|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:12-17 Paul was about to show that he did not teach men to worship God contrary to law; but the judge would not allow the Jews to complain to him of what was not within his office. It was right in Gallio that he left the Jews to themselves in matters relating to their religion, but yet would not let them, under pretence of that, persecute another. But it was wrong to speak slightly of a law and religion which he might have known to be of God, and which he ought to have acquainted himself with. In what way God is to be worshipped, whether Jesus be the Messiah, and whether the gospel be a Divine revelation, are not questions of words and names, they are questions of vast importance. Gallio spoke as if he boasted of his ignorance of the Scriptures, as if the law of God was beneath his notice. Gallio cared for none of these things. If he cared not for the affronts of bad men, it was commendable; but if he concerned not himself for the abuses done to good men, his indifference was carried too far. And those who see and hear of the sufferings of God's people, and have no feeling with them, or care for them, who do not pity and pray for them, are of the same spirit as Gallio, who cared for none of these things.
Verse 17. - And they all laid hold on for then all the Greeks took, A.V. and T.R.; ruler for chief ruler, A.V., as ver. 8. The R.T. has far more manuscript support than either the T.R. or another reading, which has "Jews" instead of "Greeks." All means all the crowd of bystanders and lookers-on, mostly, no doubt, Greeks. The Jews, always unpopular, would be sure to have the Corinthian rabble against them as soon as the proconsul drove them from the judgment seat. Sosthenes. There is no probability whatever that he is the same person as the Sosthenes of 1 Corinthians 1:1. The name was very common. He appears to have succeeded Crispus as ruler of the synagogue, and would be likely, therefore, to be especially hostile to Paul.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes,.... These were not the Greeks or Gentiles that were devout persons, or converted to Christianity, and were on the side of Paul, and fell foul on Sosthenes, as being his chief accuser; for this is not agreeably to the spirit and character of such persons, but the profane and unconverted Greeks, who observing that Gallio sent the Jews away, with some resentment and contempt, were encouraged to fall upon the principal of them, and use him in a very ill manner; it is very likely that this person was afterwards converted, and is the same that is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:1. The name is Greek, and there is one of this name mentioned among the executors of Plato's will (w). This man was now
chief ruler of the synagogue; chosen in, very likely, upon Crispus becoming a Christian, and being baptized:
and beat him before the judgment seat; of Gallio; before he and his friends could get out of court:
and Gallio cared for none of these things; which might not be owing to any sluggishness in him, but to an ill opinion he had of the Jews, as being a turbulent and uneasy people, and therefore he connived at some of the insolencies of the people towards them; though it did not become him, as a magistrate, to act such a part, whose business it was to keep the public peace, to quell disorders, to protect men's persons, and property, and prevent abuse and mischief, and to correct and punish for it. The Arabic version renders it, "and no man made any account of Gallio"; they did not fear his resentment, he having drove the Jews from the judgment seat.
(w) Laert. l. 3. in Vita Platon.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. all the Greeks—the Gentile spectators.
took Sosthenes—perhaps the successor of Crispus, and certainly the head of the accusing party. It is very improbable that this was the same Sosthenes as the apostle afterwards calls "his brother" (1Co 1:1).
and beat him before the judgment-seat—under the very eye of the judge.
And Gallio cared for none of those things—nothing loath, perhaps, to see these turbulent Jews, for whom probably he felt contempt, themselves getting what they hoped to inflict on another, and indifferent to whatever was beyond the range of his office and case. His brother eulogizes his loving and lovable manners. Religious indifference, under the influence of an easy and amiable temper, reappears from age to age.
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