The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleActs 18:2
And found a certain Jew named Aquila…
This seems to
have been his Roman name, which he had took, or was given him, while
he was at Rome; very likely his Jewish name was (dvn) , "Nesher", which
signifies an eagle, as "Aquila" does: unless it should rather be
thought to be a Greek name; and as "Olympas" is from "Olympios", and
"Nymphas" from Nymphios"; so "Akilas", as it in the Greek text,
from Akylios", and this from (akulov) , "Akylos", which
signifies an acorn. There was a Jewish proselyte of this name,
who translated the Bible into Greek, who is called by the Jewish
writers (olyqe) , "Akilas" F1; and Eusebius F2 calls him
(akulav o pontikov) , or "Akylas" or "Aquila" of Pontus, as here, but
cannot be the same; for one was a Jew, the other a Gentile, then a
Christian, and afterwards a Jewish proselyte, and lived after the
destruction of Jerusalem many years, even in the times of Adrian: nor
is it the same name with Onkelos, the famous Chaldee paraphrast, as
some have thought, and much less the same person; for though their
age better agrees, yet neither their name, nor their nation; for
Onkelos was only a proselyte, not a Jew, as this man was; and the
agreement the names of these proselytes may be thought to have with
this, does but confirm it to be a Roman name; and in a decree of
Claudius the Roman emperor, mention is made of Akylas, or Aquila, a
Roman governor of Alexandria F3: and in the reign of Caius Caligula,
there was a consul of Rome whose name was M. Aquila Julianus. This is
said to be afterwards bishop of Heraclea; but that is not to be
born in Pontus; a country in Asia; (See Gill on 2:9) where many
Jews lived; though he was born in an Heathen country, his parents
lately come from Italy;
a famous and well known country in Europe:
(See Gill on 13:24).
with his wife Priscilla;
she and her husband are both highly spoken
of in (Romans 16:3,4)
(See Gill on 16:3),
(See Gill on 16:4):
because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome;
which edict Suetonius F4 makes mention, who says, that Claudius
``expelled the Jews from Rome, who were continually making
tumults, being moved thereunto by one Chrestus,''
who is generally understood to be Christ; and it is thought that the
reason of this edict was, that the Jews in Rome continually opposing
and disputing with the Christians, about Jesus being the Messiah,
Claudius, who was of a timorous disposition, was afraid of a tumult,
and that it might issue in his detriment, and therefore banished all
the Jews, with whom the Christians were involved; for by the
Heathens they were all called Jews, the first Christians being Jews:
though others say the reason was, that the Jews had contracted an
acquaintance with Agrippina, the wife of Claudius, and had drawn her
into Judaism: but be it as it will, such an edict was made, on
account of which Aquila and Priscilla were obliged to leave Rome,
and come to Corinth. It must be something that was very provoking to
him, otherwise before he had shown much favour to the Jews; for he
not only granted to the Jews at Alexandria, that they should
continue in the observance of their laws and customs, but permitted
the same to them in all parts of the empire, by a special decree,
which runs thus F5;
``Tiberius Claudius Caesar… decrees, seeing the Kings
Agrippa and Herod, my dearest friends, have entreated me
that I would suffer the Jews in every government under the
Romans, to observe their laws as in Alexandria; I most
willingly grant it, not only for the sake of gratifying
those who ask it, but judging that those are worthy, for
whom it is asked, because of their faithfulness and
friendship to the Romans; especially accounting it most
just that no Grecian city should be deprived of these
rights, seeing they were kept for them by the divine
Augustus; wherefore it is right also that the Jews
throughout all our empire should observe the customs of
their country without any hinderance, whom I now command
that in love to us they would behave more moderately, and
not despise the religion of other nations, but keep their
own laws; and I will that governors of cities, and
colonies, and freedoms, both in Italy and without, have
this my edict transcribed, and also kings and princes by
their ambassadors, and that it be put in such a place in
less than thirty days, from whence it may be plainly read.''
This Claudius was the "fifth" emperor of Rome; and this decree
passed in the "ninth", or, as others, in the "eleventh" year of his
reign, and about the year of Christ 51, or, as others, 54.
And came unto them:
that is, the apostle, having found out Aquila
and Priscilla, he came and visited them, and took up his lodging
F1 Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 28. 2.
F2 Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 8.
F3 Joseph. Antiqu. l. 19. c. 5. sect. 2.
F4 In Vita. Cluadii, c. 25.
F5 Joseph. ib. sect. 3.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Acts 18:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=ac&chapter=018&verse=002>. 1999.