Acts 14:19
And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) There came thither certain Jews from Antioch.—The context shows that the Pisidian Antioch is meant. The strength of the hostility is shown by the facts, (1) that the Jews of the two cities were acting in concert, and (2) that those of the former had travelled not less than one hundred and thirty miles to hinder the Apostle’s work.

Who persuaded the people.—The sudden change of feeling is almost as startling as that which transformed the hosannas of the multitudes at Jerusalem into the cry of “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 21:9; Matthew 27:22.) It is not difficult, however, to understand these vicissitudes of feeling in a barbarous and superstitious people. We find a like sudden change in an opposite direction in the people of Melita (Acts 28:6). If the strangers who were endowed with such mysterious powers were not “gods in the likeness of men,” they might be sorcerers, or even demons, in the evil sense of that word. The Jews, ever ready to impute signs and wonders to Beelzebub, the chief of the demons (see Notes on Matthew 10:34; Matthew 12:24), would readily work on this feeling, and terrify the people into the cruel ferocity of panic.

Having stoned Paul.—The mode of punishment, as elsewhere, shows that it was planned and executed by Jews. They, apparently, were eager to satisfy themselves that they were inflicting punishment on a blasphemer: stoning him to death, and casting him out to be buried with the burial of an ass. And so, in one sense, as from man’s way of looking on such things, the martyr expiated the guilt of the persecutor. The blinding, stunning blows fell on him as they had fallen on Stephen. It was the one instance in St. Paul’s life of this form of suffering (2Corinthians 11:25). The sufferings endured at Lystra stand out, at the close of his life, in the vista of past years with a marvellous distinctness (2Timothy 3:11).

Acts 14:19. There came, &c. — The sacred historian now proceeds to give us a remarkable instance of the fickleness of the multitude. Soon after Paul and Barnabas had put a stop to that undue respect which the people at Lystra would have shown them, on account of the above-mentioned miraculous cure which they had wrought, and had instructed them to worship none but the true God; certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium — Came thither, having heard, it is likely, of the respect that was shown there to Paul and Barnabas, and incensed the people against them, persuading them to disbelieve their doctrine, and representing them as impostors; perhaps as two wicked magicians, who were endeavouring to overturn every thing sacred, both among the Jews and the Gentiles; or, at least, as seditious and dangerous persons, who ought not to be harboured. In this way they soon prejudiced the minds of the populace to such a degree against them, that the very people who but just before would have adored them as deities, now rose in a tumultuous manner to put them to death as malefactors; being moved with equal ease either to adore or murder them. So short-lived are human passions not governed by reason and principle! Thus, Israel fell into idolatry within forty days from God’s giving them the law from mount Sinai. Nor could Paul expect any better treatment, when he considered that the same multitude who applauded Christ as king of the Jews, and followed him with their acclamations, about six days after, petitioned Pilate that he might be crucified! And having stoned Paul

Not in consequence of a judicial sentence, passed by any magistrates, but in a popular tumult in the streets, they drew — Or dragged, him out of the city, supposing he had been dead — It seems, they left his body exposed to the open air, intending that he, to whom a few days before they would have sacrificed oxen, should be himself a prey to wild beasts or birds! Probably, says Dr. Doddridge, there might be something extraordinary in the appearance of his body in this circumstance, which led them to conclude he was dead while he was yet alive; for one can hardly imagine that they would have been contented with any very slight and transient inquiry whether he were dead or not. It is observable we read of no such injury offered to Barnabas, who seems to have had no share in the effects of this popular fury; probably Paul’s distinguished zeal marked him out as the object of their distinguished cruelty. Thus, in his turn, did Paul suffer the very punishment which he had been so active in bringing upon the blessed martyr, Stephen! And, doubtless, the recollection of that affair helped very much to reconcile him to what had now befallen him.14:19-28 See how restless the rage of the Jews was against the gospel of Christ. The people stoned Paul, in a popular tumult. So strong is the bent of the corrupt and carnal heart, that as it is with great difficulty that men are kept back from evil on one side, so it is with great ease they are persuaded to evil on the other side. If Paul would have been Mercury, he might have been worshipped; but if he will be a faithful minister of Christ, he shall be stoned, and thrown out of the city. Thus men who easily submit to strong delusions, hate to receive the truth in the love of it. All who are converted need to be confirmed in the faith; all who are planted need to be rooted. Ministers' work is to establish saints as well as to awaken sinners. The grace of God, and nothing less, effectually establishes the souls of the disciples. It is true, we must count upon much tribulation, but it is encouragement that we shall not be lost and perish in it. The Person to whose power and grace the converts and the newly-established churches are commended, clearly was the Lord Jesus, on whom they had believed. It was an act of worship. The praise of all the little good we do at any time, must be ascribed to God; for it is He who not only worketh in us both to will and to do, but also worketh with us to make what we do successful. All who love the Lord Jesus, will rejoice to hear that he has opened the door of faith wide, to those who were strangers to him and to his salvation. And let us, like the apostles, abide with those who know and love the Lord.And there came thither certain Jews - Not satisfied with having expelled them from Antioch and Iconium, they still pursued them. Persecutors often exhibit a zeal and perseverance in a bad cause which it would be well if Christians evinced in a holy cause. Bad people will often travel further to do evil than good people will to do good; and wicked people often show more zeal in opposing the gospel than professed Christians do in advancing it.

Antioch and Iconium - See the notes on Acts 13:14, Acts 13:51.

Who persuaded the people - That they were impostors; and who excited their rage against them.

And having stoned Paul - Whom they were just before ready to worship as a god! What a striking instance of the fickleness and instability of idolaters! And what a striking instance of the instability and uselessness of mere popularity! Just before they were ready to adore him; now they sought to put him to death. Nothing is more fickle than popular favor. The unbounded admiration of a man may soon be changed into unbounded indignation and contempt. It was well for Paul that he was not seeking this popularity, and that he did not depend on it for happiness. He had a good conscience; he was engaged in a good cause; he was under the protection of God; and his happiness was to be sought from a higher source than the applause of people, "fluctuating and uncertain as the waves of the sea." To this transaction Paul referred when he enumerated his trials in 2 Corinthians 11:25, "Once was Istoned."

Drew him out of the city - Probably in haste, and in popular rage, as if he was unfit to be in the city, and was unworthy of a decent burial; for it does not appear that they contemplated an interment but indignantly dragged him beyond the walls of the city to leave him there. Such sufferings and trials it cost to establish that religion in the world which has shed so many blessings on man; which now crowns us with comfort; which saves us from the abominations and degradations of idolatry here, and from the pains of hell hereafter.

Supposing he had been dead - The next verse shows that he was really not dead, though many commentators, as well as the Jews, have supposed that he was, and was miraculously restored to life. It is remarkable that Barnabas was not exposed to this popular fury. But it is to be remembered that Paul was the chief speaker, and it was his special zeal that exposed him to this tumult.

19. came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium—Furious zeal that would travel so far to counteract the missionaries of the Cross!

persuaded the people—"the multitudes."

and having stoned Paul—(See on [2011]Ac 14:5). Barnabas they seem to have let alone; Paul, as the prominent actor and speaker, being the object of all their rage. The words seem to imply that it was the Jews who did this; and no doubt they took the lead (Ac 14:19), but it was the act of the instigated and fickle multitudes along with them.

drew him out of the city—By comparing this with Ac 7:58 it will be seen that the Jews were the chief actors in this scene.

Certain Jews; such as mention was made of, Acts 13:50.

Persuaded the people; a strange and incredible fickleness; but that we know how the same multitude who cried Hosanna, did more suddenly alter their note, and cry against our Saviour, Crucify him, crucify him; so uncertain a thing is worldly honour.

Stoned Paul; the malice of Satan is every way great; if he cannot destroy the souls of these blessed apostles, by making of them to accept of Divine worship, he will do his utmost to kill their bodies. And there came thither certain Jews,.... Either just at the same time, or however whilst the apostles were in this city: in four manuscripts of Beza's, and in some other copies, it is read, "as they abode there, and taught, there came", &c. These Jews were inveterate enemies of the apostles, and seemed to have followed them from place to place, on purpose to oppose them, and to stir up the people against them, and to hinder the success of their ministry all they could: for these came

from Antioch; not Antioch in Syria, but in Pisidia: where they had contradicted and blasphemed the word of God, and was the reason why the apostles turned to the Gentiles, Acts 13:45.

And Iconium: where also the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles against the apostles, and both of them made an assault upon them, to use them ill, Acts 14:2

who persuaded the people; in the above manuscripts of Beza's, and in some other copies, are these words,

"and they disputing confidently, persuaded the people to depart from them, saying, that they said nothing true, but in all things lied;''

which though they may not be considered as the text, are a good gloss upon it: they persuaded the people not to hearken to them, told them that they were deceivers and jugglers, and instead of having honours conferred upon them, they ought to be severely punished; and to these Jews they hearkened, as appears by what follows:

and having stoned Paul; even the same persons that just before were for sacrificing to him as a god; which shows the fickleness and inconstancy of the populace, and how little they are to be depended on; for they were the Gentiles that stoned Paul, at the instigation of the Jews; though the latter might probably join with them in it: a like instance we have in the conduct of the Jews towards Christ, who cried "Hosanna" to him one day, and on another, very quickly after, with great importunity say, Crucify him, Crucify him; of this stoning, the apostle makes mention, 2 Corinthians 11:25 When they had stoned him,

they drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead; which is an addition to their barbarity and inhumanity; for they not only stoned him until he was dead, as they supposed, but they dragged his body through the streets of their city, in contempt of him, and indignation against him, and cast him out of it, where they left him as unworthy of a burial.

{6} And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

(6) The devil, when he is brought to his last chance, at length rages openly, but in vain, even at that time when he seems to have the upper hand.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 14:19-22. This unmeasured veneration was by hostile Jews, who arrived (ἐπῆλθον) from Antioch (Acts 13:14; Acts 13:50) and Iconium (Acts 14:1; Acts 14:5-6), transformed in the fickle multitude (“ventosae plebis suffragia!” Hor. Ep. i. 19. 37) into a participation in a tumultuous attempt to kill Paul. Between this scene very summarily related and the preceding, no interval is, according to the correct text (see critical remarks), to be placed (in opposition to Ewald). The mobile vulgus, that ἀσταθμητότατον πρᾶγμα τῶν ἁπάντων (Dem. 383, 5), is at once carried away from one extreme to another.

καὶ πείσαντες κ.τ.λ.] and after they (the Jews who had arrived) had persuaded the multitude (to be of their party) and stoned[20] Paul (the chief speaker!), they dragged him, etc.

κυκλωσάντων] not sepeliendi causa (Bengel, Kuinoel, and others),—a thought quite arbitrarily supplied; but in natural painful sympathy the Lystrians who had been converted to Christ surrounded him who was apparently dead.

ἀναστὰς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τ. π.] is certainly conceived as a miraculous result.

Acts 14:22. ΚΑῚ ὍΤΙ Κ.Τ.Λ.] comp. Acts 14:27; but here so, that from ΠΑΡΑΚΑΛΟῦΝΤΕς a kindred verb (ΛΈΓΟΝΤΕς) must be borrowed. See Kühner, II. p. 605. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 330[E. T. 385]. Comp. Krebs, p. 225.

δεῖ] namely, ex decreto divino. Comp. Acts 9:16.

ἡμᾶς] we Christians must, through many afflictions, enter into the Messianic kingdom (βασ. τ. Θεοῦ, to be established at the Parousia). Comp. Matthew 10:38; Romans 8:17 f.; also the saying of Christ in Barnab. ep. 7: οἱ θέλοντές με ἰδεῖν κ. ἅψασθαί μου τῆς βασιλείας ὀφείλουσι θλιβέντες κ. παθόντες λαβεῖν με. “Si ad vitam ingredi cupis, afflictiones quoque tibi necessario sufferendae sunt.” Vajikra Rabba, f. 173, 4.

That, moreover, the stoning here narrated is the same as that mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:25 (comp. Clem. Cor. I. 5 : λιθασθείς), is necessarily to be assumed, so long as we cannot wantonly admit the possibility that the author has here inserted the incident known to him from 2 Cor. only for the sake of the contrast, or because he knew not a more suitable place to insert it (so Zeller). It is, however, an entirely groundless fancy of Lange, that the apparent death in Acts 14:19-20 is what is meant by the trance in 2 Corinthians 12:1 ff.

[20] Consequently in the city. It was to be a φόνος δημόλευστος ἐν πόλει (Soph. Ant. 36).Acts 14:19. ἐπῆλθον δὲ: on readings to account for the interval see critical notes. Nothing in the narrative forbids some kind of interval, whilst nothing is said as to its duration.—Ἰουδαῖοι: a proof of their enmity in that they undertook a long journey of some one hundred and thirty miles.—πείσαντες τοὺς ὄ.: mobile vulgus. The change in their attitude need not surprise us, cf. the fickleness of the inhabitants of Malta, Acts 28:6, and, more notably still, the change of feeling in the multitudes who could cry Hosannah! and Crucify! The Scholiast, Homer, Il., iv., 89–92, has ἄπιστοι γὰρ Λυκάονες, ὡς καὶ Ἀριστοτέλης μαρτυρεῖ. These Jews may have received help from their fellow-countrymen, some few of whom were resident in Lystra, Acts 16:1, or possibly, as McGiffert suggests, it may have been easy to incite the populace against Paul and Barnabas, because of the Apostles’ rejection of the divine honours offered to them. But probably the persuasion implies that they influenced the multitudes to regard the miracle, the reality of which they could not dispute, as the work not of beneficent gods but of evil demons. The form of punishment, λιθάσαντες, would seem at all events to point to Jewish instigation, although the stoning took place not outside but inside the city, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Timothy 3:11, and Wendt (1888), p. 318, as against Zeller. In Galatians 6:17 the Apostle may allude to the scars marked on him by these same people (Ramsay, Zahn), cf. also Clem. Rom., Cor[271], Acts 14:6. λιθασθείς: “Uti Paulus prius lapidationi Stephani consenserat: ita nunc veterem culpam expiat, 2 Corinthians 11:25” (Wetstein). On the undesigned coincidence between this narrative and the notice in 2 Tim. cf. Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, xii., 5. Hilgenfeld refers this verse to his “author to Theophilus,” but the change in the multitude and the hatred of the Jews are not surprising, but perfectly natural.—ἔσυρον: perhaps as a last indignity, cf. Acts 8:3, Acts 17:6.—νομίσαντες: St. Luke’s words do not require us to infer that St. Paul was rendered lifeless, and we need not suppose that he was more than stunned. But at the same time the narrative undoubtedly leads us to recognise in St. Paul’s speedy recovery from such an outrage, and his ability to resume his journey, the good hand of God upon him. We may again notice St. Luke’s reserve in dwelling on the Apostle’s sufferings, and his carefulness in refraining from magnifying the incident.

[271] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.19–28. Change of feeling in the multitude. Paul is stoned. The Apostles visit Derbe, and then return, by the route by which they came, to Antioch in Syria

19. certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium] Their anger, like that of “the circumcision” in Jerusalem, was roused against the Apostles, whom they knew to be born Jews, but who were casting away the legal restraints to which they themselves clung, and so they followed them to other places and represented them no doubt as renegade Jews, and probably taught the heathen people, that what they had seen done was done by evil powers and not by beneficent ones. Some such argument they must have used. The mighty work of the cured cripple bore witness for the reality of the Apostles’ power. It was only left, therefore, to ascribe it to evil agency, as the Jews aforetime said of Christ “He casteth out devils through Beelzebub.”

who persuaded the people] Dean Howson (Life and Epp. of St Paul, i. 208) quotes from the Scholiast on Homer (Il. iv. 89–92) a passage in which the Lycaonians are described as untrustworthy, and Aristotle is given as authority for the statement. For a similar sudden change of temper in the populace, cp. the conduct of the multitude at Jerusalem just before the Crucifixion, and the sudden change of opinion in the people of Melita (Acts 28:6).

and, having stoned Paul] Their jealous rage carried them to such a length that they became themselves the active agents in taking vengeance on the “chief speaker” of the two missionaries. This must be the stoning to which St Paul alludes (2 Corinthians 11:25), “Once was I stoned.” And Paley (Horæ Paulinæ, p. 69) calls attention to the close agreement between the history of St Luke and the letter of St Paul. At Iconium St Paul had just escaped stoning; at Lystra he was stoned. The two circumstances are mentioned by the historian, only the actual suffering by the Apostle himself. Nothing but truth to guide them, says Paley, could have brought the two writers so close “to the very brink of contradiction without their falling into it.”

drew him out of the city] The stoning had not been in a place set apart for such executions, for there were few Jews in Lystra, but it had been done publicly in the midst of the city, perhaps in the place of public resort where St Paul had been wont to preach.Acts 14:19. Τὸν Παῦλον, Paul) It was he who had made the speech: Acts 14:12. Barnabas shared in the danger; ch. Acts 15:26; yet he was less hated by them.Verse 19. - But there came Jews thither for and there came thither certain Jews, A.V.; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned for who persuaded the people, and having stoned, A.V.; and dragged for drew, A.V.; that he was dead for he had been dead, A.V. But there came Jews, etc. Observe the persistent enmity of the unbelieving Jews. The same fickleness of the multitude which led those who had cried, "Hosanna!" to turn round and say, "Crucify him!" here led those who would have worshipped Paul as a god, now to stone him as a blasphemer. This is, doubtless, the instance to which St. Paul alludes when he says "Once was I stoned," (2 Corinthians 11:25). Stoned

See on Acts 14:5.

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