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verted, that your sins may be blotted out, soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall when the times of refreshing shall come from be destroyed from among the people. the presence of the Lord ;
21 Yea, and all the prophets from Sa20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which muel and those that follow after, as many before was preached unto you:
as have spoken, have likewise foretold of 21 Whom the heaven must receive until these days. the times of restitution of all things, which 25 Ye are the children of the prophets, God hath spoken by the mouth of all his and of the covenant which God made with holy prophets since the world began. our fathers, saying unto Abraham, “And in
22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth A prophet shall the Lord your God raise be blessed. unto
you of your brethren, like unto me; 26 Unto you first God, having raised up him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in he shall say unto you.
turning away every one of you from his 23 And it shall come to pass, that every iniquities.
3 Deut. 18. 15. Chap. 7. 37. Gen. 12. 3. Verse 1. “ Hour.”—The division of the day into hours does not occur in Scripture before the Captivity. It is first noticed by Daniel ; and was doubtless one of those matters of useful information which the Jews acquired from their Babylonian conquerors.
The division of the day into twelve hours continued from that time to prevail among the Jews; hence our Saviour asks, " Are there not twelve hours in the day?" obviously appealing to this as an ancient and long-established division, which had become a matter of public notoriety.
This division of the day into hours, was the same which still prevails in the East, and which differs very seriously from our own. We, by counting from points at all times fixed, namely, twelve hours from midnight to noon, and twelve from noon to midnight, obtain hours, both of the day and night, of equal length at all times of the year and under the constant variations which occur in the length of the day and night, as the seasons advance and recede. But the Jews did not apply the division by hours to the night. And the day, which they did subject to the division into twelve hours, was not calculated from any fixed point, but was the natural and changeable day (called by astronomers, however, the artificial day), embracing the time between the rising and the setting of the sun. Thus their first hour began at sun-rise, and their twelfth hour ended at sun-set. But as this day is constantly varying its duration, it necessarily follows that the “hours," or twelfth parts thereof, were from day to day, of unequal length, as the days grew longer or shorter. Hence it is that the modern Orientals can derive but partial benefit from our watches, which are adapted to a fixed division of time, and that they soon spoil the best watches by continual rectification.
In loose references, we say, that, according to this computation, the third hour answers to our ninth hour, the sixth to our twelfth, and the ninth to our third after noon. And this may suffice for popular purposes ; but it is true only at the season of the equinox. At other seasons of the year it is necessary to observe the time when the sun rises, and reduce the hours to our time accordingly. The third hour was, properly, the middle portion of time between sun-rise and noon; and the ninth hour, the middle between noon and sun-set. The sun, at the summer solstice, in Palestine, rises at five of our time and sets about seven ; and then, consequently, the third hour was half an hour after eight: and at the winter solstice, when the sun rises about seven and sets about five, the third hour was, of course, half an hour after nine ;-—and so on of other hours and other times of the year.
2. " The gate of the temple which is called Beautiful.”--This gate is doubtless that magnificent one which Josephus distinguishes as “the Corinthian gate," on account of its being made of Corinthian brass, which was reckoned preferable to either gold or silver. He “Nine of the gates were completely covered with gold and silver, as well as their side-posts and lintels ; but there was one, without the Temple, of Corinthian brass, and greatly excelled those which were only covered with silver and gold.” Its magnificence consisted, as we are also told, in its larger dimensions ; in the value of its substantial material, Corinthian brass ; in its superior workmanship; and in the greater thickness and richness of the plates of gold and silver with which it was covered. The other gates were forty cubits high, with doors of thirty cubits high and fifteen broad; but this one was, as a whole, fifty cubits high, and its doors forty cubits. There was an ascent of fifteen steps to this gate; and altogether it must have made a very grand appearance. This superior appearance was given to it, apparently, on account of its being
that exterior entrance which fronted the entrance to the sanctuary; and as it was the gate which was more frequented than any of the others, by persons entering the Temple, we can thus find a reason for the lame man being laid there in preference. This Corinthian gate was added by Herod the Great.
11. “ The porch that is called Solomon's."-See the note on John x. 23.:
threatening, 23 whereupon the Church fleeth to
prayer. 31 And God, by moving the place where 1 The rulers of the Jews offended with Peter's ser
they were assembled, testified that he heard their mon, 4 (though thousands of the people were con- prayer : confirming the Church with the gift of the verted that heard the word,) imprison him and
Holy Ghost, and with mutual love and charity. John. 5 After, upon examination Peter boldly And as they spake unto the people, the avouching the lame man to be healed by the name of Jesus, and that by the same Jesus only we must
Priests, and the captain of the temple, and be eternally saved, 13 they command" him and
the Sadducees, came upon them, John to preach no more in that name, adding also 2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the 18 And they called them, and commanded resurrection from the dead.
1 Or, ruker,
them not to speak at all nor teach in the 3 And they laid hands on them, and put name of Jesus. them in hold unto the next day: for it was
19 But Peter and John answered and now eventide.
said unto them, Whether it be right in the 4 Howbeit many of them which heard the sight of God to hearken unto you inore than word believed; and the number of the men unto God, judge ye. was about five thousand.
20 For we cannot but speak the things 5 | And it came to pass on the morrow, which we have seen and heard. that their rulers, and elders, and Scribes, 21 So when they had further threatened
6 And Annas the High Priest, and Caia- them, they let them go, finding nothing how phas, and John, and Alexander, and as they might punish them, because of the many as were of the kindred of the High people: for all men glorified God for that Priest, were gathered together at Jeru- which was done. salem.
22 For the man was above forty years 7 And when they had set them in the old, on whom this miracle of healing was midst, they asked, By what power, or by shewed. what name, have ye done this?
23 [ And being let go, they went to their 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, own company, and reported all that the said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, Chief Priests and elders had said unto and elders of Israel,
them. 9 If we this day be examined of the good 24 And when they heard that, they lifted deed done to the impotent man, by what up their voice to God with one accord, and means he is made whole;
said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that the people of Israel, that by the name of in them is : Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant whom God raised from the dead, even by him David hast said, "Why did the heathen rage, doth this man stand here before you whole. and the people imagine vain things?
11 ?This is the stone which was set at 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and nought of you builders, which is become the rulers were gathered together against the head of the corner.
the Lord, and against his Christ. 12 Neither is there salvation in any 27 For of a truth against thy holy child other: for there is none other name under Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Heheaven given among men, whereby we must rod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, be saved.
and the people of Israel, were gathered to13 | Now when they saw the boldness gether, of Peter and John, and perceived that they 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and were unlearned and ignorant men, they mar- thy counsel determined before to be done. velled; and they took knowledge of them, 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenthat they had been with Jesus.
ings: and grant unto thy servants, that with 14 And beholding the man which was all boldness they may speak thy word, healed standing with them, they could say 30 By stretching forth thine hand to nothing against it.
heal; and that signs and wonders may be 15 But when they had commanded them done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. to go aside out of the council, they conferred 31 | And when they had prayed, the among themselves.
place was shaken where they were assembled 16 Saying, What shall we do to these together; and they were all filled with the men? for that indeed a notable miracle Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of hath been done by them is manifest to all God with boldness. them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we can- 32 And the multitude of them that benot deny it.
lieved were of one heart and of one soul : 17 But that it spread no further among neither said any of them that ought of the the people, let us straitly threaten them, things which he possessed was his own ; but that they speak henceforth to no man in they had all things common. this name.
33 And with great power gave the apos
* Psal. 118. 22. Matt, 81. 42. 8 Psal. 2. 1
tles witness of the resurrection of the Lord feet: and distribution was made unto every Jesus: and great grace was upon them man according as he had need.
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was 34 Neither was there any among them surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interthat lacked: for as many as were possessors preted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, of lands or houses sold them, and brought and of the country of Cyprus, the prices of the things that were sold, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the
35 And laid them down at the apostles' money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Verse 1. " The captain of the temple.”—There is room for difference of opinion concerning this “captain of the temple.” In the first place, there was a temple guard of priests and Levites--the priests keeping watch in three places, and the Levites in twenty-one: to every one of these watches there was a chief, and over them all one-an ex. perienced priest-who was eminently the uoxnyos, the captain, or ruler of the temple, the same person who is generally called by the Jewish writers, "the man of the mountain of the house," and, sometimes "the head of the ward." That this was the person here intended, seems sufficiently probable; and in that case, “ the priests,” were probably those of the guard.
It is. however, the opinion of Lightfoot ( Comment on the Acts,' in loc.) and others, that this “captain" was a Roman military officer; and whether the opinion be correct or not, some useful information is involved in the explanation which it requires. This officer is, then, supposed to have been the captain of the garrison, which was placed in the Tower of Antonia, for the guard of the Temple. The tower itself stood at the north-east angle of the wall which parted “the mountain of the House” (or, the whole site of the temple) from the city. It was erected by the highpriest Hyrcanus, who made it his residence, and was wont there to lay up the splendid garments of his office, whenever he put them off, after having discharged his duties in the temple. "Herod the Great repaired and strengthened this tower, at a great expense, that it might be a sort of citadel to the temple; and, in honour of his patron Mark Antony, gave it the name of Antonia. As before, the holy robes continued to be laid up in this tower during all the reign of Herod, and that of Archelaus, his son. After his removal, the Romans took possession of the tower, and kept a garrison in it, for the guard of the temple. They were there always ready to check any disturbances which might arise in or near the temple- an instance of which we shall find in ch. xxiii., and although their proximity and supervision appear to have been very unpalatable to the Jews, the Romans seem on most occasions to have acted with temper and moderation, and with very much consideration for the peculiar feelings and customs of the people with whom they had to deal. There was, however, one exception ; for the Romans still insisted that the sacred robes should continue to be deposited in the castle, under their power, until the procurator Vitellius was pleased to perform the popular act of restoring them to the Jews' own keeping.
There were other companies of Roman soldiers stationed in different barracks about the city, but this one being, as it were, within the verge of their temple, was most odious to the Jews, as a heathen bridle upon their temple and service, and the most sensible badge of the subjection and servitude to which they were reduced.
After this, we must leave the reader to judge whether the captain of the garrison in the tower of Antonia was likely to concern himself in the present matter. We think not, unless a disturbance had arisen ; but it does not appear that
there was any.
6. “John.”—This must have been a person of some note, from the manner in which he is here mentioned ; and, from Josephus and the Talmudists, we seem to know something of most of the distinguished Jews who lived about this time. Lightfoot, in his note on this place, says, “John, as it seemeth, the son of Annas ; the governor of Gophnis and Acra batena, in the time of Nero." ' But this John, who was appointed governor of the toparchies of Gophna and Acrabatena, when the Jews established a sort of government among themselves, after the defeat of Cestius (see the note on Mark xiii. 14), was the son of Matthias (Joseph. War,'ji. 20. *), not of Annas. Lightfoot himself, in another place (Chorog. Cent. ch. xv.), suspects that the present John may have been the famous Rabbi John Ben Zacchai, who lived at this time, and until and after the destruction of Jerusalem. This John was a priest, and resided at Jerusalem; and among the things told of him is one so remarkable as to deserve being quoted, particularly as it seems to have occurred about this time. Forty years before the destruction of the Temple” (may not this have been at the death of our Saviour ?], " the doors of the Temple opened of themselves. Whereupon R. Jochanan (John) Ben Zacchai rebuked them, saying, 'O temple, temple! wherefore art thou alarmed? I know thee; that thou shalt be destroyed. For so prophesied of thee Zechariah, the son of Iddo-Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.“” – Zech. xi. 1. (T. Bab. Yoma,' fol. 29. 2; T. Hieros. Yoma,' fol. 43. 3.) We imagine that this eminent teacher is, of all known persons, the most likely to have been present on this occasion ; but “ John" was so common a name among the Jews, that no strong probability can be attained ; nor is the matter of much consequence.
" Alexander.”—Krebs and others refer us to Josephus (‘Antiq.' xviii. 8, 1; xix. 5,1 ; xx. 5, 2, &c.) for information corcerning this Alexander. The Alexander mentioned in those places by the historian, is described as a person eminent for his family and wealth, brother of Philo, the celebrated Jewish writer, and Alabarch, or governor of the Jews of Alexandria in Egypt. He was in high favour with Claudius Cæsar; and must have been influential and popular at Jerusalem, as well as at Alexandria, on account of his munificence; for Josephus elsewhere informs us, that this was the person who furnished the gold and silver with which the Temple gates were overlaid. We think it very likely that he may have been the present Alexander, if we could be confident that he, whose residence was Alexandria, was at Jerusalem on
But it is to be remembered that Alexander was, as it still is, a very common name among the Jews, particularly in priestly families. The name came thus into use after Alexander the Great had been at Jerusalem ; and the old Jewish writers account for it by stating that it was in fulfilment of a complimentary promise made to that conqueror, that every male born in a priestly family, on the anniversaries of his visit, should be called after his name.
7. “ Set them in the midst.”—The Sanhedrim, or Jewish Council, sat in a semicircle; and prisoners, or persons who had business to transact, being stationed within the area formed by the seats of the members of the assembly, were, literally, “ set in the midst.”
By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”—It is here observable that they did not question the reality of the cure-indeed, how could they ?—but the power by which it was performed ; whether a lawful or unlawful power? whether a proper or forbidden name? The Jews believed that cures and wonders were wrought by human, divine, angelical, and diabolical influences; and the last were, of course, interdicted. There were also certain names, by
pronouncing which, or by invoking the power of those to whom they belonged, they believed that strange things might be effected. The first of these names, and too sacred to be pronounced or employed for any such purpose, was the Shem-hamphorash, or, ineffable name of God, as the Jews call the name JEHOVAH. By the true pronunciation of this, it was held that any wonders might be effected ; and it is a fact that it has been the common account of the Jews that our Lord's miracles were effected by his having acquired the knowledge of this unutterable name. Their story is, that the name was found by David, engraven on a stone, when digging the foundations of the Temple, and that he deposited it in the sanctuary ; and lest curious young men should learn this name, and bring devastation upon the world by the miracles it would enable them to perform, the wise men of the time made, by magical arts, two brazen lions, which they stationed before the entrance of the holy of holies, on each side ; so that if any one entered the sacred place, and learned the ineffable name, the lions roared at him so fiercely, when he came forth, that, in his fright, he entirely forgot it. But they say that Jesus, by magical arts and incantations, entered the sanctuary, undiscovered by the priests, saw the sacred name, copied it on parchment, which, having made an incision in his body, he slipped under his skin. The roaring of the lions, when he came out, caused him to forget the name; but the parchment under his skin, enabled him to recover it, and, thenceforward, to refresh his memory when needful; and by the power of this name it was that all his miracles were performed. Such is the account given in the Sepher Toldoth Jeshu,' or 'Book of the Generation of Jesus ;' a spurious narrative, of Jewish fabrication, from which the Jews have for ages received their impressions concerning the life and character of Jesus Christ. An interesting account of this book may be found in Allen's • Modern Judaism,' ch. xiv. The stupid story which we have cited, requires no contradiction; and we have adduced it not only for the illustration which it offers to the present text, but on account of the very valuable intimation which it conveys, that the Jews found it hopeless to attempt to dispute the reality of our Lord's miracles, and there fore resorted to the absurd way of accounting for the power by which he was enabled to perform them.
But it was also believed that other names had healing or miraculous power, although vastly inferior to that of the Telragrammaton. Hence, Josephus describes the Jews as working cures by invoking the name of Solomon; and states that the Essenes preserved the names of angels; by which we may readily believe them to have expected to cure diseases and work miracles. It is also worthy of note, that after the apostles had established the power of the name of Jesus, the seven sons of one Scheva, acting on the common opinion as to the influence of names, pretended to cure a possessed person by invoking the name of Jesus, whom Paul preached-ch. xix. 13.
13. “ Unlearned and ignorant men.”—See the notes on John vii. 15, 49. Of the word rendered “ignorant” (idia tail, Lightfoot remarks that it was a "word exceedingly much taken into use by the Jewish writers, and both in them and in Greek it signifieth private men,' or 'men in no public employment, and men of inferior rank,' and 'men ignorant or unskilful.'” He adduces examples of all these senses, and imagines that Peter and John are here characterised as idiotæ, with a reference to all of them. But see the notes referred to, by which it appears that, with respect to the sense of ignorance, all the common people—that is, all those who were wanting in the higher education of the time, and had not made a professed study of the law and traditions-were accounted unlearned and ignorant.
down, and gave up the ghost: and great
fear came on all them that heard these 1 After that Ananias and Sapphira his wife for their
things. hypocrisy at Peter's rebuke had fallen down dead, 12 and that the rest of the apostles had wrought
6 And the young men arose, wound him many miracles, 14 to the increase of the faith: 17 up, and carried him out, and buried him. the apostles are again imprisoned, 19 but deli- 7 And it was about the space of three vered by an ungel bidding them to preach openly hours after, when his wife, not knowing what to all : 21 when, after their teaching accordingly in the temple, 29 and before the council, 33 they
was done, came in. are in danger to be killed, through the advice of
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me Gamaliel, a great counsellor among the Jews, whether ye sold the land for so much? And they be kept alive, 40 and are but beaten : for she said, 'Yea, for so much. which they glorify God, and cease no day from
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it preaching
that ye have agreed together to tempt the But a certain man named Ananias, with Spirit of the Lord ? behold, the feet of them Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, which have buried thy husband are at the
2 And kept back part of the price, his door, and shall carry thee out. wife also being privy to it, and brought a 10 Then fell she down straightway at his certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the feet.
young men came in, and found her dead, 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath and, carrying her forth, buried her by her Satan filled thine heart 'to lie to the Holy husband. Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of 11 And great fear came upon all the the land ?
Church, and upon as many as heard these 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine things. own ? and after it was sold, was it not in 12 And by the hands of the apostles thine own power? why hast thou conceived were many signs and wonders wrought this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied among the people; (and they were all with unto men, but unto God.
one accord in Solomon's porch. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell 13 And of the rest durst no man join
Or, to deceive.
himself to them: but the people magnified council together, and all the senate of the them.
children of Israel, and sent to the prison to 14 And believers were the more added have them brought. to the Lord, multitudes both of men and 22 But when the officers came, and found women.)
them not in the prison, they returned, and 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the told, sick ?into the streets, and laid them on beds 23 Saying, The prison truly found we and couches, that at the least the shadow shut with all safety, and the keepers standof Peter passing by might overshadow some ing without before the doors: but when we of them.
had opened, we found no man within. 16 There came also a multitude out of 24 Now when the High Priest and the the cities round about unto Jerusalem, captain of the temple and the Chief Priests bringing sick folks, and them which were heard these things, they doubted of them vexed with unclean spirits : and they were whereunto this would grow. healed every one.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, 17 ? Then the High Priest rose up, and Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are all they that were with him, (which is the standing in the temple, and teaching the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with people. 'indignation,
26 Then went the captain with the offi18 And laid their hands on the apostles, cers, and brought them without violence: and put them in the common prison. for they feared the people, lest they should
19 But the angel of the Lord by night have been stoned. opened the prison doors, and brought them 27 And when they had brought them, forth, and said,
they set them before the council: and the 20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to High Priest asked them, the people all the words of this life.
28 Saying, "Did not we straitly command 21 And when they heard that, they entered you that ye should not teach in this name? into the temple early in the morning, and and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with taught. But the High Priest came, and your doctrine, and intend to bring this they that were with him, and called the man's blood upon us.
? Or, in every street, • Chap 4, 18.
3 Or, envy.