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21. Paul Arrives in Jerusalem

1And when it came to pass that were parted from them and had set sail, we came with a straight course unto Cos, and the next day unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 2and having found a ship crossing over unto Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail. 3And when we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed unto Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 4And having found the disciples, we tarried there seven days: and these said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not set foot in Jerusalem. 5And when it came to pass that we had accomplished the days, we departed and went on our journey; and they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way till we were out of the city: and kneeling down on the beach, we prayed, and bade each other farewell; 6and we went on board the ship, but they returned home again. 7And when we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 8And on the morrow we departed, and came unto Caesarea: and entering into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we abode with him. 9Now this man had four virgin daughters, who prophesied. 10And as we tarried there some days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11And coming to us, and taking Paul's girdle, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, Thus saith the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. 15And after these days we took up our baggage and went up to Jerusalem. 16And there went with us also certain of the disciples from Caesarea, bringing with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge. 17And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19And when he had saluted them, he rehearsed one by one the things which God had wrought among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And they, when they heard it, glorified God; and they said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of them that have believed; and they are all zealous for the law: 21and they have been informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children neither to walk after the customs. 22What is it therefore? They will certainly hear that thou art come. 23Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men that have a vow on them; 24these take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges for them, that they may shave their heads: and all shall know that there is no truth in the things whereof they have been informed concerning thee; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, keeping the law. 25But as touching the Gentiles that have believed, we wrote, giving judgment that they should keep themselves from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from fornication. 26Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them went into the temple, declaring the fulfilment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered for every one of them. 27And when the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the multitude and laid hands on him, 28crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place; and moreover he brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath defiled this holy place. 29For they had before seen with him in the city Trophimus the Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple. 30And all the city was moved, and the people ran together; and they laid hold on Paul, and dragged him out of the temple: and straightway the doors were shut. 31And as they were seeking to kill him, tidings came up to the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32And forthwith he took soldiers and centurions, and ran down upon them: and they, when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, left off beating Paul. 33Then the chief captain came near, and laid hold on him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and inquired who he was, and what he had done. 34And some shouted one thing, some another, among the crowd: and when he could not know the certainty for the uproar, he commanded him to be brought into the castle. 35And when he came upon the stairs, so it was that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the crowd; 36for the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, Away with him. 37And as Paul was about to be brought into the castle, he saith unto the chief captain, May I say something unto thee? And he said, Dost thou know Greek? 38Art thou not then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins? 39But Paul said, I am a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and I beseech thee, give me leave to speak unto the people. 40And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the stairs, beckoned with the hand unto the people; and when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew language, saying,

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Ac 21:1-16. Sailing from Ephesus, They Land at Tyre, and Thence Sailing to Ptolemais, They Proceed by Land to Cæsarea and Jerusalem.

1. we were gotten—"torn."

from them—expressing the difficulty and pain of the parting.

with a straight course—running before the wind, as Ac 16:11.

unto Coos—Cos, an island due south from Miletus, which they would reach in about six hours, and coming close to the mainland.

the day following unto Rhodes—another island, some fifty miles to the southeast, of brilliant classic memory and beauty.

thence unto Patara—a town on the magnificent mainland of Lycia, almost due east from Rhodes. It was the seat of a celebrated oracle of Apollo.

2. And finding a ship—their former one going no farther, probably.

to Phœnica—(See on Ac 11:19).

went abroad—One would almost think this extracted from a journal of the voyage, so graphic are its details.

3. when we … discovered—"sighted," as the phrase is.

Cyprus, we left it on the left hand—that is, steered southeast of it, leaving it on the northwest.

sailed into—"unto"

Syria, and landed at Tyre—the celebrated seat of maritime commerce for East and West. It might be reached from Patara in about two days.

there the ship was to unlade her burden—which gave the apostle time for what follows.

4-6. finding disciples—finding out the disciples, implying some search. They would expect such, from what is recorded, Ac 11:19. Perhaps they were not many; yet there were gifted ones among them.

who said to Paul … that he should not go up to Jerusalem—(See on Ac 20:23; also see on Ac 21:11-14).

5. they all brought us on our way with wives and children … and we kneeled down on the shore and prayed—(See on Ac 20:36). Observe here that the children of these Tyrian disciples not only were taken along with their parents, but must have joined in this act of solemn worship. See on Eph 6:1.

7. when we had finished our course—completing the voyage

from Tyre, we came—which they would do the same day.

to Ptolemais—anciently called Accho (Jud 1:31), now St. Jean d'Acre, or Acre.

and saluted the brethren, and abode, &c.—disciples gathered probably as at Tyre, on the occasion mentioned (Ac 11:19).

8-10. next day we that were of Paul's company departed—(The words "the were of Paul's company" are omitted in the best manuscripts. They were probably added as the connecting words at the head of some church lessons).

and came to Cæsarea—a run along the coast, southward, of some thirty miles.

Philip the evangelist—a term answering apparently very much to our missionary [Howson], by whose ministry such joy had been diffused over Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch had been baptized (Ac 8:4-40).

one of the seven—deacons, who had "purchased to himself a good degree" (1Ti 3:13). He and Paul now meet for the first time, some twenty-five years after that time.

9. the same man had four daughters … which did prophesy—fulfilling Joe 2:28 (see Ac 2:18). This is mentioned, it would seem, merely as a high distinction divinely conferred on so devoted a servant of the Lord Jesus, and probably indicates the high tone of religion in his family.

10. tarried there many—"a good many"

days—Finding himself in good time for Pentecost at Jerusalem, he would feel it a refreshing thing to his spirit to hold Christian communion for a few days with such a family.

there came down from Judea—the news of Paul's arrival having spread.

a certain prophet … Agabus—no doubt the same as in Ac 11:28.

11-14. So shall the Jews bind the man that owneth this girdle, &c.—For though the Romans did it, it was at the Jews' instigation (Ac 21:33; Ac 28:17). Such dramatic methods of announcing important future events would bring the old prophets to remembrance. (Compare Isa 20:2, &c.; Jer 13:1, and Eze 5:1, &c.). This prediction and that at Tyre (Ac 21:4) were intended, not to prohibit him from going, but to put his courage to the test and when he stood the test, to deepen and mature it.

12. we and they at that place—the Cæsarean Christians.

besought him—even with tears, Ac 21:13.

not to go to Jerusalem.

13. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart—Beautiful union of manly resoluteness and womanly tenderness, alike removed from mawkishness and stoicism!

I am ready not to be bound only—"If that is all, let it come."

but to die, &c.—It was well he could add this, for he had that also to do.

15, 16. we took up our carriages—"our baggage."

and went up to Jerusalem—for the fifth time after his conversion, thus concluding his third missionary tour, which proved his last, so far as recorded; for though he accomplished the fourth and last part of the missionary plan sketched out (Ac 19:21)—"After I have been at Jerusalem, I must also see Rome"—it was as "a prisoner of Jesus Christ."

16. went with us … and brought with them—rather, "brought us to."

One Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, &c.—not an "aged" disciple, but probably "a disciple of old standing," perhaps one of the three thousand converted on the day of Pentecost, or, more likely still, drawn to the Saviour Himself during His lifetime. He had come, probably, with the other Cyprians (Ac 11:20), to Antioch, "preaching the Lord Jesus unto the Grecians," and now he appears settled at Jerusalem.