Acts 28:17
And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
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(17) After three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together.—The decree of Claudius had, as has been already stated (see Note on Acts 28:15), been allowed to lapse, and the Jews had settled in their old quarters in the trans-Tiberine region, and in part, perhaps, on the island of the Tiber, and the region on the right bank of the river, now known as the Ghetto, which has been for many centuries the “Jewry” of Rome. Those who are described as the “chief” would naturally include the ruler of the synagogue (the title Archisynagogus is found in a Jewish inscription from Capua, now in the Lateran Museum); the Archontes, or rulers of the people—perhaps another way of describing the Archisynagogi—(this title is found in the Jewish cemetery at Rome already mentioned; Garucci, ut supra, p. 35); the Scribes (the title Grammateus is also found, pp. 42, 47, 55, 59); the Gerousiarchai, or heads of the Jewish senate, which was allowed, as at Alexandria, a certain measure of independent jurisdiction (pp. 51, 62); the “fathers of the synagogue,” perhaps identical with the “rulers” or “elders,” perhaps of a slightly higher grade (p. 52); perhaps, also (for this title also is found), the “mothers of the synagogue,” occupying, possibly, a position more or less analogous to the widows and deaconesses of the Christian Church (pp. 52, 53);[4] those who were known as Nomomatheis, or students of the Law (p. 57); the wealthier traders; those who, as freed-men, held office of some kind in the imperial court, or, like the Aliturius mentioned by Josephus (Life, c. 3), courted the favour of Poppæa, and gained the praise of Nero by acting in his spectacles. To such a mingled crowd, summoned by a special messenger—or, it may be, by a notice read on the Sabbath in the synagogue, or posted on some wall or pillar in the Jewish quarter—after three days spent, partly in settling in his lodging, partly in the delivery of the summons, St. Paul now addressed himself. These he was seeking to win, if possible, for Christ.

[4] Since I wrote the above, I have heard from Dr. A. Edersheim, than whom there is no higher living authority on matters connected with Jewish archæology, that in his judgment the title of “father” or “mother” of the synagogue did not imply any functions, but was assigned as a mark of honour to its oldest members. He rests this belief on the fact that they are found chiefly, or exclusively, in inscriptions which record a very advanced as 80 or 110.

(17) Though I have committed nothing against the people . . .—We note St. Paul’s characteristic tact. He addresses his hearers by the title which they loved, as “the people.” (See Note on Acts 4:28.) He speaks with respect of their “customs.” (See Notes on Acts 6:14; Acts 21:21.) He disclaims the thought of treating either with disrespect.



Acts 28:17 - Acts 28:31

We have here our last certain glimpse of Paul. His ambition had long been to preach in Rome, but he little knew how his desire was to be fulfilled. We too are often surprised at the shape which God’s answers to our wishes take. Well for us if we take the unexpected or painful events which accomplish some long-cherished purpose as cheerfully and boldly as did Paul. We see him in this last glimpse as the centre of three concentric widening circles.

I. We have Paul and the leaders of the Roman synagogue.

He was not the man to let the grass grow under his feet. After such a voyage a pause would have been natural for a less eager worker; but three days were all that he allowed himself, and these would, no doubt, be largely occupied by intercourse with the Roman Christians, and with the multitude of little things to be looked after on entering on his new lodging. Paul had gifts that we have not, he exemplified many heroic virtues which we are not called on to repeat; but he had eminently the prosaic virtue of diligence and persistence in work, and the humblest life affords a sphere in which that indispensable though homely excellence of his can be imitated. What a long holiday some of us would think we had earned, if we had come through what Paul had encountered since he left Caesarea!

The summoning of the ‘chief of the Jews’ to him was a prudent preparation for his trial rather than an evangelistic effort. It was important to ascertain their feelings, and if possible to secure their neutrality in regard to the approaching investigation. Hence the Apostle seeks to put his case to them so as to show his true adherence to the central principles of Judaism, insisting that he is guiltless of revolt against either the nation or the law and traditional observances; that he had been found innocent by the Palestinian representatives of Roman authority; that his appeal to Caesar, which would naturally seem hostile to the rulers in Jerusalem, was not meant as an accusation of the nation to which he felt himself to belong, and so was no sign of deficient patriotism, but had been forced on him as his only means of saving his life.

It was a difficult course which he had to steer, and he picked his way between the shoals with marvellous address. But his explanation of his position is not only a skilful piece of apologia, but it embodies one of his strongest convictions, which it is worth our while to grasp firmly; namely, that Christianity is the true fulfilment and perfecting of the old revelation. His declaration that, so far from his being a deserter from Israel, he was a prisoner just because he was true to the Messianic hope which was Israel’s highest glory, was not a clever piece of special pleading meant for the convincing of the Roman Jews, but was a principle which runs through all his teaching. Christians were the true Jews. He was not a recreant in confessing, but they were deserters in denying, the fulfilment in Jesus of the hope which had shone before the generation of ‘the fathers.’ The chain which bound him to the legionary who ‘kept him,’ and which he held forth as he spoke, was the witness that he was still ‘an Hebrew of the Hebrews.’

The heads of the Roman synagogue went on the tack of non-committal, as was quite natural. They were much too astute to accept at once an ex parte statement, and so took refuge in professing ignorance. Probably they knew a good deal more than they owned. Their statement has been called ‘unhistorical,’ and, oddly enough, has been used to discredit Luke’s narrative. It is a remarkable canon of criticism that a reporter is responsible for the truthfulness of assertions which he reports, and that, if he has occasion to report truthfully an untruth, he is convicted of the untruth which he truthfully reports. Luke is responsible for telling what these people found it convenient to say; they are responsible for its veracity. But they did not say quite as much as is sometimes supposed. As the Revised Version shows, they simply said that they had not had any official deputation or report about Paul, which is perfectly probable, as it was extremely unlikely that any ship leaving after Paul’s could have reached Italy. They may have known a great deal about him, but they had no information to act upon about his trial. Their reply is plainly shaped so as to avoid expressing any definite opinion or pledging themselves to any course of action till they do hear from ‘home.’

They are politely cautious, but they cannot help letting out some of their bile in their reference to ‘this sect.’ Paul had said nothing about it, and their allusion betrays a fuller knowledge of him and it than it suited their plea for delay to own. Their wish to hear what he thought sounded very innocent and impartial, but was scarcely the voice of candid seekers after truth. They must have known of the existence of the Roman Church, which included many Jews, and they could scarcely be ignorant of the beliefs on which it was founded; but they probably thought that they would hear enough from Paul in the proposed conference to enable them to carry the synagogue with them in doing all they could to procure his condemnation. He had hoped to secure at least their neutrality; they seem to have been preparing to join his enemies. The request for full exposition of a prisoner’s belief has often been but a trap to ensure his martyrdom. But we have to ‘be ready to give to every man a reason for the hope that is in us,’ even when the motive for asking it may be anything but the sincere desire to learn.

II. Therefore Paul was willing to lay his heart’s belief open, whatever doing so might bring.

So the second circle forms round him, and we have him preaching the Gospel to ‘many’ of the Jews. He could not go to the synagogue, so much of the synagogue came to him. The usual method was pursued by Paul in arguing from the old revelation, but we may note the twofold manner of his preaching, ‘testifying’ and ‘persuading,’ the former addressed more to the understanding, and the latter to the affections and will, and may learn how Christian teachers should seek to blend both-to work their arguments, not in frost, but in fire, and not to bully or scold or frighten men into the Kingdom, but to draw them with cords of love. Persuasion without a basis of solid reasoning is puerile and impotent; reasoning without the warmth of persuasion is icy cold, and therefore nothing grows from it.

Note too the protracted labour ‘from morning till evening.’ One can almost see the eager disputants spending the livelong day over the rolls of the prophets, relays of Rabbis, perhaps, relieving one another in the assault on the one opponent’s position, and he holding his ground through all the hours-a pattern for us teachers of all degrees.

The usual effects followed. The multitude was sifted by the Gospel, as its hearers always are, some accepting and some rejecting. These double effects ever follow it, and to one or other of these two classes we each belong. The same fire melts wax and hardens clay; the same light is joy to sound eyes and agony to diseased ones; the same word is a savour of life unto life and a savour of death unto death; the same Christ is set for the fall and for the rising of men, and is to some the sure foundation on which they build secure, and to some the stone on which, stumbling, they are broken, and which, falling on them, grinds them to powder.

Paul’s solemn farewell takes up Isaiah’s words, already used by Jesus. It is his last recorded utterance to his brethren after the flesh, weighty, and full of repressed yearning and sorrow. It is heavy with prophecy, and marks an epoch in the sad, strange history of that strange nation. Israel passes out of sight with that dread sentence fastened to its breast, like criminals of old, on whose front was fixed the record of their crimes and their condemnation. So this tragic self-exclusion from hope and life is the end of all that wondrous history of ages of divine revelation and patience, and of man’s rebellion. The Gospel passes to the Gentiles, and the Jew shuts himself out. So it has been for nineteen centuries. Was not that scene in Paul’s lodging in Rome the end of an epoch and the prediction of a sad future?

III. Not less significant and epoch-making is the glimpse of Paul which closes the Acts.

We have the third concentric circle-Paul and the multitudes who came to his house and heard the Gospel. We note two points here. First, that his unhindered preaching in the very heart of the world’s capital for two whole years is, in one aspect, the completion of the book. As Bengel tersely says, ‘The victory of the word of God, Paul at Rome. The apex of the Gospel, the end of Acts.’

But, second, as clearly, the ending is abrupt, and is not a satisfying close. The lengthened account of the whole process of Paul’s imprisonments and hearings before the various Roman authorities is most unintelligible if Luke intended to break off at the very crucial point, and say nothing about the event to which he had been leading up for so many chapters. There is much probability in Ramsay’s suggestion that Luke intended to write a third book, containing the account of the trial and subsequent events, but was prevented by causes unknown, perhaps by martyrdom. Be that as it may, these two verses, with some information pieced out of the Epistles written during the imprisonment, are all that we know of Paul’s life in Rome. From Philippians we learn that the Gospel spread by reason of the earlier stages of his trial. From the other Epistles we can collect some particulars of his companions, and of the oversight which he kept up of the Churches.

The picture here drawn lays hold, not on anything connected with his trial, but on his evangelistic activity, and shows us how, notwithstanding all hindrances, anxieties about his fate, weariness, and past toils, the flame of evangelistic fervour burned undimmed in ‘Paul the aged,’ as the flame of mistaken zeal had burned in the ‘young man named Saul,’ and how the work which had filled so many years of wandering and homelessness was carried on with all the old joyfulness, confidence, and success, from the prisoner’s lodging. In such unexpected fashion did God fulfil the Apostle’s desire to ‘preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.’ To preach the word with all boldness is the duty of us Christians who have entered into the heritage of fuller freedom than Paul’s, and of whom it is truer than of him that we can do it, ‘no man forbidding’ us.

Acts 28:17-20. And after three days — Given to rest and prayer; Paul called the chief of the Jews together — His great love to the Jews induced him, wherever he came and found any, to labour in the first place to promote their salvation; and as he was now bound, and could not conveniently go round to them, he sent for the chief of them to come to him, his confinement not being so strict but he had liberty to receive the visits of his friends. He had reason to suppose that they might be offended, and imbibe prejudices against him, when they heard he had appealed from the courts in Judea to Cesar, and he judged it would be very proper for him to make an apology to them for so doing; and, in order to prepare their minds for receiving the gospel, to suffer nothing to be wanting on his part, to make them sensible of the affectionate regard that he had for them, notwithstanding the injurious treatment he had met with from their countrymen at Jerusalem. For these purposes he wished to have this interview with them. And when — According to his desire; they were come together — In the private house where he dwelt; he said, Men and brethren — Addressing them in respectful language; and thereby intimating, that he expected to be treated by them both as a man and a brother; though I have committed nothing against the people, &c. — Seeing him chained, they might have suspected he had committed something against them. Therefore he first obviates this suspicion. Yet was I delivered prisoner to the Romans — Their accusing him as a criminal before Felix the governor, and demanding judgment against him, was, in effect, delivering him prisoner into the hands of the Romans; and that at a time when he desired no more but a fair and impartial trial by their own law. But if he had declared the whole truth in this matter, the Jews would have appeared in a worse light than that in which he now represented them; for he might with truth have asserted that they would have murdered him without any colour of law or justice, if the Romans had not protected him. Who, when they had examined me — And had heard all that my adversaries could offer against me; would have let me go — That is, would have set me at liberty; because there was no cause of death in me — No crime, or offence, which they could judge to be a sufficient reason for putting me to death, or for keeping me under longer confinement. But when the Jews spake against it — He speaks tenderly of them, not mentioning their repeated attempts upon his life. I was constrained to appeal unto Cesar — To remove my cause to Rome, finding that the governors of Judea, one after another, stood so much in awe of the Jews, that they would not discharge me for fear of making them their enemies. Not that I had aught to accuse my nation of — Not that I had any design to accuse others; for, whatever injury I have received from any particular persons, I heartily forgive them, and wish the whole Jewish people, without exception, even my most inveterate enemies among them, all possible prosperity and happiness; but I was forced, contrary to my inclination, to make this appeal, purely in my own defence, and to prevent that assassination which I knew some persons were contriving against me. For this cause, therefore, have I called for you — As soon as I came hither; to see and speak with you — With a view, if possible, to prevent any prejudice which might be entertained by any of you to my disadvantage; because that for the hope of Israel — What Israel hopes for, namely, the Messiah and the resurrection; I am bound with this chain — And exposed to all these sufferings; and therefore, rather merit your compassion and friendship, than your resentment.

28:17-22 It was for the honour of Paul that those who examined his case, acquitted him. In his appeal he sought not to accuse his nation, but only to clear himself. True Christianity settles what is of common concern to all mankind, and is not built upon narrow opinions and private interests. It aims at no worldly benefit or advantage, but all its gains are spiritual and eternal. It is, and always has been, the lot of Christ's holy religion, to be every where spoken against. Look through every town and village where Christ is exalted as the only Saviour of mankind, and where the people are called to follow him in newness of life, and we see those who give themselves up to Christ, still called a sect, a party, and reproached. And this is the treatment they are sure to receive, so long as there shall continue an ungodly man upon earth.Paul called the chief of the Jews - He probably had two objects in this: one was to vindicate himself from the suspicion of crime, or to convince them that the charges alleged against him were false; and the other, to explain to them the gospel of Christ. In accordance with his custom everywhere, he seized the earliest opportunity of making the gospel known to his own countrymen; and he naturally supposed that charges highly unfavorable to his character had been sent forward against him to the Jews at Rome by those in Judea.

Against the people - Against the Jews, Acts 24:12.

Or customs ... - The religious rites of the nation. See the notes on Acts 6:14.

Was I delivered prisoner ... - By the Jews, Acts 21:33, etc.

17-20. Paul called the chief of the Jews together—Though banished from the capital by Claudius, the Jews enjoyed the full benefit of the toleration which distinguished the first period of Nero's reign, and were at this time in considerable numbers, wealth, and influence settled at Rome. We have seen that long before this a flourishing Christian Church existed at Rome, to which Paul wrote his Epistle (see on [2142]Ac 20:3), and the first members of which were probably Jewish converts and proselytes. (See [2143]Introduction to Romans.)

yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans—the Roman authorities, Felix and Festus.

Paul called the chief of the Jews together; Paul does this not only out of an extraordinary love which he had for that people, but also because the apostles were commanded to go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 10:5,6. The whole economy of the gospel is a doing good for evil. So did our Saviour, who is the author and subject of it; and so must his messengers or ministers do, or they are not like to do any good at all; for the world will hate them, 1Jo 3:13.

And it came to pass, that after three days,.... From his first coming to Rome, when he had hired himself a house, or lodging, and was settled in it, and was rested from the fatigue of his voyage and journey:

Paul called the chief of the Jews together: he sent to the principal men among them; for though the Jews, were expelled from Rome in the reign of Claudius, they were now returned, and had their liberty of residing there; very likely by means of Poppea, Nero's concubine, who favoured the Jews: but whether they had a synagogue, and these men were the chief and leading men in it, the doctors, rulers, and officers of it, are things not certain; however, these the apostle desired to come to him where he was, for whether he had the liberty of going about where he would, the soldier attending him, is not so clear a point:

and when they were come together; to his house, or lodging:

he said unto them, men and brethren: which was the usual form of address with the Jews; see Acts 7:2.

Though I have committed nothing against the people and customs of our fathers; meaning he had said nothing disrespectfully of the people of the Jews; nor had done anything to the prejudice of their temporal, spiritual, and eternal good, but just the reverse; nor had he said or done anything contrary to the laws and customs enjoined the Jews by Moses, even those that were of a ceremonial nature; for though he had everywhere declared that the Gentiles were not obliged to an obedience to them, yet he did not dissuade the Jews from the use of them; and oftentimes complied with them himself, things he had been charged with:

yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans; he was first seized by the Jews in the temple of Jerusalem, and then fell into the hands of Lysias, the chief captain; who bound him, and by whom he was sent to Caesarea, where he was retained a prisoner both by Felix and Festus, Roman governors.

{10} And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

(10) Paul in every place remembers himself to be an apostle.

Acts 28:17. On the interview which now follows with the Jews it is to be observed: (1) that Paul even now remains faithful to his principle of trying his apostolic ministry in the first instance among the Jews, and thereby even as a prisoner complying with the divine order of the way of salvation: Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι, Romans 1:16, and with the impulse of his own love to his people, Romans 9:1 ff., which the painful experiences of the past had not weakened. (2) He does this after three days, during which time he had without doubt devoted himself, first of all, to the Roman Christians.[179] (3) The fact that he commences his interview with the Jews by a self-justification is—considering the suspicion with which he, as a prisoner, must have been regarded by them—natural and accordant with duty, and does not presuppose any ulterior design (such as: to prevent a prejudicial influence of the Jews on his trial). (4) The historical character of these discussions with the Jews has unjustly been denied, and they have been wrongly referred to the apologetic design of the author (Baur, Zeller). See the details below at the passages appealed to.

μετὰ ἡμέρ. τρεῖς] in which he might sufficiently occupy himself at the outset with the Roman Christians who came to him, as doubtless (in opposition to Zeller) he did in conformity with his long-cherished desire to see them (Romans 1:11 ff.).

τοὺς ὄντας τῶν Ἰουδ. πρώτους] the existing (comp. Romans 13:1) chiefs of the Jews (comp. Luke 19:47; Acts 13:50; Acts 25:2), i.e. the Jewish leaders at that time in Rome.

οὐδὲν ἐναντίον κ.τ.λ.] although I have done nothing, etc. This Paul could say, as he had laboured only to conduct the nation to the salvation appointed for it, and only to bring the Mosaic institutions to their Messianic πλήρωσις. His antagonism to the law was directed against justification by the law. This, and not the abolition of the law in itself, was his radical contrast to the Jewish standpoint (in opposition to Zeller). Comp. on Acts 24:14.

τῶν Ῥωμαίων] refers to the procurator in Caesarea, who represented the Romans ruling over Palestine.

[179] That Luke gives no further information concerning the Roman church cannot surprise us (in opposition to Zeller, p. 373), as the theme of his book was the ministry of the apostles. A disagreement between Paul and the Roman church (Schneckenburger, p. 122) is not at all to be thought of; the church was not Judaizing, but Pauline. According to Zeller, the author has desired to make Paul appear as the proper founder of that church. But this is erroneous on account even of ver. 15, where, it is true, Zeller understands only isolated believers from Rome, who are assumed therefore not to presuppose any church there, as referred to. See, on the contrary, Ewald, Jahrb. IX. p. 66 f.

Acts 28:17. The whole section Acts 28:17-28 is referred by Hilgenfeld to the “author to Theophilus”. In Acts 28:20 the Paul bound for the hope of Israel belongs only to the “author to Theophilus,” cf. Acts 23:6, Acts 26:6; it is only the same author who still supposes him to bear the chain, Acts 26:29, which according to Acts 22:29-30, had been long removed. A reference to the passages in question is sufficient to show the unreasonableness of this criticism. In this same section Clemen can only see his two redactors, Judaicus and Antijudaicus, at work again, the latter in Acts 28:25-28, and the former in Acts 28:16-24. But it will be noticed that Wendt (1899) still allows that an historical kernel lies at the foundation of the narrative, and although he does not speak so unhesitatingly as in 1888, he still allows that it is not inconceivable that Paul soon after his arrival in Rome should seek to enter into relations with the Jews there, to convince them if possible of his innocence, and to prevent any unfavourable influences on their part upon his trial.—μετὰ ἡμεράς τρεῖς: an intimation of Paul’s continuous energy; the previous days may well have been employed in receiving his own friends, and in making his summons known.—τῶν Ἰου.: the edict of Claudius, cf. Acts 18:2, had evidently been very transient in its effects, and the Jews soon returned; possibly they may only have emigrated to the neighbourhood, e.g., to Aricia (Schürer).—πρώτους, cf. Acts 13:50, Acts 25:2, Luke 19:47, here including the ἀρχισυνάγωγοι, the γερουσιάρχαι, the ἄρχοντες and others, Sanday and Headlam, Romans, p. 23, or the word may perhaps be used of social distinction, including the officers named. The Jews in Rome were divided into no less than seven synagogues. It does not of course follow that all came in answer to the Apostle’s characteristic summons, as he always turned to his countrymen first. Rendall renders “those that were of the Jews first,” as if Paul invited first the members of the synagogues who were Jews, intending to reserve the devout Gentiles for the second place; see R.V. renderings in loco.—συνελθ.: it was natural that Paul should thus assemble them, and that he should then endeavour to show that although a prisoner he was guiltless of any offence against the Jewish nation; otherwise he could not expect the representatives of his people to listen to his message; so far it would be difficult to find an intimation of anything unhistorical (see Blass, in loco).—ἐγὼ: the word probably occurring first, W.H[433], R.V. Weiss, seems to indicate from its emphatic position that the Apostle’s chief concern on this occasion was to vindicate himself.—ἔλεγε: imperfect, “quia expectatur responsum,” Blass, see note on Acts 3:3.—ἀδελφοὶλαῷπατρῴοις: all indicate the same conciliatory spirit: “mira certe Pauli mansuetudo” (Calvin).—ποιήσας: “though I had done,” R.V., i.e., at the time he was taken prisoner there had been nothing done by him to merit such treatment.—τῷ λαῷ, cf. Acts 21:28. The man who could write Romans 9:1 ff. and 1 Corinthians 7:18 (cf. Acts 9:21) might justly use such words.—παρεδόθην, cf. Acts 21:11. The words ascribe primarily to the Jews a share in the imprisonment of which they appear as only the indirect cause, cf. Acts 21:33, but Paul summarises the chief points and does not enter into minute details; moreover his words were strictly true, for he would have been freed by the Romans in Jerusalem had not the outcry of the Jews stamped him as a malefactor. For similar instances of a main summary cf. Acts 2:23, Acts 13:29, Acts 21:11, Acts 23:27.

[433] Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.

17–28. St Paul’s interview with the Jews in Rome

17. after three days] At first the Apostle would naturally desire to learn all he could of the Christian congregations at Rome from those who had been the first to welcome him on his approach to that city. But for this, three days sufficed. Then he set about explaining his position to those of his fellow-countrymen, not Christians, who were of most importance in Rome. For to them would most probably be forwarded an account of the charges to be laid against the Apostle, and of the evidence by which they were to be supported.

Paul called the chief of the Jews together] Keeping still to the rule to offer the Gospel first to the Jews, even here in Rome, where he had good reason to think that his message would not be received. The decree by which in the reign of Claudius all the Jews had been banished from Rome (Acts 18:2) was evidently no longer in force. For clearly there was an important body of them resident in the city.

Men and brethren] See note on Acts 1:16.

though I have committed [R. V. had done] nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers] For everywhere had he shewn himself desirous that his own people should hear the message of the Gospel first, and for Jews he had never forbidden circumcision, only insisting that Gentile converts should not be forced to submit to the Jewish law before they were received into the Christian Church.

delivered prisoner … into the hands of the Romans] He describes the result, rather than the steps by which it was brought about. The chief captain had rescued him from the violence of the Jewish mob, and he had never since been out of the care of the Roman authorities. Yet but for the Jews he never would have been a Roman prisoner, and when the Sadducees in Jerusalem found that he was not to be given up to them, they made themselves his accusers before Felix and Festus.

Acts 28:17. Μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας, after three days) which were given to rest and prayer.—συγκαλέσασθαι, called together) to himself, Acts 28:23. Being bound, he could less conveniently go about to visit them.—τῶν Ἰουδαίων πρώτους, the chief of the Jews) possessed of especial authority among them. He always sought out the Jews in the first instance.—οὐδὲν, nothing) They might have taken up a false suspicion from his very chains: Paul obviates this (anticipates and meets this objection).

Verse 17. - He for Paul, A.V. and T.R.; called together those that were the chief for called the chief... together, A.V.; I, brethren, though I had done for men and brethren, though I have committed, A.V. and T.R.; the customs for customs, A.V.; was I for was, A.V. After three days. He could but just have got into his hired house, but he would not lose a day in seeking out his brethren to speak to them of the hope of Israel. What marvelous activity! what unquenchable love! The chief (τοὺς ὄντας... πρώτους). The expression οἱ πρῶτοι, for the principal people of the district or neighborhood, occurs repeatedly in Josephus. The Jews. They had returned to Rome, after their banishment by Claudius (Acts 18:2), some time before this (Romans 16:3, 7). I had done nothing against the people, or the customs (comp. Acts 23:1, 6; Acts 24:14-16, 20, 21; Acts 25:8; Acts 26:6, 7, 22, 23). Acts 28:17
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