Acts 21:11
And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
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(11) He took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet.—The MSS. vary between “his hands” (St. Paul’s) and “his own;” but the latter is by far the best-supported reading. It is interesting to note the revival of the old prophetic manner of predicting by symbolic acts. So Isaiah had walked “naked and barefoot” (Isaiah 20:3-4); and Jeremiah had gone and left his girdle in a cave on the banks of the Euphrates, and had made bonds and yokes, and had put them on his neck (Jeremiah 13:1-11; Jeremiah 27:2); and Ezekiel had portrayed the siege of Jerusalem on a tile, and had cut the hair from his head and beard (Ezekiel 4:1-3; Ezekiel 5:1-4). Looking to the previous relations between St. Paul and Agabus at Antioch (Acts 11:27), we may well believe that the latter, foreseeing the danger to which the Apostle would be exposed, came down to Cæsarea, in a spirit of friendly anxiety, to warn him not to come. The feeling which led to the murderous plot of Acts 23:12 could be no secret to a prophet living at Jerusalem.

21:8-18 Paul had express warning of his troubles, that when they came, they might be no surprise or terror to him. The general notice given us, that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God, should be of the same use to us. Their weeping began to weaken and slacken his resolution Has not our Master told us to take up our cross? It was a trouble to him, that they should so earnestly press him to do that in which he could not gratify them without wronging his conscience. When we see trouble coming, it becomes us to say, not only, The will of the Lord must be done, and there is no remedy; but, Let the will of the Lord be done; for his will is his wisdom, and he doeth all according to the counsel of it. When a trouble is come, this must allay our griefs, that the will of the Lord is done; when we see it coming, this must silence our fears, that the will of the Lord shall be done; and we ought to say, Amen, let it be done. It is honourable to be an old disciple of Jesus Christ, to have been enabled by the grace of God to continue long in a course of duty, stedfast in the faith, growing more and more experienced, to a good old age. And with these old disciples one would choose to lodge; for the multitude of their years shall teach wisdom. Many brethren at Jerusalem received Paul gladly. We think, perhaps, that if we had him among us, we should gladly receive him; but we should not, if, having his doctrine, we do not gladly receive that.He took Paul's girdle - The loose, flowing robes, or outer garments, which were worn in Eastern countries, were bound by a girdle, or sash, around the body when they ran, or labored, or walked. Such a girdle was therefore an indispensable part of dress.

And bound his own hands and feet - As emblematic of what would be done by the Jews to Paul. It was common for the prophets to perform actions which were emblematic of the events which they predicted. The design was to make the prediction more forcible and impressive by representing it to the eye. Thus, Jeremiah was directed to bury his girdle by the Euphrates, to denote the approaching captivity of the Jews, Jeremiah 13:4. Thus, he was directed to make bands and yokes, and to put them around his neck, as a sign to Edom and Moab, etc., Jeremiah 27:2-3. Thus, the act of the potter was emblematic of the destruction that was coming upon the nation of the Jews, Jeremiah 18:4. So Isaiah walked naked and barefoot as a sign of the captivity of Egypt and Ethiopia, Isaiah 20:3-4. Compare Ezekiel 4:12, etc.

So shall the Jews ... - This was fulfilled. See Acts 21:33, and Acts 24.

Into the hands of the Gentiles - To be tried; for the Romans then had jurisdiction over Judea.

11-14. So shall the Jews bind the man that owneth this girdle, &c.—For though the Romans did it, it was at the Jews' instigation (Ac 21:33; Ac 28:17). Such dramatic methods of announcing important future events would bring the old prophets to remembrance. (Compare Isa 20:2, &c.; Jer 13:1, and Eze 5:1, &c.). This prediction and that at Tyre (Ac 21:4) were intended, not to prohibit him from going, but to put his courage to the test and when he stood the test, to deepen and mature it. Took Paul’s girdle; it was ordinary amongst the prophets to confirm, or at least to exemplify, their prophecies by outward signs and symbols, as Isaiah 20:2 Jeremiah 13:1 Ezekiel 12:5. But that of Jeremiah 27:2, is a parallel unto this; where the prophet is commanded to make bonds and yokes, and to put them upon his neck, to foreshow the subjection of all those nations unto Nebuchadnezzar.

Thus saith the Holy Ghost; none of all the sufferings foreshown concerning St. Paul, or others of God’s children and servants, but are ordered by God, who knows them altogether; and they came not out of the dust, or by casualty, or chance, so as not to have been the matter of God’s foreknowledge and counsel, Ephesians 1:11.

The Gentiles; the Roman powers at Jerusalem, and afterwards at Rome.

And when he was come unto us,.... In Philip's house:

he took Paul's girdle and bound his own hands and feet; and so prophesied by types and symbols, and gestures, as the prophets of old did; as Isaiah in Isaiah 20:2 and Jeremiah in Jeremiah 13:1, and Ezekiel in Ezekiel 4:1 and Hosea in Hosea 1:2, some understand this of his binding Paul's hands and feet, but it seems rather to design his own:

and said, thus saith the Holy Ghost; who was in Agabus, and spoke by him, and foretold some things to come to pass; and which did come to pass, and is a proof of the foreknowledge, and so of the deity of the blessed Spirit:

so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle; meaning Paul, and who accordingly was bound in like manner, a very little time after this; see Acts 21:33

and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles; the Romans, as they afterwards did.

And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
Acts 21:11. ἄρας τὴν ζώνην: the symbolic action by Agabus reminds us of the O.T. prophets, cf. 1 Kings 22:11, Isaiah 20:2, Jeremiah 13:1, Ezekiel 4, 5 Agabus as a dweller in Jerusalem would know something of that bitter feeling against Paul, and would wish to warn him.—παραδώσ. εἰς χ., cf. the words of our Lord, Luke 9:44; Luke 24:7; phrase frequent in LXX both in Psalms and Prophets, cf. Sir 4:19; Sir 11:6; 1Ma 4:30.

11. And when he was come … he took … and bound his own hands and feet] The oldest MSS. have “feet and hands,” and the Rev. Ver. adopts the Greek construction, “And coming … and taking … he bound, &c.” His adoption of this figurative action makes it almost certain that the man was a Jew. Similar actions are common with the Old Testament prophets. Thus Isaiah (Acts 20:3) walks naked and barefoot. Jeremiah (Acts 13:5) hides his girdle by the river Euphrates, and (Acts 19:10-11) breaks the potter’s vessel in the Valley of Hinnom; Ezekiel (Acts 4:1-3) draws on a tile a picture of the siege of Jerusalem, and (Acts 5:1-4) cuts off his hair and burns and destroys it as God commanded. So too Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron (1 Kings 22:11). With this act of Agabus may be compared our Lord’s words to St Peter (John 21:18).

The girdle was that band with which the loose Oriental robe was drawn together at the waist. It was of considerable size, and served the purposes of a pocket, the money being carried in it. To judge from the verb employed in describing the prophet’s action, it seems that St Paul had laid aside his girdle and that it was taken up by Agabus from the place where it lay.

and said … Gentiles] That we may observe the Apostle’s zeal to carry out the Lord’s will, once more we are told how the Holy Ghost made known to him through others that he was about to be made a prisoner, and still we see him go forward unmoved, because though others might know that he was to suffer, and might in their affection strive to hold him back, he was convinced that such suffering was the Lord’s way for him, and so he went on.

Acts 21:11. Αὐτοῦ) his own, not Paul’s. The nearer that Paul comes to what awaited him, the more express is the prediction that prepares him.—λέγει) נְאֻם, saith.

Verse 11. - Coming to for when he was come unto, A.V.; and taking for he took, A.V.; he bound for and bound, A.V.; feet and hands for hands and feet, A.V. and T.R. Bound his own feet, etc. The R.T. has ἑαυτοῦ which leaves no doubt that Agabus bound his own hands and feet. The reading of the T.R., αὐτοῦ, would rather indicate Paul's hands and feet, as Grotius, Hammond, and others take it, though less conformably to the context. (For similar symbolical actions of the old prophets, see Isaiah 20:2, 3; Jeremiah 13:1-7; 1 Kings 22:11; Ezekiel 4:1-6; Ezekiel 12:3-7; Ezekiel 24:16-24, etc.) Shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. Nearly the same words as those in which our Lord foretold his own betrayal (Matthew 20:19; Mark 10:33; Luke 18:32). Acts 21:11Bound his own feet and hands

Imitating the symbolical acts of the Old Testament prophets. See 1 Kings 22:11; Isaiah 20:1-3; Jeremiah 13:1-7; Ezekiel 4:1-6. Compare John 21:18.

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