Acts 10:25
And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.—The attitude was the extremest form of Eastern homage. So Jairus had bowed down before Jesus (Matthew 9:18), so St. John bowed before the angel (Revelation 22:8). Peter’s answer, in strong contrast with the words and acts, the very ceremonial, of those who claim to be his successors, shows that he looked on it as expressing a homage such as God alone could rightly claim. For man to require or receive it from man was an inversion of the true order, The language of the angel in Revelation 22:9—“See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant . . . worship God”—implies the same truth. Both bear their witness, all the more important because not controversial, against any culius of saints or angels that tends to efface the distinction between man and God. We must not pass over the parallelism between St. Peter’s words and those of St. Paul at Lystra, “We also are men of like passions with yourselves” (Acts 14:15).

Acts 10:25-27. As Peter was coming in — Cornelius, who had been expecting him, probably with some impatience, longing to know what that important doctrine was, which an angel had told him he should hear from him; met him, and fell down at his feet — Expressing thus his reverence for one, in so eminent a sense, the messenger of Heaven; and worshipped him — Not with divine, but mere civil worship: such as was usually paid to kings and princes, and others of high dignity, in the East. Having believed in the one living and true God, and forsaken the idolatry of the Gentiles, he certainly could not offer divine or religious worship to Peter: nor could he, as some have fancied, imagine Peter to be an angel, considering how the angel had spoken of him. But his reverence for him as a divine messenger, together with the custom which prevailed in those countries, of expressing the highest respect by prostration, might induce him to fall down at his feet, and offer a homage, which Peter wisely and religiously declined accepting. And as he talked with him, he went in — They went into the house talking together, probably of the goodness of God manifested in so happily bringing them together, for they could not but see and acknowledge God in it. And found many that were come together — More than Peter expected, which at once added solemnity to this service, and afforded a greater opportunity of doing good.10:19-33 When we see our call clear to any service, we should not be perplexed with doubts and scruples arising from prejudices or former ideas. Cornelius had called together his friends, to partake with him of the heavenly wisdom he expected from Peter. We should not covet to eat our spiritual morsels alone. It ought to be both given and taken as kindness and respect to our kindred and friends, to invite them to join us in religious exercises. Cornelius declared the direction God gave him to send for Peter. We are right in our aims in attending a gospel ministry, when we do it with regard to the Divine appointment requiring us to make use of that ordinance. How seldom ministers are called to speak to such companies, however small, in which it may be said that they are all present in the sight of God, to hear all things that are commanded of God! But these were ready to hear what Peter was commanded of God to say.Fell down at his feet - This was an act of profound regard for him as an ambassador of God. In Oriential countries it was usual for persons to prostrate themselves at length on the ground before men of rank and honor. "Worshipped him" This does not mean religious homage, but civil respect - the homage, or profound regard which was due to one in honor. See the notes on Matthew 2:2. 25-29. as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him—a mark of the highest respect.

fell down at his feet, and worshipped him—In the East this way of showing respect was customary not only to kings, but to others occupying a superior station; but among the Greeks and Romans it was reserved for the gods. Peter, therefore, declines it as due to no mortal [Grotius]. "Those who claim to have succeeded Peter, have not imitated this part of his conduct" [Alford] (therein only verifying 2Th 2:4, and compare Re 19:10; 22:9).

As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him; into Cornelius’s house, for he hastened to meet with him.

Worshipped him; Cornelius worshipped with the most humble civil worship; but he could not think him to be God, and therefore he did give him no Divine worship, he having forsaken the idolatry of the Gentiles; but might perhaps think him to have been an angel, and intended to worship him accordingly, for which he is blamed in the following verse. And as Peter was coming in,.... Not into the city of Caesarea, for his entrance there is mentioned before, but into the house of Cornelius:

Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet; to testify his great affection for him, and reverence of him:

and worshipped him; not with a religious adoration, or with worship due to God; for that would have been contrary to his character as a devout man, and one that feared God; but with civil worship and respect, in which he might exceed just bounds, and therefore is reproved by Peter: nor could he take him for an angel of God, or for one sent immediately from heaven to him; for he had been informed who he was, and what he was, and from whence he came, and what he was to do.

{3} And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

(3) Religious adoration of worship is proper only to God: but civil worship is given to the ministers of the word, although not without danger.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 10:25. ὡς δὲ ἐγέν. (τοῦ) εἰσ.: for τοῦ see critical notes; “and when it came to pass that Peter entered,” R.V., i.e., into the house, see Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 139. It may be regarded as an extension of τοῦ beyond its usual sphere, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., for instances in LXX, pp. 166, 170 (1893). Simcox regards the sense as much the same as in the common (and specially Lucan), ἐγένετο τὸν Π. εἰσελθεῖν.—προσεκύνησεν (cf. Acts 14:15): expressive of lowliest humiliation, but not of necessity involving divine worship, cf. LXX, Genesis 23:7; Genesis 23:12, etc. Weiss thinks that as the verb is used here absolutely, as in Acts 8:27, the act was one of worship towards one regarded after the vision as a divine being; but on the other hand the language of the vision by no means involved such a belief on the part of Cornelius (see Acts 10:5), and as a worshipper of the one true God he would not be likely to pay such divine worship.25–33. Arrival of Peter. Cornelius explains why he had sent for him

25. And as Peter was coming in] The Greek is literally, “And as it came to pass that Peter entered,” i.e. before he went in, for we read of his entrance in Acts 10:27.

worshipped him] paying him the religious reverence which the supernatural direction of the angel concerning Peter would be likely to prompt. This act of obeisance in the Roman officer marks most strongly his sense that Peter was God’s messenger. Such acts were not usual among Roman soldiers.Acts 10:25. Εἰσελθεῖν, As it happened that Peter was entering) the house.—(συναντήσας, having met) with joy, and by way of compliment to him.—ἐπὶ τοὺς τόδας, at his feet) viz. those of Peter.—προσεκύνησεν, worshipped) Luke does not add him. A Euphemism [avoiding the expression of that which is idolatry].Verse 25. - When it came to pass that Peter entered for as Peter was coming in, A.V. The commentators all notice the ungrammatical phrase, ἐγένετο τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν, of the R.T. It seems to be a mixture of two con- structions - ἐγένετο τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν τὸν Πέτρον and ὡς δὲ εἰσῆλθεν ὁ Πέτρος. But probably the T.R. is right. Worshipped him; not necessarily as a god, because προσκυνεῖν (with a dative or an accusative, or, as here, without any case, Hebrew הִשְׁתַחֲוֶה) is constantly used to express that prostration which Orientals practiced before those whom they wished to honor; e.g. Genesis 23:7, 12; Genesis 33:3, 6, 7, etc. But Peter's answer shows that he saw in it greater honor than ought to be paid by one man to another (see Acts 14:15). Worshipped (προσεκύνησεν)

An unfortunate translation, according to modern English usage, but justified by the usage of earlier English, according to which to worship meant simply to honor. Worship is worthship, or honor paid to dignity or worth. This usage survives in the expressions worshipful and your worship. In the marriage-service of the English Church occurs the phrase, "With my body I thee worship." So Wycliffe renders Matthew 19:19, "Worship thy father and thy mother;" and John 12:26, "If any man serve me, my Father shall worship him." Here the meaning is that Cornelius paid reverence by prostrating himself after the usual oriental manner.

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