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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 4 - Verse 15

Verses 15-18. What shall we do to these men? The object which they had in view was evidently to prevent their preaching. The miracle was wrought; and was believed by the people to have been wrought. This they could not expect to be able successfully to deny. Their only object, therefore, was to prevent the apostles from making the use which they saw they would, to convince the people that Jesus was the Messiah. The question therefore was, in what way they should prevent this; whether by putting them to death, by imprisoning them, or by scourging them; or whether by simply exerting their authority and forbidding them. From the former they were deterred, doubtless, by fear of the multitude. And they therefore adopted the latter, and seemed to suppose that the mere exertion of their authority would be sufficient to deter them from this in future.

The council. Greek, The sanhedrim. This body was composed of seventy-one or seventy-two persons, and was entrusted with the principal affairs of the nation. It was a body of vast influence and power; and hence they supposed that their command might be sufficient to restrain ignorant Galileans from speaking. Before this same body, and probably the same men, our Saviour was arraigned; and by them condemned before he was delivered to the Roman governor, Mt 26:59, etc. And before this same body, and in the presence of the same men, Peter had just before denied his Lord, Mt 26:70, etc. The fact that the disciples had fled on a former occasion, and that Peter had denied his Saviour, may have operated to induce them to believe that they would be terrified by their threats, and deterred from preaching publicly in the name of Jesus.

A notable miracle. A known, undeniable miracle.

That it spread. That the knowledge of it may not spread among them any further.

Let us straitly threaten them. Greek, Let us threaten them with a threat. This is a Hebraism, expressing intensity, certainty, etc. The threat was a command Ac 4:18 not to teach, implying their displeasure if they did do it. This threat, however, was not effectual. On the next occasion, which occurred soon after, Ac 5:40, they added beating to their threats, in order to deter them from preaching in the name of Jesus.

{*} "out of the council" "Withdraw from"

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