Whom Jason has received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)These all do contrary to the decrees of Cæsar.—Thessalonica, though a free city, was yet under the imperial government, and the Jews therefore appeal to the emperor’s decree, probably to the edict of Claudius (Acts 18:2), as at least showing the drift of the emperor’s policy, even though it was not strictly binding except in Rome and the coloniæ. This, however, might prove an insufficient weapon of attack, and therefore they add another charge, to which no magistrate throughout the empire could be indifferent. (See Notes on Luke 23:2; John 19:12.) The preachers were not only bringing in a relligio illicita, but were guilty of treason against the majesty of the empire; they said there was “another King.” It is clear from the Epistle to the Thessalonians that the Kingdom of Christ, and specially His second coming as King, had been very prominent in the Apostle’s teaching (1Thessalonians 4:14; 1Thessalonians 5:2; 1Thessalonians 5:23; 2Thessalonians 1:7-8; 2Thessalonians 2:1-12), and this may have furnished materials for the accusation.
These all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar - The charge against them was that of sedition and rebellion against the Roman emperor. Grotius on this verse remarks that the Roman people, and after them the emperors, would not permit the name of king to be mentioned in any of the vanquished provinces except by their permission.
Saying that there is another king - This was probably a charge of mere malignity. They probably understood that when the apostles spoke of Jesus as a king, they did not do it as of a temporal prince. But it was easy to pervert their words, and to give plausibility to the accusation. The same thing had occurred in regard to the Lord Jesus himself, Luke 23:2.
saying … there is another king, one Jesus—(See on Joh 19:12).Hath received; privily, and with design.
Contrary to the decrees of Caesar: the Romans, before they were brought under their emperors, (and after that), did not suffer any to be called king without their allowance and approbation; which was also much valued by such unto whom that honour was bestowed by them.
Another king, besides Caesar, who was called the lord of the world. This is like to the charge laid against our Saviour; but most maliciously both then and now, and wholly against their own consciences; for they themselves expected the Messiah to be a king, and refused and rejected him because his kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, and not of this world, John 18:36,37.
and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar; both the apostle and those with him, and Jason, and the brethren, whom they now had set before the magistrates, who were all of the same sentiments and practices; and which were opposite to the decrees of the Roman emperor, and the Roman senate, who suffered none to be called a king but whom they pleased; whereas these men taught, saying,
that there is another king, one Jesus; but then though they said he was a king, yet not a temporal one, but one whose kingdom was spiritual, and not of this world; and therefore asserted nothing contrary to the decrees of Caesar, or what was in the least prejudicial to his worldly interest and glory.Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 17:7. Ὑποδέδεκται] not secretly, which Erasmus finds in ὑπό, but as in Luke 10:38; Luke 19:6.
As formerly in the case of Jesus the Messianic name was made to serve as a basis for the charge of high treason, so here with the confessors of Jesus (οὗτοι πάντες) as the Messiah. Comp. Acts 19:12. Perhaps (see 1 and 2 Thess.) the doctrine of the Parousia of the risen (Acts 17:3) Jesus had furnished a special handle for this accusation.
οὗτοι πάντες] “Eos qui fugerant, et quiaderant notant,” Bengel.
ἀπέναντι τῶν δογμάτ. Καίσ.] in direct opposition to the edicts of the emperor, which interdicted high treason and guarded the majesty of the Caesar. On ἀπέναντι, comp. Sir 36:13; Sir 37:4.
βασιλ. λέγ. ἕτερον εἶναι] βασιλ. in the wider sense, which includes also the imperial dignity, John 19:15; 1 Peter 2:12; Herodian, i. 6. 14.Acts 17:7. ὑποδέδεκται: no notion of secrecy as Erasmus and Bengel, but as in Luke 10:38; Luke 19:6; only found in these three passages in Luke, and in Jam 2:25, cf. LXX, Tob 7:8, Jdg 13:13 (see Hatch and Redpath for both instances), 1Ma 16:15, and 4Ma 13:17, often in classical Greek without any notion of secrecy.—οὗτοι πάντες: the words may be taken as referring not only to Jason and the accused, but with Alford, “all these people,” i.e., Christians wherever found.—ἀπέναντι: only here in N.T. in this sense (common in LXX and Apocrypha, so also Polyb., i., 86, 3), cf. Sirach 36 (33):14.—δογματων, see on Acts 16:4. The word may here refer to the successive decrees of the emperors against treason, and there is no need to refer it in this passage to the decree of Claudius, see on Acts 18:2, but rather to the Julian Leges Majestatis.—β. λέγοντες ἕτερον εἶναι: this was the charge, the political charge of high treason, brought against our Lord Himself by the Jews, Luke 23:2, John 19:12; John 19:15. The nature of this charge may fairly point to a Jewish source, for the Jews thought of the Messiah as a king, and in their hostility to Paul they could easily accuse him of proclaiming Jesus or another king, another emperor (Ramsay), instead of Caesar; so McGiffert on this passage, “whose trustworthiness can hardly be doubted” (Apostolic Age, p. 246). The Epistles to the Thessalonians contain passages which might be as easily perverted in the same direction, 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-8, or the fact that Jesus was so often spoken of as Κύριος, “that deathless King Who lived and died for men,” might have given colour to the charge, cf. on the coincidence and accuracy of the Acts and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paley, Horæ Paulinæ, ix., 5, and McGiffert, u. s.7. hath received] As guests into his house, and therefore he may be counted a sympathizer with their teaching.
these all] Implying that Paul and Silas, whom they had not found, would also be included in their accusation, if they could be caught.
another king, one Jesus] So far as this chapter gives an account of St Paul’s preaching, he had drawn the attention of the Jews to the sufferings of the Messiah, but we cannot doubt that he had also spoken of His kingdom. Such language the mob would be urged to seize on, and make it the justification for their uproar. For Thessalonica though a free city was subject to the Emperor.Acts 17:7. Ὑποδέδεκται, hath received [underhand, ὑπὸ]) stealthily. This is the notion of the verb in Jam 2:25, but not so in Luke 19:6.—οὗτοι πάντες, these all) They mean to mark those who had fled, and those who were present.Verse 7. - Act for do, A.V. Received; i.e. as the word ὑποδέχομαι always means "received as a guest" (Luke 10:38; Luke 19:6; James 2:25, etc.). Hence the substantive ὑποδοχή, an entertainment or reception. The insinuation is that, by harboring these seditious men, Jason had made himself a partner in their sedition. That there is another king, etc. (comp. John 19:12, 15).
The charge at Philippi was that of introducing new customs; but as Thessalonica was not a colony, that charge could have no force there. The accusation substituted is that of treason against the emperor; that of which Jesus was accused before Pilate. "The law of treason, by which the ancient legislators of the republic had sought to protect popular liberty from the encroachments of tyranny,...was gradually concentrated upon the emperor alone, the sole impersonation of the sovereign people. The definition of the crime itself was loose and elastic, such as equally became the jealousy of a licentious republic or of a despotic usurper" (Merivale, "History of the Romans under the Empire").
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