Acts 4:11
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
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(11) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders.—Better, of you, the builders. The members of the Council to whom Peter spoke had heard those words (Psalm 118:22) quoted and interpreted before. (See Notes on Matthew 21:42-44.) Then they had thought, in their blindness, that they could defy the warning. They, by their calling, the builders of the Church of Israel, did reject the stone which God had chosen to be the chief corner-stone—the stone on which the two walls of Jew and Gentile met and were bonded together (Ephesians 2:20). Here again the Epistles of St. Peter reproduce one of the dominant thoughts of his speeches (1Peter 2:6-8), and give it a wider application. Thirty years after he thus spoke, Christ was still to him as “the head of the corner.”

Set at nought.—St. Peter does not quote the Psalm, but alludes to it with a free variation of language. The word for “set at nought” is characteristic of St. Luke (Luke 18:9; Luke 23:11) and St. Paul (Romans 14:3; Romans 14:10, et al.).

4:5-14 Peter being filled with the Holy Ghost, would have all to understand, that the miracle had been wrought by the name, or power, of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, whom they had crucified; and this confirmed their testimony to his resurrection from the dead, which proved him to be the Messiah. These rulers must either be saved by that Jesus whom they had crucified, or they must perish for ever. The name of Jesus is given to men of every age and nation, as that whereby alone believers are saved from the wrath to come. But when covetousness, pride, or any corrupt passion, rules within, men shut their eyes, and close their hearts, in enmity against the light; considering all as ignorant and unlearned, who desire to know nothing in comparison with Christ crucified. And the followers of Christ should act so that all who converse with them, may take knowledge that they have been with Jesus. That makes them holy, heavenly, spiritual, and cheerful, and raises them above this world.This is the stone - This passage is found in Psalm 118:22. It is quoted, also, by our Saviour as applicable to himself. See the notes on Matthew 21:42. The ancient Jews applied this to David. In the Targum on Psalm 118:22, this passage is rendered, "The child who was among the sons of Jesse, and was worthy to be constituted king, the builders rejected." The New Testament writers, however, apply it without any doubt to the Messiah. Compare Isaiah 28:16; Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20. And from this passage we may learn that God will overrule the devices and plans of wicked men to accomplish his own purposes. What people despise and set at naught, he esteems of inestimable value in his kingdom. What the great and the mighty contemn, he regards as the very foundation and cornerstone of the edifice which he designs to rear. Nothing has been more remarkable than this in the history of man; and in nothing is more contempt thrown on the proud projects of people, than that what they have rejected God has made the very basis of his schemes. 11. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, &c.—This application of Ps 118:22, already made by our Lord Himself before some of the same "builders" (Mt 21:42), is here repeated with peculiar propriety after the deed of rejection had been consummated, and the rejected One had, by His exaltation to the right hand of the Majesty on high, become "the head of the corner." Alluding to Psalm 118:22, in which there is a prophecy of what was now fulfilled: see Acts 2:23.

You builders; so by their office they were, and ought to have been so indeed, and are here so called, that they might be minded of their duty, viz. to increase, strengthen, and beautify the building, and not to demolish, weaken, or deface it.

The head of the corner; or the corner stone: Christ is frequently so called, Matthew 21:42 Mark 12:10; and that,

1. Because he sustains and upholds the whole building.

2. He is a rock or stone of offense, Romans 9:33; as many run upon and are hurt by a corner stone.

3. He is most precious, 1 Peter 2:6, as the corner stones are usually the largest, firmest, and best.

4. Christ is a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as the glory of the people of Israel; and both Gentile and Jew are united in him, and saved by him, as the corner stone is equally necessary for both sides, which are united in it, and borne up by it.

This is the stone,.... That is, this Jesus of Nazareth, by whose name the lame man was made whole, is that stone spoken of in Psalm 118:22 by whom is meant the true Messiah, comparable to a stone, for his strength and duration, and usefulness, as a foundation and corner stone, in the spiritual building of the church; and yet notwithstanding is the stone

which was set at nought of you builders: the priests, elders, and Scribes; who were fond of being called builders, but made miserable work of it; despising and rejecting the stone of Israel, and instead of him as a foundation, built themselves, and others, on the traditions of the elders, and their own righteousness: but though Christ was rejected by them, both in person and in doctrine, and was ignominiously treated, and at last put to death, yet he was raised from the dead, and exalted at the right hand of God; and is the stone,

which is become the head of the corner; or the chief corner stone, that adorns, strengthens, knits, and keeps together, the whole building; in which Jews and Gentiles, saints in all ages and places, even all the elect of God, are united together; See Gill on Matthew 21:42.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Acts 4:11. Οὗτος] referred to Jesus, the more remote subject, which, however, was most vividly present to the conception of the speaker. Winer, p. 148 [E. T. 195].

ὁ λίθος κ.τ.λ.] a reminiscence of the well-known saying in Psalm 118:22, in immediate, bold application to the Sanhedrists (ὑφʼ ὑμῶν), the builders of the theocracy, that have rejected Jesus, who yet by His resurrection and glorification has become the cornerstone, the bearer and upholder of the theocracy, i.e. that which constitutes its entire nature, subsistence, and working. Moreover, see on Matthew 21:42, and comp. 1 Peter 2:4 ff.; also on 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20.

Acts 4:11. οὗτος: “He, as in R.V. All E.V[152] previously translated it “this,” referring it to ὁ λίθος, but in the next verse a person is directly spoken of, not under the metaphor of a stone, and the pronoun finds its subject better in the ἐν τούτῳ, masculine of Acts 4:10. See Winer-Schmiedel, p. 216.—ὁ ἐξουθενηθεὶς: in the LXX and in the Gospels the word used is ἀπεδοκίμασαν. St. Peter, quoting apparently from memory, used a word expressing still greater contempt. It is used, e.g., very significantly by St. Luke in his Gospel, Acts 23:11, and again in Acts 18:9. The word is found in none of the other Gospels, and is characteristic of St. Luke and of St. Paul (cf. Romans 14:3; Romans 14:10, 1 Corinthians 1:28, 1 Corinthians 6:4, etc.). It occurs several times in the LXX; cf. Wis 3:11; Wis 4:18, Sir 19:1, 2Ma 1:27, and Psalms of Solomon, Acts 2:5. In classical writers it is not found at all.—ὁ γενόμ. εἰς, “which was made,” R.V. Blass compares the Hebrew phrase הָיָהלְ and finds parallels in Acts 5:36, Luke 13:19, but γίγνεσθαι εἰς, while common in the LXX, is a correct expression in classical Greek, although the places in the N.T. in which the formula is found in O.T. quotations are undoubtedly Hebraisms (see below on Acts 5:36), Winer-Schmiedel, p. 257, and with this may be connected the frequency of its occurrence in the Apocalypse (see Simcox on the phrase, Language of the N. T., p. 143).—κεφαλὴν γωνίας: not “the top-most pinnacle-stone,” but a corner-stone uniting two walls, on which they rested and were made firm, cf. the meaning of ἀκρογωνιαῖος (Isaiah 28:16), 1 Peter 2:6-8, Ephesians 2:20, which is used here by Symmachus instead of κεφ. γων. The Hebrew פִּנָּה elsewhere always refers not to the upper part of the building, but to the lower (Isaiah 28:16, Jeremiah 51:26, Job 38:6, ὁ βαλὼν λίθον γωνιαῖον, Delitzsch). Probably therefore the expression here refers to a foundation-stone at the base of the corner. On the occurrence of the phrase from Psalm 118:22 in St. Peter’s First Epistle, and in his speech here, see p. 119, and also Scharfe, Die Petrinische Strömung, 2 c., p. 126.

[152] English Version.

11. This (i.e. Jesus) is the stone which was set at nought of you [the] builders] There is the definite article in the original. The council are fitly called the builders, for on them depended the whole religious and civil government of the people. St Peter, with his mind now enlightened to apply the Scriptures, uses the words of the Psalmist (Psalm 118:22) as spoken prophetically of Christ. Christ had already (Matthew 21:42) applied these words to Himself and to the way in which He was being rejected of the Jews, in the close of one of His parables which the Pharisees felt had been spoken against them.

which is become the head of the corner] Christ, now exalted into heaven, is no longer the despised, but has become the most important, stone in the new building of the Christian society, cp. Ephesians 2:20-22. St Peter uses this quotation in his Epistle (1 Peter 2:7), and joins with it a passage (Isaiah 28:16) where the like figure is employed prophetically of the Messiah, “the foundation stone laid in Zion.”

Acts 4:11. Οὗτος, this) He brings a more severe charge against the rulers, than in ch. Acts 3:17 against the people.—ὁ λίθος, the stone) The article refers the hearers back to prophecy. See Matthew 21:42, note.—ὑφʼ ὑμῶν, by you) This is added with boldness of speech.—εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας, the head of the corner) This is explained in the following verse. The very rejection on the part of the builders proves the stone [to be the one chosen of God].

Verse 11. - He for this, A.V.; the builders for builders, A.V.; was made for is become, A.V. He is the stone. He had just appealed to their own senses; he now adds the witness of their own prophets. These had declared that the stone which was set at naught by the builders should become the chief corner-stone; just as it had come to pass. The quotation is from Psalm 118:22; only St. Luke here substitutes the word ἐξουθενεῖν, to set at naught, for that used by the LXX., ἀποδοκιμάζειν, to refuse, or reject as unfit. The word ἐξουθενεῖν is applied directly to our Saviour in Luke 23:11, and the similar word, ἐξουδενόειν, in Mark 9:11. Acts 4:11
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