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Bible Commentaries
Acts 4

The Expositor's Greek TestamentExpositor's Greek Testament

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Verse 1

Acts 4:1 . λαλούντων δὲ αὐτῶν : the speech was interrupted, as the present participle indicates, and we cannot treat it as if we had received it in full. It is no doubt possible to infer from αὐτῶν that St. John also addressed the people. ἐπέστησαν αὐτοῖς : commonly used with the notion of coming upon one suddenly, so of the coming of an angel, Acts 12:7 , Acts 23:11 , Luke 2:9 ; Luke 24:4 , sometimes too as implying a hostile purpose, cf. Acts 6:12 , Acts 17:5 , and St. Luke (Acts 10:40 ), Acts 20:1 . For its use in the LXX cf. Wis 6:5 ; Wis 6:8 ; Wis 19:1 . οἱ ἱερεῖς : “the priests,” so A. and R.V., but the latter, margin, “the chief priests,” see critical note. ἀρχιερεῖς would comprise probably the members of the privileged high-priestly families in which the high-priesthood was vested (Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., pp. 203 206, E.T.), Jos., B. J. , vi., 2, 2. That the members of these families occupied a distinguished position we know ( cf. Acts 4:6 ), and there is nothing improbable in the supposition that the description ἀρχιερεῖς would include them as well as the ex-high-priests, and the one actually in office; this seems justified from the words of Josephus in the passage referred to above (Derenbourg, Histoire de la Palestine , p. 231). ὁ στρατηγὸς τοῦ ἱεροῦ : the captain of the Temple (known chiefly in Jewish writings as “the man of the Temple Mount”). He had the chief superintendence of the Levites and priests who were on guard in and around the Temple, and under him were στρατηγοί , who were also captains of the Temple police, although subordinate to the στρατηγός as their head. The στρατ . τοῦ ἱεροῦ was not only a priest, but second in dignity to the high-priest himself (Schürer, u. s. , pp. 258, 259, 267, and Edersheim, u. s. , and History of the Jewish Nation , p. 139), Acts 5:24 ; Acts 5:26 , Jos., Ant. , xx., 6, 2, B. J. , vi, 5, 3. For the use of the term in the LXX, see Schürer, u. s. , p. 258. In 2MMalachi 3:4 the “governor of the Temple” is identified by some with the officer here and in Acts 5:24 , but see Rawlinson’s note in loco in Speaker’s Commentary . καὶ οἱ Σαδδουκαῖοι : at this time, as Josephus informs us, however strange it may appear, the high-priestly families belonged to the Sadducean party. Not that the Sadducees are to be identified entirely with the party of the priests, since the Pharisees were by no means hostile to the priests as such, nor the priests to the Pharisees. But the Sadducees were the aristocrats, and to the aristocratic priests, who occupied influential civil positions, the Pharisees were bitterly opposed. Jos., Ant. , xvii., 10, 6, xviii., 1, 4, xx., 9, 1. Schürer, u. s. , div. ii., vol. ii., pp. 29 43, and div. ii., vol. i., p. 178 ff. The words οἱ Σαδδ . and ἡ οὖσα αἴρεσις τῶν Σ ., Acts 4:17 , are referred by Hilgenfeld to his “author to Theophilus,” as also the reference to the preaching of the Resurrection as the cause of the sore trouble to the Sadducees; but the mention of the Sadducees at least shows (as Weizsäcker and Holtzmann admit) that the author of Acts had correct information of the state of parties in Jerusalem: “The Sadducees were at the helm, and the office of the high-priest was in Sadducean hands, and the Sadducees predominated in the high-priestly families” (Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age , i., 61, E.T.).

Verse 2

Acts 4:2 . διαπονούμενοι , cf. Acts 16:18 , only in Acts in the N.T., not, as often in classical Greek, referring to the exertions made by them, but to the vexation which they felt, “being sore troubled,” R.V. ( πόνος , dolor , Blass), cf. LXX, Ecclesiastes 10:9 , used of pain caused to the body, and 2Ma 2:28 , R. (A. al. ἀτονοῦντες ), but cf. Aquila, Genesis 6:6 ; Genesis 34:7 , 1 Samuel 20:3 ; 1 Samuel 20:34 , of mental grief. ἐν τῷ Ἰησοῦ : not “through,” but as in R.V., “in Jesus,” i.e. , “in persona Jesu quem resurrexisse dicebant” (Blass). Others render it “in the instance of Jesus” (so Holtzmann, Wendt, Felten, Zöckler). τὴν ἀνάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν : on the form of the expression see Plummer on St. Luke , Luke 20:35 , and Lumby’s note, in loco . It must be distinguished from ( ἡ ) ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν . It is the more limited term implying that some from among the dead are raised, while others as yet are not; used of the Resurrection of Christ and of the righteous, cf. with this passage 1 Peter 1:3 (Colossians 1:18 ), but see also Grimm-Thayer, sub ἀνάστασις . It was not merely a dogmatic question of the denial of the Resurrection which concerned the Sadducees, but the danger to their power, and to their wealth from the Temple sacrifices and dues, if the Resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed and accepted (see Wendt and Holtzmann, in loco , and Plummer on Luke 23:1-7 , note). Spitta agrees with Weiss, Feine, Jüngst, in regarding the mention of the distress of the Sadducees at the preaching of the Apostles as not belonging to the original source. But it is worthy of notice that in estimating the positive value of his source, A., he decides to retain the mention of the Sadducees in Acts 4:1 it would have been more easy, he thinks, for a forger to have represented the enmity to the Church as proceeding not from the Sadducees but from the Pharisees, as in the Gospels. But the Sadducees, as Spitta reminds us, according to Josephus, included the high-priestly families in their number, and it was by this sect that at a later date the death of James the Just was caused. Only once in the Gospels, John 12:10 , the chief priests, rather than the Pharisees, take the initiative against our Lord, but this was in the case of what was essentially a question for the Sadducees (as here in Acts 4:2 ), the advisability of getting rid of Lazarus, a living witness to the truth which the Sadducees denied. It is no unfair inference that the chief priests in St. John occupy the place of the Sadducees in the Synoptists, as the latter are never mentioned by name in the fourth Gospel; and if so, this is exactly in accordance with what we should expect from the notices here and in Acts 5:17 , and in Josephus; see on the point Lightfoot in Expositor , 1890, pp. 86, 87.

Verse 3

Acts 4:3 . ἐπέβαλον αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας : the verb is always as here joined with the same noun in Acts, and twice in the Gospel; the phrase is found once in Matthew and Mark, and twice in John; see Luke 20:19 ; Luke 21:12 , Acts 4:3 ; Acts 5:18 ; Acts 12:1 ; Acts 21:27 , cf. in LXX, Genesis 22:12 , 2 Samuel 18:12 ; Esther 6:2 , so also in Polybius. τήρησιν , cf. Acts 5:18 , only used elsewhere in N.T. by St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:19 ; in Thuc., vii., 86 (Wendt), it denotes not only the act of guarding, but also a place of custody. Five times in LXX, but in the former sense. For another instance of its meaning as a place of custody (see Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 55), on papyrus in Egypt, second or third century after Christ. ἦν γὰρ ἑσπέρα ἤδη , cf. Acts 3:1 , the judicial examination must therefore be postponed until the next day, see Jeremiah 21:12 , on which it appears that the Rabbis founded this prohibition against giving judgment in the night (Lumby and Felten, in loco ). ἑσπέρα : only in St. Luke in the N.T., Luke 24:29 , Acts 4:3 (Acts 20:15 , W.H [147] margin) and Acts 28:23 .

[147] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 4

Acts 4:4 . ἐγενήθη : “came to be” R.V., only here in St. Luke, except in the quotation in Acts 1:20 (see also Acts 7:13 , ., and Blass in [148] hellenistic, frequently in LXX; in N.T. cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:14 , Colossians 4:11 ; also Jos., Ant. , x., 10, 2, Winer-Schmiedel, p. 108, note). ἀνδρῶν . This word here appears to be used of men only (so Wetstein, Blass), cf. Matthew 14:21 , Mark 6:40 , for although we cannot argue with Weiss from Acts 5:14 , that women in great numbers did not join the Church until a later period ( cf. also Acts 2:41 , where women may well have been included), yet it seems that St. Luke, by his use of one word, ἀνδρῶν , here refers to the additional number of men . St. Luke does not say that five thousand of St. Peter’s hearers were converted, in addition to those already converted at Pentecost (although Dr. Hort, following Chrys., Aug [149] , Jer [150] , takes this view, Judaistic Christianity , p. 47), or that five thousand were added, but his words certainly mark the growing expansion of the Church in spite of threatening danger, as this is also evident on the view that five thousand represent the total number of believers. The instances above from the Gospels are generally quoted to confirm the view here taken, but Wendt, in loco , curiously quotes the same passages in proof that ἀνδρῶν here includes women. The numbers are regarded by him as by Weizsäcker as artificial, but see above on Acts 1:15 .

[148] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[149] Augustine.

[150] Jerome, Hieronymus.

Verse 5

Acts 4:5 . ἐγένετο δὲ : the formula is another characteristic of St. Luke’s style, Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , p. 13, also Dalman, Die Worte Jesu , pp. 26, 29. Compare for the type of construction, according to which what takes place is put in the infinitive mood, depending upon ἐγένετο , Acts 9:32 ; Acts 9:37 ; Acts 9:43 , Acts 11:26 , Acts 14:1 , and other instances in Dr. Plummer’s exhaustive note, St. Luke , p. 45 ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον : here only and in Luke 10:35 , in N.T. For the temporal use of ἐπί Acts 3:1 συναχθῆναι , i.e. , the Sanhedrim, ἄρχοντας here = ἀρχιερεῖς , who are mentioned first as a rule, where the N.T. enumerates the different orders of the Sanhedrim, whilst οἱ ἄρχοντες is an interchangeable expression, both in the N.T. and in Josephus (see, for instance, Schürer, Jewish People , div. ii., vol. i., pp. 177, 205, E.T.), although there are two instances in which both words occur together, Luke 23:13 ; Luke 24:20 . Whatever may have been the precise significance of the term ἀρχιερεῖς , Schürer, u. s. , pp. 203 206, E.T., it included, beyond all doubt, the most prominent representatives of the priesthood, belonging chiefly, if not entirely, to the Sadducean party. πρεσβυτέρους : those members were known simply by this title who did not belong to either of the two special classes mentioned. γραμματεῖς : the professional lawyers who adhered to the Pharisees, Jos., Ant. , xvii., 6, 2. Even under the Roman government the Sanhedrim possessed considerable independence of jurisdiction, both civil and criminal. Not only could it order arrests to be made by its own officers, but it could dispose, on its own authority, of cases where the death penalty was not involved, Schürer, u. s. , p. 187, E.T., and Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation , p. 103 ff. εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ : Weiss would restrict ἐν Ἰερ . to the scribes of Jerusalem to distinguish them from the scribes of Galilee, but it is doubtful whether the words can bear this (see also Rendall, who favours the same view as Weiss). Holtzmann and Wendt, on the other hand, defend εἰς , and suppose that the members of the Sanhedrim were obliged to hurry into the city from their country estates. Zöckler applies ἐν Ἰερ . not only to γραμματεῖς , but also to the other members of the Sanhedrim, and sees in the words an intimation that the sitting was hurriedly composed of the members actually present in Jerusalem.

Verse 6

Acts 4:6 . Ἄννας : Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, was the high priest actually, in office, but like other retired high priests, the latter retained not only the title, but also many of the rights and obligations of the office. Josephus certainly appears to extend the title to ex-high priests, and so in the N.T. where ἀρχιερεῖς appear at the head of the Sanhedrim as in this passage ( ἄρχοντες ), the ex-high priests are to be understood, first and foremost, as well as the high-priest actually in office. The difficulty here is that the title is given to Annas alone, and this seems to involve that he was also regarded as president of the Sadducees, whereas it is always the actual ἀρχιερεύς who presides, cf. Acts 5:17 ; Acts 7:1 ; Acts 9:1 ; Acts 22:5 ; Acts 23:2 ; Acts 23:4 ; Acts 24:1 . But not only is the laxity of the term to be considered, but also the fact that Annas on account of his influence as the head of the γένος ἀρχιερατικόν may have remained the presiding ἀρχιερεύς in spite of all the rapid changes in the tenure of the high-priestly office under the Romans. These changes the Jews would not recognise as valid, and if the early chapters of Acts came to St. Luke as seems probable from Jewish Christian sources, Annas might easily be spoken of as high-priest. His relationship to Caiaphas helps to explain the influence and power of Annas. On Hamburger’s view ( Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , ii., 8, p. 1151,“Synhedrion”), that a Rabbi and not the high-priest presided over the Sadducees, see Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation , p. 522, and Schürer, u. s. , p. 180. For Annas, see Jos., Ant. , xviii., 2, 12, xx., 9, 1, and see further “Annas” in B.D. 2 and Hastings’ B.D. Ἰωάννης : identified by J. Lightfoot ( cf. also Wetstein) with the famous Johanan ben Zacchai, president of the Great Synagogue after its removal to Jamnia, who obtained leave from Vespasian for many of the Jews to settle in the place. But the identification is very uncertain, and does not appear to commend itself to Schürer; see critical note above. Ἀλέξανδρος : of him too nothing is known, as there is no confirmatory evidence to identify him with the brother of Philo, alabarch of Alexandria, and the first man of his time amongst the Jews of that city, Jos., Ant. , xviii., 8, 1, xix., 5, 1, xx., 5, B.D. 2 and Hastings’ B. D., “Alexander”.

Verse 7

Acts 4:7 . ἐν τῷ μέσῳ : according to the Mishnah the members of the court sat in a semicircle, see Hamburger, u. s. , to be able to see each other. But it is unnecessary to press the expression, it may be quite general, cf. Matthew 14:6 , Mark 3:3 , John 8:3 . On the usual submissive attitude of prisoners, see Jos., Ant. , xiv., 9, 4. In this verse R.V. supplies “was there” as a verb, Annas being its subject. Various attempts to amend the broken construction all the proper names are in the nominative (not in accusative as T.R.), so W.H [151] , R.V., Wendt, Weiss; . reads συνήχθησαν , so Blass in β . ἐν ποίᾳ : by what kind of power; or may = τίνι , Acts 23:34 ἐν ποίῳ ὀνόματι : in virtue of what name? “nomen hic vis ac potestas” Grotius and Wetstein, in loco . They ask as if they would accuse them of referring to some magical name or formula for the performance of the miracles, Acts 19:13 (on ὄνομα see Acts 3:16 ), cf. LXX, Exodus 5:23 . Probably they would like to bring the Apostles under the condemnation pronounced in Deuteronomy 13:1 . “So did they very foolishly conceit that the very naming of some name might do wonders and the Talmud forgeth that Ben Sadha wrought miracles by putting the unutterable name within the skin of his foot and then sewing it up,” J. Lightfoot. ὑμεῖς : as if in scorn, with depreciatory emphasis at the close of the question, so Wendt, and Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 160. τοῦτο : not this teaching (Olshausen), but the miracle on the lame man.

[151] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 8

Acts 4:8 . πλησθεὶς πνεύ . ἁγ .: the whole phrase is characteristic of St. Luke, who employs it in the Gospel three times and in Acts five (Friedrich, Lekebusch, Zeller). Acts has sometimes been called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit, and the number of times St. Luke uses the title “Holy Spirit” justifies the name, see above also p. 63. All three expressions, πνεῦμα ἅγιον , τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα , and τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον are found in the Gospel and Acts, though much more frequently in the latter, the first expression (in the text) occurring quite double the number of times in Acts as compared with the Gospel, cf. in the LXX, Psalms 50:0 (51):11, Isaiah 63:10-11 , Wis 1:5 ; Wis 9:17 ; and with 1 Corinthians 2:10 ; 1 Corinthians 2:12 , cf. Wis 9:17 , and Isaiah 63:10-11 . On the omission of the article see Simcox, Language of N. T. Greek , p. 49. πλησθεὶς the verb πίμπλημι common both in Gospel and in Acts, only found twice elsewhere in N.T., as against thirteen times in Gospel and nine times in Acts (Friedrich, Lekebusch). The word was also very frequent in LXX, cf. Sir 48:12 , A. The phrase πλησθῆναι πνεύμ . ἁγ . is peculiar to St. Luke, in Gospel three times, Luke 1:15 ; Luke 1:41 ; Luke 1:67 , and Acts 2:4 ; Acts 4:31 ; Acts 9:17 ; Acts 13:9 , cf. Luke 12:12 ; Luke 21:14 ; see also Matthew 10:20 , Mark 13:11 . St. Peter’s courage in thus openly proclaiming the Crucified for the first time before the rulers of his people might well be significantly emphasised, as in Acts 4:13 . St. Chrysostom comments ( Hom. , x.) on the Christian wisdom of St. Peter on this occasion, how full of confidence he is, and yet how he utters not a word of insult, but speaks with all respect.

Verse 9

Acts 4:9 . εἰ : chosen not without oratorical nicety, if, as is the case = ἐπεὶ ἡμεῖς , expressing at the same time the righteous indignation of the Apostles in contrast to the contemptuous ὑμεῖς of Acts 4:7 , and their surprise at the object of the present inquiry; so too in ἐπʼ εὐεργεσίᾳ St. Peter again indicates the unfairness of such inquisitorial treatment (“cum alias dijudicari debeant, qui malum fecerunt ,” Bengel). ἀνακρινόμεθα : used here of a judicial examination, see Acts 12:19 and Luke 23:14 , and cf. Acts 24:8 ; Acts 28:18 , and 1 Corinthians 9:3 , although the strictly technical sense of ἀνάκρισις as a preliminary investigation cannot be pressed here. ἐπʼ εὐεργ . ἀ . ἀσθενοῦς : “concerning a good deal done to an impotent man” the omission of the articles in both nouns adds to St. Peter’s irony; “he hits them hard in that they are always making a crime of such acts, finding fault with works of beneficence,” Chrys., Hom. , x.; ἀνθρώπου on the objective genitive, Winer-Schmiedel, pp. 260 and 267. ἐν τίνι : “by what means,” R.V.; “in whom,” margin. The neuter instrumental dative, cf. Matthew 5:13 , is supported by Blass, Weiss, Holtzmann, and others, as if the expression embraced the two questions of Acts 4:7 . Rendall, following the older commentators, regards the expression as masculine. οὗτος : the healed man is thought of as present, although nothing is said of his summons; “this man,” R.V. σέσωσται : the word familiar to us in the Gospels, Luke 7:50 , Mark 10:52 , with the pregnant meaning of health for body and soul alike.

Verse 10

Acts 4:10 . St. Peter does not hesitate to refer his judges to the same passage of Scripture which a few short weeks before Jesus of Nazareth had quoted to a deputation of the Sanhedrim. In that case too the question put to Jesus had been as to the authority by which He acted, Matthew 21:42 , Mark 12:10 , Luke 21:17 . It is possible that the words from Psalms 118:22 were already regarded as Messianic, from the fact that the people had welcomed Jesus at His public entry into Jerusalem with part of a verse of the same Psalm, Acts 4:26 , Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah , ii., 368. Moreover, the passage, Isaiah 28:16 , which forms the connecting link between the Psalm and St. Peter’s words, both here and in his First Epistle (1 Peter 2:7 , cf. Romans 9:33 ; Romans 10:11 ), was interpreted as Messianic, apparently by the Targums, and undoubtedly by Rashi in his Commentary, cf. also Wetstein on Matthew 21:42 ; Edersheim, u. s. , ii., 725. In the original meaning of the Psalm Israel is the stone rejected by the builders, i.e. , by the heathen, the builders of this world’s empires, or the expression may refer to those in Israel who despised the small beginnings of a dawning new era (Delitzsch); but however this may be, in the N.T. the builders are the heads and representatives of Israel, as is evident from our Lord’s use of the verse, and also by St. Peter’s words here, “ you the builders ,” R.V. But that which the Psalmist had spoken of the second Temple, that which was a parable of the history of Israel, had its complete and ideal fulfilment in Him Who, despised and rejected of men, had become the chief corner-stone of a spiritual Temple, in whom both Jew and Gentile were made one (1 Corinthians 3:11 , Ephesians 2:20 ). ἐσταυρώσατε : mentioned not merely to remind them of their fault, cf. Acts 2:36 , but perhaps also that they might understand how vain it was to fight against God (Calvin). ἐν τούτῳ : “in him,” or “in this name” R. V. margin. For the former Wendt decides, although in the previous verse he takes ἐν τίνι as neuter; so too Page and Holtzmann. On the other hand Rendall (so De Wette, Weiss) adopts the latter rendering, while admitting that the reference to Jesus Himself is quite possible, as in Acts 4:12 . ἐνώπ . ὑμῶν : Hebraism, characteristic of St. Luke in his Gospel and in the Acts. The expression is never used in Matthew and Mark, and only once in John, John 20:30 , but thirty-one times in the Hebraistic Apocalypse frequent in LXX, but not found in classical or Hellenistic Greek, although τὰ ἐνώπια in Homer, Blass, in loco , and Grammatik des N. G. , p. 125. The word is also found on papyri twice, so Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 40.

Verse 11

Acts 4:11 . οὗτος : “He, as in R.V. All E.V [152] previously translated it “this,” referring it to ὁ λίθος , but in the next verse a person is directly spoken of, not under the metaphor of a stone, and the pronoun finds its subject better in the ἐν τούτῳ , masculine of Acts 4:10 . See Winer-Schmiedel, p. 216. ὁ ἐξουθενηθεὶς : in the LXX and in the Gospels the word used is ἀπεδοκίμασαν . St. Peter, quoting apparently from memory, used a word expressing still greater contempt. It is used, e.g. , very significantly by St. Luke in his Gospel, Acts 23:11 , and again in Acts 18:9 . The word is found in none of the other Gospels, and is characteristic of St. Luke and of St. Paul ( cf. Romans 14:3 ; Rom 14:10 , 1 Corinthians 1:28 , 1 Corinthians 6:4 , etc.). It occurs several times in the LXX; cf. Wis 3:11 ; Wis 4:18 , Sir 19:1 , 2Ma 1:27 , and Psalms of Solomon , Acts 2:5 . In classical writers it is not found at all. ὁ γενόμ . εἰς , “which was made,” R.V. Blass compares the Hebrew phrase הָיָהלְ and finds parallels in Acts 5:36 , Luke 13:19 , but γίγνεσθαι εἰς , while common in the LXX, is a correct expression in classical Greek, although the places in the N.T. in which the formula is found in O.T. quotations are undoubtedly Hebraisms (see below on Acts 5:36 ), Winer-Schmiedel, p. 257, and with this may be connected the frequency of its occurrence in the Apocalypse (see Simcox on the phrase, Language of the N. T. , p. 143). κεφαλὴν γωνίας : not “the top-most pinnacle-stone,” but a corner-stone uniting two walls, on which they rested and were made firm, cf. the meaning of ἀκρογωνιαῖος (Isaiah 28:16 ), 1 Peter 2:6-8 , Ephesians 2:20 , which is used here by Symmachus instead of κεφ . γων . The Hebrew פִּנָּה elsewhere always refers not to the upper part of the building, but to the lower (Isaiah 28:16 , Jeremiah 51:26 , Job 38:6 , ὁ βαλὼν λίθον γωνιαῖον , Delitzsch). Probably therefore the expression here refers to a foundation-stone at the base of the corner. On the occurrence of the phrase from Psalms 118:22 in St. Peter’s First Epistle, and in his speech here, see p. 119, and also Scharfe, Die Petrinische Strömung , 2 c., p. 126.

[152] English Version.

Verse 12

Acts 4:12 . ἡ σωτηρία , cf. Acts 5:31 , Acts 17:11 , i.e. , κατʼ ἐξοχήν , the Messianic salvation. The interpretation which would limit ἡ σωτ . to bodily healing is less satisfactory; infinitely higher than the healing of one man, Acts 4:9 , stands the Messianic salvation, for which even the Sanhedrists were hoping and longing, but see also Rendall’s note, in loco . A parallel to the expression is found in Jos., Ant. , iii., 1, 5, but there are many passages in the O.T. which might have suggested the words to St. Peter, cf. Isaiah 12:2 ; Isaiah 49:6-8 ; Isaiah 52:10 . οὔτε γὰρ ὄνομα , see on Acts 1:15 , Acts 2:21 . οὐδὲ is the best reading, Winer-Moulton, liii. 10, “for not even is there a second name” the claim develops more precisely and consequently from the statement ἐν ἄλλῳ οὐδενὶ · ἕτερος μὲν , ἐπὶ δυοῖν · ἄλλος δὲ , ἐπὶ πλειόνων ( cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8 , 2 Corinthians 11:1 , Galatians 1:6-7 ), Ammonius, quoted by Bengel. τὸ δεδομένον : on the force of the article with the participle, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , pp. 183, 184 (1893) = τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ὄνομα , τὸ δεδομ . ἐν ἀνθρώποις , μόνον ἐστὶν ἐν ᾧ δεῖ … and Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 238; cf. Luke 18:9 , Galatians 1:7 , Colossians 2:8 . ᾧ δεῖ σωθῆναι : “Jesus when He spoke of the rejection as future, predicted that the stone would be a judgment-stone to destroy the wicked builders. But Peter takes up the other side, and presents the stone as the stone of Messianic salvation; this name is the only name under heaven that is a saving name. Here Peter apprehends the spiritual significance of the reign of the Messiah,” Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles , p. 34, and the whole passage.

Verse 13

Acts 4:13 . θεωροῦντες δὲ , cf. Acts 3:16 , not merely βλέπ ., as in Acts 4:14 , but “inest notio contemplandi cum attentione aut admiratione,” Tittm., Synon. N. T. , p. 121. The present participle marks this continuous observation of the fearless bearing of the Apostles during the trial (Rendall). παρρησίαν : either boldness of speech, or of bearing; it was the feature which had characterised the teaching of our Lord; cf. Mark 8:32 , and nine times in St. John in connection with Christ’s teaching or bearing; and the disciples in this respect also were as their Master, c. Acts 4:29 ; Acts 4:31 (Acts 2:29 ); so too of St. Paul, Acts 28:31 , and frequently used by St. Paul himself in his Epistles; also by St. John four times in his First Epistle of confidence in approaching God: “urbem et orbem hac parrhesia vicerunt,” Bengel. Cf. παρρησιάζεσθαι used of Paul’s preaching, Acts 9:27-28 , and again of him and Barnabas, Acts 13:46 , Acts 14:3 , of Apollos, Acts 18:26 , and twice again of Paul, Acts 19:8 , Acts 26:26 ; only found in Acts, and twice in St. Paul’s Epistles, Ephesians 6:20 , 1 Thessalonians 2:2 , of speaking the Gospel boldly. For παρρησία , see LXX, Proverbs 13:5 , 1Ma 4:18 , Wis 5:1 (of speech), cf. also Jos., Ant. , ix., 10, 4, xv., 2, 7. Ἰωάννου : even if St. John had not spoken, that “confidence towards God,” which experience of life deepened, 1 John 4:17 ; 1 John 5:14 , but which was doubtless his now, would arrest attention; but it is evidently assumed that St. John had spoken, and it is quite characteristic of St. Luke’s style thus to quote the most telling utterance, and to assume that the reader conceives the general situation, and procedure in the trial, Ramsay’s St. Paul , pp. 371, 372. καὶ καταλαβόμενοι : “and had perceived” R.V., rightly marking the tense of the participle; either by their dress or demeanour, or by their speech ( cf. Acts 10:34 , Acts 25:25 , Ephesians 3:18 , Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 181). ὅτι … εἰσι … ὅτι σὺν τῷ Ἰ . ἦσαν in dependent clauses where English usage would employ a past tense and a pluperfect, N.T. usage employs a present and an imperfect “perceived that they were … that they had been …,” Blass, and see Salmon on Blass’s Commentary, Hermathena , xxi., p. 229. ἄνθρωποι : Wendt sees in the addition something depreciatory. ἀγράμματοι : lit [153] , unlettered, i.e. , without acquaintance with the Rabbinic learning in τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα (2 Timothy 3:15 ), the Jewish Scriptures (lit [154] , letters, hence γραμματεύς ), cf. John 7:15 , Acts 26:24 , where the word is used without ἱερά , so that it cannot be confined to the sacred Scriptures of the O.T., and includes the Rabbinic training in their meaning and exposition. In classical Greek the word = “illiterati,” joined by Plato with ὄρειος , ἄμουσος , see also Xen., Mem. , iv., 2, 20; by Plutarch it is set over against the μεμουσωμένος , and elsewhere joined with ἄγροικος , Trench, N. T. Synonyms , ii., p. 134, and Wetstein, in loco, cf. Athenæus, x., p. 454 B., βοτὴρ δʼ ἐστὶν ἀγράμματος . ἰδιῶται : the word properly signifies a private person (a man occupied with τὰ ἴδια ), as opposed to any one who holds office in the State, but as the Greeks held that without political life there was no true education of a man, it was not unnatural that ἰδιώτης should acquire a somewhat contemptuous meaning, and so Plato joins it with ἀπράγμων , and Plutarch with ἄπρακτος and ἀπαίδευτος (and instances in Wetstein). But further: in Trench, u. s. , p. 136, and Grimm, sub v. , the ἰδιώτης is “a layman,” as compared with the ἰατρός , “the skilled physician,” Thuc. ii. 48, and the word is applied by Philo to the whole congregation of Israel as contrasted with the priests, and to subjects as contrasted with their prince, cf. its only use in the LXX, Proverbs 6:8 ( cf. Herod., ii., 81, vii., 199, and instances in Wetstein on 1 Corinthians 14:16 ). Bearing this in mind, it would seem that the word is used by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 14:16 ; 1 Corinthians 14:23-24 ) of believers devoid of special spiritual gifts, of prophecy or of speaking with tongues, and in the passage before us it is applied to those who, like the ἀγράμματοι , had been without professional training in the Rabbinical schools. The translation “ignorant” is somewhat unfortunate. ἰδιώτης certainly need not mean ignorant, cf. Plato, Legg. , 830, A., ἀνδρῶν σοφῶν ἰδιωτῶν τε καὶ συνετῶν . St. Paul uses the word of himself, ἰδιώτης ἐν λόγῳ , 2 Corinthians 11:6 , in a way which helps us to understand its meaning here, for it may well have been used contemptuously of him (as here by the Sadducees of Peter and John) by the Judaisers, who despised him as “unlearned” and a “layman”: he would not affect the Rabbinic subtleties and interpretations in which they boasted. Others take the word here as referring to the social rank of the Apostles, “plebeians” “common men” (Kuinoel, Olshausen, De Wette, Bengel, Hackett), but the word is not so used until Herodian, iv., 10, 4. See also Dean Plumptre’s note on the transition of the word through the Vulgate idiota to our word “idiot”: Tyndale and Cranmer both render “laymen”. ἐπεγίνωσκόν τε : if we take those words to imply that the Sanhedrim only recognised during the trial that Peter and John had been amongst the disciples of Jesus, there is something unnatural and forced about such an interpretation, especially when we remember that all Jerusalem was speaking of them, Acts 4:16 ; Acts 4:21 , and that one of them was personally known to the high priest (John 18:15 ). In Codex [155] (so [156] ) an attempt is apparently made to meet this difficulty by reading τινες δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐπεγίνωσκον αὐτοὺς . Others have pointed out that the same word is used in Acts 3:10 of the beggar who sat for alms, and that here, as there, ἐπεγίν . implies something more than mere recognition (see especially Lumby’s note on the force of ἐπί ); thus the revisers in both passages render “took knowledge of”. But here as elsewhere Professor Ramsay throws fresh light upon the narrative, St. Paul , p. 371. And however we interpret the words, St. Chrysostom’s comment does not lose its beauty: ἐπεγίν . τε … ἦσαν , i.e. , in His Passion, for only those were with Him at the time, and there indeed they had seen them humble, dejected and this it was that most surprised them, the greatness of the change; Hom. , x. The τε after ἐπεγίν ., and its repetition at the commencement of Acts 4:14 (so R.V., W.H [157] , Weiss), is very Lucan (see Ramsay’s paraphrase above); for this closely connecting force of τε cf. Weiss’s commentary, passim . With σύν κ . τ . λ . Weiss compares Luke 8:38 ; Luke 22:56 .

[153] literal, literally.

[154] literal, literally.

[155] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[156] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

[157] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 14

Acts 4:14 . ἑστῶτα : standing, no longer a cripple, firmo talo (Bengel), and by his presence and attitude affording a testimony not to be gainsaid. σὺν αὐτοῖς , i.e. , with the disciples. We are not told whether the man was a prisoner with the disciples, but just as the healed demoniac had sought to be with Jesus, so we may easily imagine that the restored cripple, in his gratitude and faith, would desire to be with his benefactors: “great was the boldness of the man that even in the judgment-hall he had not left them: for had they ( i.e. , their opponents) said that the fact was not so, there was he to refute them,” St. Chrysostom, Hom. , x. On St. Luke’s fondness for the shorter form, ἑστώς not ἑστηκώς , both in Gospel and Acts, see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , p. 8. οὐδὲν εἶχον ἀντ .: this meaning of ἔχω with the infinitive is quite classical; cf. the Latin habeo dicere ; on St. Luke’s fondness for phrases with εὑρίσκειν and ἔχειν see Friedrich, u. s. , pp. 11, 12. ἀντειπεῖν : only used by St. Luke in the N.T., Luke 21:15 . The miracle, as St. Chrysostom says, spoke no less forcibly than the Apostles themselves, but the word may be taken, as in the Gospel, of contradicting personal adversaries, i.e. , here, the Apostles, so Weiss, and cf. Rendall, in loco .

Verse 15

Acts 4:15 . συνέβαλον πρὸς ἀλλήλους , sc. , λόγους : only in St. Luke’s writings, in different significations; cf. for the construction here, Eurip., Iphig. Aul. , 830, and Plutarch, Mor. , p. 222, C. see on Acts 17:18 .

Verse 16

Acts 4:16 . τί ποιήσομεν : for the deliberative subjunctive, which should be read here, cf. Acts 2:37 ; it may express the utter perplexity of the Sanhedrists (so Rendall); in questions expressing doubt or deliberation, the subjunctive would be more usual in classical Greek than the future indicative, Blass, u. s. , p. 205. ὅτι μὲν : μέν answered by ἀλλά in Acts 4:17 (omitted by .), cf. Mark 9:12 , see Simcox, Language of the N. T. , p. 168, and for other instances of μέν similarly used, see also Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte , pp. 74, 75. γνωστὸν , that which is a matter of knowledge as opposed to δοξαστόν , that which is matter of opinion (so in Plato). The word is characteristic of St. Luke, being used by him twice in the Gospel, ten times in Acts, and elsewhere in N.T. only three times (Friedrich).

Verse 17

Acts 4:17 . ἐπὶ πλεῖον may be taken as = latius (2 Timothy 2:16 ; 2 Timothy 3:9 ) or = diutius (Acts 20:9 ; Acts 24:4 ), but the context favours the former. The phrase is quite classical, and it occurs several times in LXX, cf. Wis 8:12 ; 3Ma 5:18 . διανεμηθῇ : only here in N.T. but frequently used in classical writers in active and middle to divide into portions, to distribute, to divide among themselves here = lest it should spread abroad (or better perhaps in ( [158] )) It has been taken by some as if it had a parallel in ὡς γάγγραινα νομὴν ἕξει , 2 Timothy 2:17 , and expressed that the report of the Apostles’ teaching and power might spread and feed like a cancer (see Bengel, Blass, Zöckler, Rendall), but although νέμω in the middle voice (and possibly ἐπινέμω ) could be so used, it is very doubtful how far διανέμω could be so applied. At the same time we may note that διανέμω is a word frequently used in medical writers, Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke , pp. 196, 197, and that it, with the two other great medical words of similar import, διασπείρειν and ἀναδιδόναι , is peculiar to St. Luke. In the LXX διανέμω is only found once, Deuteronomy 29:26 (25), in its classical sense as a translation of the Hebrew חָלַק . ἀπειλῇ ἀπειλησώμεθα : if we retain the reading in T.R., the phrase is a common Hebraism, cf. Acts 5:28 , Acts 23:14 , Acts 2:17 ; Acts 2:30 , Luke 22:15 , cf. John 6:29 , James 5:7 , and from the LXX, Matthew 13:14 ; Matthew 15:4 . The form of the Hebrew formula giving the notion of intenseness is rendered in A.V. by “straitly,” as by the revisers (who omit ἀπειλῇ here) in Acts 5:28 . Similar expressions are common in the LXX, and also in the Apocrypha, cf. Sir 48:11 , Jdt 6:4 , and occasionally a similar formula is found in Greek authors, see especially Simcox, Language of the N. T. , p. 83, and Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 116, 117. ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι : on the name, i.e. , resting on, or with reference to, this name, as the basis of their teaching, Winer-Moulton, xlviii. c., cf. Acts 5:28 , and Luke 24:47 ; Luke 9:48 ; Luke 21:8 . The phrase has thus a force of its own, although it is apparently interchangeable with ἐν , Acts 4:10 (Simcox, see also Blass, in loco ); Rendall takes it = “about the name of Jesus,” ἐπί being used as often with verbs of speech. τούτῳ : “quem nominare nolunt, Acts 5:28 , vid. tamen 18,” Blass; (on the hatred of the Jews against the name of Jesus and their periphrastic titles for him, e.g., otho ha’ish , “that man,” “so and so,” see “Jesus Christ in the Talmud,” H. Laible, pp. 32, 33 (Streane)).

[158] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 18

Acts 4:18 . καθόλου : only here in N.T. The word which had been very common since Aristotle (previously καθʼ ὅλου ) is quite classical in the sense in which it is used here, and it is also found a few times in the LXX (see Hatch and Redpath for instances of its use without and with the art [159] , as here in T.R.). It is frequently used by medical writers, Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke , p. 197. μὴ φθέγγεσθαι : “not to utter a word,” so Rendall, ne muttire quidem (Blass). The word seems to indicate more than that the disciples should not speak, “ne hiscerent aut ullam vocem ederent,” Erasmus. In contrast to διδάσκειν we might well refer it to the utterance of the name of Jesus in their miracles, as in Acts 3:6 ; only found twice elsewhere in N.T., and both times in 2 Peter 2:16 ; 2 Peter 2:18 , but its use is quite classical, and it is also found several times in LXX.

[159] grammatical article.

Verse 19

Acts 4:19 . Parallel sayings may be quoted from Greeks and Romans, and from Jewish sources, see instances in Wetstein, cf. Plato, Apol. , 29, ., the famous words of Socrates: πεισόμεθα τῷ θεῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ὑμῖν , and Livy, xxxix., 37; Jos., Ant. , xvii., 6, 3; xviii. 8, 2; on ἐνώπιον see Acts 4:10 ; ἀκούειν = πειθαρχεῖν , Acts 5:29 , and cf. Acts 3:22 , Luke 10:16 ; Luke 16:31 ; μᾶλλον = potius, cf. Romans 14:13 , 1 Corinthians 7:21 . κρίνατε : this appeal to the Sadducees could only be justified on the ground that the Apostles were sure of the validity of their own appeal to a higher tribunal. No man could lay down the principle of obedience to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king or to governors, more plainly than St. Peter (1 Peter 2:13 , cf. Romans 13:1 ), and he and his fellow-disciples might have exposed themselves to the charge of fanaticism or obstinacy, if they could only say οὐ δυν .… μὴ λαλεῖν ; but they could add ἃ εἴδομεν καὶ ἠκούσ ., cf. Acts 1:8 . The same appeal is made by St. John, both in his Gospel (Acts 1:14 ) and in his First Epistle (Acts 1:1-2 ), in vindication of his teaching; and here the final answer is that of St. John and St. Peter jointly.

Verse 20

Acts 4:20 . οὐ … μὴ : on the two negatives forming an affirmative cf. 1 Corinthians 12:15 ; Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 220 (1893). Winer-Moulton, Leviticus , 9, compares Aristoph., Ran. , 42; see also Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 184.

Verse 21

Acts 4:21 . προσαπειλησάμενοι : “when they had further threatened them” R.V., or the word may mean “ added threats to their warning” Acts 4:18 (“prius enim tantum præceperunt,” Erasmus). So Wendt as against Meyer; cf. in LXX, Sir 13:3 , ., and Dem., p. 544, 26. ἀπέλυσαν : “dimiserunt [Acts 3:13 ] non absolverunt,” Blass; see St. Chrysostom’s striking contrast between the boldness of the Apostles and the fear of their judges ( Hom. , xi.). τὸ πῶς : finding nothing, namely ( τὸ ), how they might, etc.; this use of the article is quite classical, drawing attention to the proposition introduced by it and making of it a compound substantive expressing one idea, most commonly with an interrogation; it is used by St. Luke and St. Paul, and both in St. Luke’s Gospel and in the Acts, cf. Luke 1:62 ; Luke 9:46 ; Luke 19:48 ; Luke 22:2 ; Luke 22:4 ; Luke 22:23-24 , Acts 22:30 , Rom 8:26 , 1 Thessalonians 4:1 , cf. Mark 9:23 . So here the Sanhedrists are represented as asking themselves τὸ πῶς κολ . (Friedrich and Lekebusch both draw attention to this characteristic of St. Luke’s writings). See Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , pp. 67, 68 (1893). κολ . only here and in 2 Peter 2:9 in N.T.; cf. 3Ma 7:3 , where it is also used in middle, expressing to cause to be punished, cf. 1Ma 7:7 , AS. διὰ τὸν λαόν belongs not to ἀπέλυσαν , but rather to μὴ εὑρίσκ . κ . τ . λ . ἐδόξαζον : see on Acts 2:46 ; cf. Luke 2:20 , 2 Corinthians 9:13 , for the construction; the verb never has in Biblical Gr [160] mere classical meaning of to think, suppose, entertain an opinion (but cf. Polyb., vi., 53, 10; δεδοξασμένοι ἐπʼ ἀρετῇ ); in the LXX very frequently of glory ascribed to God, see Plummer’s note on Luke 2:20 .

[160] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

Verse 22

Acts 4:22 . Characteristic of St. Luke to note the age, as in the case of Æneas, Acts 9:33 , and of the cripple at Lystra, Acts 14:8 , cf. also Luke 8:42 (although Mark also here notes the same fact), Acts 13:11 . The genitive with εἶναι or γίγνεσθαι , instead of the accusative, in reference to the question of age, is noted by Friedrich as characteristic of St. Luke; cf Luke 2:42 (Luke 3:23 ), Luke 8:42 , and here; but cf. Mark 5:42 . ἐγεγόνει : in this episode “with its lights and shades” Overbeck (so Baur) can only see the idealising work of myth and legend, but it is difficult to understand how a narrative which purports to describe the first conflict between the Church and the Sanhedrim could be free from such contrasts, and that some collision with the authorities took place is admitted to be quite conceivable (Weizsäcker, Apostolic Age , i., 46, E.T.); we should rather say that St. Luke’s power as an historian is nowhere more visible than in the dramatic form of this narrative (Ramsay, St. Paul, u. s. ).

Verse 23

Acts 4:23 . τοὺς ἰδίους : not necessarily limited to their fellow-Apostles (so Meyer, Blass, Weiss), but as including the members of the Christian community (so Overbeck, Wendt, Hilgenfeld, Zöckler), cf. Acts 24:23 , Joh 13:1 , 1 Timothy 5:8 , and also of one’s fellow-countrymen, associates, John 1:11 , 2Ma 12:22 .

Verse 24

Acts 4:24 . ὁμοθυμαδὸν , see above on Acts 1:14 . The word must not be pressed to mean that they all simultaneously gave utterance to the same words, or that they were able to do so, because they were repeating a familiar Hymn; it may mean that the Hymn was uttered by one of the leaders, by St. Peter, or St. James (Zöckler), and answered by the responsive Amen of the rest, or that the words were caught up by the multitude of believers as they were uttered by an inspired Apostle (so Felten, Rendall). ἦραν φωνήν : the same phrase is used in Luke 17:13 , so in Acts 2:14 ; Acts 14:11 ; Acts 22:22 , ἐπαίρειν , and also in Luke 11:27 . Both phrases are peculiar to St. Luke, but both are found in the LXX, and both are classical (Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , p. 29, and Plummer on Luke 11:27 ). Δέσποτα κ . τ . λ .: the words form the earliest known Psalm of Thanksgiving in the Christian Church. In its tenor the Hymn may be compared with Hezekiah’s Prayer against the threats of Assyria, Isaiah 37:16 ; Isaiah 37:20 . It begins like many of the Psalms (18, 19, 53) with praising God as the Creator, a thought which finds fitting expression here as marking the utter impotence of worldly power to withstand Him. The word Δέσποτα , thus used in the vocative in addressing God here and in Luke 2:29 only (found nowhere else in Gospels, although several times in the Epistles), expresses the absolute control of a Master over a slave, cf. also Luke 2:29 , where τὸν δοῦλόν σου answers to it, as here τοῖς δούλοις in Acts 4:29 . It also expresses here as often in the LXX the sovereignty of God over creation, cf. Job 5:8 , Wis 6:7 , Jdt 9:12 . So Jos., Ant. , iv., 3, 2, puts it into the mouth of Moses. It is very rarely used in the N.T. as a name of God or of Christ, but cf. Revelation 6:10 of God, and 2 Peter 2:1 of Christ (where the metaphor of the master and slave is retained), and see Jude 1:4 , R.V. (although the name may refer to God); and so in writings ascribed to men who may well have been present, and have taken part in the Hymn. The word is also used of the gods in classical Greek; but the Maker of heaven and earth was no “despot,” although His rule was absolute, for His power was never dissociated from wisdom and love, cf. Wis 11:26 , Δέσποτα φιλόψυχε . On the use of the word in Didache 1 , x., 3, in prayer to God, see Biggs’ note.

Verse 25

Acts 4:25 . The words form an exact quotation from the LXX (Psalms 2:1 ). ἵνα τί , again in quotation, Acts 7:26 ; cf. Luke 13:7 , 1 Corinthians 10:29 ; twice in Matthew 9:4 ; Matthew 27:46 , quotation; W.H [161] , Blass (Weiss, ἱνατί ), sc. , γένηται , Blass, Grammatik des N. G. , p. 14, and Winer-Schmiedel, p. 36. ἐφρύαξαν : in the active form the verb occurs once in LXX, viz. , in this passage, as a translation of רָגַשׁ , φρυάσσομαι , primarily of the snorting and neighing of a high-spirited horse, then of the haughtiness and insolence of men; twice it is used as a dep. in LXX, 2Ma 7:34 , R.; Acts 3:2 ; Acts 3:2 , and so in profane writers. ἔθνη , i.e. , the Gentiles, see on Acts 4:27 . λαός might be used, and is used of any people, but it is used in Biblical Greek specially of the chosen people of God, cf. Luke 2:32 , Acts 26:17 ; Acts 26:23 , Romans 15:10 , and it is significant that the word is transferred to the Christian community, which was thus regarded as taking the place of the Jewish theocracy, Acts 15:14 ; Acts 18:10 , Rom 9:25 , 1 Peter 2:10 ; Hort, Ecclesia , pp. 11, 12, Grimm, sub v. , λαός ; so too in the LXX, ἔθνος in the plural is used in an overwhelming number of instances of other nations besides Israel, cf. Psalms 56:0 (57):9, Zechariah 1:15 ; in N.T., ἔθνη = pagans, Romans 3:29 , and Roman Christians, Romans 15:27 , cf. populus , the Roman people, as opposed to gentes , Lucan, Phars. , i., 82, 83 (Page); Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 98.

[161] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 26

Acts 4:26 . παρέστησαν : not necessarily of hostile intent, although here the context indicates it; R.V., “set themselves in array,” lit [162] “presented themselves,” an exact rendering of the Hebrew יָצַב , which sometimes implies rising up against as here, Psalms 2:2 , and cf. 2 Samuel 18:13 (R.V. margin). Of the generally accepted Messianic interpretation of the Psalm, and of the verses here quoted, there can be no doubt, cf. Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah , ii., 716 (appendix on Messianic passages), and Wetstein, in loco . The Psalm is regarded as full of Messianic references (Briggs, Messianic Prophecy , pp. 132 140, and 492, 493), cf., e.g. , the comment on this verse of the Psalm in the Mechilta (quoted in the Yalkut Shimeoni , ii., f. 90, 1 Sch. p. 227), Perowne, Psalms (small edition), p. 16; and Edersheim, u. s . The Psalm carries us back to the great Davidic promise in 2 Samuel 7:11-16 , and it reflects the Messianic hopes of the Davidic period. That hope the N.T. writers who quote this Psalm very frequently or refer to it, cf. Acts 13:33 , Hebrews 1:5 ; Hebrews 5:5 , see fulfilled in Christ, the antitype of David and of Solomon. Thus the gathering together of the nations and their fruitless decrees find their counterpart in the alliance of Herod and Pilate, and the hostile combination of Jew and Gentile against the holy Servant Jesus, the anointed of God, and against His followers; although the words of the Psalm and the issues of the conflict carry on our thoughts to a still wider and deeper fulfilment in the final triumph of Christ’s kingdom, cf. the frequent recurrence of the language of the Psalm in Revelation 12:5 ; Revelation 19:15 , and cf. Revelation 1:5 ; Revelation 2:26-27 .

[162] literal, literally.

Verse 27

Acts 4:27 . γάρ : confirms the truth of the preceding prophecy, by pointing to its historical fulfilment, and does not simply give a reason for addressing God as ὁ εἰπών to emphasise this fulfilment συνήχ . is again quoted, and placed first in the sentence. ἐπʼ ἀληθείας , of a truth, i.e. , assuredly, Luke 4:25 ; Luke 20:21 ; Luke 22:59 , Acts 10:34 ; so too in LXX, Job 9:2 , and also in classical Greek. The phrase is characteristic of St. Luke, and is only used elsewhere in N.T. in Mark 12:14 ; Mark 12:32 , the usual expression being ἐν ἀληθείᾳ , never used by St. Luke (Friedrich). παῖδα , see on Acts 3:13 . ὂν ἔχρισας : showing that Jesus = τοῦ Χριστοῦ named in the quotation just made, cf. Luke 4:18 , and Isaiah 61:1 and Acts 10:38 . Nösgen compares also John 10:36 , and refuses to limit the reference to Acts 3:21 . The words may no doubt be referred to the Baptism, but they need not be confined to that. Ἡρῴδης = βασιλεῖς of the Psalm, Π . Πειλᾶτος = ἄρχοντες , but Nösgen, referring to Acts 3:17 , regards the ἄρχ . as included in the λαοί . Ἡρ . instead of Ἡρωίδης , Blass, in loco , and Grammatik des N. G. , pp. 7, 8, the iota subscript W.H [163] thus accounted for; Winer-Schmiedel, p. 41. ἔθνεσιν καὶ λαοῖς Ἰ .: the first word = the centurion and soldiers, those who carried out the orders of Pilate; λαοί the plural (quoted from the Psalm) does not refer with Calvin to the different nationalities out of which the Jews who came up to the Feast were gathered, but possibly to the tribes of Israel, Grimm-Thayer, sub , λαός , like עַמִּים , Genesis 49:10 , Deuteronomy 32:8 , Isaiah 3:13 , etc., R. V., “the peoples of Israel”. St. Luke’s Gospel alone gives us the narrative of Herod’s share in the proceedings connected with the Passion, Acts 23:8-12 ; see Plumptre, in loco , and Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , pp. 54, 55.

[163] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 28

Acts 4:28 . ποιῆσαι , infinitive of purpose, see on Acts 3:2 ; but even this purpose was overruled by God to the accomplishment of His will, cf. Luke 22:22 ; Luke 24:26 , συνῆλθον μὲν γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι ὡς ἐχθροὶ … ἐποίουν δὲ ἃ σὺ ἐβούλου , Oecum. ἡ χείρ σου , a common expression to signify the controlling power of God, cf. in the N.T. (peculiar to St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts) the phrases χεὶρ Κυρίου , Luke 1:66 , Acts 11:21 ; Acts 13:11 . ἡ βουλὴ : only used by St. Luke, cf. Luke 7:30 , Acts 2:23 ; Acts 13:36 ; Acts 20:27 . προώρισε : only in St. Luke and St. Paul, but never in LXX or Apocrypha, Romans 8:29-30 , 1 Corinthians 2:7 , Ephesians 1:5 ; Acts 1:11 , but the thought which it contains is in striking harmony with St. Peter’s words elsewhere; cf. Acts 2:23 , Acts 10:42 , and 1 Peter 1:2 ; 1 Peter 1:20 ; 1 Peter 2:4-6 see above on Peter’s speeches cf. Ignat., Ephes. , tit. ἡ χείρ connected with β . by Zeugma, since only βουλή directly suits the verb; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:2 , and Luke 1:64 . (The two verses (Acts 4:27-28 ) are referred by Hilgenfeld to the “author to Theophilus”. In his view there is a want of fitness in introducing into the Church’s prayer the words of the Psalm, and their reference to the closing scenes of the life of Jesus; he thinks with Weiss that in the αὐτῶν of Acts 4:29 there is quite sufficient reference to the words of the Psalm.)

Verse 29

Acts 4:29 . τὰ νῦν ( cf. Acts 3:17 ) only used in the Acts 5:38 ; Acts 17:30 ; Acts 20:32 ; Acts 27:22 , but frequently found in classical writers (Wetstein), cf. also 1Ma 7:35 ; 1Ma 9:9 ; 2Ma 15:8 , Klostermann, Vindiciœ Lucanœ , p. 53. As elsewhere St. Peter’s words have a practical bearing and issue, Acts 2:16 , Acts 3:12 (Felten). ἔπιδε : only used here and in Luke 1:25 , and both times of God; so in Homer, of the gods regarding the affairs of men (and so too in Dem. and Herod.), cf. the use of the simple verb ἰδεῖν in Genesis 22:14 , and also of ἐπιδεῖν in Genesis 16:13 , 1 Chronicles 17:17 , Psalms 30:0 (Psalms 31:7 ), 2Ma 1:27 ; 2Ma 8:2 . τὸν λόγον σου : a characteristic phrase in St. Luke, cf. his use of ὁ λόγ . τοῦ Θεοῦ , Acts 4:31 , four times in his Gospel, and twelve times in Acts, as against the use of it once in St. Mark, St. John and St. Matthew, Matthew 15:6 (W.H [164] ). The phrase is of frequent occurrence in St. Paul’s Epistles, and it is found several times in the Apocalypse. μετὰ παρρησίας , see above on Acts 4:13 . There is an antithesis in the Greek words, for boldness of speech was usually the privilege, not of slaves, but of freemen but it is the duty of those who are in the service of Christ (Humphry, Acts, in loco ).

[164] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

Verse 30

Acts 4:30 . ἐν τῷ κ . τ . λ ., Acts 3:26 : a Hebraistic formula; for similar expressions used of God cf. Exodus 7:5 , Jeremiah 15:6 , Ezekiel 6:14 , etc., most frequently in the act of punishment; but here the context shows that it is for healing, Luke 5:13 ; Luke 6:10 ; “while thou stretchest forth thine hand” the construction is very frequent in Luke and the Acts, see Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 162, and Friedrich, p. 37. Commenting on the prayer, St. Chrysostom writes: “Observe they do not say ‘crush them, cast them down,’ … let us also learn thus to pray. And yet how full of wrath one would be when fallen upon by men intent upon killing him, and making threats to that effect! how full of animosity! but not so these saints.” γίγνεσθαι : A. and R.V. make γιγ . to depend upon δός , but better to regard it as infinitive of purpose, subordinate to ἐν τῷ κ . τ . λ . (see Wendt and Page). Weiss regards from καὶ σημ . to γιγ . as the reviser’s insertion. εἰς ἴασιν : St. Luke alone employs the good medical word ἴασις , see Acts 4:22 , and Luke 13:32 , so whilst ἰᾶσθαι is used only three or four times by St. Matthew, two or three times by St. John, and once by St. Mark, it is used by St. Luke eleven times in his Gospel, and three or four times in the Acts. The significant use of this strictly medical term, and of the verb ἰᾶσθαι in St. Luke’s writings, comes out by comparing Matthew 14:36 , Mark 6:56 , and Luke 6:19 , see Hobart. ἴασιν Ἰησοῦ , paronomasia; Wordsworth. In this ver., 30, Spitta, agreeing with Weiss as against Feine, traced another addition in the reviser’s hand through the influence of source , in which the Apostles appear, not as preachers of the Gospel, but as performers of miraculous deeds.

Verse 31

Acts 4:31 . δεηθέντων , cf. Acts 16:26 , where a similar answer is given to the prayer of Paul and Silas: the verb is characteristic of St. Luke and St. Paul, and is only used by these two writers with the exception of one passage, Matthew 9:38 ; in St. Luke’s Gospel it is found eight times, and in Acts seven times, and often of requests addressed to God as here, cf. Acts 10:2 , Acts 8:24 , Luke 10:2 ; Luke 21:36 ; Luk 22:32 , 1 Thessalonians 3:10 . See on αἰτέω , Grimm-Thayer (Synonyms). This frequent reference to prayer is characteristic of St. Luke both in his Gospel and the Acts, cf. Acts 1:14 ; Acts 2:42 ; Acts 4:31 ; Acts 6:4 ; Acts 10:2 ; Acts 13:3 ; Acts 14:23 ; Acts 16:13 ; Acts 16:25 ; Acts 28:8 ; Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium , pp. 59, 60. ἐσαλεύθη , Acts 16:26 ; Luke (Luke 6:38 ; Luke 6:48 , Acts 7:24 ) Acts 21:26 ; Hebrews 12:26-27 ; in the O.T. we have similar manifestations of the divine Presence, cf. Psalms 114:7 , Amos 9:5 , where the same word is used; cf. also Isaiah 6:4 , Haggai 2:6 , Joel 3:16 , Ezekiel 38:19 . For instance of an earthquake regarded as a token of the presence of a deity, see Wetstein, in loco ; Virgil, Æneid , iii., 90; Ovid, Met. , xv., 672, and so amongst the Rabbis, Schöttgen, Hor. Heb., in loco . In the Acts it is plainly regarded as no chance occurrence, and with regard to the rationalistic hypothesis that it was merely a natural event, accidentally coinciding with the conclusion of the prayer, Zeller admits that there is every probability against the truth of any such hypothesis; rather may we see in it with St. Chrysostom a direct answer to the appeal to the God in whose hands were the heaven and the earth ( cf. Iren., Adv. Haer. , iii., 12, 5). “The place was shaken, and that made them all the more unshaken” (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Oecumenius). συνηγμένοι , “were gathered,” so in Acts 4:27 ; the aorist in the former verse referring to an act, but here the perfect to a state, but impossible to distinguish in translation, Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 45. That the shaking is regarded as miraculous is admitted by Weiss, who sees in it the reviser’s hand introducing a miraculous result of the prayer of the Church, in place of the natural result of strengthened faith and popular favour. καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν , Acts 4:8 . So here the Holy Ghost inspired them all with courage: He came comfortari , to strengthen; they had prayed that they might speak the word μετὰ παρρ . and their prayer was heard and fulfilled to the letter (Acts 4:31 ) as Luke describes “with simple skill”. ἐλάλουν : mark the force of the imperfect. ἐπλησθ . (aorist), the prayer was immediately answered by their being filled with the Holy Ghost, and they proceeded to speak, the imperfect also implying that they continued to speak (Rendall); there is no need to see any reference to the speaking with tongues. Feine sees in the narrative a divine answer to the Apostles’ prayer, so that filled with the Holy Ghost they spoke with boldness. And he adds, that such divine power must have been actually working in the Apostles, otherwise the growth of the Church in spite of its opposition is inexplicable a remark which might well be considered by the deniers of a miraculous Christianity. It is in reality the same argument so forcibly put by St. Chrysostom: “If you deny miracles, you make it all the more marvellous that they should obtain such moral victories these illiterate men!” Jüngst refers the whole verse to a redactor, recording that there was no one present with reference to whom the παρρησία could be employed. But the distinction between the aorist ἐπλήσ . and the imperfect ἐλάλουν shows that not only the immediate but the continuous action of the disciples is denoted.

Verse 32

Acts 4:32 . δέ marks no contrast between the multitude and the Apostles; it introduces a general statement of the life of the whole Christian community, cf. Acts 15:12 ; Acts 15:30 . On St. Luke’s frequent use of words expressing fulness, see Acts 4:32 . Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien , p. 59 (1897), points out that in the inscriptions πλῆθος with a genitive has a technical significance, not only in official political life, but also in that of religious communities, cf. Luke 1:10 ; Luke 19:37 , Acts 2:6 , but especially Acts 15:30 ; so too Acts 4:32 , Acts 6:2 ; Acts 6:5 , Acts 15:12 , Acts 19:9 , Acts 21:22 , where the word = not Menge or Masse , but Gemeinde . καρδία καὶ ψυχὴ μία : it is difficult to distinguish precisely between the two words, but they undoubtedly imply entire harmony in affection and thought according to a common Hebrew mode of expression; cf. passages in the LXX in which both ψυχή and καρδία occur as here with μία , 1 Chronicles 12:38 , 2 Chronicles 30:12 (Wetstein); but in each passage the Hebrew word is the same, לב , and it would include not only affection and emotion, but also understanding, intelligence, thought; cf. Philippians 1:27 ; Philippians 2:2 ; Philippians 2:20 . “Behold heart and soul are what make the together!” Chrys. δύο φίλοι , ψυχὴ μία , Plutarch, cf. instances in Blass, in loco , from Aristotle and Cicero. Grotius comments “erant ut Hebræi loquuntur כאיש אחד ”. καὶ οὐδὲ εἷς , “and not one of them said,” R.V., i.e. , not one among so many; cf. John 1:3 . οὐδὲ ἕν , “not even one thing”; cf. Romans 3:10 ; see above on Acts 2:45 and J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., in loco . On the difference between the classical and N.T. use of the infinitive after verbs of declaring, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , pp. 51, 52, 153, 155 (1896); except in Luke and Paul the infinitive tends to disappear, whilst these two writers retain the more literary usage.

Verse 33

Acts 4:33 . ἀπεδίδουν τὸ μαρτύριον , “gave the Apostles their witness,” R.V. See Acts 4:12 . τὸ μαρτ ., prop., “res quæ testimonio est,” but sometimes in N.T. pro μαρτυρία (Blass). ἀπεδ ., however, implies paying or rendering what is due; it suggests that there is a claim in response to which something is given (Westcott on Hebrews 13:11 ); cf. Matthew 12:36 , Luke 12:59 ; Luke 16:2 ; Luke 20:25 , Romans 13:7 , 1 Corinthians 7:3 , etc. This was its first and strict significance in classical Greek, cf. also its use in LXX, frequently. The Apostles therefore bear their witness as a duty to which they were pledged, cf. Acts 1:8 ; Acts 1:22 , Acts 4:20 ; καὶ ὡς περὶ ὀφλήματος λέγει αὐτό , Oecum. δυνάμει μεγάλῃ : the words may include miraculous powers, as well as stedfast witness. But the τε must not, as Weiss maintains, be so taken as to indicate that χάρις μεγάλη was the result, as in Acts 2:47 . For if we regard χάρις as referring to the favour of the people (as in the former narrative in ii.), the γάρ in Acts 4:34 seems to point to the love and liberality of the Christians as its cause. But many commentators prefer to take χάρις as in Acts 6:8 (and as in Luke 2:40 , Hilgenfeld), of the grace of God, since here as there it is used absolutely, and Acts 4:34 would thus be a proof of the efficacy of this grace, cf. 2 Corinthians 9:14 χάρις , as Bengel maintains, may include grace, favour with God and man, as in our Lord Himself, Gratia Dei et favor populi .

Verse 34

Acts 4:34 . οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐνδεής : cf. Deuteronomy 15:4 , where the same adjective occurs; cf. Acts 15:7 ; Acts 15:11 , Acts 24:14 , Isaiah 41:17 . No contradiction with Acts 6:1 , as Holtzmann supposes; here there is no ideal immunity from poverty and want, but distribution was made as each fitting case presented itself: “their feeling was just as if they were under the paternal roof, all for a while sharing alike,” Chrys., Hom. , xi. ὅσοι γὰρ … ὑπῆρχον , “non dicitur: omnes hoc fecerunt [aorist] ut jam nemo vel fundum vel domum propriam haberet, sed: vulgo [saepe] hoc fiebat [imperfect] ad supplendum fiscum communem pauperibus destinatum; itaque nunquam deerat quod daretur,” Blass, in loco, cf. remarks on Acts 2:47 . τὰς τιμὰς τῶν πιπρασκομένων , “the prices of the things which were being sold”. The language shows that we are not meant to infer that the men sold all that they had ( cf. Wetstein, especially Appian, B. Civ. , v., p. 1088, τιμὰς τῶν ἔτι πιπρασκ .). πωλοῦντες et πιπρασκ . both imperfect (Blass), and see also Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , p. 58. κτήτορες in N.T. only here, rarely elsewhere, see instances in Wetstein; not in LXX, but cf. Symmachus, Joel 1:11 .

Verse 35

Acts 4:35 . The statement marks, it is true, an advance upon the former narrative, Acts 2:44 , but one which was perfectly natural and intelligible. Here for the first time we read that the money is brought and laid at the Apostles’ feet. As the community grew, the responsibilities of distribution increased, and to whom could the administration of the common fund be more fittingly committed than to the Apostles? The narrative indicates that this commital of trust was voluntary on the part of the Ecclesia, although it was marked by an act of reverence for the Apostles’ authority. The fact that Barnabas is expressly mentioned as laying the value of his field at the Apostles’ feet, may be an indication that the other members of the community were acting upon his suggestion; if so, it would be in accordance with what we know of his character and forethought, cf. Acts 9:27 , Acts 11:22-24 , Hort, Ecclesia , pp. 47, 48. There is no reason to reject this narrative as a mere repetition of Acts 2:44-45 . The same spirit prevails in both accounts, but in the one case we have the immediate result of the Pentecostal gift, in the case before us we have the permanence and not only the vitality of the gift marked the Christian community is now organised under Apostolic direction, and stress is laid upon the continuance of the “first love,” whilst the contrast is marked between the self-sacrifice of Barnabas and the greed of Ananias and Sapphira, see Rendall, Acts , p. 196, and also Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte , p. 198, in answer to recent criticisms. παρὰ τοὺς πόδας : the Apostles are represented as sitting, perhaps as teachers, Acts 22:3 , cf. Luke 2:46 , and also as an indication of their authority: the expression in the Greek conveys the thought of committal to the care and authority of any one, cf. Acts 5:2 , Acts 7:58 , Acts 22:20 , so Matthew 15:30 , or that of reverence and thankfulness. Oecumenius sees in the words an indication of the great honour of the Apostles, and the reverence of those who brought the money. Friedrich notes the expression as characteristic of St. Luke’s style, since it is used by him five times in the Gospel, six times in Acts, and is found in the N.T. only once elsewhere, see above, cf. Cicero, Pro Flacco , 28, and instances in Wetstein. διεδίδετο : impersonal, or τὸ ἀργύριον may be supplied, Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 57 (1896), and in St. Luke’s Gospel twice, Acts 11:22 , Acts 18:22 ; only once elsewhere in N.T., John 6:11 ; on the abnormal termination ετο for οτο , cf. LXX, Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek , p. 159, cf. Exodus 5:13 , ἐδίδοτο , but A - ετο ; Jeremiah 52:34 , ἐδίδοτο , but [165] [166] - ετο ; 1 Corinthians 11:23 , Winer-Schmiedel, p. 121. καθότι : only found in St. Luke in N. T., twice in Gospel, four times in Acts; Luke 1:7 ; Luke 19:9 , Acts 2:24 ; Acts 2:45 ; Acts 4:35 ; Acts 17:31 ; on the imperfect with ἄν in a conditional relative clause, Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses , pp. 13, 125, and Viteau, Le Grec du N. T. , p. 142 (1893), cf. Acts 2:45 ; Acts 2:33-35 are ascribed by Hilgenfeld to his “author to Theophilus,” but this reviser must have been very clumsy to introduce a notice involving a general surrender of all landed property, as Hilgenfeld interprets the verse, which could not be reconciled with St. Peter’s express words in Acts 5:4 words which, on Hilgenfeld’s own showing, the reviser must have had before him.

[165] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[166] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

Verse 36

Acts 4:36 . Ἰωσῆς δὲ : δέ introduces the special case of Barnabas after the general statement in Acts 4:34 . ὁ ἐπικ ., cf. Acts 1:23 . On what occasion this surname was conferred by the Apostles nothing certain is known ( ἀπό as often for ὑπό , Acts 2:22 ), although the fact that it was conferred by them may indicate that he owed his conversion to them. Possibly it may not have been bestowed until later, and reference may here be made to it simply to identify him (Nösgen). βαρνάβας : most commonly derived from בַּר נְבוּאָה (“quod neque ad sensum neque ad litteras prorsus convenit,” Blass) = properly υἱὸς προφητείας . But St. Luke, it is argued, renders this υἱὸς παρακλήσεως , because under the threefold uses of prophecy, 1 Corinthians 14:3 , the special gift of παράκλησις distinguished Barnabas, cf. Acts 11:23 . So Harnack (whose full article “Barnabas” should be consulted, Real-Encyclopädie für prot. Theol. und Kirche ,” xv., 410) explains it as indicating a prophet in the sense in which the word was used in the early Church, Acts 15:32 (Acts 11:23 ), παράκλησις = edifying exhortation. But not only is בַּר an Aramaic word, whilst נבואה is Hebrew, but the above solution of St. Luke’s translation is by no means satisfactory (see Zöckler, in loco ). In 1 Corinthians 14:3 παράκ . might equally mean consolation, cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 , and it is translated “comfort” (not “exhortation”) in the R.V. In St. Luke’s Gospel the word is used twice, Luke 2:25 , Luke 6:24 , and in both passages it means comfort, consolation, cf. the cognate verb in Acts 16:25 . Another derivation has been suggested by Klostermann, Probleme im Aposteltexte , pp. 8 14. He maintains that both parts of the word are Aramaic, בר and נְוָחָא , solatium , and that therefore St. Luke’s translation is quite justified. Blass however points out that as in the former derivation so here there is a difficulty in the connection between βαρνάβας and the somewhat obscure Aramaic word. In the conversion of Barnabas, the first man whose heart was so touched as to join him, in spite of his Levitical status and culture, to ignorant and unlettered men, the Apostles might well see a source of hope and comfort ( cf. Genesis 5:29 ), Klostermann, p. 13. It is also worthy of note that the LXX frequently uses παράκλησις as a translation of the common Hebrew words for comfort or consolation; cf. Job 21:2 , Ps. 93:19, Isaiah 57:8 , Jeremiah 16:17 , etc., and cf. Psalms of Solomon 13, title, παράκλησις τῶν δικαίων . On the whole question, Deissmann, Bibelstudien , p. 175 ff., should be consulted. Deissmann, referring to an inscription recently discovered in Northern Syria, in the old Nicopolis, probably of the third or fourth century A.D., explains the word as follows: The inscription contains the name βαρνεβοῦν , which . considers rightly = Son of Nebo; cf., e.g. , Symmachus, Isaiah 46:1 , who renders נְבוֹ , Nebo (transcribed by the LXX, Aquila and Theodotion, Ναβώ ), by Νεβοῦς . The view of the connection or identity of βαρνάβας with βαρνεβοῦς is facilitated by the fact that in other words the ε sound in Nebo is replaced by [167] ; cf. Ne buchadnezar = LXX Ναβουχοδονοσορ , so Ne buzaradan = LXX Ναβουζαρδαν . Very probably therefore βαρναβοῦς will occur instead of βαρνεβοῦς and the Jews themselves might easily have converted βαρναβοῦς into βαρναβᾶς ας being the constant termination of Greek names. In his Neue Bibelstudien , p. 16, Deissmann is able to refer to an Aramaic inscription from Palmyra, dating 114 A.D., with the word Barnebo, and cf. also Enc. Bibl. , i., 484. Λευεΐτης : although the Levites were not allowed to hold possessions in land, since God Himself was their portion (Numbers 18:20 , Deuteronomy 10:9 ), yet they could do so by purchase or inheritance, cf. Jeremiah 32:7-12 , or it is possible that the field of Barnabas may not have been in Palestine at all (see Bengel, but, on the other hand, Wendt, in loco ), and that the same Messianic regulations may not have applied to the Levites in other countries (Wetstein). It would also seem that after the Captivity the distribution of land, according to the Mosaic Law, was no longer strictly observed (Overbeck, Hackett (Hastings’ B.D.), “Barnabas,” e.g. , Josephus, a Levite and Priest, has lands in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and gains others in exchange for them from Vespasian, Vita , 76. Κύπριος τῷ γένει : soon after the time of Alexander, and possibly before it, Jews had settled in Cyprus, and 1Ma 15:23 indicates that they were there in good numbers. This is the first mention of it in the N.T.; see also Acts 11:19-20 , Acts 13:4-13 , Acts 15:39 , Acts 20:16 , and the geographical notices in Acts 21:3 , Acts 27:4 . From the neighbouring island, Cyprus, Barnabas might well have been sent to the famous University of Tarsus, and so have made the acquaintance of Saul. In this way the previous acquaintance between the two men goes far to explain succeeding events, Acts 9:27 : see “Cyprus,” B.D. (Hastings), Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie des Judentums , i. 2, 216. γένει , “a man of Cyprus by race,” R.V. not “of the country of Cyprus”: γένει refers to his parentage and descent, cf. Acts 18:2 ; Acts 18:24 .

[167] A(ntiochena), in Blass, a fair rough copy of St. Luke.

Verse 37

Acts 4:37 . ἀγροῦ , better “a field” R.V.; the possession was not great, but if the field lay in the rich and productive island of Cyprus, its value may have been considerable. τὸ χρῆμα : rarely in this sense in the singular, only here in the N.T., and never in Attic Greek, but cf. Herod., iii., 38, and instances in Wetstein, and see Blass, in loco . The money, i.e. , the proceeds, the money got (German Erlös ). Lumby suggests that the word may be used here to indicate the entirety, the sum without deduction, in contrast to the action of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:2 . The same unselfish spirit manifested itself in Barnabas at a later date, when he was content to live from the produce of his hands, 1 Corinthians 9:6 . Possibly at Tarsus, so near his own home, he may have learnt with Saul in earlier days the craft of tent-making, for which the city was famous (Plumptre). In connection with this passage, and Acts 9:26 , see Renan’s eulogy on the character of Barnabas. In him Renan sees the patron of all good and liberal ideas, and considers that Christianity has done him an injustice in not placing him in the first rank of her founders, Apostles , p. 191, E.T.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/egt/acts-4.html. 1897-1910.
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