Acts 10:17
Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) While Peter doubted in himself . . . .—A doubt might well arise whether the teaching of the vision went beyond its immediate scope. The Apostle might have admitted that it abrogated the old distinction between clean and unclean meats, and yet might hesitate to answer the question, “Did it do more than this?”

Acts 10:17-18. Now while Peter doubted in himself — He did not doubt, that it was a heavenly vision; all his doubt was concerning the meaning of it. Christ generally reveals his will to his people by degrees, and not all at once: he leaves them to doubt a while, and to ruminate upon a matter, before he makes it fully manifest to them. Behold, the men sent from Cornelius — Being just come to the house; stood before the gate — And now Peter will learn the meaning of his vision. Thus frequently the things which befall us from within and from without at the same time, are a key to each other: and the things which so concur and agree together ought to be diligently attended to.10:9-18 The prejudices of Peter against the Gentiles, would have prevented his going to Cornelius, unless the Lord had prepared him for this service. To tell a Jew that God had directed those animals to be reckoned clean which were hitherto deemed unclean, was in effect saying, that the law of Moses was done away. Peter was soon made to know the meaning of it. God knows what services are before us, and how to prepare us; and we know the meaning of what he has taught us, when we find what occasion we have to make use of it.Doubted in himself - Doubted in his own mind. He was perplexed, and did not know how to understand it.

Behold, the men ... - We see here an admirable arrangement of the events of Providence to fit each other. Every part of this transaction is made to harmonize with every other part; and it was so arranged that just in the moment when the mind of Peter was filled with perplexity, the very event should occur which would relieve him of his embarrassment. Such a coincidence is not uncommon. An event of divine Providence may be as clear an expression of his will, and may as certainly serve to indicate our duty, as the most manifest revelation would do, and a state of mind may, by an arrangement of circumstances, be produced that will be extremely perplexing until some event shall occur, or some field of usefulness shall open, that will exactly correspond to it, and indicate to us the will of God. We should then carefully mark the events of God's providence. We should observe and record the train of our own thoughts, and should watch with interest any event that occurs, when we are perplexed and embarrassed, to obtain, if possible, an expression of the will of God.

Before the gate - The word here rendered "gate," πυλῶνα pulōna refers properly to the porch or principal entrance to an Eastern house. See the notes on Matthew 9:2; Matthew 26:71. It does not mean, as with us, a gate, but rather a door. See Acts 12:13.

17-24. while Peter doubted … what this should mean, behold, the three men … stood before the gate … and asked—"were inquiring," that is, in the act of doing so. The preparations here made—of Peter for his Gentile visitors, as of Cornelius for him—are devoutly to be noted. But besides this, at the same moment, "the Spirit" expressly informs him that three men were inquiring for him, and bids him unhesitatingly go with them, as sent by Him. Doubted in himself; recollecting himself; for the vision had so affected him, that it had put him into a kind of ecstasy, out of which when he came to himself,

behold, the men; the two servants and the soldier which Cornelius had sent. Now while Peter doubted in himself,.... For notwithstanding what he had heard and seen, he had not at once a full knowledge of this matter. Beza's most ancient copy reads, "as he was in himself, he doubted"; that is, when he came to himself, for he was before, as it were, out of himself, and was in a trance, or ecstasy; and now being come to himself, and reflecting on what he had seen and heard, he had some doubts and hesitations in his mind:

what this vision which he had seen should mean; what the vessel or sheet should signify, what should be meant by the four-footed beasts, &c. why he should be called to arise, and kill, and eat such creatures, and what should be designed by God's cleansing them; and while he was revolving these things in his mind, and at some uncertainty about them, something providentially happened, which was a key unto, and opened the whole vision clearly to him:

behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius, had made inquiry for Simon's house; they were come to Joppa, and, according to the direction given them, had inquired and found out the house of Simon the tanner, where Peter was:

and stood before the gate; of the house; perhaps knocking at it, in order to bring out somebody within to them, of whom they might inquire for Peter.

Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 10:17-20. The ἔκστασις was now over. But when Peter was very doubtful in himself what the appearance, which he had seen, might mean (comp. Luke 8:9; Luke 15:26). The true import could not but be at once suggested to him by the messengers of Cornelius, who had now come right in front of the house, to follow whom, moreover, an internal address of the Spirit urged him.

ἐν ἑαυτῷ] i.e. in his own reflection, contrasted with the previous ecstatic condition.

διηπόρ.] as in Acts 5:24, Acts 2:12.

καὶ ἰδού] See on Acts 1:10.

ἐπὶ τὸν πυλῶνα] at the door. See on Matthew 26:71.

φωνήσαντες] Kuinoel quite arbitrarily: “sc. τινὰ, evocato quopiam, quod Judaei domum intrare metuebant, ver.18.” They called below at the door of the house, without calling on or calling forth any particular person, but in order generally to obtain information from the inhabitants of the house, who could not but hear the calling. That Peter had heard the noise of the men and the mention of his name, that he had observed the men, had recognised that they were not Jews, and had felt himself impelled by an internal voice to follow them, etc., are among the many arbitrary additions (“of a supplementary kind”) which Neander has allowed himself to make in the history before us.

ἀλλὰ ἀναστὰς κατάβηθι] ἀλλά with the imperative denotes nothing more than the adversative at. “Men seek thee: but (do not let yourself be sought for longer and delay not, but rather) arise (as Acts 10:13) and go down.” The requisition with ἀλλά breaks off the discourse and renders the summons more urgent. See Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 370; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 17 f.

μηδὲν διακρινόμ.] in no respect (Jak. i. 6; Bernhardy, p. 336) wavering (see on Romans 4:20); for I, etc. The πνεῦμα designates Himself as the sender of the messengers, inasmuch as the vision (Acts 10:3-7) did not ensue without the operation of the divine Spirit, and the latter was thus the cause of Cornelius sending the messengers.

ἐγώ] with emphasis. Chrysostom rightly calls attention to the κύριον and the ἐξουσία of the Spirit.Acts 10:17. διηπόρει: “was much perplexed,” R.V., cf. Acts 2:12, Acts 5:24; see Page’s note, Acts, p. 145.—τί ἂν εἴη: on the optative in indirect questions used by St. Luke only, with or without ἂν, see Simcox, Language of the N. T., p. 112; Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, pp. 80, 133.—διερωτήσαντες: only here in N.T., not in LXX, but in classical Greek for asking constantly or continually; preposition intensifies. Here it may imply that they had asked through the town for the house of Cornelius (Weiss).—πυλῶνα, cf. Acts 12:13 (and Blass, in loco). R.V. renders not “porch,” as in Matthew 26:71, but “gate,” as if it were θύρα. The πυλών was properly the passage which led from the street through the front part of the house to the inner court. This was closed next the street by a heavy folding gate with a small wicket kept by a porter (see Alford on Matt., u. s., and Grimm-Thayer, sub v.).17–24. Arrival of the Messengers from Cornelius: Peter goes with them to Cæsarea

17. Now while Peter doubted (was much perplexed) in himself] The original verb implies “to be thoroughly at a loss, and not know which way to turn.” It is used (Luke 9:7) of Herod’s perplexity about Christ, when men said that John the Baptist was risen from the dead. Peter, aroused from his trance, was to apply what he had seen and heard, but he knew not how to begin the work.

stood before the gate] Literally, at the porch. The position of the house had been described to Cornelius (Acts 10:6), and when his messengers found the details true, it must have given them confidence that their errand was to be a successful one.Acts 10:17. Ἐν ἑαυτῷ, within himself) It is by implication indicated, that Peter was now no longer in a state of trance. Comp. ch. Acts 12:11 (Peter, after his deliverance from prison, “Now I know of a surety that the Lord,” etc.).—διηπόρει, doubted, was perplexed) The apostles were not without care for knowledge.—ἰδοὺ, behold) Often the things which encounter the godly from within and without at the one time mutually reveal one another [shed light one upon the other]. The things which thus meet and concur together are wisely to be weighed in the mind.—διερωτήσαντες) having by inquiry reached, or found out.—Σίμωνος, of Simon) The names indicated by the angel were a matter of surprise both to the inquirers and to the people of Joppa.Verse 17. - Was much perplexed for doubted, A.V.; the for this, A.V.; might for should, A.V.; that for which, A.V.; by for from, A.V.; having made inquiry, stood for had made enquiry, and stood., A.V. The gate (πυλών); the porch or gate into the court of an Eastern house. In Acts 12:13 we have "the door of the gate" (see Matthew 26:71; Luke 16:20, etc.). Doubted (διηπόρει)

See on Luke 9:7.

In himself

On reflection, as compared with his ecstatic state.

Had made inquiry (διερωτήσαντες)

"Having inquired out;" having asked their way through (διά) streets and houses, until they found the dwelling of the tanner, who was an obscure man, and not easily found.

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