Acts 21

That he should not go up; that is, warned him of the danger of going.

We that were of Paul's company; that is, the whole company, including Paul himself.—Seven; seven deacons.

Prophesy. This word, as very often used in such a connection, denotes, here, publicly preaching the gospel.

Agabus; mentioned before, 11:28.

Carriages; used here in the sense of things to be carried.

An old disciple; an early disciple.—With whom we should lodge; that is, at Jerusalem.

James. James seems to have occupied a prominent place among the Christians at Jerusalem at this time. There is a tradition that the church at that place was officially under his charge. (See Acts 12:17, 15:13.)

That thou teachest, &c. This was not true. Paul had taught that the Gentiles themselves were not bound to obey the laws of Moses, as a condition of admission to the Christian church; but he had not interfered at all with the continued observance of these laws by the Jews themselves.—To walk after the customs; to observe the customs of the Jewish law.

Purify thyself with them, &c.; that is, they proposed that he should publicly engage in the performance of a Jewish rite, in order that the people might see that he still, himself, adhered to the Jewish law. It is very doubtful, however, whether it was wise for Paul to accede to this proposal. Assuming appearances for the sake of effect, is generally very unsafe policy. It places us in false positions, which are very apt to end in disastrous results, as, in fact, was the case in this instance. We must judge of such an act as this in the history of Paul, upon its own merits, and no, consider it sanctioned by his inspiration. Inspiration can be claimed only for the writings of the apostles. In their acts they were liable to err, as well as Moses, or David, or any other of the sacred penmen. (See 23:3-5.) For the law relating to the ceremonies referred to in this transaction, see Num. 6:13-21.

We have written and concluded, &c.; on the occasion of the council, as recorded Acts 15:

The doors were shut; the gates of the temple,—closed by those who had charge of them, from fear of the tumult.

The chief captain. There was a tower near the temple, called the tower of Antonia, where a Roman military force was stationed, especially on all the public festal occasions of the Jews, to guard against public disturbances. The chief captain here mentioned was the commander of this guard. His name, as afterwards appears, was Claudius Lysias. The governor of Judea, whose name was Felix, resided at Cesarea.

Into the castle; the castle or tower of Antonia.

Stairs; leading up the rock on which the castle was built.

Canst thou speak Greek? Paul probably asked the question in the Greek tongue, at which the chief captain was surprised, as it was a mark of cultivation and refinement to understand that language.

That Egyptian. The Egyptian here referred to was, perhaps, one of those false Christs predicted by Jesus, in Mark 13:5, 6.

License; liberty.—In the Hebrew tongue. Though he had spoken to the officer in Greek, he addressed the populace in the Hebrew, that being the language of the great mass of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

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