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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - ACTS 21

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    CHAPTER XXI

    1. Gotten from (apospasqentav). Withdrawn. Some see in the word an expression of the grief and reluctance with which they parted, and render having torn ourselves away. See on Luke xxii. 41.

    With a straight course. See on ch. xvi. 11.

    2. Set forth (anhcqhmen). Or set sail. See on Luke viii. 22; v. 3.

    3. Discovered (anafanantev). Better, sighted. A nautical phrase. The verb literally means to bring to light: and its use here is analogous to the English marine phrase, to raise the land.

    4. Finding disciples (aneurontev touv maqhtav). The verb means to discover after search; and the article, the disciples, refers to the disciples who lived and were recognized members of the church there. The A.V. overlooks both the preposition and the article. The verb might be rendered strictly by our common phrase, "having looked up the disciples." See on Luke ii. 16. A small number of disciples is implied in verse 5.

    5. Accomplished (exartisai). Only here and 2 Tim. iii. 17, where it is used in the sense of equip or furnish.

    Children. The first time that children are mentioned in the notice of a Christian church.

    Shore (aigialon). Rev., beach. See on Matt. xiii. 2.

    6. Taken leave. See on ch. xx. 1.

    7. Finished (dianusantev). Only here in New Testament.

    Saluted. The word rendered take leave in verse 6. See on ch. xx. 1.

    8. We that were of Paul's company. The best texts omit.

    Philip. See ch. 8.

    The seven. The first deacons. See ch. vi. 5.

    11. Bound his own feet and hands. Imitating the symbolical acts of the Old Testament prophets. See 1 Kings xxii. 11; Isa. xx. 1-3; Jeremiah xiii. 1-7; Ezek. iv. 1-6. Compare John xxi. 18.

    12. Besought him not to go up. This suggests the case of Luther when on his journey to the Diet of Worms, and the story of Regulus the Roman, who, being, permitted to return to Rome with an embassy from the Carthaginians, urged his countrymen to reject the terms of peace, and to continue the war, and then, against the remonstrances of his friends, insisted on fulfilling his promise to the Carthaginians to return in the event of the failure of negotiations, and went back to certain torture and death.

    13. I am ready (etoimwv ecw). Lit., 1 hold myself in readiness.

    15. Took up our carriages (aposkeuasamenoi). The verb means to pack up and carry off, or simply to pack or store away. Hence, some explain that Paul packed and stored the greater part of his luggage in Caesarea. The best texts, however, read ejpiskeuasamenoi, having equipped ourselves. Carriages is used in the old English sense, now obsolete, of that which is carried, baggage. See 1 Sam. xvii. 22, A.V.

    16. Bringing with them, etc. This would imply that Mnason was at Caesarea, and accompanied Paul and his companions to Jerusalem. It seems better to suppose that the disciples accompanied the apostle in order to introduce him to Mnason, whom they knew. Render, conducting us to Mnason, with whom we should lodge.

    Old (arcaiw). Better, as Rev., early. The rendering old might be taken to mean aged; whereas the word means of long standing.

    21. They are informed (kathchqhsan). More than informed. They had been carefully instructed, probably by the Judaizing teachers. See on instructed, Luke i. 4.

    To forsake Moses (ajpostasian ajpo, Mwsewv). Lit., apostasy from Moses. Compare 2 Thess. ii. 3.

    22. What is it therefore? How does the matter lie? What is to be done? The multitude must needs come together. Some texts omit. So Rev. If retained, we should read a multitude.

    23. A vow. The Nazarite vow. See Num. vi. 1-21.

    24. Be at charges with them (dapanhson ep autoiv). Lit., spend upon them. Pay the necessary charges on their account. Hence Rev., rightly, "for them." The person who thus paid the expenses of poor devotees who could not afford the necessary charges shared the vow so far that he was required to stay with the Nazarites until the time of the vow had expired. "For a week, then, St. Paul, if he accepted the advice of James and the presbyters, would have to live with four paupers in the chamber of the temple which was set apart for this purpose; and then to pay for sixteen sacrificial animals and the accompanying meat-offerings" (Farrar, "Life and Work of Paul"). He must also stand among the Nazarites during the offering of the sacrifices, and look on while their heads were shaved, and while they took their hair to burn it under the caldron of the peace-offerings, "and while the priest took four sodden shoulders of rams, and four unleavened cakes out of the four baskets, and four unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and put them on the hands of the Nazarites, and waved them for a wave-offering before the Lord" (Farrar).

    Walkest orderly (stoiceiv). See on elements, 2 Pet. iii. 10.

    25. Blood. See on ch. xv. 29.

    26. Purifying himself (agnisqeiv). See on 1 Pet. i. 22; Jas. iv. 8. Declaring (diaggellwn). To the priests who directed the sacrifices and pronounced release from the vow.

    Fulfillment - until, etc. There is some dispute and confusion here as to the precise meaning. The general sense is that, having entered the temple toward the close of the period required for the fulfillment of these men's vow he gave notice that the vowed number of Nazarite days had expired, after which only the concluding offering was required.

    27. Asia. See on ch. ii. 9.

    Stirred up (suneceon). Only here in New Testament. Lit., poured together, threw into confusion. See on confounded, ch. ii. 6; and confusion, ch. xix. 29.

    28. This place. The temple. Compare the charge against Stephen, ch. vi. 13. Greeks. See on ch. vi. 1.

    Temple (ieron). See on Matt. iv. 5. The Jews evidently meant to create the impression that Paul had introduced Gentiles into the inner court, which was restricted to the Jews. The temple proper was on the highest of a series of terraces which rose from the outer court, or Court of the Gentiles. In this outer court any stranger might worship. Between this and the terraces was a balustrade of stone, with columns at intervals, on which Greek and Latin inscriptions warned all Gentiles against advancing farther on pain of death. Beyond this balustrade rose a flight of fourteen steps to the first platform, on which was the Court of the Women, surrounded by a wall. In this court were the treasury, and various chambers, in one of which the Nazarites performed their vows. It was here that the Asiatic Jews discovered Paul

    29. Trophimus. See on ch. xx. 4. As an Ephesian he would be known to the Asiatic Jews.

    30. Drew him out of the temple. Better, as Rev., dragged (eilkon). Out of the sacred enclosure and down the steps to the outer court, as they would not defile the temple proper with blood.

    The doors were shut. Between the inner and outer courts.

    31. Chief captain (ciliarcw). A commander of a thousand men. See on Mark vi. 21; and on centurion, Luke vii. 2.

    Band (speirhv). Or cohort. See on Mark xv. 16. These troops were quartered in the tower of Antonia, which was at the northwestern corner of the temple-area, and communicated with the temple-cloisters by staircases.

    32. Centurions. See on Luke vii. 2.

    Unto them (ep autouv). Better, upon them.

    33. Chains (alusesi). See on Mark v. 4.

    34. Castle (parembolhn). Better, barracks. The main tower had a smaller tower at each corner, the one at the southeastern corner being the largest and overlooking the temple. In this tower were the quarters of the soldiers. The word is derived from the verb paremballw, to put in beside, used in military language of distributing auxiliaries among regular troops and, generally, of drawing up in battle-order. Hence the noun means, a body drawn up in battle-array, and passes thence into the meaning of an encampment, soldiers' quarters, barracks. In Heb. xi. 34, it occurs in the earlier sense of an army; and in Heb. xiii. 11, 13; Apoc. xx. 9, in the sense of an encampment. In grammatical phraseology it signifies a parenthesis, according to its original sense of insertion or interpolation.

    36. Stairs. Leading from the temple-court to the tower. There were two flights, one to the northern and the other to the western cloister, so that the guard could go different ways among the cloisters in order to watch the people at the Jewish festivals.

    So it was (sunebh). Lit., it happened. The verb means, literally, to come together; hence, of a coincidence of events. It is designedly introduced here to express more vividly the fact of the peculiar emergency and the peril of Paul's situation. Things came to such a pass that he had to be carried up the stairs.

    37. Canst thou speak (ginwskeiv). Lit., dost thou know? So Rev. 38. Art thou not (ouk ara su ei). Indicating the officer's surprised recognition of his own mistake. "Thou art not, then, as I supposed." Rev. properly adds then (ara).

    The Egyptian. A false prophet, who, in the reign of Nero, when Felix was governor of Judaea, collected a multitude of thirty thousand, whom he led from the wilderness to the Mount of Olives, saying that the walls of Jerusalem would fall down at his command and give them free entrance to the city. Felix with an army dispersed the multitude, and the Egyptian himself escaped. There is a discrepancy in the number of followers as stated by Josephus (30,000) and as stated by the commandant here (4,000). It is quite possible, however, that Josephus alludes to the whole rabble, while Lysias is referring only to the armed followers.

    Madest an uproar. Better, as Rev., stirred up to sedition. The rendering of the A.V. is too vague. The verb means to unsettle or upset, and the true idea is given in the A.V. of Acts xvii. 6, have turned the world upside down. Compare Gal. v. 12, and kindred words in Mark xv. 7; Luke xxiii. 19. That were murderers (twn sikariwn). The A.V. is too general, and overlooks the force of the article, which shows that the word refers to a class. Rev., rightly, the assassins. The word, which occurs only here, and notably on the lips of a Roman officer, is one of those Latin words which "followed the Roman domination even into those Eastern provinces of the empire which, unlike those of the West, had refused to be Latinized, but still retained their own language" (Trench, "Synonyms "). The Sicarii were so called from the weapon which they used - the sica, or short, curved dagger. Josephus says: "There sprang up in Jerusalem another description of robbers called Sikars, who, under the broad light of day, and in the very heart of the city, assassinated men; chiefly at the festivals, however, when, mixing among the crowd, with daggers concealed under their cloaks, they stabbed those with whom they were at variance. When they fell, the murderers joined in the general expressions of indignation, and by this plausible proceeding remained undetected" ("Jewish War," c. 13). The general New Testament term for murderer is foneuv (see Matt. xxii. 7; Acts iii. 14; xxviii. 4, etc.).

    39. Mean (ashmou). Lit., without a mark or token (shma). Hence used of uncoined gold or silver: of oracles which give no intelligible response: of inarticulate voices: of disease without distinctive symptoms. Generally, as here, undistinguished, mean. There is a conscious feeling of patriotism in Paul's expression.

    40. Beckoned with the hand. Compare ch. xxvi. 1.

    Tongue (dialektw). Lit., dialect: the language spoken by the Palestinian Jews - a mixture of Syriac and Chaldaic.

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