Acts 14:20
However,, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him.—They, it is obvious, had been powerless to prevent the attack; but they stole out, when all was over, it may be, with the purpose of giving at least a decent interment. We may fairly think of Lois, and Eunice, and Timotheus, as present in that crowd, weeping first for sorrow, and then for exceeding joy, to find that the teacher whom they loved was stunned only, and not dead.

He departed with Barnabas to Derbe.—The journey was one that must have occupied several hours, and we do well to remember that after the suffering of the previous day, it must have been one of peculiar hardship and fatigue. The city of Derbe was, as has been said, twenty miles to the east of Lystra. It was just within the Cappadocian boundary of Isauria. The exact site has not been identified, but the ruins of an Acropolis have been found not far from the lake Ak-Ghieul, which have been supposed to be the remains of Derbe. The whole region was infamous for its brigandage, and there may be a reference to this in the “perils of robbers” of 2Corinthians 11:26.

Acts 14:20. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round — For there were some here at Lystra that became disciples, having found the mean between deifying the apostles and rejecting them. And though Paul’s enemies left him for dead, yet these would not leave him, but stood round about his body, having courage to own him when he was thus cruelly treated, though they had reason enough to fear, that the same persons that stoned him might stone them for manifesting such regard for him. Probably they stood considering how they should perform the last office of affection to him, in bearing him to his funeral with proper respect. Unexpectedly, however, while they were considering of this, to their unspeakable surprise, he rose up — As in perfect health; and went into the city — That just after he had been stoned, dragged about the streets and left for dead, he should be able to rise and walk back into the city, must certainly be the effect of a miraculous cure, approaching as near as one can conceive to a resurrection from the dead. This was the more illustrated by his going the next day to Derbe; whereas, in the course of nature, he would then have felt his bruises much more than at first; and probably, after the best care that could have been taken of him, would hardly have been able to move. Probably by going into the city, and showing himself to the new converts, at least, if not to others, he hoped, as he reasonably might, to confirm their faith in, and their courageous attachment to, the gospel.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.Howbeit - Notwithstanding the supposition that he was dead.

As the disciples stood round about him - It would seem that they did not suppose I that he was dead; but might be expecting that he would revive.

He rose up ... - Most commentators have supposed that this was the effect of a miracle. They have maintained that he could not have risen so soon, and entered into the city, without the interposition of miraculous power (Calvin, Doddridge, Clarke, etc.). But the commentators have asserted what is not intimated by the sacred penman. The probability is that he was stunned by a blow - perhaps a single blow and after a short time recovered from it. Nothing is more common than thus by a violent blow on the head to be rendered apparently lifeless, the effect of which soon is over, and the person restored to strength. Pricaeus and Wetstein suppose that Paul feigned himself to be dead, and when out of danger rose and returned to the city. But this is wholly improbable.

And came into the city - It is remarkable that he should have returned again into the same city. But probably it was only among the new converts that he showed himself. The Jews supposed that he was dead; and it does not appear that he again exposed himself to their rage.

And the next day ... - The opposition here was such that it was vain to attempt to preach there any longer. Having been seen by the disciples after his supposed death, their faith was confirmed, and he departed to preach in another place.

To Derbe - Acts 14:6.

20. as the disciples stood round about him—sorrowing. So his labors here had not been in vain: "Disciples" had been gathered, who now rallied around the bleeding body. And one appears to have been gained on this occasion, of far more importance than all the rest—Timotheus. See on [2012]Ac 16:1-3. (It could scarcely have been at the subsequent visit, Ac 14:21, for the reason given in 2Ti 3:10, 11; while at the third visit, Ac 16:1-3, he was already a Christian).

he rose up—It is possible that this recovery was natural; the insensibility occasioned by such treatment as he had received sometimes passing away of itself, and leaving the patient less hurt than appeared. But certainly the impression naturally left on the mind by the words is that the restoration was miraculous; and so the best interpreters understand the words. This is confirmed by what follows.

came into the city—Noble intrepidity!

next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe—a journey for which he could hardly be fit if his recovery had been natural. (As to Derbe, see on [2013]Ac 14:6).

Stood round about him; either in order to bury him, thinking him to be dead, as well as his persecutors did; or else to defend him, as much as possibly they could, from the rage of his enemies in that popular fury. Their spite was most against Paul, because he spake most, and preached unto them the way of life.

He rose up; being by the power of God suddenly restored to his strength again.

Derbe; a city near to Lycaonia, some say in it. Howbeit as the disciples stood round about him,.... Weeping over him, and lamenting for him, and it may be praying to God, that he would restore him to life: however, they got about him, in order to take care of him, and provide for his interment: these were the young converts at Lystra, who, under the ministry of the apostles, were now brought to the faith of Christ; unless it can be thought, that they were such who followed them from other places, and attended them in their travels; but the former seems most probable, and which shows their affection to their spiritual Father, and their constancy in the faith of Christ, notwithstanding this ill treatment of his servant:

he rose up and came into the city; which was no less than a miracle, and was no doubt the effect of the mighty power of God, put forth upon him; for though he was not really dead, yet he was left as such, and thought to be so by both friends and foes: and when it is considered what wounds and bruises he must receive by stoning, and his being dragged through the streets of the city, and left in such a miserable condition without it, that he should at once rise up in the midst of the disciples, and walk into the city as one in perfect health and strength, has something extraordinary and miraculous in it; and it shows great resolution, courage, and strength of mind, to go into the same city again, where he had been so ill used; though he did not choose to continue there, nor were the inhabitants worthy of such a favour:

and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe; where they had been before, and had preached the Gospel, and whither they fled from Iconium, when in great danger, Acts 14:6.

Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 14:20. κυκλ.: Bengel says “tanquam sepeliendum,” and others have held the same view, but the word need not imply more than that the disciples surrounded him, to help if human aid could profit, and to lament for him in his sufferings. Amongst the mourners the youthful Timothy may well have found a place. On Timothy’s means of knowing of the Apostle’s sufferings here narrated see Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, u. s.—μαθητῶν: the Apostles’ work had not therefore been unsuccessful: there were converts willing to brave persecution, and to avow themselves as disciples.—τῇ ἐπαύριον: the journey to Derbe was one of some hours, not free from risk, and the mention of Paul’s undertaking and finishing it on the morrow indicates how wonderfully he had been strengthened in his recovery. The word is found ten times in Acts, and not at all in Luke’s Gospel, but cf. αὔριον Luke 10:35, Acts 4:5 only; Hawkins’ Horœ Syn., p. 144. It occurs three times in chap. 10, no less than in the second half of the book.—σὺν τῷ Β.: apparently he had been free from attack, since Paul was the chief speaker, and consequently provoked hostility.20. as the disciples stood round about him] Among these we may well believe that the young Timothy was included. Braving all danger that might attend on their act, the believers at Lystra gathered about what they deemed the corpse of their teacher, and their sorrowing thoughts were perhaps concerned how they might procure it reverent burial.

he rose up] The Greek conveys the impression that this was as a resurrection from the dead, and that the restoration of the Apostle, and his immediate exhibition of vigour, and boldness to enter again into the city, was the effect of a miracle. That one stoned and left for dead by a savage mob should revive and go about as if nothing had befallen him must have been a still more striking evidence of the mighty power of God present with these teachers than what the people had seen before in the restoration of the cripple.

and the next day he departed] Having been sheltered for the night in the house of some disciple, perhaps in that of Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, of whose faith the Apostle speaks (2 Timothy 1:5) as one who has been witness of its fruits in their lives.

with Barnabas to Derbe] Barnabas had not been an object of jealousy of the Jews. His power, though great as the “son of exhortation or consolation,” was not so demonstrative as that of his fellow-Apostle. Derbe, the town to which the Apostles next went, was to the east of Lystra. We have no mention of any other places in Lycaonia than these two as visited by Paul and Barnabas, but from Acts 14:6 we gather that their preaching was extended to other parts of the surrounding country.Acts 14:20. Κυκλωσάντων, as the disciples stood round about him) as one who was to be buried.—εἰσῆλθεν, came into) Implying great confidence: being thereby about to confirm believers. [Barnabas was even still in the city.—V. g.]Verse 20. - But for howbeit, A.V.; entered for came, A.V.; on the morrow for the next day, A.V.; went forth for departed, A.V. It is pleasing to observe the fidelity of the converts, who, in the face of violence and death, clave to the apostle, even when they thought he was dead. It does not appear how Barnabas escaped. To Derbe

A journey of only a few hours.

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