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Bible Commentaries
Acts 21

Bengel's Gnomon of the New TestamentBengel's Gnomon

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Verse 1

Acts 21:1 . Ἀποσπασθέντας , after we had torn ourselves from them) not without much of longing regret, and with difficulty. Κῶ ) Gaza writes that this is the Attic expression for Κῶν .

Verse 3

Acts 21:3 . Τύρον , Tyre ) Where it was foretold in Psalms 87:4 . Comp. with that psalm, concerning the people of Philistia and the Ethiopians, Acts 8:40 , Acts 21:27 . [ τὸν γόμον , her burden ) So frequently does the kingdom of GOD accommodate itself to the external opportunities of ( i.e. afforded by) the world: but GOD directs worldly things by a secret influence to further the progress of His kingdom. V. g.]

Verse 4

Acts 21:4 . Ἀνευρόντες ) finding again , when we bad sought them. At one time they were alone, at another time with the brethren. ἑπτὰ , seven ) so that they enjoyed even a Sabbath there. Paul was in haste, but in a good way. ἔλεγον , said ) The Spirit was signifying that bonds awaited Paul: in consequence of this the disciples begged him not to go.

Verse 5

Acts 21:5 . Ἐγένετο ἡμᾶς ἐξαρτίσαι ) This is more than if he were to say, ἐξηρτίσαμεν , we accomplished or fulfilled. It came to pass that without hindrance we stayed at Tyre. τὰς ἡμέρας ) the days , which we had determined. σὺν γυναιξὶ καὶ τἑκνοις , with wives and children ) a great number, differently from the custom of the world. ἔξω , outside ) a long way, through so great a city. [ ἐπὶ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν , on or at the shore ) not by way of pageant or escort, but in order to bid farewell. V. g.

Verse 6

Acts 21:6 . Ἀσπασάμενοι having mutually taken leave ) With this word are connected both ἀνέβημεν . we embarked , and ὑπέστρεψαν , they returned .

Verse 7

Acts 21:7 . Τὸν πλοῦν , our course or voyage ) Our whole voyage from Macedonia, ch. Acts 20:6 . τοὺς ) the brethren whom we knew there.

Verse 8

Acts 21:8 . Εἰς Καισάρειαν , to Cesarea ) It is here especially that Paul’s imprisonment is foretold to him; and this was the place, moreover, where he was about to go as a prisoner: ch. Acts 23:33 . τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ , the Evangelist ) ch. Acts 8:5 ; Acts 8:35 ; Acts 8:40 . ὄντος ) who was one of the Seven: ch. Acts 6:5 . It is probable that Paul had some communications (dealings) with Philip as to the care of the poor, Acts 21:15 ( ἐπισκευασάμενοι referring to the alms , with which they were entrusted for Jerusalem): although there was no community of goods, except at Jerusalem: nor did it last, save only until the scattering abroad, of which ch. Act 8:1 treats; at which time, we may suppose that whatever resources were ready to their hand were divided among those who departed from Jerusalem and those who remained in it, according to the extent of their distress (need). Otherwise Philip would not have been able to have departed from it [his services as a deacon for distributing the alms would have been still needed at Jerusalem]: Acts 8:5 ; Acts 8:40 .

Verse 9

Acts 21:9 . Προφητεύουσαι , who prophesied ) On the part of these women, however, the prediction and representation of the imprisonment (bonds) of Paul would not have been so becoming, as on the part of Agabus. Philip was an Evangelist: his daughters prophesied. A prophet is greater than an Evangelist: Ephesians 4:11 .

Verse 11

Acts 21:11 . Αὐτοῦ ) his own , not Paul’s. The nearer that Paul comes to what awaited him, the more express is the prediction that prepares him. λέγει ) נְאֻם , saith.

Verse 12

Acts 21:12 . Παρεκαλοῦμεν , we besought ) Paul knew that in that prediction there was the force of a precept: his companions and the people of that place did not know it.

Verse 13

Acts 21:13 . Συνθρύπτοντες , breaking, afflicting ) The apostles were not altogether void of human affections (feelings). δεθῆναι ) to be bound : Acts 21:11 . ἑτοίμως ἔχω , I am ready, I am in a state of readiness ) The burden is light to him who is ready.

Verse 14

Acts 21:14 . Μὴ πειθομένου , when he would not be persuaded ) Often a person is moved for the sake of others, who is not moved on his own account. Hence we may perceive the stedfastness of Paul. ἡσυχάσαμεν , we acquiesced ) With pious modesty. τὸ θέλημα , the will ) This, they acknowledged hereby, was known to Paul.

Verse 15

Acts 21:15 . Ἐπισκευασάμενοι , having made our preparations ) The inferior reading, ἀποσκευασάμενοι , would be appropriate to their arrival. But they were then departing, and carrying alms to Jerusalem: ch. Acts 24:17 . This was the ἐπισκευή . Hesychius explains ἐπισκευασάμενοι as εὐτρεπισθέντες , made ready, equipped with all things necessary .

Verse 16

Acts 21:16 . Καὶ ) viz. τινές . παρʼ ᾧ ) Resolve the words thus, ἄγοντες ἡμᾶς πρὸς Μνάσωνα , παρʼ ᾧ , κ . τ . λ . ἀρχαίῳ , an ancient disciple) A beautiful eulogium.

Verse 18

Acts 21:18 . Ἐπιούσῃ , on the following day) without delay. σὺν ἡμῖν , with us ) so that the fact of our consent (accordance with him) might be certain: Galatians 1:2 .

Verse 20

Acts 21:20 . Πόσαι μυριάδες ) how many myriads ) Comp. Jeremiah 3:14 , etc. Among all those by degrees circumcision expired; and of these, without doubt, a great part was mixed up with the Gentiles who believed. Wherefore the seed of Abraham has not perished in so great numbers as you would suppose, during the lapse of so many ages[viz. the centuries of the Jews’ unbelief since their rejection of Jesus when He was on earth].

Verse 21

Acts 21:21 . Κατηχήθησαν , they have been informed, they have heard it said ) not merely by rumour, but owing to exaggerated statements, exceeding the real state of the case, they are persuaded of this. τοῖς ἔθεσι , the customs ) of the Jews.

Verse 22

Acts 21:22 . Τί οὖν ἐστι ; what is it therefore? ) A frequent formula. συνελθεῖν , come together ) to hear what God hath done through thee, [ and of what kind is thy doctrine . V. g.]: Acts 21:19 ; ch. Acts 14:27 .

Verse 23

Acts 21:23 . Λέγομεν , we say This counsel originated from spiritual prudence, not from carnal policy. Paul himself had adopted a somewhat similar course already: ch. Acts 18:18 . ἡμῖν , there are with us ) Those four men therefore were Christians.

Verse 24

Acts 21:24 . Παραλαβὼν , having taken to thee) as though thou wert the principal one of them. δαπάνησον ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς , be at the necessary expenses for them ) It was accounted a great act of goodness, and a proof of great zeal, to defray the expense of the sacrifices for needy Nazarites. ἵνα , that ) By this is implied in respect to what Paul ought to do in like manner as those men (be at charges with them, as one of them). Those men, when they had obtained the expenses, and not till then, were able to have their heads shaven for such an end [that they might fulfil their vow, and also that all might know the charge against Paul had no foundation]. γνώσονται , shall know ) from a ceremony so conspicuous to all . πάντες , all) Acts 21:22 , “the multitude.” οὐδέν ἐστιν ) that there is nothing in those things and, i.e. they are false. [There are manifest antitheses between the words of Act 21:21 and those of Acts 21:25 . V. g.] καὶ αὐτὸς , thyself also ) not merely not deterring others from keeping the law. The Gentiles were not compelled, the Jews were not forbidden, to circumcise. Construe these words with φυλάσσων , keeping .

Verse 25

Acts 21:25 . Ἐθνῶν , the Gentiles ) In antithesis to the Jews and Paul himself. By parity of reasoning, this equally appertained to the Jews, excepting the condition of that time [ i.e. the Jews had always observed these precepts, whereas they were then for the first time imposed on the Gentiles]. ἡμεῖς ) we ourselves. κρίναντες φυλάσσεσθαι ) The intervening words, μηδὲν τοιοῦτον τηρεῖν αὐτοὺς , εἰ μὴ , savour of a paraphrase. The old authorities have not the words. [125]

[125] Hence the shorter reading, although declared in the larger Ed. to be the weaker reading, is reckoned by the margin of Exodus 2:0 among those better established; and the Germ. Vers. expresses, no doubt, that paraphrase, but encloses it in brackets. E. B.

The words are supported by CDE de as well as by the Rec. Text. But AB Vulg. Memph. Theb. Syr. omit them. E. and T.

Verse 26

Acts 21:26 . Τότε , then ) Great yieldingness (complaisance). διαγγέλλων ) signifying, professing or declaring . τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν , the fulfilment ) about to be: Acts 21:27 , the seven days ; Numbers 6:9 ; Numbers 6:13 .

Verse 27

Acts 21:27 . Αἱ ἑπτὰ ) The αἱ has a relative force in relation to those days of which Act 21:26 treats.

Verse 29

Acts 21:29 . Σὐν αὐτῷ , with him ) We ought to be anxious, but not too much so, in maintaining our converse with the saints, although likely thereby not to please the ungodly. Paul did not introduce Trophimus into the temple: and yet he did not wholly shun him on account of the Jews. ἐνόμιζον , they supposed ) Zealots are often mistaken in their suppositions .

Verse 30

Acts 21:30 . Αἱ θύραι , the doors ) Lest Paul should avail himself of the protection of the temple.

Verse 31

Acts 21:31 . Ἀποκτεῖναι , to kill ) with strokes and blows: Acts 21:32 . ἀνέβη , came up ) to the Antonian tower, where there was wont to be a garrison and camp of the Romans. φάσις , a report ) sudden.

Verse 32

Acts 21:32 . Ἐξαυτῆς , immediately ) He supposed that delay is dangerous: Acts 21:38 .

Verse 33

Acts 21:33 . Ἐπελάβετο , apprehended him) This captivity of Paul both was the means of his protection, and afforded him the opportunity of preaching the Gospel in the greater safety, in spite of every tumult, ch. Acts 22:22 , and that too in places to which he otherwise could not possibly have had access: Acts 21:40 , ch. Acts 28:31 . ἐπυνθάνετο , he inquired ) of the crowd, indiscriminately, as being upon his first approach: Acts 21:34 . τίς , τί who, what ) Two heads of inquiry, both concerning the saints and concerning the ungodly.

Verse 34

Acts 21:34 . Παρεμβολὴν ) the castle , which the Roman guards (garrison) were holding possession of.

Verse 35

Acts 21:35 . Συνέβη , it occurred, so it was , that) An auxiliary verb, akin to ἐγένετο , it came to pass .

Verse 36

Acts 21:36 . Γὰρ , for ) The violence and impetuosity of the people is evidenced by their cries.

Verse 37

Acts 21:37 . Μέλλων , when he was about to be led) By a most immediate guidance of Divine wisdom, Paul takes this most suitable place for speaking [for making his address to the people], εἰ ἔξεστί μοι ; may I he allowed? ) He addresses him modestly.

Verse 38

Acts 21:38 . Οὐκ ἄρα ; art thou not? ) The captain (tribune) of the soldiers drew his inference thus: Paul speaks Greek; therefore he is the Egyptian. [All along from the times of Alexander the Great, the Greek tongue flourished in Egypt. V. g.]

Verse 39

Acts 21:39 . Μὲν ) Μὲν imparts ἦθος to the beginning of a speech: ch. Acts 22:3 , ἐγὼ μέν εἰμι ἀνήρ . [ λαλῆσαι , to speak ) With what great prudence did the apostle forthwith avail himself of the opportunity afforded by circumstances! Wheresoever he beheld a multitude, the desire of speaking took possession of him: ch. Acts 19:30 . V. g.]

Verse 40

[40. Ἐπὶ τῶν ἀναβαθμῶν , upon the steps ) What an advantage did Paul’s captivity obtain for him, even at the very beginning of it! V. g.]

Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Acts 21". Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jab/acts-21.html. 1897.
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