Acts 19:30
And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
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(30) When Paul would have entered in . . .—We almost see the impetuous zeal which urged the Apostle not to leave his companions to bear the brunt of the attack alone, and the anxious fear which made his friends eager to prevent a step which would probably endanger his own life without helping his friends. He refers probably to this when he speaks of having, as far as man was concerned, “fought with beasts at Ephesus” (1Corinthians 15:32); not that there was any actual danger of martyrdom in that form, but that the multitude in their fanatic rage presented as formidable an ordeal. So Ignatius (Ep. ad Rom. c. 3) speaks of himself as “fighting with wild beasts” (using the same word as St. Paul), and describes the soldiers who kept guard over him in his journey from Antioch to Rome as the “ten leopards” who were his companions.

Acts 19:30-32. When Paul would have entered in to the people — Being above all fear, to plead the cause of his companions, and prove they were not gods which were made with hands; the disciples suffered him not — Because, if he had gone in, there would have been no possibility of restraining the multitude. And certain of the chief of Asia — Greek, των Ασιαρχων, of the Asiarchs, or principal officers of Asia, probably priests of Diana, who presided over the public games, which, it is thought, they were then celebrating in her honour; who were his friends — Not converts to Christianity, or his disciples, which they could not have been, and yet have remained Diana’s priests; but friendly to him, as an ingenuous, benevolent man. For, although they derived both dignity and profit from the established idolatry, yet their love of order, and attachment to good morals, led them to befriend Paul on this occasion; sent, desiring that he would not adventure himself into the theatre — Since the rage of the people was such, that it would have been with the utmost hazard of his life. Some therefore — As they stood together in the theatre; cried one thing, and some another — According as their passions influenced them, or as the zeal of others prompted them. For the greater part knew not wherefore they were come together — Which is commonly the case in such an assembly.

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.Would have entered in unto the people - Probably to have addressed them, and to defend his own cause. 30-34. when Paul would have entered in—with noble forgetfulness of self.

unto the people—the demos, that is, the people met in public assembly.

the disciples suffered him not—The tense used implies only that they were using their efforts to restrain him; which might have been unavailing but for what follows.

Paul would have entered in unto the people; being desirous either to appease the tumult; or, if the worst came of it, to die for Christ’s sake.

The disciples suffered him not, by their entreaties; to whom this good apostle’s life, from whom they had received the faith, was more dear than their own.

And when Paul would have entered in unto the people,.... In the theatre, in order to have preached to the people, and to have removed their prejudices against him, and the Gospel preached by him, and to have shown them the error and evil of their idolatrous ways and worship, and to have reconciled them to him, and his friends, and to have persuaded them to do them no hurt; which shows the apostle's greatness of soul, his firmness, constancy, and intrepidity, and his great concern and affection for his companions, to risk his life in this manner: but

the disciples suffered him not; the believers, the members of the church at Ephesus would by no means agree to it, but dissuaded him from it; who hereby, on their part, showed great love to him, and what a value they had for him, and how much they esteemed the life of so great an apostle, and faithful preacher of the Gospel. The Ethiopic version renders it, "the apostles prohibited him"; but there were none of that office with him.

And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
Acts 19:30-31. Παύλου] whom doubtless the rioters had not found present at his usual place of abode. “Nulla militaris audacia par huic fortitudini,” Bengel.

εἰς τ. δῆμον] among the people that ran together into the theatre (Acts 19:31). Comp. Acts 12:22, Acts 17:5. εἰς τ. δῆμον is also among Greek writers very often the multitude (Dem. 383. 5; Diod. Sic. xvi. 84), plebs, vulgus. See Sturz, Lex. Xen. I. p. 665; Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 277, ed. 3. Contrary to the whole course of proceeding as narrated, Otto (Pastoralbr. p. 103) understands a formal assembly of the people, of which we are not to think even in the case of ἐκκλησία, Acts 19:32.

The ten presidents of sacred rites as well as of the public games in proconsular Asia were called Ἀσιαρχαί (corresponding to whom in other provinces were the Γαλαταρχαί, Βιθυνιαρχαί, Συριαρχαί κ.τ.λ.). They had to celebrate, at their own expense, these games in honour of the gods and of the emperor. Each city annually, about the time of the autumnal equinox, delegated one of its citizens, and these collective delegates then elected the ten. It was natural that one of these—perhaps chosen by the proconsul—should preside, and hence may be explained the remark in Eusebius, H. E. iv. 15, that Polycarp was executed under the Asiarch Philip. But the inference from our passage is historically indemonstrable, that only one was really Asiarch, and that the plural is to be explained from the fact that the other nine, but particularly the retired Asiarchs (like the past high priests of the Jews), bore the title (Salmasius, Valesius, Tillemont, Harduin, and Deyling), which is in itself improbable on account of the enormous expense which in that case would have been laid on one. See generally, Spanheim, de usu et praest. num. II. p. 694; van Dale, Dissertt. ad antiq. et marmor. p. 273 ff.; Winer, Realw. I. p. 97 f.; Babington in Numism. Chronicle, 1866, p. 93 ff. Comp. also Jacobs, ad Anthol. XII. p. 313.

μὴ δοῦναι ἑαυτόν] apprehension of danger to life. On the expression with εἰς of a dangerous locality, comp. Polyb. v. 14. 9.

Acts 19:30. τοῦ δὲ Π. βουλ.: St. Paul was not the man to leave his comrades in the lurch, and he would have followed them with his life in his hands to face the mob of Ephesus; if we may depend upon the picture of Ephesian life given us in Pseudo-Heraclitus, Letter vii., we can understand the imminent danger in which St. Paul was placed at the mercy of men who were no longer men but beasts, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων θηρία γεγονότες (Die Heraklitischen Briefe, p. 65 (Bernays), and Ramsay, u. s., p. 280).—δῆμον, Acts 19:33, Acts 12:22, Acts 17:5, so sometimes in classical Greek of the plebs, vulgus—in N.T. only in Acts. Both before and after the riot the passions of the vulgar mob were no doubt a real and serious danger to St. Paul, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:32; 1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 1:8-10. In the former passage the word ἐθηριομάχησα is generally referred to this danger in Ephesus, the multitude in its ferocious rage being compared to wild beasts, see Ramsay, St. Paul, p. 230, “Ephesus,” Hastings’ B.D., and Plumptre’s note, in loco. With the expression used in 1 Corinthians 15:32 we may compare Ignat., Rom., Acts 19:1, and cf. Ephes., vii. 1; Smyrn., iv., 1; so too Pseudo-Heraclitus, u. s., and Renan, Saint Paul, p. 351, note; Grimm-Thayer, sub v. McGiffert, p. 280 ff., maintains that the word ἐθηριομάχησα refers to an actual conflict with wild beasts in the arena (so Weizsäcker), and that 2 Corinthians 1:9 more probably refers to the danger from the riot of Demetrius; but if the literal interpretation of the verb in 1 Cor. is correct, it is strange that St. Paul should have omitted such a terrible encounter from his catalogue of dangers in 2 Corinthians 11:23; see also below at end of chapter.

30. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people] This scarcely gives the idea of St Paul’s wish, which the Greek contains. Read, with Rev. Ver., was minded to enter in. Through a strength not his own, the Apostle, feeble in frame though he seems to have been, waxed bold in danger and where an opportunity appeared to be offered of testifying unto Christ.

the disciples suffered him not] The Christian brethren, to some of whom the storm that was rising would be known much sooner than to the Apostle, had evidently conveyed him from his usual abode, and were taking care of him until the excitement was allayed. They would tell him, of course, all that they heard of what was doing, and it was on hearing this, that he wanted to go and appear before the crowd in the theatre.

Acts 19:30. Βουλομένου, when Paul was wishing) With great boldness. See note, 1 Corinthians 15:32. No military boldness is equal to this bravery. He was wishing to defend Gaius and Aristarchus, and to confute the worship of Diana.—οὐκ εἴων αὐτὸν, the disciples did not permit him) A good wish which is thwarted, may notwithstanding both be good and be? rightly thwarted.—οἱ μαθηταὶ, the disciples) seeing that it was Paul who was principally aimed at: Acts 19:26.

Verse 30. - Was minded to enter for would have entered, A.V. With the courage of a pure conscience, conscious of no wrong, and therefore fearing no wrong, Paul would have gone straight to the theatre, and cast in his lot with Gaius and Aristarchus; but the disciples, knowing the savage temper of the multitude, dissuaded him; and when their entreaties were backed by the magistrates, Paul thought it his duty to yield. To enter in unto the people. Αἰσελθεῖν, or προσελθεῖν εἰς ἐπὶ τὸν δῆμον or τῷ δήμῳ are phrases implying the intention of pleading his cause before them (see Schleusner and Kuinoel, on Acts 19:30). Acts 19:30
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