Acts 2:6
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
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(6) When this was noised abroad. . . .—Better When there had been this voice, or utterance. The word for “voice” is never used for rumour or report in the New Testament; always of some utterance—human (Matthew 3:3; Galatians 4:20), angelic (1Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 5:11), or divine (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). In John 3:7 (see Note there) we find it used, in the same connection as in this verse, for the “voice” or “utterance” of the Spirit.

Were confounded.—The word is peculiar to the Acts (Acts 9:22; Acts 19:32). If we were to draw a distinction between two words of cognate meaning with each other and with the Greek, confused would, perhaps, be a better rendering than confounded.

Every man heard them speak.—The verb is in the imperfect. They went on listening in their amazement as one after another heard the accents of his own language.

In his own language.—Another word peculiar to the Acts. (See Note on Acts 1:19.) It stands as an equivalent for the “tongue” in Acts 2:11, but was used for a dialect, in the modern sense of the term, as well as for a distinct language.

2:5-13 The difference in languages which arose at Babel, has much hindered the spread of knowledge and religion. The instruments whom the Lord first employed in spreading the Christian religion, could have made no progress without this gift, which proved that their authority was from God.When this was noised abroad - When the rumor of this remarkable transaction was spread, as it naturally would be.

Were confounded - συνεχύθη sunechuthē̄. The word used here means literally "to pour together," hence, "to confound, confuse." It is used:

(a) of an assembly or multitude thrown into confusion, Acts 21:27;

(b) of the mind as perplexed or confounded, as in disputation, Acts 9:22; and,

(c) of persons in amazement or consternation, as in this place. They did not understand this; they could not account for it.

Every man heard them speak ... - Though the multitude spoke different tongues, yet they now heard Galileans use the language which they had learned in foreign nations. "His own language." His own dialect - διαλέκτῳ dialektō. His own idiom, whether it was a foreign language, or whether it was a modification of the Hebrew. The word may mean either; but it is probable that the foreign Jews would greatly modify the Hebrew, or conform almost entirely to the language spoken in the country where they lived. We may remark here that this effect of the descent of the Holy Spirit was not special to that time. A work of grace on the hearts of people in a revival of religion will always "be noised abroad." A multitude will come together, and God often, as he did here, makes use of this motive to bring them under the influence of religion. Curiosity was the motive here, and it was the occasion of their being brought under the power of truth, and of their conversion. In thousands of cases this has occurred since. The effect of what they saw was to confound them, to astonish them, and to throw them into deep perplexity. They made no complaint at first of the irregularity of what was done, but were all amazed and overwhelmed. So the effect of a revival of religion is often to convince the multitude that it is indeed a work of the Holy One; to amaze them by the display of his power; and to silence opposition and cavil by the manifest presence and the power of God. A few afterward began to cavil Acts 2:13, as some will always do in a revival; but the mass were convinced, as will be the case always, that this was a mighty display of the power of God.

5-11. there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation—not, it would seem, permanently settled there (see Ac 2:9), though the language seems to imply more than a temporary visit to keep this one feast. Noised abroad; either the miraculous winds were heard, or the report of what had happened was spread abroad.

Were confounded; either out of shame that they had slain Christ, whom God thus extraordinarily glorified; or out of admiration at so extraordinary a matter.

Every man heard them speak in his own language; probably, not that the same words spoken by the apostles were diversified according to every one’s understanding, for then the miracle had been wrought in their auditors, and not in the apostles; but that the apostles did speak to every one in their proper and most intelligible language: and this was the gift of tongues, which for some time after also was continued in the church.

Now when this was noised abroad,.... Or "when this voice was made"; referring either to the sound, as of a mighty rushing wind, which came from heaven; and might not only be heard by those in the house, into which it came, but by the inhabitants of the city, as it came down from heaven; so the Arabic version renders it, "when the aforesaid sound was made": or else to the apostles' voice, and their speaking with divers tongues; which being heard by some, was told to others, and a rumour of it being made through the city,

the multitude came together; to the house, or temple, where the disciples were; and this multitude did not consist only of the devout Jews, before mentioned; but of others who scoffed and mocked at the apostles, and who had been concerned in the crucifying of Christ:

and were confounded; or "confused"; they ran and came together in a disorderly and tumultuous manner; the whole city was in an uproar, the assembly on this occasion was a perfect mob; their numbers were so large, that they were ready to thrust each other down, and trample one another under foot: the Vulgate Latin adds, "in mind"; they did not know what to think of things, they were so astonished at what they heard, that they were scarcely themselves; they were as persons stupid and senseless; being filled partly with shame and confusion, and partly with wonder and amazement, that these illiterate men, the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, and whose disciples they had in so much contempt, should have such extraordinary gifts bestowed on them:

because that every man heard them speak in his own language; which shows, what has been before observed, that one spake in one language, and another in another language; or the same person sometimes spoke one language, and sometimes another; so that in course, all languages were spoken by them; whence it appears, that it was not one language only which was spoken by the apostles, which men of different languages heard and understood, as if it was their own; for then the miracle must have been in the hearers, and not in the speakers; and the cloven tongues, as of fire, should rather have sat on them, than on the disciples; and these men be said to be filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost, rather than they.

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Acts 2:6. Τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης] this sound, which, inasmuch as οὗτος points back to a more remote noun, is to be referred to the wind-like rushing of Acts 2:2, to which also γενομ. carries us back. Comp. John 3:8. Luke represents the matter in such a way that this noise sounded forth from the house of meeting to the street, and that thereby the multitude were induced to come thither. In this case neither an earthquake (Neander) nor a “sympathy of the susceptible” (Lange) are to be called in to help, because there is no mention of either; in fact, the wonderful character of the noise is sufficient. Others, as Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Bleek, Schulz, Wieseler, Hilgenfeld, think that the loud speaking of the inspired is here meant. But in that case we should expect the plural, especially as this speaking occurred in different languages; and besides, we should be obliged to conceive this speaking as being strong, like a crying, which is not indicated in Acts 2:4; therefore Wieseler would have it taken only as a definition of time, which the aorist does not suit, because the speaking continues. Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Castalio, Vatablus, Grotius, Heumann, and Schulthess take φωνή in the sense of φήμη. Contrary to the usus loquendi; even in Genesis 45:16 it is otherwise.

συνεχύθη mente confusa est (Vulgate), was perplexed. Comp. Acts 9:22; 1Ma 4:27; 2Ma 10:30; Herod, 8:99; Plat. Ep. 7, p. 346 D; Diod. S. 4:62; Lucian. Nigr. 31.

εἷς ἕκαστος] annexes to the more indefinite ἤκουον the exact statement of the subject. Comp. John 16:32; Acts 11:29 al.; Jacobs, ad Achill. Tat. p. 622; Ameis on Hom. Od. x. 397; Bernhardy, p. 420.

διαλέκτῳ] is here also not national language, but dialect (see on Acts 1:19), language in its provincial peculiarity. It is, as well as in Acts 2:8, designedly chosen, because the foreigners who arrived spoke not entirely different languages, but in part only different dialects of the same language. Thus, for example, the Asiatics, Phrygians, and Pamphylians, respectively spoke Greek, but in different idioms; the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, Persian, but also in different provincial forms. Therefore, the persons possessed by the Spirit, according to the representation of the text, expressed themselves in the peculiar local dialects of the ἑτέρων γλωσσῶν. The view that the Aramaic dialect was that in which all the speakers spoke (van Hengel), appears—from Acts 2:8; from the list of nations, which would be destitute of significance; from προσήλυτοι (Acts 2:10), which would be meaningless; and from Acts 2:11,[123] as well as from the opinions expressed in Acts 2:12-13, which would be without a motive—as an exegetical impossibility, which is also already excluded by εἷς ἕκαστος in Acts 2:6.

λαλούντων αὐτῶν] not, of course, that all spoke in all dialects, but that one spoke in one dialect, and another in another. Each of those who came together heard his peculiar dialect spoken by one or some of the inspired. This remark applies in opposition to Bleek, who objects to the common explanation of λαλεῖν ἑτέρ. γλώσσαις, that each individual must have spoken in the different languages simultaneously. The expression is not even awkward (Olshausen), as it expresses the opinion of the people comprehended generally, and consequently even the summary αὐτῶν is quite in order.

[123] Where neither in itself nor according to ver. 8 can ταῖς ἡμετέραις γλώσσαις mean what van Hengel puts into it: as we do with our own tongues.

Acts 2:6. φωνῆς ταύτης: “when this sound was heard,” R.V. “Hic idem quod ἦχος comm[119] 2,” so Wetstein, who compares for φωνή in this sense Matthew 24:31, 1 Corinthians 14:7-8 (2 Chronicles 5:13), and so most recent commentators (cf. John 3:8); if human voices were meant, the plural might have been expected. But the word in singular might refer to the divine voice, the voice of the Spirit, cf. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5. The A.V., so too Grotius, following Erasmus, Calvin, render the word as if φήμη, but the two passages quoted from LXX to justify this rendering are no real examples, cf., e.g., Genesis 45:16, Jer. 27:46.—τὸ πλῆθος: a characteristic word of St. Luke, occurring eight times in his Gospel, seventeen in Acts, and only seven times in rest of the N.T.; on the frequency with which St. Luke uses expressions indicative of fulness, see Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, pp. 40, 102. In inscriptions the word seems to have been used not only of political but of religious communities, see Deissmann, Neue Bibel-studien, pp. 59, 60 (1897), and see below on Acts 15:30.—συνεχύθη—from συνχύνω (συνχέω) only found in Acts, where it occurs five times (cf. also σύγχυσις, Acts 19:29), see Moulton and Geden, sub v. For its meaning here cf. Genesis 11:7; Genesis 11:9, 1Ma 4:27, 2Ma 13:23; 2Ma 14:28; Vulg., mente confusa est.—διαλέκτῳ: only in the Acts in N.T. The question has been raised as to whether it meant a dialect or a language. Meyer argued in favour of the former, but the latter rendering more probably expresses the author’s meaning, cf. Acts 1:19, and also Acts 21:40, Acts 22:2, Acts 26:14. The word is apparently used as the equivalent of γλῶσσα, Acts 2:11, A. and R.V. “language”. As the historian in his list, Acts 2:9-10, apparently is following distinctions of language (see Rendall, Acts, p. 177, and Appendix, p. 359), this would help to fix the meaning of the word διάλεκτος here. Wendt in revising Meyer’s rendering contends that the word is purposely introduced because γλῶσσα, Acts 2:3-4, had just been employed not in the sense of language but tongue, and so might have been misunderstood if repeated here with λαλεῖν. On the other hand it may be urged that some of the distinctions in the list are those of dialect, and that St. Luke intentionally used a word meaning both language and dialect.

[119]omm. commentary, commentator.

6. Now when this was noised abroad] Rather, And when this sound was heard. Φενή though not the same word as is used for sound in Acts 2:2, yet is never found in the sense of a report or rumour, as is given by the A. V. It is used for crying aloud, as in the mourning at Rama and Christ’s cry on the cross (Matthew 2:18), or in John the Baptist’s preaching (Mark 1:3), and of voices from heaven frequently (Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; Acts 9:4, &c.), of the sound of the wind which is used as a figure for the gift of the Spirit in Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:8), and constantly of the heavenly voices in the book of the Revelation (Acts 1:10, Acts 5:2; Acts 6:6, &c.).

The sound which was sent forth, though heard around in the city, was evidently such as could be traced to a central spot, for to the dwelling of the Apostles, led by the sound, the multitude congregated. It would need but a brief space for a crowd to assemble, and all the new comers found among the disciples, now divinely prepared to be Christ’s heralds, some who were declaring what had come to pass, and the great things which God had wrought with them, in the different languages of the lands where the strangers had been born. This was clearly not a proclamation of the wonderful works of God in some one language, which the Spirit, acting upon the hearers, caused them to appreciate as if it were their own, for in that way the gift of the Holy Ghost ought to have been described as poured out, not on the speakers but on the listeners.

Acts 2:6. Φωνῆς, voice) concerning which Acts 2:4, and also Acts 2:2 treat. Comp קל, φωνὴ, Exodus 4:8, “the voice [intimation] of the first sign;” Psalm 19:3, “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”—τὸ πλῆθος, the multitude) of which Acts 2:5 speaks.—συνεχύθη, was confounded) There was a variety of men, and a variety of feelings produced in their minds.

Verse 6. - And when this sound (φωνή) was heard for now when this was noised abroad A.V., which the words cannot mean; speaking for speak, A.V. This sound. The question still remains whether the sound (φωνή) refers to the sound (ἤχος) of the rushing mighty wind mentioned in ver. 2, or to the voices of those who spake with tongues. If the last, we should rather have expected sounds or voices in the plural; and it is further in favor of the former that μενῆς τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης seems to take up the ἐγένετο ἤχος of ver. 2. The word φωνή is applied to πνεῦμα in John 3:8. Nor is it likely, at first sight, that the disciples in the house where they were sitting should have spoken loud enough to attract the notice of people outside. Whereas the sound of a rushing mighty wind, sufficient (as in Acts 3:31) to shake the house, would naturally he heard by passers-by. On the other hand, however, φωνή seems to point decisively to the human voice (see its use, 1 Corinthians 14:7-10). Acts 2:6When this was noised abroad (γενομένης δὲ τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης)

Wrong. Lit., And this sound having taken place. Rev., correctly, when this sound was heard. The sound of the rushing wind.

Were confounded (συνεχύθη)

Lit., was poured together; so that confound (Latin, confundere) is the most literal rendering possible. Used only by Luke and in the Acts. Compare Acts 19:32; Acts 21:31.

Heard (ἤκουον)

Imperfect, were hearing.

Language (διαλέκτῳ)

Rather, dialect; since the foreigners present spoke, not only different languages, but different dialects of the same language. The Phrygians and Pamphylians, for instance, both spoke Greek, but in different idioms; the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites all spoke Persian, but in different provincial forms.

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