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ver. 1. Gal. i. 13, 23.
of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; "Is not this he that destroyed them which called on u ch. viii. 3. this name in Jerusalem, and m came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and con- xch. xviii. 28. founded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is a very Christ. n 23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 z but their y ch. xxiii. 12: laying await was known of Saul. And they watched,
xxv. 3. 2 Cor. 26.
2 Cor. xi. 32.
1 render, destroyed in Jerusalem them that called on this name. m render, had come.
• better, to, or by.
that Christ is the Son of God-instead of that which it now bears,-that Jesus is the Son of God, i. e. that Jesus of Nazareth, as a matter of fact, is the Son of God, i. e. the Messiah expected under that appellation. 21.] had come hither, implying the abandonment of the purpose. 22.] I regard the expression Saul increased the more in strength, as the only words beneath which can lie concealed the journey to Arabia. Paul mentions this journey (Gal. i. 17) with no obscure hint that to it was to be assigned the reception by him, in full measure, of the Gospel which he preached. And such a reception would certainly give rise to the great accession of power here recorded. I am the more disposed to allot that journey this place, from the following considerations. The omission of any mention of it here can arise only from one of two causes : (1) whether Paul himself were the source of the narrative, or some other narrator,the intentional passing over of it, as belonging more to his personal history (which it was his express purpose to relate in Gal. i.) than to that of his ministry: (2) on the supposition of Paul not having been the source of the narrative,-the narrator having not been aware of it. In either case, this expression seems to me one very likely to have been used :-(1) if the omission was intentional,-to record a remarkable accession of power to Saul's ministry, without particularizing whence or how it came: (2) if it was unintentional,-as a simple record of that which was observed in him, but of which the course was to the narrator unknown. confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus] Chrysostom strikingly says, "Being learned in their law, he stopped their mouths and suffered them not to speak: they thought that they had got rid of such arguments in getting
rid of Stephen, and behold they found another arguer more powerful than Stephen." 23. many days] In Damascus, see above on ver. 19. The whole time, from his conversion to his journey to Jerusalem, was three years, Gal. i. 18. took counsel to kill him] "The Jews again have recourse to the logic of force. They no longer seek for suborned men, and false accusers and false witnesses." Chrysostom. 24.] In 2 Cor. xi. 32, St. Paul writes, "In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me." A somewhat difficult chronological question arises respecting the subordination of Damascus to this Aretas. The city, under Augustus and Tiberius, was attached to the province of Syria: and we have coins of Damascus of both these emperors, and again of Nero and his successors. But we have none of Caligula and Claudius; and the following circumstances seem to point to a change in the rulership of Damascus at the death of Tiberius. There had been for some time war between Aretas, king of Arabia Nabatæa (whose capital was Petra), and Herod Antipas, on account of the divorce by Herod of Aretas' daughter at the instance of Herodias, and on account of some disputes about their frontiers. A battle was fought, and Herod's army entirely destroyed. On this Antipas, who was a favourite with Tiberius, sent to Rome for help and Vitellius, the governor of Syria, was commissioned to march against Aretas, and take him, dead or alive. While on his march, he heard at Jerusalem of the death of Tiberius (March 16, A.D. 37), and no longer being able to carry out his intended war, on account of the change of the supreme power from Tiberius to Caligula, abandoned his march, and sent
15. 1 Sam.
a so Josh. ii. b ch. xxii. 17.
Gal. i. 17, 18.
c ch. iv. 36: xiii. 2.
d ver. 20, 22.
e Gal. i. 18.
fch. vi. 1: xi.
P the gates day and night to kill him. 25 q Then the dis-
P read, even the gates.
t omitted by many of our ancient authorities.
his army into their winter quarters, himself returning to Antioch. This change of the supreme power brought about a great change in the situation of Antipas and his enemy. Antipas was soon (A.D. 39) banished to Lyons, and his kingdom given to Agrippa, his foe (Antt. xviii. 7. 2), who had been living in habits of intimacy with the new emperor. It would be natural that Aretas, who had been grossly injured by Antipas, should by this change of affairs, be received into favour; and the more so, as there was an old grudge between Vitellius and Antipas, of which Josephus says, he concealed his anger until the reign of Caligula, when he followed it up. Now in the year 38 Caligula made several changes in the East, granting Ituræa to Soæmus, Lesser Armenia and parts of Arabia to Cotys, the territory of Cotys to Rhæmetalces,-and to Polemon, the son of Polemon, his father's government. These facts, coupled with that of no Damascene coins of Caligula and Claudius existing (which might be fortuitous, but acquires force when thus combined), make it probable that about this time Damascus, which belonged to the predecessors of Aretas, was granted to Aretas by Caligula. This would at once solve the difficulty. The other suppositions,—that the Ethnarch was only visiting the city (as if he could then have guarded the city to prevent Paul's escape),-or that Aretas had seized Damascus on Vitellius giving the expedition against him (as if a Roman governor of a province would, while waiting for orders from a new mperor, quietly allow one of its chief cities to be taken from him),—are in the highest degree
I render, But.
8 render, and.
render, Grecian Jews.
improbable. 25] Further particularized by the addition of "through a window," 2 Cor. xi. 33. Such windows in the walls of cities are common in the East: see Josh. ii. 15: and an engraving of part of the present wall of Damascus in Conybeare and Howson's Life of St. Paul, i. p. 124. in a basket] The word here is the same as in Matt. xv. 37, where see note. 26.] He went to Jerusalem immediately: the purpose of this journey was to become acquainted with Peter, Gal. i. 18: a resolution probably taken during the conspiracy of the Jews against him at Damascus, and in furtherance of his announced mission to the Gentiles: that, by conference with the Apostles, his sphere of work might be agreed on. And this purpose his escape enabled him to effect. 27.] It is very probable that Barnabas and Saul may have been personally known to each other in youth. Cyprus is only a few hours' sail from Cilicia. The schools of Tarsus may naturally have attracted one who, though a Levite, was a Hellenist: and there the friendship may have begun, which lasted through many vicissitudes, till it was rudely interrupted in the dispute at Antioch (ch. xv. 39)." Conybeare and Howson, edn. 2, i. p. 127. brought him to the apostles] Only to Peter and James the Lord's brother, Gal. i. 18, 19. Probably there were no other Apostles there at the time: if there were, it is hardly conceivable that Saul should not have seen them. On his second visit, he saw John also (Gal. ii. 9). Perhaps he never saw in the flesh any other of the Apostles after his conversion. 29. the Grecian Jews] See ch. vi. 1 and note. This he did, partly, we may infer,
2 Cor. xi. 26.
8 but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the & ver. 23. brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.
31 hy Then had the churches rest throughout all Judæa hsee ch. viii. and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all a [quarters], he came down also to the saints which dwelt
i.e. attempted. I read and render, So then the church had peace. read and render, being built up and going onward in the fear of the Lord, and was multiplied by the exhortation of the Holy Spirit. a not in the original: perhaps it rather means, all the believers; see note.
to avoid the extreme and violent opposition which he would immediately encounter from the Jews themselves, but partly also, it may well be believed, because he himself in the synagogues of the Hellenists had opposed Stephen formerly. 30. Which when the brethren knew There was also another reason. He was praying in the temple, and saw the Lord in a vision, who commanded him to depart, for they would not receive his testimony: -and sent him from thence to the Gentiles: see ch. xxii. 17-21 and notes. His stay in Jerusalem at this visit was fifteen days, Gal. i. 18. to Cæsarea] From the whole cast of the sentence, and the words brought him down and sent him forth, we should infer this to be Cæsarea Stratonis (see on ch. x. 1), even if this were not determined by the word Cæsarea used absolutely, which always applies to this city, and not to Cæsarea Philippi (which some believe to be meant: see Matt. xvi. 13 and note). From Gal. i. 21, it would appear that Saul about this time traversed Syria (on his way to Tarsus ?). If so, he probably went by sea to Seleucia, and thence to Antioch. The expression sent him forth, looks more like a 'sending off'' by sea, than a mere sending forward' by land. They sent him towards, 'for,' Tarsus. He was not idle there, but certainly preached the Gospel, and in all probability was the founder of the churches alluded to ch. xv. 23 and 41.
31.] FLOURISHING STATE OF THE CHURCH IN PALESTINE AT THIS TIME. Commencement of new section: compare note, ch. xi. 19. The reading church, instead of " churches," can hardly (as Meyer) be an alteration to suit the idea of the unity of the church,-as in that case we should have similar alterations
in ch. xv. 41; xvi. 5, where no variations are found in the chief MSS. More probably, it has been altered here to conform it to those places. This description probably embraces most of the time since the conversion of Saul. De Wette observes, that the attention of the Jews was, during much of this time, distracted from the Christians, by the attempt of Caligula to set up his image in the temple at Jerusalem, related by Josephus. being built up, or edified: see Matt. xvi. 18. It probably refers to both external and internal strength and accession of grace. St. Paul commonly uses it of spiritual building up: see I Cor. viii. 1; x. 23; xiv. 4, 17; 1 Thess. v. 11. and was multiplied by the exhortation of (i. e. inspired by) the Holy Spirit] This is the only rendering which suits the usage of the words. See on the others which have been given, in my Greek Testament.
32-35.] HEALING OF ENEAS AT LYDDA BY PETER. This and the following miracle form the introduction to the very important portion of Peter's history which follows in ch. x.,-by bringing him and his work before us again.
32. as Peter passed throughout all . . . .] These words are aptly introduced by the notice in ver. 31, which shews that Peter's journey was not an escape from persecution, but undertaken at a time of peace, and for the purpose of visiting the churches.The word all, to which no substantive is supplied in the original, may be neuter, 'all parts:' but it is probably masculine, and "all the saints" or "all the brethren" are understood. As I have implied on ver. 31, this journey of Peter's is not necessarily consecutive on the events of vv. 1-30. But an alternative presents itself here; either it took place before the
at Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Æneas,
k ch. iii.6, 16: kb Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy And he arose immediately. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and 1Saron saw him, and m turned to the Lord. 36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this
Tit. iii. 8.
n 1 Tim. ii. 10. woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda
brender here, Jesus the Christ.
11 Chron. v.
m ch. xi. 21.
o ch. i. 13.
arrival of Saul in Jerusalem, or after his departure: for Peter was there during his visit (Gal. i. 18). It seems most likely that it was before his arrival. For (1) it is St. Luke's manner in this first part of the Acts, where he is carrying on several histories together, to follow the one in hand as far as some resting-point, and then go back and take up another: see ch. viii. 2 thus taken up from ver. 1: ver. 4 going back to the dispersion:-ch. ix. 1 taken up from viii. 3:-xi. 19, from viii. 4 again-and (2) the journey of Peter to visit the churches which were now resting after the persecution would hardly be delayed so long as three whole years. So that it is most natural to place this section, viz. ch. ix. 32—xi. 18 (for all this is continuous), before the visit of Saul to Jerusalem, and during his stay at Damascus or in Arabia. See further on xi. 19. Lydda] Called Lod, Neh. vii. 37.A large village near Joppa (ver. 38), on the Mediterranean, just one day's journey from Jerusalem. It afterwards became the important town of Diospolis. 33. Eneas] Whether a believer or not, does not appear; from Peter's visit being to the saints, it would seem that he was: but perhaps the indefinite term, a certain man, may imply the contrary, as also Peter's words, announcing a free and unexpected gift from One whom he knew not. 35. all that dwelt in L. and S. saw him;-which also (this is the literal rendering, and is equivalent to and they) turned to the Lord] A general conversion of the inhabitants to the faith followed. Saron] Perhaps not a village, but the celebrated plain of that name [Sharon], extending along the coast from Cæsarea to Joppa, see Isa. xxxiii.
9; xxxv. 2; lxv. 10; Cant. ii. 1; 1 Chron. xxvii. 29. Mariti mentions a village Saren between Lydda and Arsuf (see Josh. xii. 18, marg. A. V.): but more recent travellers do not notice it. 36-43.] RAISING OF TABITHA FROM 36. at Joppa] Joppa was a very ancient Philistian city, or on the frontier of Dan, but not belonging to that tribe, Josh. xix. 46; on the coast (ch. x. 6), with a celebrated but not very secure harbour: (see 2 Chron. ii. 16; Ezra iii. 7; Jonah i. 3; 1 Macc. xiv. 5; 2 Mace. xii. 3)-situated in a plain (1 Macc. x. 75 -77) near Lydda (ver. 38), at the end of the mountain road connecting Jerusalem with the sea. The Maccabean generals, Jonathan and Simon, took it from the Syrians and fortified it (1 Macc. x. 74–76; xiv. 5, 34). Pompey joined it to the province of Syria, but Cæsar restored it to Hyrcanus, and it afterwards formed part of the kingdom of Herod and of Archelaus, after whose deposition it reverted to the province of Syria, to which it belonged at the time of our narrative. It was destroyed by Caius Cestius; but rebuilt, and became a nest of Jewish pirates, in consequence of which Vespasian levelled it with the ground, and built a fort there, which soon became the nucleus of a new town. It is now called Jaffa, and has about 7000 inhabitants, half of whom are Christians. Tabitha] This name, in Aramaic, answers to Dorcas, in Greek, signifying a gazelle. It appears also in the Rabbinical books as a female name: the gazelle being in the East a favourite type of beauty. See Song of Sol. ii. 9, 17; iv. 5; vii. 3. Lightfoot remarks, that she was probably a Hellenist (i. e. a Grecian Jewess), and thus was known by both
was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter
8 John xi. 45:
X. 1 There was a certain man in Cæsarea called Corne
39. all the widows] The widows of the place, for whom she made these garments. made] i. e. used to make (i. e. weave): not had made. 40. put them all forth] After the example of his divine Master, see Luke viii. 54. 43. a tanner] From the extracts in Wetstein and Schöttgen, it appears that the Jews regarded the occupation of a tanner as a half-unclean one. In this case it would shew, as De Wette observes, that the stricter Jewish practices were already disregarded by the Apostle. It also would shew, in how little honour he and his office were held by the Jews at Cæsarea.
CHAP. X. 1-48.] CONVERSION (BY SPECIAL DIVINE PREARRANGEMENT) AND BAPTISM OF THE GENTILE CORNELIUS AND HIS PARTY. We may remark, that the conversion of the Gentiles was no new idea to Jews or Christians, but that it had been universally regarded as to take place by their reception into Judaism. Of late, however, since the Ascension, we see the truth that the Gospel was to be a Gospel of the uncircumcision, beginning to be recognized by some. Stephen, carrying out the principles of his own apology, could hardly have failed to recognize it: and the Cyprian and Cyrenæan missionaries of ch. xi. 20 preached the word to the Grecians (not the Grecian Jews) certainly before the conversion of Cornelius. This state of things might have given rise to a permanent schism in the infant church. The Hellenists, and perhaps Saul, with his definite mission to the
ach. vii. 60.
Matt. ix. 25. r Mark v. 41,
42. John xi.
Gentiles, might have formed one party, and the Hebrews, with Peter at their head, the other. But, as Neander admirably observes, The pernicious influence with which, from the first, the self-seeking and one-sided prejudices of human nature threatened the divine work, was counteracted by the superior influence of the Holy Spirit, which did not allow the differences of men to reach such a point of antagonism, but enabled them to retain unity in variety. We recognize the preventing wisdom of God,-which, while giving scope to the free agency of man, knows how to interpose His immediate revelation just at the moment when it is requisite for the success of the divine work, -by noticing, that when the Apostles needed this wider development of their Christian knowledge for the exercise of their vocation, and when the lack of it would have been exceedingly detrimental, -at that very moment, by a remarkable coincidence of inward revelation with a chain of outward circumstances, the illumination hitherto wanting was imparted to them.' 1. Cæsarea] As this town bears an important part in early Christian history, it will be well to give here a full account of it. CESAREA ("of Palestine," called "by the sea" [as we say, “super mare"] in several places in Josephus, or Stratonis [see below],-distinguished from Cæsarea Philippi, see note Matt. xvi. 13) is between Joppa and Dora, 68 Roman miles from Jerusalem according to the Jerusalem Itinerary, 75 according to Jo