|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-25 There is no prison so dark, so strong, but God can visit his people in it, and, if he pleases, fetch them out. Recoveries from sickness, releases out of trouble, are granted, not that we may enjoy the comforts of life, but that God may be honoured with the services of our life. It is not for the preachers of Christ's gospel to retire into corners, as long as they can have any opportunity of preaching in the great congregation. They must preach to the lowest, whose souls are as precious to Christ as the souls of the greatest. Speak to all, for all are concerned. Speak as those who resolve to stand to it, to live and die by it. Speak all the words of this heavenly, divine life, in comparison with which the present earthly life does not deserve the name. These words of life, which the Holy Ghost puts into your mouth. The words of the gospel are the words of life; words whereby we may be saved. How wretched are those who are vexed at the success of the gospel! They cannot but see that the word and power of the Lord are against them; and they tremble for the consequences, yet they will go on.
Verse 17. - But for then, A.V.; they were filled for were filled, A.V.; jealousy for indignation, A.V. The high priest rose up. It was high time for him and his friends the Sadducees to be up and doing, if they wished to stop the spreading of the faith of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. Which is the sect of the Sadducees (Acts 4:1, 2, note). It does not appear that Annas himself was a Sadducee, but his son was, and hence it is highly probable that the Sadducees should have attached themselves to Annas, and made a tool of him for suppressing the doctrine of the Resurrection. The sect; αἵρεσις (see Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5, 14; Acts 26:4; Acts 28:22). The word was applied first by Jews to Christians, and then by Christians to sects (1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; 2 Peter 2:1). Jealousy scarcely so well expresses the idea of ζῆλος here as indignation does. In the First Epistle of Clement, ζῆλος is applied to the anger of Cain, of Joseph's brethren, of the Israelites against Moses, of the persecution of St. Peter and St. Paul (iv., 5.). It is only occasionally that it means that kind of anger which we call jealousy. The high priest and his party were indignant at the defiance of their authority, and at the success of the doctrine which they had made it a special object to put down.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the high priest rose up,.... Annas, or rather Caiaphas; See Gill on Acts 4:6 he having heard what miracles were wrought by the apostles, and what additions were made to them, rose up from his seat and went out of the sanhedrim, in great haste, and in much wrath and passion:
and all they that were with him; in council, that were of his kindred or his party, as John and Alexander, and others, Acts 4:6
which is the sect of the Sadducees; who denied the resurrection of the dead; which doctrine the apostles preached; and this made the high priest and his party very uneasy; whence it seems that the then high priest was a Sadducee, and also the sanhedrim at that time, and which was sometimes the case. Great care indeed was taken of an high priest, that he should not be a Sadducee; on the eve of the day of atonement they always swore the high priest, lest he should be a Sadducee, that he would make no innovation in what was ordered him; and particularly that he would not put the incense upon the fire without, and then carry it in a censor into the most holy place, as the Sadducees understood (k), Leviticus 16:3. But notwithstanding all their care, sometimes they had a Sadducee for an high priest; we read of one John, an high priest, who ministered in that office fourscore years, and at last became a Sadducee (l). And sometimes a sanhedrim consisted only of Sadducees: hence we read of "a sanhedrim of Sadducees" (m); and such an one was this; and therefore it is not to be wondered at what follows,
and they were filled with indignation; or "zeal", for Sadducism; and which was a blind zeal, and not according to knowledge: or "with envy" at the apostles for the miracles done by them, and because of the success that attended them; fearing lest, should they go on at this rate, their religion and authority would come to nothing. Sadducism now seemed greatly to prevail among men in power; and the Jews say (n),
"the son of David will not come until the whole government is turned to the opinion of the Sadducees.''
(k) Misna Yoma, c. 1. sect. 5. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (l) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 29. 1. Juchasin, fol. 16. 2.((m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 52. 2.((n) Ib. fol. 97. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17-23. sect of the Sadducees—See on Ac 4:1 for the reason why this is specified.
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