Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. we were gotten--"torn."
from them--expressing the difficulty and pain of the parting.
with a straight course--running before the wind, as
unto Coos--Cos, an island due south from Miletus, which they would
reach in about six hours, and coming close to the mainland.
the day following unto Rhodes--another island, some fifty miles to the
southeast, of brilliant classic memory and beauty.
thence unto Patara--a town on the magnificent mainland of Lycia, almost
due east from Rhodes. It was the seat of a celebrated oracle of Apollo.
2. And finding a ship--their former one going no farther, probably.
to Phœnica--(See on
went abroad--One would almost think this extracted from a journal of
the voyage, so graphic are its details.
3. when we . . . discovered--"sighted," as the phrase is.
Cyprus, we left it on the left hand--that is, steered southeast of it,
leaving it on the northwest.
Syria, and landed at Tyre--the celebrated seat of maritime commerce
for East and West. It might be reached from Patara in about two days.
there the ship was to unlade her burden--which gave the apostle time
for what follows.
4-6. finding disciples--finding out the disciples, implying some
search. They would expect such, from what is recorded,
Perhaps they were not many; yet there were gifted ones among them.
who said to Paul . . . that he should not go up to
also see on
5. they all brought us on our way with wives and children
. . . and we kneeled down on the shore and
Observe here that the children of these Tyrian disciples not
only were taken along with their parents, but must have joined in this
act of solemn worship. See on
7. when we had finished our course--completing the voyage
from Tyre, we came--which they would do the same day.
to Ptolemais--anciently called Accho
now St. Jean d'Acre, or Acre.
and saluted the brethren, and abode, &c.--disciples gathered
probably as at Tyre, on the occasion mentioned
8-10. next day we that were of Paul's company departed--(The words
"the were of Paul's company" are omitted in the best manuscripts. They
were probably added as the connecting words at the head of some church
and came to Cæsarea--a run along the coast, southward, of some thirty
Philip the evangelist--a term answering apparently very much to our
by whose ministry such joy had been diffused over Samaria and the
Ethiopian eunuch had been baptized
one of the seven--deacons, who had "purchased to himself a good
He and Paul now meet for the first time, some twenty-five years after
9. the same man had four daughters . . . which did
This is mentioned, it would seem, merely as a high distinction divinely
conferred on so devoted a servant of the Lord Jesus, and probably
indicates the high tone of religion in his family.
10. tarried there many--"a good many"
days--Finding himself in good time for Pentecost at Jerusalem, he would
feel it a refreshing thing to his spirit to hold Christian communion for
a few days with such a family.
there came down from Judea--the news of Paul's arrival having spread.
a certain prophet . . . Agabus--no doubt the same as in
11-14. So shall the Jews bind the man that owneth this girdle,
&c.--For though the Romans did it, it was at the Jews' instigation
Such dramatic methods of announcing important future events would bring
the old prophets to remembrance. (Compare
&c.; Jer 13:1,
and Eze 5:1,
&c.). This prediction and that at Tyre
were intended, not to prohibit him from going, but to put his courage
to the test and when he stood the test, to deepen and mature it.
12. we and they at that place--the Cæsarean Christians.
besought him--even with tears,
not to go to Jerusalem.
13. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine
heart--Beautiful union of manly resoluteness and womanly
tenderness, alike removed from mawkishness and stoicism!
I am ready not to be bound only--"If that is all, let it come."
but to die, &c.--It was well he could add this, for he had that
also to do.
15, 16. we took up our carriages--"our baggage."
and went up to Jerusalem--for the fifth time after his
conversion, thus concluding his third missionary tour, which
proved his last, so far as recorded; for though he accomplished
the fourth and last part of the missionary plan sketched out
--"After I have been at Jerusalem, I must also see Rome"--it was as "a
prisoner of Jesus Christ."
16. went with us . . . and brought with them--rather, "brought us to."
One Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, &c.--not an "aged" disciple,
but probably "a disciple of old standing," perhaps one of the three
thousand converted on the day of Pentecost, or, more likely still, drawn
to the Saviour Himself during His lifetime. He had come, probably, with
the other Cyprians
to Antioch, "preaching the Lord Jesus unto the Grecians," and now he
appears settled at Jerusalem.
HIMSELF FROM A
SEIZED BY A
BEATEN TO THE
CHAINS TO THE
FORTRESS, FROM THE
The apostle was full of anxiety about this visit to Jerusalem, from the
numerous prophetic intimations of danger awaiting him, and having reason
to expect the presence at this feast of the very parties from whose
virulent rage he had once and again narrowly escaped with his life.
Hence we find him asking the Roman Christians to wrestle with him in
prayer, "for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the
that he might be delivered from them that believed not in Judea," as
well as "that his service which he had for Jerusalem (the great
collection for the poor saints there) might be accepted of the saints"
(Ro 15:30, 31).
17-19. the brethren received us gladly--the disciples generally, as
distinguished from the official reception recorded in
18. Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were
present--to "report himself" formally to the acknowledged head of
the church at Jerusalem, and his associates in office. See on
Had any other of the apostles been in Jerusalem on that occasion, it
could hardly fail to have been noted.
19. he declared particularly--in detail.
what God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry--as on previous
no doubt referring to the insidious and systematic efforts of the
Judaizing party in a number of places to shrivel the Church of Christ
into a Jewish sect, and his own counter-procedure.
20-25. they glorified the Lord, &c.--constrained to justify his
course, notwithstanding the Jewish complexion of the Christianity of
21. they are informed . . . that thou teachest all the Jews which are
among the Gentiles--those residing in heathen countries.
to forsake Moses, &c.--This calumny of the unbelieving Jews would
find easy credence among the Christian zealots for Judaism.
23. we have four men--Christian Jews, no doubt.
which have a vow--perhaps kept ready on purpose.
24. be at charges with them--that is, defray the expense of the
sacrifices legally required of them, along with his own, which was
deemed a mark of Jewish generosity.
25. touching the Gentiles . . . we have written and
concluded that they observe no such things, &c.--This shows that
with all their conciliation to Jewish prejudice, the Church of
Jerusalem was taught to adhere to the decision of the famous council
26. to signify--that is, announce to the priest.
the accomplishment of the days of purification, &c.--(See on
27-30. the Jews . . . of Asia--in all likelihood those of
Ephesus (since they recognized Trophimus apparently as a townsman,
embittered by their discomfiture
29. Trophimus--(See on
30. took Paul, and drew him out of the temple; and forthwith the doors
were shut--that the murder they meant to perpetrate might not pollute
that holy place.
31. tidings came--literally, "went up," that is, to the fortress
of Antonia, where the commandant resided. See on
This part of the narrative is particularly graphic.
32. the chief captain--"the chiliarch," or tribune of the Roman cohort,
whose full number was one thousand men.
33. commanded him to be bound with two chains--(See on
34. some cried one thing--The difficulty would be so to state his
crimes as to justify their proceedings to a Roman officer.
to be carried into the castle--rather, perhaps, "the barracks," or
that part of the fortress of Antonia appropriated to the soldiers. The
fort was built by Herod on a high rock at the northwest corner of the
great temple area, and called after Mark Antony.
35, 36. Away with him--as before of his Lord
37-40. Art not thou that Egyptian, &c.--The form of the question
implies that the answer is to be in the negative, and is matter of some
surprise: "Thou art not then?" &c.
38. madest an uproar, &c.--The narrative is given in JOSEPHUS
[Wars of the Jews, 2.8.6; 13.5], though his two allusions and ours
seem to refer to different periods of the rebellion.
39. a citizen of no mean city--(See on
40. stood on the stairs--"What nobler spectacle than that of Paul at
this moment! There he stood, bound with two chains, ready to make his
defense to the people. The Roman commander sits by, to enforce order by
his presence. An enraged populace look up to him from below. Yet in the
midst of so many dangers, how self-possessed is he, how tranquil!"
[CHRYSOSTOM (or in his name) in
a great silence--the people awed at the permission given him by the
commandant, and seeing him sitting as a listener.
in the Hebrew tongue--the Syro-Chaldaic, the vernacular tongue of
the Palestine Jews since the captivity.