|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.
Verse 33. - Brought for drew, A.V. and T.R.; a defense for his defense, A.V. (ἀπολογεῖσθαι). Alexander. Some think he is the same as "Alexander the coppersmith," of whose conduct St. Paul complains so bitterly (2 Timothy 4:14, 15; 1 Timothy 1:20), and he may or may not be. It seems likely that, as St. Paul's offence was speaking against the gods and their temples, the Jews, who were commonly accused of being atheists, and one of whose nation Paul was, came in for their share of the popular odium. They were anxious, therefore, to excuse themselves before the people of having had any share in St. Paul's work, and put forward Alexander, no doubt a clever man and a good speaker, to make their defense. But as soon as the people knew that he was a Jew, they refused to listen to him, and drowned his voice with incessant shouts of "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Meyer, however, thinks he was a Christian, because of the word ἀπολογεῖσθαι. The people (δῆμος, as ver. 30). It was a true ἐκκλησία, though an irregular one, and the people who formed it were the δῆμος, different from the ὄχλος, the mere crowd outside.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude,.... Or "some of the multitude brought forth Alexander"; into the theatre, in order to kill him, by casting him to the wild beasts. Some think this is the same with Alexander the coppersmith, who apostatized upon this danger he was exposed to, and became a blasphemer, and a great enemy of the apostle, and did him much evil, 1 Timothy 1:20. This man, though his name was a Greek name, yet was a Jew, as is expressed in Acts 19:34 and from the times of Alexander the great, who was at Jerusalem, this name became common among the Jews; See Gill on Acts 4:6.
The Jews putting him forward; being equally enemies to him, as being under a profession of Christianity, as the Heathens were; or as the Syriac version reads, "the people of the Jews", that were there, out of themselves, pitched upon him as a proper person to still the uproar; and they brought him out of the multitude, to a convenient place, where he might be heard; and they the rather were forward to this, that he might lay all the blame of this confusion and uproar upon Paul and his companions, whom the Jews had an aversion to, as well as the Gentiles:
and Alexander beckoned with the hand; for silence, that he might be heard:
and would have made his defence unto the people; which looks as if he was a Christian, or at least was charged with being one, and was in danger of his life on that account; and therefore was desirous of being heard, that he might make an apology for the Christians, or remove such an imputation from himself, if he was not.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33. they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward—rather, "some of the multitude urged forward Alexander, the Jews thrusting him forward." As the blame of such a tumult would naturally be thrown upon the Jews, who were regarded by the Romans as the authors of all religious disturbances, they seem to have put forward this man to clear them of all responsibility for the riot. (Bengel's conjecture, that this was Alexander the coppersmith, 2Ti 4:14, has little to support it).
beckoned with the hand—compare Ac 13:16; 21:40.
would have made his defence—"offered to speak in defense."
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