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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 5 - Verse 17

Verse 17. Then the High Priest. Probably Caiaphas. Comp. Joh 11:49. It seems from this place that he belonged to the sect of the Sadducees. It is certain that he had signalized himself by opposition to the Lord Jesus and to his cause, constantly.

Rose up. This expression is sometimes redundant, and at others it means simply to begin to do a thing, or to resolve to do it. Comp. Lu 15:18.

And all they that were with him. That is, all they that coincided with him in doctrine or opinion; or, in other words, that portion of the sanhedrim that was composed of Sadducees. There was a strong party of Sadducees in the sanhedrim; and perhaps at this time it was so strong a majority as to be able to control its decisions. Comp. Ac 23:6.

Which is the sect. The word translated sect here is that from which we have derived our word heresy. It means simply sect, or party, and is not used in a bad sense, as implying reproach, or even error. The idea which we attach to it of error, and of denying fundamental doctrines in religion, is one that does not occur in the New Testament.

Sadducees. See Barnes "Mt 3:7".

The main doctrine of this sect was the denial of the resurrection of the dead. The reason why they were particularly opposed to the apostles, rather than the Pharisees, was that the apostles dwelt much on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, which, if true, completely overthrew their doctrine. All the converts, therefore, that were made to Christianity, tended to diminish their numbers and influence; and also to establish the belief of the Pharisees in the doctrine of the resurrection. So long, therefore, as the effect of the labours of the apostles was to establish one of the main doctrines of the Pharisees, and to confute the Sadducees, so long we may suppose that the Pharisees would either favour them or be silent; and so long the Sadducees would be opposed to them, and enraged against them. One sect will often see with composure the progress of another that it really hates, if it will humble a rival. Even opposition to the gospel will sometimes be silent, provided the spread of religion will tend to humble and mortify those against whom we may be opposed.

Were filled with indignation. Greek, Zeal. The word denotes any kind of fervour or warmth, and may be applied to any warm or violent affection of the mind, either envy, wrath, zeal, or love, Ac 13:45; Joh 2:17; Ro 10:2; 2 Co 7:7; 11:2.

Here it probably includes envy and wrath. They were envious at the success of the apostles; at the number of converts that were made to a doctrine that they hated; they were envious that the Pharisees were deriving such an accession of strength to their doctrine of the resurrection; and they were indignant that they regarded so little their authority, and disobeyed the solemn injunction of the sanhedrim. Compare Ac 4:18-21.

{c} "and were filled" Ac 4:1,2 {1} "indignation" "envy"

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