Acts 26:10
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
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(10) Many of the saints did I shut up in prison.—The use of the term as applied to the believers in Christ (see Note on Acts 9:13) is remarkable as an example of courage. In the presence of Agrippa, St. Paul does not shrink from speaking of them as the “holy ones” of God’s people Israel—what the Chasidim, or “devout ones” (the “Assideans” of 1 Maccabees 7:13; 2 Maccabees 14:6) had been in an earlier generation.

When they were put to death.—The history of the Acts records only one instance. Were there other martyrdoms besides that of Stephen, of which we know nothing? or does the Apostle speak in general terms of that single act? On the whole, the former seems the more probable alternative. He was breathing an atmosphere of “slaughter” (Acts 9:1). On this view, the language of Hebrews 12:4, “ye have not yet resisted unto blood,” must be referred to the sufferings of a later time, or. more probably, of a different region. In 1Thessalonians 2:15, James 5:10, we have, perhaps, traces of widely extended sufferings.

I gave my voice against them.—Better, gave my vote. The words show that St. Paul, though a “young man” (see Note on Acts 7:58), must have been a member either of the Sanhedrin itself or of some tribunal with delegated authority.

26:1-11 Christianity teaches us to give a reason of the hope that is in us, and also to give honour to whom honour is due, without flattery or fear of man. Agrippa was well versed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, therefore could the better judge as to the controversy about Jesus being the Messiah. Surely ministers may expect, when they preach the faith of Christ, to be heard patiently. Paul professes that he still kept to all the good in which he was first educated and trained up. See here what his religion was. He was a moralist, a man of virtue, and had not learned the arts of the crafty, covetous Pharisees; he was not chargeable with any open vice and profaneness. He was sound in the faith. He always had a holy regard for the ancient promise made of God unto the fathers, and built his hope upon it. The apostle knew very well that all this would not justify him before God, yet he knew it was for his reputation among the Jews, and an argument that he was not such a man as they represented him to be. Though he counted this but loss, that he might win Christ, yet he mentioned it when it might serve to honour Christ. See here what Paul's religion is; he has not such zeal for the ceremonial law as he had in his youth; the sacrifices and offerings appointed by that, are done away by the great Sacrifice which they typified. Of the ceremonial cleansings he makes no conscience, and thinks the Levitical priesthood is done away in the priesthood of Christ; but, as to the main principles of his religion, he is as zealous as ever. Christ and heaven, are the two great doctrines of the gospel; that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. The temple service, or continual course of religious duties, day and night, was kept up as the profession of faith in the promise of eternal life, and in expectation of it. The prospect of eternal life should engage us to be diligent and stedfast in all religious exercises. Yet the Sadducees hated Paul for preaching the resurrection; and the other Jews joined them, because he testified that Jesus was risen, and was the promised Redeemer of Israel. Many things are thought to be beyond belief, only because the infinite nature and perfections of Him that has revealed, performed, or promised them, are overlooked. Paul acknowledged, that while he continued a Pharisee, he was a bitter enemy to Christianity. This was his character and manner of life in the beginning of his time; and there was every thing to hinder his being a Christian. Those who have been most strict in their conduct before conversion, will afterwards see abundant reason for humbling themselves, even on account of things which they then thought ought to have been done.Which thing I also did ... - Acts 8:3.

And many of the saints ... - Many Christians, Acts 8:3.

And when they were put to death - In the history of those transactions, there is no account of any Christian being put to death except Stephen, Acts 7. But there is no improbability in supposing that the same thing which had happened to Stephen had occurred in other cases. Stephen was the first martyr, and as he was a prominent man his case is particularly recorded.

I gave my voice - Paul was not a member of the Sanhedrin, and this does not mean that he voted, but simply that he joined in the persecution; he approved it; he assented to the putting of the saints to death. Compare Acts 22:20. The Syriac renders it, "I joined with those who condemned them." It is evident, also, that Paul instigated them in this persecution, and urged them on to deeds of blood and cruelty.

9-15. (See on [2119]Ac 9:1, &c.; and compare Ac 22:4, &c.) The saints; the professors of the religion of the holy Jesus, who are called to be saints, Romans 1:7, and have him for the great example of holiness, who fulfilled all righteousness; and from him they have the Spirit of holiness; being sanctified in him, 1 Corinthians 1:2; and whosoever hath not his Spirit, he is none of his, Romans 8:9.

I gave my voice against them: Paul was not one of the council, nor, that we read of, in any office or place to judge any person; besides, the Jews are thought to have had no power of life and death; and that St. Stephen was slain rather in a popular tumult, than legally: but Paul may be said to do this, by carrying the suffrages or sentence to the Roman man president, or any others, to get it executed (for so the words will bear); and howsoever, by his approving, rejoicing at, and delighting in their condemnation, (which was indeed giving his voice, as much as he could, against them), this was verified. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem,.... The metropolis of Judea, where he had had his education, and was well known; here he consented to the death of Stephen, and held the clothes of the witnesses while they stoned him; and here he haled men and women out of their houses, and committed them to prison, and made havoc of the church of Christ, and destroyed the faith, and those that professed it, as much as in him lay.

And many of the saints I shut up in prison; at Jerusalem; see Acts 8:3.

having received authority from the chief priests; to take them up, and imprison them.

And when they were put to death; for it seems there were more than Stephen put to death, though we have no account of them:

I gave my voice against them; not that he sat in council, or was a member of the Jewish sanhedrim, and voted for the execution of the Christians, but he was pleased with the sentence they passed, and approved of it; or he joined the zealots, who, without any form of law, seized on the Christians, and put them to death wherever they found them; and this he assented to, and encouraged: some render the words, "I carried the sentence"; as the Vulgate Latin version; that is, the sentence of condemnation, which the Jewish sanhedrim passed upon the disciples and followers of Christ: this Saul took, and carried, it may be, both to the Roman governor, to be signed by him, and to the officers to put it in execution; so industrious and forward was he in persecuting the saints.

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave {d} my voice against them.

(d) I consented to and allowed their actions: for he was not a judge.

Acts 26:10. ὃ καὶ ἐποίησα, cf. Galatians 2:10 (Bethge, p. 272), on the distinction between πράσσειν and ποιεῖν Westcott on St.John 3:22.—ἐγὼ: emphatic.—τῶν ἁγίων, see above Acts 9:13, cf. its use in Acts 9:32; the word aggravates St. Paul’s own guilt. Agrippa too would know of pious Jews by the same designation.—ἀναιρ. τε αὐτῶν: probably pointing to more deaths, not as expressing the death of Stephen alone, cf. Acts 8:1, Acts 9:1, Acts 22:4. The state of affairs which rendered the murder of St. Stephen possible in the capital would easily account for similar acts of outrage in other places, so that there is no need to suppose with Weiss that the notice here is unhistorical.—κατήνεγκα ψῆφον: “I gave my vote,” R.V., the ψῆφος, literally the pebble used in voting, calculum defero sc. in urnam (Grimm), i.e., addo calculum, approbo, cf. ψῆφον φέρειν, ἐπιφ. or ἐκφ. If the phrase is taken quite literally, it is said to denote the vote of a judge, so that Paul must have been a member of the Sanhedrim, and gave his vote for the death of St. Stephen and other Christians. On the other hand the phrase is sometimes taken as simply = συνευδοκεῖν τῇ ἀναιρέσει (so amongst recent writers, Knabenbauer), Acts 22:20. (C. and H. think that if not a member of the Sanhedrim at the time of Stephen’s death, he was elected soon after, whilst Weiss holds that if the expression does not imply that the writer represents Paul by mistake as a member of the Sanhedrim, it can only be understood as meaning that by his testimony Paul gave a decisive weight to the verdict in condemnation of the Christians.) Certainly it seems, as Bethge urges, difficult to suppose that Paul was a member of such an august body as the Sanhedrim, not only on account of his probable age at the time of his conversion, but also because of his comparatively obscure circumstances. The Sanhedrim was an assembly of aristocrats, composed too of men of mature years and marked influence, and the question may be asked how Saul of Tarsus, who may not even have had a stated residence in the Holy City, could have found a place in the ranks of an assembly numbering the members of the high priestly families and the principal men of Judæa: see Expositor, June, 1897, and also for the bearing of the statement on the question of Paul’s marriage, with Hackett’s note, in loco. For the voting in the Sanhedrim see Schürer, div. ii., vol. i., p. 194. E.T. Rendall, p. 336, meets the difficulty above by referring the expression under discussion to a kind of popular vote confirming the sentence of the court against Stephen, for which he finds support in the language of the law and in the narrative of the proto-martyr’s condemnation.10. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem] Saul must have been a most active and prominent agent in the work of persecution in Jerusalem, for we learn here that the death of Stephen was not the only one for which he had given his vote. He had also had the warrant of the chief priests for other arrests beside those he intended to make in Damascus. We can see that the slaughter of the Christians was not in all cases the result of a sudden outburst of rage at some act or speech, but that some of them were imprisoned, then subjected to a form of trial, and afterwards put to death as men condemned by law.Acts 26:10. Τῶν ἁγίων, of the saints) So he terms the Christians, in a manner appropriate to the beginning of his speech, using a term transferred to them from the Jews.—ἐγὼ, I) Emphasis.—τὴν) The article signifies that Paul could not have done this without the power (the authority); and that the chief priests gave a general power (authority) to all who wished to persecute.—κατήνεγκα ψῆφον) A rare phrase. Paul added his vote, since he thought what was done altogether right.Verse 10. - And this for which thing, A.V.; I both shut up for did I shut up, A.V. (with a change of order); prisons for prison, A.V.; vote for voice, A.V. I... shut up. The ἐγώ is emphatic. The verb κατακλείω, peculiar to St. Luke (see Luke 3:20) is much used by medical writers. Were put to death; ἀναιρουμένων, a word frequent in St. Luke's writings, and much used in medical works, as well as ἀναίρεσις (Acts 8:1). The phrase καταφέρειν ψῆφον is unusual; φέρειν ψῆφον is the more common phrase, both in Josephus and in classical writers. I gave my vote, etc. Not, as Meyer and others take it, "I assented to it, at the moment of their being killed," equivalent to συνευδοκῶν of Acts 22:20; but rather," when the Christians were being punished with death, I was one of those who in the Sanhedrim voted for their death." Saints (τῶν ἁγίων)

Lit., the holy ones. Paul did not call the Christians by this name when addressing the Jews, for this would have enraged them; but before Agrippa he uses the word without fear of giving offence. On this word ἅγιος, holy, which occurs over two hundred times in the New Testament, it is to be noted how the writers of the Greek scriptures, both in the New Testament and, what is more remarkable, in the Septuagint, bring it out from the background in which it was left by classical writers, and give preference to it over words which, in pagan usage, represented conceptions of mere externality in religion. Even in the Old Testament, where externality is emphasized, ἅγιος is the standard word for holy.

Gave my voice (κατήνεγκα ψῆφον)

Lit., laid down my vote. See on counteth, Luke 14:28. Some suppose that Paul here refers to casting his vote as a member of the Sanhedrim; in which case he must have been married and the father of a family. But this there is no reason for believing (compare 1 Corinthians 7:7, 1 Corinthians 7:8); and the phrase may be taken as expressing merely moral assent and approval.

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