|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-11 The apostles and the first believers attended the temple worship at the hours of prayer. Peter and John seem to have been led by a Divine direction, to work a miracle on a man above forty years old, who had been a cripple from his birth. Peter, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, bade him rise up and walk. Thus, if we would attempt to good purpose the healing of men's souls, we must go forth in the name and power of Jesus Christ, calling on helpless sinners to arise and walk in the way of holiness, by faith in Him. How sweet the thought to our souls, that in respect to all the crippled faculties of our fallen nature, the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth can make us whole! With what holy joy and rapture shall we tread the holy courts, when God the Spirit causes us to enter therein by his strength!
Verse 2. - That was lame for lame, A.V.; door for gate, A.V. Door. If any distinction is intended between the θύρα here and the πύλη of ver. 10 (which is not certain, as θύρα is often used for a gate), we must understand θύρα of the double doors of the gate described by Josephus. Perhaps the lame man leant against one of the open doors. Which is called Beautiful. It is not certain what gate this was. In the 'Dictionary of the Bible' it is described as "the great eastern gate leading from the court of the women to the upper court," following apparently Josephus, 'De Bell. Jud.,' 5. 5:3. But it is impossible to reconcile Josephus's two accounts - that in the 'Bell. Jud.,' 5:05. and that in 'Ant. Jud.,' 15. 11. In the former he says distinctly that there were ten gates - four on the north, four on the south, and two on the east. In the latter he says there were three gates on the north, three on the south, and one on the east. In the former he says that fifteen steps led up from the women's enclosure to the great gate, exactly opposite the gate of the temple itself (ἄντικρυ τῆς τοῦ ναοῦ πυλῆς); in the latter he says very distinctly that women were allowed to enter through the great gate on the east. With such discrepancies in the description of the only eye-witness whose evidence has been preserved, it is impossible to speak with certainly. But it seems probable that there were two gates on the east - one the beautiful and costly gate of Corinthian brass, elaborately described by Josephus, through which the women did pass; the other the greater gate, just opposite to and above the beautiful gate (ἡ ὑπὲρ τὴν Κορινθίαν), leading from the court of the women to the inner court; and that Josephus has confounded one with the other in his descriptions. Anyhow, the beautiful gate was probably on the east. Its correct name is said to be the gate of Nicanor. The temple. It must be remembered that the whole platform, including the porches, and the courts of the Gentiles and of the women, and the outer court and the court of the priests, was called τὸ ἱερόν; the actual house was called ὁ ναός; that part of the ἱερόν to which only Israelites were admitted, was called τὸ ἅγιον. Josephus also divides the precincts into the first, second, and third ἱερόν. The description of this lame man laid at the gate of the temple to ask alms is very similar to that in Luke 16:20 of Lazarus laid at the rich man's gate; only that the word for laid is in St. Luke ἐπέβλητο, and here is ἐτίθουν.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And a certain man, lame from his mother's womb,.... He was born so; his lameness came not through any disease or fall, or any external hurt, but from a defect in nature, in one of his limbs, or more; which made the after miracle the more extraordinary: and he was so lame that he
was carried; he could not walk of himself, or go, being led, but they were obliged to carry him:
whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple; it had been a common usage, it may be, for years past, to bring him every day, at prayer time, and lay him at the gate of the temple where the people went in; hence he was well known by the people, and to have been of a long time lame, even ever since he was born; so that there could be no imposture in this case: and it was at the gate of the temple he lay,
which is called beautiful; which some think was the gate Shushan, which was the eastern gate of the mountain of the house, or the outmost wall, and was so called, because Shushan, the metropolis of Persia, was pourtrayed upon it (q), which made it look very beautiful. The reason commonly given by the Jewish commentators (r) why this was done, is this; when the Jews returned from captivity, the king of Persia commanded that they should make a figure of the palace of Shushan upon one of the gates of the temple, that they might fear the king, and not rebel against him; and accordingly they drew one upon the eastern gate: but some say (s), that the children of the captivity did this (upon their return) that they might remember the wonder of Purim, (their deliverance from Haman,) which was done in Shushan; moreover, it might be so called from the word Shushan, which signifies joy and gladness: but this does not bid so fair to be the gate here meant, since it was lower than all the rest; for as the eastern wall was lower than the rest of the walls, that when the high priest burnt the red heifer on the top of Mount Olivet, he might see the gate of the temple at the time of the sprinkling of the blood; so the gate itself was four cubits lower than the others (t), and therefore could not look so grand and beautiful as the rest. Indeed, concerning this eastern gate of the mountain of the house, it is said (u), that
"in the time when the sanctuary stood, when they prayed on the mountain of the house, they went in by the way of the eastern gate.''
And as this was now the hour of prayer, and the people were going to the temple to pray, whose entrance was at the east gate; here it might be thought, in all probability, was laid the lame man: though it seems rather to be the eastern gate of the court of the women, which was made of Corinthian brass, and looked brighter than gold itself; of which Josephus (w) thus speaks:
"nine of the gates were covered all over with gold and silver, likewise the side posts and lintels; but there was one, without the temple, of Corinthian brass, which in dignity greatly exceeded the silver and golden ones.''
And since at this gate was the greatest frequency of persons, both men and women entering here; it is most likely, that here lay the lame man a begging: this is thought, by some, to be the higher gate of the house of the Lord; said to be built by Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, 2 Kings 15:35 upon which text, a Jewish commentator of great note (x) has this remark,
"observe it is said of Jotham, that he built it, because he made a building on it, "more glorious and great" than it had been:''
and this is also called the new gate of the house of the Lord, Jeremiah 26:10 and which both the Targum and Kimchi on the place say is the eastern gate.
To ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who going to religious exercises, might be thought to be more disposed to acts of liberality and charity: and besides, these were known to be Jews, of whom only alms were to be asked and taken; for so run their canons (y),
"it is forbidden to take alms of Gentiles publicly, except a man cannot live by the alms of Israelites; and if a king, or a prince of the Gentiles, should send money to an Israelite for alms, he must not return it, because of the peace of the kingdom, but must take it of him, and give it to the poor of the Gentiles secretly, that the king may not hear.''
(q) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 3.((r) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. ib. (s) Vid. Juchasin, fol. 65. 2.((t) Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 4. Maimon. Hilchot Beth Habechirah, c. 6. sect. 5. (u) Gloss. in T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 15. 2. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 15. (w) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 3.((x) Abarbinel in loc. (y) Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. Affirm. 162.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. a certain man lame from his mother's womb—and now "above forty years old" (Ac 4:22).
was carried—was wont to be carried.
Acts 3:2 Parallel Commentaries
Acts 3:2 NIV
Acts 3:2 NLT
Acts 3:2 ESV
Acts 3:2 NASB
Acts 3:2 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible