And certain of the Epicurean and of the Stoic philosophers, were meeting together to see him, and some were saying, 'What would this seed picker wish to say?' and others, 'Of strange demons he doth seem to be an announcer;' because Jesus and the rising again he did proclaim to them as good news,
Acts 17:18 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Certain philosophers of the Epicureans - These were the followers of Epicurus, who acknowledged no gods except in name, and absolutely denied that they exercised any government over the world or its inhabitants; and that the chief good consisted in the gratification of the appetites of sense. These points the Epicureans certainly held; but it is not clear that Epicurus himself maintained such doctrines.
And of the Stoics - These did not deny the existence of the gods; but they held that all human affairs were governed by fate. They did not believe that any good was received from the hands of their gods; and considered, as Seneca asserts, that any good and wise man was equal to Jupiter himself. Both these sects agreed in denying the resurrection of the body; and the former did not believe in the immortality of the soul.
Epicurus, the founder of the Epicurean sect, was born at Athens, about a.m. 3663, before Christ 341.
Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, was born in the isle of Cyprus, about thirty years before Christ. His disciples were called Stoics from the Στοα, a famous portico at Athens, where they studied. Besides these two sects, there were two others which were famous at this time; viz. the Academics and the Peripatetics. The founder of the first was the celebrated Plato; and the founder of the second, the no less famous Aristotle. These sects professed a much purer doctrine than the Epicureans and Stoics; and it does not appear that they opposed the apostles, nor did they enter into public disputations with them. Against the doctrines taught by the Epicureans and Stoics, several parts of St. Paul's discourse, in the following verses, are directly pointed.
What will this babbler say? - The word σπερμολογος, which we translate babbler, signifies, literally, a collector of seeds, and is the "name of a small bird the lives by picking up seeds on the road." The epithet became applied to persons who collected the sayings of others, without order or method, and detailed them among their companions in the same way. The application of the term to prating, empty, impertinent persons, was natural and easy, and hence it was considered a term of reproach and contempt, and was sometimes used to signify the vilest sort of men.
A setter forth of strange gods - Ξενων δαιμονιων, Of strange or foreign demons. That this was strictly forbidden, both at Rome and Athens, see on Acts 16:21 (note).
There was a difference, in the heathen theology, between θεος, god, and δαιμων, demon: the θεοι, were such as were gods by nature: the δαιμονια, were men who were deified. This distinction seems to be in the mind of these philosophers when they said that the apostles seemed to be setters forth of strange demons, because they preached unto them Jesus, whom they showed to be a man, suffering and dying, but afterwards raised to the throne of God. This would appear to them tantamount with the deification of heroes, etc., who had been thus honored for their especial services to mankind. Horace expresses this in two lines, 2 Epist. i.:5: -
Romulus, et Liber pater, et cum Castore Pollux,
Post ingentia facta, deorum in templa recepti.
"Romulus, father Bacchus, with Castor and Pollux, for their eminent services, have been received into the temples of the gods."
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
1 Corinthians 1:20,21 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world...
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world...
Acts 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians...
Mark 9:14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
Luke 11:53 And as he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently...
babbler. or, base fellow.
Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
Proverbs 26:12 See you a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
Acts 17:31 Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained...
Acts 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light to the people...
Romans 14:9,10 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living...
1 Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...
Acts 17:18 Parallel CommentariesAdvocating Babbler Conversing Encountered Few Foreign Forth Good Idle Jesus Others Preached Resurrection Seemeth Seems Strange Telling Want WishAdvocating Babbler Conversing Encountered Few Foreign Forth Good Idle Jesus Others Preached Resurrection Seemeth Seems Strange Telling Want WishTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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