And he went out, and followed him; and knew not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And wist not that it was true . . .—The kind of introspective analysis of the Apostle’s consciousness suggests the thought that he was himself, possibly through some intermediate channel, St. Luke’s informant. As in the activity of somnambulism, the will directed the actions of the body, and yet was only half-conscious of what it did. It may be noted that his experience of the trance and vision narrated in Acts 10 would tend to suggest the impression that he was passing through phenomena of a like kind.
That it was true - That it was real.
But thought he saw a vision - He supposed that it was a representation made to his mind similar to what he had seen before. Compare Acts 10:11-12. It was so astonishing, so unexpected, so wonderful, that he could not realize that it was true.Psalm 126:1: God therefore bringing his people to such extremities, that his salvation might be the more astonishing.
and wist not that it was true that was done by the angel; not that he thought the angel was a mere apparition, and all this that was done was a delusion; but he did not know whether this was matter of fact, or whether it was, not represented to him in a visionary way, as what could be, or would be done:And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 12:9. ἐδόκει δὲ ὅραμα βλέπειν: even those who regard the narrative as unhistorical can scarcely say that the writer cannot understand how to distinguish between an actual fact and a vision; moreover, this same writer describes visions such as that of Peter, Acts 10:10, and of Paul, Acts 22:17, as ecstacies; once in Acts 26:19 Paul speaks of the appearance of Christ vouchsafed to him before Damascus as a vision, ὀπτασία, but this word is not confined to appearances which the narrators regard as visions, cf. Luke 1:22; Luke 24:23, cf. Beyschlag, Studien und Kritiken, p. 203, 1864; Witness of the Epistles (Longmans, 1892).Verse 9. - Followed for followed him, A.V. and T.R.; he wist for wist, A.V.
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