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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 21)

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
(\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
. 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
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
. 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
. 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
. 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
. 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
. Page takes (Hackett also) with \katēntēsamen\ (we
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
. 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
, 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
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
. 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'
. Constative aorist active indicative. \Par autōi\ (by his
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
. 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
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
. A prophet like the daughters of Philip, mentioned
already in connection with the famine predicted by him (Ac
, 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
, 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
(\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
. 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
. 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,
. 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
(\Egō hetoimōs echō\). I hold (myself) in readiness
(adverb, \hetoimōs\). Same idiom in 2Co 12:14. {Not only to be
(\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,
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
(\par hōi xenisthōmen Mnasōni tini Kupriōi archaiōi
. 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
. 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
(\posai muriades\). Old word for ten thousand (Ac
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
; 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
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
. "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
(\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
their children. Paul taught the very opposite (1Co
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
. "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
(\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

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
. 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
(\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
. 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
. 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
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
. Commander of a thousand men or cohort (Mr
. His name was Claudius Lysias. {Of the band} (\tēs
. 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
. 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
(\katedramen\). Effective second aorist active indicative
of \katatrechō\. From the tower of Antonia, vivid scene. {And
(\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

21:34 {Some shouting one thing, some another} (\alloi allo ti
. 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
, 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
. 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
. 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
. 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

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
(\Ioudaios\) by race, {of Tarsus in Cilicia} (\Tarseus tēs
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

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
. 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
. 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
. {When there was made a great silence} (\pollēs sigēs
. 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
. 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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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Acts: Chapter 21)