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Band (speirhv). See on Mark xv. 16.
Prayed (deomenov). See on prayers, Luke v. 33.
" Unheard by all but angel ears The good Cornelius knelt alone, Nor dream'd his prayers and tears Would help a world undone.
" The while upon his terrac'd roof The lov'd apostle to his Lord, In silent thought aloof For heavenly vision soared." Keble, Christian Year.
3. A vision. See on ch. viii. 31.
Evidently (fanerwv). Better, clearly or distinctly, as opposed to a fancy.
6. A tanner. Showing that the strictness of the Jewish law was losing its hold on Peter; since the tanner's occupation was regarded as unclean by strict Jews, and the tanners were commanded to dwell apart. "If a tanner married without mentioning his trade, his wife was permitted to get a divorce. The law of levirate marriage might be set aside if the brother-in-law of the childless widow was a tanner. A tanner's yard must be at least fifty cubits from any town" (Farrar, "Life and Work of St. Paul").
By the seaside. Outside the walls, both for proximity to the business, and because of the ceremonial requirement referred to above. Mr. William C. Prime, describing a visit to Joppa, says: "I was walking along the sea-beach, looking for shells, and at about a fourth of a mile from the city, to the southward, I found two tanneries directly on the seaside. I observed that the rocks in front of them were covered with the water a few inches deep, and that they soaked their hides on these rocks and also submitted them to some process in the water which I did not stop to understand" ("Tent-life in the Holy Land").
Of them that waited on him continually (proskarterountwn autw). See on ch. i. 14.
8. Declared (exhghsamenov). Better, as Rev., rehearsed. See on Luke xxiv. 35.
10. Very hungry (prospeinov). Only here in New Testament.
Would have eaten (hqele geusasqai). Rev., correctly, desired to eat. Geuesqai is rendered both to eat and to taste, more frequently the latter. See Matt. xxvii. 34; John ii. 9; 1 Pet. ii. 3; and compare Acts xx. 11. He fell into a trance (epepesen ep auton ekstasiv). Lit., an ecstasy fell upon him. The best texts, however, read ejgeneto, came upon him, or happened to him. See on astonishment, Mark v. 42. Luke alone employs the word in this sense of ecstasy or trance.
11. Saw (qewrei). Rev., better, and more literally, beholdeth. See on Luke x. 18. The present tense is graphically introduced into the narrative. Unto him. The best texts omit.
Sheet (oqonhn). Only here and ch. xi. 5. Originally fine linen; later, sail-cloth or a sail. Dr. J. Rawson Lumby suggests that the word, "applied to loose, bellying sails of ships," may indicate that the form of vessel which appeared to Peter "recalled an image most familiar to his previous life - the wind-stretched canvas of the craft on the Lake of Galilee" ("Expositor," iii, 272).
Knit (dedemenon). If this is retained, we must render bound, or attached; but the best texts omit, together with the following and. Render, as Rev., let down by four corners. Compare ch. xi. 5.
Corners (arcaiv). Lit., beginnings; the extremity or corner, marking a beginning of the sheet. "We are to imagine the vessel, looking like a colossal four-cornered linen cloth, letting itself down, while the corners attached to heaven to support the whole." The word is used in this sense by Herodotus, describing the sacrifices of the Scythians. The victim's forefeet are bound with a cord, "and the person who is about to offer, taking his station behind the victim, pulls the end (archn) of the rope, and thereby throws the animal down" (4, 60). The suggestion of ropes holding the corners of the sheet (Alford, and, cautiously, Farrar) is unwarranted by the usage of the word. It was the technical expression in medical language for the ends of bandages. The word for sheet in this passage was also the technical term for a bandage, as was the kindred word ojqonion, used of the linen bandages in which the Lord's body was swathed. See Luke 2412; John xix. 40; xx. 5, 6, 7. Mr. Hobart says: "We have thus in this passage a technical medical phrase - the ends of a bandage - used for the ends of a sheet, which hardly any one except a medical man would think of employing" ("Medical Language of St. Luke").
12. All manner of four-footed beasts (panta ta tetrapoda). Lit., all the four-footed beasts. Without exception, clean and unclean. Not, of very many kinds.
Wild beasts. The best texts omit.
14. Not so (mhdamwv). Stronger: by no means. "With that simple and audacious self-confidence which in his (Peter's) character was so singularly mingled with fits of timidity and depression, he boldly corrects the voice which orders him, and reminds the divine Interlocutor that he must, so to speak, have made an oversight" (Farrar, "Life and Works of Paul"). Compare Matt. xvi. 22.
Common (koinon). Unholy.
15. Call not thou common (su mh koinou). The thought goes deeper than merely styling "common." Lit., do not thou defile. Do not profane it by regarding and calling it common. Rev., "make not thou common."
17. Doubted (dihporei). See on Luke ix. 7.
In himself. On reflection, as compared with his ecstatic state.
Had made inquiry (dierwthsantev). "Having inquired out;" having asked their way through (dia) streets and houses, until they found the dwelling of the tanner, who was an obscure man, and not easily found.
18. Called. A general summons to anyone within, in order to make inquiries.
19. Thought on (dienqumoumenou). Was earnestly (dia) pondering.
22. Was warned (ecrhmatisqh). See on Matt. ii. 12.
24. Near (anagkaiouv). The word originally means necessary; hence of those who are bound by necessary or natural ties; blood-relations. But as relatives or kinsmen is expressed by suggeneiv, this must be taken in the sense of intimate friends a meaning which it has in later Greek writers.
25. Worshipped (prosekunhsen). An unfortunate translation, according to modern English usage, but justified by the usage of earlier English, according to which to worship meant simply to honor. Worship is worthship, or honor paid to dignity or worth. This usage survives in the expressions worshipful and your worship. In the marriage-service of the English Church occurs the phrase, "With my body I thee worship." So Wycliffe renders Matt. xix. 19, "Worship thy father and thy mother;" and John xii. 26, "If any man serve me, my Father shall worship him." Here the meaning is that Cornelius paid reverence by prostrating himself after the usual oriental manner.
28. An unlawful thing (aqemiton). The word is peculiar to Peter, being used only here and 1 Pet. iv. 3. See note there. It emphasizes the violation of established order, being from the same root as tiqhmi, to lay down or establish. The Jews professed to ground this prohibition on the law of Moses; but there is no direct command in the Mosaic law forbidding Jews to associate with those of other nations. But Peter's statement is general, referring to the general practice of the Jews to separate themselves in common life from uncircumcised persons. Juvenal says that the Jews were taught by Moses "not to show the way except to one who practices the same rites, and to guide the circumcised alone to the well which they seek " (Sat., xiv., 104, 105). Tacitus also says of the Jews that "among themselves they are inflexibly faithful, and ready with charitable aid, but hate all others as enemies. They keep separate from all strangers in eating, sleeping, and matrimonial connections" ("Histories," v., 5).
Of another nation (allofulw) Only here in New Testament. Used of the Philistines, 1 Sam. xiii. 3-5 (Sept.).
Me. Emphatic, by contrast with ye. "Ye know," etc., "but God hath showed me."
29. With what intent (tini logw). More strictly, for what reason.
I was fasting, and. The best texts omit.
At the ninth hour I prayed (thn ennathn proseucomenov). Lit., praying during the ninth hour. With the omission of I was fasting, and, the rendering is as Rev., Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer. 17
31. Said (fhsi). Rev., saith. The historical present, giving vividness to the narrative.
33. Well (kalwv). You have done a courteous and handsome thing in coming. Compare 3 John 5, 6.
34. I perceive. See on ch. iv. 13.
Respecter of persons (proswpolhmpthv). See on respect of persons, Jas. ii. 1. Only here in New Testament.
36. The word (ton logon). The message.
37. That word (rhma). The contents of the message: the report or history which it proclaimed.
Went about (dihlqen). Lit., went through (the country). Compare ch. viii. 4.
And healing. The and (kai) has a particularizing force: doing good, and in particular, healing.
Oppressed (katadunasteuomenouv). Only here and Jas. ii. 6, on which see note.
39. They slew. The best texts insert kai, also: "whom also they slew;" also having an incressive force. They added this crowning atrocity to other persecutions.
40. Shewed him openly (edwken auton emfanh genesqai). Lit., gave him to become manifest. Compare, for the construction, ch. ii. 27.
41. Chosen before (prokeceirotonhmenoiv). Only here in New Testament. The simple verb ceirotonew, to appoint, occurs Acts xiv. 23; 2 Corinthians viii. 19; and originally means to stretch out the hand for the purpose of giving a vote. Hence to elect by show of hands, and generally to appoint. Plato uses the word of the election of leaders of choruses ("Laws," 765). In later ecclesiastical usage it signified ordain, as bishops or deacons.
Who (oitinev). The compound pronoun marks them more strongly as belonging to the class of eye-witnesses.
42. Testify (diamarturasqai). See on ch. ii. 40.
43. His name. As in the Lord's prayer: not simply the title, but all that is embraced and expressed by the name: Christ's "entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship" (Meyer).
44. The Holy Ghost fell. The only example of the bestowment of the Spirit before baptism.
45. They of the circumcision. From this point Luke distinguishes Christians into two classes - those of the circumcision and those of the uncircumcision; calling the former Jews, and the latter Gentiles or Greeks. Were amazed. See on ch. ii. 7.