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21:1 Were parted from them [apospasthentas ap’ autōn]. First aorist passive participle of [apospaō] same verb as in 20:30; Lu 22:41. Had set sail [anachthēnai]. First aorist passive of [anagō], the usual verb to put out (up) to sea as in verse 2 [anēchthēmen]. We came with a straight course [euthudromēsantes ēlthomen]. The same verb (aorist active participle of [euthudromeō] used by Luke in 16:11 of the voyage from Troas to Samothrace and Neapolis, which see. Unto Cos [eis tēn Ko]. Standing today, about forty nautical miles south from Miletus, island famous as the birthplace of Hippocrates and Apelles with a great medical school. Great trading place with many Jews. The next day [tēi hexēs]. Locative case with [hēmerāi] (day) understood. The adverb [hexēs] is from [echō] (future [hexō] and means successively or in order. This is another one of Luke’s ways of saying “on the next day” (cf. three others in 20:15). Unto Rhodes [eis tēn Rhodon]. Called the island of roses. The sun shone most days and made roses luxuriant. The great colossus which represented the sun, one of the seven wonders of the world, was prostrate at this time. The island was at the entrance to the Aegean Sea and had a great university, especially for rhetoric and oratory. There was great commerce also. Unto Patara [eis Patara]. A seaport on the Lycian coast on the left bank of the Xanthus. It once had an oracle of Apollo which rivalled that at Delphi. This was the course taken by hundreds of ships every season.
21:2 Having found a ship [heurontes ploion]. Paul had used a small coasting vessel (probably hired) that anchored each night at Cos, Rhodes, Patara. He was still some four hundred miles from Jerusalem. But at Patara Paul caught a large vessel (a merchantman) that could sail across the open sea. Crossing over unto Phoenicia [diaperōn eis Phoinikēn]. Neuter singular accusative (agreeing with [ploion] present active participle of [diaperaō], old verb to go between [dia] and so across to Tyre. We went aboard [epibantes]. Second aorist active participle of [epibainō].
21:3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus [anaphanantes tēn Kupron]. First aorist active participle of [anaphainō] (Doric form [-phanāntes] rather than the Attic [-phēnantes], old verb to make appear, bring to light, to manifest. Having made Cyprus visible or rise up out of the sea. Nautical terms. In the N.T. only here and Lu 19:11 which see. On the left hand [euōnumon]. Compound feminine adjective like masculine. They sailed south of Cyprus. We sailed [epleomen]. Imperfect active of common verb [pleō], kept on sailing till we came to Syria. Landed at Tyre [katēlthomen eis Turon]. Came down to Tyre. Then a free city of Syria in honour of its former greatness (cf. the long siege by Alexander the Great). There [ekeise]. Thither, literally. Only one other instance in N.T., 22:5 which may be pertinent = [ekei] (there). Was to unlade [ēn apophortizomenon]. Periphrastic imperfect middle of [apophortizō], late verb from [apo] and [phortos], load, but here only in the N.T. Literally, “For thither the boat was unloading her cargo,” a sort of “customary” or “progressive” imperfect (Robertson, Grammar, p. 884). Burden [gomon]. Cargo, old word, from [gemō], to be full. Only here and Re 18:11f. in N.T. Probably a grain or fruit ship. It took seven days here to unload and reload.
21:4 Having found [aneurontes]. Second aorist active participle of [aneuriskō], to seek for, to find by searching [ana]. There was a church here, but it was a large city and the number of members may not have been large. Probably some of those that fled from Jerusalem who came to Phoenicia (Ac 11:19) started the work here. Paul went also through Phoenicia on the way to the Jerusalem Conference (15:3). As at Troas and Miletus, so here Paul’s indefatigible energy shows itself with characteristic zeal. Through the Spirit [dia tou pneumatos]. The Holy Spirit undoubtedly who had already told Paul that bonds and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem (20:23). That he should not set foot in Jerusalem [mē epibainein eis Ierosoluma]. Indirect command with [mē] and the present active infinitive, not to keep on going to Jerusalem (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1046). In spite of this warning Paul felt it his duty as before (20:22) to go on. Evidently Paul interpreted the action of the Holy Spirit as information and warning although the disciples at Tyre gave it the form of a prohibition. Duty called louder than warning to Paul even if both were the calls of God.
21:5 That we had accomplished the days [exartisai hēmās tas hēmeras]. First aorist active infinitive of [exartizō], to furnish perfectly, rare in ancient writers, but fairly frequent in the papyri. Only twice in the N.T., here and 2Ti 3:17. Finish the exact number of days (seven) of verse 4. The accusative of general reference [hēmās] is the usual construction and the infinitive clause is the subject of [egeneto]. We departed and went on our journey [exelthontes eporeuometha]. Sharp distinction between the first aorist active participle [exelthontes] (from [exerchomai], to go out) and the imperfect middle [eporeuometha] from [poreuō] (we were going on). And they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way [propempontōn hēmās pantōn sun gunaixi kai teknois]. No “and” in the Greek, simply genitive absolute, “They all with wives and children accompanying us,” just as at Miletus (20:28), same verb [propempō] which see. The first mention of children in connection with the apostolic churches (Vincent). Vivid picture here as at Miletus, evident touch of an eyewitness. Till we were out of the city [heōs exō tēs poleōs]. Note both adverbial prepositions [heōs exō] clear outside of the city.
21:6 Beach [aigialon]. As in Mt 13:2 which see. This scene is in public as at Miletus, but they did not care. Bade each other farewell [apespasametha allēlous]. First aorist middle of [apaspazomai]. Rare compound, here alone in the N.T. Tender scene, but “no bonds of long comradeship, none of the clinging love” (Furneaux) seen at Miletus (Ac 20:37f.). Home again [eis ta idia]. To their own places as of the Beloved Disciple in Joh 19:27 and of Jesus in Joh 1:11. This idiom in the papyri also.
21:7 Had finished [dianusantes]. First aorist active participle of [dianuō], old verb to accomplish [anuō] thoroughly [dia], only here in the N.T. From Tyre [apo Turou]. Page takes (Hackett also) with [katēntēsamen] (we arrived) rather than with “[ton ploun]” (the voyage) and with good reason: “And we, having (thereby) finished the voyage, arrived from Tyre at Ptolemais.” Ptolemais is the modern Acre, called Accho in Jud 1:31. The harbour is the best on the coast of Palestine and is surrounded by mountains. It is about thirty miles south of Tyre. It was never taken by Israel and was considered a Philistine town and the Greeks counted it a Phoenician city. It was the key to the road down the coast between Syria and Egypt and had successively the rule of the Ptolemies, Syrians, Romans. Saluted [aspasamenoi]. Here greeting as in 21:19 rather than farewell as in 20:1. The stay was short, one day [hēmeran mian], accusative), but “the brethren” Paul and his party found easily. Possibly the scattered brethren (Ac 11:19) founded the church here or Philip may have done it.
21:8 On the morrow [tēi epaurion]. Another and the more common way of expressing this idea of “next day” besides the three in 20:15 and the one in 21:1. Unto Caesarea [eis Kaisarian]. Apparently by land as the voyage [ploun] ended at Ptolemais (verse 7). Caesarea is the political capital of Judea under the Romans where the procurators lived and a city of importance, built by Herod the Great and named in honour of Augustus. It had a magnificent harbour built Most of the inhabitants were Greeks. This is the third time that we have seen Paul in Caesarea, on his journey from Jerusalem to Tarsus (Ac 9:30), on his return from Antioch at the close of the second mission tour (18:22) and now. The best MSS. omit [hoi peri Paulou] (we that were of Paul’s company) a phrase like that in 13:13. Into the house of Philip the evangelist [eis ton oikon Philippou tou euaggelistou]. Second in the list of the seven (6:5) after Stephen and that fact mentioned here. By this title he is distinguished from “Philip the apostle,” one of the twelve. His evangelistic work followed the death of Stephen (Ac 8) in Samaria, Philistia, with his home in Caesarea. The word “evangelizing” [euēggelizeto] was used of him in 8:40. The earliest of the three N.T. examples of the word “evangelist” (Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11; 2Ti 4:5). Apparently a word used to describe one who told the gospel story as Philip did and may have been used of him first of all as John was termed “the baptizer” [ho baptizōn], Mr 1:4), then “the Baptist” [ho baptistēs], Mt 3:1). It is found on an inscription in one of the Greek islands of uncertain date and was used in ecclesiastical writers of later times on the Four Gospels as we do. As used here the meaning is a travelling missionary who “gospelized” communities. This is probably Paul’s idea in 2Ti 4:5. In Eph 4:11 the word seems to describe a special class of ministers just as we have them today. Men have different gifts and Philip had this of evangelizing as Paul was doing who is the chief evangelist. The ideal minister today combines the gifts of evangelist, herald, teacher, shepherd. “We abode with him” [emeinamen par’ autōi]. Constative aorist active indicative. [Par autōi] (by his side) is a neat idiom for “at his house.” What a joyful time Paul had in conversation with Philip. He could learn from him much of value about the early days of the gospel in Jerusalem. And Luke could, and probably did, take notes from Philip and his daughters about the beginnings of Christian history. It is generally supposed that the “we” sections of Acts represent a travel document by Luke (notes made by him as he journeyed from Troas to Rome). Those who deny the Lukan authorship of the whole book usually admit this. So we may suppose that Luke is already gathering data for future use. If so, these were precious days for him.
21:9 Virgins which did prophesy [parthenoi prophēteusai]. Not necessarily an “order” of virgins, but Philip had the honour of having in his home four virgin daughters with the gift of prophecy which was not necessarily predicting events, though that was done as by Agabus here. It was more than ordinary preaching (cf. 19:6) and was put by Paul above the other gifts like tongues (1Co 14:1-33). The prophecy of Joel (2:28f.) about their sons and daughters prophesying is quoted by Peter and applied to the events on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:17). Paul in 1Co 11:5 gives directions about praying and prophesying by the women (apparently in public worship) with the head uncovered and sharply requires the head covering, though not forbidding the praying and prophesying. With this must be compared his demand for silence by the women in 1Co 14:34-40; 1Ti 2:8-15 which it is not easy to reconcile. One wonders if there was not something known to Paul about special conditions in Corinth and Ephesus that he has not told. There was also Anna the prophetess in the temple (Lu 2:36) besides the inspired hymns of Elizabeth (Lu 1:42-45) and of Mary (Lu 1:46-55). At any rate there was no order of women prophets or official ministers. There were Old Testament prophetesses like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah. Today in our Sunday schools the women do most of the actual teaching. The whole problem is difficult and calls for restraint and reverence. One thing is certain and that is that Luke appreciated the services of women for Christ as is shown often in his writings (Lu 8:1-3, for instance) before this incident.
21:10 As we tarried [epimenontōn hēmōn]. Genitive absolute. Note [epi] (additional) with [menō] as in 12:16. Many days [hēmeras pleious]. More days (than we expected), accusative of time. A certain prophet named Agabus [prophētēs onomati Agabos]. A prophet like the daughters of Philip, mentioned already in connection with the famine predicted by him (Ac 11:28), but apparently not a man of prominence like Barnabas, and so no allusion to that former prophecy.
21:11 Coming [elthōn], second aorist active participle of [erchomai], taking [aras], first aorist active participle of [airō], to take up), binding [dēsas], first aorist active participle of [deō], to bind). Vivid use of three successive participles describing the dramatic action of Agabus. Paul’s girdle [tēn zōnēn tou Paulou]. Old word from [zōnnumi], to gird. See on 12:8. His own feet and hands [heautou tous podas kai tas cheiras]. Basis for the interpretation. Old Testament prophets often employed symbolic deeds (1Ki 22:11; Jas 2:2; Jer 13:1-7; Eze 4:1-6). Jesus interpreted the symbolism of Peter’s girding himself (Joh 21:18). So [houtōs]. As Agabus had bound himself. Agabus was just from Jerusalem and probably knew the feeling there against Paul. At any rate the Holy Spirit revealed it to him as he claims. Shall deliver [paradōsousin]. Like the words of Jesus about himself (Mt 20:19). He was “delivered” into the hands of the Gentiles and it took five years to get out of those hands.
21:12 Both we and they of that place [hēmeis te kai hoi entopioi]. Usual use of [te kai] (both—and). [Entopioi], old word, only here in N.T. Not to go up [tou mē anabainein]. Probably ablative of the articular present active infinitive with redundant negative [me] after [parekaloumen] (imperfect active, conative). We tried to persuade him from going up. It can be explained as genitive, but not so likely: We tried to persuade him in respect to not going up. Vincent cites the case of Regulus who insisted on returning from Rome to Carthage to certain death and that of Luther on the way to the Diet of Worms. Spalatin begged Luther not to go on. Luther said: “Though devils be as many in Worms as tiles upon the roofs, yet thither will I go.” This dramatic warning of Agabus came on top of that in Tyre (21:4) and Paul’s own confession in Miletus (20:23). It is small wonder that Luke and the other messengers together with Philip and his daughters (prophetesses versus prophet?) joined in a chorus of dissuasion to Paul.
21:13 What are you doing weeping? [Ti poieite klaiontes?] Strong protest as in Mr 11:5. Breaking my heart [sunthruptontes mou tēn kardian]. The verb [sunthruptō], to crush together, is late Koinē for [apothruptō], to break off, both vivid and expressive words. So to enervate and unman one, weakening Paul’s determination to go on with his duty. I am ready [Egō hetoimōs echō]. I hold (myself) in readiness (adverb, [hetoimōs]. Same idiom in 2Co 12:14. Not only to be bound [ou monon dethēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [deō] and note [ou monon] rather than [mē monon], the usual negative of the infinitive because of the sharp contrast (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1095). Paul’s readiness to die, if need be, at Jerusalem is like that of Jesus on the way to Jerusalem the last time. Even before that Luke (9:51) said that “he set his face to go on to Jerusalem.” Later the disciples will say to Jesus, “Master, the Jews were but now seeking to stone thee; and goest thou thither?” (Joh 11:8). The stature of Paul rises here to heroic proportions “for the name of the Lord Jesus” [huper tou onomatos tou kuriou Iēsou].
21:14 When he would not be persuaded [mē peithomenou autou]. Genitive absolute of the present passive participle of [peithō]. Literally, “he not being persuaded.” That was all. Paul’s will [kardia] was not broken, not even bent. We ceased [hēsuchasamen]. Ingressive aorist active indicative of [hēsuchazō], old verb to be quiet, silent. The will of the Lord be done [tou kuriou to thelēma ginesthō]. Present middle imperative of [ginomai]. There is a quaint naivete in this confession by the friends of Paul. Since Paul would not let them have their way, they were willing for the Lord to have his way, acquiescence after failure to have theirs.
21:15 We took up our baggage [episkeuasamenoi]. First aorist middle participle of [episkeuazō], old verb to furnish [skeuos, epi] with things necessary, to pack up, saddle horses here Ramsay holds. Here only in the N.T. Went up [anebainomen]. Inchoative imperfect active of [anabainō], we started to go up.
21:16 Certain of the disciples [tōn mathētōn]. The genitive here occurs with [tines] understood as often in the Greek idiom, the partitive genitive used as nominative (Robertson, Grammar, p. 502). Bringing [agontes]. Nominative plural participle agreeing with [tines] understood, not with case of [mathētōn]. One Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge [par hōi xenisthōmen Mnasōni tini Kupriōi archaiōi mathētēi]. A thoroughly idiomatic Greek idiom, incorporation and attraction of the antecedent into the relative clause (Robertson, Grammar, p. 718). [Mnasōni] is really the object of [agontes] or the accusative with [para] or [pros] understood and should be accusative, but it is placed in the clause after the relative and in the same locative case with the relative [hōi] (due to [par’], beside, with). Then the rest agrees in case with [Mnasōni]. He was originally from Cyprus, but now in Caesarea. The Codex Bezae adds [eis tina kōmēn] (to a certain village) and makes it mean that they were to lodge with Mnason at his home there about halfway to Jerusalem. This may be true. The use of the subjunctive [xenisthōmen] (first aorist passive of [xenizō], to entertain strangers as in Ac 10:6, 23, 32 already) may be volitive of purpose with the relative (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 955, 989). The use of [archaiōi] for “early” may refer to the fact that he was one of the original disciples at Pentecost as Peter in 15:7 uses [hēmerōn archaiōn] (early days) to refer to his experience at Ceasarea in Ac 10. “As the number of the first disciples lessened, the next generation accorded a sort of honour to the survivors” (Furneaux).
21:17 When we were come [genomenōn hēmōn]. Genitive absolute again, “we having come.” Received [apedexanto]. [Apodechomai], to receive from. This old compound only in Luke in the N.T. Gladly [asmenōs]. Old adverb [hēsmenōs] from [hēdomai], to be pleased. Here only in the N.T. Perhaps this first glad welcome was from Paul’s personal friends in Jerusalem.
21:18 The day following [tēi epiousēi]. As in 20:15 which see. Went in [eisēiei]. Imperfect active of [eiseimi], old classic verb used only four times in the N.T. (Ac 3:3; 21:18,26; Heb 9:6), a mark of the literary style rather than the colloquial Koinē use of [eiserchomai]. Together with us to James [sun hēmin pros Iakōbon]. So then Luke is present. The next use of “we” is in 27:1 when they leave Caesarea for Rome, but it is not likely that Luke was away from Paul in Jerusalem and Caesarea. The reports of what was done and said in both places is so full and minute that it seems reasonable that Luke got first hand information here whatever his motive was for so full an account of these legal proceedings to be discussed later. There are many details that read like an eye witness’s story (21:30, 35, 40; 22:2, 3; 23:12, etc.). It was probably the house of James [pros] and [para] so used often). And all the elders were present [pantes te paregenonto hoi presbuteroi]. Clearly James is the leading elder and the others are his guests in a formal reception to Paul. It is noticeable that the apostles are not mentioned, though both elders and apostles are named at the Conference in chapter 15. It would seem that the apostles are away on preaching tours. The whole church was not called together probably because of the known prejudice against Paul created by the Judaizers.
21:19 He rehearsed [exēgeito]. Imperfect middle of [exēgeomai], old verb to lead out, to draw out in narrative, to recount. So Paul is pictured as taking his time for he had a great story to tell of what had happened since they saw him last. One by one [kath’ hena hekaston]. According to each one (item) and the adverbial phrase used as an accusative after the verb [exēgeito] as Demosthenes does (1265), though it could be like [kath’ hena hekastos] in Eph 5:33. Which [hōn]. Genitive attracted from [ha] (accusative) into the case of the unexpressed antecedent [toutōn]. God had wrought [epoiēsen ho theos]. Summary constative aorist active indicative that gathers up all that God did and he takes pains to give God the glory. It is possible that at this formal meeting Paul observed an absence of warmth and enthusiasm in contrast with the welcome accorded by his friends the day before (verse 17). Furneaux thinks that Paul was coldly received on this day in spite of the generous offering brought from the Gentile Christians. “It looks as though his misgiving as to its reception (Ro 15:31) was confirmed. Nor do we hear that the Christians of Jerusalem later put in so much as a word on his behalf with either the Jewish or the Roman authorities, or expressed any sympathy with him during his long imprisonment at Caesarea” (Furneaux). The most that can be said is that the Judaizers referred to by James do not appear actively against him. The collection and the plan proposed by James accomplished that much at any rate. It stopped the mouths of those lions.
21:20 Glorified [edoxazon]. Inchoative imperfect, began to glorify God, though without special praise of Paul. How many thousands [posai muriades]. Old word for ten thousand (Ac 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Lu 12:1; Ac 21:20; Jude 1:14; Re 5:11; 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Ac 4:4 (number of the men—not women—about five thousand); 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Ac 11:2; 15:1,5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (verse 27) who were clearly not Christians at all. All zealous for the law [pantes zēlōtai tou nomou]. Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive [tou nomou]. The word zealot is from [zēloō], to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used [zēlōtēs] for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Ac 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Ac 15; Ga 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Ac 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul’s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Ro 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (verses 30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified.
21:21 They have been informed concerning thee [katēchēthēsan peri sou]. First aorist passive indicative of [katēcheō]. A word in the ancient Greek, but a few examples survive in the papyri. It means to sound (echo, from [ēchō], our word) down [kata], to resound, re-echo, to teach orally. Oriental students today (Arabs learning the Koran) often study aloud. In the N.T. only in Lu 1:4 which see; Ac 18:25; 21:21; 1Co 14:19; Ga 6:6; Ro 2:18. This oral teaching about Paul was done diligently by the Judaizers who had raised trouble against Peter (Ac 11:2) and Paul (15:1, 5). They had failed in their attacks on Paul’s world campaigns. Now they try to undermine him at home. In Paul’s long absence from Jerusalem, since 18:22, they have had a free hand, save what opposition James would give, and have had great success in prejudicing the Jerusalem Christians against Paul. So James, in the presence of the other elders and probably at their suggestion, feels called upon to tell Paul the actual situation. That thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses [hoti apostasian didaskeis apo Mōuseōs tous kata ta ethnē pantas Ioudaious]. Two accusatives with [didaskeis] (verb of teaching) according to rule. Literally, “That thou art teaching all the Jews among [kata] the Gentiles (the Jews of the dispersion as in 2:9) apostasy from Moses.” That is the point, the dreadful word [apostasian] (our apostasy), a late form (I Macc. 2:15) for the earlier [apostasis] (cf. 2Th 2:3 for [apostasia]. “In the eyes of the church at Jerusalem this was a far more serious matter than the previous question at the Conference about the status of Gentile converts” (Furneaux). Paul had brought that issue to the Jerusalem Conference because of the contention of the Judaizers. But here it is not the Judaizers, but the elders of the church with James as their spokesman on behalf of the church as a whole. They do not believe this false charge, but they wish Paul to set it straight. Paul had made his position clear in his Epistles (I Corinthians, Galatians, Romans) for all who cared to know. Telling them not to circumcise their children [legōn mē peritemnein autous ta tekna]. The participle [legōn] agrees with “thou” (Paul), the subject of [didaskeis]. This is not indirect assertion, but indirect command, hence the negative [mē] instead of [ou] with the infinitive (Robertson, Grammar, p.1046). The point is not that Paul stated what the Jewish Christians in the dispersion do, but that he says that they [autous] accusative of general reference) are not to go on circumcising [peritemnein], present active infinitive) their children. Paul taught the very opposite (1Co 7:18) and had Timothy circumcised (Ac 16:3) because he was half Jew and half Greek. His own practice is stated in 1Co 9:19 (“to the Jews as a Jew”). Neither to walk after the customs [mēde tois ethesin peripatein]. Locative case with infinitive [peripatein]. The charge was here enlarged to cover it all and to make Paul out an enemy of Jewish life and teachings. That same charge had been made against Stephen when young Saul (Paul) was the leader (6:14): “Will change the customs [ethē] the very word used here) which Moses delivered unto us.” It actually seemed that some of the Jews cared more for Moses than for God (Ac 6:11). So much for the charge of the Judaizers.
21:22 What is it therefore? [Ti oun estin?]. See this form of question by Paul (1Co 14:15, 26). What is to be done about it? Clearly James and the elders do not believe these misrepresentations of Paul’s teaching, but many do. They will certainly hear [pantōs akousontai]. [Pantōs] is old adverb, by all means, altogether, wholly, certainly as here and 28:4; Lu 4:23; 1Co 9:10. This future middle of [akouō] is the usual form instead of [akousō]. There was no way to conceal Paul’s arrival nor was it wise to do so. B C and several cursives omit [dei plēthos sunelthein] (The multitude must needs come together).
21:23 Do therefore this [touto oun poiēson]. The elders had thought out a plan of procedure by which Paul could set the whole matter straight. We have [eisin hēmin]. “There are to us” (dative of possession as in 18:10). Apparently members of the Jerusalem church. Which have a vow on them [euchēn echontes aph’]— or [eph’ heautōn]. Apparently a temporary Nazarite vow like that in Nu 6:1-21 and its completion was marked by several offerings in the temple, the shaving of the head (Nu 6:13-15). Either Paul or Aquila had such a vow on leaving Cenchreae (Ac 18:18). “It was considered a work of piety to relieve needy Jews from the expenses connected with this vow, as Paul does here” (Page). The reading [aph’ heautōn] would mean that they had taken the vow voluntarily or of themselves (Lu 12:57; 2Co 3:5), while [eph’ heautōn] means that the vow lies on them still.
21:24 These take [toutous paralabōn]. Second aorist active participle of [paralambanō]. Taking these alone. Purify thyself with them [hagnisthēti sun autois]. First aorist passive imperative of [hagnizō], old verb to purify, to make pure [hagnos]. See the active voice in Jas 4:8; 1Pe 1:22; 1Jo 3:3. It is possible to see the full passive force here, “Be purified.” But a number of aorist passives in the Koinē supplant the aorist middle forms and preserve the force of the middle (Robertson, Grammar, p. 819). That is possible here. Hence, “Purify thyself” is allowable. The word occurs in Nu 6:1 for taking the Nazarite vow. The point is that Paul takes the vow with them. Note [hagnismou] in verse 26. Be at charges for them [dapanēson ep’ autois]. First aorist active imperative of old verb [dapanaō], to incur expense, expend. Spend (money) upon [ep’] them. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveller, etc., p. 310) argues that Paul had use of considerable money at this period, perhaps from his father’s estate. The charges for five men would be considerable. “A poor man would not have been treated with the respect paid him at Caesarea, on the voyage, and at Rome” (Furneaux). That they may shave their heads [hina xurēsontai tēn kephalēn]. Note [tēn kephalēn], the head (singular). Future middle indicative of [xuraō], late form for the old [xureō], to shave, middle to shave oneself or (causative) to get oneself shaved. This use of [hina] with the future indicative is like the classic [hopōs] with the future indicative and is common in the N.T. as in the Koinē (Robertson, Grammar, p. 984). And all shall know [kai gnōsontai]. This future middle indicative of [ginōskō] (cf. [akousontai] in verse 22) may be independent of [hina] or dependent on it like [xurēsontai], though some MSS. (H L P) have [gnōsin] (second aorist subjunctive, clearly dependent on [hina]. Of which [hōn]. Genitive plural of the relative [ha] (accusative) object of the perfect passive verb [katēchēntai] (cf. verse 21 [katēchēthēsan] attracted into the case of the omitted antecedent [toutōn]. The instruction still in effect. But that thou thyself walkest orderly [alla stoicheis kai autos]. [Stoicheis] is an old verb to go in a row (from [stoichos], row, rank, series), to walk in a line or by rule. In the N.T. only here and Ga 5:25; Ro 4:12; Php 3:16. The rule is the law and Paul was not a sidestepper. The idea of the verb is made plain by the participle [phulassōn ton nomon] (keeping or observing the law).
21:25 We wrote [epesteilamen]. First aorist active of [epistellō], to send to and so to write like our epistle [epistolē]. Old verb, but in the N.T. only here and Ac 15:20; Heb 13:22. It is the very word used by James in this “judgment” at the Conference (Ac 15:20, [episteilai]. B D here read [apesteilamen] from [apostellō], to send away, to give orders. Wendt and Schuerer object to this as a gloss. Rather is it an explanation by James that he does not refer to the Gentile Christians whose freedom from the Mosaic ceremonial law was guaranteed at the Jerusalem Conference. James himself presided at that Conference and offered the resolution that was unanimously adopted. James stands by that agreement and repeats the main items (four: anything sacrificed to idols, blood, anything strangled, fornication, for discussion see Ac 15) from which they are to keep themselves (direct middle [phulassesthai] of [phulassō], indirect command after [krinantes] with accusative, [autous], of general reference). James has thus again cleared the air about the Gentiles who have believed [pepisteukotōn], perfect active participle genitive plural of [pisteuō]. He asks that Paul will stand by the right of Jewish Christians to keep on observing the Mosaic law. He has put the case squarely and fairly.
21:26 Took the men [paralabōn tous andras]. The very phrase used in verse 24 to Paul. The next day [tēi echomenēi]. One of the phrases in 20:15 for the coming day. Locative case of time. Purifying himself with them [sun autois hagnistheis], first aorist passive participle of [hagnizō]. The precise language again of the recommendation in verse 24. Paul was conforming to the letter. Went into the temple [eisēiei eis to hieron]. Imperfect active of [eiseimi] as in verse 18 which see. Went on into the temple, descriptive imperfect. Paul joined the four men in their vow of separation. Declaring [diaggellōn]. To the priests what day he would report the fulfilment of the vow. The priests would desire notice of the sacrifice. This verb only used by Luke in N.T. except Ro 11:17 (quotation from the LXX). It is not necessary to assume that the vows of each of the five expired on the same day (Rackham). Until the offering was offered for every one of them [heōs hou prosēnechthē huper henos hekastou autōn hē prosphora]. This use of [heōs hou] (like [heōs], alone) with the first aorist passive indicative [prosēnechthē] of [prospherō], to offer, contemplates the final result (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 974f.) and is probably the statement of Luke added to Paul’s announcement. He probably went into the temple one day for each of the brethren and one for himself. The question arises whether Paul acted wisely or unwisely in agreeing to the suggestion of James. What he did was in perfect harmony with his principle of accommodation in 1Co 9:20 when no principle was involved. It is charged that here on this occasion Paul was unduly influenced by considerations of expediency and was willing for the Jewish Christians to believe him more of a Jew than was true in order to placate the situation in Jerusalem. Furneaux calls it a compromise and a failure. I do not so see it. To say that is to obscure the whole complex situation. What Paul did was not for the purpose of conciliating his opponents, the Judaizers, who had diligently spread falsehoods about him in Jerusalem as in Corinth. It was solely to break the power of these “false apostles” over the thousands in Jerusalem who have been deluded by Paul’s accusers. So far as the evidence goes that thing was accomplished. In the trouble that comes in Jerusalem and Caesarea the Judaizers cut no figure at all. The Jewish Christians do not appear in Paul’s behalf, but there was no opportunity for them to do so. The explosion that came on the last day of Paul’s appearance in the temple was wholly disconnected from his offerings for the four brethren and himself. It must be remembered that Paul had many kinds of enemies. The attack on him by these Jews from Asia had no connexion whatever with the slanders of the Judaizers about Paul’s alleged teachings that Jewish Christians in the dispersion should depart from the Mosaic law. That slander was put to rest forever by his following the advice of James and justifies the wisdom of that advice and Paul’s conduct about it.
21:27 The seven days [hai hepta hēmerai]. For which Paul had taken the vow, though there may be an allusion to the pentecostal week for which Paul had desired to be present (20:16). There is no necessary connexion with the vow in 18:15. In 24:17 Paul makes a general reference to his purpose in coming to Jerusalem to bring alms and offerings [prosphoras], sacrifices). Paul spent seven days in Troas (20:6), Tyre (21:4), and had planned for seven here if not more. It was on the last of the seven days when Paul was completing his offerings about the vows on all five that the incident occurred that was to make him a prisoner for five years. When they saw him in the temple [theasamenoi auton en tōi hierōi]. First aorist middle participle of [theaomai] (from [thea], a view, cf. theatre) to behold. In the very act of honouring the temple these Jews from Asia raise a hue and cry that he is dishonouring it. Paul was not known by face now to many of the Jerusalem Jews, though once the leader of the persecution after the death of Stephen and the outstanding young Jew of the day. But the Jews in Ephesus knew him only too well, some of whom are here at the pentecostal feast. They had plotted against him in Ephesus to no purpose (Ac 19:23-41; 20:19), but now a new opportunity had come. It is possible that the cry was led by Alexander put forward by the Jews in Ephesus (19:33) who may be the same as Alexander the coppersmith who did Paul so much harm (2Ti 4:14). Paul was not in the inner sanctuary [ho naos], but only in the outer courts [to hieron]. Stirred up all the multitude [sunecheon panta ton ochlon]. Imperfect (kept on) active of [suncheō] or [sunchunō] [-unnō], to pour together, to confuse as in Ac 2:6; 9:22; 19:31,32; 21:31 and here to stir up by the same sort of confusion created by Demetrius in Ephesus where the same word is used twice (19:31, 32). The Jews from Ephesus had learned it from Demetrius the silversmith. Laid hands on him [epebalan ep’ auton tas cheiras]. Second aorist (ingressive, with endings of the first aorist, [-an] active indicative of [epiballō], old verb to lay upon, to attack (note repetition of [epi]. They attacked and seized Paul before the charge was made.
21:28 Help [boētheite]. Present active imperative of [boētheō], to run [theō] at a cry [boē], as if an outrage had been committed like murder or assault. All men everywhere [panta pantachēi]. Alliterative. [Pantachēi] is a variation in MSS., often [pantachou], and here only in the N.T. The charges against Paul remind one of those against Stephen (Ac 6:13) in which Paul had participated according to his confession (22:20). Like the charges against Stephen and Jesus before him truth and falsehood are mixed. Paul had said that being a Jew would not save a man. He had taught the law of Moses was not binding on Gentiles. He did hold, like Jesus and Stephen, that the temple was not the only place to worship God. But Paul gloried himself in being a Jew, considered the Mosaic law righteous for Jews, and was honouring the temple at this very moment. And moreover also he brought Greeks also into the temple [eti te kai Hellēnas eisēgagen eis to hieron]. Note the three particles [eti te kai], and [te] still more [eti] also or even [kai]. Worse than his teaching [didaskōn] is his dreadful deed: he actually brought [eisēgagen], second aorist active indicative of [eisagō]. This he had a right to do if they only went into the court of the Gentiles. But these Jews mean to imply that Paul had brought Greeks beyond this court into the court of Israel. An inscription was found by Clermont-Ganneau in Greek built into the walls of a mosque on the Via Dolorosa that was on the wall dividing the court of Israel from the court of the Gentiles. Death was the penalty to any Gentile who crossed over into the Court of Israel (The Athenaeum, July, 1871). Hath defiled this holy place [kekoinōken ton hagion topon touton]. Present perfect active of [koinoō], to make common (see on 10:14). Note vivid change of tense, the defilement lasts (state of completion). All this is the substance of the call of these shrewd conspirators from Ephesus, Jews (not Jewish Christians, not even Judaizers) who hated him for his work there and who probably “spoke evil of the Way before the multitude” there so that Paul had to separate the disciples from the synagogue and go to the School of Tyrannus (19:9f.). These enemies of Paul had now raised the cry of “fire” and vanish from the scene completely (24:19). This charge was absolutely false as we shall see, made out of inferences of hate and suspicion.
21:29 For [gar]. Luke adds the reason for the wild charges made against Paul. They had before seen [ēsan proeōrakotes]. Periphrastic past perfect of [prooraō], old verb to see before, whether time or place. Only twice in the N.T., here and Ac 2:25 quoted from Ps 15:8. Note the double reduplication in [-eō-] as in Attic (Robertson, Grammar, p. 364). With him in the city Trophimus the Ephesian [Trophimon ton Ephesion en tēi polei sun autōi]. The Jews from Asia (Ephesus) knew Trophimus by sight as well as Paul. One day they saw both of them together [sun] in the city. That was a fact. They had just seized Paul in the temple [hieron]. That was another fact. They supposed [enomizon]. Imperfect active of [nomizō], common to think or suppose. Perfectly harmless word, but they did, as so many people do, put their supposed inference on the same basis with the facts. They did not see Trophimus with Paul now in the temple, nor had they ever seen him there. They simply argued that, if Paul was willing to be seen down street with a Greek Christian, he would not hesitate to bring him (therefore, did bring him, [eisēgagen] as in verse 28) into the temple, that is into the court of Israel and therefore both Paul and Trophimus were entitled to death, especially Paul who had brought him in (if he had) and, besides, they now had Paul. This is the way of the mob-mind in all ages. Many an innocent man has been rushed to his death by the fury of a lynching party.
21:30 All the city was shaken [ekinēthē hē polis holē]. First aorist passive of [kineō], common verb for violent motion and emotion. See also 24:5 where the word is used by Tertullus of Paul as the stirrer up of riots! The people ran together [egeneto sundromē tou laou]. Rather, There came a running together [sun-dromē] from [sun-trechō] of the people. The cry spread like wildfire over the city and there was a pell-mell scramble or rush to get to the place of the disturbance. They laid hold on Paul [epilabomenoi tou Paulou]. Second aorist middle participle of [epilambanomai] with the genitive (cf. [epebalan] in verse 27). Dragged [heilkon]. Imperfect active of [helkō] (and also [helkuō], old verb to drag or draw. Imperfect tense vividly pictures the act as going on. They were saving the temple by dragging Paul outside. Curiously enough both [epilabomenoi] and [heilkusan] occur in 16:19 about the arrest of Paul and Silas in Philippi. Straightway the doors were shut [eutheōs ekleisthēsan hai thurai]. With a bang and at once. First aorist (effective) passive of [kleiō]. The doors between the inner court and the court of the Gentiles. But this was only the beginning, the preparation for the real work of the mob. They did not wish to defile the holy place with blood. The doors were shut by the Levites.
21:31 As they were seeking to kill him [zētountōn autōn]. Genitive absolute of [zēteō], to seek, without [autōn] (they). This was their real purpose. Tidings [phasis]. From [phainō], to show. Old word for the work of informers and then the exposure of secret crime. In LXX. Here only in the N.T. Came up [anebē]. Naturally in the wild uproar. The Roman guard during festivals was kept stationed in the Tower of Antonia at the northwest corner of the temple overlooking the temple and connected by stairs (verse 35). To the chief captain [tōi chiliarchōi]. Commander of a thousand men or cohort (Mr 15:16). His name was Claudius Lysias. Of the band [tēs speirēs]. Each legion had six tribunes and so each tribune (chiliarch) had a thousand if the cohort had its full quota. See on 10:1; 27:1. The word is the Latin spira (anything rolled up). Note the genitive [speirēs] instead of [speiras] (Attic). Was in confusion [sunchunnetai]. Present passive indicative of [sunchunnō] (see verse 27, [sunecheon]. This is what the conspirators had desired.
21:32 Forthwith [exautēs]. Common in the Koinē [ex autēs], supply [hōras], hour). He took [paralabōn]. See verses 24, 26. Centurions [hekatontarchas]. See on Lu 7:2 for discussion. Plural shows that Lysias the chiliarch took several hundred soldiers along (a centurion with each hundred). Ran down [katedramen]. Effective second aorist active indicative of [katatrechō]. From the tower of Antonia, vivid scene. And they [hoi de]. Demonstrative use of [hoi]. The Jewish mob who had begun the work of killing Paul (verse 31). Left off beating Paul [epausanto tuptontes ton Paulon]. The participle with [pauomai] describes what they were already doing, the supplementary participle (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1121). They stopped before the job was over because of the sudden onset of the Roman soldiers. Some ten years before in a riot at the passover the Roman guard marched down and in the panic several hundred were trampled to death.
21:33 Came near [eggisas]. First aorist active participle of [eggizō], to draw near, Koinē verb from [eggus], near, and common in the N.T. Laid hold on him [epelabeto antou]. See same verb in verse 30. To be bound [dethēnai]. First aorist passive infinitive of [deō] (see verse 11). With two chains [halusesi dusi]. Instrumental case of [halusis], old word from [a] privative and [luō] (not loosing, i.e. chaining). With two chains as a violent and seditious person, probably leader of a band of assassins (verse 38). See on Mr 5:4. Inquired [epunthaneto]. Imperfect middle of [punthanomai], old and common verb used mainly by Luke in the N.T. Lysias repeated his inquiries. Who he was [tis eiē]. Present active optative of [eimi] changed from [estin] (present indicative) in the indirect question, a change not obligatory after a past tense, but often done in the older Greek, rare in the N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1043f.). And what he had done [kai ti estin pepoiēkōs]. Periphrastic perfect active indicative of [poieō] here retained, not changed to the optative as is true of [eiē] from [estin] in the same indirect question, illustrating well the freedom about it.
21:34 Some shouting one thing, some another [alloi allo ti epephōnoun]. Same idiom of [alloi allo] as in 19:32 which see. The imperfect of [epiphōneō], to call out to, suits well the idiom. This old verb occurs in the N.T. only in Luke and Acts (already in 12:22). When he could not know [mē dunamenou autou gnōnai]. Genitive absolute of present middle participle of [dunamai] with negative [mē] and second aorist active infinitive of [ginōskō]. The certainty [to asphales]. Neuter articular adjective from [a] privative and [sphallō], to make totter or fall. Old word, in the N.T. only in Ac 21:34; 22:30; 25:26; Php 3:1; Heb 6:19. Into the castle [eis tēn parembolēn]. Koinē word from [paremballō], to cast in by the side of, to assign soldiers a place, to encamp (see on Lu 19:43). So [parembolē] comes to mean an interpolation, then an army drawn up (Heb 11:34), but mainly an encampment (Heb 13:11, 13), frequent in Polybius and LXX. So here barracks of the Roman soldiers in the tower of Antonia as in verse 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.
21:35 Upon the stairs [epi tous anabathmous]. From [ana], up, and [bainō], to go. Late word, in LXX and Koinē writers. In the N.T. only here and verse 40. So it was [sunebē]. Second aorist active of [sumbainō], to happen (see on 20:19) with infinitive clause as subject here as often in the old Greek. He was borne [bastazesthai auton]. Accusative of general reference with this subject infinitive, present passive of [bastazō], to take up with the hands, literally as here. Violence [bian]. See on Ac 5:26. [Biazō], to use force, is from [bia].
21:36 Followed after [ēkolouthei]. Imperfect active of [akolutheō], was following. Cheated of their purpose to lynch Paul, they were determined to have his blood. Crying out [krazontes]. Construction according to sense, plural masculine participle agreeing with neuter singular substantive [plēthos] (Robertson, Grammar, p. 401). Away with him [Aire auton]. The very words used by the mob to Pilate when they chose Barabbas in preference to Jesus (Lu 23:18, [Aire touton]. He will hear it again from this same crowd (Ac 22:22). It is the present imperative [aire] as in Lu 23:18, but some may have used the urgent aorist active imperative as also in the case of Jesus Joh 19:15, [āron, āron] with [staurōson] added). Luke does not say that this mob demanded crucifixion for Paul. He was learning what it was to share the sufferings of Christ as the sullen roar of the mob’s yells rolled on and on in his ears.
21:37 May I say something unto thee? [Ei exestin moi eipein ti pros se?]. On this use of [ei] in a direct question see on 1:6. The calm self-control of Paul in the presence of this mob is amazing. His courteous request to Lysias was in Greek to the chiliarch’s amazement. Dost thou know Greek? [Hellēnisti ginōskeis?]. Old Greek adverb in [-i] from [Hellēnizō], meaning “in Greek.” “Do you know it in Greek?” In the N.T. only here and Joh 19:20. Art thou not then the Egyptian? [Ouk ara su ei ho Aiguptios?]. Expects the answer Yes and [ara] argues the matter (therefore). The well-known [ho] Egyptian who had given the Romans so much trouble. Stirred up to sedition [anastatōsas]. First aorist active participle of [anastatoō], a late verb from [anastatos], outcast, and so to unsettle, to stir up, to excite, once known only in LXX and Ac 17:6 (which see); 21:38; Ga 5:12, but now found in several papyri examples with precisely this sense to upset. Of the Assassins [tōn sikariōn]. Latin word sicarius, one who carried a short sword [sica] under his cloak, a cutthroat. Josephus uses this very word for bands of robbers under this Egyptian (War II. 17,6 and 13,5; Ant. XX. 8,10). Josephus says that there were 30,000 who gathered on the Mount of Olives to see the walls of Jerusalem fall down and not merely 4,000 as Lysias does here. But Lysias may refer to the group that were armed thus (banditti) the core of the mob of 30,000. Lysias at once saw by Paul’s knowledge of Greek that he was not the famous Egyptian who led the Assassins and escaped himself when Felix attacked and slew the most of them.
21:39 I am [Egō men eimi]. In contrast with the wild guess of Lysias Paul uses [men] and [de]. He tells briefly who he is: a Jew [Ioudaios] by race, of Tarsus in Cilicia [Tarseus tēs Kilikias] by country, belonging to Tarsus (this adjective [Tarseus] only here and Ac 9:11), and proud of it, one of the great cities of the empire with a great university. A citizen of no mean city [ouk asēmou poleōs politēs]. Litotes again, “no mean” [asēmos], old adjective, unmarked, [a] privative and [sēma], mark, insignificant, here only in the N.T.). This same litotes used by Euripides of Athens (Ion 8). But Paul calls himself a citizen [politēs] of Tarsus. Note the “effective assonance” (Page) in [poleōs politēs]. Paul now [de] makes his request [deomai] of Lysias. Give me leave [epitrepson moi]. First aorist active imperative of [epitrepō], old and common verb to turn to, to permit, to allow. It was a strange request and a daring one, to wish to speak to this mob howling for Paul’s blood.
21:40 When he had given him leave [epitrepsantos autou]. Genitive absolute of aorist active participle of the same verb [epitrepō]. Standing on the stairs [hestōs epi tōn anabathmōn]. Second perfect active participle of [histēmi], to place, but intransitive to stand. Dramatic scene. Paul had faced many audiences and crowds, but never one quite like this. Most men would have feared to speak, but not so Paul. He will speak about himself only as it gives him a chance to put Christ before this angry Jewish mob who look on Paul as a renegade Jew, a turncoat, a deserter, who went back on Gamaliel and all the traditions of his people, who not only turned from Judaism to Christianity, but who went after Gentiles and treated Gentiles as if they were on a par with Jews. Paul knows only too well what this mob thinks of him. Beckoned with the hand [kateseise tēi cheiri]. He shook down to the multitude with the hand (instrumental case [cheiri], while Alexander, Luke says (19:33), “shook down the hand” (accusative with the same verb, which see). In 26:1 Paul reached out the hand [ekteinas tēn cheira]. When there was made a great silence [pollēs sigēs genomenēs]. Genitive absolute again with second aorist middle participle of [ginomai], “much silence having come.” Paul waited till silence had come. In the Hebrew language [tēi Ebraidi dialektōi]. The Aramaean which the people in Jerusalem knew better than the Greek. Paul could use either tongue at will. His enemies had said in Corinth that “his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible” (2Co 10:10). But surely even they would have to admit that Paul’s stature and words reach heroic proportions on this occasion. Self-possessed with majestic poise Paul faces the outraged mob beneath the stairs.
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