Acts 13:16
Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and you that fear God, give audience.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Beckoning with his hand.—The gesture was rather that of one who waves his hand to command silence and attention than what we commonly describe as beckoning. (Comp. Acts 12:17.) The graphic touch of description would seem to indicate, as does the full report of the speech, that they came in the first instance from one who had been present. A like touch is found again in connection with St. Paul in Acts 21:40. It was, probably, like the “fixing of the eye,” in Acts 13:9, just one of the personal characteristics on which the painter-historian loved to dwell. We may assume, as almost certain, that throughout this journey St. Paul used Greek as the common medium of intercourse. The verbal coincidences in Acts 13:17-18, already referred to in the Note on Acts 13:15, make it, in this instance, absolutely certain.

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God.—The latter phrase denotes, as in Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22, those who, though in the synagogue, were of heathen origin, and had not become proselytes in the full sense of the term, but were known as the so-called “proselytes of the gate.”

Give audience.—Literally, hear ye. The English phrase may be noted as an example of the use of the word “audience,” which has since been applied to the persons who hear, in the old abstract sense of the act of hearing.

Acts 13:16. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with, or waving, his hand — To render the audience more attentive; said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God — Whether proselytes or heathen; give audience — This expression, Ye that fear God, seems best to suit those who, by embracing the Jewish religion, had entered into covenant with the true God, yet so as also to include any others in whom a filial reverence for the Divine Being was a governing principle. The discourse which the apostle now delivered, seems to have been chiefly intended to illustrate the divine economy, in opening the gospel gradually, and preparing the Jews, by temporal mercies, for others of a more important nature. He had thus a good opportunity of showing his acquaintance with their Scriptures, (which they esteemed the highest part of literature,) and thereby of better engaging their attention. His sermon, which seems to be given us at large, is particularly worthy of our consideration, as being an example of his manner of preaching in all the synagogues, and of the arguments which he used for convincing the Jews and proselytes that Jesus was the Messiah, or Christ, foretold by David, in the second Psalm. See on Acts 17:2, &c.13:14-31 When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves. Every thing is touched upon in this sermon, which might best prevail with Jews to receive and embrace Christ as the promised Messiah. And every view, however short or faint, of the Lord's dealings with his church, reminds us of his mercy and long-suffering, and of man's ingratitude and perverseness. Paul passes from David to the Son of David, and shows that this Jesus is his promised Seed; a Saviour to do that for them, which the judges of old could not do, to save them from their sins, their worst enemies. When the apostles preached Christ as the Saviour, they were so far from concealing his death, that they always preached Christ crucified. Our complete separation from sin, is represented by our being buried with Christ. But he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption: this was the great truth to be preached.Men of Israel - Jews. The design of this discourse of Paul was to introduce to them the doctrine that Jesus was the Messiah. To do this, he evinced his usual wisdom and address. To have commenced at once on this would have probably excited their prejudice and rage. He therefore pursued a train of argument which showed that he was a firm believer in the Scriptures; that he was acquainted with the history and promises of the Old Testament; and that he was not disposed to call in question the doctrines of their fathers. The passage which had been read had probably given occasion for him to pursue this train of thought. By going over, in a summary way, their history, and recounting the former dealings of God with them, he showed them that he believed the Scriptures; that a promise had been given of a Messiah; and that he had actually come according to the promise.

Ye that fear God - Probably proselytes of the gate, who had not yet been circumcised, but who had renounced idolatry, and were accustomed to worship with them in their synagogues.

Give audience - Hear.

15-17. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand—as was his manner on such occasions (Ac 21:40; and see Ac 26:1).

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God—by the latter expression meaning religious proselytes, who united with the Jews in all acts of ordinary worship.

and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in Egypt—by marvellous interpositions for them in their deepest depression.

Beckoning with his hand, to procure silence and attention, as Acts 12:17.

And ye that fear God; besides the native Jews, the proselytes, and such out of all nations who left the idolatry of the Gentiles, and served the only true God, met together in the worship of God; these were the sebomenoi, spoken of Acts 17:4. It shows also what they are to do that would hear the word of the Lord with profit; viz. to attend unto it in the fear of his name. Then Paul stood up,.... Not so much that he might be heard; or merely out of reverence and respect to the rulers, and the people; but to show that he accepted the invitation; as also in order to take his proper place in the synagogue, and sit down and teach, as was their custom:

and beckoning with his hand; to the people to be silent, and attend to what he had to say:

said, men of Israel; by whom are meant the proper Jews, the natural descendants of Jacob, whose name was Israel; this was accounted a very honourable character, and was a common form of address; see Acts 2:22

and ye that fear God; not as distinguishing some among the Israelites from the rest, as if there were some of them that did not fear God; for by these are meant, not Jews by birth, but proselytes, devout and religious men from among the Gentiles; who were proselyted to the Jewish religion, and attended with them in their synagogues on religious worship; and that there were such in this synagogue, is certain from Acts 13:43 and we find that sometimes the Jews distinguish the proselytes from the Israelites by this very character (s): it is said, Psalm 128:1

"blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways; he does not say blessed are the Israelites, blessed are the priests, blessed are the Levites, but blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord; "these are the proselytes, for they fear the Lord"--of what proselyte is it "said blessed?" of the proselyte who is a proselyte of righteousness, and not of the Cuthites, of whom it is written, 2 Kings 17:33 but of a proselyte who fears the Lord, and walks in his ways;''

so Psalm 22:23 are interpreted by many Jewish writers (t). Now to both these sort of persons, both to the proper Jews, and to the proselytes of righteousness, the apostle addresses himself, and desires they would give audience to what he had to say; which is as follows.

(s) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 190. 4. (t) Midrash Tillim, Jarchi, & Aben Ezra, in loc.

{8} Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

(8) God bestowed many wonderful benefits upon his chosen Israel, but especially this, that he promised them the everlasting redeemer.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 13:16. Κατασ. τῇ χειρί] See on Acts 12:17.

οἱ φοβούμ. τ. Θεόν] is here, as the distinction from Ἰσραηλῖται requires, the formal designation of the proselytes of the gate, who, without becoming actual Ἰσραηλῖται by circumcision, were yet worshippers of Jehovah, and attenders at the synagogues (where they had their particular seats). Comp. Acts 13:43; Acts 13:49; Acts 17:4; Acts 17:17; Acts 16:14; Acts 18:7. Against the unfavourable judgment, which the following speech has met with from Schneckenburger, Baur, and Zeller,—namely, that it is only an echo of the speeches of Peter and Stephen, a free production of the narrator,—we may urge as a circumstance particularly to be observed, that this speech is directed to those who were still non-believers (not, like the Epistles of the apostle, to Christians), and accordingly does not find in the Epistles any exactly corresponding standard with which to compare it; that, further, nothing un-Pauline occurs either in its contents or form,—on the contrary, the Pauline fundamental dogma of justification (Acts 13:38 ff. do not contain a mere “timid allusion” to it, as Zeller thinks, p. 327) forms its important concluding main point;[8] and the Pauline delicacy, prudence, and wisdom of teaching are displayed in its entire plan and execution; that, in particular, the historical introduction, although it may not have originated without some influence from Stephen’s speech, and the latter may have, by the editing, been rendered still more similar, yet presents nothing which could not have been spoken by Paul, as the speech of Stephen was known to the apostle and must have made an indelible impression on him; and that the use of Psalms 16 (comp. Acts 2:25 ff.), as a witness for the resurrection of Jesus, was as natural to Paul as it was to Peter, as, indeed, to Paul also Christ rose κατὰ τὰς γραφάς (1 Corinthians 15:4). The reasons, therefore, adduced against its originality in the main are not sufficient, although, especially amidst our ignorance of the document from which the speech thus edited is taken, a more complete assertion of an originality, which is at all events only indirect, cannot be made good.[9]

[8] In opposition to Baur’s opinion (I. p. 117, ed. 2), that the author, after he had long enough made the Apostle Paul speak in a Petrine manner, felt that he must now add something specifically Pauline!

[9]
Comp. the thoughtful judgment of Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 220.Acts 13:16. κατασείσας, see above on Acts 12:17, and cf. Acts 19:33, Acts 21:40 (Acts 26:1), “made a gesture with his hand,” a gesture common to orators, “nam hoc gestu olim verba facturi pro contione silentium exigebant,” and here a graphic touch quite characteristic of Acts. The speech which follows may well have remained in the memory, or possibly may have found a place in the manuscript diary of one of Paul’s hearers (Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 100), or St. Paul may himself have furnished St. Luke with an outline of it, for the main sections, as Ewald suggested, may have formed part of the Apostle’s regular mode of addressing similar audiences; and if not St. Paul himself, yet one of those who are described as οἱ περὶ Παῦλον, Acts 13:13 (Zöckler), may have supplied the information. On the other hand it is maintained that the speech in its present form is a free composition of the author of Acts, since it is so similar to the early addresses of St. Peter, or to the defence made by St. Stephen, and that St. Luke wished to illustrate St. Paul’s method of proclaiming the Messianic salvation to Jews. But considering the audience and the occasion, it is difficult to see how St. Paul could have avoided touching upon points similar to those which had claimed the attention of a St. Peter or a St. Stephen: “non poterat multum differre vel a Petri orationibus, vel a defensione Stephani … hæc igitur non magis in Paulum cadunt quam in quemvis novae salutis praeconem” (Blass), while at the same time it is quite possible to press this similarity too far and to ignore the points which are confessedly characteristic of St. Paul, cf., e.g., Acts 13:38-39 (Bethge, Die Paulinischen Reden der Apostelgeschichte, pp. 19–22; Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, pp. 244, 245; Lechler, Das Apostolische Zeitalter, p. 272; Hilgenfeld, Zeitschrift für wissenschaft. Theol., i., p. 46 (1896)); see further, Farrar, St. Paul, i., p. 369, note, and Alford references for the several Pauline expressions, and the remarkable list of parallels drawn out recently by Ramsay between the speech at Pisidian Antioch and the thoughts and phrases of the Epistle to the Galatians, Expositor, December, 1898 (see below on pp. 295, 297); also Nösgen’s list of Pauline expressions, Apostelgeschichte, p. 53, in this and in other speeches in Acts.—ἄνδρες Ἰ., cf. Acts 2:22, Acts 3:12, Acts 5:35, a mode of address fitly chosen as in harmony with the references to the history of Israel which were to follow.—οἱ φ. Θεόν, cf. Acts 10:2, Acts 13:43; Acts 13:50, Acts 16:14, etc.16–41. Paul’s speech at Antioch

16. beckoning with his hand] Cp. Acts 12:17, where it is explained that the gesture is to procure silence.

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God] The audience consisted of born Jews and proselytes as well as perhaps some Gentiles. See Acts 13:42-43. When the audience and the subject and the end aimed at are so entirely in accord on all three occasions we cannot be surprised that the address of St Paul at Antioch partakes largely of the character and also of the language of those of St Peter at Pentecost and St Stephen in his defence. St Paul had heard the last of these, and the vision on the way to Damascus had taught him to speak with boldness on the truth of the resurrection.Acts 13:16. Κατασείσας, having made a motion with his hand) lest even his first words should not be heard.—ἄνδρες, men) The appellation recurs in Acts 13:26; Acts 13:38.—καἰ οἱ φοβούμενοι τὸν Θεὸν, ye who fear God) These were proselytes, not to the exclusion of the Gentiles: comp. Acts 13:17; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:43; Acts 14:1.Verse 16. - And for then, A.V.; the for Ms, A.V.; hearken for give audience, A.V. Beckoning with the hand (see Acts 12:17, note). Ye that fear God; addressed to the devout heathen who attended the synagogue service (see Acts 10:2, note, and 22; ver. 43 of this chapter; Acts 15:21; 16:14; 17:4, 17; 18:7). Beckoning

See on Acts 12:17.

Men of Israel

See on Acts 3:12.

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