Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, you know that by this craft we have our wealth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The workmen of like occupation.—The “craftsmen” of the previous verse represent the higher class of what we call skilled labour. Here we have the unskilled labourers whom they employed. The former were, in a sense, artists, these were artisans.
Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.—Literally, Men, the word used being different from that in Acts 16:30. The word for “craft” is the same as that translated “gain” in Acts 16:19, where see Note. The opening words of Demetrius bring before us, with an almost naive simplicity, the element of vested interests which has at all times played so prominent a part in the resistance to religious and political reforms, and entered largely into the persecutions against which the early preachers of the gospel had to contend. Every city had its temples and priests, its flamens, its oracles or sanctuaries. Sacrifices and feasts created a market for industry which would otherwise have been wanting. In its later development, the Christian Church, employing the services of art, encouraging pilgrimages, organising conventual and collegiate institutions, created a market of another kind, and thus gave rise to new vested interests, which in their turn were obstacles to the work of reformation. At first, however, the absence of the aesthetic element in the aims and life of the Church seemed to threaten those who were occupied in such arts with an entire loss of livelihood, and roused them to a fierce antagonism.
Sirs - Greek: Men.
By this craft - By this business or occupation. This is our trade.
Our wealth - Greek: our acquisition; our property. We are dependent on it for a living. It does not mean that they were rich, but that they relied on this for a subsistence. That it was a lucrative business is apparent, but it is not affirmed that they were in fact rich.
with the workmen of like occupation; who were employed by him, and the rest of the masters in the several branches of the business; as founders, engravers, polishers, &c. some might make the images, and others the temples, or shrines; some do one part and some another, so that abundance of persons might be employed in this business:
and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth; the workmen not only had a comfortable and sufficient livelihood, but the masters of the trade grew rich: such a demand had they for their goods, and so profitable was this craft to them: this was a very strong and moving argument, to influence the masters and workmen; it so nearly touched them, and their worldly interest, than which nothing sticks closer to carnal men. Demetrius's way of address was very moving and persuasive, but his method manifestly betrayed what was his greatest concern, not religion, but his own secular interest; that which he should have mentioned last, if at all, he begins with: self is the leading and governing principle in a natural man.Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 19:25-26. Demetrius assembled not only the artisans (οὕς) who worked for him, but also the other workmen who were occupied in similar industrial occupations (τὰ τοιαῦτα). Bengel correctly remarks: “Alii erant τεχνῖται, artifices nobiliores, alii ἐργάται operarii.”
οὐ μόνον … ἀλλά] without καί, like the Latin non modo … sed, contains a climax; see Maetzn. ad Antiph. p. 129; Bremi, ad Isocr. Exc. IX.; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 317 [E. T. 369].
μετέστ.] namely, from the worship of the gods.
ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶ θεοί] The people identified the statues of the gods with the gods themselves, or at least believed that the numen of the divinity filled them. See Elsner, Obss. p. 453 ff.; Wolf, Cur.; Hermann, gottesd. Alterth. § xviii. 19.
Observe the order of the words, accordant with their emphasis, marked also by dislocation in Acts 19:26, and the scornful and bitter ὁ Παῦλος οὗτος: that Paul there!
θεοί is predicate. How Paul looked on the heathen gods, may be seen at 1 Corinthians 8:4; 1 Corinthians 10:20. The gods = images, were to him of course only the work of men, without any reality of that which they were intended to represent. Comp. Acts 17:29.Acts 19:25. περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα, cf. Luke 10:40-41, for a similar use of περί with accusative, but see W. H., l. c., and 2Ma 12:1.—εὐπορία: wealth, or gain, only here in N.T., in classical Greek “in different senses in different authorities,” Grimm-Thayer; in LXX, 2 Kings 25:10, but in a different sense (see Hatch and Redpath’s references to its use by Aquila, Symm., and others). Rendall takes it of comfort and well-being, in the old English sense weal.25. whom he called [Better, gathered] together with the workmen of like occupation] His own special craft was the carving and engraving of these shrines, as we learn from the word rendered silversmith. But before the work reached that higher stage, the materials had to pass through many hands in preparation, and from the smelter of the metal up to him who added the final touches of adornment and polishing, all were concerned in the threatened loss of trade.
and said … our wealth] He appeals to them at once because they are enriched and make gain by their craft.Acts 19:25. Ἐργάτας, workmen) The τεχνῖται, the artificers of a nobler class, were distinct from the ἐργάται, workmen.—ἡ εὐπορία, gain, wealth) It is upon the plea of this that the faith is often crushed.Verse 25. - Gathered for called, A.V.; bust. ness for craft, A.V., but "craft" is the better rendering. Workmen; ἐργάται, different from the τεχνῖται skilled laborers or artisans. Demetrius called together all who were in any way interested in the shrine trade. His true reason came out first.
See on ability, Acts 11:29. Lit., welfare. Wealth is used by the A. V. in the older and more general sense of weal, or well-being generally. Compare the Litany of the English Church: "In all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth."
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