Acts 19:32
Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not why they were come together.
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(32) Some therefore cried one thing, and some another.—Better, kept on crying. The graphic character of the whole narrative makes it almost certain that it must have come from an eye-witness, or possibly from more than one. Aristarchus or Gaius, who travelled to Jerusalem with St. Luke (Luke 20:4), and were with him also at Rome, may have told him the whole tale of the scene in which they had borne so prominent a part. Possibly, also, following up the hint thrown out in the Note on Acts 19:12, we may think of Tyrannus as having written a report of the tumult to St. Luke. The two conjunctions translated “therefore” (better, then) seem to carry the narrative back to what was passing in the theatre, after the parenthetical account of what had been going on between the Apostle, the disciples, and the Asiarchs outside it.

For the assembly was confused.—It is not without interest to note that the Greek word for assembly is the ecclesia, with which we are so familiar as applied to the Church of Christ. Strictly speaking, as the town-clerk is careful to point out (Acts 19:39), this mob gathering was not an ecclesia, but the word had come to be used vaguely.

19:32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.Some therefore cried one thing ... - This is an admirable description of a mob, assembled for what purpose they knew not; but agitated by passions, and strifes, and tumults.

And the more part knew not ... - The greater part did not know. They had been drawn together by the noise and excitement, and but a small part would know the real cause of the commotion. This is usually the case in tumultuous meetings.

31. And certain of the chief of Asia—literally, "And certain also of the Asiarchs." These were wealthy and distinguished citizens of the principal towns of the Asian province, chosen annually, and ten of whom were selected by the proconsul to preside over the games celebrated in the month of May (the same month which Romanism dedicates to the Virgin). It was an office of the highest honor and greatly coveted. Certain of these, it seems, were favorably inclined to the Gospel, at least were Paul's "friends," and knowing the passions of a mob, excited during the festivals, "sent (a message) to him desiring him not to adventure himself into the theater." An excellent description of a popular tumult. Whether this

assembly was afterwards made legal by the magistrates resorting thither, (though it was not called by their authority), and is therefore called here, ekklhsia, is not so useful to inquire. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another,.... Not in the church at Ephesus among the disciples, and friends of the apostle, as if they were divided in their sentiments about his going into the theatre, some being for it, and others against it; but the people that were gathered together in the theatre, these were not agreed about the reason of this tumult, some said it was on account of one thing, and some another:

for the assembly was confused; the multitude of people that were gathered together were made up of different persons, of different employments and sentiments, and were in no manner of form or order:

and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together; there was a noise and a hubbub in the city; but what was the reason and meaning of it, they were ignorant of; they were got together into the theatre in great numbers, but what was to be done there they knew not. And this is too often the case in religious assemblies, that the majority, at least many, can give no account of the reason, end, and design of their assembling together.

Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Acts 19:32-33. Οὖν] joins on, by way of inference, the description of the concourse (Acts 19:29), interrupted by Acts 19:30-31.

ἄλλοἄλλο] Comp. Charit. i. 5 : ὁ δῆμος ἅπας εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν συνέτρεχεν ἄλλων ἄλλα κεκραγότων, Plat. Charm. p. 153 D: ἠρώτων δὲ ἄλλος ἄλλο. The following τί might have been left out (Kühner, § 836, note 5), but it is only wanting in D (Bornemann).

ἡ ἐκκλησία] It was no ἔννομος ἐκκλ., Acts 19:39, and accordingly no legal popular assembly, neither an ordinary one (νόμιμος), nor an extraordinary (σύγκλητος), but simply an assemblage of the people, who had flocked together of their own accord,—a concio plebis exlex et abusiva.

συγκεχυμ.] confused, in an uproar. Comp. Acts 19:29. It lacked all order, guidance, self-restraint, discipline, etc.

προεβ. Ἀλεξ. προβαλλ. αὐτ. τ. Ἰουδ.] a vivid description of its tumultuary character. The Jews shoved (pushed) him forward from behind (προβαλλ.), and others, standing in front, brought or drew him out of the crowd (ἐκ τ. ὄχλου προεβ.). Grotius, Wetstein, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, and others take προβάλλειν as to propose (see Xen. Anab. vi. 1. 25, vi. 2. 6; Dem. 519. 16; Kypke, II. p. 101 f.), but this does not at all suffice for the lively picture of the tumult. Alexander, otherwise entirely unknown, was certainly a Christian, since only to such a one is the subsequent ἀπολογεῖσθαι suitable, not a Jew (Beza, Grotius, Ewald, and others). He is commonly, but arbitrarily, especially considering the frequency of the name, considered as identical with the Alexander mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Timothy 4:14, in which case it is in its turn presupposed that the name occurring at those two passages denotes one person. Such completely indemonstrable assumptions cannot serve to prove the genuineness and time of the composition of the Epistles to Timothy (in opposition to Otto). The Alexander in our passage had, in the Christian interest, mixed among the crowd, and was pushed forward by the malicious Jews that he might make a public address and, if possible, become a sacrifice to the fury of the multitude. If we hold him to be a non-Christian Jew (which does not result from Acts 19:34), it is to be supposed that the Jews would be afraid that, on this occasion, they also might be attacked, and therefore pushed forward Alexander, an eloquent man and hostile to Paul, that he might maintain the innocence of the Jews to the destruction of the Christians. But Luke must have called attention to such a connection,[102] and that the more as the simple ἀπολογεῖσθαι, to make a defence, points quite naturally to the accusation of the Christians referred to.

κατασ. τ. χ.] moving his hand up and down[103] (for a sign that he wished to speak).

τῷ δημῷ] before the people, Herod. vii. 161; Plat. Prot. p. 359 A; Lucian. Gall. 3. See Bernhardy, p. 79.

δῆμος is as in Acts 19:30, and the ἀπολογεῖσθαι, cannot therefore be meant to be a defence of the Jews (Bengel, Ewald) and of the ὄχλος (Otto).

[102] Otto, p. 108, makes up the scene more artificially, and that so as to make Alexander even the soul and secret spring of the whole uproar. According to Hausrath, the author gives designedly only a fragmentary account of the Jewish-Christian Alexander, because the conduct of the Jewish-Christians at that time did not suit the conciliatory object of his book.

[103] Comp. Acts 12:17, Acts 13:16, Acts 21:40, where, however, the verb is joined with the dative, which, therefore, also D, al. (Bornemann) have here.Acts 19:32. ἄλλοι μὲν οὖν: μὲν οὖν probably as often in Acts without any opposition expressed, but see Rendall, App., p. 162; the antithesis may be in δέ of Acts 19:33.—ἔκραζον: “kept on crying,” imperfect.—ἐκκλησία, see below on Acts 19:39; here of an unlawful tumultuous assembly.—συγκεχ., see above Acts 19:29.—οἱ πλείους: “sensu vere comparativo” Blass = major pars.32. Some therefore, &c.] As the craftsmen had not secured St Paul there was no central object to which attention could at once be called, and one general cry raised.

for the assembly was confused] The confusion in the city (Acts 19:29) had become intensified by the rush to the theatre.

and the more part, &c.] All that would be heard by many would be the shouts of the mob, from which nothing could be gathered about St Paul as the offender. Amid cries of “Artemis for ever” or “Hurrah for Demetrius,” little would be learnt of how the tumult had begun.Acts 19:32. Οὐκ ᾔδεισαν, knew not) An apt and characteristic description of a people in a tumult. [This is a matter of usual occurrence to senseless zealots.—V. g.]Verse 32. - In confusion for confused, A.V. (συγκεχυμένη: comp. συγχύσεως, ver. 29). The more part, etc. A graphic picture of an excited mob led by interested and designing agitators.
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