The Acts of the Apostles
Commentary by DAVID BROWN
CHAPTER 22 Act 22:1-30
. PAUL'S DEFENSE FROM THE STAIRS OF THE FORTRESS--THE RAGE OF THE AUDIENCE BURSTING FORTH, THE COMMANDANT HAS HIM BROUGHT INTO THE FORT TO BE EXAMINED BY SCOURGING, BUT LEARNING THAT HE IS A ROMAN, HE ORDERS HIS RELEASE AND COMMANDS THE SAMHEDRIM TO TRY HIM.
2. when they heard . . . the Hebrew tongue--(See on JF & B for Ac 21:40).
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 deeper silence.
3. a Jew of Tarsus, brought up in this city, at the feet--(See on JF & B for Lu 10:39).
of Gamaliel--(See on JF & B for Ac 5:34); 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 traditional Judaism.
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 JF & B for Ac 9:1,2; JF & B for Ac 9:5-7).
5. the high priest--still alive.
doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders--the whole Sanhedrim.
8. Jesus of Nazareth--the Nazarene. See on JF & B for Ac 9:5.
9-11. they that were with me--(See on JF & B for Ac 9:7, &c.)
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 Jews.
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 glorious Author.
14. that thou shouldest . . . see that--"the"
Just One--compare Act 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 Act 8:37 .
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 Act 9:26-29 .
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 as before.
18. get . . . quickly out of Jerusalem--compare Act 9:29 .
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, &c.--See on JF & B for Ac 16:37.
27-29. art thou a Roman?--showing that this being of Tarsus, which he had told him before ( Act 21:39 ) 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 JF & B for Ac 16:38.
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.