Acts 2:14
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
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(14) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, . . .—We are struck at once with the marvellous change that has come over the character of the Apostle. Timidity has become boldness; for the few hasty words recorded in the Gospels we have elaborate discourses. There is a method and insight in the way he deals with the prophecies of the Christ altogether unlike anything that we have seen in him before. If we were reading a fictitious history, we should rightly criticise the author for the want of consistency in his portraiture of the same character in the first and second volumes of his work. As it is, the inconsistency becomes almost an evidence of the truth of the narratives that contain it. The writer of a made-up-history, bent only upon reconciling the followers of Peter and of Paul, would have made the former more prominent in the Gospels or less prominent in the Acts. And the facts which St. Luke narrates are an adequate explanation of the phenomena. In the interval that had passed, Peter’s mind had been opened by his Lord’s teaching to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45), and then he had been endued, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, with power from on high. That which he now speaks is the first utterance of the new gift of prophecy, and followed rightly on I the portent of the “tongues” to bring about the work of conversion which they had no power to accomplish. The speech which follows was spoken either in the Aramaic of Palestine, or, more probably, in the Greek, which was common in Galilee, and which would be intelligible to all, or nearly all, of the pilgrims from distant countries.

And said unto them.—The verb is not the word commonly so rendered, but that which is translated “utterance,” or “to utter,” in Acts 2:4. The unusual word was probably repeated here to indicate that what follows was just as much an “utterance” of the Holy Spirit, working on and through the spiritual powers of man, as the marvel of the “tongues” had been.

Hearken to my words.—Literally, give ear to. The verb is an unusual one, and is found here only in the New Testament. It is used not unfrequently in the LXX., as, e.g., in Genesis 4:22; Job 23:18.

Acts 2:14-15. But Peter, standing up with the eleven — Who were then in company with him, and who, doubtless, also all, or at least most of them, addressed the people on this occasion, some in one language, and others in another, speaking by turns, or even altogether, in different parts of the assembly, to those who understood the languages in which they spoke, and therefore flocked about them. Peter, however, it appears, spoke first, and addressing himself to the native Jews, undoubtedly spoke in the language of the country, the Chaldaio-Syriac, which they all understood. It is probable that the others, who discoursed in other languages, uttered truths similar to those declared by Peter; and certainly it was not by Peter’s preaching only, but that of all, or most of the rest of the hundred and twenty, that the three thousand souls were that day converted and added to the church. But Peter’s sermon is recorded, to be an evidence for him, that he was thoroughly recovered from his fall, and thoroughly restored to the divine favour. He that had in a timid, cowardly manner, denied Christ, now as courageously confesses him. Peter, by standing up, showed that he was not drunk; and by the regular, consistent, and conclusive manner in which he reasoned, he manifested the utmost sobriety, and most perfect recollection. He lifted up his voice — As one that was both well assured of, and much affected with, what he said; and was neither afraid nor ashamed to avow it; and in order that those who had been reproaching them might hear him; and said, Ye men of Judea Ανδρες Ιουδαιοι, ye men that are Jews; and you especially that dwell at Jerusalem — Who were accessary to the death of Jesus; be this known unto you — Which ye did not know before, and which it infinitely concerns you to know now; and hearken to my words — With an attention becoming the importance of the subject on which I address you. My Master is gone, whose words you often heard in vain, and shall hear no more as you have done; but he speaks to you by us: hearken now to our words. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose — These disciples of Christ, that now speak with other tongues, speak good sense, and know what they say, as do those to whom they speak; who are led by their discourses into the knowledge of the wonderful works of God; and, indeed, it is very unreasonable and uncharitable for you to imagine that they are men intoxicated; seeing it is but the third hour of the day — That is, nine in the morning. The hour of morning sacrifice, before which, you know, none, who have any regard for their character, will allow themselves so much as to taste wine, and much less to drink any large quantity of it, whereby they would be rendered incapable of attending the service of the temple, and especially would not do it on such a solemn festival as this. Josephus tells us, that on feast-days the Jews seldom ate or drank any thing till noon; a circumstance which, if true, as there is reason to suppose it was, rendered this calumny still the more incredible. Peter’s discourse has three parts, each of which (see Acts 2:14; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:29) begins with the same appellation, men: only to the last part he also prefixes, with more familiarity, the additional word brethren.

2:14-21 Peter's sermon shows that he was thoroughly recovered from his fall, and thoroughly restored to the Divine favour; for he who had denied Christ, now boldly confessed him. His account of the miraculous pouring forth of the Spirit, was designed to awaken the hearers to embrace the faith of Christ, and to join themselves to his church. It was the fulfilling the Scripture, and the fruit of Christ's resurrection and ascension, and proof of both. Though Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance, yet he did not think to set aside the Scriptures. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bible; and the Spirit is given, not to do away the Scriptures, but to enable us to understand, approve, and obey them. Assuredly none will escape the condemnation of the great day, except those who call upon the name of the Lord, in and through his Son Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of sinners, and the Judge of all mankind.But Peter - This was in accordance with the natural temperament of Peter. He was bold, forward, ardent; and he rose now to defend the apostles of Jesus Christ, and Christ himself, from an injurious charge. Not daunted by ridicule or opposition, he felt that now was the time for preaching the gospel to the crowd that had been assembled by curiosity. No ridicule should deter Christians from an honest avowal of their opinions, and a defense of the operations of the Holy Spirit.

With the eleven - Matthias was now one of the apostles, and now appeared as one of the witnesses for the truth. They probably all arose, and took part in the discourse. Possibly Peter began to discourse, and either all spoke together in different languages, or one succeeded another.

Ye men of Judea - People who are Jews; that is, Jews by birth. The original does not mean that they were permanent dwellers in Judea, but that they were Jews, of Jewish families. Literally, "men, Jews."

And all ye that dwell ... - All others besides native-born Jews, whether proselytes or strangers, who were abiding at Jerusalem. This comprised, of course, the whole assembly, and was a respectful and conciliatory introduction to his discourse. Though they had mocked them, yet he treated them with respect, and did not render railing for railing 1 Peter 3:9, but sought to convince them of their error.

Be this known ... - Peter did not intimate that this was a doubtful matter, or one that could not be explained. His address was respectful, yet firm. He proceeded calmly to show them their error. When the enemies of religion deride us or the gospel, we should answer them kindly and respectfully, yet firmly. We should reason with them coolly, and convince them of their error, Proverbs 15:1. In this case Peter acted on the principle which he afterward enjoined on all, 1 Peter 3:15, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." The design of Peter was to vindicate the conduct of the apostles from the reproach of intoxication; to show that this could be no other than the work of God; and to make an application of the truth to his hearers. This he did:

(1) By showing that this could not be reasonably supposed to be the effect of new wine, Acts 2:15.

(2) by showing that what had occurred had been expressly predicted in the writings of the Jewish prophets, Acts 2:16-21.

(3) by a calm argument, proving the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and showing that this also was in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures, Acts 2:22-35. We are not to suppose that this was the whole of Peter's discourse, but that these were the topics on which he insisted, and the main points of his argument.

Ac 2:14-36. Peter for the First Time, Publicly Preaches Christ.

14-21. Peter, standing up with the eleven—in advance, perhaps, of the rest.

Peter standing up; it speaks his extraordinary courage; after his stumbling and fall, he runs the faster, being recovered; and begins to verify his name which our Lord had given him, showing himself as firm and stedfast as a rock.

With the eleven; the other apostles, probably, spake too in divers languages; but by reason of the shortness of St. Luke’s intended narrative, and it being to the same purpose, their sermons are omitted.

Men of Judea; such as came from other parts of the country.

Ye that dwell at Jerusalem; such as were constant inhabitants in that city.

But Peter standing up with the eleven,.... Apostles; their number being now complete, Matthias being chosen in the room of Judas. These all at once rose up, as abhorring the fact they were charged with, and to show the falsehood of it, and to vindicate themselves; when Peter, as their mouth, stood "in the midst" of them, as the Ethiopic version reads, with great courage, boldness, and intrepidity of mind: and "lift up his voice"; that he might be heard by the whole multitude, that was gathered together, as well as to show his zeal and fervour of spirit, and fortitude of mind; for being endued with the Spirit from on high, he was fearless of men, who but a little while ago was frightened by a servant maid,

And said unto them, ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem; which shows that they were the natives and citizens of Jerusalem that mocked and scoffed; for to these the apostle addresses himself,

Be this known unto you, and hearken to my words; as follows.

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, {h} lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

(h) The holiness of Peter is to be marked, in which the grace of the Holy Spirit is to be seen, even from the very beginning.

Acts 2:14-15. Σταθείς] as in Acts 5:20, Acts 17:22, Acts 27:21; Luke 19:8; Luke 18:11. The introduction of the address (he stood up, etc.) is solemn.

σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα] thus Matthias is already included, and justly; Acts 2:32, comp. with Acts 1:22. We may add that Grotius aptly remarks (although contradicted by Calovius): “Hic incipit (Petrus) nominis sui a rupe dicti meritum implere.”

ἀπεφθ.] as in Acts 2:4 : but not as if now Peter also had begun to speak ἑτέραις γλώσσ. (van Hengel). That speaking is past when Peter and the eleven made their appearance; and then follows the simple instruction regarding it, intelligible to ordinary persons, uttered aloud and with emphasis.

κατοικοῦντες] quite as in Acts 2:5. The nominative with the article, in order to express the imperative address. See Bernhardy, p. 67.

τοῦτο] namely, what I shall now explain to you.

Concerning ἐνωτίζεσθαι (from οὖς), auribus percipere, which is foreign to the old classical Greek, but in current use in the LXX. and the Apocrypha, see Sturz, Dial. Al. p. 166. In the N. T. only here. Comp. Test. XII. Patr. p. 520.

οὐ γάρ] γάρ justifies the preceding summons. The οὗτοι, these there, does not indicate that the apostles themselves were not among those who spoke in a miraculous manner, as if the gift of tongues had been a lower kind of inspired speech (1 Corinthians 14:18-19; so de Wette, at variance with Acts 2:4); but Peter, standing up with the eleven, places himself in the position of a third person, pointing to the whole multitude, whom he would defend, as their advocate; and as he did so, the reference of this apology to himself also and his fellow-apostles became self-evident in the application. This also applies against van Hengel, p. 64 f.

ὥρα τρίτη] about nine in the morning; so early in the day, and at this first of the three hours of prayer (see on Acts 3:1), contemporaneously with the morning sacrifice in the temple, people are not drunk! Observe the sober, self-collected way in which Peter speaks.

Acts 2:14. σταθεὶς δὲ Πέτρος: St. Chrysostom rightly remarks on the change which had passed over St. Peter. In the place where a few weeks before he had denied with an oath that he knew “the man,” he now stands forth to proclaim him as the Christ and the Saviour. It is quite characteristic of St. Luke thus to introduce participles indicating the position or gesture of the speaker (cf. Friedrich, Zöckler, Overbeck); cf. St. Luke 18:11; Luke 18:40; Luke 19:8, Acts 5:40; Acts 11:13; Acts 17:2; Acts 25:18; Acts 27:21.—σὺν τοῖς ἕνδεκα, and so with Matthias; cf. Acts 5:32, and Acts 1:22.—ἐπῆρε τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ: this phrase is only found in St. Luke’s Gospel (Acts 11:29) and the Acts (Acts 14:11, Acts 22:22), but it is quite classical, so in Demosthenes, and in LXX it occurs several times.—ἀπεφθέγξατο: “spake forth,” R.V., cf. Acts 26:25, expressive of the solemnity of the utterance, see above in Acts 2:4, and showing that St. Peter’s words were inspired no less than the speaking with tongues (Weiss).—ἄνδρες Ἰουδαῖοι: no word of reproach, but an address of respect; the words may be taken quite generally to indicate not only those previously present, but also those who were attracted by the noise. There is no need to suppose that St. Peter addressed the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the Jews as if they had been the only scoffers as distinct from the pilgrims from other lands. It is no doubt possible that the first part of the speech was addressed to the native home-bred residents, and that in Acts 2:22 St. Peter in the word Ἰσραηλῖται includes all the Jews whether resident in Jerusalem or not.—ἐνωτίσασθε: only here in N.T., but frequent in LXX, especially in the Psalms. It usually translates Hebrew הֶאֱזִין from Hebrew אֹזֶן= ear; cf. inaurire; Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, p. 130. “Give ear unto my words,” R.V. Auribus percipite, Vulg.

14–21. St Peter’s Sermon. Refutation of the Mockers

14. But Peter, standing up, &c.] The twelve naturally take the leading place among the disciples, and Peter, who had been spokesman before, begins the general address now, directing it principally to those who were dwellers in Jerusalem and the neighbouring country, for it was more likely to be these who gave vent to the mocking speeches than the foreigners who would better recognize the astounding nature of what had come to pass.

and said unto them] Better, and spake forth onto them. The original word is the same as that used to describe the gift which they had just received. “They spake as the Spirit gave them utterance,” lit. to speak forth (Acts 2:4). St Paul employs it when Festus had said he was mad. “I speak forth the words of truth and soberness” (Acts 26:25).

and hearken] The word is only found here in the N. T. It signifies to take anything into the ears.

Acts 2:14. Σταθεἰς, standing up) All the gestures, all the words of Peter indicate the utmost soberness.—δὲ, but) availing himself of the occasion. The apostles always found an opportunity, and never lost one. [They were not tied down to a particular place, or a fixed time, etc. They used the freest, and therefore so much the more effective, mode of setting forth the truth.—V. g.]—ἐπῇρε, lifted up) with boldness of speech.—ἀπεφθέγξατο) [spake forth]. This verb is judiciously employed here, instead of εἶπε, said [This point is lost in the Engl. Vers.]: inasmuch as this speech is most solemn and ardent, and yet at the same time sober. Comp. Acts 26:25, “I speak forth (ἀποφθέγγομαι) the words of truth and soberness.”—ἄνδρες, Ye men) In these ancient simple modes of address there is much more of inherent gravity (weight), than in ours of the present day, wherein so many epithets of Nobility and Dignity, etc., are accumulated in titles. Moreover, this speech has three parts, each of which begins with this appellation, at Acts 2:22, and also 29: but as the familiarity of his language to them increases, in Acts 2:29, he adds, Brethren, the beginning of their conversion having been already in the meantime made.—Ἰουδαῖοι, Jews) born in Judea.—ἅπαντες, all) Peter was speaking in the Hebrew language, which was the only one that ‘all’ understood.—τοῦτο, this) A drunken man would not use such an exordium. Peter appropriately warns and beseeches them.

Verses 14-16. - Spake forth for said, A.V.; give ear unto for hearken to, A.V.; hath been spoken for was spoken, A.V. But Peter, etc. Peter stands up before the eleven as their primate, foremost in the authority of action as in precedence of place; and the apostles stand up before the multitude of believers, as those to whom Christ committed the government of his Church (see Acts 1:15). Spake forth (ἀπεφθέγξατο, the same word as in ver. 4, "utterance "); implying the utterance of a loud and grave oration. In 1 Chronicles 26. it is the phrase of the LXX. for those who prophesied with harps. From it is derived the word apophthegm, "a remarkable saying" (Johnson's Dictionary). Ye that dwell at Jerusalem; the same as those described in ver. 5. They were foreign Jews who, either for the feast or for other causes, had taken up their abode at Jerusalem, and are distinguished from the men of Judea, the Jews who were natives of Judaea. Give ear (ἐνωτίζεσθε); found only here in the New Testament, but frequent in the LXX. as the rendering of the Hebrew הֶאֶזִין (Genesis 4:23; Job 33:1; Isaiah 1:2). It is not classical Greek, and seems to have been coined by the LXX., as the equivalent of the above-named Hebrew word. It seems to be a rhetorical phrase. The thing to be known unto them was that they saw the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy in what had happened; for it was quite a mistake to attribute it to drunkenness. By the prophet (διὰ, not ὑπὸ); spoken by God through the prophet. The full phrase occurs in Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:5, 15. And so it is added in ver. 17, "saith God." Acts 2:14Standing up (σταθεὶς)

See on Luke 18:11; and Luke 19:8.

Said (ἀπεφθέγξατο)

See on Acts 2:4. Better, Rev., spake forth. "This most solemn, earnest, yet sober speech" (Bengel).

Hearken (ἐνωτίσασθε)

Only here in New Testament. From ἐν, in; and οὖς the ear. Rev., give ear.

Words (ῥήματα)

See on Luke 1:37.

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