Acts 23:7
And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
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(7) There arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.—As a strategic act St. Paul’s words had immediately the effect which he desired. They prevented the hasty unanimous vote which might otherwise have united the two parties, as they had been united in the case of Stephen, in the condemnation of the blasphemer. What follows shows that it was not without results as regards the higher aim.

23:6-11 The Pharisees were correct in the faith of the Jewish church. The Sadducees were no friends to the Scripture or Divine revelation; they denied a future state; they had neither hope of eternal happiness, nor dread of eternal misery. When called in question for his being a Christian, Paul might truly say he was called in question for the hope of the resurrection of the dead. It was justifiable in him, by this profession of his opinion on that disputed point, to draw off the Pharisees from persecuting him, and to lead them to protect him from this unlawful violence. How easily can God defend his own cause! Though the Jews seemed to be perfectly agreed in their conspiracy against religion, yet they were influenced by very different motives. There is no true friendship among the wicked, and in a moment, and with the utmost ease, God can turn their union into open enmity. Divine consolations stood Paul in the most stead; the chief captain rescued him out of the hands of cruel men, but the event he could not tell. Whoever is against us, we need not fear, if the Lord stand by us. It is the will of Christ, that his servants who are faithful, should be always cheerful. He might think he should never see Rome; but God tells him, even in that he should be gratified, since he desired to go there only for the honour of Christ, and to do good.A dissension - A dispute, or difference.

And the multitude - The council. Compare Acts 14:4. The Pharisees embraced, as he desired and expected, his side of the question, and became his advocates, in opposition to the Sadducees, who were arrayed against him.

6-9. when Paul perceived—from the discussion which plainly had by this time arisen between the parties.

that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out—raising his voice above both parties.

I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee—The true reading seems to be, "the son of Pharisees," that is, belonging to a family who from father to son had long been such.

of the hope and resurrection of the dead—that is, not the vague hope of immortality, but the definite expectation of the resurrection.

I am called in question—By this adroit stroke, Paul engages the whole Pharisaic section of the council in his favor; the doctrine of a resurrection being common to both, though they would totally differ in their application of it. This was, of course, quite warrantable, and the more so as it was already evident that no impartiality in trying his cause was to be looked for from such an assembly.

Not only of the common people, or standers-by, but of the senators and judges; God by this means dividing and infatuating of them, that they could not bring about Paul’s intended destruction.

And when he had so said,.... He stopped and made a pause:

and there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; about the things which he had spoken of, particularly the resurrection of the dead; and this was what the apostle intended, so that his end was answered by the speech he made:

and the multitude was divided; that is, the members of the sanhedrim were divided, some being on one side of the question, and some on the other; for this multitude cannot design the multitude of the common people, who were not convened together on this occasion.

{6} And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

(6) The agreement between the wicked is weak, even though they conspire together to oppress the truth.

Acts 23:7. στάσις: There is no difficulty in supposing that this dissension took place in the Assembly; it may have been no sudden result, because the Apostle had evidently said much more than is mentioned in the preceding verse (see above), and there is good evidence that one of the fundamental differences between the two sects was concerned with the question which St. Paul had raised, Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, i., 315; Jos., Ant., xviii., 1, 4; B.J., ii., 8, 14.—ἐοχίσθη τὸ πλ., Æn., ii., 39, and instances in Wetstein.

7. and the multitude [Rev. Ver. assembly] was divided] The verb in the original is that from which our English “schism” is derived, and this points to the character of the division. God made the division work for the safety of his servant, as He many times brings good out of evil.

Acts 23:7. Τὸ πλῆθος, the multitude) of the assessors on the tribunal, who favoured each (either) of the two sects respectively.

Verse 7. - Sadducees for the Sadducees, A.V.; assembly for multitude, A.V. Acts 23:7
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