Acts 28:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live."

New Living Translation
The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, "A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live."

English Standard Version
When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

New American Standard Bible
When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live."

King James Bible
And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "This man is probably a murderer, and though he has escaped the sea, Justice does not allow him to live!"

International Standard Version
When the people who lived there saw the snake hanging from his hand, they told one another, "This man must be a murderer! He may have escaped from the sea, but Justice won't let him live."

NET Bible
When the local people saw the creature hanging from Paul's hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself has not allowed him to live!"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And when the Barbarians saw it hanging on his hand, they were saying, “Perhaps this man is a murderer who, while he has escaped from the sea, justice would not let live.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When the people who lived on the island saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer! He may have escaped from the sea, but justice won't let him live."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet vengeance does not suffer him to live.

King James 2000 Bible
And when the natives saw the creature hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice allows not to live.

American King James Version
And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffers not to live.

American Standard Version
And when the barbarians saw the venomous creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging on his hand, they said one to another: Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, who though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance doth not suffer him to live.

Darby Bible Translation
And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said to one another, This man is certainly a murderer, whom, [though] saved out of the sea, Nemesis has not allowed to live.

English Revised Version
And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said one to another, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped from the sea, yet Justice hath not suffered to live.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when the barbarians saw the animal hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Weymouth New Testament
When the natives saw the creature hanging to his hand, they said to one another, "Beyond doubt this man is a murderer, for, though saved from the sea, unerring Justice does not permit him to live."

World English Bible
When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped from the sea, yet Justice has not allowed to live."

Young's Literal Translation
And when the foreigners saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said unto one another, 'Certainly this man is a murderer, whom, having been saved out of the sea, the justice did not suffer to live;'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

28:1-10 God can make strangers to be friends; friends in distress. Those who are despised for homely manners, are often more friendly than the more polished; and the conduct of heathens, or persons called barbarians, condemns many in civilized nations, professing to be Christians. The people thought that Paul was a murderer, and that the viper was sent by Divine justice, to be the avenger of blood. They knew that there is a God who governs the world, so that things do not come to pass by chance, no, not the smallest event, but all by Divine direction; and that evil pursues sinners; that there are good works which God will reward, and wicked works which he will punish. Also, that murder is a dreadful crime, one which shall not long go unpunished. But they thought all wicked people were punished in this life. Though some are made examples in this world, to prove that there is a God and a Providence, yet many are left unpunished, to prove that there is a judgment to come. They also thought all who were remarkably afflicted in this life were wicked people. Divine revelation sets this matter in a true light. Good men often are greatly afflicted in this life, for the trial and increase of their faith and patience. Observe Paul's deliverance from the danger. And thus in the strength of the grace of Christ, believers shake off the temptations of Satan, with holy resolution. When we despise the censures and reproaches of men, and look upon them with holy contempt, having the testimony of our consciences for us, then, like Paul, we shake off the viper into the fire. It does us no harm, except we are kept by it from our duty. God hereby made Paul remarkable among these people, and so made way for the receiving of the gospel. The Lord raises up friends for his people in every place whither he leads them, and makes them blessings to those in affliction.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - Beast for venomous beast, A.V.; hanging from for hang on, A.V.; one to another for among themselves, A.V.; escaped from for escaped, A.V.; justice for vengeance, A.V.; hath not suffered for suffereth not, A.V. The beast (τὸ θηρίον). It is peculiar to medical writers to use θηρίον ασ synonymous with ἔχιδνα, a viper. So also θηριόδηκτος, bit by a viper, θηριακή, an antidote to the bite of a viper (Dioscorides, Galen, etc.). Justice (ἥ Δίκη). In Greek mythology Dice (Justitia) was the daughter and assessor of Zeus, and the avenger of crime. In her train was Poena, of whom Horace says," Rare antecedeutem scelcstum Deseruit pede Poena claude" ('Od.,' 3:2, 32). "The idea of Dice as justice personified is most perfectly developed in the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides" (article "Dice," in 'Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. and Mythol.'). It does not appear whether the islanders had learned the name and office of Dice from the Greeks in Sicily, or whether they had any native divinity whose name St. Luke translates into that of Dice. The gods whose names are found in ancient Maltese inscriptions are Melkarth, another name of Hercules, the tutelar god of Tyre; Osiris, and Baal. Other Phoenician divinities are named in the Carthaginian inscriptions (see Gesenius, 'Monument. Phoenic.'). Had not suffered. They assume that death will certainly follow from the bite.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast,.... The viper is called "Therion", a beast, it being of the viviparous kind; and hence comes "Theriaca", or "Venice treacle", the foundation of which composition is vipers' flesh; and it is called venomous, because it is of all serpents the most venomous: this when the country people saw

hang on his hand, having wrapped itself about it,

they said among themselves, no doubt this man is a murderer: they might see he was a prisoner by his chain, or might learn it from some of the company, and therefore took it for granted he had been guilty of some crime; and by the viper's fastening on him, they concluded it was murder he was guilty of; for the same notion might obtain among them, as among the Jews, that a murderer that could not be legally convicted, was sometimes punished this way.

"Says R. Simeon ben Shetach (l), may I never see the consolation, if I did not see one run after his friend into a desert place; and I ran after him, and I saw the sword in his hand, and the blood dropping, and he that was slain panting; and I said to him, O wicked man, who has slain this? either I or thou; but what shall I do? for thy blood is not delivered into my hand; "for the law says, by the mouth of two or three witnesses he shall surely die" (#De 17:6): may he that knows the thoughts take vengeance on that man that slew his friend; they say, they did not remove from thence, , "till a serpent came", and bit him, and he died.''

So the Jews observe, that when the execution of capital punishments was taken away from them, yet such who deserved them were punished by God in a way equivalent to them: so for instance, if a man committed a crime, for which he deserved to be burnt, either he fell into the fire, or , "a serpent bit him" (m); or if he deserved to be strangled, either he was drowned in a river, or died of a quinsy. There is a kind of an asp which the Egyptians call "Thermuthis", which they reckon sacred, and worship: this they say will not hurt good men, but destroys the wicked; and if so, says the historian, then "vengeance", or justice has honoured this creature, to be so sharp sighted as to discern the good from the bad; and they say, Isis sends it to the most wicked (n). Agreeably to which these men reason,

whom though he hath escaped the sea: has not been drowned there, when shipwrecked,

yet vengeance suffereth not to live. The Greek word "Dice" rendered "vengeance", is the name of a goddess among the Heathens, said to be the daughter of Jupiter and Themis (o). She is represented as sitting by her father Jupiter; and when anyone does injury to another, informs him of it (p). She is painted sorrowful, and with a contracted forehead, a grave countenance, and a rough aspect, to strike terror in unrighteous persons, and give confidence to righteous ones (q), agreeably to her name, which signifies "justice". This deity the barbarians supposed pursued Paul; and though she let him escape the sea, she will not suffer him to live any longer; for they looked upon the viper's fastening on him, as to be sent by her, so to be immediate death to him.

(l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 37. 2. & Shebuot, fol. 34. 1.((m) Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 214. 2. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, ib. & Sota, fol. 8. 2.((n) Aelian de Animal l. 10. c. 31. (o) Apollodarus de Deorurn Origon. l. 1. p. 6. Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 80. (p) Hesiod Opera, &c. v. 254, 255. (q) Chrysippus apud Geilium, l. 14. c. 4.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4-6. No doubt this man is a murderer—His chains, which they would see, might strengthen the impression.

whom … vengeance suffereth not to live—They believed in a Supreme, Resistless, Avenging Eye and Hand, however vague their notions of where it resided.

Acts 28:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Paul at Malta
3But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, "Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, justice has not allowed him to live." 5However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.…
Cross References
Luke 13:2
Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

Luke 13:4
Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

John 9:2
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Acts 28:2
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

Acts 28:3
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.
Treasury of Scripture

And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffers not to live.

barbarians.

Acts 28:2 And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled …

beast.

Acts 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which …

Isaiah 13:21,22 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall …

Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: …

Zephaniah 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelled carelessly, that said in …

No doubt.

Luke 13:2,4 And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans …

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

John 9:1,2 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth…

a murderer.

Genesis 4:8-11 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when …

Genesis 9:5,6 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of …

Genesis 42:21,22 And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our …

Numbers 35:31-34 Moreover you shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, …

Proverbs 28:17 A man that does violence to the blood of any person shall flee to …

Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants …

Matthew 23:35 That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth…

Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, …

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