Acts 1:25
That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
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(25) That he may take part of this ministry.—Better, the portion, or the lot, so as to give the word (cleros, as in Acts 1:17) the same prominence in English as it has in the Greek.

From which Judas by transgression fell.—The last three words are as a paraphrase of the one Greek verb. Better, fell away.

That he might go to his own place.—Literally, as the verb is in the infinitive, to go to his own place. The construction is not free from ambiguity, and some interpreters have referred the words to the disciple about to be chosen, “to go to his own place” in the company of the Twelve. If we connect them, as seems most natural, with Judas, we find in them the kind of reserve natural in one that could neither bring himself to cherish hope nor venture to pronounce the condemnation which belonged to the Searcher of hearts. All that had been revealed to him was, that “it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Mark 14:21).

1:15-26 The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world, was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal was made to God; Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, which we do not; and better than they know their own. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us, we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by which any trust may be committed to us.That he may take part of this ministry - The word rendered "part" - κλῆρον klēron - is the same which in the next verse is rendered lots. It properly means a lot or portion the portion divided to a man, or assigned to him by casting lots; and also the instrument or means by which the lot is determined. The former is its meaning here; the office, or portion of apostolic work, which would fall to him by taking the place of Judas.

Ministry and apostleship - This is an instance of the figure of speech hendiadys, when two words are used to express one thing. It means the apostolic ministry. See instances in Genesis 1:14, "Let them be for signs and for seasons," that is, signs of seasons; Acts 23:6, "Hope and resurrection of the dead," that is, hope of the resurrection of the dead.

From which Judas by transgression fell - Literally, went aside - παρέβη parebē - "as opposed to the idea of adhering faithfully to the character and service which his apostleship required of him" (Prof. Hackett). The transgression referred to was his treason and suicide.

That he might go to his own place - These words by different interpreters have been referred both to Matthias and Judas. Those who refer them to Matthias say that they mean that Judas fell that Matthias might go to his own place, that is, to a place for which he was suited, or well qualified. But to this there are many objections:

1. The apostolic office could with no propriety be called, in reference to Matthias, his own place, until it was actually conferred upon him.

2. There is no instance in which the expression to go to his own place is applied to a successor in office.

3. It is not true that the design or reason why Judas fell was to make way for another. He fell by his crimes; his avarice, his voluntary and enormous wickedness.

4. The former part of the sentence contains this sentiment: "Another must be appointed to this office which the death of Judas has made vacant." If this expression, "that he might go," etc., refers to the successor of Judas, it expresses the same sentiment, but more obscurely.

5. The obvious and natural meaning of the phrase is to refer it to Judas. But those who suppose that it refers to Judas differ greatly about its meaning. Some suppose that it refers to his own house, and that the meaning is, that he left the apostolic office to return to his own house; and they appeal to Numbers 24:25. But it is not true that Judas did this; nor is there the least proof that it was his design. Others refer it to the grave, as the place of man, where all must lie; and particularly as an ignominious place where it was proper that a traitor like Judas should lie. But there is no example where the word "place" is used in this sense, nor is there an instance where a man, by being buried, is said to return to his own or proper place. Others have supposed that the manner of his death by hanging is referred to as his own or his proper place. But this interpretation is evidently an unnatural and forced one. The word "place" cannot be applied to an act of self-murder. It denotes "habitation, abode, situation in which to remain"; not an act. These are the only interpretations of the passage which can be suggested, except the common one of referring it to the abode of Judas in the world of woe. This might be said to be his own, as he had prepared himself for it, and as it was proper that he who betrayed his Lord should dwell there. This interpretation may be defended by the following considerations:

1. It is the obvious and natural meaning of the words. It commends itself by its simplicity and its evident connection with the context. It has in all ages been the common interpretation; nor has any other been adopted, except in cases where there was a theory to be defended about future punishment. Unless people had previously made up their minds not to believe in future punishment, no one would ever have thought of any other interpretation. This fact alone throws strong light on the meaning of the passage.

2. It accords with the crimes of Judas, and with all that we know of him. What the future doom of Judas would be was not unknown to the apostles. Jesus Christ had expressly declared this - "it had been good for that man if he had not been born"; a declaration which could not be true if, after any limited period of suffering, he was at last admitted to eternal happiness. See Matthew 26:24, and the notes on that place. This declaration was made in the presence of the eleven apostles, at the institution of the Lord's Supper, and at a time when their attention was absorbed with deep interest in what Christ said; and it was therefore a declaration which they would not be likely to forget. As they knew the fate of Judas beforehand, nothing was more natural for them than to speak of it familiarly as a thing which had actually occurred when he betrayed his Lord and hung himself.

3. The expression "to go to his own place" is one which is used by the ancient writers to denote "going to an eternal destiny." Thus, the Jewish Tract, Baal Turim, on Numbers 24:25, says, "Balaam went to his own place, that is, to Gehenna," to hell. Thus, the Targum, or Chaldee Paraphrase on Ecclesiastes 6:6, says," Although the days of a man's life were two thousand years, and he did not study the Law, and do justice, in the day of his death his soul shall descend to hell, to the one place where all sinners go." Thus, Ignatius in the Epistle to the Magnesians says, "Because all things have an end, the two things death and life shall lie down together, and each one shall go to his own place." The phrase his own place means the place or abode which was suited for him, which was his appropriate home.

Judas was not in a place which befitted his character when he was an apostle; he was not in such a place in the church; he would not be in heaven. Hell was the only place which was suited to the man of avarice and of treason. And if this be the true interpretation of this passage, then it follows:

1. That there will be such a thing as future, eternal punishment. There is certainly one man in hell, and ever will be. If there is one there, for the same reason there may be others. All objections to the doctrine are removed by this single fact; and it cannot be true that all people will be saved.


25. that he might go to his own place—A euphemistic or softened expression of the awful future of the traitor, implying not only destined habitation but congenial element. Ministry and apostleship, klhron, or every one’s station in the world, is ordered by the providence of God, and their part or portion is assigned to them; and so the apostleship was unto the apostles.

His own place; hell, or destruction, not intended by Judas, but righteously by God appointed for him: whilst he was in the world (especially after his betraying of our Saviour) he was a usurper in it; and as bad as the world was, it was too good for him. That these words should be understood of Matthias’s succeeding to the apostleship of Judas as into his own place, is the less probable, because as yet he was not chosen into it.

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship,.... Of the ministry of the apostles, or of the apostolical ministration; which lay in preaching the Gospel, administering ordinances, planting churches, and working miracles; and which part, lot, or inheritance, Judas had; see Acts 1:17.

And from which Judas by transgression fell; by betraying his Lord, whose apostle he was, he was turned out of his office, and had no longer part in the apostolical ministry:

that he might go to his own place; which may be understood of Judas, and of his going to hell, as the just punishment of his sin; which is commonly so called by the Jews, who often explain this phrase, "his place", by hell; as when it is said of Laban, Genesis 31:55 that he "returned to his place", it intimates, say they (d), that he returned to his place, which was prepared for him in hell; and so likewise when it is said of Balaam, Numbers 24:25 that he "returned to his place", they observe (e), that

"he did not return from his evil way, but returned to his place; and so intimates by saying, to his place, that which was prepared for him in hell, as the Rabbins of blessed memory say (f); "they came everyone from his own place", Job 2:11 a man from his house, a man from his country it is not written, but a man from his place, which was prepared for him in hell; and because they came to show mercy to Job, they were delivered from hell, and became worthy of the world to come; and so here, and "he returned to his place", , "which was prepared for him in hell".

And another of their writers (g), on the same passage, has this remark, and he returned to his place, and he does not say,

"he went on his way, for he was driven out of his way, and went down to hell.

And agreeably to what is said of Job's friends, the Targumist on Job 2:11 paraphrases the words thus,

"and there came a man, or everyone from his place, and by this merit they were delivered from the place, prepared for them in hell.

And which place the same Targumist on Job 8:4 calls , "the place of their rebellion"; that is, procured by it: and so Judas's own place was what he had merited by his sin, and was righteously appointed for him; and though it was not peculiar to him, but common to all impenitent sinners, yet very proper for him, as a betrayer; for it is a settled point with the Jews (h), that

"he that betrays an Israelite into the hands of the Gentiles (so Judas betrayed his master), whether in his body, or in his substance, has no part in the world to come.

This clause is by some understood not of Judas, but of Matthias, or of him that was to come in the room of Judas; and by "his own place" it is thought is meant, the "part of the ministry and apostleship", in the former clause, and which the Alexandrian copy reads, "the place of this ministry", he was to take; and now Judas by his iniquity falling from it, made way for another, for Matthias to go to his own place, which God had in his counsel and purposes designed for him; or "into his place", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it; that is, into the place of Judas, to take his place among the apostles, in his room and stead: the Alexandrian copy reads, "into that righteous place",

(d) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 43. 2.((e) Ib. fol. 127. 1.((f) Vid. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 74. 3.((g) Baal Hatturim in Numbers 24.25. (h) Maimon. Hilchot Chobel, &c. c. 8. sect. 9.

That he may take {y} part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression {z} fell, that he might go to his own place.

(y) That he may be a member and partaker of this ministry.

(z) Departed from, or fallen from: and it is a metaphor taken from the word way: for callings are signified by the name of ways with the Hebrews.

Acts 1:25. τὸν κλῆρον: R.V. τόπον marking the antithesis between the place in the Apostleship and “his own place” to which Judas had gone, Vulg. locum.—τῆς διακονίας ταύτης καὶ ἀποστολῆς: as above we have not only the word διακονία used but also ἐπισκοπή, Acts 5:17; Acts 5:20, so here too we have not only διακονία but also ἀποστολή, although no doubt there is a sense in which we may truly say with Dr. Hort (Ecclesia, p. 204) that Apostleship is the highest form of ministration. On the word ἀπόστολος see Acts 13:2-3; the term was undoubtedly used in N.T. to include others besides the Twelve, although there is no reason to suppose that the qualification of having “seen the Lord” was in any case invalidated (cf. Gwatkin, “Apostle,” Hastings’ B.D., p. 126). The whole narrative before us which relates the solemn appeal of the Church to her Ascended Lord, and the choice determined upon in immediate sequence to that appeal, is clearly at variance with any conception of Apostleship as other than a divine commission received directly from Christ Himself (Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, p. 130).—παρέβη, “fell away,” R.V. cf. LXX Exodus 32:8, ἐκ τῆς ὁδοῦ, so Deuteronomy 9:12; Deuteronomy 17:20, ἀπὸ τῶν ἐντολῶν (cf. Acts 28:14, A.), so the Heb. סוּר followed by מִן. A.V. following Tyndall renders “by transgression fell,” which lays too much stress upon “fell,” which is not the prominent notion of the Greek verb, elsewhere “transgressed” (Humphry on Revised Version, p. 188—εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἴδιον on τόπος). in the sense of social position, dignity, see Sir 12:12, and also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 95, of succeeding to the vacant place caused by death in a religious community. Here the phrase is usually explained as the place of punishment, Gehenna, cf. Baal—Turim on Numbers 24:25 (and Genesis 31:55) “Balaam ivit in locum suum,” i.e., Gehenna, Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., while on the other hand Schöttgen sees no need to explain the expression in this way. In each of the passages in the O.T. the word ἴδιος does not occur in the LXX, although in the still more fanciful comment of the Rabbis on Job 2:11, we have ἐκ τῆς ἰδίας χώρας. That the phrase ἴδιος τόπος may be used in a good or bad sense is plain from Ignat., Magn., v., in a passage which is naturally referred to the verse before us, where a man’s “own place” denotes the place of reward, or that of punishment, cf., e.g., εἰς τὸν ὀφειλόμενον τόπον, Polycarp, Phil., ix., where the words refer to the martyrs who were with the Lord, and εἰς τὸν ὀφειλ. τόπον τῆς δόξης said of St. Peter, Clem. Rom., Cor[112] v. Nösgen argues, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 88, 89, that we are not justified in concluding from a few Rabbinical passages which contain such fanciful interpretations of simple words (cf. the comment on Job 2:11, quoted by Wetstein) that St. Peter must have meant “Gehenna”. In his wilful fall from the place chosen for him by God, Judas had chosen in self-will ἴδιος τόπος, and this wilful and deliberate choice St. Peter would emphasise in contrast to the τόπος ἀποστολῆς about to be bestowed, Acts 1:25 (see also Rendall, Acts, p. 174). But however this may be, the words may well indicate a reserve on the part of St. Peter in speaking of the fate and destiny of Judas, characteristic of his reference to him cf. note on Acts 1:16. None of the other explanations offered can be deemed satisfactory, as, e.g., that the word πορευθῆναι κ.τ.λ. refers to the successor of Judas; that Matthias should undertake the Apostolic circuit assigned to Judas (so Oecumenius, and amongst English commentators, Hammond); or, that the words refer to the house or home of Judas, or to his association with the Pharisees, or to his suicide and dishonoured burial, or to the χωρίον mentioned above. Spitta, amongst recent commentators, stands almost alone in referring the words back to Acts 1:16, and holds that they refer to the position of Judas as the guide to those who took Jesus. The sense of the passage is expressed in the reading of A δίκαιον instead of ἴδιον.

[112] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

25. that he may take part] The best MSS. read that he may take the place, &c. The Rec. Text has the same words here and in Acts 1:17, as is represented in the A. V. A scribe remembering the former would easily assimilate the two places, and as the Greek word in Acts 1:17 signifies lot, he might perceive a fitness in its use in this part of the narrative.

from which Judas by transgression fell] Better, from which Judas fell away. The Gk. has only a verb which literally = transgressed.

that he might go to his own place] He had been chosen into one place by Jesus, but had made another choice for himself, which had ended in destruction. That “his own place” when thus used was, to the Jewish mind, an equivalent for Gehenna = the place of torment, may be seen from the Baal Haturim on Numbers 24:25, where it is said “Balaam went to his own place, i.e. to Gehenna.” A like expression is found concerning Job’s friends, Midrash Rabbah on Ecclesiastes 7:1.

Acts 1:25. Εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἴδιον, to his own place) to the place altogether peculiar to him, and distinct from that of the other apostles, [or even distinct from the rest of those who perish.—V. g.] He had sought ἴδιον, a something peculiarly his own property: Acts 1:18, the field: he obtained his own place, which escapes [falls not under] the eyes of survivors, viz. a place in the region of death.

Verse 25. - To take the place in this for that he matt take part of this, A.V. and T.R.; fell away for by transgression fell, A.V. (παρέβη). The use of παραβαίνω in an intransitive sense for "to transgress, fall away from, turn aside from; and the like, is frequent in the LXX. (Exodus 32:8; Deuteronomy 17:20, etc.). To his own place. An awful phrase, showing that every man has the place in eternity which he has made for himself in time. If the reading place, in the beginning of the verse, is adopted instead of the part (κλῆρον) of the A.V., then them is a contrast between the blessed place of apostleship, which Judas forfeited, and that of traitorship, which he acquired. Acts 1:25That he may take part (λαβεῖν τὸν κλῆρον)

Lit., to take the lot. But the best texts read τὸν τόπον, the place. Rev., to take the place.

By transgression fell (παρέβη)

See on trespasses, Matthew 6:14. The rendering of the A. V. is explanatory. Rev., better, fell away.

His own place

Compare "the place in this ministry." Τὸν ἴδιον, his own, is stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. It is the place which was peculiarly his, as befitting his awful sin - Gehenna.

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