Acts 19:29
And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
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(29) The whole city was filled with confusion.—The loud shouts from the quarter in which Demetrius and his workmen met would, of course, attract attention. A rumour would spread through the city that the company of strangers, who had been objects of curiosity and suspicion, were engaged in a conspiracy against the worship which was the pride and glory of their city. It was natural, in such circumstances, that they should flock together to the largest place of public concourse, and drag thither any of that company on whom they might chance to light. We may compare, as an interesting historical parallel, the excitement which was caused at Athens by the mutilation of the Hermæ-busts at the time of the Sicilian Expedition under Alcibiades (Thuc. vi. 27).

Gaius and Aristarchus.—The former name represents the Roman “Caius.” It was one of the commonest of Latin names, and appears as belonging to four persons in the New Testament: (1) the Macedonian mentioned here; (2) Gaius of Derbe (but see Note on Acts 20:4); (3) Gaius of Corinth, the host of St. Paul, whom he baptised with his own hands (Romans 16:23; 1Corinthians 1:14); (4) Gaius to whom St. John addressed his third Epistle; (3) and (4), however, may probably be the same. (See Introduction to the Third Epistle General of John.) Of Aristarchus we learn, from Acts 20:4, that he was of Thessalonica. As such he had probably had some previous experience of such violence, and had, we may believe, shown courage in resisting it (1Thessalonians 2:14). He appears as one of St. Paul’s companions in the journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4), probably as a delegate from the Macedonian churches. He appears, from Colossians 4:10, to have been a Jewish convert, and to have shared the Apostle’s imprisonment at Rome, either as himself under arrest, or, more probably, as voluntarily accepting confinement in the Apostle’s hired house (Acts 28:30), that he might minister to his necessities. The description given of them, as “Paul’s companions in travel” is not without significance as implying a missionary activity beyond the walls of Ephesus, in which they had been sharers.

They rushed with one accord into the theatre.—The theatre of Ephesus was, next to the Temple of Artemis, its chief glory. Mr. Wood, the most recent explorer, describes it as capable of holding twenty-five thousand people (Ephes. p. 68). It was constructed chiefly for gladiatorial combats with wild beasts and the like, but was also used for dramatic entertainments. The theatre of a Greek city, with its wide open area, was a favourite spot for public meetings of all kinds, just as Hyde Park is with us, or as the Champ de Mars was in the French Revolution. So Vespasian addressed the people in the theatre of Antioch (Tacit. Hist. ii. 80; comp. also Apuleius, Metamorph., bk. iii.).

19:21-31 Persons who came from afar to pay their devotions at the temple of Ephesus, bought little silver shrines, or models of the temple, to carry home with them. See how craftsmen make advantage to themselves of people's superstition, and serve their worldly ends by it. Men are jealous for that by which they get their wealth; and many set themselves against the gospel of Christ, because it calls men from all unlawful crafts, however much wealth is to be gotten by them. There are persons who will stickle for what is most grossly absurd, unreasonable, and false; as this, that those are gods which are made with hands, if it has but worldly interest on its side. The whole city was full of confusion, the common and natural effect of zeal for false religion. Zeal for the honour of Christ, and love to the brethren, encourage zealous believers to venture into danger. Friends will often be raised up among those who are strangers to true religion, but have observed the honest and consistent behaviour of Christians.Confusion - Tumult; disorder.

Gaius - He had lived at Corinth, and had kindly entertained Paul at his house, 1 Corinthians 1:14; Romans 16:23.

Aristarchus - He attended Paul to Rome, and was there a prisoner with him, Colossians 4:10.

With one accord - Tumultuously; or with one mind or purpose.

Into the theatre - The theaters of the Greeks were not only places for public exhibitions, but also for holding assemblies, and often for courts, elections, etc. The people, therefore, naturally rushed there, as being a suitable place to decide this matter.

29. having caught Gaius and Aristarchus—disappointed of Paul, as at Thessalonica (Ac 17:5, 6). They are mentioned in Ac 20:4; 27:2; Ro 16:23; 1Co 1:14; and probably 3Jo 1. If it was in the house of Aquila and Priscilla that he found an asylum (see 1Co 16:9), that would explain Ro 16:3, 4, where he says of them that "for his life they laid down their own necks" [Howson].

rushed … into the theatre—a vast pile, whose ruins are even now a wreck of immense grandeur [Sir C. Fellowes, Asia Minor, 1839].

Filled with confusion; tumults and noise; all conditions of men, high and low, promiscuously being met in such uproars.

Gaius; one born at Derbe, but living at Thessalonica, as Acts 20:4.

Aristarchus; of whom we read, Acts 27:2 Colossians 4:10.

The theatre; a place or structure built for public uses; whence;

1. Their sports or plays in any public solemnity were beheld.

2. Their speeches or orations in their common assemblies were heard.

3. Where they punished also their malefactors; it being accommodated with several steps or seats higher than one another, and of vast extent for these purposes.

Hither, according to their custom, they resort, to hear if any one would speak upon this occasion to them; or rather, to get these Christians condemned and executed for their supposed sacrilege and blasphemy.

And the whole city was filled with confusion,.... For the workmen that made the silver shrines very likely ran up and down in the city, crying out, great is Diana of the Ephesians, which brought the people out of their houses to inquire what was the matter; and the mob gathering and increasing, as they went along, threw the whole city into confusion and disorder:

and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia; the latter of these was of Thessalonica in Macedonia, as appears from Acts 20:4 but of what place the former was, is not certain; however, being a Macedonian, he could not be the Gaius of Derbe, mentioned in the same place, nor the Gaius of Corinth, 1 Corinthians 1:14 but some third person. They are both Greek names; Aristarchus signifies the chief of princes, or the prince of chiefs; and Gaius is a name taken from the joy of parents, and is the same with the Roman name, Caius; they are both reckoned among the seventy disciples; the former is said to be bishop of Apamea in Phrygia, and the latter Bishop of Ephesus; See Gill on Luke 10:1.

Paul's companions in travel; whom he brought with him out of Macedonia, and who had been with him to Jerusalem and Antioch, and were now returned with him to Ephesus, where they had been with him for the space of two years, or more: it is very much that this mob had not seized on Paul himself: it may be Paul was within doors, and these were without in the streets, and so were laid hold upon and carried away in a most forcible and violent manner by them: who having got them,

they rushed with one accord into the theatre; where the public plays were acted in honour of the goddess Diana, and where, among other things, men were set to fight with wild beasts; and very likely the intention of the mob, in hurrying Paul's companions thither, was to throw them to the wild beasts. A theatre is a spectacle or show, so called, because in them fights were shown, plays were acted, games exercised, and battles fought between men and men, and between men and beasts, and between beasts and beasts; concerning which, take the following account (x):

"Theatre, among the ancients, is a public edifice for the exhibiting of scenic spectacles, or shows to the people--under the word theatre was comprehended not only the eminence, whereon the actors appeared, and the action passed, but also the whole area, or extent of the place common to the actors and spectators: in this sense the theatre was a building encompassed with porticos, and furnished with seats of stone, disposed in semicircles, and ascending gradually over one another, which encompassed a space called the "orchestra"; in the front whereof was the "proscenium" or "pulpitum", whereon the actors performed the "scena", a large front adorned with orders of architecture; behind which was "postscenium", or the place where the actors made themselves ready, retired, &c. so that the "scena", in its full extent, comprehended all the part belonging to the actors. In the Greek theatres, the "orchestra" made a part of the "scena"; but in the Roman theatres, none of the actors ever descended into the "orchestra", which was taken up by the seats of the senators.''

For the better understanding the terms used, and the several parts of the theatre, let it be observed, that the "scena", according to others (y) was the place from whence the actors first went out; and it reached from one corner of the theatre to the other, and was threefold; "tragical", which was adorned in a royal manner with pillars and signs; "comical", which represented private buildings; and "satirical", which exhibited trees, caves, mountains, &c. Likewise, the "scena" was either "versile", when on a sudden the whole scene was turned by some machines; or "ductile", when by drawing away the boards the inward face of the scene appeared, or by drawing curtains. The "proscenium" was a place lower than the scene, in which the actors chiefly spoke and acted: the "postscenium" was a place in which these things were done, which could not be done fitly, and with decorum in the scenes: the "pulpitum" was a higher place in the "proscenium", in which those that recited stood: the "orchestra" was the last place, in which they danced, and near which the senators sat. Tarquinius Priscus was the first who introduced plays among the Romans; and the temple of Bacchus at Athens was the first theatre in the world, the remains of which are still to be seen. Of this theatre at Ephesus I have not met with any account; whether it was in the temple, or without, is not certain; very likely it might be a part of it, or adjoin unto it.

(x) Chamber's Cyclopaedia in the word "Theatre". (y) Nieupoort. Compend. Antiqu. Roman. p. 285, 286. Yid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Diet. l. 5. c. 16.

And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
Acts 19:29. συγχύσεως: the noun only here in N.T. (συγχέω: only in Luke, see above p. 238), in LXX, Genesis 11:9, 1 Samuel 5:11, 1 Samuel 14:20, used in classical Greek in the sense of confusion, disturbance; τε, the immediate result was that they rushed (Weiss), ὁμοθυμαδὸν, see above Acts 1:14, “with one accord,” uno animo, Vulgate (not simul).—τὸ θέατρον: no doubt the great theatre explored by Mr. Wood, Ephesus, pp. 73, 74, App. vi.; Lightfoot, Contemp. Rev., xxxii., p. 293; the theatre was the usual place for public assemblies in most towns, cf. Jos., B. J., vii. 3, 3; Tac., Hist., ii., 80; Blass, in loco, and Wetstein, and also Pseudo-Heraclitus, Letter vii., 47, condemning the Ephesians for submitting grave and weighty matters to the decision of the mobs in the theatre, Die Heraklitischen Briefe, p. 65; Gore, Ephesians, p. 255. The theatre was capable of holding, it is calculated, 24,500 people, its diameter was 495 feet, and it was probably the largest in the world (Renan). Wetstein remarks that the position of the places tended in no small degree to increase and foment the tumult, since the temple was in full view of the theatre.—συναρπάσαντες, cf. Acts 6:12, i.e., being carried off with them in their rush; we are told whether they met Gaius and Aristarchus by chance, and seized them as well-known companions of Paul, συνεκδήμους, or whether they searched for them in their lodgings, and seized them when they could not find the Apostle.—Ἀρίσταρχον: a native of Thessalonica, cf. Acts 20:4; he accompanied Paul on his last journey to Jerusalem, and hence to Rome, Acts 27:2. It is possible, as Lightfoot thinks, that the words “Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us” in the latter passage intimate that Aristarchus accompanied Luke and Paul on the former part of this route because he was on his way home, and that leaving Paul at Myra he may have returned to Thessalonica, Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 35. But however this may be, it is evident from Colossians 4:10, Philem., Acts 19:24, that he was with the Apostle at Rome, probably sharing his captivity. ὁ συναιχμάλωτός μου, Col., u. s., can hardly refer to this incident at Ephesus, Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 11, “Aristarchus,” B.D.2, or to a captivity in a spiritual sense, as bound and captive to Christ together with Paul; see also Salmon, Introd., p. 383.—Μακεδόνας: nothing was more natural than that devoted Christians from Thessalonica should be among St. Paul’s companions in travel when we consider his special affection for the Thessalonian Church. With this reading the Gaius here is of course to be distinguished from the Gaius of Acts 20:4, of Derbe, and from the Gaius of Romans 16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:14, a Corinthian. But if we could read Μακεδόνα, Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 280, the Gaius here may be identified with the Gaius of Acts 20:4. In Acts 20:4 Blass connects Δερβαῖος with Timothy, making Gaius a Thessalonian with Aristarchus, Secundus, see in loco; but against this we must place the positive statement of Acts 16:1, that Timothy was a Lystran.—συνεκδήμους: used only by Luke and Paul, 2 Corinthians 8:19, not in LXX, but in Plut. and Josephus. The word may look forward to Acts 20:4 (so Ramsay, u. s.), or we may take it with Blass as referring to the part which the two men played as representatives of the Thessalonians, who were carrying with St. Paul the contribution to the Church at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:4). These two men, as Weiss points out, may be our informants for some of the details which follow.

29. And the whole city was filled with confusion] The oldest texts omit “whole” and add an article before “confusion.” It is the special tumult which is meant. The city was not so much interested in the gains of the silversmiths, but equally with them in the glory and magnificence which Ephesus had, as the seat of the worship of Artemis. So that the noise, that began in the meeting which Demetrius had gathered, was taken up by the whole Ephesian population, and they needed a wider space for the crowds now pouring together from every side. The word for “confusion” intimates that the throng gathered in great excitement.

and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel] These men must have been seized by the crowd because they were not able to find Paul. We may see therefore that between the meeting of the craftsmen and the greater assembly in the theatre, there had been search made by the mob that they might lay hands on the Apostle. It is interesting to note that the companionship of these Macedonian converts gives evidence of the permanent effect of the labours of St Paul in that country on his previous journey. The brevity of the record in the Acts makes it important to observe such indications wherever they are given undesignedly. This Gaius is not identical with any other of the same name met with in Acts 20:4, and Romans 16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:15. Of Aristarchus we hear again in Acts 20:4 and Acts 27:2, for he accompanied St Paul in his voyage to Rome and is mentioned in the Epistles written at that time (Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24). As natives of Colossæ, and most probably Philemon himself, came to Ephesus and heard the preaching of St Paul there, Aristarchus may have been personally known to those to whom the Apostle sends his greeting in the above-named letters.

they rushed with one accord into the theatre] To preserve the order of the Greek, the Rev. Ver. places this clause before the preceding. The A.V. is more in agreement with the genius of the English language. The theatre was the scene of all the great games and exhibitions of the city. Its ruins still remain and give evidence that when this crowd assembled there it was a building that could hold 25,000 or 30,000 people (see Wood’s Ephesus, p. 68; Fellowes, Asia Minor, p. 274). As Gaius and Aristarchus were not Jews, but the former perhaps of Roman extraction, if we may judge by his name, and the latter a Greek, with rights which even the Ephesian mob would not venture to outrage, we do not read of anything more done to them, than their being dragged along with the crowd towards the place of meeting. It might be thought that they could tell how St Paul was to be found, and when they could not, they were let go.

Acts 19:29. Ὥρμησαν, they rushed) viz. Demetrius with his band.—θέατρον) the theatre, which was also the forum.—Γάϊον καὶ Ἀρίσταρχον, Gaius and Aristarchus) when they did not find Paul himself. Aristarchus was the same who recurs in ch. Acts 20:4; with which comp. ch. Acts 27:2 : but here the Gaius, a Macedonian, is distinct from the Gaius of Derbe, ch. Acts 20:4; although there are some who think them one and the same person.

Verse 29. - The city for the whole city, and the confusion for confusion, A.V. and T.R. (τῆς for ὅλη); they rushed, etc., having seized for having caught, etc., they rushed, etc., A.V. With one accord (ὁμοθυμαδὸν); see Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; Acts 4:24, etc., and for ὥρμησαν ὁμοθυμαδὸν, see Acts 7:57. Into the theatre. The common place of resort for all great meetings. So Tacitus, 'Hist.,' 2:80 (quoted by Alford), says that at Antioch the people were wont to hold their public debates in the theatre, and that a crowded meeting was held there to forward the interests of Vespasian, then aspiring to the empire. So Josephus speaks of the people of Antioch holding a public assembly (ἐκκλησίαζοντος) in the theatre ('Bell. Jud.,' 7. 3:3). The people of the Greek city of Tarentum received the ambassadors from Rome in the theatre, "according to the Greek custom," Val. Max., 2:2, 5 (Kuinoel, on Acts 19:29). The theatre at Ephesus, of which "ruins of immense grandeur" still remain, is said to be the largest of which we have any account (Howson, 2. p. 68). Having seized (συναρπάσαντες); a favorite word with Luke(Acts 6:12; Acts 27:12; Luke 8:29); and found also in the LXX, of Proverbs 6:25; 2 Macc. 3:27 2Macc. 4:41; but not elsewhere in the New Testament. It is a common medical word of sudden seizures. The force of the συν is that they hurried Gaius and Aristarchus along with them to the theatre, no doubt intending there to accuse them to the people. Gaius and Aristarchus. In Acts 20:4 there is mention of a certain Gains who was one of Paul's companions in travel, but who is described as "of Derbe." Again in 1 Corinthians 1:14 a Gains is mentioned as one of St. Paul's converts on his first visit to Corinth, whom he baptized himself; and in Romans 16:23 (written from Corinth) we have mention of Gains as St. Paul's host, and of the whole Church, likely, therefore, to be the same person. Then we have the Gains to whom St. John's Third Epistle is addressed, and whose hospitality to the brethren was a conspicuous feature in his character, and one tending to identify him with the Gaius of Romans 16:23. We seem, therefore, to have, in immediate connection with St, Paul, Gaius of Corinth, Gains of Macedonia, and Gains of Derbe. But Gaius (or Caius, as it is written in Latin) was such a common name, and the Jews so often shifted their residence from one city to another, that it is not safe either to infer identity from identity of name, or diversity from diversity of description. Aristarchus, here described as of Macedonia, is more precisely spoken of in Acts 20:4 as a Thessalonian. In Acts 27:2, where we find him accompanying St. Paul from Caesarea to Rome, he is described as "a Macedonian of Thessalonica." In Colossians 4:10 he is St. Paul's "fellow-prisoner,' as voluntarily sharing his prison (Alford, on Colossians 4:10), and in Philemon 1:24 he is his fellow-laborer. His history, therefore, is that, having been converted on St Paul's visit to Thessalonica, he attached himself to him as one of his missionary staff, and continued with him through good report and evil report, through persecution, violence, imprisonment, shipwreck, and bonds, to the latest moment on which the light of Bible history shines. Blessed servant of Christ! blessed fellow-servant of his chief apostle! Acts 19:29The theatre

The site of which can still be traced. It is said to have been capable of seating fifty-six thousand persons.

Having seized (συναρπάσαντες)

Lit., "having seized along with (σύν):" carried them along with the rush.

Companions in travel (συνεκδήμους)

Only here and 2 Corinthians 8:19. The word is compounded of σύν, along with, ἐκ, forth, and δῆμος, country or land, and means, therefore, one who has gone forth with another from his country.

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