Acts 28:14
Where we found brothers, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Where we found brethren.—The fact is significant as showing, in the absence of any distinct record, the extent to which the new society had been silently spreading. Who had been the agents in preaching the gospel there we can only conjecture, but a city which was en rapport, like Puteoli, with both Alexandria and Rome, may have received it from either. One or two coincidences, however, tend to the former rather than the latter conclusion. We find in Hebrews 10:24 a salutation sent from “those of (or, better, from) Italy.” This would not be a natural way of speaking of Christians of Rome, and we are led, therefore, to think of some other Italian Church. The only such Church, however, of which we read in the New Testament is this of Puteoli, and we naturally infer that the writer of that Epistle refers to it. But the writer was, in the judgment of many critics (see Introduction to the Epistle to the Hebrews), none other than Apollos, the eloquent Alexandrian Jew of Acts 18:24, and some have been led to think that it was addressed to the Hebrew disciples of the Therapeutæ, or ascetic, class, in the Delta of the Nile. All these facts tend to the conclusion that there was a connection of some kind between Alexandria and some Italian Church, and the theory that that Church was at Puteoli, though not proven, at least combines and explains all the phenomena. We find from Josephus (Ant. xvii. 12, § 1) that there was a considerable Jewish element in the population of Puteoli. They had, indeed, spread themselves through the greater part of Italy, and the remains of a Jewish cemetery have been found even near Perugia.

Were desired to tarry with them seven days.—As before at Troas (Acts 20:6) and Tyre (Acts 21:4), so here, we can scarcely fail to connect the duration of St. Paul’s stay at Puteoli with the wish of the Church there, that he should be with them on one, or, it may be, two Sundays, that so he might break bread with them, and that they might profit by his teaching. The kindness of the centurion is seen once more in the permission which made compliance with the request possible.

And so we went toward Rome.—The journey would lead them through Cumæ and Liternum to Sinuessa, a distance of thirty-three miles from Puteoli. Here they would come upon the great Appian Road, which ran from Rome to Brundusium, the modern Brindisi. The stages from Sinuessa would probably be Minturnæ, Formiæ, Fundi, and Terracina, making altogether a distance of fifty-seven miles. At this point they would have to choose between two modes of travel, taking the circuitous road round the Pontine Marshes, or going by the more direct line of the canal. Both routes met at Appii Forum, eighteen miles from Terracina. For us well-nigh every stage of the journey is connected with some historical or legendary fact in classical antiquity. We think of the great Appius Claudius, the censor from whom the Via and the Forum took their names; of the passage in the over-crowded canal track-boat, with its brawling sailors, and of the scoundrel inn-keepers, whom Horace has immortalised in the narrative of his journey to Brundusium (Sat. i. 5). All this was, we may believe, for the Apostle as though it had not been. Past associations and the incidents of travel, all were for him swallowed up in the thought that he was now on the point of reaching, after long delays, the goal after which he had been striving for so many years (Acts 19:21; Romans 15:23).

28:11-16 The common events of travelling are seldom worthy of being told; but the comfort of communion with the saints, and kindness shown by friends, deserve particular mention. The Christians at Rome were so far from being ashamed of Paul, or afraid of owning him, because he was a prisoner, that they were the more careful to show him respect. He had great comfort in this. And if our friends are kind to us, God puts it into their hearts, and we must give him the glory. When we see those even in strange places, who bear Christ's name, fear God, and serve him, we should lift up our hearts to heaven in thanksgiving. How many great men have made their entry into Rome, crowned and in triumph, who really were plagues to the world! But here a good man makes his entry into Rome, chained as a poor captive, who was a greater blessing to the world than any other merely a man. Is not this enough to put us for ever out of conceit with worldly favour? This may encourage God's prisoners, that he can give them favour in the eyes of those that carry them captives. When God does not soon deliver his people out of bondage, yet makes it easy to them, or them easy under it, they have reason to be thankful.Brethren - Christian brethren. But by whom the gospel had been preached there is unknown. 14, 15. Where we found brethren—not "the brethren" (see on [2140]Ac 21:4), from which one would conclude they did not expect to find such [Webster and Wilkinson].

and were desired—"requested."

to tarry with them seven days—If this request came from Julius, it may have proceeded partly from a wish to receive instructions from Rome and make arrangements for his journey thither, partly from a wish to gratify Paul, as he seems studiously and increasingly to have done to the last. One can hardly doubt that he was influenced by both considerations. However this may be, the apostle had thus an opportunity of spending a Sabbath with the Christians of the place, all the more refreshing from his long privation in this respect, and as a seasoning for the unknown future that lay before him at the metropolis.

so we went toward Rome.

Where we found brethren; Christians, as some think, for so they mutually called one another. But it is not so probable that any should profess Christianity so near unto Rome, and that it should be no more known or believed in Rome. Others therefore think that the apostle means Jews, whom he calls brethren (being, as himself, descended from Abraham); for so he calls the Jews he found at Rome, Acts 28:17; who yet called the Christians a sect, adding, that it was every where spoken against, Acts 28:22.

Rome is known to be the chief city in Italy, and to have been the empress of the world, and famous for the church to whom St. Paul wrote his Epistle, known by its inscription unto them. Where we found brethren,.... Christians; which is not to be wondered at, since it was a port much frequented, and where many came and went, of different countries and nations; particularly there were many Jews here, to whom the Gospel was first preached, and to some of them it was the power of God unto salvation in many places, and doubtless was so here: Josephus (c) speaks of Jews in this place, who were deceived by a false Alexander, who pretended to be the son of Herod, a prince of their nation. Patrobulus, the same with Patrobas in Romans 16:14; who is reckoned one of the seventy disciples, is said to be bishop of this place; See Gill on Luke 10:1; though we have no account of its church state until the "fifth" century, when a bishop of the church at Puteoli is said to be in the council held at Ephesus against Eutyches, and sustained the place of Leo, pope of Rome: in the "sixth" century, a bishop of this church was in a council held at Rome, under Symmachus: in the seventh century, the bishop of Puteoli was in the sixth council at Constantinople (d):

and were desired to tarry with them seven days; that is, the Christians at Puteoli desired the apostle, and those that were with him, to stay a week with them, that they might have the advantage of a day of public worship together, and might enjoy much of their Christian conversation; and accordingly they did stay that time, no doubt by the leave, and with the consent of Julius the centurion; and which shows, that he used the apostle with great civility and courteousness, and was very ready to grant him favours; if he was not in this voyage converted by him, which is not unlikely, considering the whole of his conduct:

and so we went toward Rome; after they had stayed seven days at Puteoli, they set forward on their journey to Rome; for from hence they went thither on foot, though they might have gone from hence to Rome by sea, as Apollonius Tyaneus did; See Gill on Acts 28:13; and so likewise Titus the son of Vespasian, who went from Rhegium to Puteoli in a merchant ship, and from thence to Rome (e); but it may be the ship unloaded here, and there was no other going for Rome at that time: Rome was the metropolis of Italy, the seat of the empire, and mistress of the whole world; it is so well known, as not to need describing: it was built on seven hills, and had its name either from Romulus the founder of it; or from the Greek word which signifies "strength" (f), from whence Romulus is supposed to have his name; with the Hebrews it has its name from its sublimity, height, and glory, from the word which signifies to be high and exalted: some say it had its name from Roma, a daughter of Italus, who first laid the foundation of it, though Romulus and Remus brought it into the form of a city; it was built seven hundred and fifty years, and upwards, before the birth of Christ. The Jews make it to be of an earlier date; they say (g), that at the time Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, Gabriel descended and fixed a reed in the sea, and brought up clay, and with it was built the great city, which is Rome; and in another place (h) it is said, in the day in which Jeroboam set up the two calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, was built a certain cottage, which is Italy of Greece, that is, Rome; for it is elsewhere observed (i), Italy of Greece, this is the great city of Rome; and again (k), on the day in which Jeroboam set up the two calves, Remus and Romulus came and built two cottages in Rome.

(c) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 14. sect. 1.((d) Magdeburg. Eccl. Hist. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 7. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 8. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 5. (e) Sueton. Vita Titi, c. 5. (f) Aur. Victor. Origo Gent. Rom. p. 233. (g) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 21. 2.((h) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 56. 2.((i) T. Bab. Megilia, fol. 6. 1.((k) T. Hicros. Avoda Zara, fol. 39. 3. Vid. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 6. 2.

{8} Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

(8) God bows and bends the hearts even of profane men, as it pleases him to show favour to his own.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 28:14. ἀδελφούς, see on Acts 1:15, they may have been from Alexandria, as the commerce between it and Puteoli was so considerable; the absence of the article indicates that the writer knew nothing of their presence previously, but at all events Blass is right when he says, “non magis mirum est Puteolis Christianos ante Paulum fuisse quam Romæ”. Probably after Rome itself Puteoli was the most ancient Jewish community in Italy. Jews were there as early as B.C. 4, after the death of Herod the Great, Jos., Ant., xvii., 12, 1; B. J., ii., 7, 1, and Schürer accepts the notice of the existence of a Christian Church as in the text, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. ii., p. 241, E.T., so too O. Holtzmann, Neutest. Zeitgeschichte, p. 108; see also Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 26. Rhegium and Puteoli are the only two Italian towns mentioned in the N.T. (except, of course, Rome itself), and when we consider that Puteoli was the most important port, not only for ships from Alexandria, but also from Syria, there is nothing surprising in the fact that Christianity found an early and an easy entrance; at Pompeii, not far from Puteoli, Christianity had made its way, and before 79 A.D. it was discussed by the gossiping loungers in the street (Ramsay).—παρεκ.: “we were entreated to tarry,” R.V. Ramsay (so Blass), rendering “we were consoled among them, remaining seven days” (see critical note), thinks that R.V., although strongly supported, is irreconcilable with St. Paul’s situation as a prisoner. Julius was a Roman officer, and discipline was natural to him, however friendly he was towards Paul. Blass compares Acts 20:12, and Zöckler also prefers the inferior reading on account of this more usual meaning of παρακαλεῖν. Probably the seven days’ delay was needful for Julius to report his arrival at Rome, and to receive further orders from the capital, perhaps with regard to the disposal of the prisoners, but St. Paul must have been rejoiced at the opportunity of celebrating a Sunday with the little Christian Church at Puteoli, cf. Acts 20:6, Acts 21:4.—καὶ οὕτως: “and so we came to Rome,” about 140 miles, cf. Acts 27:25, “destinatum itineris terminum,” Blass, cf. the article before ., Blass, Gram., p. 149, so Bengel (but see Page’s note). Others take οὕτως as simply = after the stay of seven days, a notice which leads on to Acts 28:15, and makes us to understand how the brethren came to meet us, since news would easily have reached Rome, and a deputation of the brethren have arrived at Appii Forum. On the former view the writer marks the conclusion and the aim of the long journey (cf. εἰς τὴν Ῥ. before the verb; in Acts 28:12-13, names of places follow the verb without any article, Weiss), and there is a kind of triumph in the words: like an emperor who has fought a naval battle and overcome, Paul entered into that most imperial city; he was nearer now to his crown; Rome received him bound, and saw him crowned and proclaimed conqueror: cf. Chrys. Others take ἤλθ. as = ἐπορευόμεθα, the actual end of the journey following in Acts 28:16 (see on the other hand Wendt, in loco, 1888). But Acts 28:15 may possibly be taken as adding an episode which commences, as it were, a new section of the Apostle’s work in the meeting with the brethren from Rome, the journey itself being regarded as completed in Acts 28:14 (Nösgen). If we read εἰσήλθομεν in Acts 28:16, see critical note, the word emphasises apparently the actual entry into the city, “and when we entered into,” R.V., or it may simply take up the conclusion of Acts 28:14 (so Wendt, who sees no difficulty in the words). Ramsay, however, draws another distinction between Acts 28:14; Acts 28:16 (to which Wendt (1899) refers, without endorsing it), and thinks that the double expression of arrival is due to the double meaning which the name of a city-state bears in Greek (St. Paul, pp. III, 347, and Expositor, Jan., 1899); thus Rome might be restricted to the walls and buildings, or it might include the whole ager Romanus, and so in Acts 28:14, “we reached the State Rome,” we passed through two points in the ager Romanus, Acts 28:15, and in Acts 28:16, “we entered the (walls of) Rome”.14. where we found brethren] i.e. there was a Christian Church established in Puteoli, and it was to such a degree well known, that the Apostle on his arrival at once learnt of its existence. From this we may gather that the Christians in Italy had already spread to a considerable extent, and hence it seems very probable that Christianity had been carried into that country from Jerusalem soon after the first Pentecostal preaching, at which time Roman visitors were present in the Holy City. Of course in such a place as Puteoli the Jews were likely to congregate, for the sake of trade, more than in many other places of Italy, and from their body the earliest converts to Christianity must have been made. But that, without any previous recorded visit of an Apostle, there should already be in Puteoli a numerous band of Christians is evidence of the zeal with which the new faith was being propagated. For it was now only about 28 years since the death of Jesus.

and were desired] [R. V. intreated]. The stronger word represents the original better. It has generally been thought that the duration of this stay was arranged so that the Apostle might be present with the Church in Puteoli at least over one Lord’s day. Thus the Christian congregation would be able to gather in its entirety, and to hear from the lips of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, the Gospel for which he was now “an ambassador in bonds.” We do not know whether any circumstances occurred to detain Julius in Puteoli, but if it were not so, it is a token of the great influence which St Paul had obtained over the centurion, that he was permitted to stay such a long time with his Christian friends, when the capital was so near at hand.

and so we went toward Rome] The Greek is more nearly represented by the R. V. “and so we came to Rome.” The narrative at first speaks of the completed voyage, and then in Acts 28:15 mention is made of some details which relate to the short land journey from Puteoli to the capital.Acts 28:14. Παρεκλήθημεν ἐπʼ αὐτοῖς) The sight of brethren was a consolation to us [Engl. Vers. takes παρεκλήθημεν differently]; and it led us to stay seven days. Here also the kindness of the centurion gave indulgence to Paul.—εἰς τὴν Ῥώμην ἤλθομεν, we came to Rome) a remarkable place, earnestly wished for. Here there is an Emphasis on τὴν Ῥώμην, (the) Rome, that it may be marked as the city long desired: but in Acts 28:16, ἤλθομεν εἰς Ῥώμην, we came to Rome, the emphasis is on ἤλθομεν, we came, that the entry itself may be marked.Verse 14. - Intreated for desired, A.V.; came to for went toward, A.V. Brethren. It is very interesting to find the gospel already planted in Italy. The circumstances of Purcell as the great emporium of African wheat made it a likely place for Christianity to reach, whether from Rome or from Alexandria (see Acts 18:24). Luke calls them ἀδελφοί, not Ξριστιανοί (Acts 11:26). Perhaps the name of Christian was still rather the name given by those without, and that of "brethren," or "disciples," the name used by the Christians among themselves. What a joy it must have been to Paul and his companions to find themselves among brethren! Seven days. Surely that they might take part in the service and worship of the next Sunday (see Acts 20:6, 7). It is implied that the philanthropy of Julius (Acts 27:3) did not now fail. So we came to Rome. The R.V. is undoubtedly right. 'We can trace in the anticipatory form of speech here used by St. Luke, simple as the words are, his deep sense of the transcendent interest of the arrival of the apostle of the Gentiles at the colossal capital of the heathen world. Yes; after all the conspiracies of the Jews who sought to take away his life, after the two years' delay at Caesarea, after the perils of that terrible shipwreck, in spite of the counsel of the soldiers to kill the prisoners, and in spite of the "venomous beast," - Paul came to Rome. The word of God," Thou must bear witness also at Rome" (Acts 23:11), had triumphed over all "the power of the enemy" (Luke 10:19). And doubtless the hearts both of Paul and Luke beat quicker when they first caught sight of the city on the seven hills.
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