Acts 23:21
But do not you yield to them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
23:12-24 False religious principles, adopted by carnal men, urge on to such wickedness, as human nature would hardly be supposed capable of. Yet the Lord readily disappoints the best concerted schemes of iniquity. Paul knew that the Divine providence acts by reasonable and prudent means; and that, if he neglected to use the means in his power, he could not expect God's providence to work on his behalf. He who will not help himself according to his means and power, has neither reason nor revelation to assure him that he shall receive help from God. Believing in the Lord, we and ours shall be kept from every evil work, and kept to his kingdom. Heavenly Father, give us by thy Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake, this precious faith.Looking for a promise from thee - Waiting for your consent to bring him down to them. 21. and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee—Thus, as is so often the case with God's people, not till the last moment, when the plot was all prepared, did deliverance come. Do not thou yield unto them; this the young man desires out of his care for his uncle’s (Paul’s) preservation, as also touched with the horror of the fact if it should have been executed; and howsoever, by this means he delivers his own soul, having done his utmost to hinder it.

Now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee; the match is laid, the hand is as it were lifted up, nothing is wanting to Paul’s destruction but the chief captain’s consent, which the Jews assuredly expected, it being but a small courtesy to grant them, to examine a prisoner, especially such a one as upon their complaint was committed in a case cognizable by them: but, Deus e machina, Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us, Isaiah 8:10. But do not thou yield unto them,.... Or be persuaded by them, to bring Paul down from the castle to the sanhedrim; this must not be imputed to the young man's pride and vanity, in taking upon him to give advice to the chief captain; but to his great affection for his uncle, which moved him to entreat, rather than to direct him, for which he gives a good reason:

for there lie in wait for him more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him; See Gill on Acts 23:12. See Gill on Acts 23:13.

and now are they ready; to execute their designs, being met together, and lying in ambush in some place, between the castle and the place where the sanhedrim met:

looking for a promise from thee; that when the sanhedrim should apply to him, he would promise them to bring Paul down according to their request; and for the making and performing of this promise, these men were waiting.

But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 23:21-22. And now (καὶ νῦν, see Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 135) they are in readiness to put into execution the ἀνελεῖν αὐτόν (comp. Acts 23:15), expecting that on thy part the promise (to have Paul brought on the morrow to the Sanhedrim) will take place.

ἐπαγγ. is neither jussum (Münthe, Rosenmüller) nor nuntius (Beza, Camerarius, Grotius, Alberti, Wolf; Henry Stephanus even conjectured ἀπαγγ.), but, according to its constant meaning in the N.T., promissio.

ἐκλαλ.] he commanded to tell it, to divulge it, to no one. Comp. Dem. 354. 23; Jdt 7:9; not elsewhere in N.T.

ἐνεφ. πρός με] Oratio variata. See on Acts 1:4.Acts 23:21. ἐνεδρ.: only in Luke in N.T., Luke 11:54, with the accusative also in classical Greek, and several times in LXX, 1Ma 5:4, Jos., Ant., v., 2, 12.—καὶ νῦν, see on Acts 20:22.—προσδεχ.: only once elsewhere in Acts, Acts 24:15, probably in same sense as here, so R.V. text. In the Gospels, the word is found once in Mark 15:43 (= Luke 23:51), and five times in Luke, four times translated in R.V. as here; Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38; Luke 12:36; Luke 23:51, cf. also Titus 2:13, Judges 1:21, and Wis 18:7, 2Ma 8:11. In classical Greek two meanings as in N.T.: (1) to accept, receive favourably, (2) to wish for or expect a thing.—ἐπαγγελίαν: only here in N.T. of a human promise, see above on Acts 1:4, cf. 1Es 1:7, Esther 4:7, 1Ma 10:15.21. But do not thou yield unto them] More literally, “Do not thou therefore yield, &c.” (with Rev. Ver.).

which have bound themselves with an oath] The Greek is the same as in Acts 23:12. It is better therefore to render as there “bound themselves under a curse.” Beside which, the invocation implied in the original is much stronger than is indicated by our English “oath.” And to vary the English rendering gives an idea of variation in the Greek, which in one continuous narrative should be avoided.

looking for a promise] Rev. Ver. “the promise” i.e. the one which they are coming to ask you to make.Acts 23:21. Μὴ πεισθῇς) do not comply with their request.—ἕτοιμοι, ready) to kill him.Verse 21. - Do not thou therefore for but do not thou, A.V.; under a curse for with an oath, A.V.; neither to eat nor to drink for that they will neither eat nor drink, A.V.; slain for killed, A.V.; the for a (promise), A.V. Do not... yield (μὴ πεισθῇς); be not persuaded by them; do not assent unto them (see Luke 16:6; Acts 5:40; Acts 17:4, etc.). The promise, etc.; τὴν ἀπὸ σοῦ ἐπαγγελίαν. The word occurs above fifty times in the New Testament, and is always rendered "promise" in the A.V., except in 1 John 1:5, where it is rendered both in the A.V. and the R.V. "message," which is the literal meaning of the word. In Polybius it means "a summons." Either of these meanings suits this passage better than "promise." Have bound themselves

"If we should wonder how, so early in the morning, after the long discussion in the Sanhedrim, which must have occupied a considerable part of the day, more than forty men should have been found banded together, under an anathema, neither to eat nor to drink till they had killed Paul; and, still more, how such a conspiracy, or, rather, conjuration, which, in the nature of it, would be kept a profound secret, should have become known to Paul's sister's son - the circumstances of the case furnish a sufficient explanation. The Pharisees were avowedly a fraternity or guild; and they, or some of their kindred fraternities, would furnish the ready material for such a band, to whom this additional vow would be nothing new or strange, and, murderous though it sounded, only seem a further carrying out of the principles of their order. Again, since the wife and all the children of a member were ipso facto members of the guild, and Paul's father had been a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), Paul's sister also would, by virtue of her birth, belong to the fraternity, even irrespective of the probability that, in accordance with the principles of the party, she would have married into a Pharisaical family" (Edersheim, "Jewish Social Life").

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