Acts 21:28
Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
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21:27-40 In the temple, where Paul should have been protected as in a place of safety, he was violently set upon. They falsely charged him with ill doctrine and ill practice against the Mosaic ceremonies. It is no new thing for those who mean honestly and act regularly, to have things laid to their charge which they know not and never thought of. It is common for the wise and good to have that charged against them by malicious people, with which they thought to have obliged them. God often makes those a protection to his people, who have no affection to them, but only have compassion for sufferers, and regard to the public peace. And here see what false, mistaken notions of good people and good ministers, many run away with. But God seasonably interposes for the safety of his servants, from wicked and unreasonable men; and gives them opportunities to speak for themselves, to plead for the Redeemer, and to spread abroad his glorious gospel.Men of Israel - Jews. All who are the friends of the Law of Moses.

This is the man ... - This implies that they had before given information to the Jews at Jerusalem that there was such a man, and they now exulted in the fact that they had found him. They therefore called on all these to aid in securing and punishing him.

That teacheth ... - See the notes on Acts 6:13-14.

Against the people - The people of the Jews. That is, they pretended that he taught that the customs and laws of the Jewish nation were not binding, and endeavored to prejudice all people against them.

And the law - The Law of Moses.

And this place - The temple. Everything against the Law would be interpreted also as being against the temple, as most of the ceremonies required in the Law were celebrated there. It is possible also that Paul might have declared that the temple was to be destroyed. Compare Acts 6:13-14.

And further, brought Greeks ... - The temple was surrounded by various areas called courts. See the notes on Matthew 21:12. The outermost of these courts was called the court of the Gentiles, and into that it was lawful for the Gentiles to enter. But the word "temple" here refers, doubtless, to the parts of the area appropriated especially to the Israelites, and which it was unlawful for a Gentile to enter. These parts are marked "GGGG" in the plan of the temple. See the notes at Matthew 21:12.

And hath polluted ... - He has defiled the temple by thus introducing a Gentile. No greater defilement, in their view, could scarcely be conceived. No more effective appeal could be made to the passions of the people than this.

27-30. the Jews … of Asia—in all likelihood those of Ephesus (since they recognized Trophimus apparently as a townsman, Ac 21:29), embittered by their discomfiture (Ac 19:9, &c.). Men of Israel; minding them by this compellation, of their being a peculiar people unto God, and that none might be admitted with them in his worship. A charge is laid against St. Paul consisting of divers articles, but all false; for he was a most zealous lover of that people, and taught them nothing but the true use and meaning of the law: but thus they had done to our Saviour, Matthew 26:61, and to St. Stephen, Acts 6:13.

Into the temple; that is, into the court of the Jews, which is so far unlawful, that they might have killed a Roman if he had come in there; and everyone was warned by an inscription upon the pillars, Mh dein allofulon entov tou agiou parienai, That no stranger or foreigner might come into that holy place.

Crying out, men of Israel, help,.... The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "help us"; to hold Paul, on whom they had laid their hands, and to assist in beating him: but why such an outcry for help against a single man, and he but little of stature, and weak in body, and so easily held and overpowered? it may be they chose to engage others with them, to give the greater countenance to their actions, and for their own security and protection, should they be opposed or called to an account;

this is the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the people; the people of the Jews, saying that they were not the only people of God; that God was the God of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews; that God had chosen, and called, and saved some of the one, as well as of the other; that the Gentiles shared in the favour of God, and the blessings of the Messiah; that the Gospel was to be preached to them, and a people taken out of them for his glory; and that the people of the Jews would be rejected for their unbelief and impenitence, and in a little time utterly destroyed as a nation; which, and the like, these Asiatic Jews interpreted as speaking against them; whereas no man had a stronger natural affection for his countrymen, or a more eager and importunate desire for their spiritual and eternal welfare, than the apostle had;

and the law; the law of Moses, both moral and ceremonial; for they not only were displeased with him for asserting the abrogation of the latter, but traduced him as an enemy to the former; representing him as an Antinomian, because he denied justification to be by the works of the law, and asserted Christ to be the end of the law for righteousness; whereas he was so far from making void the law hereby, that he established it, and secured the rights and honours of it; yea, they went further, and represented him as a libertine, saying, let us do evil that good may come; but this was all calumny:

and this place: meaning the temple, in which they then were; the Alexandrian copy reads, "this holy place"; as it is expressed in a following clause; the reason of this charge was, because that he had taught, that the sacrifices of God were the sacrifices of prayer and of praise, and that these were to be offered up in every place; and that divine service and religious worship were not tied to the temple at Jerusalem, but that, agreeably to the doctrine of Christ, men might worship the Father anywhere, and lift up holy hands in every place; and perhaps he might have asserted, that the temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed in a short time, as Christ had predicted:

and further, brought Greeks also unto the temple, and hath polluted this holy place; that part of the temple, which they supposed Paul had brought Greeks or Gentiles into, could not be the most holy place, for into that only the high priest went, once a year; nor that part of the holy place called the court of the priests, for into that only priests went, and other Israelites were not admitted, unless on some particular occasions; as to lay hands on the sacrifice, for the slaying of it, or waving some part of it (x); but it must be either the court of the Israelites, or the court of the women, into which Paul, with the four men that had the vow, entered; and as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, it was the latter; for in, the south east of this court was the Nazarite's chamber, in which they boiled their peace offerings, shaved their heads, and put the hair under the pot (y): now though Gentiles might come into the mountain of the house, which was all the outmost circumambient space within the wall, which encompassed the whole area, yet they might not come into any of these courts, no, nor even into what they call the "Chel"; for they say, that the Chel is more holy than the mountain of the house, because no Gentile, or one defiled with the dead, enters there (z); now the Chel was an enclosure before these courts, and at the entrance into it pillars were erected, and upon them were inscriptions in Greek and Latin, signifying that no strangers should enter into the holy place (a).

(x) Misn. Celim, c. 1. sect. 8. (y) Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 5. (z) Misn. Celim, ib. (a) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 15. c. 14. sect. 5.

Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
Acts 21:28-29. Τ. τόπον τοῦτ.] Acts 6:14.

ἔτι τε καὶ Ἕλληνας κ.τ.λ.] and, besides, he has also (further, in addition thereto) brought Greeks (Gentiles) into the temple. As to τε καί, see on Acts 19:27. That by τὸ ἱερόν we have to understand the court of the Israelites,[129] is self-evident, as the court of the Gentiles was accessible to the Greeks (Lightfoot, ad Matth. p. 58 f.).

Ἕλληνας] the plural of category, which Acts 21:29 requires; so spoken with hostile intent.

Acts 21:29 is not to be made a parenthesis.

ἦσαν γὰρ προεωρακότες κ.τ.λ.] there were, namely, people, who had before (before they saw the apostle in the temple, Acts 21:27) seen Trophimus in the city with him. Observe the correlation in which the προεωρ.[130] stands with θεασάμενοι, and the ἘΝ Τῇ ΠΌΛΕΙ with ἘΝ Τῷ ἹΕΡῷ on the one hand, and with ΕἸς ΤῸ ἹΕΡΌΝ on the other. So much the more erroneous is it to change the definite ΠΡΟ, before, into an indefinite formerly, which Otto, Pastoralbr. p. 284 ff., dates back even four years, namely, to the residence in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 18:22. Beyond doubt the προ does not point back farther than to the time of the present stay in Jerusalem, during which people had seen Trophimus with Paul in the city, before they saw the latter in the temple.

Τρόφιμον τὸν Ἐφέσιον] see Acts 20:4. Among those, therefore, who accompanied the apostle ἌΧΡΙ Τῆς ἈΣΊΑς, Trophimus must not have remained behind in Asia, but must have gone on with the apostle to Jerusalem. Comp. on Acts 27:2.

ἘΝΌΜΙΖΟΝ] The particular accusation thus rested on a hasty and mistaken inference; it was an erroneous suspicion expressed as a certainty, to which zealotry so easily leads!

ὋΝ ἘΝΌΜΙΖΟΝ ὍΤΙ] comp. John 8:54.

[129] On the screen of which were columns, with the warning in Greek and Latin: μὴ δεῖν ἀλλόφυλον ἐντὸς τοῦ ἁγίου προσιέναι, Joseph. Bell. v. 5. 2.

[130] The χρο is not local, as in Acts 2:25 (my former interpretation), but, according to the context, temporal. The usus loquendi alone cannot here decide, as it may beyond doubt be urged for either view; see the Lexicons. So also is it with χροϊδεῖν. The Vulgate, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Calvin, and others neglect the χρο entirely. Beza correctly renders: antea viderant.

Acts 21:28. Ἄνδρες Ἰσ.: the title which would remind them of the special dignity and glory of their nation, of its hopes and obligations.—βοηθεῖτε: as if against some outrage, or perhaps as if to apprehend Paul, or to attack him—in doing anything to admit the Gentiles, ἔθνη, to God’s fold, St. Paul was exposing himself to the hatred of these unbelievers amongst his countrymen, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 107.—οὖτός: contemptuous.—κατὰ τοῦ λαοῦ: the name for Israel, see on Acts 4:25, the same charge in almost the same words had been brought against St. Stephen, Acts 6:13; “before the Jewish authorities blasphemy was alleged, before the Roman, sedition”.—πάντας πανταχοῦ, πανταχῆ or -, W.H[361], cf. Acts 17:30, 1 Corinthians 4:17.—πανταχῇ: only here. The three words show the exaggerated nature of the charge; on St. Luke’s characteristic use of πᾶς and kindred words see p. 51.—ἔτι τε καὶ, connecting thus closely the alleged act of introducing Gentiles into the Temple with the foregoing, as an illustration that Paul did not confine himself to preaching against the Holy Place, but had proceeded to defile it by his action; but cf. Simcox, Language of the N.T., p. 163, “and further hath brought Greeks also,” cf. Acts 19:27.—Έλληνας: only one man, Trophimus, had been actually seen with Paul, so that we again note the exaggerated charge, and even with regard to Trophimus, ἐνόμιζον, they only conjectured—they had no positive proof.—κεκοίνωκε: perfect, “sed manet pollutio,” Blass, in loco, see also Gram., p. 194.

[361] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

28. crying … help] The cry as if an outrage had been committed, and they, the strangers visiting Jerusalem, were the persons who could afford the best testimony to what had been done. For had they not seen and heard Paul in Ephesus and elsewhere?

This … people] They would intimate that he was bringing the whole nation into contempt. The Jews no doubt were treated with contempt among the Gentiles, and to hear that one of their own nation had helped this on would rouse them as much as anything could.

and the law, and this place] How great a change has come over the Apostle since the day when he joined with those who charged Stephen (ch. Acts 6:13), with speaking blasphemous words against this holy place (the Temple) and the law. Now a like multitude brings similar charges against him.

and further brought (Rev. Ver. “and moreover he brought”) Greeks also into the temple] There was in the Temple a “court of the Gentiles” but the accusation against the Apostle was, that during his own sojourn in the sacred precincts he had brought his companions into places which were forbidden to them. How unscrupulous their charge was is indicated by the plural “Greeks,” whereas the only person to whom such a term could be applied was Trophimus.

and hath polluted (Rev. Ver. “defiled”) this holy place] They themselves as Jews were in the court allotted to their nation, and which was deemed more sacred than that of the Gentiles. The Greek word is literally “made common,” and carries the thought back to St Peter’s vision, where the Gentiles were figured by the beasts which the Apostle deemed “common or unclean” (Acts 10:14).

Verse 28. - Moreover he for further brought, A.V.; defiled for polluted, A.V. (For the accusation, comp. on. 6:13, and above, ver. 21.) Brought Greeks also, etc. No uncircumcised person might go beyond the court of the Gentiles, which was not in the ἅγιον. The ἱερόν, which is often used in a wider sense of the whole area, is here restricted to the ἅγιον (see Acts 3:1, note). But the accusation was utterly false, the offspring of their own fanatical suspicions. Defiled (κεκοίνωκε); literally, made common (see Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9). Acts 21:28This place

The temple. Compare the charge against Stephen, Acts 6:13.


See on Acts 6:1.

Temple (ἱερὸν)

See on Matthew 4:5. The Jews evidently meant to create the impression that Paul had introduced Gentiles into the inner court, which was restricted to the Jews. The temple proper was on the highest of a series of terraces which rose from the outer court, or Court of the Gentiles. In this outer court any stranger might worship. Between this and the terraces was a balustrade of stone, with columns at intervals, on which Greek and Latin inscriptions warned all Gentiles against advancing farther on pain of death. Beyond this balustrade rose a flight of fourteen steps to the first platform, on which was the Court of the Women, surrounded by a wall. In this court were the treasury, and various chambers, in one of which the Nazarites performed their vows. It was here that the Asiatic Jews discovered Paul.

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