Acts 14:5
And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
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(5) To use them despitefully.—The verb expresses wanton insult and outrage. St. Paul uses the noun derived from it to express the character of his own conduct as a persecutor (1Timothy 1:13), and must have felt, as afterwards in the actual stoning of Acts 14:19, that he was receiving the just reward of his own deeds.

Acts 14:5-7. And when there was an assault made — Or was about to be made; both of the Gentiles, and the Jews — Who, though generally at enmity with one another, yet were united against the Christians, as Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Pharisees and Sadducees, against Christ. If the churches enemies can unite for its destruction, shall not its friends, laying aside all personal feuds, unite for its preservation? To use them despitefully — To expose them to disgrace; and then to stone, and put them to death: and thus they hoped to ruin their cause. They were aware of it — When the project was just ripe for execution, Paul and Barnabas received intelligence of it, and prevented the bloody attempt by withdrawing from thence; they fled unto Lystra first, and then to Derbe; and after that to the region that lay round Lycaonia, namely, the region of Phrygia and Galatia. In thus fleeing from their persecutors they followed their Master’s advice, who directed them, when persecuted in one city, to flee unto another: for though he enabled them to work miracles for the confirmation of the gospel, he gave them no power of working any to save themselves from persecution. And there they preached Κακει ησαν ευαγγελιζομενοι, and there they were preaching; the gospel — And that, it appears, in a very successful manner, so that the church was still increased by the very methods taken to destroy it.

14:1-7 The apostles spake so plainly, with such evidence and proof of the Spirit, and with such power; so warmly, and with such concern for the souls of men; that those who heard them could not but say, God was with them of a truth. Yet the success was not to be reckoned to the manner of their preaching, but to the Spirit of God who used that means. Perseverance in doing good, amidst dangers and hardships, is a blessed evidence of grace. Wherever God's servants are driven, they should seek to declare the truth. When they went on in Christ's name and strength, he failed not to give testimony to the word of his grace. He has assured us it is the word of God, and that we may venture our souls upon it. The Gentiles and Jews were at enmity with one another, yet united against Christians. If the church's enemies join to destroy it, shall not its friends unite for its preservation? God has a shelter for his people in a storm; he is, and will be their Hiding-place. In times of persecution, believers may see cause to quit a spot, though they do not quit their Master's work.An assault made - Greek: a "rush" - ὁρμή hormē. It denotes "an impetuous excitement and aggression; a rush to put them to death." It rather describes a popular tumult than a calm and deliberate purpose. There was a violent, tumultuous excitement.

Both of the Gentiles ... - Of that part of them which was opposed to the apostles.

To use them despitefully - See the notes on Matthew 5:44. To reproach them; to bring contempt upon them; to injure them.

And to stone them - To put them to death by stoning; probably as blasphemers, Acts 7:57-59.

5. an assault made … to stone them—rather here, "an impetuous movement" with a view to stoning them: for in 2Co 11:25, Paul says, "Once I was stoned," and that was at Lystra, as expressly related in Ac 14:19. (Paley's remarks—Horæ Paulinæ—on this singular coincidence between the Epistle and the history are very striking).

fled—(See Mt 10:23).

Rulers, such as were called the chief men of the city, Acts 13:50.

To use them despitefully; thus they that were called to the marriage of the king’s son, Matthew 22:6, entreated the servants despitefully.

And to stone them; they would have used them as such who were not worthy to live, and then have taken away their lives from them, as they did by our Saviour; first they spat upon him, and then crucified him.

And when there was an assault made,.... Or a strong bias and inclination were in the minds,

both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews, with their rulers; who encouraged them in it:

to use them despitefully, and to stone them; not only to give them reproachful language, but to smite, buffet, and scourge them, and to stone them for blasphemy, which was a punishment among the Jews for such causes.

And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
Acts 14:5-7. Ὁρμή] impetus (Vulg.), but not exactly in the sense of an assault (Luther, comp. Castalio, Calvin, and others), nor yet a plot (Kuinoel, de Wette, and others). The former meaning, according to the context, expresses too much; the latter is not sanctioned by linguistic usage (even in Jam 3:4). It denotes a strong pressure, a pushing and thronging. Comp. Herod. vii. 18 : ἐπεὶ δαιμονίη τις γίνεται ὁρμή, Plat. Phil. p. 35 D: ψυχῆς ξύμπασαν τήν τε ὁρμὴν καὶ ἐπιθυμίαν, Dem. 309. 4 : εἰς ὁρμὴν τοῦ τὰ δέοντα ποιεῖν προτρέψαι, Xen. Mem. iv. 4. 2; Jam 3:4; 3Ma 1:23; 3Ma 4:3.

σὺν τοῖς ἄρχουσιν αὐτῶν] joins on closely to Ἰουδαίων, whose rulers of the synagogue and elders are meant. Comp. Php 1:1. On ὑβρίσαι, comp. Luke 18:32; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; Lucian, Soloec. 10.[15]

συνιδόντες] Comp. on Acts 12:12. It had become known to them, what was at work against them.

Λύστρα (sometimes used as feminine singular, and sometimes as neuter plural, as in Acts 14:8, see Grotius) and Δέρβη, two cities of Lycaonia, to the north of Taurus, and lying in a southeastern direction from Iconium. Ptol. v. 4 reckons the former to belong to the neighbouring Isauria; but Plin. v. 32 confirms the statement of our passage. On their ruins, see Hamilton’s Travels in Asia Minor, II. pp. 301 f., 307 f.; Hackett, p. 228.

[15] ἤτοι πληγαῖς ἢ δεσμοῖς ἢ καὶ ἄλλῳ τρόπῳ. The distinction there stated of ὑβρίζειν with εἰς is groundless. See, on the contrary, e.g. Dem. 522. ult. 539. 14.

Acts 14:5. The real contrast is marked in this verse, ὡς δὲ ἐγέν. Hitherto the evil results indicated in Acts 14:2 had not resulted in an open combination of Jews and Gentiles to injure Paul and Barnabas, but now the Jews and their rulers were prepared to act in concert with the Gentiles, so that the opposition assumed a public shape, and a definite accusation of blasphemy could be formulated against the Apostles.—ὁρμὴ, “onset,” R.V.; “assault,” A.V., but neither word seems appropriate, since neither onset nor assault actually occurred. It seems therefore better to take the word as expressing the inclination, or hostile intention, or instigation, and to connect it with the infinitives. In classical Greek the word is used of eagerness (joined with ἐπιθυμία), of impulse, of eager desire of, or for, a thing, cf. Thuc. iv. 4, Plat., Phil., 35 D, although it is also used of an assault or attack. The only other place in the N.T. in which it occurs is Jam 3:4 (R.V. renders “impulse”). Hesychius regards it as equivalent to βουλή, ἐπιθυμία but see also for its use as expressing attack, violence, 3Ma 1:16; 3Ma 1:23; 3Ma 4:5.—σὺν τοῖς ἄρχουσιν αὐτῶν, i.e., of the Jewish synagogues, as αὐτῶν shows. Hackett and Lumby take it of the heathen magistrates. On the distinction between these and the ἀρχισυνάγωγος, see Schürer, div. ii., vol. ii., pp. 64, 250, E.T. The magistrates of the city could not have participated in an act of mob-violence, and the plot to stone the Apostles seems to point to Jewish instigation for enforcing the punishment of blasphemy.—ὑβρίσαι, “to entreat them shamefully,” so A. and R.V., indicating outrage, insolence in act, cf. Matthew 22:6, Luke 18:32, 2Ma 14:42, 3Ma 6:9; in Luke 11:45 of insulting words. St. Paul uses the same word of treatment at Philippi, 1 Thessalonians 2:2, and he describes his own conduct towards the Christians by the cognate noun ὑβριστής, 1 Timothy 1:13.

5. when there was an assault made] The noun does not necessarily imply that any direct attack had been made, which, from what follows, we can see was not the case. It rather applies to the excitement, urging, and instigation which the Jews were applying to their heathen companions, and which was likely to end in violence.

with their rulers] The word is of the most general character, and it is impossible to form any conjecture from it what these authorities were.

and to stone them] From this we see that the prompting came from the Jews. Stoning was their mode of punishment for blasphemy, and such they would represent the teaching of the Apostles to be. We need not suppose that any regular legal stoning like that of Stephen was intended, or that to accomplish that object the rulers here mentioned were such Jewish authorities as could be gathered together in Iconium, and that they are indicated by a vague term because they had no very settled position. The previous verb “to use them despitefully” rather points to the opposite conclusion, and marks the intended proceeding as a piece of mob-outrage, for which the countenance of any authority was gladly welcomed.

In connection with St Paul’s residence at Iconium, there exists a story of the conversion of a maiden named Thecla, of which the apocryphal “Acts of Paul and Thecla” represents the form into which the legend had grown in the fourth century. Thecla, who was espoused to Thamyris, is said to have been deeply affected by the preaching of the Apostle, which she accidentally heard, and when the Apostle was put in prison on the accusation of being a magician, she bribed the gaoler and visited the prisoner, and was fully instructed by him in the Christian faith. The Apostle was punished and sent away from Iconium. Thecla was condemned to die for her refusal to marry Thamyris, but was miraculously saved, and after many troubles joined St Paul in his missionary travels, and ultimately made her home in the neighbourhood of Seleucia, where she led the life of a nun till her death, which took place when she was ninety years old.

This story may at first have had some basis of truth to rest on, but it has been so distorted with inconsistent details, that it is impossible now to judge what the foundation of it may have been.

Verse 5. Made an onset for an assault made, A.V.; of the Jews for also of the Jews, A.V.; to entreat them shamefully for to use them despitefully, A.V., as 1 Thessalonians 2:2. As regards ὁρμή, neither the A.V. assault nor the R.V. onset expresses it exactly. Ὁρμή means the strong bent of the mind, as in James 3:4, where it expresses the strong will of the steersman directing the ship against the force of the winds. Here it means that both Jews with their rulers, and Gentiles, under the influence of violent passion, had determined and agreed to assault Paul and Barnabas. To entreat them shamefully. Ψβρις and ὑβρίζω denote "violence," as Matthew 22:6; Luke 18:32; 2 Corinthians 12:10. It is sometimes used of corporal punish-merit, even legally inflicted, as Proverbs 19:18 (LXX.). Acts 14:5Assault (ὁρμὴ)

Too strong, as is also the Rev., onset. In case an actual assault had been made, it would have been absurd for Luke to tell us that "they were ware of it." It is rather the purpose and intention of assault beginning to assume the character of a movement. See on James 3:4.

To stone

Paul says he was stoned once (2 Corinthians 11:25). This took place at Lystra (see Acts 14:19).

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