Acts 15:17
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, on whom my name is called, said the Lord, who does all these things.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) That the residue of men . . .—The Hebrew gives, as in our version, “That they may possess the remnant of Edom and of all the heathen which are called by my name.” The LXX. translators either paraphrased the passage, so as to give a wider and more general view of its teaching, or followed a reading in which the Hebrew for “man” (Adam) took the place of Edom. It will be seen that the argument of St. James turns upon the Greek rendering. The “name of God” was to be “called” upon by those who were “the residue of men,” i.e., all that were outside the pale of Israel. So understood, the words became, of course, a prediction of the conversion of the Gentiles, and to the uncritical habits of the time, accustomed to Targums or Paraphrases of many parts of Scripture, the LXX. was for all but the stricter and more bigoted Hebraists, as authoritative as the original.

15:7-21 We see from the words purifying their hearts by faith, and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this, as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence.That the residue of men - This verse is quoted literally from the Septuagint, and differs in some respects from the Hebrew. The phrase, "the residue of men," here is evidently understood, both by the Septuagint and by James, as referring to others than Jews, to the Gentiles the rest of the world - implying that many of them would be admitted to the friendship and favor of God. The Hebrew is, "that they may possess the remnant of Edom." This change is made in the Septuagint by a slight difference in the reading of two Hebrew words. The Septuagint, instead of the Hebrew וירשׁו w-y-r-sh-w, shall inherit, read ודרשׁו w-d-r-sh-w, shall seek of thee; and instead of אדום 'd-w-m, Edom, they read אדם '̇̀̇d-m, man, or mankind; that is, people. Why this variation occurred cannot be explained; but the sense is not materially different. In the Hebrew the word "Edom" has undoubted reference to another nation than the Jewish nation; and the expression means that, in the great prosperity of the Jews after their return, they would extend the influence of their religion to other nations; that is, as James applies it, the Gentiles might be brought to the privileges of the children of God.

And all the Gentiles - Heb. all the pagan; that is, all who were not Jews. This was a clear prediction that other nations were to be favored with the true religion, and that without any mention of their conforming to the rites of the Jewish people.

Upon whom my name is called - Who are called by my name, or who are regarded as my people.

Who doeth all these things - That is, who will certainly accomplish this in its time.

15. to this agree the words of the prophets—generally; but those of Amos (Am 9:11) are specified (nearly as in the Septuagint version). The point of the passage lies in the predicted purpose of God, under the new economy, that "the heathen" or "Gentiles" should be "called by His name," or have "His name called upon them." By the "building again of the fallen tabernacle of David," or restoring its decayed splendor, is meant that only and glorious recovery which it was to experience under David's "son and Lord." In the prophet it is the remnant of Edom, Amos 9:12, which is here called the residue of men; for as Jacob, or Israel, shadowed out the church, so Edom, or Esau, (the other son of Isaac), represented those who were rejected, Romans 9:13. The prophet also adds, by way of explication, all the heathen; as the apostle does here,

all the Gentiles. Upon whom my name is called; who shall be mine, or appropriated unto me; also called by his name, they being called Christians from Christ, whom they believed in.

Saith the Lord, who doeth all these things; the calling of the Gentiles was God’s work, and therefore so far from being excepted against, that it ought to be marvellous in our eyes. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord,.... The rebuilder and proprietor of this tabernacle, and who dwells in it; that is, attend his worship, pray unto him, and seek unto him for life and salvation: in Amos these are called, "the remnant of Edom": and design the remnant according to the election of grace among the Gentiles; the Jews generally call all other nations, and especially the Roman empire, Edom:

and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called; for God is the God of the whole earth, of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews; and his Gospel was now spread among them, and many of them were converted and called Christians, and the children and people of God: the Jews (x) understand this of the people of Israel, who are called by the name of the Lord, or on whom his name is called; and some think the words are to be transposed (y) thus,

"that Israel on whom my name is called might possess the remnant of Edom, and all the people;''

and is true of their possessing or enjoying them in a Gospel church state:

saith the Lord, who doth all these things; raises up the tabernacle of David, revives the interest of religion, resettles the church, and increases it, calls and converts the Gentiles, causes them to seek after the Lord, and unites them in one church state with the Jews; the word "all" is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, and is not in Amos.

(x) Targum in Amos ix. 12. (y) Kimchi & Aben Ezra in ib.

That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 15:17. ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητ. οἱ κ. τῶν ἀνθρώπων τόν Κ.: LXX and Hebrew are here considerably at variance. Hebrew: “that they may possess the remnant of Edom”. In LXX: “that the rest of men may seek after (the Lord)” (so also Arabic Version, whilst Vulgate, Peshitto, and Targum support the Massoretic text, see Briggs, u. s., p. 162). In LXX A τὸν Κ. is found, but not in B. In LXX rendering אָדָם, men, takes the place of אֱדוֹם, Edom, and יִדְרְשׁוּ instead of יִירְשׁוּ, i.e., דָּרַשׁ, to seek, instead of יָרַשׁ, to possess.—καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη: explicative, “the rest of men,” i.e., the heathen: “sine respectu personarum et operum”.—ὅπως ἂν, Winer-Moulton, xlii., 6; Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, p. 85; cf. Luke 2:35, Acts 3:19, Romans 3:4, and in no other instances, three of these quotations from LXX.—ἐφʼ οὓς ἐπικέκ.… ἐπʼ α.: “upon whom my name is called [pronounced]”: Hebraistic formula, cf. LXX, Jeremiah 41:15; and Deuteronomy 28:10, Isaiah 63:19, 2Ma 8:15. In Jam 2:7, and only there in the N.T. does the same formula recur (see Mayor, Introd., and Nösgen, Geschichte der Neutest. Offb., ii., 51).17. might seek after the Lord] The Hebrew of Amos differs widely here; and in the LXX. “the Lord” is not expressed. But the Spirit enabled St James to give the full interpretation of the prophetic words. The original paints the restored tabernacle, and of course the people of David restored along with it, as possessors of the remnant of Edom and all the heathen. The nations shall be joined unto the Lord’s people. The LXX., as an exposition, speaks of “the residue of men seeking unto the restored tabernacle.” St James makes both clear by shewing that “to seek after the Lord” is to be the true up-building both of the house of David and of all mankind besides.

The Hebrew word for “man” is Adam which differs very slightly from the word Edom. So that the variation between “remnant of Edom” and “residue of men” may be due only to the various reading of that noun.

upon whom my name is called] An Aramaic mode of saying “who are called by my name.” The expression is so translated James 2:7 (cp. Deuteronomy 28:10, &c.).

who doeth] Here the most ancient texts connect the words of this verse with those of the following, and have nothing to represent the English “all” in Acts 15:17, or “unto God are all his works” in Acts 15:18, so that the sense becomes either (1) “the Lord, who maketh these things known from the beginning of the world,” or (2) “the Lord, who doeth these things that were known from the beginning of the world.” The first of these renderings is the more difficult to understand, and it must be taken as somewhat hyperbolic. God made known by His prophets the calling of the Gentiles in very early days, and this early revelation may be all that is intended by the stronger phrase. But the second sense seems to suit better with the context. This reception of the Gentiles seems to the Jew a new and startling thing, but God has revealed it by His prophets, and He who is doing it is but carrying out what He had known and designed from the beginning of the world.Acts 15:17. Ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν Κύριον, that the rest of men may seek after the Lord) The Hebrew has it thus: That they may possess the remnant of Edom and of all the heathen. James and the rest in the council seem to have spoken in Hebrew. The sentiment of James is established by both modes of reading the passage: for Edom stands on the same footing as all the heathen or Gentiles. Comp. the learned observation of Ludovicus de Dieu on this passage. In the case of both οἱ κατάλοιποι are the remnant, who are left remaining after great calamities: Romans 9:27; Zechariah 14:16, etc. And in Acts 15:14 (to take out for His name) James most relies on those words, ἐφʼ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου, upon whom My name is called; which clause, according to the Hebrew accents, comprises both the Edomites and all the nations (“all the heathen”). Nor is it without good cause that the LXX. translators adopted such words as, by their more comprehensive significance, would serve to declare the comprehensiveness of grace.—πάντα, all) “without respect of persons and of works.”—Jonas.—ἐπικέκληται, has been called) James delighted in this phrase: Ep. ch. Acts 2:7.—ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς, upon them) that they may be Mine.—ποιῶν, who doeth) The present time, with emphasis. Comp. the following verse. This among the German Jews is the Haphtara (Lesson) that is wont to be read (in the synagogue) in the spring-time.Verse 17. - May for might, A.V.
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