Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DEFENSE FROM THE
STAIRS OF THE
RAGE OF THE
BROUGHT INTO THE
2. when they heard . . . the Hebrew tongue--(See on
they kept the more silence--They could have understood him in
Greek, and doubtless fully expected the renegade to address them in
that language, but the sound of their holy mother tongue awed them into
3. a Jew of Tarsus, brought up in this city, at the
of Gamaliel--(See on
a fact of great importance in the apostle's history, standing in the
same relation to his future career as Moses' education in the Egyptian
court to the work for which he was destined.
the perfect manner of the law of the fathers--the strictest form of
toward God as ye all are this day--his own former murderous zeal
against the disciples of the Lord Jesus being merely reflected in their
present treatment of himself.
4. I persecuted, &c.--(See on
5. the high priest--still alive.
doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders--the whole
8. Jesus of Nazareth--the Nazarene. See on
9-11. they that were with me--(See on
12. Ananias, a devout man, according to the law, having a good report
of all the Jews which dwelt there--One would not know from this
description of Ananias that he was a Christian at all, the apostles
object being to hold him up as unexceptionable, even to the most rigid
13-15. The God of our fathers hath chosen thee--studiously linking the
new economy upon the old, as but the sequel of it; both having one
14. that thou shouldest . . . see that--"the"
Ac 3:14; 7:52.
hear the voice of his mouth--in order to place him on a level with
the other apostles, who had "seen the [risen] Lord."
16. be baptized and wash away thy sins--This way of speaking arises
from baptism being the visible seal of remission.
calling on the name of the Lord--rather, "having called," that is,
after having done so; referring to the confession of Christ which
preceded baptism, as
17-21. it came to pass, &c.--This thrilling dialogue between the
glorified Redeemer and his chosen vessel is nowhere else related.
when I was come again to Jerusalem--on the occasion mentioned in
while I prayed in the temple--He thus calls their attention to the
fact that after his conversion he kept up his connection with the temple
18. get . . . quickly out of Jerusalem--compare
for they will not receive thy testimony . . . And I said, Lord, they
know, &c.--"Can it be, Lord, that they will resist the testimony of
one whom they knew so well as among the bitterest of all against Thy
disciples, and whom nothing short of resistless evidence could have
turned to Thee?"
21. depart for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles--that is,
"Enough; thy testimony is not to be thrown away upon Jerusalem; the
Gentiles, afar off, are thy peculiar sphere."
22, 23. gave him audience to this word . . . then . . . Away with such
a fellow from the earth, &c.--Their national prejudices lashed into
fury at the mention of a mission to the Gentiles, they would speedily
have done to him as they did to Stephen, but for the presence and
protection of the Roman officer.
24-26. examined by scourging--according to the Roman practice.
that he might know wherefore they cried so--Paul's speech being to
him in an unknown tongue, he concluded from the horror which it kindled
in the vast audience that he must have been guilty of some crime.
25. Paul said to the centurion that stood by--to superintend the
torture and receive the confession expected to be wrung from him.
Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman,
27-29. art thou a Roman?--showing that this being of Tarsus, which he
had told him before
did not necessarily imply that he was a Roman citizen.
28. With a great sum obtained I this freedom--Roman citizenship was
bought and sold in the reign of Claudius, we know, at a high price: at a
subsequent date, for next to nothing. But to put in a false claim to
this privilege was a capital crime.
I was free born--born to it, by purchase, or in reward of services,
on the part of his father or some ancestor.
29. chief captain also was afraid, &c.--See on
30. commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear--that
is, the Sanhedrim to be formally convened. Note here the power to order
a Sanhedrim to try this case, assumed by the Roman officers and
acquiesced in on their part.