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10, 13. Matt. xxvi. 59, 60.
q ch. xxv. 8.
andrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing o Luke sxi. 15 with Stephen. 10 And o they were not able to resist the
els. wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 p Then they p i Kings axi, suborned
men, i which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and [k against] God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 and set up false witnesses, i which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words
against 1 this holy place, and the law: 14 9 for we have I Dan. ix. 26. heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy
this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of
1 Many ancient authorities read, the holy place. the agent of the mischief. Here then we Asia, a large and important Roman prohave abundant reason for numbers of vince, including Mysia, Lydia, Caria, and these Jews of libertine race having come Phrygia-known also as “ Asia this side to Jerusalem, being among the rest, who of the Taurus." 11.] Neander well were ordered to quit Italy: and what remarks that this false charge, coupled place so likely a refuge for Jews as Jerusa- with the character of Stephen's apologetic Iem ?—Those who find a difficulty in this speech, shews the real character of his interpretation suppose them to have been arguments with his opponents :—that be inhabitants of Libertum, a town in proper ' seems to have been the first who plainly or proconsular Africa, from which we set forth the transitory nature of the law find a bishop of Libertum sitting in the and temple, as compared with the persynod of Carthage in 411. But none of manence of the latter and better covenant, their suppositions will bear examination, thus being in a remarkable manner the and the best interpretation is the usual one forerunner of St. Paul. 12.] the --that they were the descendants of Jewish people, first,--that by means of the popufreedmen at Rome, who had been expelled lar feeling they might act upon the elders by Tiberius.— There is no difficulty in their and scribes, the members of the Sanbehaving had a synagogue of their own : for drim. came upon him] The same there were 460 or 480 synagogues at Jeru- persons,--acting now by the authority of salem. Cyrenians] See ch. ii. 10, the Sanhedrim; Saul, among those from note. Alexandrians] Two of the five Cilicia, being, as is afterwards (ch. vii. 58) regions of Alexandria were inhabited by implied, among the foremost, - came upon Jews. It was also the seat of the learning him, and seized him. 13. false witand philosophy of the Grecian Jews, which nesses] The falsehood of their witness conwas now at its height. This metropolis sisted, as in the similar case of our Lord, of the Hellenists would certainly have a in taking Stephen's words out of their consynagogue in Jerusalem. I understand text, and misrepresenting what perhaps in three distinct synagogues to be meant, not. so many words he had actually said. withstanding the somewhat equivocal con. this holy place] The temple : see Matt. struction,-and the words “which is called” xxiv. 15; ch. xxi. 28. 15.] It is a only to apply to the unusual term “ Liber question with regard to this verse, Does it tines.”
Cilicia was at this time a relate any supernatural appearance, glori. Roman province, the capital being the fying the face of Stephen,
,-or merely de free city of Tarsus, see note on ch. ix. 11. scribe the calm and holy aspect with which -Asia, -not exactly as in ch. ii. 9, where he stood before the conncil ? The majority it is distinguished from Phrygia,-here and of commentators suppose the latter : and usually in the Acts implies proconsular certainly the foregoing description of
VII. 1 m Then said the high priest, Are these things so? 2 And he said, a n Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken ; a ch. xxii. 1. The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham,
m render, But the high priest said.
n render, Brethren : see ch. i. 16. Stephen would lead us to infer, that there respecting it; and he is proceeding,—when was something remarkably striking in his (interrupted by their murmurs--or inattenappearance and demeanour, which over- tion ? but see note, ver. 51) he bursts forth awed his adversaries. But both from the into a holy vehemence of invective against plain language of our text, well understood their rejection of God, which provokes his among the Jews to signify supernatural tumultuary expulsion from the council, and brightness, and from the fact that in St. execution. (2) But simultaneously and Luke's own narrative we have supernatural parallel with this apologetic procedure, he brightness associated with angelic appear- also proceeds didactically, shewing them ances inore than once (see Luke ii. 9; ch. that a future Prophet was pointed out by xii. 7), I should be inclined to think that Moses as the final Lawgiver of God's the face of the martyr was lighted up with people,—that the Most High had revealed a divine radiance. That the effect on His spiritual and heavenly nature by the those present was not such as to prevent prophets, and did not dwell in temples the examination proceeding, is no argu
made with hands. And (3) even more rement against this view: in the very mild. markably still does the polemic element run ness of the question of the High Priest through the speech. “It is not I, but you, which follows, I see the trace of some un. who from the first times till now have reusual incident exercising an influence over jected and spoken against God.” And this him. Chrysostom explains well the effect element, just appearing ver. 9, and again on the council: “God seems to me to have more plainly vv. 25—28, and again more made him beautiful to look at, perhaps to pointedly still in ver. 35, becomes dominant prepare the way for his speech, and that in vv. 39–44, and finally prevails, to the he might immediately strike them with exclusio the apologetic and didactic, in his look. For there is, yea there is, in vv. 51–53.– That other connected purfaces full of spiritual grace that which is poses have been discovered in the speech, lovely to those that love them, and strikes as, for example, that so ably followed out awe and fear into those that hate them. by Chrysostom, of shewing that the coveOr perhaps the Evangelist mentions it to nant and promises were before the law, account for their tolerating his speech and sacrifice and the law before the temple, For what answer does the High Priest -is to be attributed to the wonderful depth make? Do you see, how mildly and un- of words uttered like these under the imreproachfully he puts his question ?” mediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, CHAP. VII. 1.] On the High Priest's ques presenting to us, from whichever side they tion, see Chrysostom just quoted.-- It is are viewed, new and inimitable hues of parallel with Matt. xxvi. 62, but singularly heavenly wisdom. Many of these will be distinguished from that question by its brought out as we advance. The question, mildness: see above. 2–53.] STEPHEN's from what probable source St. Luke deDEFENCE. In order to understand this rived his report of this speech, so pecuwonderful and somewhat difficult speech, liar in its character and citations as to it will be well to bear in mind, (1) that bear, even to the most prejudiced, decisive the general character of it is apologetic, evidence of authenticity, can be only conreferring to the charge made against him: jecturally answered: but in this case the but (2) that in this apology, forgetting conjecture can hardly be wrong: I have himself in the vast subject which he is discussed the point in the Introductior to vindicating, he every where mixes in the the Acts, ch. i. § ii. 12 (a). 2. Brepolemic and didactic element. A general thren (men who are brethren), and fathers] synopsis of it may be thus given : (1) He So Paul, ch. xxii. 1, before a mixed assemshews (apologetically) that, so far from bly of Jews. The brethren would embrace dishonouring Moses or God, he believes, all: the fathers would be a title of respect and holds in mind, God's dealings with to the members of the Sanhedrim, in this Abraham and Moses, and grounds upon case, but hardly in ch. xxii. 1. The them his preaching; that, so far from God of glory] Not equivalent to the glorious dishonouring the temple, he bears in mind God, but the God of (i. e. who possesses its history and the sayings of the prophets and manifests Himself by) glory, viz. the
when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, b Gen. xii. 1. 3 and said unto him, • Get thee out of thy country, and
from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall c Gen. xi. 31: shew thee. 4 Then c came he out of the land of the
Chaldæans, and dwell in Charran : and from thence, when
his father was dead, o he removed him into this land, d Gen. xli.7: wherein ye now dwell. 5 And he gave him none in3:18. v. heritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on, d Pyet
xii. 4, 5.
° better, for perspicuity, God.
P render, and.
Shechinah, or divine appearance, see Exod. into the same mistake, and stated the rexxiv. 16, 17, and ver. 55.-The words our moval of Abraham from Haran, in almost father decide nothing as to Stephen's these same words, to have been afler kis genuine Hebrew extraction. Any Jew father's death. It is observable that the would thus speak. before he dwelt in Samaritan Pentateuch, in Gen. xi. 32, for Charran] This was the Jewish tradition, 205, reads 145, which has most probably though not asserted in Genesis. Thus been an alteration to remove the apparent Philo, having paraphrased the divine com- inconsistency.— The subterfuge of undermand, says, “ For this reason Abraham is standing the spiritual death of Terab, who said to have made his first move from the is, as a further hypothesis, supposed to land of the Chaldæans to that of the Char. have relapsed into idolatry at Haran, ræans.” But he accurately distinguishes appears to have originated with the Rabbis, between the divine command, which he on discovering that their tradition was at obeyed in leaving Chaldæa, and the vision variance with the sacred chronology. They afterwards, adding a reason after his man- have not been without followers in modern ner, why God could not be seen nor ap- Christendom. See in my Greek Testament prehended by him while he was yet a Chal- instances of unworthy treatment of the dæan and an astrologer. The fact of his assertion in the text in order to evade having left Ur by some divine intimation the difficulty. The way in which it has is plainly stated in Gen. xv. 7, and referred been met by some commentators, viz. to in Neh. ix. 7. It was surely both natu- that we have no right to assume that ral and allowable to express this first com- Abram was born when Terah was 70, but mand in the well-known words of the may regard him as the youngest son, would second. Charran] So the LXX for leave us in this equally unsatisfactory posiHaran, Gen. xi. 31, &c.; 4 Kings xix. 12; tion :- Terah, in the course of nature, Ezek. xxvii. 23. It is in Mesopotamia, and begets his son Abram at 130 (205 minus is celebrated in Roman history as Carrhæ, 75): yet this very son Abram regards it as where happened the defeat and slaughter incredible that he himself should beget a of Crassus by the Parthians. It lay on an son at 99 (Gen. xvii. 1, 17); and on the ancient road, in a large plain surrounded fact of the birth of Isaac being out of the by mountains ; it was still a great city in course of nature, most important Scripthe days of the Arabian caliphs.
tural arguments and consequences are 4. when his father was dead] In Gen. xi. founded ; cf. iv. 17-21; Heb. xi. Il, 12. 26, we read that Terah lived 70 years and We may fairly leave these commentators begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran ; in xi. with their new difficulty: only remarking 32, that Terah lived 205 years, and died in for our instruction, how sure those are to Haran; and in xii. 4, that Abram was 75 plunge into hopeless confusion, who, from years old when he left Haran. Since then motives however good, once begin to han70 added to 75 makes 145, Terah must dle the word of God deceitfully. have lived about 60 years in Haran after God removed him] In these words Stephen Abrain's departure. It seems evident, that clearly recognizes the second command, to the Jewish chronology, which Stephen fol. migrate froin Haran to Canaan : and as lows, was at fault here, owing to the cir. clearly therefore made no mistake in ver. 2, cumstance of Terah’s death being mentioned but applied the expressed words of the Gen. xi. 32, before the command to Abrain second command to the first injunction. to leave Haran ;-it not having been ob- 5. gave him none inheritance in it] served that the mention is anticipatory. There is no occasion here to wrest our text And this is confirmed by Philo having fallen in order to produce accordance with the
Gal. iii. 17.
8 h And he gave klien. Ivii. 9,
& Exod. iii. 12
In Gen xxxvii.
o Gen. xli. 37 :
he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when [9 as yet] he had no child. 6 And God spake on this wise, e That his seed should e Gen. xv. 13, sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil 'four hundred rExod. xii. 40. years. 7 And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and 6 r serve me in this place. him the covenant of circumcision : i and so Abraham begat i Gen. xxi. 2, 3, Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; k and Isaac k Gen. Ixv. 20. begat Jacob; and "Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. 1 Gen: Ixix. $I 9 m And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into 23 Egypt: ns but God was with him, 10 and delivered him3!1,28. Ps. out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdomen, anxix. in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him xlii. 6. governor over Egypt and all his house. 11 p Now there p Gen. xli. 54. came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction : and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 9 But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, 9 Gen. xlii. 1. he sent out our fathers first, 13 ' and at the second time r Gen. xlv. 4, Joseph was made known to his brethren: and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. 14 Then sent s Gen. xlv. 8, Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his tGen. xlvi. 27. kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. 15 u So Jacob went u Gen. xlvi. 5. 9 not expressed in the original.
I render, worship.
8 render, and. history. The field which Abraham bought
80, i. e. in this new covenant for the burial of his dead surely did not state;' –or, ‘in fulfilment of the promise of come under the description of an inheritance, seed implied in the above words. In this nor give him any standing as a possessor in word so lies hid the germ of the subsequent the land. 6, 7.] A free citation from teaching of the Holy Spirit by St. Paul, the LXX, with the words, “ and they shall Gal. iii. 9.] Here we have the first worship me in this place,” adapted and hint of the rebellious spirit in Israel, which added from Exod. ii. 12. The shifts of the progress of the history brings out. some commentators to avoid this plain fact 10.] Observe the simple coupling of the are not worth recounting : but again, the clauses by and, as characteristic of this student who would not handle the word of speech. favour and wisdom) favour, God deceitfully should be here and every so that he was acceptable to Pharaoh (see where on his guard against them.—The reff.): and wisdom, so that Pharaoh coniround number, 400 years, given here and sulted him, and followed his suggestion, in Genesis, is further specified Exod. xii. especially in the important case recorded 40, as 430. (See Gal. iii. 17, and note.) Gen. xli. 38. he made him] viz. 7.] said God is inserted by Stephen Pharaoh : a change of subject.
14. in passing from the narrative form (“his threescore and fifteen souls] In the Hebrew seed”) into the direct (“ I will judge”). text, Gen. xlvi. 27 ; Exod. i. 5; Deut. x.
8.] On the institution of circum- 22, seventy souls are reckoned, viz. sixty. cision, it is called a “covenant,” Gen. xvii. six born of Jacob, Jacob hiinself, Joseph, 10, and the immediate promise of that and his two sons born in Egypt. So also covenant is contained in the same chapter, Josephus. But the LXX, whom Stephen
Deut. x. 22.
Exod. 1.0. x Exod. xiii.
xxiv. 32. y Gen. xxiii.
19. z Gen. xv. 13.
b Exod. i. 22.
c Exod. ii. 2.
d Heb. xi. 23.
e Exod. ii.
w Gen. xlir. 33. down into Egypt, wand died, he, and our fathers, 16 and
were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor [t the father) of Sychem. 17 But a when ? the
time of the promise drew nigh, which God x had sworn to a Exod. 1.7,8. Abraham, a the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
18 till another king arose, which knew not Joseph. 19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live. 20 € In which time Moses was born, and I was y exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months : 21 and e when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
22 And Moses was z learned in all the t not expressed in the original. u render, according as. render, swore.
literally, fair unto God: see note. % render, for perspicuity, instructed: see note. follows, insert in Gen. xlvi. 20 an account wrought.” The Rabbinical traditions reof the children and grandchildren of Ma- port them to have been buried in Sychein : nasseh and Ephraim, five in number : and and Jerome, relating the pilgrimages of in ver. 27 read thus : “And the sons of Paula to the sacred places, says, “ She Joseph, who were born to him in the land passed by Sychem, and turning aside there of Egypt, were nine souls. All the souls saw the sepulchre of the twelve patriarchs.” of the house of Jacob, which entered with These traditions probably Stephen folJacob into Egypt, were seventy-five :". lowed ; and, in haste or inadvertence, reckoning, as appears, curiously enough, classed Jacob with the rest. that among the sons of Joseph, Joseph himself, Abraham bought] The burying-place and his wife Asenath; for these are required which Abraham bought was not at Sychem, to make up the nine, according to their but (Gen. xxiii. 3—20) at Hebron, and was ver. 20. And similarly in Exod. i. 5, and bought of Ephron the Hittite. It was in some copies in Deut. x. 22.
Jacob who (Gen. xxxii. 19) bought a field gard to the various attempts to solve the where he had pitched his tent, near Sychem, difficulty, see in my Greek Testament. of the children of Hamor, Shechem's 16.] were carried over, viz. he and our father : and no mention is made of its fathers, not the latter only,—as some com- being for a burying-place. The two inci. mentators have suggested, to evade part of dents are certainly here confused; and no the difficulty of the verse. The facts, as ivgenuity of the commentators has ever derelated in the Old Testament, were these : vised an escape from the inference. I have Jacob, dying in Egypt, was (Gen. i. 13) mentioned a few such attempts in my taken into the land of Canaan, and buried Greek Testament. 17.] according as, in the cave of Macpelah, before Mamre i. e. in proportion as;' not "uhen," as (on the rest of the verse see below): Joseph, A. V. 20. fair unto God (so lite. dying also in Egypt, was taken in a coffin rally)] The expression here seems borrowed (Gen. 1. 26) at the Exodus (Exod. xiii. 19), from tradition : Josephus calls the infant and finally buried (Josh. xxiv. 32) at She- Moses “ a child of divine beauty." Philo chem. of the burial of the other patriarchs says,
“ The child at its very birth prethe sacred text says nothing, but rather sented an appearance of beauty greater by the specification in Exod. xiii. 19, leaves than that of ordinary men." 22.] it to be inferred that they were buried in The word “learned,” in our A. V. here, is Egypt. Josephus, Antt. i. 8. 2, relates used in its older meaning of “taught,” as that they were taken and buried in Hebron, in the Prayer-book version of the Ps. cxix. and adds, “ of whom the graves are shewn 66, “ Learn me true understanding and even to my time in the fortress Hebron, of knowledge." This meaning having now very beautiful marble, and sumptuously become obsolete, the word here is misun