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Ac 4:1-13. PETER AND JOHN BEFORE THE SAMHEDRIM.
1-12. the captain--of the Levitical guard.
4. the number of the men--or males, exclusive of women; though the
word sometimes includes both.
5. their rulers, &c.--This was a regular meeting of the Sanhedrim (see on Mt 2:4).
8. Then, filled with the Holy Ghost, said--(See Mr 13:11; Lu 21:15).
10. Be it known unto you . . . and to all the people of Israel--as
if emitting a formal judicial testimony to the entire nation through its
rulers now convened.
11. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, &c.--This application of Ps 118:22, already made by our Lord Himself before some of the same "builders" (Mt 21:42), is here repeated with peculiar propriety after the deed of rejection had been consummated, and the rejected One had, by His exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high, become "the head of the corner."
12. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved--How sublimely does the apostle, in these closing words, shut up these rulers of Israel to Jesus for salvation, and in what universal and emphatic terms does he hold up his Lord as the one Hope of men!
13-17. perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men--that is,
uninstructed in the learning of the Jewish schools, and of the common
sort; men in private life, untrained to teaching.
16. a notable miracle . . . done by them is manifest to all . . . in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it--And why should ye wish to deny it, O ye rulers, but that ye hate the light, and will not come to the light lest your deeds should be reproved?
17. But that it spread no further . . . let us straitly--strictly.
18-22. Whether it be right . . . to hearken to you more than . . . God, judge ye.
20. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard--There is here a wonderful union of sober, respectful appeal to the better reason of their judges, and calm, deep determination to abide the consequences of a constrained testimony, which betokens a power above their own resting upon them, according to promise.
21. finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people--not at a loss for a pretext, but at a loss how to do it so as not to rouse the opposition of the people.
Ac 4:23-37. PETER AND JOHN DISMISSED FROM THE SAMHEDRIM, REPORT THE PROCEEDINGS TO THE ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES--THEY ENGAGE IN PRAYER--THE ASTONISHING ANSWER AND RESULTS.
23-30. being let go, they went to their own company--Observe the two opposite classes, representing the two interests which were about to come into deadly conflict.
24. they lifted up their voice--the assembled disciples, on hearing
25. by the mouth of . . . David--to whom the Jews ascribed the second Psalm, though anonymous; and internal evidence confirms it. David's spirit sees with astonishment "the heathen, the people, the kings and princes of the earth," in deadly combination against the sway of Jehovah and His Anointed (his Messiah, or Christ), and asks "why" it is. This fierce confederacy our praying disciples see in full operation, in the "gathering together of Herod and Pilate, the Gentiles (the Roman authority), and the people of Israel, against God's holy Child ('Servant') Jesus." (See on Ac 3:13). The best ancient copies read, after "were gathered together," "in this city," which probably answers to "upon my holy hill of Zion," in the Ps 2:6.
29. now, Lord, behold their threatenings--Recognizing in the
threatenings of the Sanhedrim a declaration of war by the combined
powers of the world against their infant cause, they seek not
enthusiastically to hide from themselves its critical position, but
calmly ask the Lord of heaven and earth to "look upon their
31-37. place was shaken--glorious token of the commotion which the
Gospel was to make
and the overthrow of all opposing powers in which this was to issue.
36. Joses, &c.--This is specified merely as an eminent example of
that spirit of generous sacrifice which pervaded all.