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they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. 34 j Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named m Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, m ch. Ixii. s. had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space ; 35 and said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. 36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody;
i render, But there stood. not say, “to us,” which inight make an sayings of Stephen, his pupil Saul was unreal distinction between the Apostles found the foremost persecutor,--we should, and the then believers, and an implied ex. I think, be slow to suspect him of any clusion of the hearers from this gift,—but favouring of the Apostles as followers of generally, to all that obey Him, by this Jesus. (See particulars respecting Gamaliel word recalling the opening of the speech, collected in Conybeare and Howson's St. and binding all together. So that the Paul, edn. 2, vol. i. p. 69, f.) He does not sense of the whole is, • We are acting in here appear as the president of the Sanheobedience to God, and for the everlasting drim, but only as a member. to put good of our common Israel: and otherwise the apostles forth, i. e. to cause them to we cannot do.' And a solemn invitation is withdraw. They are recalled in ver. 40. implied. 'Be ye obedient likewise. It is
35.] The words as touching these remarkable that a similar word, “were men may be joined either with take heed obedient to the faith,” is used of the mul- to yourselves, or with what ye intend to titude of converted priests, ch. vi. 7. do. The latter would give the more usual 33.] When they heard that, they were construction: and seems the more probable cut asunder (so literally : i. e. in heart). of the two. 36.] A great chronological
34.] Gamaliel (see Num. i. 10; difficulty arises herc. Josephus relates, ii. 20) is generally, and not without that when Caspius Fadus was Procurator probability, assumed to be identical with of Judæa, an impostor named Theudas the celebrated Rabban Gamaliel, also en. persuaded a very great multitude to break titled “ the old man," one of the seven, to up their households and follow him to the whom, among their Rabbis, the Jews give Jordan, in expectation that he would divide this title Rabban, a wise and enlightened the river for them to go over. He then Pharisee, the son of Rabban Symeon (tra. relates how Fadus sent a squadron of horse ditionally the Symeon of Luke ii. 25) and against him, killing many of his followers, grandson of the famous Hillel. His name and taking many prisoners, and bringing often appears in the Talmud, as an utterer his head to Jerusalem. But this was in of sayings quoted as authorities. He died the reign of Claudius, not before the eighteen years before the destruction of year A.D. 44: and consequently at least the city. He was the preceptor of St. Paul twelve years after this speech of Gamaliel's. (ch. xxii.3). Ecclesiastical tradition makes On this difficulty I will remark, that we him become a Christian, and be baptized are plainly in no position (setting all other by Peter and John, and in the Clementine considerations aside) to charge St. Luke Recognitions, he is stated to have been at with having put into the mouth of Ga. this time a Christian, but secretly. The maliel words which he could not have Jewish accounts do not agree, which uttered. For Josephus himself, speaking make him die a Pharisee, with much of a time which would accord very well more probability. Nor is the least trace with that referred to by Gamaliel, viz, the of a Christian leaning to be found in time when Archelaus went to Rome to his speech: see below on ver. 39. And be confirmed in the kingdom, says, “ Meanconsidering that he was a Pharisee, op. time nyunerous seditional movements took posing the prevalent faction of Sad. place among the Jews, many men feeding duceism in a matter where the Resurrec. their own ambition by the enmity of the tion was called in question,-and a wise Jews against the Romans, and breaking and enlightened man opposing furious and out in acts of war.” And among these unreasoning zealots,-considering also, that there may well have been an impostor of when the anti-pharisaical element of Chris. this name, But all attempts to identify tianity was brought out in the acts and Theudas with any other leader of outbreak's
Isa. viii. 10.
Matt. xv. 13. o Luke xxi. 15.
1 Cor. i. 25.
to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves : who was slain ; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and k brought to nought. 37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the 1 taxing, and drew away [m much] people after him: he also perished; and all, [n even) as many as obeyed him,
were dispersed. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain n Prov. xxi. co. from these men, and let them alone; n for if this counsel Mate xv 1. or this work be of men, it will come to nought; 39 • but if
25. it obe of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be pch. vii, 51: "fx. 5 : xxiii. found P even P to fight against God. 40 And to him they k render, came.
I render, enrolment.
P render, to fight against God also. mentioned by Josephus have failed to con- note. His revolt took a theocratic character, vince any one except their propounders. his followers maintaining, as Josephus tells See them quoted in my Greek Test. The us, that God was the only ruler and master. assumption of Josephus having misplaced His end is not related by Josephus. his Theudas is perhaps improbable; but were dispersed] Strictly accurate-for by no means impossible, in an bistorian they still existed, and at last became active teeming with inaccuracies. All we can and notorious again, under Menahem, son say is, that such impostors were too fre. of Judas the Galilæan, as Josephus also requent, for any one to be able to say that lates. 38.7 if it be of men ... if it is of there was not one of this name, which was God: implying by the first, perhaps, the by no means uncommon, at the time spe. manifold devices of human imposture and cified. It is exceedingly improbable, con- wickedness, any of which it might be, and all sidering the time and circumstances of the of which would equally come to nought,writing of the Acts, and the evident super. and, on the other hand, the solemnity and vision of them by St. Paul, the pupil of fixedness of the divine purpose by the indicaGamaliel, that a gross historical mistake tive mood, which are also intimated by the should have been here put into his mouth. present tense, ye cannot.- Or perhaps the
about four hundred hardly agrees indicative mood is used in the second place, with Josephus's words above, “a very because that is the case assumed, and on great multitude,” which may mean even which the advice is founded. At all events, more, the greatest part of the multitude : the distinction ought to be prescribed, which and this confirms the idea that different it is not in our A.V. this counsel] The events are pointed at in the two accounts. whole plan-the scheme, of which this work, But the Jewish historian speaks very the fact under your present cognizance, forms widely about such matters : see note on ch. a part. 39.] He warns them, lest they xxi. 38. 37.] The decided words, be found opponents not only to them, but after this man, fix beyond doubt the place also to God :- even' in A. V., does not here assigned to Theudas. The revolt give the sense.-As regards Gamaliel's ad. of Judas, and the occasion of his revolt vice we may remark that it was founded are related by Josephus. It arose on the on a view of the issues of events, agreeing mission of Quirinus to enrol the inhabitants with the fatalism of the Pharisees : that of Judæa. They took it quietly at first, it betokens no leaning towards Christianity, but afterwards rose in revolt under Judas nor indeed very much even of worldly as their leader. He says he was a Gaulon- wisdom ;—but serves to shew how low ite, from a city named Gamala, and in the supreme council of the Jews had sunk returning to the mention of him as the both in their theology and their political founder of the fourth sect among the Jews, sagacity, if such a fallacious laissez-aller he calls him “ Judas of Galilee.” From view of matters was the counsel of the the above citation it is plain that this wisest among them. It seems certainly, enrolment was that so called beyond all on a closer view, as if they accepted, from others, under Quirinus : see Luke ii. 2 and fear of the people (see ver. 26), this oppor
r Matt. x. 17:
xxiii. 31. Mark xiii. 9.
s Matt. v. 12.
Rom. v. 3.
1 Pet. iv. 13, 16.
uch. iv. 20, 20. a ch. ii. 41: iv.
4: v. 14.
agreed: and when they had a called the apostles, ' and 9 ch. iv. 18. beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak with You in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 And they 9 departed from the presence of the council, [sr rejoicing] * Matt. v:? 8 that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for this Phili. name. 42 And daily in the temple, and a in every house, James i. u they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. tch. ii. 46.
VI. 19 And in z those days, a when the number of the a ch.li.iv. disciples was a multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the ver.1 bb Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were bch. ix. 29 : neglected in the daily ministration. 2 Then the twelve c ch. iv. 35. called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, a render, departed rejoicing.
t render, the Name.
z render, these.
b render, Grecian Jews, or, Hellenists. tunity of compromising the matter, which additional distinction, but rather distinGamaliel had designedly afforded them. guished by language, as speaking the Syro
40. when they had .... beaten Chaldaic, and using the Hebrew Scriptures. them] See Deut. xxv. 2,—for disobedience were neglected] literally, overlooked. to their command. 41. the Name] The use of this appropriate word shews, Not "his Name," as A.V., nor "this Name I think, that Olshausen's supposition, that (as others), but the Name, par excellence, the term, their widows, implies all their viz. of Christ. So the terın “the Name" poor, is not correct. Those poor who could is used Levit. xxiv. 11, 16. 42.] On attend for themselves and represent their in the houses see note, ch. ii. 46.
case, were served : but the widows, who reCHAP. VI. 1-7.] ELECTION OF SEVEN quired more searching out at their own PERSONS TO SUPERINTEND THE DISTRIBU houses, were overlooked. And this because TION OF ALMS. 1.7 But, in contrast the Apostles, who certainly before this had to the former entire unity of the church: the charge of the duty of distribution, being introducing that great and important already too much occupied in the ministry chapter in her history, of Judaizing di. of the Word to attend personally to it, had visions, which from this time onward dis- entrusted it apparently to some deputies quieted her in these days) See ch. among the Hebrews, who had committed 1. 15:—but not necessarily as there, 'within this oversight. It has been shewn by a very few days :' the expression is quite Biscoe, that the Hellenistic Jews were indefinite. Some time must have elapsed held in low estimation by the Hebrews. since ch. iv. 32. The Hellenists were
in the daily ministration] Some the Grecian Jews : not only those who have argued from this, that there must were themselves proselytes, nor only those have been deacons' before: and that who came of families once proselytized – but those now elected (see below on their names) all who, on account of origin or habitation, were only for the service of the Hellenistic spoke Greek as their ordinary language, Jews. But I should rather believe that and used ordinarily the LXX version.—The the Apostles had as yet, by themselves or Hebrews were the pure Jews, not neces. by non-official deputies, performed the sarily resident in Palestine (for example, duty. The ministration spoken of was the St. Paul, who was “an Hebrew, descended daily distribution of food : see on ver. 2. from Hebrews,” Phil. iii. 5. See also
2 .] the multitude of the disciples, Cor. xi. 22),-nor necessarily of unmixed -i.e.‘the whole number of disciples in Jeru. Jewish descent, else the words of St. Paul salem: summoning a general meeting of just cited would hardly have conveyed an the church. How many they were in
ch. i. 21:
a Exod. xviii. d It is not o reason that we should leave the word of God, e Deut. 1. 18. and serve tables. 3 Wherefore, brethren, e look ye out l'tin. iii. 7. among you seven men of honest report, full of the a Holy
Ghost and wisdom, whom we e may appoint over this 1 ch. ii. 42. business. But we will give ourselves continually to
prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and 8 ch. xi. 24. they chose Stephen, 6a man full of faith and of the Holy
Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Rep..0.is. Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch :
h ch. viii,5,
20: xxi. 8. i Rev. ii. 6, 15.
C render, our pleasure.
e read, will.
number at the time, is not said. Clearly --but in the higher of faith, the root the 120 names of ch. i. 15 cannot be meant of all Christian virtues : see ch. xi. 24.
It is not our pleasure] Not, it is Of these seven, Stephen and Philip (ch. not reasonable, as Beza, Calvin, and the viii. 5, 26, 40; xxi. 8) only are elsewhere A. V. The meaning of the original word mentioned. On the idea of Nicolas having is always as above. leave the word founded the heretical sect of the Nicolaiof God] For to this it would come, if the tans, Rev. ii. 6, 15, see note there. From Apostles were to enquire into, and do jus- his being called a proselyte of Antioch, tice in, every case of asserted neglect. some have argued that he only was a proseserve tables] It is a question, whether lyte, and none of the rest : some that all this expression import the service of dis. were proselytes,—but the rest, of Jerusa. tributing money-or that of apportioning lem. But neither inference seems justified: the daily public meals. The latter seems rather I should say that the addition simply to me inost probable, both on account of imports that he became better known than the word “daily” above, and of the usage the rest, from the very circumstance per. of the word ministration. That both kinds haps of Antioch having been afterwards of tables may be meant, is possible : but so important a spot in the Christian hardly probable. 3. look ye out] The history (ch. xi. 19, note).- These Dames similarity to Gen. xli. 33 may be noticed, are ali Greek : but we cannot thence infer and seeins to shew that the look ye out of that the seven were all Hellenistic Jews: the A. V. is the right rendering.
the Apostles Philip and Andrew bore Greek seven men] Some have supposed a re- names, but were certainly not Hellenists. ference to the number of nations of There does appear however, in the case of which the Hellenistic Jews would per these two Apostles, to have been a conhaps be composed : some, to 7000, to nexion with Greeks of some sort, see John which number the believers would by xii. 20—22. Possibly, though Hebreros, this time amount : some, to tbe mystic they may not have been descended from number seven, so common in Jewish Hebrews (see above on ver. 1), but sprung writings :--but the best remark is Light. froin intermarriage with Hellenists. And foot's : -'why seven were to be chosen, let so these seven may have been partly He. him say, who has boldness to make the brews, though their names seem to indicate, guess.' – Some present consideration of and their office would appear to require, convenience probably regulated the number. that they were connected with Hellenists,
over this business (or duty)] The and not likely to overlook or disparage duty (see above) was, not that of ministering them. The title of deacons' is nowhere to the Hellenistic Jews only, but that of applied to these seven in Scripture, nor superintending the whole distribution. does the word occur in the Acts at all. 4.) the ministry of the word, in opposition In 1 Tim. iii. 8 ff. there is no absolute to the ministry, or serving, of tables. “This identification of the duties of deacons with is the noblest portion of the work, which those allotted to these seven, but at the no bishop can delegate to another, as be- same tiine nothing to imply that they were ing himself occupied in more important different. The universal consent of all matters.” Calvin. 5.] full of faith, Christian writers in regarding this as the not in the lower sense of truthfulness,' institution of the office of deacons should
ix. 17. xiii.
iv. 14: v. 22. 2 Tim. 1.6. ch. xii. 24:
6 whom they set before the apostles : and when they had k ch. i. 24.
ch. viii. 17: prayed, 'they laid their hands on them. 7 And m the word "sh: v4f. 17.1.
3. 1 Tim. of God increased; and the number of the disciples multi- v. 1971. 22. plied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great f company of the mini
xix. 20. Col. priests were obedient to the faith.
n John xii. 42. 8 And Stephen, full of s faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9h Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexrender, multitude.
8 read, grace.
h render, But. not be overlooked: but at the same time the culminating point of popularity of the we must be careful not to imagine that we church at Jerusalem. As yet, all seemed have here the institution of the ecclesi. going on prosperously for the conversion astical order so named. The distinctness of Israel.' The multitude honoured the of the two is stated by Chrysostom plainly, Apostles; the advice of Gamaliel had whose opinion is that these are not to be moderated the opposition of the Sanheconfounded with any ecclesiastical order, drim: the priests were gradually being but were merely appointed for the purpose won over. But God's designs were far then in band. So also (Ecumenius. But different. At this period another great that the subsequent office of deacon was element in the testimony of the church is founded upon this appointment, is very brought out, in the person of Stepben,probable. The only one of these seven its protest against Pharisaism. This who appears in the subsequent history (ch. arrays against it that powerful and zealous xxi. 8) is called “ Philip the Evangelist," sect, and henceforward it finds neither probably from the success granted him as farour nor tolerance with either of the recorded in ch. viii. 12. In these early parties among the Jews, but increasing days titles sprung out of realities, and and bitter enmity from them both. were not yet mere hierarchical classifica. 8-Ch. VII. 60.1 THE ACCUSATION, tions. 6.) they had, viz. the Apostles. 'DEFENCE, AND MARTYRDOM OF STEPHEN. Their office of giving themselves to prayer
8.] This is the first instance of any, is here specially exercised.— The laying on not an Apostle, working signs and wonders. of hands, the earliest mention of which is The power was perhaps conferred by the connected with blessing only (Gen. xlviii. laying on of the Apostles' hands; though, 14), was prescribed to Moses as the form that having been for a special purpose of conferring office on Joshua, Num. xxvii. merely, and the working miracles being 18, and from that time was used on such a fulfilment of the promise, Mark xvi. 17, occasions by the Jews. From its adoption 18, to believers, I should rather refer the by the Apostles, it has ever been the power to the eminence of Stephen's faith. practice of the Christian church in ordain.
full of grace, i. e. divine grace (not ing, or setting apart her ministers. It was favour with the people'): the effects of also used by the Apostles on those who, which, the miracles were called gifts of having been baptized, were to be fully en Grace (charismata, froin charis, grace). dowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
9.] The word Libertines is rightly see ch. viii. 17; xix. 6, and Heb. vi. 2. explained by Chrysostom to mean, the
7.] And, i. e. on this measure being freedmen of the Romans. Philo speaks of completed ; as would be the case, seeing a large district of Rome beyond the Tiber that these seven were not only servants of as inhabited by Jews, who were mostly tables, but men full of the Holy Ghost and freedmen that had originally been brought of wisdom : and we soon hear of the part in captivity to Italy, Tacitus relates under which Stephen bore in the work. & A.D. 19, that a decree of the senate passed, great multitude of the priests] The number to banish to Sardinia four thousand liber. of priests who returned from Babylon, Ezra tines or freedmen, who were infected with ii. 36-39, was 4289: and the number would Jewish and Egyptian superstitions, and probably have much increased since then. the rest were ordered either to abjure their No evasion of the historian's assertion is to religion or to leave Italy. In this Josebe attempted, as has been done by some phus agrees, relating a story as one of its Cominentators.-- At this time was probably causes, in which Ida, a freedwoman, was