Acts 20:37
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(37) Fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him.—We note, as before in Acts 20:19, the absence of any suppression of emotion. As David and Jonathan parted of old (1Samuel 20:41), so did St. Paul and his fellow-workers part now. In 2Timothy 1:4 we have a passing reference to another parting scene of perhaps even tenderer emotion. To think that they should see his face no more, that this was their last farewell, made the elders of Ephesus and the other disciples eager, up to the very hour of embarkation, for the last embrace.

20:28-38 If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; It is more blessed to give than to receive: it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.Wept sore - Wept much. Greek: "There was a great weeping of all."

And fell on Paul's neck - Embraced him, as a token of tender affection. The same thing Joseph did when he met his aged father Jacob, Genesis 46:29.

And kissed him - This was the common token of affection. See the Matthew 26:48 note; Luke 15:20 note; Romans 16:16 note; 1 Corinthians 16:20 note.

36-38. he kneeled down and prayed with them all, &c.—Nothing can be more touching than these three concluding verses, leaving an indelible impression of rare ministerial fidelity and affection on the apostle's part, and of warm admiration and attachment on the part of these Ephesian presbyters. Would to God that such scenes were more frequent in the Church! As they used to do their friends when they took their leave of them: see Genesis 45:14,15. And they all wept sore,.... At the thoughts of parting with such a faithful and affectionate friend and servant of Christ; and no doubt but their affections were greatly moved by his prayers for them, as well as by his discourse to them. Christians are not Stoics, religion does not take away and destroy the natural affections, but regulates and governs them, and directs to a right use of them:

and fell on Paul's neck and kissed him; as Esau fell on Jacob's neck and kissed him, Genesis 33:4 and Joseph on his brother Benjamin's, and his father Jacob's, Genesis 45:14. And it was usual with the eastern nations, particularly the Persians (l), for friends and relations to kiss at parting, as well as at meeting; see Ruth 1:9.

(l) Xenophon. Cyclopedia, l. 1. c. 20.

{12} And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him,

(12) The Gospel does not take away natural affections, but rules and bridles them in good order.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 20:37. ἱκανὸς, cf. Acts 8:13.—ἐπιπεσόντες: an exact parallel only in Luke 15:22 (cf. also κατεφίλησεν in same verse), cf. above on ἐπιπίπτειν and in LXX, Genesis 33:4; Genesis 45:14; Genesis 46:29, Tob 11:8, 3Ma 5:49.—κατεφίλουν, imperfect, i.e., repeatedly and tenderly. The verb occurs three times in St. Luke’s Gospel, Acts 7:38; Acts 7:45, Acts 15:20, and once in Matthew and Mark of the kiss of Judas, cf. Xen., Mem., ii., 6, 33.37. kissed him] The word is not the simple verb but expresses earnest, sorrowing salutations.Acts 20:37. Ἱκανὸς, great) The tenderest and sweetest affections reign here. No book in the world equals Scripture, even as regards τὰ ἤθη καὶ πάθη, the manners and affections.—πάντων, of all) Even tears are a proof of how much the successive ages of men degenerate. Formerly both men and good men, and heroes themselves (even among the Gentiles), were readily moved to tears, even in a body collectively. Jdg 2:4-5; 1 Samuel 30:4. Now when all things are more effeminate than they were then, yet the giving way to tears is permitted only in women and boys. John Hornbeck, l. 6, Theol. pract. c. 8, beautifully discusses the subject of pious tears.

Ὀδυνώμενοι, grieving) How great hereafter will be the grief (of the lost), to be deprived of the sight of GOD, of the angels, and of the elect![124]

[124] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 2: Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (A. R. Fausset, Trans.) (621–692). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.Kissed (κατεφίλουν)

See on Matthew 26:49.

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