Acts 21:33
Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) Commanded him to be bound with two chains.—Looking to the usual Roman practices in the treatment of prisoners, we may think of each chain as fastened at one end to the Apostle’s arm, and at the other to those of the soldiers who kept guard over him. (See Notes on Acts 12:6; Acts 28:16.) So shackled, he was taken before the Chiliarch Lysias for a preliminary inquiry.

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.To be bound with two chains - To show to the enraged multitude that he did not intend to rescue anyone from justice, but to keep the peace. Paul's Being thus bound would convince them of his determination that justice should be done in the case. Probably he was bound between two soldiers, his right arm to the left arm of the one, and his left arm to the right arm of the other. See the notes on Acts 12:6. Or, if his hands and feet were bound, it is evident that it was so done that he was able still to walk, Acts 21:37-38. This was in accordance with the prediction of Agabus, Acts 21:11. 33. commanded him to be bound with two chains—(See on [2088]Ac 12:6). Bound with two chains; whether as Peter was, See Poole on "Acts 12:6", or that he was bound with one upon his feet, and with the other upon his hands, it was exactly fulfilled what Agabus had prophesied concerning him, Acts 21:11. So does God provide, that not one word of his servants, which they speak from him, shall fail; and that St. Paul should be heard before he was condemned. Then the chief captain came near,.... To the place where the Jews were beating Paul:

and took him the Arabic version adds, "from them"; he rescued him out of their hands, as he himself says, Acts 23:27.

And commanded him to be bound with two chains: partly to appease the people, and partly to secure Paul; who, he supposed, had been guilty of some misdemeanour, which had occasioned this tumult; these two chains were put, one on one arm, and the other on the other arm; and were fastened to two soldiers, who walked by him, having hold on those chains, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left; and thus Agabus's prophecy in Acts 21:11 was fulfilled:

and demanded who he was; or asked and inquired about him, who he was, of what nation he was, what was his character, business, and employment: this inquiry was made, either of the apostle himself, or of the people; and so the Arabic version renders it, "he inquired of them who he was"; also

and what he had done; what crime he had been guilty of, that they used him in such a manner.

Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 21:33. ἐπελ. αὐτοῦ: with a hostile intention, see Acts 17:19.—δεθ. ἁλύσεσι δυσὶ: as a malefactor and seditious person, Acts 21:38, to be guarded securely as the cause of the tumult, cf. Acts 12:6.—τίς ἂν εἴη, καὶ τί ἐστι πεποιηκώς: the difference in the moods in dependent sentences after τις may be noted: the centurion had no clear idea as to who Paul was, but he feels sure that he had committed some crime, Winer-Moulton, xli., 4c, Weiss, Wendt, in loco, on the other hand Page. On Luke’s thus mingling the optative obliqua with direct narrative alone among the N.T. writers, Viteau, Le Grec du N.T., p. 225 (1893).33. Then … took him] The last verb implies a formal arrest, therefore the Rev. Ver. rightly gives “laid hold on him.” The chief captain did not come with a view to relieve St Paul, but to find out what was the matter, and seeing the Apostle in the hands of the mob, himself arrested him, that he might not be killed without a hearing.

and … two chains] (Cp. Acts 12:6.) Evidently, as appears from his language afterwards, regarding him as some desperate criminal. The chief captain would have thought little of any question about Jewish law (see Acts 23:29).

and demanded … done] The English word demand had in early times the sense of “ask,” “inquire.” Cp. Cymbeline, iii. 6. 92, “We’ll mannerly demand thee of thy story.” But it has in modern times only the stronger meaning of imperative questioning. Therefore Rev. Ver.and inquired.” The inquiry was made of the crowd, not of the Apostle.Acts 21:33. Ἐπελάβετο, apprehended him) This captivity of Paul both was the means of his protection, and afforded him the opportunity of preaching the Gospel in the greater safety, in spite of every tumult, ch. Acts 22:22, and that too in places to which he otherwise could not possibly have had access: Acts 21:40, ch. Acts 28:31.—ἐπυνθάνετο, he inquired) of the crowd, indiscriminately, as being upon his first approach: Acts 21:34.—τίς, τί who, what) Two heads of inquiry, both concerning the saints and concerning the ungodly.Verse 33. - Laid hold on for took, A.V.; inquired for. demanded, A.V. Laid hold on (ἐπελάβετο); see Acts 17:19, note. Bound with two chains; as St. Peter was (Acts 12:6). Ἄλυσις means properly "a chain on the hands" as opposed to πέδη, a fetter (Mark 5:4); and therefore the two chains are not to be understood of chains on his hands and feet, with Kuinoel, but, as in the case of Peter, of chains fastening him to a soldier on both hands. Chains (ἁλύσεσι)

See on Mark 5:4.

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