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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 4 - Verse 31

Verse 31. And when they had prayed. The event which followed was regarded by them as an evidence that God heard their prayer.

The place was shaken. The word which is translated "was shaken," commonly denotes violent agitation, as the raging of the sea, the convulsion of an earthquake, or trees shaken by the wind, Mt 11:7; Ac 16:26; Heb 12:26.

The language here is fitted to express the idea of an earthquake. Whether the motion was confined to the house where they were, is not said. They probably regarded this as an answer to their prayer, or as an evidence that God would be with them,

(1.) because it was sudden and violent, and was not produced by any natural causes;

(2.) because it occurred immediately, while they were seeking Divine direction;

(3.) because it was an exhibition of great power, and was an evidence that God could protect them; and

(4) because a convulsion so great, sudden, and mighty, was fitted at that time to awe them with a proof of the presence and power of God. A similar instance of an answer to prayer by an earthquake is recorded in Ac 16:25,26. Comp. Ac 2:1,2. It may be added, that among the Jews an earthquake was very properly regarded as a striking and impressive proof of the presence of Jehovah, Isa 29:6; Ps 68:8, "The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel." See also the sublime description in Hab 3:6-11. Comp. Mt 27:54. Among the heathen, an earthquake was regarded as proof of the presence and favour of the deity. (See Virgil, AENid 3.89.)

They were all filled, etc. See Barnes "Ac 2:4".

Their being filled with the Holy Ghost, here, rather denotes their being inspired with confidence or boldness, than being endowed with new powers, as in Ac 2:4.

{c} "had prayed" Ac 2:2,4; 16:26

{+} "Holy Ghost", "Spirit" {d} "they spake the word" Ac 4:29

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