō (-unnō)], to pour together, to commingle as in verse 29 [sugchuseōs]. It was not an “assembly” [ekklēsia, ek, kaleō], to call out), but a wholly irregular, disorganized mob in a state (perfect tense) of confusion. There was “a lawful assembly” (verse 39), but this mob was not one. Luke shows his contempt for this mob (Furneaux). Had come together [sunelēlutheisan]. Past perfect active of [sunerchomai]. It was an assembly only in one sense. For some reason Demetrius who was responsible for the mob preferred now to keep in the background, though he was known to be the ring-leader of the gathering ( verse 38). It was just a mob that shouted because others did.
19:33 And they brought Alexander out of the crowd [ek de tou ochlou sunebibasan Alexandron]. The correct text (Aleph A B) has this verb [sunebibasan] (from [sunbibazō], to put together) instead of [proebibasan] (from [probibazō], to put forward). It is a graphic word, causal of [bainō], to go, and occurs in Ac 16:10; Col 2:19; Eph 4:16. Evidently some of the Jews grew afraid that the mob would turn on the Jews as well as on the Christians. Paul was a Jew and so was Aristarchus, one of the prisoners. The Jews were as strongly opposed to idolatry as were the Christians. The Jews putting him forward [probalontōn auton tōn Ioudaiōn]. Genitive absolute of the second aorist active participle of [proballō], old verb to push forward as leaves in the spring (Lu 21:30). In the N.T. only in these two passages. Alexandria had already disgraceful scenes of Jew-baiting and there was real peril now in Ephesus with this wild mob. So Alexander was pushed forward as the champion to defend the Jews to the excited mob. He may be the same Alexander the coppersmith who did Paul much evil (2Ti 4:14), against whom Paul will warn Timothy then in Ephesus. “The Jews were likely to deal in the copper and silver required for the shrines, so he may have had some trade connexion with the craftsmen which would give him influence” (Furneaux). Beckoned with the hand [kataseisas tēn cheira]. Old verb [kataseiō], to shake down, here the hand, rapidly waving the hand up and down to get a hearing. In the N.T. elsewhere only in Ac 12:17; 13:16; 21:40 where “with the hand” [tēi cheiri], instrumental case) is used instead of [tēn cheira] (the accusative). Would have made a defence unto the people [ēthelen apologeisthai tōi dēmōi]. Imperfect active, wanted to make a defence, tried to, started to, but apparently never got out a word. [Apologeisthai] (present middle infinitive, direct middle, to defend oneself), regular word for formal apology, but in N.T. only by Luke and Paul (twice in Gospel, six times in Acts, and in Ro 2:15; 2Co 12:19).
19:34 When they perceived [epignontes]. Recognizing, coming to know fully and clearly [epi-], second aorist (ingressive) active participle of [epiginōskō]. The masculine plural is left as nominative absolute or [pendens] without a verb. The rioters saw at once that Alexander was [estin], present tense retained in indirect assertion) a Jew by his features. An with one voice cried out [phōnē egeneto mia ek pantōn krazontōn]. Anacoluthon or construction according to sense. Literally, “one voice arose from all crying.” [Krazontōn] agrees in case (ablative) with [pantōn], but Aleph A have [krazontes]. This loose construction is not uncommon (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 436f.). Now at last the crowd became unanimous (one voice) at the sight of a hated Jew about to defend their attacks on the worship of Artemis. The unanimity lasted “about the space of two hours” [hosei epi hōras duo], “as if for two hours.” Their creed centred in this prolonged yell: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” with which the disturbance started (verse 28).
19:35 The town-clerk [ho grammateus]. Ephesus was a free city and elected its own officers and the recorder or secretary was the chief magistrate of the city, though the proconsul of the province of Asia resided there. This officer is not a mere secretary of another officer or like the copyists and students of the law among the Jews, but the most influential person in Ephesus who drafted decrees with the aid of the [stratēgoi], had charge of the city’s money, was the power in control of the assembly, and communicated directly with the proconsul. Inscriptions at Ephesus give frequently this very title for their chief officer and the papyri have it also. The precise function varied in different cities. His name appeared on the coin at Ephesus issued in his year of office. Had quieted the multitude [katasteilas ton ochlon]. First aorist active participle of [katastellō], to send down, arrange dress (Euripides), lower (Plutarch), restrain (papyrus example), only twice in the N.T. (here and verse 36, be quiet), but in LXX and Josephus. He evidently took the rostrum and his very presence as the city’s chief officer had a quieting effect on the billowy turmoil and a semblance of order came. He waited, however, till the hubbub had nearly exhausted itself (two hours) and did not speak till there was a chance to be heard. Saith [phēsin]. Historical present for vividness. How that. Merely participle [ousan] and accusative [polin] in indirect discourse, no conjunction at all (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040ff.), common idiom after [ginōskō], to know. Temple-keeper [neōkoron]. Old word from [neōs] [naos)], temple, and [koreō], to sweep. Warden, verger, cleaner of the temple, a sacristan. So in Xenophon and Plato. Inscriptions so describe Ephesus as [neōkoron tēs Artemidos] as Luke has it here and also applied to the imperial cultus which finally had several such temples in Ephesus. Other cities claimed the same honour of being [neōkoros], but it was the peculiar boast of Ephesus because of the great temple of Artemis. A coin of A.D. 65 describes Ephesus as [neōkoros]. There are papyri examples of the term applied to individuals, one to Priene as [neōkoros] of the temple in Ephesus (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary). And of the image which fell down from Jupiter [kai tou diopetous]. Supply [agalma] (image), “the from heaven-fallen image.” From Zeus [Dios] and [petō] [piptō, pipetō], to fall. Zeus (Jupiter) was considered lord of the sky or heaven and that is the idea in [diopetous] here. The legend about a statue fallen from heaven occurs concerning the statue of Artemis at Tauris, Minerva at Athens, etc. Thus the recorder soothed the vanity (Rackham) of the crowd by appeal to the world-wide fame of Ephesus as sacristan of Artemis and of her heaven-fallen image.
19:36 Cannot be gainsaid [anantirētōn oun ontōn]. Genitive absolute with [oun] (therefore). Undeniable [an, anti, rētos], verbal adjective. Occasionally in late Greek (Polybius, etc.), only here in N.T., but adverb [anantirētōs] in Ac 10:29. These legends were accepted as true and appeased the mob. Ye ought [deon estin]. It is necessary. Periphrastic present indicative instead of [dei] like 1Pe 1:6; 1Ti 5:13f. Be quiet [katestalmenous]. Perfect passive participle of [katastellō] (see verse 35). Rash [propetes]. Old adjective from [pro] and [petō], to fall forward, headlong, precipitate. In the N.T. only here and 2Ti 3:4, though common in the Koinē. Better look before you leap.
19:37 Neither robbers of temples [oute hierosulous]. Common word in Greek writers from [hieron], temple, and [sulaō], to rob, be guilty of sacrilege. The word is found also on inscriptions in Ephesus. The Jews were sometimes guilty of this crime (Ro 2:22), since the heathen temples often had vast treasures like banks. The ancients felt as strongly about temple-robbing as westerners used to feel about a horse-thief. Nor blasphemers of our goddess [oute blasphēmountas tēn theon hēmōn]. Nor those who blasphemed our goddess. That is to say, these men (Gaius and Aristarchus) as Christians had so conducted themselves (Col 4:5) that no charge could be placed against them either in act (temple-robbery) or word (blasphemy). They had done a rash thing since these men are innocent. Paul had used tact in Ephesus as in Athens in avoiding illegalities.
19:38 Have a matter against any one [echousin pros tina logon]. For this use of [echō logon] with [pros] see Mt 5:32; Col 3:13. The town-clerk names Demetrius and the craftsmen [technitai] as the parties responsible for the riot. The courts are open [agoraioi agontai]. Supply [hēmerai] (days), court days are kept, or [sunodoi], court-meetings are now going on, Vulgate conventus forenses aguntur. Old adjective from [agora] (forum) marketplace where trials were held. Cf. Ac 17:4. There were regular court days whether they were in session then or not. And there are proconsuls [kai anthupatoi eisin]. Asia was a senatorial province and so had proconsuls (general phrase) though only one at a time, “a rhetorical plural” (Lightfoot). Page quotes from an inscription of the age of Trajan on an aqueduct at Ephesus in which some of Luke’s very words occur [neōkoros, anthupatos, grammateus, dēmos]. Let them accuse one another [egkaleitōsan allēlois]. Present active imperative of [egkaleō] [en, kaleō], old verb to call in one’s case, to bring a charge against, with the dative. Luke uses the verb six times in Acts for judicial proceedings (19:38, 40; 23:28, 29; 26:2, 7). The town-clerk makes a definite appeal to the mob for orderly legal procedure as opposed to mob violence in a matter where money and religious prejudice unite, a striking rebuke to so-called lynch-law proceedings in lands today where Christianity is supposed to prevail.
19:39 Anything about other matters [ti peraiterō]. Most MSS. here have [ti peri heterōn], but B b Vulgate read [ti peraiterō] as in Plato’s [Phaedo]. Several papyri examples of it also. It is comparative [peraiteros] of [pera], beyond. Note also [epi] in [epizēteite]. Charges of illegal conduct (Page) should be settled in the regular legal way. But, if you wish to go further and pass resolutions about the matter exciting you, “it shall be settled in the regular assembly” [en tōi ennomōi ekklēsiāi]. “In the lawful assembly,” not by a mob like this. Wood (Ephesus) quotes an inscription there with this very phrase “at every lawful assembly” [kata pāsan ennomon ekklēsian]. The Roman officials alone could give the sanction for calling such a lawful or regular assembly. The verb [epiluō] is an old one, but in the N.T. only here and Mr 4:34 (which see) where Jesus privately opened or disclosed the parables to the disciples. The papyri give examples of the verb in financial transactions as well as of the metaphorical sense. The solution will come in the lawful assembly, not in a riot like this. See also 2Pe 1:20 where the substantive [epilusis] occurs for disclosure or revelation (prophecy).
19:40 For indeed we are in danger to be accused concerning this day’s riot [kai gar kinduneuomen egkaleisthai staseōs peri tēs sēmeron]. The text is uncertain. The text of Westcott and Hort means “to be accused of insurrection concerning today’s assembly.” The peril was real. [Kinduneuomen], from [kindunos], danger, peril. Old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Lu 8:23; B.C. 1Co 15:30. There being no cause for it [mēdenos aitiou huparchontos]. Genitive absolute with [aitios], common adjective (cf. [aitia], cause) though in N.T. only here and Heb 5:9; Lu 23:4, 14, 22. And as touching it [peri hou]. “Concerning which.” But what? No clear antecedent, only the general idea. Give an account of this concourse [apodounai logon peri tēs sustrophēs tautēs]. Rationem reddere. They will have to explain matters to the proconsul. [Sustrophē] (from [sun], together, [strephō], to turn) is a late word for a conspiracy (Ac 23:12) and a disorderly riot as here (Polybius). In Ac 28:12 [sustrephō] is used of gathering up a bundle of sticks and of men combining in Mt 17:22. Seneca says that there was nothing on which the Romans looked with such jealousy as a tumultuous meeting.
19:41 Dismissed the assembly [apelusen tēn ekklēsian]. The town-clerk thus gave a semblance of law and order to the mob by formally dismissing them, this much to protect them against the charge to which they were liable. This vivid, graphic picture given by Luke has all the earmarks of historical accuracy. Paul does not describe the incidents in his letters, was not in the theatre in fact, but Luke evidently obtained the details from one who was there. Aristarchus, we know, was with Luke in Caesarea and in Rome and could have supplied all the data necessary. Certainly both Gaius and Aristarchus were lively witnesses of these events since their own lives were involved.
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