CHAPTER 13

Verse 1. The church that was at Antioch. See Barnes "Acts 2:20".

Certain prophets. See Barnes "Acts 11:27".

And teachers. Teachers are several times mentioned in the New Testament as an order of ministers, 1 Corinthians 12:28,29; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Peter 2:11. Their precise rank and duty are not known. It is probable that those here mentioned as prophets were the same persons as the teachers. They might discharge both offices, predicting future events, and instructing the people.

As Barnabas. Barnabas was a preacher, Acts 4:35,36; 9:27; 11:22,26; and it is not improbable that the names "prophets and teachers" here simply designate the preachers of the gospel.

Simeon that was called Niger. Niger is a Latin name meaning black. Why the name was given is not known. Nothing more is known of him than is here mentioned.

Lucius of Cyrene. Cyrene was in Africa. See Barnes "Matthew 27:32". He is afterwards mentioned as with the apostle Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Romans, Romans 16:21.

And Manaen. He is not elsewhere mentioned in the New Testament.

Which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch. Herod Antipas, not Herod Agrippa. Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, Luke 3:1. The word here translated, "which had been brought up"--\~suntrofov\~--denotes one who is educated or nourished at the same time with another. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. He might have been connected with the royal family; and being nearly of the same age, was educated by the father of Herod Antipas with him. He was therefore a man of rank and education, and his conversion shows that the gospel was not confined entirely in its influence to the poor.

And Saul. Saul was an apostle; and yet he is here mentioned among the "prophets and teachers." Showing that these words denote ministers of the gospel in general, without reference to any particular order or rank.

{2} "Manean" "Herod's foster brother"

Verse 2. As they ministered to the Lord. It is probable that this took place on some day set apart for fasting and prayer. The expression "ministered to the Lord" denotes, as they were engaged in prayer to the Lord, or as they were engaged in Divine service. The Syriac thus renders the passage.

The Holy Ghost said. Evidently by direct revelation.

Separate me. Set apart to me, or for my service. It does not mean to ordain, but simply to designate, or appoint to this specific work.

For the work whereunto I have called them. Not the apostolic office, for Saul was called to that by the express revelation of Jesus Christ, Galatians 1:12, and Barnabas was not an apostle. The "work" to which they were now set apart was that of preaching the gospel in the regions round about Antioch. It was not any permanent office in the church, but was a temporary designation to a missionary enterprise in extending the gospel especially through Asia Minor and the adjacent regions. Accordingly, when, in the fulfillment of this appointment, they had travelled through Seleucia, Cyprus, Paphos, Pamphylia, Pisidia, etc., they returned to Antioch, having fulfilled the work to which they were separated. See Acts 14:26,27.

Whereunto I have called them.

This proves that they received their commission to this work directly from God the Holy Spirit. It is possible that Paul and Barnabas had been influenced by the Spirit to engage in this work, but they were to be sent forth by the concurrence and designation of the church.

{b} "Separate me" Galatians 1:13
{c} "for the work" 1 Timothy 2:7
{+} "whereunto" "To which"

Verse 3. And when they had fasted. They were fasting when they were commanded to set them apart. Yet this probably refers to an appointed day of prayer, with reference to this very purpose. The first formal mission to the Gentiles was an important event in the church; and they engaged in this appointment with deep solemnity, and with humbling themselves before God.

And prayed. This enterprise was a new one. The gospel had been preached to the Jews, to Cornelius, and to the Gentiles at Antioch. But there had been no solemn, and public, and concerted plan of sending it to the Gentiles, or of appointing a mission to the heathen. It was a new event, and was full of danger and hardships. The primitive church felt the need of Divine direction and aid in the great work. Two missionaries were to be sent forth amongst strangers, to be exposed to perils by sea and land; and the commencement of the enterprise demanded prayer. The church humbled itself; and this primitive missionary society sought, as all others should do, the Divine blessing, to attend the labours of those employed in this work. The result showed that the prayer was heard.

And laid their hands on them. That is, those who are mentioned in Acts 13:1. This was not to set them apart to the apostolic office. Saul was chosen by Christ himself, and there is no evidence that any of the apostles were ordained by the imposition of hands. See Barnes "Acts 1:26"; See Barnes "Matthew 10:1"; See Barnes "Luke 6:12-16". And Barnabas was not an apostle in the original and peculiar sense of the word. Nor is it meant that this was an ordination to the ministry, to the office of preaching the gospel. For both had been engaged in this before. Saul received his commission directly from the Saviour, and began at once to preach, Acts 9:20; Galatians 1:11-17. Barnabas had preached at Antioch, and was evidently recognized as a preacher by the apostles, Acts 9:27; 11:22,23. It follows, therefore, that this was not an ordination in the doctrinal sense of this term, either Episcopal or Presbyterian, but was a designation to a particular work--a work of vast importance; strictly a missionary appointment by the church, under the authority of the Holy Ghost. The act of laying hands on any person was practised, not only in ordination, but in conferring a favour; and in setting apart for any purpose. See Leviticus 3:2,8,13; 4:4, Leviticus 4:29; 16:21; Numbers 8:12; Mark 5:23; 16:18; Matthew 21:46. It means, in this case, that they appointed them to a particular field of labour, and by laying hands on them they implored the blessing of God to attend them.

They sent them away. The church by its teachers sent them forth under the direction of the Holy Ghost. All missionaries are thus sent by the church; and the church should not forget its ambassadors in their great and perilous work.

Verse 4. Being sent forth by the Holy Ghost. Having been called to this work by the Holy Spirit, and being under his direction.

Departed unto Seleucia. This city was situated at the mouth of the river Orontes, where it falls into the Mediterranean. Antioch was also built on this river, some distance from its mouth.

They sailed to Cyprus. An island in the Mediterranean, not far from Seleucia. See Barnes "Acts 4:36".

{*} "Ghost" "Spirit"

Verse 5. And when they were at Salamis. This was the principal city and seaport of Cyprus. It was situated on the south-east part of the island, and was afterwards called Constantia.

In the synagogues of the Jews. Jews were living in all the countries adjacent to Judea; and in those countries they had synagogues. The apostles uniformly preached first to them.

And they had also John to their minister. John Mark, Acts 12:12. He was their attendant; he was with them as a companion, yet not pretending to be equal to them in office. They had been specifically designated to this work. He was with them as their friend and travelling companion; perhaps also employed in making the needful arrangements for their comfort, and for the supply of their wants in their travels.

{+} "minister" "For their attendant"

Verse 6. And when they had gone through the isle. The length of the island, according to Strabo, was one thousand and four hundred stadia, or nearly one hundred and seventy miles.

Unto Paphos. Paphos was a city at the western extremity of the island. It was the residence of the proconsul, and was distinguished for a splendid temple erected to Venus, who was worshipped throughout the island. Cyprus was fabled to be the place of the birth of this goddess. It had, besides Paphos and Salamis, several towns of note--Citium, the birth-place of Zeno; Amathus, sacred to Venus, etc. Its present capital is Nicosia. Whether Paul preached at any of these places is not recorded. The island is supposed formerly to have had a million of inhabitants.

A certain sorcerer. Greek--Magus, or magician. See Acts 8:9.

A false prophet. Pretending to be endowed with the gift of prophecy; or a man, probably, who pretended to be inspired.

Bar-jesus. The word Bar is Syriac, and means son. Jesus, or Joshua, was not an uncommon name among the Jews. The name was given from his father --son of Jesus, or Joshua; as Bar-jonas, son of Jonas.

Verse 7. Which was with the deputy. Or with the proconsul. Cyprus was at this time subject to the Roman empire, and was governed by a proconsul appointed by the emperor. The provinces subject to Rome were governed by persons who held their office originally from the consul, or chief magistrate of the Roman republic. Men of the rank of senators were usually appointed to these offices. See on this subject Lardner's Credibility, part i., chap. i., & 11, where he fully vindicated the accuracy of the appellation which is here given to Sergius by Luke.

Sergius Paulus, a prudent man. The word here rendered prudent means intelligent, wise, learned. It also may have the sense of candid, and may have been given to this man because he was of large and liberal views, of a philosophic and inquiring turn of mind, and was willing to obtain knowledge from any source. Hence he had entertained the Jews; and hence he was willing also to listen to Barnabas and Saul. It is not often that men in office, and men of rank, are thus willing to listen to the instructions of the professed ministers of God.

Who called for Barnabas and Saul. It is probable that they had preached in Paphos, and Sergius was desirous himself of hearing the import of their new doctrine.

And desired to hear, etc. There is no evidence that he then wished to listen to this as Divine truth, or that he was anxious about his own salvation, but rather as a speculative inquiry. It was a professed characteristic of many ancient philosophers to be willing to receive instruction from any quarter. Comp. Acts 17:19,20.

{+} "prudent" "well-informed"

Verse 8. But Elymas the sorcerer, for so is his name by interpretation. Elymas the magician. Elymas is the interpretation, not of the name Bar-jesus, but of the word rendered the sorcerer. It is an Arabic word, and means the same as magus. It seems that he was better known by this foreign name than by his own.

Withstood them. Resisted them. He was sensible that if the influence of Saul and Barnabas should be extended over the proconsul, that he would be seen to be an impostor, and his power be at an end. His interest, therefore, led him to oppose the gospel, His own popularity was at stake; and being governed by this, he opposed the gospel of God. The love of popularity and power, the desire of retaining some political influence, is often a strong reason why men oppose the gospel.

To turn away the deputy from the faith. To prevent the influence of the truth on his mind; or to prevent his becoming the friend and patron of the Christians.

{a} "withstood" 2 Timothy 3:8

Verse 9. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul.) This is the last time that this apostle is called Saul. Henceforward he is designated by the title by which he is usually known, as Paul. When, or why, this change occurred in the name, has been a subject on which commentators are not agreed. From the fact that the change in the name is here first intimated, it would seem probable that it was first used in relation to him at this time. By whom the name was given him--whether he assumed it himself, or whether it was first given him by Christians or by Romans-- is not intimated. The name is of Roman origin. In the Latin language the name Paulus signifies little, dwarfish; and some have conjectured that it was given by his parents to denote that he was small when born; others, that it was assumed or conferred in subsequent years because he was little in stature. The name is not of the same signification as the name Saul. This signifies one that is asked, or desired. After all the conjectures on this subject, it is probable,

(1.) that this name was first used here; for before this, even after his conversion, he is uniformly called Saul.

(2.) That it was given by the Romans, as being a name with which they were more familiar, and one that was more consonant with their language and pronunciation. It was made by the change of a single letter; and probably because the name Paul was common among them, and pronounced perhaps with greater facility.

(3.) Paul suffered himself to be called by this name, as he was employed chiefly among the Gentiles. It was common for names to undergo changes quite as great as this, without our being able to specify any particular cause, in passing from one language to another. Thus the Hebrew name Jochanan, among the Greeks and Latins was Johannes, with the French it is Jean, with the Dutch Hans, and with us John.--Doddridge. Thus Onias becomes Menelaus; Hillel, Pollio; Jakim, Alcimus; Silas, Silvanus, etc.-- Grotius.

Filled with the Holy Ghost. Inspired to detect his sin; to denounce Divine judgment; and to inflict punishment on him. See Barnes "Acts 2:4".

Set his eyes on him. Looked at him intently.

{*} "Ghost" "Spirit"

Verse 10. O full of all subtilty and mischief. The word subtilty denotes deceit and fraud; and implies that he was practicing an imposition, and that he knew it. The word rendered mischief, \~radiourgiav\~ denotes, properly, facility of acting, and then sleight of hand; sly, cunning arts, by which one imposes on another, and deceives him with a fraudulent intention. It is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The art of Elymas consisted probably in sleight of hand, legerdemain, or trick, aided by skill in the abstruse sciences, by which the ignorant might be easily imposed on. See Barnes "Acts 8:9".

Child of the devil. Being under his influence; practicing his arts; promoting his designs by deceit and imposture, so that he may be called your father. See Barnes "John 8:44". Satan is here represented as the author of deceit, and the father of lies.

Enemy of all righteousness. Practicing deceit and iniquity, and thus opposed to righteousness and honesty. A man who lives by wickedness will, of course, be the foe of every form of integrity. A man who lives by fraud will be opposed to the truth; a pander to the vices of men will hate the rules of chastity and purity; a manufacturer or vender of ardent spirits will be the enemy of temperance societies.

Wilt thou not cease to pervert. In what way he had opposed Paul and Barnabas is not known. Probably it might be by misrepresenting their doctrines; by representing them as apostate Jews; and thus by retarding or hindering the progress of the gospel. The expression, "wilt thou not cease," implies that he had been engaged sedulously in doing this, probably from the commencement of their work in the city.

The right ways of the Lord. The straight paths, or doctrines of the Christian religion, in opposition to the crooked and perverse arts of deceivers and impostors. Straight paths denote integrity, sincerity, truth, Jeremiah 31:9; Hebrews 12:13. Comp. Isaiah 40:3,4; 42:16; Luke 3:5. Crooked ways denote the ways of the sinner, the deceiver, the impostor, Deuteronomy 32:5; Psalms 125:5; Proverbs 2:15; Isaiah 59:8; Philippians 2:15.

Verse 11. The hand of the Lord is upon thee. God shall punish thee. By this sudden and miraculous punishment, he would be awed and humbled; and the proconsul and others would be convinced that he was an impostor, and that the gospel was true. His wickedness deserved such a punishment; and at the same time that due punishment was inflicted, it was designed that the gospel should be extended by this means. In all this there was the highest evidence that Paul was under the inspiration of God. He was full of the Holy Ghost; he detected the secret feelings and desires of the heart of Elymas, and he inflicted on him a punishment that could have proceeded from none but God. That the apostles had the power of inflicting punishment, in many cases, is apparent from various places in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20. The punishment inflicted on Elymas, also, would be highly emblematic of the darkness and perverseness of his conduct.

Not seeing the sun for a season. For how long a time this blindness was to continue, is nowhere specified. It was, however, in mercy ordained that the blindness should not be permanent and final. Nothing would be more likely to lead him to reflection and repentance than such a state of blindness. It was such a manifest proof that God was opposed to him; it was such a sudden Divine judgment; and it so completely cut him off from all possibility of practicing his arts of deception, that it was adapted to bring him to repentance. Accordingly, there is a tradition in the early church that he became a Christian. Origen says, that "Paul, by a word striking him blind, by anguish converted him to godliness."--Clark.

A mist. The word here used properly denotes a darkness or obscurity of the air; a cloud, etc. But it also denotes an extinction of sight by the drying up or disturbance of the humours of the eye.--Hippocrates, as quoted by Schleusner.

And a darkness. Blindness; night. What was the precise cause or character of this miracle is not specified.

And he went about, etc. This is a striking account of the effect of the miracle. The change was so sudden, that he knew not where to go. He sought some one to guide him in the ways in which he had before been familiar. How soon can God bring down the pride of man, and make him helpless as an infant! How easily can he touch our senses, the organs of our most exquisite pleasures, and wither all our enjoyments! How dependent are we on him for the inestimable blessings of vision! And how easily can he annihilate all the sinner's pleasures, break up all his plans, and humble him in the dust! Sight is his gift; and it is a mercy unspeakably great that he does not whelm us in thick darkness, and destroy for ever all the pleasure that through this organ is conveyed to the soul.

Verse 12. Then the deputy--believed. Was convinced that Elymas was an impostor, and that the doctrine of Paul was true. There seems no reason to doubt that his faith was that which is connected with eternal life; and if so, it is an evidence that the gospel was not always confined to the poor, and to the obscure ranks of life.

At the doctrine of the Lord. The word doctrine here seems to denote, not the teaching or instruction, but the wonderful effects which were connected with the doctrine. It was particularly the miracle with which he was astonished; but he might have been also deeply impressed and amazed at the purity and sublimity of the truths which were now expanded to his view. We learn nothing further respecting him in the New Testament.

Verse 13. Paul and his company. Those with him--Barnabas and John --and perhaps others who had been converted at Paphos; for it was common for man)' of the converts to Christianity to attend on the apostles in their travels. See Acts 9:30.

Loosed from Paphos. Departed from Paphos.

They came to Perga and Pamphylia. Pamphylia was a province of Asia Minor, lying over against Cyprus, having Cilicia east, Lycia west, Pisidia north, and the Mediterranean south. Perga was the metropolis of Pamphylia, and was situated, not on the sea coast, but on the river Cestus, at some distance from its mouth. There was on a mountain near it a celebrated temple of Diana.

And John departing from them, etc. Why he departed from them is unknown. It might have been from fear of danger; or from alarm in travelling so far into unknown regions. But it is plain, from Acts 15:38, that it was from some cause which was deemed blameworthy, and that his conduct now was such as to make Paul unwilling again to have him as a companion.

{a} "John departing from him" Acts 15:38

Verse 14. They came to Antioch in Pisidia. Pisidia was a province of Asia Minor, and was situated north of Pamphylia. Antioch was not in Pisidia, but within the limits of Phrygia; but it belonged to Pisidia, and was called Antioch of Pisidia to distinguish it from Antioch in Syria. Pliny, Nat. Hist. 5, 27. Strabo, 12, p. 577.-- (Kuin”el. Robinson's Calmet.)

Went into the synagogue. Though Paul and Barnabas were on a special mission to the Gentiles, yet they availed themselves of every opportunity to offer the gospel to the Jews first.

{b} "synagogue" Acts 18:4

Verse 15. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets. See Barnes "Luke 4:16".

The rulers of the synagogue. These were persons who had the general charge of the synagogue and its service, to keep everything in order, and to direct the affairs of public worship. They designated the individuals who were to read the law; and called on those whom they pleased to address the people, and had the power also of inflicting punishment, and of excommunicating, etc.--(Schleusner.) Mark 5:22,35,36,38; Luke 8:49; Luke 13:14; Acts 18:8,17. Seeing that Paul and Barnabas were Jews, though strangers, they sent to them, supposing it probable that they would wish to address their brethren.

Men and brethren. An affectionate manner of commencing a discourse, recognizing them as their own countrymen, and as originally of the same religion.

Say on. Greek, Speak.

{d} "word of exhortation" Hebrews 13:22
{*} "say on" "Speak"

Verse 16. Men of Israel. Jews. The design of this discourse of Paul was to introduce to them the doctrine that Jesus was the Messiah. To do this, he evinced his usual wisdom and address. To have commenced at once on this would have probably excited their prejudice and rage. He therefore pursued a train of argument which showed that he was a firm believer in the Scriptures; that he was acquainted with the history and promises of the Old Testament; and that he was not disposed to call in question the doctrines of their fathers. The passage which had been read, perhaps Deuteronomy 1, had probably given occasion for him to pursue this train of thought. By going over, in a summary way, their history, and recounting the former dealings of God with them, he showed them that he believed the Scriptures; that a promise had been given of a Messiah; and that he had actually come according to the promise.

Ye that fear God. Probably proselytes of the gate, who had not yet been circumcised, but who had renounced idolatry, and were accustomed to worship with them in their synagogues.

Give audience. Hear.

{+} "audience" "hearken"

Verse 17. The God of this people. Who has manifested himself as the peculiar friend and protector of this nation. This implied a belief that he had been particularly their God; a favourite doctrine of the Jews, and one that would conciliate their favour towards Paul.

Of Israel. The Jews.

Chose our fathers. Selected the nation to be a chosen and peculiar people to himself, Deuteronomy 7:6,7.

And exalted the people. Raised them up from a low and depressed state of bondage. He elevated them from a prostrate state of slavery to freedom, and to peculiar privileges as a nation.

When they dwelt as strangers in Egypt. \~en th paroikia\~. This properly refers to their dwelling there as foreigners. They were always strangers there in a strange land. It was not their home. They never mingled with the people; never became constituent parts of the government; never united with their usages and laws. They were a strange, separate, depressed people there; not less so than Africans are strangers, and foreigners, and a depressed and degraded people in this land, [U.S.] Genesis 36:7; Exodus 6:4; 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19.

And with an high arm. This expression denotes great power. The arm denotes strength, as that by which we perform anything. A high arm, an arm lifted up, or stretched out, denotes that strength exerted to the utmost. The children of Israel are represented as having been delivered with an "outstretched arm," Deuteronomy 26:8; Exodus 6:6. "With a strong hand," Exodus 6:1. Reference is made in these places to the plagues inflicted on Egypt, by which the Israelites were delivered; to their passage through the Red Sea; to their victories over their enemies, etc.

{a} "our fathers" Deuteronomy 7:6,7
{b} "as strangers" Psalms 105:23
{*} "in the land of Egypt" "sojourned"
{c} "high arm" Exodus 13:14,16

Verse 18. And about the time of forty years. They were this time going from Egypt to the land of Canaan, Exodus 16:35; Numbers 33:38.

Suffered he their manners. This passage has been very variously rendered. See the margin. Syriac, "He nourished them," etc. Arabic, He blessed them, and nourished them," etc. The word is not elsewhere used in the New Testament. The word properly means, to tolerate, or endure the conduct of any one, implying that that conduct is evil, and tends to provoke to punishment. This is doubtless its meaning here. Probably Paul referred to the passage in Deuteronomy 1:31: "The Lord thy God bare thee." But instead of this word, \~etropoforhsen\~, many Mss. read \~etrofoforhsen\~, he sustained or nourished. This reading was followed by the Syriac, Arabic, and has been admitted by Griesbach into the text. This is also found in the Septuagint, in Deuteronomy 1:31, which place Paul doubtless referred to. This would well suit the connexion of the passage; and a change of a single letter might easily have occurred in a Ms. It adds to the probability that this is the true reading, that it accords with Deuteronomy 1:31; Numbers 11:12; Deuteronomy 32:10. It is furthermore not probable that Paul would have commenced a discourse by reminding them of the obstinacy and wickedness of the nation. Such a course would rather tend to exasperate than to conciliate; but by reminding them of the mercies of God to them, and slowing them that God had been their protector, he was better fitting them for his main purpose--that of showing them the kindness of the God of their fathers in sending to them a Saviour.

In the wilderness. The desert through which they passed in going from Egypt to Canaan.

{d} "forty years" Exodus 13:14,16
{1} "suffered he their manners" "\~etropoforhsen\~, perhaps for
\~etrofoforhsen\~, bore or fed them, as a nurse beareth or feedeth her child, Deuteronomy 1:31 according to the Seventy; and so Chrysostam.

Verse 19. And when he had destroyed. Subdued; cast out; or extirpated, as nations. It does not mean that all were put to death, for many of them were left in the land; but that they were subdued as nations--they were broken up, and overcome. Deuteronomy 7:1: "And hath cast out many nations before them," etc.

Seven nations. The Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10; Nehemiah 9:8.

In the land of Chanaan. The whole land was called by the name of one of the principal nations. This was the promised land; the holy land, etc.

He divided, etc. See an account of this in Joshua 14, Joshua 15. The lot was often used among the Jews to determine important questions. See Barnes "Acts 1:26". {e} "seven nations" Deuteronomy 7:1
{f} "Chanaan" Joshua 14:1

Verse 20. He gave unto them judges. Men who were raised up in an extraordinary manner to administer the affairs of the nation, to defend it from enemies, etc. See Judges 2:16.

About the space of our hundred and fifty years. This is a most difficult passage, and has exercised all the ingenuity of chronologists. The ancient versions agree with the present Greek text. The difficulty has been to reconcile it with what is said in 1 Kings 6:1: "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel .... he began to build the house of the Lord." Now if, to the forty years that the children of Israel were in the wilderness, there be added the four hundred and fifty said in Acts to have been passed under the administration of the judges, and about seventeen years of the time of Joshua, forty for Samuel and the reign of Saul together, and forty for the reign of David, and three of Solomon before he began to build the temple, the sum will be five hundred and ninety years, a period greater by one hundred and ten years than that mentioned in 1 Kings 6:1. Various ways have been proposed to meet the difficulty. Doddridge renders it, "After these transactions, [which lasted] four hundred and fifty years, he gave them a series of judges," etc., reckoning from the birth of Isaac, and supposing that Paul meant to refer to this whole time. But to this there are serious objections.

(1.) It is a forced and constrained interpretation, and one manifestly made to meet a difficulty.

(2.) There is no propriety in commencing this period at the birth of Isaac. That was in no manner remarkable, so far as Paul's narrative was concerned; and Paul had not even referred to it. This same solution is offered also by Calovius, Mill, Lud, and De Dieu. Luther and Beza think it should be read three hundred, instead of four hundred. But this is a mere conjecture, without any authority from Mss. Vitringa and some others suppose that the text has been corrupted by some transcriber, who has inserted this without authority. But there is no evidence of this; and the Mss. and ancient versions are uniform. None of these explanations are satisfactory. In the solution of the difficulty we may remark,

(1.) that nothing is more perplexing than the chronology of ancient facts. The difficulty is found in all writings; in profane as well as sacred. Mistakes are so easily made in transcribing numbers where letters are used, instead of writing the words at length, that we are not to wonder at such errors.

(2.) Paul would naturally use the chronology which was in current, common use, among the Jews. It was not his business to settle such points; but he would speak of them as they were usually spoken of, and refer to them as others did.

(3.) There is reason to believe that that which is here mentioned was the common chronology of his time. It accords remarkably with that which is used by Josephus. Thus (Antiq. viii. chap. iii. & 1) Josephus says expressly, that Solomon "began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, five hundred and ninety-two years after the Exodus out of Egypt, etc. This would allow forty years for their being in the wilderness, seventeen for Joshua, forty for Samuel and Saul, forty for the reign of David, and four hundred and fifty-two years for the time of the judges and the times of anarchy that intervened. This remarkable coincidence shows that this was the chronology which was then used, and which Paul had in view.

(4.) This chronology has the authority, also, of many eminent names. See Lightfoot, and Boyle's Lectures, chap. xx. In what way this computation of Josephus and the Jews originated, it is not necessary here to inquire. It is a sufficient, solution of the difficulty that Paul spoke in their usual manner, without departing from his regular object by settling a point of chronology.

{g} "judges" Judges 2:16

Verse 21. And afterward they desired a king. See 1 Samuel 8:5; Hosea 13:10. It was predicted that they would have a king, Deuteronomy 17:14,15.

Saul the son of Cis. Cis is the Greek mode of writing the Hebrew name Kish. In the Old Testament it is uniformly written Kish; and it is to be regretted that this has not been retained in the New Testament. See 1 Samuel 9:1.

By the space of forty years. During forty years. The Old Testament has not mentioned the time during which Saul reigned. Josephus says (Antiq. b. vi. chap. xiv & 9) that he reigned eighteen years while Samuel was alive, and twenty-two years after his death. But Dr. Doddridge (Note in loco) has shown that this cannot be correct, and that he probably reigned, as some copies of Josephus have it, but two years after the death of Samuel. Many critics suppose that the term of forty years here mentioned, includes also the time in which Samuel judged the people. This supposition does not violate the text in this place, and may be probable. See Doddridge and Grotius on this place.

{h} "desired a king" 1 Samuel 8:5
{i} "Saul, the son of Cis" 1 Samuel 8:5
{+} "space of forty years" "during"

Verse 22. And when he had removed him. This was done because he rebelled against God in sparing the sheep and oxen and valuable property of Amalek, together with Agag the king, when he was commanded to destroy all, 1 Samuel 15:8-23. He was put to death in a battle with the Philistines, 1 Samuel 22:1-6. The phrase, "when he removed him," refers probably to his rejection as a king, and not to his death; for David was anointed king before the death of Saul, and almost immediately after the rejection of Saul on account of his rebellion in the business of Amalek. See 1 Samuel 6:12,13.

He gave testimony. He bore witness, 1 Samuel 13:14.

I have found David, etc. This is not quoted literally, but contains the substance of what is expressed in various places. Comp. 1 Samuel 13:14, with Psalms 89:20; 1 Samuel 16:1,12.

A man after mine own heart. This expression is found in 1 Samuel 13:14. The connexion shows, that it means simply a man who would not be rebellious and disobedient as Saul was, but would do his will, and keep his commandments. This refers, doubtless, rather to the public than to the private character of David; or to his character as a king. It means, that he would make the will of God the great rule and law of his reign, in contradistinction from Saul, who, as a king, had disobeyed God. At the same time it is true that the prevailing character of David, as a pious, humble, devoted man, was, that he was a man after God's own heart, and was beloved by him as a saint and a holy man. He had faults; he committed sin; but who is free from it? He was guilty of great offences; but he also evinced, in a degree equally eminent, repentance, Psalms 51 and not less in his private than his public character did he evince those traits which were prevailingly such as accorded with the heart, i.e., the earnest desires of God.

Which shall fulfil all my will. Saul had not done it. He had disobeyed God in a case where he had received an express command. The characteristic of David would be, that he would obey the commands of God. That David did this--that he maintained the worship of God, opposed idolatry, and sought to promote universal obedience to God among the people--is expressly recorded of him. 1 Kings 14:8,9: "And thou [Jeroboam] hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes," etc., 1 Kings 15:3,5.

{a} "when he had removed him" 1 Samuel 31:6
{b} "David to be their king" 2 Samuel 5:3
{c} "a man after mine own heart" 1 Samuel 13:14
{*} "all my will"

Verse 23. Of this man's seed. Of his posterity.

According to his promise. See Barnes "Acts 2:30"

Raised unto Israel. See Barnes "Acts 2:30"

A Saviour, Jesus. See Barnes "Matthew 1:21"

{d} "his promise" Psalms 132:11
{e} "a Saviour, Jesus" Matthew 1:21

Verse 24. When John had first preached, etc. After John had preached, and prepared the way, Matthew 3.

{f} "John had first preach" Matthew 3:1-11

Verse 25. And as john fulfilled his course. As he was engaged in completing his work. His ministry is called a course or race; that which was to be run or completed.

He said, etc. These are not the precise words which the evangelists have recorded, but the sense is the same. See Barnes "John 1:20", See Barnes "Matthew 3:11".

Verse 26. Men and brethren. Paul now exhorts them to embrace the Lord Jesus as the Messiah. He uses, therefore, the most respectful and fraternal language.

Children of the stock of Abraham. Descendants of Abraham; who regard Abraham as your ancestor. He means here to address particularly the native -born Jews; and appellation is used because they valued themselves highly on account of their descent from Abraham, See Barnes "Matthew 3:9" and because the promise of the Messiah had been specially given to him.

And whosoever, etc. Proselytes. See Barnes "Acts 13:16".

Is the word of this salvation sent. This message of salvation. It was sent particularly to the Jewish people. The Saviour was sent to that nation, Matthew 15:24 and the design was to offer to them first the message of life. See Barnes "Acts 13:46".

{g} "feareth God, to you" Matthew 10:6
{+} "word of this salvation" "Doctrine"

Verse 27. Because they knew him not. The statement in this verse is designed, not to reproach the Jews at Jerusalem, but to introduce the fact that Jesus had died, and had risen again. With great wisdom and tenderness, he speaks of his murderers in such a manner as not to exasperate, but as far as possible to mitigate their crime. There was sufficient guilt in the murder of the Son of God to overwhelm the nation with alarm, even after all that could be said to mitigate the deed. See Acts 2:23,36,37. When Paul says, "They knew him not," he means, that they did not know him to be the Messiah, (see 1 Corinthians 2:8) they were ignorant of the true meaning of the prophecies of the Old Testament; they regarded him as an impostor. See Barnes "Acts 3:17".

Nor yet the voices of the Prophets. Neither the meaning of the predictions in the Old Testament, respecting the Messiah. They expected a prince, and a conqueror, but did not expect a Messiah poor and despised, and a man of sorrows, and that was to die on a cross.

Which are read every sabbath day. In the synagogues. Though the Scriptures were read so constantly, yet they were ignorant of their true meaning. They were blinded by pride, and prejudice, and preconceived opinions. Men may often m this way read the Bible a good part of their lives, and, for want of attention, or of a humble mind, never understand it.

They have fulfilled them, etc. By putting him to death they have accomplished what was foretold.

{++} "voices of the Prophets" "Words"
{h} "they have fulfilled them" Luke 24:20,44

Verse 28. And though they found, etc. They found no crime which deserved death. This is conclusively shown by the trial itself. After all their efforts; after the treason of Judas; after their employing false witnesses; still no crime was laid to his charge. The sanhedrim condemned him for blasphemy; and yet they knew that they could not substantiate this charge before Pilate, and they therefore endeavoured to procure his condemnation on the ground of sedition. Comp. Luke 22:70,71, with Luke 23:1,2.

Yet desired they Pilate, etc. Matthew 27:1,2; Luke 23:4,6.

Verse 29. They took him down, etc. That is, it was done by the Jews, Not that it was done by those who put him to death, but by Joseph of Arimathea, a Jew, and by Nicodemus, and their companions. Paul is speaking of what was done to Jesus by the Jews at Jerusalem; and he does not affirm that the same persons put him to death and laid him in a tomb, but that all this was done by Jews. See John 19:38,39.

{*} "tree" "cross"

Verse 30. But God raised him, See Barnes "Acts 2:23,24".s

Verse 31. And he was seen. See Barnes "Matthew 28:20".

Many days Forty day, Acts 1:3.

Of them which came up. By the apostles particularly. He was seen by others; but they are especially mentioned as having been chosen for this object, to bear witness to him, and as having been particularly qualified for it.

{i} "seen many days" Acts 1:3

Verse 32. And we. We who are present. Paul and Barnabas.

Declare unto you glad tidings We preach the gospel--the good news. To a Jew, nothing could be more grateful intelligence than that the Messiah had come; to a sinner convinced of his sins, nothing can be more cheering than to hear of a Saviour.

The promises, etc. The promise here refers to all that had been spoken in the Old Testament respecting the advent, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ.

{a} "promise" Romans 4:13

Verse 33. God hath fulfilled. God has completed, or carried into effect, by the resurrection of Jesus. He does not say that all the promise had reference to his resurrection; but his being raised up completed or perfected the fulfillment of the promises which had been made respecting him.

In the second psalm. Psalms 2:7.

Thou art my Son. This psalm has been usually understood as referring to the Messiah. See Barnes "Acts 4:25".

This day have I begotten thee. It is evident that Paul uses the expression here as implying that the Lord Jesus is called the Son of God because he raised him up from the dead; and that he means to imply that it was for this reason that he is so called in the psalm. This interpretation of an inspired apostle fixes the meaning of this passage in the psalm; and proves that it is not there used with reference to the doctrine of eternal generation, or to his incarnation, but that he is here called his Son because he was raised from the dead. And this interpretation accords with the scope of the psalm. In Psalms 2:1-3, the psalmist records the combination of the rulers of the earth against the Messiah, and their efforts to cast off his reign. This was done, and the Messiah was rejected. All this pertains, not to his previous existence, but to the Messiah on the earth. In Psalms 2:4,5, the psalmist shows that their efforts should not be successful; that God would laugh at their designs; that is, that their plans should not succeed. In Psalms 2:6,7, he knows that the Messiah would be established as a King; that this was the fixed decree, that he had begotten him for this. All this is represented as subsequent to the raging of the heathen, and to the counsel of the kings against him, and must, therefore, refer not to his eternal generation, or his incarnation, but to something succeeding his death; that is, to his resurrection, and establishment as King at the right hand of God. This interpretation by the apostle Paul proves, therefore, that this passage is not to be used to establish the doctrine of the eternal generation of Christ. Christ is called the Son of God from various reasons. In Luke 1:35, because he was begotten by the Holy Ghost. In this place, on account of his resurrection. In Romans 1:4, it is also said, that he was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. See Barnes "Romans 1:4". The resurrection from the dead is represented as in some sense the beginning of life, and it is with reference to this that the terms Son, and begotten from the dead, are used, as the birth of a child is the beginning of life. Thus Christ is said, Colossians 1:18, to be "the first, born from the dead" and thus in Revelation 1:5, he is called "the first-begotten of the dead," and with reference to this renewal or beginning of life he is called a Son. In whatever other senses he is caned a Son in the New Testament, yet it is here proved,

(1.) that he is called a Son from his resurrection; and,

(2.) that this is the sense in which the expression in the psalm is to be used.

This day. The day, in the mind of the psalmist and of Paul, of his resurrection. Many efforts have been made, and much learned criticism has been expended, to prove that this refers to eternity, or to his pre-existence. But the signification of the word, which never refers to eternity, and the connexion, and the obvious intention of the speaker, is against this. Paul understood this manifestly of the resurrection, This settles the inquiry, and this is the indispensable interpretation in the psalm itself.

Have I begotten thee. This evidently cannot be understood in a literal sense. It literally refers to the relation of an earthly father to his children; but in no such sense can it be applied to the relation of God the Father to the Son. It must therefore be figurative. The word sometimes figuratively means to produce, to cause to exist in any way. 2 Timothy 2:23: "Unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender [beget] strifes." It refers also to the labours of the apostles in securing the conversion of stoners to the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15: "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Philemon 1:10: "Whom [Onesimus] I have begotten in my bonds." It is applied to Christians, John 1:13, "Which were born [begotten] not of blood, etc., but of God." John 3:3: "Except a man be born [begotten] again," etc. In all these places it is used in a figurative sense to denote the commencement of spiritual life by the power of God attending the truth; raising up sinners from the death of sin; or so producing spiritual life as that they should sustain to God the relation of sons. Thus he raised up Christ from the dead; imparted life to his body; by his own power restored him; and hence is said figuratively to have begotten him from the dead, and hence sustains towards the risen Saviour the relation of Father. Comp. Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5; Hebrews 1:5. {b} "thou art my Son" Psalms 2:7.

Verse 34. And as concerning. In further proof of that. To show that he actually did it, he proceeds to quote another passage of Scripture.

No more to return to corruption. The word corruption is usually employed to denote putrefaction, or the mouldering away of a body in the grave; its returning to its native dust. But it is certain Acts 13:35; See Barnes "Acts 2:27" that the body of Christ never in this sense saw corruption. The word is therefore used to denote death, or the grave, the cause and place of corruption, The word is thus used in the Septuagint. It means here simply that he should not again die.

He said on this wise. He said thus, \~outwv\~.

I will give you. This quotation is made from Isaiah 55:3. It is quoted from the Septuagint, with a change of but one word, not affecting the sense. In Isaiah the passage does not refer particularly to the resurrection of the Messiah; nor is it the design of Paul to affirm that it does. His object in this verse is not to prove that he would rise from the dead; but that being risen, he would not again die. That the passage in Isaiah refers to the Messiah there can be no doubt, Isaiah 55:1,4. The passage here quoted is an address to the people, an assurance to them that the promise made to David should be performed; a solemn declaration that he would make an everlasting covenant with them through the Messiah, the promised descendant of David.

The sure mercies of David. The word mercies here refers to the promise made to David; the mercy or favour shown to him by promising to him a successor, that should not fail to sit on his throne, 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalms 89:4,6; 132:11,12. These mercies and these promises are called "sure," as being true, or unfailing; they should certainly be accomplished. Comp. 2 Corinthians 1:20. The word David here does not refer, as many have supposed, to the Messiah, but to the king of Israel God made to David a promise, a certain pledge; he bestowed on him this special mercy, in promising that he should have a successor who should sit for ever on his throne. This promise was understood by the Jews, and is often referred to in the New Testament, as relating to the Messiah. And Paul here says that that promise here is fulfilled. The only question is, how it refers to the subject on which Paul was immediately discoursing. That point was not mainly to prove his resurrection, but to show particularly that he would never die again, or that he would for ever live and reign. And the argument is, that as God had promised that David should have a successor who should sit for ever on his throne; and as this prediction now terminated in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, it followed that, as that promise was sure and certain, he would never die again. He must live, if the sure promise was fulfilled. And though he had been put to death, yet under that general promise was the certainty that he would live again. The meaning is, it was impossible that the Messiah, the promised successor of David, the perpetual occupier of his throne, should remain under the power of death. Under this assurance the church now reposes its hopes. Zion's King now lives, ever able to vindicate and save his people.

{*} "this wise" "thus"
{1} \~ta osia\~ or, just things; which word the Seventy, both in the
place of Isaiah 55:3, and in many others, use for that which in the Hebrew, mercies

Verse 35. Wherefore \~did\~. To the same intent or end. In the proof of the same thing--that he must rise and live for ever.

He saith. God says by David; or David declares the promises made by God.

In another Psalm; Psalms 16:10.

Thou shalt not suffer, etc. See Barnes "Acts 2:27".

{c} "in another Psalm" Psalms 16:10

Verse 36. For David, etc. This verse is designed to show that the passage in Psalms 16 could not refer to David, and must therefore relate to some other person. In Acts 13:37, it is affirmed that this could refer to no one, in fact, but to the Lord Jesus.

After he had served his own generation. See the margin. Syriac, "David in his own generation having served the will of God, and slept," etc. Arabic, "David served in his own age, and saw God." The margin probably most correctly expresses the sense of the passage. To serve a generation, or an age, is an unusual and almost unintelligible expression.

Fell of sleep. Greek, slept; that is, died. This is the usual word to denote the death of saints. It is used of David in 1 Kings ; 2:10. See Barnes "Matthew 27:52".

And was laid unto, etc. And was buried with his fathers, etc., 1 Kings 2:10.

And saw corruption. Remained in the grave, and returned to his native dust. See this point argued more at length by Peter, in Acts 2:29-32, and explained See Barnes "Acts 2:29", and Acts 2:30-30.

{2} "after he had served" "after he had in his own age served the will of
God"

{d} "fell on sleep" 1 Kings 2:10
{+} "laid" "gathered"

Verse 37. But he, whom God raised again. The Lord Jesus.

Saw no corruption. Was raised without undergoing the usual change that succeeds death. As David had returned to corruption, and the Lord Jesus had not, it followed that this passage in Psalms 16 referred to the Messiah.

{a} "raised again" Acts 2:24

Verse 38. Be it known, etc. Paul, having proved his resurrection, and shown that he was the Messiah, now state the benefits that were to be derived from his death.

Through this man. See Barnes "Luke 24:47".

{b} "through this man" Daniel 9:24; Luke 24:47; 1 John 2:12

Verse 39. And by him. By means of him; by his sufferings and death.

All that believe. See Barnes "Mark 16:16".

Are justified. Are regarded and treated as if they were righteous. They are pardoned, and admitted to the favour of God, and treated as pardoned sinners, and as if they had not offended. See this point explained in See Barnes "Romans 1:17"; See Barnes "Romans 3:24", See Barnes "Romans 3:25"; See Barnes "Romans 4:1", and Romans 4:2-8.

From all things. From the guilt of all offences. All will be pardoned.

From which ye could not, etc. The law of Moses commanded what was to be done. It appointed sacrifices and offerings, as typical of a greater Sacrifice. But the same apostle has fully shown, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that those sacrifices could not take away sin, Hebrews 9:7-14; Hebrews 10:1-4,11. The design of the law was not to reveal a way of pardon. That was reserved to be the peculiar purpose of the gospel.

The law of Moses. The commands and institutions which he, under the direction of God, established.

{c} "by him" Isaiah 53:11; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 3:28; 8:1

Verses 40,41. Beware therefore. Avoid that which is threatened. It will come on some; and Paul exhorted his hearers to beware lest it should come on them. It was the more important to caution them against this danger, as the Jews held that they were safe.

Lest that come. That calamity, that threatened punishment.

In the prophets. In that part of the Scriptures called "the prophets." The Jews divided the Old Testament into three parts, of which "the book of the prophets" was one. See Barnes "Luke 24:44". The place where this is recorded is Habakkuk 1:5. It is not taken from the Hebrew, but substantially from the Septuagint. The original design of the threatening was to announce the destruction that would come upon the nation by the Chaldeans. The original threatening was fulfilled. But it was as applicable to the Jews in the time of Paul as in the time of Habakkuk. The principle of the passage is, that if they held in contempt the doings of God, they would perish. The work which God was to do by means of the Chaldeans was so fearful, so unusual, and so remarkable, that they would not believe it in time to avoid the calamity. In the same way, that which God did in giving a Messiah so little in accordance with their expectation, the manner of the introduction of his kingdom by miracles, and the gift of his Spirit, was so much at variance with their expectations, that they might see it, yet disbelieve it; they might have the fullest proof, and yet despise it; they might wonder, and be amazed and astonished, and unable to account for it, and yet refuse to believe it, and be destroyed.

Behold, ye despisers. Heb. "Behold, ye among the heathen." The change from this expression to "ye despisers" was made by the Septuagint translators, by a very slight change in the Hebrew word--probably from a variation in the copy which they used. It arose from reading \^HEBREW\^ instead of \^HEBREW\^ Bogedim instead of Baggoin. The Syriac, the Arabic, as well as the Seventy, follow this reading.

And wonder. Heb. "And regard, and wonder marvellously."

And perish. This is not in the Hebrew, but is in the Septuagint and the Arabic. The word means, literally, to be removed from the sight, to disappear; and then to corrupt, defile, destroy, Matthew 6:16,19. The word, however, may mean, to be suffused with shame; to be overwhelmed and confounded, (Schleusner;) and it may perhaps have this meaning here, answering to the Hebrew. The word used here is not that which is commonly employed to denote eternal perdition; though Paul seems to use it with reference to their destruction for rejecting the gospel.

For I work a work. I do a thing. The thing to which the prophet Habakkuk referred was that God would bring upon them the Chaldeans, that would destroy the temple and nation. In like manner Paul says that God in that time might bring upon the nation similar calamities. By rejecting the Messiah and his gospel, and by persevering in wickedness, they would bring upon themselves the destruction of the temple, and city, and nation. It was this threatened destruction, doubtless, to which the apostle referred.

Which ye shall in no wise believe. Which you will not believe. So remarkable, so unusual, so surpassing anything which had occurred. The original reference in Habakkuk is to the destruction of the temple by the Chaldeans--a thing which the Jews would not suppose could happen. The temple was so splendid; it had been built by the direction of God; it had been so long under his protection, that they would suppose that it could not be given into the hands of their enemies to be demolished. And even though it were predicted by a prophet of God, still they would not believe it. The same feelings the Jews would have respecting the temple and city in the time of Paul. Though it was foretold by the Messiah, yet they were so confident that it was protected by God, that they would not believe that it could possibly be destroyed. The same infatuation seems to have possessed them during the siege of the city by the Romans.

Though a man, etc. Though it be plainly predicted. We may learn,

(1.) that men may see, and be amazed at the works of God, and yet be destroyed.

(2.) There may be a prejudice so obstinate that even a Divine revelation will not remove it.

(3.) The fancied security of sinners will not save them.

(4.) There are men who will not believe in the possibility of their being lost, though it be declared by the prophets, by apostles, by the Saviour, and by God. They will still remain in fancied security, and suffer nothing to alarm or rouse them. But

(5.) the fancied security of the Jews furnished no safety against the Babylonians or the Romans. Nor will the indifference and unconcern of sinners furnish any security against the dreadful wrath of God. Yet there are multitudes who live amidst the displays of God's power and mercy in the redemption of sinners; who witness the effects of his goodness and truth in revivals of religion, who live to despise it all; who are amazed and confounded by it; and who shall yet perish.

{d} "in the prophets" Isaiah 29:14; Habakkuk 1:5

Verse 41. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 42. And when the Jews, etc. There is a great variety in the Mss. on this verse; and in the ancient versions. Griesbach and Knapp read it, "And when they were gone out, they besought them that these words might be spoken," etc. The Syriac reads it, "When they departed from them, they sought from them that these words might be spoken to them on another Sabbath." The Arabic, "Some of the synagogue of the Jews asked of them that they would exhort the Gentiles with them," etc. If these readings be correct, then the meaning is, that some of the Jews exhorted the apostles to proclaim these truths at some other time; particularly to the Gentiles. The MSS. greatly vary in regard to the passage, and it is perhaps impossible to determine the true reading. If the present reading in the English translation is to be regarded as genuine--of which, however, there is very little evidence--the meaning is, that a part of the Jews, perhaps a majority of them, rejected the message, and went out, though many of them followed Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:43.

The Gentiles besought. This expression is wanting in the Vulgate, Coptic, Arabic, and Syriac versions, and in a great many Mss.--Mill It is omitted by Griesbach, Knapp, etc., and is probably spurious. Among other reasons which may be suggested why it is not genuine, this is one, that it is not evident or probable that the Gentiles were in the habit of attending the synagogue. Those who attended there were called proselytes. The expression, if genuine, might mean, either that the Gentiles besought, or that they besought the Gentiles. The latter would be the more probable meaning.

The next sabbath. The margin has probably the correct rendering of the passage. The meaning of the verse is, that a wish was expressed that these doctrines might be repeated to them in the intermediate time before the next Sabbath.

{1} "next Sabbath" "In the week between; or, in the Sabbath between"

Verse 42. And when the Jews, etc. There is a great variety in the Mss. on this verse; and in the ancient versions. Griesbach and Knapp read it, "And when they were gone out, they besought them that these words might be spoken," etc. The Syriac reads it, "When they departed from them, they sought from them that these words might be spoken to them on another Sabbath." The Arabic, "Some of the synagogue of the Jews asked of them that they would exhort the Gentiles with them," etc. If these readings be correct, then the meaning is, that some of the Jews exhorted the apostles to proclaim these truths at some other time; particularly to the Gentiles. The MSS. greatly vary in regard to the passage, and it is perhaps impossible to determine the true reading. If the present reading in the English translation is to be regarded as genuine--of which, however, there is very little evidence--the meaning is, that a part of the Jews, perhaps a majority of them, rejected the message, and went out, though many of them followed Paul and Barnabas, Acts 13:43.

The Gentiles besought. This expression is wanting in the Vulgate, Coptic, Arabic, and Syriac versions, and in a great many Mss.--Mill It is omitted by Griesbach, Knapp, etc., and is probably spurious. Among other reasons which may be suggested why it is not genuine, this is one, that it is not evident or probable that the Gentiles were in the habit of attending the synagogue. Those who attended there were called proselytes. The expression, if genuine, might mean, either that the Gentiles besought, or that they besought the Gentiles. The latter would be the more probable meaning.

The next sabbath. The margin has probably the correct rendering of the passage. The meaning of the verse is, that a wish was expressed that these doctrines might be repeated to them in the intermediate time before the next Sabbath.

{1} "next Sabbath" "In the week between; or, in the Sabbath between"

Verse 44. And the next sabbath day. This was the regular day for worship, and it was natural that a greater multitude should convene on that day than on the other days of the week.

Came almost the whole city. Whether this was in the synagogue is not affirmed; but it is probable that that was the place where the multitude convened. The news of the presence of the apostles, and of their doctrines, had been circulated doubtless by the Gentiles who had heard them, and curiosity attracted the multitude to hear them. Comp. See Barnes "Acts 13:7".

Verse 45. They were filled with envy. Greek, zeal. The word here denotes wrath, indignation, that such multitudes should be disposed to hear a message which they rejected, and which threatened to overthrow their religion.

Spake against. Opposed the doctrine that Jesus was the Messiah; that the Messiah would be humble, lowly, despised, and put to death, etc.

Contradicting. Contradicting the apostles. This was evidently done in their presence, Acts 13.46, and would cause great tumult and disorder.

And blaspheming. See Barnes "Matthew 9:3". The sense evidently is, that they reproached and vilified Jesus of Nazareth; they spake of him with contempt and scorn. To speak thus of him is denominated blasphemy, Luke 22:66. When men are enraged, they little regard the words which they utter, and little care how they may be estimated by God. When men attached to sect and party, in religion or politics, have no good arguments to employ, they attempt to overwhelm their adversaries by bitter and reproachful words. Men in the heat of strife, and in professed zeal for peculiar doctrines, and for sect and party, more frequently utter blasphemy than they are aware. Precious and pure doctrines are often thus vilified, because we do not believe them; and the heart of the Saviour is pierced anew, and his cause bleeds by the wrath and wickedness of his professed friends. Comp. Acts 18:6.

{b} "contradicting" Acts 18:6

Verse 46. Waxed bold. Became bold; spake boldly and openly. They were not terrified by their strife, or alarmed by their opposition. The contradictions and blasphemies of sinners often show that their consciences are alarmed; that the truth has taken effect; and then is not the time to shrink, but to declare more fearlessly the truth.

It was necessary. It was so designed; so commanded. They regarded it as their duty to offer the gospel first to their own countrymen. See Barnes "Luke 24:47".

Ye put it from you. Ye reject it.

And judge yourselves. By your conduct, by your rejecting it, you declare this. The word judge here does not mean they expressed such an opinion, or that they regarded themselves as unworthy of eternal life; for they thought just the reverse; but that by their conduct they CONDEMNED themselves. By such conduct they did in fact pass sentence on themselves, and show that they were unworthy of eternal life, and of having the offer any farther made to them. Sinners by their conduct do in fact condemn themselves, and show that they are not only unfit to be saved, but that they have advanced so far in wickedness that there is no hope of their salvation, and no propriety in offering them, any farther, eternal life. See Barnes "Matthew 7:6".

Unworthy, etc. Unfit to be saved. They had deliberately and solemnly rejected the gospel, and thus shown that they were not fitted to enter into everlasting life. When men, even but once, deliberately and solemnly reject the offers of God's mercy, it greatly endangers their salvation. The probability is, that they then put the cup of salvation for ever away from themselves. The gospel produces an effect wherever it is preached. And when sinners are hardened, and spurn the gospel, it may often be the duty of ministers to turn their efforts towards others, where they may have more prospect of success. A man will not long labour on a rocky, barren, sterile soil, when there is near him a rich and fertile valley that will abundantly reward the pains of cultivation.

Lo, we turn, etc. We shall offer salvation to them, and devote ourselves to seeking their salvation.

{c} "first have been spoken" Matthew 10:6; Luke 24:47; Romans 1:16
{d} "we turn to the Gentiles" Deuteronomy 32:21; Matthew 21:43; Romans 10:19

Verse 47. For so, etc. Paul, as usual, appeals to the Scriptures in order to justify his course. He here appeals to the Old Testament, rather than to the command of the Saviour, because the Jews recognized the authority of their own Scriptures, while they would have turned in scorn from the command of Jesus of Nazareth.

I have set thee, etc. I have constituted or appointed thee. This passage is found in Isaiah 49:6. That it refers to the Messiah there can be no doubt. From the fortieth chapter of Isaiah to the end of the prophecies, Isaiah had a primary and main reference to the times of the Messiah.

To be a light. See Barnes "John 1:4".

Of the Gentiles. This was in accordance with the uniform doctrines of Isaiah, Isaiah 42:1; 44:3; 60:3,5,16; 61:6,9; 62:2; 66:12. Comp. Romans 15:9-12.

For salvation. To save sinners. Unto the ends of the earth, To all lands; in all nations. See Barnes "Acts 1:8".

{e} "saying" Isaiah 49:6

Verse 48. When the Gentiles heard this. Heard that the gospel was to be preached to them. The doctrine of the Jews had been, that salvation was confined to themselves. The Gentiles rejoiced that from the mouths of Jews they now heard a different doctrine.

They glorified the word of the Lord.They honoured it as a message from God; they recognized and received it as the word of God. The expression conveys the idea of praise on account of it, and of reverence for the message as the word of God.

And as many as were ordained. \~osoi hsan tetagmenoi\~, Syriac, "Who were destined," or constituted. Vulgate, "As many as were foreordained (quotquot erant praeordinati) to eternal life believed." There has been much difference of opinion in regard to this expression. One class of commentators have supposed that it refers to the doctrine of election-- to God's ordaining men to eternal life; and another class, to their being disposed themselves to embrace the gospel--to those among them who did not reject and despise the gospel, but who were disposed and inclined to embrace it. The main inquiry is, what is the meaning of the word rendered ordained? The word is used but eight times in the New Testament. Matthew 28:16, "Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them," i.e., previously appointed, or commanded them--before his death. Luke 7:8. "For I also am a man set under authority"--appointed, or designated, as a soldier, to be under the authority of another. Acts 15:2. "They determined that Paul and Barnabas, etc., should go to Jerusalem." Acts 22:10, "It shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do;" Acts 28:23, "And when they had appointed him a day," etc. Romans 13:1, "The powers that be, are ordained of God." 1 Corinthians 16:15, "They have addicted themselves to the ministry of saints." The word \~tassw\~, or \~tattw\~, properly means to place; to place in a certain rank or order. Its meaning is derived from arranging or disposing a body of soldiers in regular order; to arrange in military order. In the places which have been mentioned above, the word is used to denote the following things:

(1.) To command, or to designate, Matthew 28:16; Acts 22:10; 28:23.

(2.) To institute, constitute, or appoint, Romans 13:1. Comp. 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Samuel 22:7.

(3.) To determine, to take counsel, to resolve, Acts 15:2

(4.) To subject to the authority of another, Luke 7:8.

(5.) To addict to; to devote to, 1 Corinthians 16:15. The meaning may be thus expressed:

(1.) The word is never used to denote an internal disposition or inclination arising from one's own self. It does not mean that they disposed themselves to embrace eternal life.

(2.) It has uniformly the notion of an ordering, disposing, or arrangement from without, i.e., from some other source than the individual himself; as of a soldier, who is arranged or classified according to the will of the proper officer. In relation to these persons it means, therefore, that they were disposed or inclined to this from some other source than themselves.

(3.) It does not properly refer to an eternal decree, or directly to the doctrine of election; though that may be inferred from it; but it refers to their being THEN IN FACT disposed to embrace eternal life. They were then inclined by an influence from without themselves, or so disposed as to embrace eternal life. It refers not to an eternal decree, but that then there was such an influence as to dispose them, or incline them, to lay hold on salvation. That this was done by the influence of the Holy Spirit, is clear from all parts of the New Testament, Titus 3:5,6; John 1:13. It was not a disposition or arrangement originating with themselves, but with God.

(4.) This implies the doctrine of election. It was in fact that doctrine expressed. It was nothing but God's disposing them to embrace eternal life. And that he does this according to a plan in his own mind--a plan which is unchangeable as God himself is unchangeable--is clear from the Scriptures. Comp. Acts 18:10; Romans 8:28-30; 9:15,16,21,23 Ephesians 1:4,5,11. The meaning may be expressed in few words:-- who were THEN disposed, and in good earnest determined, to embrace eternal life, by the operation of the grace of God on their hearts.

Eternal life. Salvation. See Barnes "John 3:36".

{f} "as many as were ordained" Acts 2:47,; Romans 8:30

Verse 49. No Barnes text on this verse.

{*} "region" "Country"

Verse 50. But the Jews stirred up. Excited opposition.

Honourable women. See Barnes "Mark 15:43". Women of influence, and connected with families of rank. Perhaps they were proselytes, and were connected with the magistrates of the city.

And raised persecution. Probably on the ground that they produced disorder and excitement. The aid of "chief men" has often been called in to oppose revivals of religion, and to put a period, if possible, to the spread of the gospel.

Out of their coasts. Out of the regions of their country; out of their province.

{a} "raised persecution" 2 Timothy 3:11

Verse 51. But they shook off the dust, etc. See Barnes "Matthew 10:14".

And came into Iconium. This was the capital of Lycaonia. It is now called Cogni, or Lonieh, and is the capital of Caramania.

{b} "shook off the dust" Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; Acts 18:6

Verse 52. And the disciples. The disciples in Antioch. Were filled with joy. This happened even in the midst of persecution, and is one of the many evidences that the gospel is able to fill the soul with joy, even in the severest trials.

{c} "filled with joy" Matthew 5:12
{*} "Holy Ghost" "Spirit"