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Acts 2

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Verse 1

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Descent of the Spirit-The Foreign Tongues (Acts 2:1-4)

And when the day of Pentecost - the second of the three annual Jewish festivals, designed to celebrate the ingathering of the wheat-harvest, as the Passover celebrated the barley-harvest. In the Old Testament it is called "the feast of weeks," because observed after the lapse of 'a week of weeks,' or seven full weeks from the morrow after that first Passover-sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16). It was called "Pentecost," by the Greek-speaking Jews, because observed on the fiftieth day after the time just mentioned. (Both names occur in Tob 2:1 .)

Was fully come, [ en (G1722) too (G3588) sumpleerousthai (G4845)] - more correctly 'was getting fulfilled,' or 'was getting full;' that is, the preceding evening had passed away-which was reckoned part of the day on which they had entered-and the great Pentecostal day itself had so far advanced as to be 'getting full.' (Compare the same sense of this word in Luke 8:23, and see the note at Mark 4:37, and at Luke 9:51.) Our translators, though supported by some of the best critics in their rendering of the word, have certainly put more into it than it strictly expresses and seems here plainly to mean.

They were all with one accord, [ homothumadon (G3661)] - see the note at Acts 1:14; but the true reading here appears to be 'together' [ homou (G3674), simul, or pariter, as in the Vulgate].

In one place - the solemnity of the day perhaps unconsciously raising in them an expectation of something that would signalize it. The conjecture (of Olshausen, Baumgarten, Lange, and others) that the "place" here alluded to was one of the temple-courts is a most improbable one. Besides the unsuitableness of such a place, there is every reason to rely on the ancient tradition, that it was the same "upper room" (Acts 1:13) where, ever since their return from Mount Olivet, they had daily congregated for prayer and supplication, and where a church was afterward erected which stood for centuries.

Verse 2

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. 'The whole description (as Olshausen remarks) is so picturesque and striking that it could only have come from an eye-witness.' The suddenness, strength, and diffusiveness of the sound strike with deepest awe the whole company, and thus complete their preparation for the heavenly gift. Wind is a familiar emblem of the Spirit (Ezekiel 37:9; John 3:8; John 20:22). But this was not a rush of actual wind; it was only a sound as of it ( hoosper (G5618)). Neander's description of this-that 'an earthquake, attended by a whirlwind, suddenly shook the building where they were assembled'-has nothing whatever to support it but his own fancy, labouring to account naturally for the supernatural. Had the historian intended to convey this impression, why did he express himself in terms auditing something so much more unusual?

Verse 3

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, [ diamerizomenai (G1266) gloossai (G1100)] - 'disparted tongues' or tongue shaped, flame-like appearances, rising from a common center or root, and not 'streaming through the chamber and floating downward' (as Neander romances), but; resting upon each one of that large company: beautiful symbol this of the Spirit's burning energy now descending in plentitude upon the Church, and about to pour its full tide through every tongue, and over every tribe of men under heaven! Even in the pagan poets (as has been noticed) the appearance of fire playing about the head denotes divine favour (Ovid 'Fasti' 6: 635; Virgil, 'AEneid' 2: 682). But it is to more purpose, perhaps, to call to mind how, under the ancient economy, the descent of fire from heaven upon the sacrifices was the appointed and recognized symbol of the divine presence and favour (Genesis 15:17; Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; and cf. Exodus 19:18). Neander would represent this whole scene as purely internal. 'The glory (says he) of the inner life then imparted to them might so reflect its splendour on surrounding objects, that by virtue of the internal miracle-the elevation of their inward life and consciousness through the power of the Divine Spirit-the objects of outward perception appeared quite changed. And thus it is not improbable that all which presented itself to them as a perception of the outward senses might, in fact, be only a perception of the predominant inward mental state-a sensuous objectiveness of what was operating inwardly with divine power-similar to the ecstatic visions which are elsewhere mentioned is Holy Writ.' Such explanations are not only fitted to shake the credibility of the narrative itself, as a piece of sober history, but encourage a pestilent spirit of scepticism the credibility of the narrative itself, as a piece of sober history, but encourage a pestilent spirit of scepticism in regard to all that is supernatural in the Bible.

Verse 4

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues - real, living languages, as is quite plain from what follows;

As the Spirit gave, [ edidou (G1325)] - or 'continued giving'

Them utterance - implying a prolonged exercise of this stings faculty. The thing uttered-perhaps the same by all-was "the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11), possibly in the language of the evangelical Hymns of the Old Testament: at all events, it is clear that the speakers themselves understood nothing of what they uttered.

The Astonishment of the Multitude (2:5-11)

Verse 5

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem, [ Eesan (G2258) de (G1161) katoikountes (G2730)] - not, perhaps, permanently settled there (as some good critics understand the words), but come to stay there during the festival,

Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven - language scarcely hyperbolical; because Josephus (Jewish Wars 2: 16, 4) testifies to the almost universal dispersion of the Jews long before this. At the same time, only the more religious portion of them would think it incumbent on them to come from great distances to the metropolis to keep the annual festivals.

Verse 6

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Now when this was noised abroad, [ foonees (G5456) = feemees (G5345), as often in the Septuagint, 'the noise']

The multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language - each hearing his own tongue spoken by some one of this strange company.

Verse 7

And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And they were all amazed, [ pantes (G3956 ) should not, we think, have been removed from the text by Lachmann and Tischendorf] and marveled, saying [one to another] (these bracketed words are probably not genuine),

Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? - not thereby reflecting on the sect, so called (for to these foreigners the disciples of Christ would hardly be thus known), but on the region, which was proverbially despised by the pure Palestinian Jews; although its inhabitants were their superiors in general intelligence and liberality, "Galilee of the Gentiles" having freer contact with the adjacent populations.

Verse 8

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were burn?

Verse 9

Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

Parthians ... In this and the two following verses we have probably the historian's own filling up of the question of the astonished multitude. For it will be observed that the different nationalities, whose tongues were spoken by those rude Galileans, are enumerated in a certain winding geographical order. Beginning with the Parthians, furthest to the northeast, once the most powerful nation of the East, the list passes to the

Medes - westward of them; from them it goes to the

Elamites - here meaning the Persians; after them we have the

Dwellers in Mesopotamia - lying (as its name imports) between the Tigris and the Euphrates. The next class has occasioned some difficulty: and in Judea. Since none could be "amazed" at the language of Judea being spoken in Judea itself, and the geographical connection between Judea and the countries mentioned immediately before and after it is not very close, some would read 'in Idumaea, or 'Lydia,' or 'India.' But as "Judea" is the reading of all the manuscripts and versions, conjecture must not be allowed to disturb it. Bengel's and Meyer's idea, that the Jewish dialect is here referred to as something foreign to these Galileans, is evidently a poor explanation. Olshausen's is at least better-that the historian writing from Rome, had in view the position of his Roman readers, to whom the omission of the tongue of Judea itself would have been unaccountable, since it was his object to show how many different languages were spoken by these unlearned Galileans.

And Cappadocia, in Pontus. Having in his way south come to Judea, the historian in his list now rises to "Cappadocia," in Asia Minor, and further north to "Pontus," though southeast of the Black Sea.

And Asia - meaning Proconsular or Roman Asia, that small strip of Asia Minor whose western shore is washed by the AEgean Sea, and nearly corresponding to Ionia, whose capital was Ephesus.

Verse 10

Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Phrygia - in the center of Asia Minor.

And Pamphylia - due south of Phrygia, and washed by the northern shore of the Mediterranean.

In Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene. Libya was that region of northern Africa lying immediately to the west of Egypt, whose northern shore was washed by the Mediterranean. Of its western province-Cyrenaica (or Pentapolis) - the capital was Cyrene, here mentioned (the modern Tripoli); a sea-port and an important Greek city, founded B.C. 630, the birthplace of men celebrated in Greek history. Under the Romans immense numbers of Jews settled here, and enjoyed important privileges. Simon, who bore our Lord's cross, was a Cyrenian (see the notes at John 19:17-30, p. 469); and the Cyrenians had now a synagogue at Jerusalem (see the note at Acts 6:9). Antioch was first evangelized by Christians from Cyprus and Cyrene (Acts 11:20); and among the prophets and teachers at that flourishing seat of Gentile Christianity was Lucius of Cyrene (Acts 13:1). From these southern regions our list again ascends to the

Strangers of Rome, [ hoi (G3588) epideemountes (G1927) Roomaioi (G4514), cf. Acts 17:21 ] - or, 'the Roman sojourners'-that is, the Jews of Rome that were sojourning at Jerusalem,

Jews and proselytes - both born Jews and Gentiles who had embraced the Jewish faith. The list having thus swept windingly from northeast to southwest, and again ascended northwards, closes with the following miscellaneous pair.

Verse 11

Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Cretes and Arabians. Crete (the modern Candia) is that large island of the Mediterranean which stretches across the southern extremity of the AEgean Sea, and celebrated once for its hundred cities. From the time of Alexander the Great large numbers of Jews settled there, which accounts for the mention of them here. Arabia is the well-known country lying immediately to the east of Palestine. An impression of universality is evidently designed to be conveyed (as Baumgarten remarks) by the wide sweep of this catalogue.

We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. See the note at Acts 2:4.

How the Multitude regard this Phenomenon (2:12-13)

Two very different views of it were taken. One class seem to be those foreign Jews who, on hearing the wonderful works of God celebrated in their own tongue by persons totally ignorant of it, were simply confounded, and had no theory on which to explain it.

Verse 12

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, [ dieeporoun (G1280), or-ounto] - were quite at a loss (cf. Acts 5:24; Luke 9:7; Luke 24:4),

Saying one to another, What meaneth this? [ Ti (G5100) an (G302) theloi (G2309) touto (G5124) einai (G1511);] - 'What may this mean?' The other class appear to have been the native Jews, to whom the foreign tongues were unintelligible; and that they were of the hostile party appears but too clearly from the contempt with which they regarded the whole scene.

Verse 13

Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

Others mocking, [ diachleuazontes (G1315a), the strengthened form of the verb, is the true reading] said, These men are full of new wine, [ gleukous (G1098)] - rather, 'sweet wine;' that is, not "new wine," but wine preserved in its original state (which was done by various processes), and which was very intoxicating.


(1) The relation which the work of the Spirit bears to that of Christ has already been explained (see the note at John 16:14, and Remark 2 at the close of that Section, p. 448); more particularly its bearing on the glorification of Christ at the Father's right hand (see the note at John 7:39, and Remark 3, at the close of that Section, p. 339). But there is another aspect of the Spirit's work of scarcely less importance-the contrast between the new and the old economies, or between the period before and after the descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. On this point there are two extremes to be avoided. The one is, that until the day of Pentecost, the souls of believers were total strangers to the operations of the Spirit, and consequently, however devout and religious men might be under the ancient economy-however God-fearing and righteous-they could not, in strict propriety be called regenerate and spiritual.

Some good critics and otherwise orthodox divines hold this; founding chiefly upon the statement, that the Holy Spirit "was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39). But besides that this is opposed alike to the letter of some passages of Scripture and to the spirit of it all, the general analogy of divine truth-which proclaims that only the pure in heart shall see God, and which ascribes all sanctification to the operations of the blessed Spirit-points assuredly in a very different direction. Let anyone try to enter into some of the breathings of Old Testament saints, even in patriarchal times (see, for example, Genesis 49:18), and especially those of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, and then say if he can find anything, even in the New Testament-however superior in its point of view-more characteristic of a renewed nature and of true spirituality. But the other extreme-which would reduce the superiority of the one economy to the other, in respect of the Spirit's work, to one merely of greater copiousness and extension-is not less to be avoided. The day of Pentecost lifted the Church out of infancy into manhood; out of darkness, about the whole work and kingdom of Christ, into marvelous light; out of the externality of the law into the spirituality of the Gospel; out of the distance and dread of servants into the nearness and confidence of dear children; out of the bondage of sinners into the conscious liberty of the children of God. And though this was not all developed at once, the change dates fundamentally from the day of Pentecost; its special features began immediately to appear in the disciples of the Lord Jesus; and in the apostolic Epistles we find its principles and details unfolded in all their breadth, riches, and glory.

(2) The Pentecostal "tongues" have occasioned much learned discussion, most of it as worthless as it is wearisome. The laborious and leaned efforts to disprove the miraculous character of these utterances, mostly by German critics, scarcely deserve notice-such as that they were no articulate languages at all, but incoherent shouting sounds, uttered in a state of religious enthusiasm; or, that though a real language, it was their own and mother tongue, only spoken on this occasion in so excited a way as to seem to others like foreign languages. Such explanations, in themselves almost ridiculous, so flatly contradict the statements of the historian which they profess to clear up, that one has only to read the narrative itself, with an intelligent attention to its phraseology, to be convinced of their baselessness. That it was in real articulate languages that the disciples spake "the wonderful works of God;" that these tongues were unknown to those who used them; but that they were recognized by the different nationalities then present to be their own: this, which is stated in naked terms by the historian, is the only view of the subject which his words can without force be made to express.

The difficulties which devout and believing critics have felt in the subject have arisen partly from their finding no evidence of the use of these languages in the subsequent preaching of the Gospel in foreign lands-which they imagine must have been the chief intention of such a gift-and partly from certain things about "the gift of tongues" in the Corinthian Church, (1 Corinthians 14:1-40.) But there is no ground for thinking that the Pentecostal utterances were a permanent gift of speaking in foreign languages, or that they were intended for any but the immediate purpose which they most completely served-to arrest the attention of multitudes of Jews from every land (compare 1 Corinthians 14:22, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign"), and to afford them irresistible evidence that the predicted effusion of the Spirit "in the last days" had now taken place; that, by settling down on the disciples of the crucified Nazarene, God was in this august way glorifying His Son Jesus; that if they would experience the promised blessings of Messiah's kingdom, they must flock under the wing of this risen and glorified Nazarene; and (though this indirectly) that soon the spectacle now beheld in the streets of Jerusalem would be seen in every land, when, in all the "tongues" of men, the unsearchable riches of Christ should be proclaimed. As to the "gift of tongues" at Corinth, though in some respects it undoubtedly resembled what took place on the day of Pentecost, it differed from it so considerably that we only confuse both by mixing them up the one with the other: each is best explained by itself; and not until we have viewed each independently shall we be able to perceive at what points they meet and part.

Peter Preaches Christ to the Assembled Multitude (2:14-36)

Verse 14

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

But Peter, standing up (along) with the eleven - by which they held themselves forth at once as the responsible representatives of the new Faith,

Lifted up his voice, and said, [ apefthengxato (G669)] - 'spake forth,' implying the formality and solemnity of it;

Unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words, [ enootisasthe (G1801), only here and Genesis 4:23, Septuagint] - an exordium befitting this high occasion.

Verse 15

For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. For these - these disciples, pointing doubtless to the whole inspired company,

Are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day - nine o'clock in the morning (see Ecclesiastes 10:16; Isaiah 5:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:7). This was the first of the three hours of prayer into which the Jewish day was divided, the hour of the morning sacrifice in the temple; and no Jew was allowed to taste anything until he had offered his morning prayer.

Verse 16

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:28-32). [Tischendorf omits the word "Joel" from his text, but against the strongest authorities.]

Verse 17

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God. In the Hebrew and the Septuagint the expression is more indefinite-`And it shall come to pass afterward,' or 'in the futurity' [ wªhaayaah (H1961) 'achªreey (H310) keen (H3651), kai (G2532) estai (G2071) meta (G3326) tauta (G5023)]; but the meaning is the same, as is evident from Isaiah 2:2, and Micah 4:1, where "the last days" denote the time of the Messiah. And they are so called as closing up the ancient economy, terminating all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final dispensation of God's kingdom upon earth. (Compare Hebrews 1:1, "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son;" Acts 9:26, "Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared;" 1 Corinthians 10:11, "They are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.")

I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh. As the copiousness of this gift is denoted by the 'pouring out' (cf. Proverbs 1:23; Zechariah 12:10), so its universality is expressed by its being for "all flesh;" the one in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time, and the other in contrast with the restriction of the Spirit to certain privileged persons or classes under the ancient economy. Accordingly, the prediction goes on to interpret itself in detail. First, there is to be no distinction of sex.

And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy - that is, shall speak by divine inspiration and with divine authority. (The foretelling of future events is not necessarily included in the prophetic gift, as meant in Scripture.) This indiscriminate employment of both sexes, with which the prediction begins, would strike the devout part of the audience as remarkably fulfilled in the hundred and twenty inspired disciples, among whom, there can be no doubt, that women would form an observable portion. Next, there is to be no distinction of age.

And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. This is expressed in accommodation to the mode in which the Spirit operated under the old economy, but need not be held to announce a continuance under the Gospel of precisely the same kind of communication. In the New Testament, at least, we find visions and dreams to be rather the exception than the rule. Finally, there is to be no distinction of rank.

Verse 18

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. This also appears to have been strikingly fulfilled in some of the gifted servants of the Church, both male and female.

Verse 19

And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

Verse 20

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come. Great political and ecclesiastical revolutions, issuing in the entire overthrew of ancient and dominant systems, are symbolically expressed in the Old Testament by the derangement and obscuration of the heavenly bodies (as Isaiah 13:6-13; Isaiah 34:4-5; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10-11). This well-known prophetic language was employed by our Lord in his prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (see the notes at Mark 13:24-25); and to this the prediction quoted by Peter beyond doubt refers, when he seeks to fix the attention of his audience upon "the great and notable day of the Lord" - the day that closed their day of grace as a nation; the day when, "the judgment being set, and the books opened," they were adjudged to lose their standing as God's visible witness upon earth, and to have their whole civil and ecclesiastical polity swept away.

Verse 21

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. This prophetically announces the permanent establishment of the Economy of Salvation, to follow on the dissolution of the Jewish State-when salvation, no longer confined to a special people, should be worldwide, embracing "whosoever should call upon the name of the Lord," that is, should believingly invocate that Name at which every knee must bow (Philippians 2:9-11: see the notes at Romans 10:11-13, and at 1 Corinthians 1:2).

Verse 22

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God, [ andra (G435) apo (G575) tou (G3588) Theou (G2316) apodedeigmenon (G584) or apodedeigmenon (G584) apo (G575) tou (G3588) Theou (G2316)] - rather, 'proved to be from God,'

Among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves [also] know. (The "also" here [ kai (G2532)] is evidently not of the genuine text.) The apostle's object is to show that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they deemed guilty of a blasphemous assumption of divine claims, was indeed divinely sent, and had, in a variety of ways, been divinely attested to be all that He claimed to be.

Verse 23

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God - that is, delivered both by God's fixed purpose and by His perfect foresight of all the steps which that involved, Ye have [taken, and] by wicked hands have crucified and slain - rather, 'ye, by the hand of lawless persons, crucified and slew.' (The word rendered "ye have taken and" [ labontes (G2983)] is lacking in authority, and the singular, 'hand,' is better supported than "hands.") The 'hand,' however, or agency by which the apostle here charges the Jews with crucifying the Lord of glory is not their own, but that of the Roman soldiers, under Pilate's directions (as nearly all good interpreters agree). These are called 'lawless persons' [ anomoon (G459)] - as in 1 Corinthians 9:21, and 1 Corinthians 6:1, they are called "the unjust" [ adikoi (G94)]. Three things are remarkable in this statement of the apostle: First, the courage which could charge upon an immense miscellaneous street-audience-in the calmest attitude, and in the most naked terms-the death of the Christ of God; and the man that did this had himself, but a few weeks before, quailed at the word of a maid in the high priest's palace. Second, the tenderness which temp ered this awful charge with the announcement of an eternal purpose of God in that very death, and so paved the way for the exhibition of this crucified Messiah as their now exalted Lord and Saviour. Third, the dread harmony with which one and the same event is presented as at once a deed of unparalleled criminality on men's part, and of fixed eternal decree on the part of God.

Verse 24

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Whom God hath raised up - thus augustly reversing their sentence of condemnation upon Him;

Having loosed the pains of death. The word rendered "pains" [ oodinas (G5604)], which signifies 'travail-pangs,' is used here to express 'the throes of death,' which in this case gave birth to a new life; and, as the apostle doubtless had in his eye such passages as Psalms 18:4; Psalms 116:3, and the word there used is rendered by the Septuagint "sorrows," but in some other places "cords" or "bands," it is probable that the apostle has here combined both ideas, representing, by an unusual figure, this agonizing death of the Son of God-bitter, yet brief, like the pains of labour, and issuing like them in a new life-as "cords" or "bands" vainly binding Him, since God so speedily dissolved them.

Because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Glorious saying! It was impossible, indeed, that "the Living One" should remain among the dead (see the note at Luke 24:5); but here the impossibility refers (as appears from what follows) to the prophetic assurance that in point of fact He should not see corruption.

Verse 25

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

For David speaketh concerning him, [ eis (G1519) auton (G846)] - or 'with reference to Him,' (see Ephesians 5:23, Gr.) The quotation consists of four verses - Psalms 16:8-11 - which are given exactly as in the Septuagint I foresaw, [ prooroomeen (G4308), Dep., in Att. = heooroomeen (G3708) pro (G4253)] - or, 'saw before [me]'

The Lord always before my face - kept Him ever before mine eye, in a spirit of believing-confidence;

For he is on my right hand - to succour and uphold me, "that I should not be moved:"

Verse 26

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad. In the Psalm the word is "my glory" [ kªbowdiy (H3519)], which the Septuagint render not unfitly, 'my tongue,' whose power of articulation is the distinguishing glory of man above the lower animals.

Moreover also my flesh - my body, as distinguished from the soul, just before mentioned.

Shall rest (rest in the grave, as appears from what follows), in hope - in the confident hope of a blessed resurrection, as the next words show to be meant:

Verse 27

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell - [ eis (G1519) hadeen (G86), according to the much better supported reading, and as in the Septuagint; not hadou (G86), as in the Received Text]. Though the old English word "hell" did not necessarily denote the 'place of future torment'-the word for which in the New Testament is quite different [ geenna (G1067)] - it irresistibly suggests that to the modern reader; and as this is certainly not meant here, the original and now pretty familiar word, 'Hades' [= Shª'owl (H7585)] should have been retained, which means simply 'the unseen world,' or the state or place into which the disembodied spirit enters after death. (See the note at Luke 16:23.) But is the translation 'in Hades' a correct rendering of the original words, or should they not be rendered, 'unto Hades?' They certainly were understood to mean 'in Hades' by, probably, all the fathers; and they are so rendered in the Vulgate, and by Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, and Beza (apud inferos). For the speaker in the Psalm was understood to say, not that he should not be left to go into Hades (or to die by the hands of his enemies), but that he should not be left to remain in it-on the contrary, that he should be shown the path of resurrection-life out of it; and Bengel tries to justify this rendering from three passages in which the same verb and preposition are used in the sense of 'leaving in' (Leviticus 19:10; Psalms 49:11; Job 39:14). But since only the last of these passages is to the purpose, and even in it the stricter sense of 'leaving unto' would suit equally well, this argument is of no value; and if 'in Hades ' is to be defended at all, it must be because the sense demands it. But it does not. For precisely the same sense comes out of the stricter sense-`unto:' thus, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades'-to remain there as its rightful prey.

Neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One - [ ton (G3588) hosion (G3741) sou (G4675) = chªciydªkaa (H2623) in the Qeriy']. The usual word for "holy" [ hagios (G40), qodesh (H6944)] denotes separation from a common to a sacred use, which is the most generic and comprehensive feature of a holy character. But the much less usual word here employed expresses benignity or mercy; one characteristic feature of a holy character being put for the whole. But since in the Psalm itself, according to the present text, this word is in the plural number-`thine holy ones' [ chªciydeekaa (H2623)], but in the margin is singular [ chªciydªkaa (H2623) in Qeriy'], the question is, Did the apostle quote the Psalm exactly as it stood in the text then used, or did he himself alter it from the plural to the singular, in order to fix its application to Christ? Different critics decide differently; but for ourselves, we cannot doubt that in the text as Peter found it the word was in the singular number. For first, though the majority of the existing Hebrew manuscripts have the plural reading, a very great number have the singular-no fewer than 180 of Kennicott's and DeRossi's manuscripts. Next, the Septuagint version has the singular, in the identical terms of the apostle's quotation, and all the other ancient versions accord with it. Then the apostle Paul, in a precisely similar argument from this Psalm, quotes the word in question in the singular (Acts 13:35-37). Lastly, the singular number alone suits the strain of the Psalm; the speaker is one throughout; and the singular number is used from the first verse to the last: how improbable, then, is it that the plural number should have been used in this one word only!

To see corruption. The word here used [ shachat (H7845)] might certainly as well be rendered 'the pit,' and more properly, as some think-having regard to the right etymology [ shuwach (H7743)]. But, since the Septuagint gives it the sense of "corruption," not only here but in several other places [as if from shaachat (H7845)], it had not improbably a double etymology (like one or two other words). The apostle, at least, must have understood the word in the sense of "corruption;" and if all but rationalistic interpreters are right in belong that the Psalmist's expectation stretched beyond temporal deliverances to triumph over death and the grave, we can hardly make the apostle's argument consist with this at all, except in the sense of exemption from such a power of the grave as to involve corruption in it. But it will be necessary to recur to this important verse in the Remarks at the close of this Section.

Verse 28

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life - of resurrection-life;

Thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance - when I shall have sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as the following words more fully express: "In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Verse 29

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Men and brethren, let me, [ exon (G1832) = estoo (G2077), imperat., as in Vulgate, liceat; or (more probably), indic., esti (G2076) = exesti (G1832), licet, as in 2 Corinthians 12:4 ]

Freely speak unto you (make a frank appeal to yourselves), of the patriarch David - so called as the founder of the royal line, as Jacob's sons are called "the twelve patriarchs" (Acts 7:8), as the founders of the Israelite race.

That he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day - containing all that remains of his mortal dust. The apostle expresses himself in softened terms (as Bengel says), his only object being to show that he who in this psalm was to see no corruption could not be David himself.

Verse 30

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

Therefore being a prophet - and so penning this psalm "in the Spirit,"

And knowing - from the explicit promises made to him regarding his seed and throne (2 Samuel 7:1-29), which from thence-forward became materials for these psalmodic outpourings, in which he was carried quite beyond himself and his own times into the glorious future of the kingdom of God, (as in Psalms 89:1-52; Psalms 132:1-18).

That God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, [according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ] to sit on his throne. The words here bracketed [ to (G3588) kata (G2596) sarka (G4561) anasteesein (G450) ton (G3588) Christon (G5547)] are certainly not genuine. [They are missing in 'Aleph (') A B C D, etc., the Vulgate, and nearly all ancient versions and fathers: Lachmann and Tischendorf reject them, and nearly all critics decide against them. They doubtless crept in from an explanatory gloss in the margin. epi (G1909) ton (G3588) thronon (G2362) autou (G846) also is the true reading at the end of the verse.] Leaving out this clause, the whole verse will read thus: 'Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins He would set [One] upon his throne.'

Verse 31

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ - not that Peter means to say that David was conscious of not speaking in this psalm of Christ's resurrection and not his own; but that the prophetic spirit in David, knowing all that was to come to pass, so directed the thoughts and shaped the language of David, that in point of fact he "spake of the resurrection of Christ,"

That his soul was not left, [not kateleifthee (G2641), as in the Received Text, which has next to no support, but engkateleifthee (G1459) and oute (G3777) ... oute (G3777)] in hell (or the disembodied state),

Neither his flesh did see corruption (in the grave).

Verse 32

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

This Jesus, [ touton (G5126) ton (G3588) Ieesoun (G2424)] - 'This very Jesus (as in Acts 1:11, and Acts 2:36 below),

Hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Thus explicitly and courageously does the apostle interpret this prediction of that resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which the whole company then standing before them, filled with the Holy Spirit, were ready to attest on the evidence of their own senses.

Verse 33

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, [ tee (G3588) dexia (G1188)] - not 'to the right hand of God' (as Olshausen, DeWette, Hackett, Webster and Wilkinson, render the words, against good Greek usage), but "by the right hand of God" (as in our version, with the Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Meyer, etc.) - that is, by a glorious forth-putting of divine power. This sense suits best with the whole scope of the argument, which was to prove that God had reversed and undone their treatment of Jesus-raising Him whom they killed, and exalting to supreme power and glory Him whom they had brought so low.

And having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit - that is, the promised Spirit,

He hath shed forth this, which (in its effects) ye [now] see and hear. (The "now" is an addition to the genuine text.)

Verse 34

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

For David is not ascended into the heavens - that is, in the body; indeed, he had already appealed to themselves whether all that remained of David in the body was not still in the midst of them. Of the separate spirit of David the apostle is not here speaking, and therefore no conclusion regarding the state of the disembodied spirit can legitimately be drawn from these words.

Verse 35

Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 'David himself (argues the apostle) cannot possibly be the subject of this prophetic psalm of his, for he calls the person intended 'his Lord;' and David's sepulchre, with all that remains of his mortal body, is still in the midst of us. But one there was who claimed to be at once David's Son and David's Lord: Him God raised from the dead without seeing corruption, whereof we all are witnesses; Him, too, hath God exalted to his right hand, in proof of which He hath shed forth that promised Spirit whose operations have startled this whole assembly.'

Verse 36

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Therefore (to sum up all in one brief word), let all the house of Israel - to whom, as the then existing people of God, the proclamation behoved to be first formally made,

Know assuredly - know by indisputable facts, know by fulfilled predictions, know by the seal of the Holy Spirit set upon both,

That God hath made - for it was Peter's special object to show that these novel and startling events, instead of crossing the purposes and arrangements of the God of Israel, were just His own majestic steps. That same Jesus, [ touton (G5126) ton (G3588) Ieesoun (G2424)] - 'this very Jesus' (as in Acts 2:32, and Acts 1:11),

Whom ye have crucified. 'The sting (says Bengel) is at the close:' very true; but he who thus smites hastens in the very next words to heal:

Both Lord and Christ. (Our version rightly retains the word "both" [ kai (G2532)], omitted in the Elzevir, though retained in the Stephanic form of the Received Text. The evidence for it is decisive.) Not the "Christ" merely, for that was scarcely enough to bring about the desired impression; but the "Lord" also, whom David in spirit adored, and to whom every knee must bow in subjection-this was fitted to make them "look upon Him whom they had pierced and mourn for Him.'

Glorious Fruit of this first Preaching of Christ, in the Conversion and Baptism of about three thousand souls-Beautiful Beginnings of the Christian Church (2:37-47)

Verse 37

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart. The word here used [ katenugeesan (G2660)] - not classical, but several times occurring in the Septuagint-signifies to be 'distressed' (as Genesis 34:7) and to 'have compunctious visitings' (as 1 Kings 21:28). This, beyond doubt, was the begun fulfillment of one of the brightest Messianic predictions (Zechariah 12:10), whose full accomplishment is reserved for the day when "all Israel shall be saved" (see the notes at Romans 11:1-36, particularly Romans 11:26).

And said unto Peter, and to the rest of the apostles - the convinced now probably crowding about the apostles, and each asking of the one nearest to him,

Men and brethren, what shall we do? This is that beautiful spirit of genuine compunction which begets tender and eager docility, and which, on discovering the whole past life to have been one frightful and fatal mistake, seeks only to be set right for the future, no matter what this may involve of change and of sacrifice. Of this the most illustrious case on record is that of Saul of Tarsus (see the note at Acts 9:6).

Verse 38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent. For the meaning of this word, see the note at Matthew 3:2. Here it certainly includes the reception of the Gospel, as the proper issue of that inner revolution which they were then undergoing.

And be baptized every one of you. There is something nobly expansive and exhaustive in this invitation, to everyone of that vast audience, henceforth to regard Him whom they had so recently put to death in quite a new light, and, with grief for that dreadful act, to enroll themselves among His declared and devoted disciples.

In the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins - baptism being the visible seal of that remission.

And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - the gift of the indwelling Spirit, of which tongues and other supernatural gifts were but the external attestations.

Verse 39

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

For the promise - of the Holy Spirit, the grand blessing of the new covenant (Joel 2:28-29) which was to descend upon the Church from the risen and glorified Saviour (see the notes at John 7:37-39),

Is unto you, and to your children - of the seed of Abraham; and-next after you (for the rule was, "to the Jew first"),

To all that are afar off - meaning the Gentiles, who are expressly so described in Isaiah 57:19 (quoted in Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:17). Meyer and others object to this view of the "far off," because Peter did not until long after this come to see the right of the Gentiles to admission to the Church. But this is to mistake the fact; because Peter had no difficulty about the admission of circumcised Gentiles, but only about their admissibility, simply as believers, without circumcision. Meyer's own interpretation of the "far off," as meaning the foreign Jews, is to be rejected on this additional ground, that a large number of that very class were among the persons addressed.

Even as many as the Lord our God shall call, [ proskaleseetai (G4341)] - 'shall call to Himself,' or bring to hear the joyful sound.

Verse 40

And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. And with many other words did he testify and exhort. This shows that we have here not the whole of what Peter addressed to the multitude, though what is given is doubtless reported as he uttered it; and, from the following clause, it would seem pretty clear that only the more practical parts of the discourse-only the home appeals with which the discourse was wound up-are omitted, the burden of them, as given in the words immediately following, being deemed enough.

Saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation - as if Peter, already foreseeing the hopeless impenitence of the nation at large, would have his hearers press in immediately for themselves, and so secure their own salvation.

Verse 41

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Then they that [gladly] received his word. [The bracketed word - asmenoos (G780) - is insufficiently supported.]

Were baptized, [ hoi (G3588) men (G3303) oun (G3767) apodexamenoi (G588) ton (G3588) logon (G3056) autou (G846) ebaptistheesan (G907)] - rather, 'They then, having received his word, were baptized.'

And the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. Fitting inauguration this of the new kingdom, as emphatically an economy of the Spirit! And was not this first draught of "men" before Thine eye, O blessed Saviour-to whom the whole future of Thy kingdom lay open from the first-when Thou saidst to this same trembling apostle, as he lay crouching at Thy feet in his own boat, overwhelmed by the miraculous draught of fish, "Fear not, Simon; from henceforth thou shalt cash men"? As to the baptism of this vast multitude, 'it is difficult (remarks Olshausen) to say how three thousand could be baptized in one day, according to the old practice of complete submersion; and the more so as in Jerusalem there is no water at hand, except Kedron and a few pools. The difficulty can only be removed by supposing that they already employed sprinkling, or baptized in houses in large vessels. Formal submersion in rivers, or larger quantities of water, probably took place only where the locality conveniently allowed of it.'

Verse 42

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, [ Eesan (G2258) de (G1161) proskarterountes (G4342) tee (G3588) didachee (G1322) toon (G3588) apostoloon (G652) kai (G2532) tee (G3588) koinoonia (G2842)] - better, 'And they attended constantly upon the apostles' teaching, and on fellowship'-that is, they yielded themselves readily to those instructions which, in their raw state, would be indispensable to the consolidation and establishment of that immense multitude suddenly admitted to visible discipleship, and were found regularly at the stated meetings of the believers for Christian fellowship and mutual edification. This last appears to us the most natural sense of the word "fellowship" here, which (with the article) must be viewed as something on which the baptized disciples attended regularly, besides "the apostles' teaching:" to interpret it, however, (as Olshausen, Alford, Hackett, and Baumgarten do) of 'community of goods' is surely harsh; for how could they be said to 'attend constantly upon' that? Still less suitable is it to understand the word of 'sacramental fellowship,' which seems clearly intended by what follows.

And in breaking of bread. From Acts 20:7; Acts 20:11, and 1 Corinthians 10:16, it seems pretty certain that partaking of the Lord's Supper is what is here meant. But just as when the Lord's Supper was first instituted it was preceded by the full paschal meal, so a frugal repast seems for a considerable time to have preceded the Eucharistic feast.

And in prayers - social prayers, and probably stated seasons for it.

Verse 43

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

And fear came upon every soul - a deep awe rested on the whole outside community (so Bengel, Olshausen, Meyer, DeWette, etc.): compare Acts 5:5; Luke 1:65. It seems a mistake to apply this (as Chrysostom and Humphry do) to the believers themselves.

And many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. The word "wonders" [ terata (G5059)] represents the miracles in the light of their supernatural character, while the word "signs" [ seemeia (G4592)] expresses the visible evidence which this gave of a divine presence with the workers.

Verse 44

And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

And all that believed were together, [ epi (G1909) to (G3588) auto (G846)] - or 'at one place' statedly assembled;

And had all things common. How they carried this out is expressed in the next verse.

Verse 45

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. See the notes at Acts 4:34-37.

Verse 46

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple - observing the stated forms of Jewish worship,

And breaking bread from house to house, [ kat' (G2596) oikon (G3624)] - rather (as in margin) 'at home,' or, better still, in 'private house,' or 'privately;' in contrast with the publicity of the Jewish services, yet no doubt at some stated place or places of meeting.

Did eat their meat with gladness, [ en (G1722) agalliasei (G20)] - 'with an exultant feeling.'

And singleness of heart - their new views of Jesus, and of God in Him, opening up springs of thought and feeling which absorbed every other: compare Ecclesiastes 9:7, "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works." See also the note at Acts 8:39.

Verse 47

Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Praising God, and having favour with all the people - their lovely demeanour attracting the admiration of all who observed them.

And the Lord - the Lord Jesus, as the glorified Head and Ruler of the Church. So Bengel, Meyer, and Alexander rightly understand the term here. The transition from "God," in the first clause of this verse, to "the Lord" in the clause, confirms this sense. Added, [ prosetithei (G4369 ), 'kept adding'] [to the church] - that is, the visible fellowship of believers; and as it was the exalted Lord that did this, the statement implies, that both their inward conversion and the courage which made this issue in their outward accession to the company of the believing was of the Lord's gracious operation upon their hearts.

Daily such as should be saved. This can hardly be the sense [which would require sootheesomenous]. The strict sense of the words is, 'those who were being (or getting) saved;' a form of expression suggested probably to the historian by what he had just said was the burden of Peter's entreaties - "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." 'And the Lord (adds the historian) sent this word so powerfully to the hearts of the people that there were daily accessions to the ranks of such as thus saved themselves.' It will be observed that we have bracketed the words "to the Church" [ tee (G3588) ekkleesia (G1577)] as being certainly of doubtful authority. [They are missing in 'Aleph (') A B C, etc., and in the Vulgate and most ancient versions; but they are found in D E, etc., and suppled by both Syriac versions. Lachmann rejects them, but Tischendorf inserts them. If not genuine, they were probably inserted first on the margin as an explanation of the sense, and thence crept into the text of those manuscripts that contain them.] Strong as is the external evidence against them, internal evidence pleads strongly for them: first, because we can assign a good reason for their dropping out of the genuine text-from the want of them in the corresponding verse, 41; and next, because of the abruptness with which the whole account of this Pentecostal transaction would terminate without them. So much so that all, or nearly all who reject the words "to the Church" make the first three words of Acts 3:1-26 to be the closing words of this chapter - "together" [ epi (G1909) to (G3588) auto (G846)] - as does the Vulgate. But this make very doubtful sense and questionable Greek.


(1) The reader will do well to observe, at the very outset, the strictly Jewish point of view from which the apostle of the circumcision here addresses his Jewish auditors. The same feature is observable in all his subsequent addresses. Nor is there any reason to suppose that this was done merely in accommodation to his hearers. The relation of the new to the old economy was naturally the first point to be settled by every devout Jew; and to the intelligent Jewish believer in Jesus the exposition of this feature of the Gospel would be invested with intense interest. The apostle's own mind was evidently filled with it, and probably it was to him the one all-engrossing aspect of it, until the vision which he had at Joppa and his subsequent visit to Cornelius enlarged the field of his vision.

(2) If under the Gospel "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved," surely the perdition that shall avenge a despised and rejected Saviour is fitly bound up with the gracious offer. As "that great and notable day of the Lord," which swept impenitent Israel off the stage of the visible Church, avenged the crucifixion of the Incarnate, and the contemptuous rejection of the risen, glorified, and Heaven-attested Redeemer, so "the acceptable year of the Lord" will, to those who welcome it not, be turned into "the day of vengeance of our God." Jesus is to them that believe a chief corner-stone, elect, precious; but unto them that be disobedient, He is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.

(3) When will Christians cease to regard the decrees of God as at variance with the liberty of the human will? If it be possible to make anything of human language, the 23rd verse of this chapter holds forth the death of Christ as the result equally of both. It is the difficulty of seeing the principle of reconciliation that causes any hesitation about receiving one or other of these, and holding both equally. But let us once begin to reserve our faith in the clear testimony of Scripture, until we are able to reconcile it with some known truth with which it seems at variance, and there is an end to faith, as such, in the naked testimony of Scripture, and the rationalistic principle of interpretation takes possession of the mind. Never in the present life will the harmony of the divine decrees and the freedom of the human will be demonstrated, or even clearly discerned. Whether even in the future state this will come within the range of finite vision admits of great doubt. But even though it should yet be cleared up in the present state, our faith in these truths is not to be suspended until then, nor even then yielded to either or both of them as a homage to demonstrated, but simply to revealed truth.

(4) The Messianic character of Psalms 16:1-11, with the apostle's argument from it, has occasioned much diversity of opinion among critics.

(a) The rationalistic school-whose criticism goes to the exclusion of all that is strictly supernatural and prophetic in the Old Testament-see in this Psalm only the poetic outpouring of a pious Israelite, who, toward the close of it, is confident he shall not be left to die by his enemies' hand, but be divinely protected and abundantly blessed. So Hitzig, Koster, and Ewald, who make no allusion at all the apostle's view of the psalm; while Hupfeld protests against being bound to follow the apostolic exegesis of the Old Testament (and perhaps he would have said the same of our Lord's too). Grotius-whose tendencies were in the same direction, though not developed to this extent-take the same view of the psalm, but admits a secondary application of it to Christ, as 'not remaining long under the power of death,' How the same language can be supposed to express one person's hope of not dying, and another's hope of not remaining long dead, it is not easy to see.

(b) Calvin, who is followed by some of the best modern critics-such as Hengstenberg and Tholuck, to whom may be added Alexander-views the entire psalm as meant of David himself, but regards the words of the 10th and 11th verses as expressing his assurance of safety, not from any temporal danger, but from the dominion of death and the grave-an assurance of eternal life and blessedness with God; and since this would have been a baseless expectation but for Christ's resurrection, Peter, according to them, only seizes on the deeper import of the psalm in viewing it as a prophecy of Christ's resurrection.

But however this may be thought to bring out the Messianic character of the psalm, it does not, at least, seem to be the apostle's way of viewing it. If words have any meaning, he lays down the following positions: That the speaker, in the verses under consideration, expected to rise from the grave without seeing corruption; that this was not true of David himself; and that, as it had been realized in one person, and one only-Jesus of Nazareth-the verses in question must have been intended by the prophetic Spirit to express His assurance of resurrection from the grave without seeing corruption. In view of this, Delitzsch-whose view of this psalm accords in the main with that of Calvin-contends (in language, however, not very intelligible) that 'David's hope has found in Christ its full objective truth, while for David himself it has in Him also a subjective truth, so that the truth of its lyrical subjectivity has its foundation in the truth of its prophetic objectivity.' The following, after much reflection, is the view which we have been led to take of the whole subject: That Messiah is the proper subject of the hope here expressed; and since the speaker is one and the same throughout, that Messiah is the primary subject of the whole psalm.

This was the view of probably all the fathers, and of most of the older orthodox interpreters, as it is of Stier in our own time. But it is not necessary to suppose, with most of the foregoing expositors, that David, in penning this psalm, thought of anyone beyond himself. Nor is there anything in it, until near the close, which might not have proceeded from any saint under the ancient economy. But on advancing to his hope of eternal life and blessedness with God; he expresses himself, under the power of that prophetic Spirit by which he "spake," in terms applicable only to his future Seed. In so doing the Psalmist does not pass out of himself into Christ, but only says of himself, and of all saints with him, what, being strictly true only of One Saint, becomes true of himself and of them only in its most comprehensive sense and at their own time. Or, to be more explicit, since the resurrection of David's Seed without seeing corruption is the foundation on which rests all assurance of ultimate redemption from the power of death and the grave, we may, in this sense, legitimately see both these truths expressed in the psalm. And whereas we have said that we regard Christ Himself as the primary subject of the whole psalm-since there is no evidence of one speaker in it giving place to another-we mean by this merely that Christ, who, in the days of His flesh, undoubtedly used the 'Psalter' as His manual of devotion, while entering into the earlier part of this psalm like any other saint, would of course find expressed in the latter part of it an assurance of resurrection exclusively His own. Nor does this in the least militate against the use of the entire psalm, in the sense already explained, by David himself, and all the saints of the old covenant, as it can now be employed, with a fuller apprehension of its meaning, by the whole Church of God. Stier throws out here a beautiful conjecture, which we cannot help thinking is well grounded; and if so, it throws an important light on the apostolic applications of Old Testament Scripture to Christ.

It is this, that as, on His way to Emmaus, the risen Saviour, "beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, expounded unto them (the two that accompanied Him) in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself;" and as the same evening He said to the assembled disciples, "These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me;" and then opened their understandings, that they should understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:44-45) - they were from that time furnished, not only with the true key to the Messianic interpretation of the Old Testament in general, but with some of the choicest illustrations of it, and this very passage as one of them. And if so, we cannot wonder that Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, should, in this his first public address to his nation-and Paul afterward-fasten and comment so confidently upon so striking a prophetic expression of the resurrection of Christ.

(5) Those who hold that Christ has not yet taken possession of David's throne, nor will until the millennium-when He will set it up at its seat in Jerusalem, reigning there in visible glory over the restored tribes of Israel, and through them over the whole earth-seem to us to contradict the plain statement of the apostle here, that the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus to the right hand of God, as both Lord and Christ, until His enemies be made His footstool, is the divine fulfillment of that prediction. No other interpretation of the apostle's language seems to us possible without violence.

(6) What a lively picture have we in the concluding verses of this chapter of primitive Christianity! Bound together by the common tie of a newborn faith in the crucified One as the Christ of God, and the joyful consciousness of life through His name-their faith strengthened, their views enlarged, and their souls fed from day to day through the apostles' teaching and their fellowship in the Supper and in prayer-their very meals were eaten with hearts running over with joy and love; while all-feeling that they were now one family, having one interest-threw their substance into a common stock for behoof of all. What should specially fix our attention here is not the particular steps which this new feeling prompted them to take, and which, in similar circumstances, might quite fitly be taken again. These met the great, the immediate necessities of the infant Church of Christ, but they are manifestly unsuited to an advanced stage of Christianity; nor even in the early Church do they seem to have been long acted upon. But what is so worthy of notice is the all-absorbing character, and the great strength, of religious conviction and spiritual feeling which could make such sacrifices possible. And since the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened, nor has ever been withdrawn from the Church, should we not unceasingly pray and confidently expect that these primitive days may be restored to us, when the Christian community shall be as joyous as in a new-formed world-as loving, as self-sacrificing as at the first; though manifesting it in forms more adapted to the maturity of the Church and of the world?

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/acts-2.html. 1871-8.
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