Acts 19:33
And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense to the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) And they drew Alexander out of the multitude . . .—The fact that he was put forward by the Jews indicates, probably, that they were anxious to guard against the suspicion that they were at all identified with St. Paul or his companions. If we identify this Alexander with the “coppersmith” of 2Timothy 4:14, who wrought so much evil against the Apostle on his third and last visit to Ephesus, we may assume some trade-connection with Demetrius which would give him influence with the crowd of artisans. His apologia, or defence, was obviously made by him as the representative of the Jews. The whole scene is again painted vividly—the vain attempt to gain a hearing by signs and gestures, the fury of the people on recognising his Jewish features and dress, their ready assumption that all Jews were alike in abhorring idols. Perhaps, also, they may have known or suspected that that abhorrence was sometimes accompanied by a readiness to traffic in what had been stolen from the idol’s temple. St. Paul’s words in Romans 2:22 may have had a personal application. The language of the town-clerk in Acts 19:37 suggests the same thought. He could point to Aristarchus and Gaius, and say emphatically, “These men are not robbers of temples, whatever others may be.”

Acts 19:33-34. And they — Namely, the artificers and workmen; drew — Greek, προεβιβασαν, thrust forward; Alexander — Probably some well- known Christian whom they saw in the crowd; the Jews — Whom he had offended by embracing the gospel; pushing him forward — To expose him to the enraged multitude, as one who was active in destroying the established religion. And Alexander, beckoning with his hand — In token of desiring silence; would have made a defence — For himself and his brethren. But, when they knew he was a Jew — And consequently an enemy to their religion and the worship of images, they would not suffer him to speak; but all with one voice (the whole multitude uniting as one man) vociferated, Great is Diana of the Ephesians — This was all the cry for two hours together; and it was thought a sufficient confutation of Paul’s doctrine, that they are no gods which are made with hands! and thus the most sacred truths are often run down with nothing else but noise and clamour and popular fury! It was said of old, (Jeremiah 50:38,) concerning idolaters, that they were mad upon their idols; and here is an instance of it: Diana made the Ephesians great, for the town was enriched by the vast concourse of people from all parts to her temple there, and therefore they are concerned, by all means possible, to keep up her sinking reputation, and hope to do it effectually with, Great is Diana of the Ephesians!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.And they drew Alexander - Who this Alexander was is not known. Grotius supposes that it was "Alexander the coppersmith, who had in some way done Paul much harm 2 Timothy 4:14; and whom, with Philetus, Paul had excommunicated. He supposes that it was a device of the Jews to put forward one who had been of the Christian party, in order to accuse Paul, and to attempt to cast the odium of the tumult on him. But it is not clear that the Alexander whom Paul had excommunicated was the person concerned in this transaction. All that appears in this narrative is, that Alexander was one who was known to be a Jew, and who wished to defend the Jews from being regarded as the authors of this tumult. It would be supposed by the pagan that the Christians Were only a sect of the Jews, and the Jews wished, doubtless, to show that they had not been concerned in giving occasion to this tumult, but that it was to be traced wholly to Paul and his friends.

The Jews putting him forward - That he might have a convenient opportunity to speak to the people.

Would have made his defence - Our translation, by the phrase "his defense," would seem to imply that he was personally accused. But it was not so. The Greek is simply, "was about to apologize to the people"; that is, to make a defense, not of himself particularly, but of the Jews in general. The translation should have been "a defense."

33. they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward—rather, "some of the multitude urged forward Alexander, the Jews thrusting him forward." As the blame of such a tumult would naturally be thrown upon the Jews, who were regarded by the Romans as the authors of all religious disturbances, they seem to have put forward this man to clear them of all responsibility for the riot. (Bengel's conjecture, that this was Alexander the coppersmith, 2Ti 4:14, has little to support it).

beckoned with the hand—compare Ac 13:16; 21:40.

would have made his defence—"offered to speak in defense."

They drew Alexander out of the multitude, where he could not be seen and heard, unto some more convenient place, from whence he might make a vindication or defence for them; and that most likely in behalf of the Jews, who were equally obnoxious to the rage of the people for being against their idolatry, as the Christians were. This

Alexander is thought to have been that Alexander of whom we read, 1 Timothy 1:20 2 Timothy 4:14: though some think that this was another of that name.

Beckoned with the hand, to procure silence; as Acts 12:17. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude,.... Or "some of the multitude brought forth Alexander"; into the theatre, in order to kill him, by casting him to the wild beasts. Some think this is the same with Alexander the coppersmith, who apostatized upon this danger he was exposed to, and became a blasphemer, and a great enemy of the apostle, and did him much evil, 1 Timothy 1:20. This man, though his name was a Greek name, yet was a Jew, as is expressed in Acts 19:34 and from the times of Alexander the great, who was at Jerusalem, this name became common among the Jews; See Gill on Acts 4:6.

The Jews putting him forward; being equally enemies to him, as being under a profession of Christianity, as the Heathens were; or as the Syriac version reads, "the people of the Jews", that were there, out of themselves, pitched upon him as a proper person to still the uproar; and they brought him out of the multitude, to a convenient place, where he might be heard; and they the rather were forward to this, that he might lay all the blame of this confusion and uproar upon Paul and his companions, whom the Jews had an aversion to, as well as the Gentiles:

and Alexander beckoned with the hand; for silence, that he might be heard:

and would have made his defence unto the people; which looks as if he was a Christian, or at least was charged with being one, and was in danger of his life on that account; and therefore was desirous of being heard, that he might make an apology for the Christians, or remove such an imputation from himself, if he was not.

And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 19:33. ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ὄ., sc., τινές, cf. Acts 21:16. If we read συνεβίβασαν (see critical note), and render “instructed Alexander,” R.V., margin; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16, and often in LXX, it seems to mean that the Jews instructed Alexander, a fellow-Jew, to come forward and dissociate himself and them from any coalition with Paul and his companions against the Diana worship (ἀπολογεῖσθαι). Erasmus takes the word to mean that the Jews had instructed him beforehand as their advocate. συμβιβάζω in Colossians 2:19, Ephesians 4:16 = to join together, to knit together, in Acts 16:10, to consider, to conclude, so Weiss thinks here that it = concluded that Alexander was the reason why they had come together; but the sentence and the context does not seem to bear out this rendering. Meyer retains T.R., and holds that Alexander was a Jewish Christian who was put forward by the Jews maliciously, hoping that he might be sacrificed to the popular tumult—hence ἀπολογεῖσθαι. This latter view seems to be adopted practically by Blass (so by Knabenbauer), although he reads κατεβίβασαν (Luke 10:15), descendere coegerunt, i.e., into the theatre, as he cannot see that συνεβίβ. is intelligible; in which Grimm-Thayer agrees with him, and renders with R.V., margin, as above (see sub v.).—ὁ δὲ Ἀ.: if ὁ χαλκεύς in 2 Timothy 4:14 is taken in a wider sense to mean a worker in any metal, it is, of course, possible that Alexander might be so described as one of the craftsmen of Demetrius. But the name was very common, although the omission of τις may be taken to imply that Alexander in Acts 19:33 was well known in Ephesus (cf. Acts 19:9 above). We cannot pass beyond conjecture, especially as the notice in Acts, when compared with 2 Tim., contains no further mark of identification than the similarity of name, although the Alexander in the latter passage was no doubt in some way connected with Ephesus, or the warning to Timothy against him would be without force. Against the identification see Meyer—Weiss, Die Briefe Pauli an Timotheus und Titus, p. 347, and so also Holtzmann, Pastoralbriefe, in loco (who identifies the Alexander in 2 Timothy 4:14 with the Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20). Holtzmann’s view is that the author of the Pastoral Epistles, whoever he may have been, mistook the notice in Acts, and concluded that the Alexander there mentioned was a Christian, and a treacherous one, who allowed himself to be utilised by the Jews against Paul. The pseudonymous author of 2 Tim. therefore names Alexander χαλκεύς, and refers also to him the βλασφημεῖν of 1 Timothy 1:20.—κατασείσας τὴν χεῖρα, see on Acts 12:17.—ἀπολ.: peculiar to Luke and Paul, twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and six times in Acts, so in Romans 2:15, 2 Corinthians 12:19. In the last-named passage with same construction as here (see for various constructions Grimm-Thayer, sub v.).33. And they drew (Rev. Ver. brought) Alexander out of the multitude] There is a various reading in the verb here; and the sense may be “And some of the multitude instructed Alexander.” The verb in the Text. Recept. is the same which is used of the daughter of Herodias being instructed by her mother what she should ask. What appears to have been intended was that Alexander should explain on behalf of the Jews, that he and his fellow-Jews had no more sympathy with St Paul than the heathen multitude. It is just possible that this Alexander may be the same with him who is mentioned 2 Timothy 4:14.

the Jews putting him forward] This appears to make it clear that he was no Christian. For the Jews could have had no interest in bringing forward anybody who would speak in defence of St Paul. But they were clearly concerned in hindering, if they could, this uproar, raised against one who to the heathen would be counted as a Jew, from developing into a general attack on their race. We see that this might be no unlikely result, for the crowd, recognising the Jewish face of the intending speaker, would not hear a word that he had to say.

And Alexander … his defence unto the people] Better, a defence. There was no charge against which he had to defend himself, and he need never have been heard of, had not the Jews put him forward to be the mouthpiece of their disclaimer.Acts 19:33. Προεβίβασαν, they brought forward) This was done by the authors of the tumult, with whom the Jews conspired against the Christians.—Ἀλέξανδρον, Alexander) It is this very man who seems to have been the coppersmith, concerning whom 2 Timothy 4:14 speaks, known by Demetrius on account of his handicraft.—προβαλόντων having thrust him forward) for the sake of their own defence [that he might speak in their defence and against the Christians].—κατασείσαν τὴς χεῖρα) This phrase implies somewhat of a more vehement kind of gesture, than that which has been substituted by some for it from the parallelism (ch. Acts 12:17), κατασείσας τῇ χειρί. It is not quite certain what reading the Latin Vulg. followed.[114]—ἈΠΟΛΟΓΕῖΣΘΑΙ, to make a defence) in behalf of the Jews, against the Christians.

[114] ABE read τὴν χεῖρα: Dd, τῇ χειρί.—E. and T.Verse 33. - Brought for drew, A.V. and T.R.; a defense for his defense, A.V. (ἀπολογεῖσθαι). Alexander. Some think he is the same as "Alexander the coppersmith," of whose conduct St. Paul complains so bitterly (2 Timothy 4:14, 15; 1 Timothy 1:20), and he may or may not be. It seems likely that, as St. Paul's offence was speaking against the gods and their temples, the Jews, who were commonly accused of being atheists, and one of whose nation Paul was, came in for their share of the popular odium. They were anxious, therefore, to excuse themselves before the people of having had any share in St. Paul's work, and put forward Alexander, no doubt a clever man and a good speaker, to make their defense. But as soon as the people knew that he was a Jew, they refused to listen to him, and drowned his voice with incessant shouts of "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Meyer, however, thinks he was a Christian, because of the word ἀπολογεῖσθαι. The people (δῆμος, as ver. 30). It was a true ἐκκλησία, though an irregular one, and the people who formed it were the δῆμος, different from the ὄχλος, the mere crowd outside. They drew (προεβίβασαν)

More correctly, urged forward. See on before instructed, Matthew 14:8.

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