Acts 19:14
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests.—Better, a Jewish chief priest. The word might mean that he was at the head of one of the twenty-four courses into which the priests of the Temple were divided. (See Notes on Matthew 21:15; Luke 3:2.) It is hardly probable, however, that one in that position would have taken to this disreputable calling, and it seems more likely that the title itself was part of the imposture. He called himself a chief priest, and as such St. Luke, or Tyrannus, described him. The scene is brought vividly before us. The seven exorcists, relying partly, we may believe, in the mystical virtue of their number, stand face to face with a demoniac, frenzied and strong like the Gadarene of Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:3-4.

19:13-20 It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ's name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us. Where there is true sorrow for sin, there will be free confession of sin to God in every prayer and to man whom we have offended, when the case requires it. Surely if the word of God prevailed among us, many lewd, infidel, and wicked books would be burned by their possessors. Will not these Ephesian converts rise up in judgement against professors, who traffic in such works for the sake of gain, or allow themselves to possess them? If we desire to be in earnest in the great work of salvation, every pursuit and enjoyment must be given up which hinders the effect of the gospel upon the mind, or loosens its hold upon the heart.One Sceva - Sceva is a Greek name, but nothing more is known of him.

Chief of the priests - This cannot mean that he was high priest among the Jews, as it is wholly improbable that his sons would be wandering exorcists. But it denotes that he was of the sacerdotal order. He was a Jewish chief priest; a priest of distinction, and had held the office of a ruler. The word "chief priest," in the New Testament, usually refers to men of the sacerdotal order who were also rulers in the Sanhedrin.

14-17. seven sons of … Sceva … chief of the priests—head, possibly, of one of the twenty-four courts. One of the chief of the twenty-four courses into which the priests were divided, 1 Chronicles 24:4, or such as (according to the corruption of those times) had been high priests, and were laid aside, or were of the high priest’s family, and hoped to succeed him. And there were seven sons of one Sceva a Jew,.... Who strolled about the country, and used exorcisms: and

chief of the priests; that were at Ephesus; not the high priest of the Jews, for he would have been at Jerusalem, and not at Ephesus; though indeed it does not necessarily follow from the words, that Sceva himself was there, only his seven sons: however, no such name appears in the catalogue of the Jewish high priests, nor is it reasonable to think, that seven sons of an high priest should follow such a vagabond course of life: Beza's ancient copy only calls him "a priest"; and the Alexandrian copy reads his name, Sceuta, and the Ethiopic version omits it; it is the same with and signifies a spectator, or observer; see the Targum on 2 Samuel 13:34.

which did so; adjured the devils in the name of Jesus, to come out; at least they did so in one case, as follows.

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 19:14. ʼΑρχιερ.] Whether he was a former head of one of the twenty-four priestly classes, or a past de facto high priest, remains undecided, as this Skeuas—according to A: Skeujas, according to Ewald, perhaps שְׁכַבְיָה—is otherwise entirely unknown.

τινεςἑπτά] is by many (including Kuinoel and Olshausen) taken as some seven, i.e. about seven; but then Luke would have placed the pronoun close to the numeral, either before or after it (Acts 23:23; Thuc. vii. 34. 4, ἑπτά τινες, and see Kühner, § 633. 5; Krüger, § li. 16. 4); and the merely approximate expression would not be in keeping with the significance of the number seven. The correct mode of taking it is: but there were certain sons of Skeuas, a Jewish high priest, (and indeed) seven, who did this. The number, not thought of at the very beginning (instead of τινές), is introduced afterwards. Baur, I. p. 215, ed. 2, converts the sons into disciples, without any ground whatever in the text.Acts 19:14. See critical note. Σκευᾶ: probably a Latin name adapted to Greek, see Blass, in loco, who gives instances of its occurrence, see also Gram., p. 13, and Winer-Schmeidel, p. 75. Ewald refers it to the Hebrew שְׁכֵבְיָה.—ἀρχ.: the description is difficult, as it seems incredible if we take it in its strictest sense; it may have denoted one who had been at the head of one of the twenty-four courses of priests in Jerusalem, or perhaps used loosely to denote one who belonged to the high-priestly families (cf. Acts 4:6). We cannot connect him with any special sacred office of the Jews in Asia Minor, as Nösgen proposes, for the Jews in the Diaspora had no temple, but synagogues; see reading in , critical note. Nothing further is known of Sceva, but there is no reason to suppose that he was an impostor in the sense that he pretended to be a high priest.—ἧσανποιοῦντες, Lucan, see above on Acts 1:10.14. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests] The Greek says simply a chief priest, and so Rev. Ver. We cannot tell why the title is given to him, but it is most likely that the name was applied to the heads of the twenty-four courses of the Levitical priesthood, who are called in the Old Testament “heads of fathers’ houses.”

which did so] i.e. which agreed to adopt this form of words in their exorcisms. There is no need to suppose that the whole seven were present in the case about to be named, but only that they were all exorcists, and in their wish to seem the best of their class they determined to use words which should connect them with the Christian preacher through whom many miracles were known to have been wrought.Acts 19:14. Ἑπτὰ,—seven) On which very number the exorcists seem to have relied, as also upon the dignity of their nation and their Father. In our time seven sons, or the seventh among them, is reputed, I know not whether without superstition, to be endowed with a healing power for the cure of diseases.Verse 14. - A chief priest for and chief of the priests, A.V.; this for so, A.V. A chief priest (ἀρχιερεύς); not, of course, in the sense of high priest, but in that wider sense of the word which comprised the chiefs of the twenty-four courses and the members of the Sanhedrim and all who had ever been high priests or who were of the kindred of the high priest (see Matthew 2:4; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 21:15; 23:45, etc.; Luke 9:22; Luke 19:47, etc.; Acts 4:23; Acts 5:24; Acts 9:14, 21, etc.). It is probable that the Eleazar mentioned in the preceding note was a priest, both from his name and because Josephus calls him one of his ὁμοφύλων, which may mean "fellow-tribesmen." The name Sceca occurs nowhere else, nor is its meaning or etymology at all certain. Some identify it with the Latin Scaera (Horace, 'Ep.,' 1. 17:1), "left-handed," l.q. Scaevola; or the Greek Scenes, a proper name in Appian. Simonis gives it an Aramean etymology. Did (ποιοῦντες)

The participle denotes practice.

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