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,
Acts 6:9 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The synagogue - of the Libertines, etc. - That Jews and proselytes from various countries had now come up to Jerusalem to bring offerings, and to attend the feast of pentecost, we have already seen, Acts 2:9-11. The persons mentioned here were foreign Jews, who appear to have had a synagogue peculiar to themselves at Jerusalem, in which they were accustomed to worship when they came to the public festivals.
Various opinions have been entertained concerning the Libertines mentioned here: Bp. Pearce's view of the subject appears to me to be the most correct.
"It is commonly thought that by this name is meant the sons of such Jews as had been slaves, and obtained their freedom by the favor of their masters; but it is to be observed that with these Libertines the Cyrenians and Alexandrians are here joined, as having one and the same synagogue for their public worship. And it being known that the Cyrenians (Acts 2:10) lived in Libya, and the Alexandrians in the neighborhood of it, it is most natural to look for the Libertines too in that part of the world. Accordingly we find Suidas, in his Lexicon, saying, upon the word Λιβερτινοι, that it is ονομα του εθνους, the name of a people. And in Gest. Collationis Carthagine habitae inter Catholicos et Donatistas, published with Optatus's works, Paris, 1679, (No. 201, and p. 57), we have these words: Victor episcopus Ecclesiae Catholicae Libertinensis dixit, Unitas est illic, publicam non latet conscientiam. Unity is there: all the world knows it. From these two passages it appears that there was in Libya a town or district called Libertina, whose inhabitants bore the name of Λιβερτινοι, Libertines, when Christianity prevailed there. They had an episcopal see among them, and the above-mentioned Victor was their bishop at the council of Carthage, in the reign of the Emperor Honorius. And from hence it seems probable that the town or district, and the people, existed in the time of which Luke is here speaking. They were Jews, (no doubt), and came up, as the Cyrenian and Alexandrian Jews did, to bring their offerings to Jerusalem, and to worship God in the temple there. Cunaeus, in his Rep. Hebr. ii. 23, says that the Jews who lived in Alexandria and Libya, and all other Jews who lived out of the Holy Land, except those of Babylon and its neighborhood, were held in great contempt by the Jews who inhabited Jerusalem and Judea; partly on account of their quitting their proper country, and partly on account of their using the Greek language, and being quite ignorant of the other. For these reasons it seems probable that the Libertines, Cyrenians, and Alexendrians, had a separate synagogue; (as perhaps the Cilicians and those of Asia had); the Jews of Jerusalem not suffering them to be present in their synagogues, or they not choosing to perform their public service in synagogues where a language was used which they did not understand."
It is supposed, also, that these synagogues had theological, if not philosophical, schools attached to them; and that it was the disciples or scholars of these schools who came forward to dispute with Stephen, and were enraged because they were confounded. For it is not an uncommon custom with those who have a bad cause, which can neither stand the test of Scripture nor reason, to endeavor to support it by physical when logical force has failed; and thus: -
"Prove their doctrine orthodox,
By apostolic blows and knocks."
In the reign of Queen Mary, when popery prevailed in this country, and the simplest women who had read the Bible were an overmatch for the greatest of the popish doctors; as they had neither Scripture nor reason to allege, they burned them alive, and thus terminated a controversy which they were unable to maintain. The same cause will ever produce the same effect: the Libertines, Cilicians, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, pursued this course: Stephen confounded them by Scripture and reason, and they beat his brains out with stones! This was the most effectual way to silence a disputant whose wisdom they could not resist. In the same way were the Protestants treated, when by Scripture and reason they had shown the absurdity and wickedness of that anti-christian system which the fire and the sword were brought forth to establish. These persecutors professed great concern at first for the souls of those whom they variously tortured, and at last burned; but their tender mercies were cruel, and when they gave up the body to the flames, they most heartily consigned the soul to Satan. Scires sanguine natos: their conduct proclaimed their genealogy.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul...
Acts 17:17,18 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him...
Acts 22:19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on you:
Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them...
Matthew 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues;
Matthew 23:34 Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify...
Mark 13:9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues you shall be beaten...
Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons...
Acts 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Acts 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spoke to the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus.
Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger...
Matthew 27:32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.
Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
Acts 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
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, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech you...
Acts 22:3 I am truly a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel...
Acts 23:34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
Acts 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
Galatians 1:21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;
Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Acts 19:10,26 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelled in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus...
Acts 21:27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people...
1 Corinthians 1:20 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?
Acts 6:9 Parallel CommentariesAlexandria Argue Asia Belonged Cilicia Cyrenaeans Cyrene Cyrenians Debate Disputed Disputing Encounter Including Jews Members Opposition Provinces Roman Rose Roused So-Called Stephen Synagogue TogetherAlexandria Argue Asia Belonged Cilicia Cyrenaeans Cyrene Cyrenians Debate Disputed Disputing Encounter Including Jews Members Opposition Provinces Roman Rose Roused So-Called Stephen Synagogue TogetherTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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