Acts 2:18
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
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(18) And on my servants and on my handmaidens . . .—This was the culminating point of the joyous prediction. Not on priests only, or those who had been trained in the schools of the prophets, but on slaves, male and female, should that gift be poured by Him who was no respecter of persons. The life of Amos, the herdsman of Tekoa, the “gatherer of sycomore fruit” (Amos 1:1; Amos 7:14), was, perhaps, the earliest example of the gift so bestowed. The apostolic age must have witnessed many. The fisherman of Galilee, who was now speaking, was the forerunner of thousands in whom the teaching of the Spirit has superseded the training of the schools.

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.And on my servants - The Hebrew text in Joel is "upon the servants." The Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, however, render it "on my servants." In Joel, the prophet would seem to be enumerating the different conditions and ranks of society. The influences of the Spirit would be confined to no class; they would descend on old and young, and even on servants and handmaids. So the Chaldee Paraphrase understood it. But the Septuagint and Peter evidently understood it in the sense of servants of God, as the worshippers of God are often called servants in the Scriptures. See Romans 1:1. It is possible, however, that Joel intended to refer to the servants of God. It is not "upon your servants," etc., as in the former expression, "your sons," etc.; but the form is changed, "upon servants and handmaids." The language, therefore, will admit the construction of the Septuagint and of Peter; and it was this variation in the original Hebrew which suggested, doubtless, the mention of "my servants," etc., instead of your servants.

And on my handmaids - Female servants. The name is several times given to pious women, Psalm 86:16; Psalm 116:16; Luke 1:38, Luke 1:48. The meaning of this verse does not materially differ from the former. In the times of the gospel, those who were brought under its influence would be remarkably endowed with ability to declare the will of God.

17. in the last days—meaning, the days of the Messiah (Isa 2:2); as closing all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.

pour out of my Spirit—in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time.

upon all flesh—hitherto confined to the seed of Abraham.

sons … daughters … young men … old men … servants … handmaidens—without distinction of sex, age, or rank.

see visions … dream dreams—This is a mere accommodation to the ways in which the Spirit operated under the ancient economy, when the prediction was delivered; for in the New Testament, visions and dreams are rather the exception than the rule.

On my servants and on my handmaidens; to show what all ought to be, that hope to receive any benefit or comfort from the promises of God, either in the law or gospel, the Old or New Testament; viz. such as seek and serve God; but to the disobedient and unbelieving there is not a comfortable word in all the book of God. Some read without the pronoun, on servants and handmaids; to show that God doth not despise men of the lowest rank and condition in the world, but that the promise of the Spirit is made unto them also. And on my servants, and on my handmaidens,.... In Joel it is only the servants and the handmaids; and which Kimchi interprets of strangers that should stand in the land of Israel, and serve the Israelites. But these phrases do not seem so much to describe the civil state and condition of those persons, as their religious character, being such as were brought, by the power of divine grace, to yield a cheerful obedience to the will of God; though it may also regard the former, and show, that with God there is no distinction and difference of bond or free, of rich or poor; contrary to a maxim of the Jews (s), that the Shekinah does not dwell but upon a wise man, a mighty man, and a rich man,

I will pour out, in those days, of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy; see the note on the preceding verse, from whence this clause, "and they shall prophesy", is repeated; for it is not in the text in Joel; which is done to point at the end and effect of the Spirit being poured down upon them,

(s) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 92. 1.

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Acts 2:18. A repetition of the chief contents of Acts 2:17, solemnly confirming them, and prefixing the persons concerned.

καί γε] and indeed, Luke 19:42; Herm. ad Viger. p. 826. It seldom occurs in classical writers without the two particles being separated by the word brought into prominence or restricted, in which case, however, there is also a shade of meaning to be attended to; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 319.

We must not explain the δούλους μου and the δούλας μου with Heinrichs and Kuinoel, in accordance with the original text, which has no μου, of servile hominum genus, nor yet with Tychsen (Illustratio vaticinii Joel iii. Gott. 1788) of the alienigenae (because slaves were wont to be purchased from abroad): both views are at variance with the μου, which refers the relation of service to God as the Master. It is therefore the male and female members of the people of God (according to the prophetic fulfilment: of the Christian people of God) that are meant, inasmuch as they recognise Jehovah as their Master, and serve Him: my male and female worshippers; comp. the Hebrew עֶבֶד יְהוָּה. In the twofold μου Peter agrees with the translators of the LXX.,[127] who must have had another reading of the original before them.

[127] So much the less ought Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 402, to have imported into this enclitic μου what is neither found in it nor relevant: “on servants and handmaids of men, who are at the same time my servants and handmaids, and therefore in spiritual things are quite on a level with the free.” Similarly Bengel, and recently Beelen (Catholic) in his Commentar. in Acta ap. ed. 2, 1864, who appeals inappropriately to Galatians 3:27 f.Acts 2:18. As there was to be no limit of sex or age, so too there was no limit of condition. The word μου is not in the Hebrew, only in the LXX, but as it is found in the latter and in Acts it is argued that the words δούλους and δούλας do not mean those of servile rank, but are applied in a general sense to those who are worshippers, and so servants of God. But in retaining the word μου we are not obliged to reject the literal meaning “bond-servants,” just as St. Peter himself, in addressing household servants and slaves, commands them to act ὡς δοῦλοι θεοῦ (1 Peter 2:16): “Intelliguntur servi secundum carnem, diversi a liberis. Acts 2:17, sed iidem servi Dei,” Bengel. According to Maimonides, no slave could be a prophet, but as in Christ there was neither Jew nor Gentile, neither male nor female, so in Him there was neither bond nor free (see also Keil, in loco).—καὶ προφητεύσουσι: an explanatory addition of the speaker, or an interpolation from Acts 2:17, not found either in Hebrew or LXX.18. and on my servants, &c.] The conjunctions of the original demand a stronger rendering. Yea and, &c.

and they shall prophesy] See Acts 19:6, where this is the result of the gift of the Spirit; cf. also Agabus (Acts 11:28), and the daughters of Philip the Evangelist (Acts 21:9).Verse 18. - Yea and for and, A.V.; pour forth for pour out, A.V.; in those days will I pour for I will pour... in those days, A.V. And they shall prophesy. These words are not found in the Hebrew or the LXX. The LXX. differ from the Hebrew in the addition of μοῦ after δούλους and δούλας. The Hebrew has merely "the servants and the handmaids," men and women of servile condition.
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