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17He motioned to them with his hand to be silent, and described for them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he added, “Tell this to James and to the believers.” Then he left and went to another place.

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17. But he, beckoning … with his hand to hold their peace—a lively touch this. In the hubbub of joyful and wondering interrogatories there might mingle reflections, thrown out by one against another, for holding out so long against the testimony of Rhoda; while the emotion of the apostle's own spirit would be too deep and solemn to take part in such demonstrations or utter a word till, with his hand, he had signified his wish for perfect silence.

Go show these things unto James and to the brethren—Whether James the son of Alpheus, one of the Twelve, usually known as "James the Less," and "James the Lord's brother" (Ga 1:19), were the same person; and if not, whether the James here referred to was the former or the latter, critics are singularly divided, and the whole question is one of the most difficult. To us, it appears that there are strong reasons for thinking that they were not the same person, and that the one here meant, and throughout the Acts, is the apostle James. (But on this more hereafter). James is singled out, because he had probably begun to take the oversight of the Church in Jerusalem, which we afterwards find him exercising (Ac 15:1-29).

And he departed, and went into another place—according to his Lord's express command (Mt 10:23). When told, on a former miraculous liberation from prison, to go and speak unto the people (Ac 5:20), he did it; but in this case to present himself in public would have been to tempt God by rushing upon certain destruction.