Acts 6:9
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia--who began to argue with Stephen.

New Living Translation
But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia.

English Standard Version
Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.

Berean Study Bible
But resistance arose from what was known as the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and men from the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. They began to argue with Stephen,

Berean Literal Bible
But certain of those from the synagogue called Freedmen, including Cyrenians and Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose, disputing with Stephen.

New American Standard Bible
But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.

King James Bible
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then some from what is called the Freedmen's Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen.

International Standard Version
But some men who belonged to the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), as well as some Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and men from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and began to debate with Stephen.

NET Bible
But some men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and the province of Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen.

New Heart English Bible
But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose, disputing with Stephen.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And there arose men from the synagogue which was called the Libertine, and Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and from Qiliqia and from Asia, disputing with Estephanos.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
[One day] some men from the cities of Cyrene and Alexandria and the provinces of Cilicia and Asia started an argument with Stephen. They belonged to a synagogue called Freedmen's Synagogue.

New American Standard 1977
But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians and Alexandrians and of those of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

King James 2000 Bible
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

American King James Version
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

American Standard Version
But there arose certain of them that were of the synagogue called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now there arose some of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Darby Bible Translation
And there arose up certain of those of the synagogue called of freedmen, and of Cyrenians, and of Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen.

English Revised Version
But there arose certain of them that were of the synagogue called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia, and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Weymouth New Testament
But some members of the so-called 'Synagogue of the Freed-men,' together with some Cyrenaeans, Alexandrians, Cilicians and men from Roman Asia, were roused to encounter Stephen in debate.

World English Bible
But some of those who were of the synagogue called "The Libertines," and of the Cyrenians, of the Alexandrians, and of those of Cilicia and Asia arose, disputing with Stephen.

Young's Literal Translation
and there arose certain of those of the synagogue, called of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia, and Asia, disputing with Stephen,
Study Bible
The Arrest of Stephen
8Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. 9But resistance arose from what was known as the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and men from the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. They began to argue with Stephen, 10but they could not stand up to his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.…
Cross References
Matthew 27:32
Along the way they found a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross of Jesus.

Acts 2:9
Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

Acts 2:10
Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome,

Acts 6:10
but they could not stand up to his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.

Acts 11:20
But some of them, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the good news about the Lord Jesus.

Acts 15:23
and sent them with this letter: "The apostles and the elders, your brothers, To the brothers among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.

Acts 15:41
And he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Acts 16:6
After the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking the word in the province of Asia, they traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia.

Acts 18:24
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures.

Acts 19:10
This continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.
Treasury of Scripture

Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

there.

Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, …

Acts 17:17,18 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the …

the synagogue.

Acts 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue …

Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to …

Matthew 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, …

Matthew 23:34 Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and …

Mark 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; …

Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute …

Cyrenians.

Acts 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about …

Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they …

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets …

Matthew 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: …

Alexandrians.

Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent …

Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; …

Cilicia.

Acts 15:23,41 And they wrote letters by them after this manner…

Acts 21:39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, …

Acts 22:3 I am truly a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, …

Acts 23:34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province …

Acts 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we …

Galatians 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;

Asia.

Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, …

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, …

Acts 19:10,26 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which …

Acts 21:27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of …

disputing.

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of …

(9) Certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines.--The structure of the sentence makes it probable that the Libertines, the Cyrenians, and the Alexandrians attended one synagogue, those of Cilicia and Asia another. Each of the names has a special interest of its own. (1) The Libertini. These were freed-men, emancipated Roman Jews, with probably some proselytes, descendants of those whom Pompeius had led captive, and who were settled in the trans-Tiberine district of Rome in large numbers, with oratories and synagogues of their own. When Tacitus (Ann. ii. 85) describes the expulsion of the Jews under Claudius, he speaks of "four thousand of the freed-men, or Libertine class," as banished to Sardinia. From this class, we have seen reason to believe, Stephen himself had sprung. Andronicus and Junias were probably members of this synagogue. (See Note on Romans 16:7.)

Cyrenians.--At Cyrene, also, on the north coast of Africa, lying between Egypt and Carthage, there was a large Jewish population. Strabo, quoted by Josephus, describes them as a fourth of the whole (Jos. Ant. xiv. 7, 2). They were conspicuous for the offerings they sent to the Temple, and had appealed to Augustus for protection against the irregular taxes by which the provincial governors sought to intercept their gifts (Jos. Ant. xvi. 6, 5). In Simon of Cyrene we have had a conspicuous member, probably a conspicuous convert, of this community. (See Note on Matthew 27:32.) Later on, clearly as the result of Stephen's teaching, they are prominent in preaching the gospel to the Gentiles of Antioch. We may think of Simon himself, and his two sons Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21), as probably members of this society.

Alexandrians.--Next to Jerusalem and Rome, there was, perhaps, no city in which the Jewish population was so numerous and influential as at Alexandria. Here, too, they had their own quarter, assigned to them by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and were governed, as if they were a free republic, by an ethnarch of their own (Jos. Ant. xiv. 7, 2). They were recognised as citizens by their Roman rulers (Ibid. xiv. 10, 1). From Alexandria had come the Greek version of the Old Testament, known from the legend of the seventy translators who had all been led to a supernatural agreement, as that of the Septuagint, or LXX., which was then in use among all the Hellenistic Jews throughout the empire, and largely read even in Palestine itself. There, at this time, living in fame and honour, was the great teacher Philo, the probable master of Apollos, training him, all unconsciously, to be the preacher of a wisdom higher than his own. The knowledge, or want of knowledge, with which Apollos appears on the scene, knowing only the baptism of John, forbids the assumption that he had been at Jerusalem after the Day of Pentecost (Acts 18:25), but echoes of the teaching of Stephen are found in that of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and it is not improbable that thoughts had been carried back to Alexandria by those who had thus been brought under his influence.

Of them of Cilicia.--Here we feel at once the interest of the name. The young Jew of Tarsus, the disciple of Gamaliel, could not fail to be among the leading members of this section of the second synagogue, exercising, in the fiery energy of his zeal, a dominant influence even over the others.

And of Asia.--The word is taken, as throughout the New Testament, in its later and more restricted sense, as denoting the pro-consular province so called, including the old Lydia and Ionia, and having Ephesus as its capital. Later on in the history, we find Jews of Asia prominent in their zeal for the sacredness of the Temple (Acts 21:27).

Disputing with Stephen.--The nature of the dispute is not far to seek. The tendency of distance from sacred places which are connected with men's religion, is either to make men sit loose to their associations, and so rise to higher and wider thoughts, or to intensify their reverence. Where pilgrimages are customary, the latter is almost invariably the result. Men measure the sacredness of what they have come to see by the labour and cost which they have borne to see it, and they resent anything that suggests that they have wasted their labour, as tending to sacrilege and impiety. The teaching of Stephen, representing as it did the former alternative, guided and perfected by the teaching of the Spirit, was probably accepted by a few in each community. The others, moved by their pilgrim zeal were more intolerant of it than the dwellers in Jerusalem, to whom the ritual of the Temple was a part of their every-day life. Those who were most familiar with it, the priests who ministered in its courts, were, as we have seen (Acts 6:7), among the first to welcome the new and wider teaching.

Verse 9. - But for then, A.V.; certain of them that were for certain, A.V.; of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians for Cyrenians and Alexandrians, A.V.; Asia for of Asia, A.V. Of the synagogue, etc. There were said to have been four hundred and eighty synagogues in Jerusalem alone in the time of our Savior (Olshausen, on Matthew 4:23). But this is probably a fanciful number; only it may be taken as an indication of the great number of such places of Jewish worship. Tiberias is said to have had twelve synagogues. Ten grown-up people was the minimum congregation of a synagogue. It seems by the enumeration of synagogues in our text that the foreign Jews had each their own synagogue at Jerusalem, as Chrysostom supposes, where men of the same nation attended when they came to Jerusalem; for the construction of the sentence is to supply before Κυρηναίων and again before Ἀλεξανδρέων the same words as precede Λιβερτίνων, viz. καὶ τῶν ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς τῆς λεγομένης, SO as to mean "and certain of them that were of the synagogue called of the Cyrenians," and so on. The very numerous Jews of Cyrene and of Alexandria would doubtless require each a synagogue for themselves. The Libertines were, as Chrysostom explains it, "freedmen of the Romans." They are thought to consist chiefly of the descendants of the Jews who were taken prisoners by Pompey, and deported to Rome, who were afterwards emancipated and returned to Judaea, though some (Meyer, 1:1) settled in Rome. Tacitus, under the year A.D. , speaks of four thousand Libertini, infected with Jewish or Egyptian superstitions, as banished to Sardinia ('Annal.,' 2. 85.). Many of these must have been Jews. Josephus, who tells the same story as Tacitus, though somewhat differently, says they were all Jews ('Ant. Jud.,' 18, 3:5). The Cyrenians. Cyrene was the chief city in North Africa, and a great Jewish colony. Numbers of Jews were settled there in the time of Ptolemy Lagus ('Cont. Apion.,' 2:4), and are said by Josephus (quoting Strabo) to have been a fourth part of the inhabitants of the city ('Ant. Jud.,'14. 7:2). Josephus also quotes edicts of Augustus and of M. Agrippa, confirming to the Jews of Cyrene the right to live according to their own laws, and specially to send money for the temple at Jerusalem (16. 6:5). Jews from "the parts of Libya about Cyrene" are mentioned in Acts 2:10; Simon, who bore our Savior's cross, was "a man of Cyreue;" there were "men of Cyrene" at Jerusalem at the time of the persecution that arose about Stephen (Acts 11:19); and "Lucius of Cyrene" is mentioned in Acts 13:1. It was natural, therefore, that the Cyrenians should have a synagogue of their own at Jerusalem. Of the Alexandrians. Alexandria had a Jewish population of 100,000 at this time, equal to two-fifths of the whole city. The famous Philo, who was in middle age at this time, was an Alexandrian, and the Alexandrian Jews were the most learned of their race. The Jews settled in Alexandria in the time of Alexander the Great and Ptolemy Lagus. The LXX. Version of the Scriptures was made at Alexandria primarily for their use. We may be sure, therefore, that they had a synagogue at Jerusalem. And of them of Cilicia. The transition from the African Jews to those of Asia is marked by changing the form of phrase into καὶ τῶν ἀπὸ Κιλικίας. There were many Jews in Cilicia, and this doubtless influenced St. Paul in preaching there, as well as the fact of its being his own native province (see Acts 15:23, 41; Galatians 1:21). Josephus makes frequent mention of the Jews in the wars between the Ptolemies and Antiochus the Great, with whom the Jews sided, and in consequence were much favored by him. And it is thought that many who had been driven out from their homes by the wars, and others who were brought by him from Babylonia, settled in his time in Cilicia, as well as other parts of his Asiatic dominions. Seleucus also encouraged the Jews to settle in the towns of Asia in his kingdom, by giving them the freedom of the cities and putting them on an equal footing (ἰσοτίμους) with Macedonians and Greeks ('Ant. Jud.,' 12. 3:1, 3). Asia; meaning the same district as in Acts 2:9 (where see note). Evidence of the abundance of Jews in Asia crops up throughout the Acts (8. 16, 24, 42, 45; 14:19; 16:13; 18:26, 28; 19:17; 20:21). That the Jews of Asia were very bigoted we learn from Acts 21:27 (see also 1 Peter 1:1). Then there arose certain of the synagogue,.... Being filled with indignation at the doctrine of Stephen, and with envy at his miracles, they rose up in great wrath, and warmly opposed him: and they be longed to that synagogue

which is called the synagogue of the libertines; or free men: it is a Roman name, and signifies the sons of free men; and these were either the sons of such Jews, who of servants, or slaves, had been made "free men"; or rather such Jews whose parents were born free, or had obtained their freedom at Rome, or in some free city under the Roman government, as Paul at Tarsus; since it is not so easy to account for it, that there should be a peculiar synagogue for the former, whereas there might be for the latter, seeing they could not speak the language of the native Jews. The Arabic version reads, "of the Corinthians", as if they were the Jews from Corinth: and some have thought the word "Libertines" to be the name of a nation or people, as well as the names that follow; and some think it designs the Lybians or Lybistines in Africa; but neither of these is likely:

and Cyrenians: natives of the city or country of Cyrene, from whence were many Jews; see Acts 2:10 such as Simon the Cyrenian, the father of Alexander, and Rufus, who carried the cross of Christ after him, Mark 15:21 these, with those that follow, either belonged to the same synagogue with the Libertines, or rather they severally had distinct synagogues: and this will not seem strange, when it is said (g), that there were in Jerusalem four hundred and eighty synagogues; though it is elsewhere said (h) four hundred and sixty:

and Alexandrians; for that there were a peculiar synagogue of these at Jerusalem is certain; for there is express mention made of it in Jewish writings (i).

"It happened to R. Eleazar bar Tzadok, that he bought "the synagogue of the Alexandrians", which was at Jerusalem, and he did with it whatever he pleased.''

And that they should have a synagogue at Jerusalem need not be wondered at, when there was such an intercourse and correspondence between Jerusalem and Alexandria: it is said (k),

"the house of Garmu were expert in making of the shewbread, and they would not teach it; the wise men sent and fetched workmen from Alexandria in Egypt, and they knew how to bake as well as they.----The house or family of Abtines were expert in the business of the incense, and they would not teach it; the wise men sent and fetched workmen from Alexandria in Egypt, and they knew how to mix the spices as well as they.''

Again it is said (l),

"there was a brass cymbal in the sanctuary, and it was cracked, and the wise men sent and brought workmen from Alexandria in Egypt, and they mended it---and there was a mortar in which they beat spices, and it was cracked, and the wise men sent and fetched workmen from Alexandria, and they mended it.''

Hence many of them doubtless settled here, and had a synagogue of their own:

and of them of Cilicia; the metropolis of which country was Tarsus, Acts 21:39. I make no doubt of it, that Saul of Tarsus was among them, or belonged to this synagogue, and was one of the fierce disputants with Stephen; at least violently opposed him, since he afterwards held the clothes of those that stoned him; we read (m) of , which I should be tempted to render, the "synagogue of the Tarsians", the same with the Cilicians here; but that it is elsewhere said (n), that

"it happened to the synagogue of the Tursians, which was at Jerusalem, that they sold it to R. Eliezer, and he did all his business in it.''

Where the gloss explains the word "Tursians" by "brass founders"; and it seems to design the same synagogue with that of the Alexandrians, who may be so called, because many of them wrought in brass, as appears from a citation above. There was a synagogue of these Tarsians at Lud, or Lydda (o): it is added, and of Asia; that is, the less; which joined to Cilicia, and in which were great numbers of Jews; see Acts 21:27 this clause is left out in the Alexandrian copy: at Jerusalem, there were synagogues for the Jews of different nations; as here in London, are places of worship for protestants of several countries; as French, Dutch, Germans, Danes, Swedes, &c. Now several persons out of these synagogues, met together in a body,

disputing with Stephen; about the doctrine he preached, and the miracles he wrought, and by what authority he did these things.

continued...9, 10. synagogue of the Libertines—Jewish freedmen; manumitted Roman captives, or the children of such, expelled from Rome (as appears from Josephus and Tacitus), and now residing at Jerusalem.

Cyrenians—Jews of Cyrene, in Libya, on the coast of Africa.

them of Cilicia—amongst whom may have been Saul of Tarsus (Ac 7:58; 21:39).

and of Asia—(See on [1958]Ac 16:6).6:8-15 When they could not answer Stephen's arguments as a disputant, they prosecuted him as a criminal, and brought false witnesses against him. And it is next to a miracle of providence, that no greater number of religious persons have been murdered in the world, by the way of perjury and pretence of law, when so many thousands hate them, who make no conscience of false oaths. Wisdom and holiness make a man's face to shine, yet will not secure men from being treated badly. What shall we say of man, a rational being, yet attempting to uphold a religious system by false witness and murder! And this has been done in numberless instances. But the blame rests not so much upon the understanding, as upon the heart of a fallen creature, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yet the servant of the Lord, possessing a clear conscience, cheerful hope, and Divine consolations, may smile in the midst of danger and death.
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Alphabetical: as Alexandria Alexandrians and argue argued arose as Asia began both But called called Cilicia Cyrene Cyrenians Freedmen from however including it Jews members men of Opposition provinces rose some Stephen Synagogue the These to up was well what with

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