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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - ACTS 28

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    28:1 {qen we knew} (tote epegnwmen). Second aorist (ingressive) active indicative of epiginwskw. qen we recognized. See #27:39. {Was called} (kaleitai). Present passive indicative retained in indirect discourse. {Melita} (melite). Not miletene as only B reads, a clerical error, but retained in the text of Westcott and Hort because of B. Page notes that the island was Malta as is shown from the name, the location, the presence of a ship from Alexandria bound for Rome wintering there (verse #11), and the mention of Syracuse as the next stop after leaving (verse #12).

    28:2 {The barbarians} (hoi barbaroi). The Greeks called all men "barbarians" who did not speak Greek (#Ro 1:14), not "barbarians" in our sense of rude and uncivilized, but simply "foreign folk." Diodorus Siculus (V. 12) says that it was a colony of the Phoenicians and so their language was Punic (Page). The word originally meant an uncouth repetition (barbar) not understood by others (#1Co 14:11). In #Col 3:11 Paul couples it with Scythian as certainly not Christian. These are (with verse #4 below) the only N.T. instances. {Showed us} (pareican). Imperfect active of parecw with -an instead of -on as eican in #Mr 8:7 (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 339). It was their habit on this occasion, Luke means, they kept on showing. {No common kindness} (ou ten tucousan filanqrwpian). The old word filanqrwpia (filos, anqrwpos), love of mankind, occurs in the N.T. only here and #Tit 3:4 (adverb in #27:3). See on ¯19:11 for this use of ou ten tucousan, "not the kindness that happens every day." They were not "wreckers" to take advantage of the calamity. {They kindled a fire} (hayantes puran). The only N.T. example and verse #3 of the old word pura (from pur, fire), a pile of burning fuel (sticks). First aorist active participle of haptw, to set fire to, to kindle. Cf. anaptw in #Lu 12:49. {Received us all} (proselabonto pantas hemas). Second aorist middle (indirect indicative of proslambanw. They took us all to themselves (cf. #Ac 18:26). {The present} (ton efestwta). Second perfect active participle (intransitive) of efistemi, "the rain that stood upon them" (the pouring rain). Only in Luke and Paul in N.T.

    28:3 {When Paul had gathered} (sustreyantos tou paulou). Genitive absolute with first aorist active participle of sustrefw, old verb to twist or turn together or roll into a bundle. In N.T. only here and #Mt 17:22. {A bundle of sticks} (fruganwn ti pleqos). "Some multitude (or pile) of dry twigs" (fruganwn from frugw or frussw, to dry. Only here in N.T.). {Laid} (epiqentos). So genitive absolute again with second aorist active participle of epitiqemi, to place upon. Few things show Paul to better advantage than this incident. {By reason of the heat} (apo tes qermes). Old word, only here in N.T. Ablative case with apo (from the heat). The viper was in a state of torpor in the bundle of sticks. The heat wakened him. {A viper} (ecidna). The old word used by the Baptist of the Pharisees (#Mt 3:7; Lu 3:7) and by Jesus also (#Mt 12:34; 23:33). It is objected that there is little wood in the island today and no vipers, though Lewin as late as 1853 believes that he saw a viper near St. Paul's Bay. But the island now has 1,200 people to the square mile and snakes of any kind have a poor chance. The viper has also disappeared from Arran as the island became more frequented (Knowling). Ramsay thinks that the small constrictor (_Coronella Austriaca_) which still exists in the island may be the "viper," though it has no poison fangs, but clings and bites. The natives thought that it was a poisonous viper. {Fastened on his hand} (kaqeye tes ceiros autou). First aorist active indicative of kaqaptw, to fasten down on with the genitive case. Old verb, here only in N.T. Cf. #Mr 16:18.

    28:4 {The beast} (to qerion). Diminutive of qer and so little beast. See on ¯Mr 1:13. Aristotle and the medical writers apply the word to venomous serpents, the viper in particular (Knowling), as Luke does here. Vincent calls attention to the curious history of our word "_treacle_" for molasses (Latin _theriaca_) from qeriake, an antidote made from the flesh of vipers. Coverdale translates #Jer 8:22: "There is no more treacle in Gilead." Jeremy Taylor: "We kill the viper and make treacle of him." {Hanging from his hand} (kremamenon ek tes ceiros autou). Vivid picture of the snake dangling from Paul's hand. Present middle participle of kremamai, late form for kremannumi, to hang up, to suspend (cf. #Ga 3:13). {No doubt} (pantws). Literally, By all means, old adverb. Cf. #21:22; Lu 4:23; 1Co 9:22. Only by Luke and Paul in the N.T. "They _knew_ that he was a prisoner being taken to Rome on some grave charge, and _inferred_ that the charge was murder" (Page). {Though he hath escaped} (diaswqenta). First aorist passive participle of diaswzw (same verb used in #24:43,44; 28:1), so-called concessive use of the participle (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1129). {Yet Justice} (dike). An abstraction personified like the Latin _Justitia_ (Page). The natives speak of dike as a goddess, but we know nothing of such actual worship in Malta, though the Greeks worshipped abstractions as in Athens. {Hath not suffered} (ouk eiasen). Did not suffer. They look on Paul as a doomed man as good as dead. These people thought that calamity was proof of guilt, poor philosophy and worse theology.

    28:5 {Shook off} (apotinaxas). First aorist active participle of apotinassw, to shake off. Rare word (Euripides, Galen, LXX). In N.T. only here and #Lu 9:5.

    28:6 {But they expected} (hoi de prosedokwn). Imperfect active, were expecting, continued to expect. {That he would have swollen} (auton mellein pimprasqai). More exactly, "Expecting him to be about (or that he was about) to swell up." pimprasqai is present middle infinitive from pimpremi, to blow, to burn, to inflame, to cause to swell. preqw, to swell, seems connected and both use the aorist epresa. Our word "inflammation" likewise means a burning and a swelling. this verb is a common medical term used as Luke has it. It occurs here only in N.T. {Or fallen down dead suddenly} (e katapiptein afnw nekron). Rather, "or was about to fall down dead suddenly." The two common results of a bite by a viper or other poisonous snake, both medical terms used by Luke. {But when they were long in expectation} (epi polu de autwn prosdokwntwn). Genitive absolute. "But while they were expecting for much time." {Nothing amiss come to him} (meden atopon eis auton ginomenon). "Nothing out of place coming to him" (present middle participle). meden the usual negative of the participle and the accusative case the object of qewrountwn (genitive absolute). {Changed their minds} (metabalomenoi). Aorist middle (direct) participle of metaballw, old verb to turn about or around, turning themselves about, changing their minds. Plato uses this very verb in middle voice for changing the mind. {That he was a god} (auton einai qeon). Accusative and infinitive in indirect discourse. At Lystra Paul was first received as a god (Mercury) and qen they stoned him to kill him (#Ac 14:11,19). So fickle is popular favor.

    28:7 {To the chief man of the island} (twi prwtwi tes nesou). An official title correct in Malta (Ramsay, _St. Paul_, p. 343). An inscription in Malta calls Prudens "Primate of the Maltese" (prwtos melitaiwn). Here it is plainly a title and not the common use seen in #13:50; 25:2; 28:17. {publius} (popliwi). this Greek name (praenomen) can be derived either from popilius or publius (cf. publicus for populicus from populus). Entertained us (exenisen hemas). Paul and his companions (Luke and Aristarchus). Was Julius included? On xenizw see #Ac 10:23. {Courteously} (filofronws). this old adverb from filofrwn (filos, fren, friendly mind) occurs here alone in the N.T. In a kindly or friendly manner, all the more so because of the original suspicion of Paul as a criminal.

    28:8 {Lay} (katakeisqai). Common verb for the sick (#Mr 1:30; Joh 5:6). {Sick} (sunecomenon). "Held together." Common verb again for the sick as in #Lu 4:38. {Of fever} (puretois). Instrumental case, and plural "fevers," medical term for intermittent attacks of fever (Demosthenes, Lucian, medical writers). {Dysentery} (dusenteriwi). Instrumental case also. Late form of the older dusenteria and only here in N.T. Our very word _dysentery_. Another medical term of which Luke uses so many. Hippocrates often mentions these two diseases together. {Laying his hands on him healed him} (epiqeis tas ceiras autwi iasato auton). Either like the laying on of hands in #Jas 5:14, the gift of healing (#1Co 12:9f.), or the tender interest of Jesus when he took hold of the hand of Peter's mother-in-law (#Mr 1:31). Ramsay argues that iaomai is employed here of the miraculous healing by Paul while qerapeuw is used of the cures by Luke the physician (verse #9). this is a general distinction and it is probably observed here, but in #Lu 6:18 (which see) both verbs are employed of the healings by Jesus. {Came and were healed} (proserconto kai eqerapeuonto). Imperfect middle and imperfect passive. A regular stream of patients came during these months. Luke had his share in the honors, "us" (hemas), and no doubt his share in the cures. {With many honors} (pollais timais). Instrumental case. The word was often applied to payment for professional services as we today speak of an honorarium. {They put on board} (epeqento). Second aorist middle indicative of epitiqemi, to put on. The idea of "on board" is merely suggested by anagomenois (when we sailed) "the things for our needs" (ta pros tas creias).

    28:11 {Which had wintered} (parakeceimakoti). Perfect active participle of paraceimazw, to pass the winter. Old verb, in N.T. only #27:12; 28:11; 1Co 16:6; Tit 3:12. The locative case agreeing with ploiwi. Navigation in the Mediterranean usually opened up in February (always by March), spring beginning on Feb. 9 (Page). {Whose sign was the Twin Brothers} (parasemwi dioskourois). The word parasemwi can be either a substantive (as Revised Version has it) or an adjective "marked by the sign," examples of both uses common in ancient Greek. dioskourois is in apposition with parasemwi. The word means the twin sons (kouros or koros) of Zeus (Dios, genitive of Zeus) and Leda, viz., Castor and Pollux. The Attic used the dual, tw dioskorw. Castor and Pollux were the tutelary deities of sailors whose figures were painted one on each side of the prow of the ship. this sign was the name of the ship. So they start in another grain ship of Alexandria bound for Rome.

    28:12 {Touching} (katacqentes). First aorist passive participle of katagw, to go down to land, just the opposite of anecqemen in verse #11 from anagw, to go up to sea. {At Syracuse} (eis surakousas). The chief city of Sicily and eighty miles from Malta. Perhaps open weather and a southerly wind helped them across. Here it was that Alcibiades wrecked the power and glory of Athens. Why the ship spent three days we do not know.

    28:13 {We made a circuit} (perielqontes). Second aorist active of periercomai, to go around, old verb, already in #19:13. See also #Heb 11:37; 1Ti 5:13. But Westcott and Hort read perielontes after Aleph B (from periairew) as in #27:40, though here it could only mean casting loose, for which no other authority exists. At any rate the ship had to tack to reach Rhegium and was not able to make a straight course (enqudromew, #16:11). {Rhegium} (rhegion) is from rhegnumi, to break off, the place where the land breaks off, the southern entrance to the straits of Messina. {A south wind sprang up} (epigenomenou notou). Genitive absolute again, and for all the world like that fatal south wind in #27:13, but with no bad results this time, though the weather was plainly treacherous at this early season. {On the second day} (deuteraioi). this is the classical use of the predicate adjective, "We second day menw as in #Lu 24:22; Joh 11:39; Php 3:5 instead of the adverb (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 657). {To Puteoli} (eis potiolous). It was 182 miles from Rhegium and would require 26 hours (Page). It was eight miles northwest from Neapolis (Naples) and the chief port of Rome, the regular harbor for the Alexandrian ships from Rome. Portions of the great mole are said to be still visible.

    28:14 {Where we found brethren} (hou heurontes adelfous). Possibly from Alexandria, but, as Blass observes, it is no more strange to find "brethren" in Christ in Puteoli when Paul arrives than in Rome. There was a large Jewish quarter. {Seven days} (hemeras hepta). Accusative of extent of time. Paul and his party remained so long at the urgent request of the brethren. He was still a prisoner, but clearly Julius was only too glad to show another courtesy to Paul to whom they all owed their lives. It was 130 miles by land from Puteoli to Rome over one of the great Roman roads. {And so we came to Rome} (kai houtws eis ten romen elqamen). So at last. Luke is exultant as Page observes: _Paulus Romae captivus: triumphus unicus_. It is the climax of the book of Acts (#19:21; 23:11), but not the close of Paul's career. Page rightly remarks that a new paragraph should begin with verse #15, for brethren came from Rome and this part of the journey is touched with the flavour of that incident. The great event is that Paul reached Rome, but not as he had once hoped (#Ro 15:22-29).

    28:15 {When they heard of us} (akousantes ta peri hemwn). How "they heard the things concerning us" we do not know. Good news had its way of travel even before the days of telegraph, telephone, daily papers. Possibly Julius had to send on special couriers with news of his arrival after the shipwreck. Possibly some of the brethren in Puteoli at once (beginning of the week) sent on news to the brethren in Rome. The church in Rome had long ago received Paul's letter from Corinth at the hands of Phoebe. {To meet us} (eis apantesin hemin). Idiomatic phrase, "for meeting with us" (associative instrumental case). _Koin‚_ word apantesis from verb apantaw, to meet, in N.T. only here; #Mt 25:6; 1Ti 4:17. Use after eis rather than infinitive like a translation Hebraism (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 91). {As far as the Market of Appius} (acri appiou forou). The Forum of Appius, 90 miles from Puteoli, 40 from Rome, on the great Appian Way. The Censor Appius Claudius had constructed this part of the road, B.C. 312. Paul probably struck the Appian Way at Capua. Portions of this great stone highway are still in use. If one wishes to tread where Paul trod, he can do it here. Appii Forum had a bad reputation, the haunt of thieves, thugs, and swindlers. What would this motley crowd think of Paul chained to a soldier? {Three Taverns} (triwn tabernwn). Genitive case after acri like appiou forou. About 30 miles from Rome. _Tres Tabernae_. {Whom} (hous). Two groups of the disciples came (one Gentile, one Jewish, Rackham thinks), one to Appii Forum, the other to Three Taverns. It was a joyous time and Julius would not interfere. {Took courage} (elabe qarsos). The old substantive qarsos is here alone in the N.T. Jesus himself had exhorted Paul to be of good courage (qarsei #Ac 23:11) as he had done the disciples (#Joh 16:33). Paul had passed through enough to cause depression, whether he was depressed or not, but he deeply appreciated this kindly sympathy.

    28:16 {Paul was suffered to abide by himself} (epetrapˆ t"i Paul"i menein kaq' heauton). Second aorist passive of epitrepo, to permit or allow. Literally, "It was permitted to Paul to abide by himself." Some late documents (Textus Receptus) here add: "The centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard" (or the stratopedarch). this officer used to be considered Burrus who was Prefect of the Praetorian Guard A.D. 51-62. But it is by no means certain that Julius turned the prisoners over to this officer. It seems more likely that Julius would report to the captain of the Peregrini. If so, we may be sure that Julius would give a good report of Paul to this officer who would be kindly disposed and would allow Paul comparative freedom (living by himself, in his lodging, verse #23, his own hired house verse #30, though still chained to a soldier). {With the soldier that guarded him} (sun twi fulassonti auton stratiwtei). Probably a new soldier every day or night, but always with this soldier chained to his right hand day and night. Now that Paul is in Rome what can he do for Christ while he awaits the outcome of his own appeal to Nero?

    28:17 {Those that were the chief of the Jews} (tous ontas twn ioudaiwn prwtous). this use of prwtos for the leading men of a city or among the Jews we have already had in #13:50; 25:2; Lu 19:47. Literally, "Those that were first among the Jews." The position of the participle ontas between the article and the adjective prwtous is regular (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 777). {When they were come together} (sunelqontwn autwn). Genitive absolute again. Paul could not go to the synagogue, as his custom was, being a bound prisoner. So he invited the Jewish leaders to come to his lodging and hear his explanation of his presence in Rome as a prisoner with an appeal to Caesar. He is anxious that they may understand that this appeal was forced upon him by Festus following Felix and lot because he has come to make an attack on the Jewish people. He was sure that false reports had come to Rome. These non-Christian Jews accepted Paul's invitation. {Nothing against} (ouden enantion). Adjective here as in #26:9, not preposition as in #7:10; 8:32. From en and antios (anti), face to face. Concessive participle poiesas as in verse #4 (diaswqenta) which see. {Yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans} (desmios ex ierosolumwn paredoqen eis tas ceiras twn romaiwn). this condensed statement does not explain how he "was delivered," for in fact the Jews were trying to kill him when Lysias rescued him from the mob (#22:27-36). The Jews were responsible for his being in the hands of the Romans, though they had hoped to kill him first.

    28:18 {When they had examined me} (anakrinantes me). First aorist active participle of anakrinw, the same verb used already in #24:8; 25:6,26 of the judicial examinations by Felix and Festus. {Desired} (eboulonto). Imperfect middle of attempted action or picture of their real attitude. this is a correct statement as the words of both Felix and Festus show. {Because there was} (dia to--huparcein). Accusative case with dia (causal use) with the articular infinitive, "Because of the being no cause of death in me" (en emoi, in my case, aitia, usual word for crime or charge of crime).

    28:19 {When the Jews spake against it} (antilegontwn twn ioudaiwn). Genitive absolute again, antilegontwn (antilegw) common verb for speaking against as in #13:45. _Clementer dicit_ (Bengel). "The word is a mild one to describe the bitter enmity of the Jews" (Knowling). {I was constrained} (enagkasqen). "I was compelled," first aorist passive indicative of anagkazw, the very word used of Paul's efforts to get the Christians to blaspheme (#26:11) which see. Paul was compelled to appeal to Caesar (see #25:11,12 for this phrase), unless Paul was willing to be the victim of Jewish hate when he had done no wrong. {Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of} (ouc hws tou eqnous mou ecwn ti kategorein). this use of hws with a participle (ecwn) is common in Greek for the alleged reason. The genitive case with the infinitive kategorein is regular. Paul says eqnos instead of laos as in #24:17; 26:4.

    28:20 {Did I intreat} (parekalesa). Did I invite you. {Because of the hope of Israel} (heineken tˆs elpidos tou Israel). Genitive with preposition heineken. The hope of the Messiah is his point as in #26:6. {I am bound with this chain} (ten halusin tauten perikeimai). this old verb means to lie around as in #Lu 17:2; Heb 12:1. But it is also used as the passive of peritiqemi, to place around with the accusative of peritiqemi retained. It is a transitive passive. Paul does not lie around the chain, but the chain lies around him, a curious reversal of the imagery (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 815).

    28:21 {Letters} (grammata). Official documents from the Sanhedrin about the charges against Paul. {Any harm of thee} (ti peri sou poneron). {Evil} (poneron). The three aorists (edexameqa, apeggeilen, elalesen) cover the past. These Jews do not mean to say that they had never heard of Paul. It is hardly likely that they had heard of his appeal to Caesar, "for how could the news have reached Rome before Paul?" (Page).

    28:22 {But we desire} (axioumen de). Old verb axiow, to deem worthy, to think right or proper as in #15:38 which see. They think it only fair to hear Paul's side of his case. {Concerning this sect} (peri tes hairesews tautes). Paul had identified Christianity with Judaism (verse #20) in its Messianic hope. The language seems to imply that the number of Christians in Rome was comparatively small and mainly Gentile. If the edict of Claudius for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome (#Ac 18:2) was due to disturbance over Christ (crestus), qen even in Rome the Jews had special reason for hostility towards Christians. {Everywhere spoken against} (pantacou antilegetai). Cf. verse #19. The line of cleavage between Jew and Christian was now sharply drawn everywhere.

    28:23 {Appointed} (taxamenoi). First aorist middle participle of tassw. Formal arrangement as in #Mt 28:16 when Jesus appointed the mountain for his meeting in Galilee. {In great number} (pleiones). Comparative of polus, "more than a few." {Expounded} (exetiqeto). Imperfect middle of ektiqemi, to set forth, as in #11:4; 18:26. He did it with detail and care and spent all day at it, "from morning till evening" (apo prwi hews hesperas). In N.T. only here, #4:3 and #Lu 24:29, though common word. {Persuading them concerning Jesus} (peiqwn autous peri tou iesou). Conative present active participle, trying to persuade. It was only about Jesus that he could make good his claim concerning the hope of Israel (verse #20). It was Paul's great opportunity. So he appealed both to Moses and to the prophets for proof as it was his custom to do.

    28:24 {Some believed} (hoi men epeiqonto). Imperfect passive indicative of peiqw. More exactly, "some began to be persuaded" (inchoative). {Some disbelieved} (hoi de epistoun). Imperfect active of apistew, to disbelieve, continued to disbelieve. It is usually so.

    28:25 {When they agreed not} (asumfwnoi ontes). Old adjective, only here in N.T., double compound (a privative, sum, fwne), without symphony, out of harmony, dissonant, discordant. It was a triumph to gain adherents at all in such an audience. {They departed} (apeluonto). Imperfect middle (direct) indicative, "They loosed themselves from Paul." Graphic close. {After that Paul had spoken one word} (eipontos tou paulou rhema hen). Genitive absolute. One last word (like a preacher) after the all day exposition. {Well} (kalws). Cf. #Mt 14:7; Mr 7:6,9 (irony). Here strong indignation in the very position of the word (Page). {To your fathers} (pros tous pateras humwn). So Aleph A B instead of hemwn (our) like Stephen in #7:52 whose words Paul had heard. By mentioning the Holy Spirit Paul shows (Knowling) that they are resisting God (#7:52).

    28:26 {Say} (eipon). Second aorist active imperative instead of the old form eipe. The quotation is from #Isa 6:9,10. this very passage is quoted by Jesus (#Mt 13:14,15; Mr 4:12; Lu 8:10) in explanation of his use of parables and in #Joh 12:40 the very point made by Paul here, "the disbelief of the Jews in Jesus" (Page). See on Matthew for discussion of the language used. Here the first time ("go to this people and say") does not occur in Matthew. It is a solemn dirge of the doom of the Jews for their rejection of the Messiah foreseen so long ago by Isaiah.

    28:28 { this salvation} (touto to swterion). Adjective from swter (Savior), saving, bringing salvation. Common in the old Greek. The neuter as here often in LXX (as #Ps 67:2) as substantive like swteria (cf. #Lu 3:6). {They will also hear} (autoi kai akousontai). autoi as opposed to the rejection by the Jews, "vivid and antithetical" (Page).

    28:30 {Two whole years} (dietian holen). Only here in N.T. and #24:27 which see. During these busy years in Rome Paul wrote Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Epistles that would immortalize any man, unless, forsooth, one or more of them was written from Ephesus or Caesarea, which has not yet been proven. {In his own hired dwelling} (en idiwi misqwmati). Old word, here only in N.T., that which is hired for a price (from misqow and that from misqos, hire). {Received} (apedeceto). Imperfect middle of apodecomai, received from time to time as they came, all that came (eisporeuomenous) from time to time. {Preaching} (kerusswn), {teaching} (didaskwn), the two things that concerned Paul most, doing both as if his right hand was not in chains, to the amazement of those in Rome and in Philippi (#Php 1:12-14). {None forbidding him} (akwlutws). Old adverb from a privative and the verbal adjective kwlutos (from kwluw, to hinder), here only in the N.T. Page comments on "the rhythmic cadence of the concluding words." Page rejects the notion that the book is an unfinished work. It closes with the style of a concluded work. I agree with Harnack that Luke wrote the Acts during this period of two years in Rome and carried events no further because they had gone no further. Paul was still a prisoner in Rome when Luke completed the book. But he had carried Paul to "Rome, the capital of the world, _Urbi et Orbi_" (Page). The gospel of Christ has reached Rome. For the fate of Paul we must turn elsewhere. But Luke had the presence of Paul while he carried the Acts to its triumphant conclusion. Ramsay can give a good deal in proof of his claim that Luke is the greatest of all historians. Beyond a doubt his rank is high and the world can never repay its debt to this cultured physician who wrote the Gospel and the Acts.

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