Acts 17:14
And then immediately the brothers sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus stayed there still.
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(14) To go as it were to the sea.—The English version conveys the impression that the movement was a feint in order to baffle the pursuers. Many of the better MSS., however, give “as far as the sea,” and this is probably the meaning even of the reading followed by the Authorised version. The absence of any mention of places between Berœa and Athens, (as, e.g., Amphipolis and Apollonia are mentioned in Acts 17:1), is presumptive evidence that St. Paul actually travelled by sea, and rounding the promontory of Sunium, entered Athens by the Piræus. He had been accompanied so far by some of those who had escorted him from Beræa, but when they too went back, he was, we must remember, for the first time since the commencement of his missionary labours, absolutely alone. His yearning for companionship and counsel is shown in the urgent message sent to Silas and Timotheus to come “with all speed” (literally, as quickly as possible). As far as we can gather from 1Thessalonians 3:1-3, Timotheus came by himself to Athens, probably after the scene at the Areopagus, and was sent back at once with words of counsel and comfort to those whom he reported as suffering much tribulation.

17:10-15 The Jews in Berea applied seriously to the study of the word preached unto them. They not only heard Paul preach on the sabbath, but daily searched the Scriptures, and compared what they read with the facts related to them. The doctrine of Christ does not fear inquiry; advocates for his cause desire no more than that people will fully and fairly examine whether things are so or not. Those are truly noble, and likely to be more and more so, who make the Scriptures their rule, and consult them accordingly. May all the hearers of the gospel become like those of Berea, receiving the word with readiness of mind, and searching the Scriptures daily, whether the things preached to them are so.The brethren - Those who were Christians.

Sent away Paul - In order to secure his safety. A similar thing had been done in Thessalonica, Acts 17:10. The tumult was great; and there was no doubt, such was the hostility of the Jews, that the life of Paul would be endangered, and they there fore resolved to secure his safety.

As it were - Rather, "even to the sea," for that is its signification. It does not imply that there was any feint or sleight in the case, as if they intended to deceive their pursuers. They took him to the seacoast, not far from Berea, and from that place he probably went by sea to Athens.

14. immediately the brethren—the converts gathered at Berea.

sent away Paul—as before from Jerusalem (Ac 9:30), and from Thessalonica (Ac 17:10). How long he stayed at Berea we know not; but as we know that he longed and expected soon to return to the Thessalonians (1Th 2:17), it is probable he remained some weeks at least, and only abandoned his intention of revisiting Thessalonica at that time when the virulence of his enemies there, stimulated by his success at Berea, brought them down thither to counterwork him.

to go as it were to the sea—rather, perhaps, "in the direction of the sea." Probably he delayed fixing his next destination till he should reach the coast, and the providence of God should guide him to a vessel bound for the destined spot. Accordingly, it was only on arriving at Athens, that the convoy of Berean brethren, who had gone thus far with him, were sent back to bid Silas and Timothy follow him thither.

Silas and Timotheus abode there still—"to build it up in its holy faith, to be a comfort and support in its trials and persecutions, and to give it such organization as might be necessary" [Howson]. Connecting this with the apostle's leaving Timothy and Luke at Philippi on his own departure (see on [2042]Ac 16:40), we may conclude that this was his fixed plan for cherishing the first beginning of the Gospel in European localities, and organizing the converts. Timotheus must have soon followed the apostle to Thessalonica, the bearer, probably, of one of the Philippian "contributions to his necessity" (Php 4:15, 16), and from thence he would with Silas accompany him to Berea.

To go as it were to the sea; that they might give over the pursuit of him; or, at least, be disappointed if they did pursue him, being he went on foot to Athens.

But Silas and Timotheus abode there still; the fury of the persecutors not being so hot against them as against Paul, who was more known or maligned than Silas or Timotheus: or these might abide there longer, having their relations in Macedonia. And then immediately the brethren,.... That were at Berea, the new converts there:

sent away Paul, whom they knew the Jews mostly sought after, and were offended with:

to go as it were to the sea; the Aegean sea, or Archipelago, near to which Berea was: this seems to have been done, in order to make the people conclude that he intended to take shipping, and go into some other parts of the world, when the design was to go to Athens by foot, and so be safe from any lying in wait of his persecutors: the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions read, "to go to the sea"; to the sea side, whither it seems he did go; and yet it looks as if he did not go by sea, but by land, to Athens:

but Silas and Timotheus abode there still; at Berea, to confirm and strengthen the young converts there made.

{7} And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.

(7) There is neither counsel, nor fury, nor madness against the Lord.

Acts 17:14. εὐθέως δὲ τότε: evidently the same riot and danger followed as at Thessalonica; St. Luke often passes over the difficulties and dangers which drove Paul from place to place (Ramsay).—ὡς: if we read ἕως, R.V., see critical note, “as far as to the sea,” but ὡς ἐπί might well mean ad mare versus, ad mare, so Alford, Blass, and instances in Wetstein. There is no need to suppose that the words express a feigned movement to elude pursuit, “as if towards the sea” (see this meaning supported by Rendall, p. 108).—ἐπὶ τὴν θ.: probably he would embark at Dium near the foot of Olympus, which was connected by a direct road with Berœa (Lewin, C. and H., but see, however, Renan, Saint Paul, p. 166, note).—ὑπέμ.… ἐκεῖ, i.e., remained behind at Berœa, probably to gain the first intelligence from Thessalonica as to the possibility of St. Paul’s return, and to bring the news to the Apostle, whose next stage may not have been decided upon until he reached the coast.14. immediately] As from Thessalonica so from Berœa, the departure is made in all haste, so much has the charge of conspiring against Cæsar’s power disturbed the whole people.

to go as it were to the sea] This rendering of the Text. Rec. conveys the idea that for a while the travellers made as though they would go in the direction of the sea, and then to baffle pursuit turned and took the land road to Athens. But the reading of ἕως for ὡς, which has the support of the most ancient authorities, makes the sense to be “to go as far as to the sea,” and this is to be preferred for several reasons. For it’ is difficult to understand that St Paul would have gone on through Thessaly and all the intervening districts which lie north of Attica, and never have sought an opportunity of preaching the word anywhere till Athens was reached. But if he were conveyed to the sea and took ship and was thus brought to Athens, then it is easy to understand that the next place mentioned in the journey is Athens. It is clear too from the whole account of St Paul’s travels, that he was a person who by reason of his infirmities could not easily travel alone. That such a person should have been brought so long a distance by land, where the sea-voyage was so accessible and easy, is hardly to be imagined. It may well be that at the departure from Berœa the design was to wait at the coast till his proper companions could come to him, but that when the sea was reached there was found a speedy opportunity of sailing into Attica, which the Apostle embraced, as his conductors were willing to go all the journey with him.

abode there still] Because Silas and Timothy had played a less prominent part and were not in the same peril as St Paul.Acts 17:14. Ὡς ἐπὶ) ὡς with ἐπὶ, ἐς, πρὸς, is often pleonastic, as Heupelius shows in his Treatise on Dialects, p. 69, and so the LXX., ὡς πρὸς θάλασσαν, Ezekiel 41:12; but in this passage ὡς is put in its proper sense, for as it were, as if. Their journey seemed to be towards the sea; but Athens was the destination aimed at. Perhaps Paul himself, or Silas and Timothy, did not at the time know whither the road was leading them: see following ver. (which implies that Paul followed the guidance of others rather than his own).Verse 14. - Forth for away, A.V.; as far as for as it were (ἕως for ὡς), A.V. and T.R.; and for but, A.V. and T.R.; Timothy for Timotheus, A.V. As far as to the sea. If the reading of the T.R. is right, ὡς merely indicates the direction. Literally, ὡς ἐπὶ κ.τ.λ, means "with the thought of going to the sea," but thence, by a common usage, it describes the action without reference to the thought. The English phrase, "they made for the sea," is nearly equivalent. The object of going to the sea, seventeen miles from Beraea, was to take ship for Athens. This he probably did either at Pydna or at Dium. Silas and Timothy. Whether Timothy left Philippi with St. Paul, or whether, as is not improbable, he joined him at Thessalonica, cannot be decided. Anyhow, Paul now left Silas and Timothy to watch over the Thessalonian converts.
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