Acts 4:5
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
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(5) And it came to pass on the morrow . . .—Better, that there were gathered together the rulers, elders, and scribes in Jerusalem. The two last words are misplaced in the English version by being transferred to the end of the next verse. The later MSS. give, however, unto Jerusalem. The meeting was obviously summoned, like that of Matthew 26:5, to consider what course was necessary in face of the new facts that had presented themselves, and was probably the first formal meeting of the Sanhedrin that had been held since the trial of our Lord. On its constitution, see Notes on Matthew 5:22; Matthew 26:57; Matthew 27:1. This meeting would, of course, include the Pharisee section of the scribes as well as the Sadducees.

Acts 4:5-7. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, &c., were gathered together — There was a general assembly held of those who constituted the sanhedrim, and a court formed at Jerusalem. And Annas the high-priest, and Caiaphas — The meaning seems to be, Annas, who had been high-priest, and Caiaphas, who was so then; and John, and Alexander — It is very evident that these were persons of great note among the Jews at that time, but who they were, is to us quite uncertain. And as many as were of the kindred of the high-priest — Or, as others render it, of the pontifical family. Dr. Hammond explains this of the twenty-four members of the Aaronic family, who presided over the twenty-four courses. Others refer it to those who were nearly related to Annas and Caiaphas: but Grotius thinks it includes the kindred of those who had lately been in the office of high-priest, which, he says, made them members of the sanhedrim. And when they had set them in the midst — Had ordered them to be brought before them, and set in the midst of the assembly; (it being the custom of the sanhedrim to sit almost in a circle;) they asked, By what power — “Human or diabolical, angelic or divine, have you cured this man? Whose name have you invoked to the working of this miracle? Or, from whom had you your authority to preach so publicly unto the people? From us you had it not, though we alone have the authority to give a commission to any man to do so.” It will cast light on this inquiry of the rulers to observe, that Josephus speaks of some of the Jews working cures by invoking the name of Solomon. And the Talmud relates some ridiculous stories of working miracles by the tetragrammaton, or the unutterable name; that is, by mentioning the word Jehovah. The seven sons of Sheva, mentioned Acts 19:13-17, had the same opinion of working miracles by the mention of a name, when they pretended to cure a possessed person by invoking the name of Jesus, whom Paul preached.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.Their rulers - The rulers of the Jews; doubtless the members of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council of the nation. Compare Acts 4:15. See the notes on Matthew 2:4; Matthew 5:22. The expression their rulers looks as if this book was written for the Gentiles, or Luke would have said our rulers.

Elders - Presbyters, or those who were chosen from among the people to sit in the Sanhedrin. It is probable that the rulers were those who held also some other office, but were also authorized to sit in the Great Council.

Scribes - See the notes on Matthew 2:4.

And Annas ... - See the notes on John 18:13. It is by no means certain that Annas was at that time the high priest, but he had been, and doubtless retained the title. He was father-in-law to Caiaphas, the high priest; and from this fact, together with his former dignity, he is mentioned first.

Caiaphas - Son-in-law of Annas, and now exercising the office of the high priest, John 18:13.

John, and Alexander ... - Of these persons nothing more is known. It is clear that they were members of the Great Council, and the mention of their names shows that the men of chief authority and influence were assembled to silence the apostles. Annas and Caiaphas had been concerned in the condemnation of Jesus, and they would now feel a special interest in arresting the progress of the gospel among the people. All the success of the gospel reflected back light upon the wicked ness of the act of condemning the Lord Jesus. And this fact may serve, in part, to account for their strong desire to silence the apostles.

At Jerusalem - εἰς eis. This was the usual place of assembling the Sanhedrin. But the Jewish writers (see Lightfoot on this place) say that 40 years before the destruction of the city, on account of the great increase of crime, etc., the Sanhedrin was removed from place to place. The declaration of Luke that they were now assembled in Jerusalem, seems to imply that they sometimes met in other places. It is probable that the members of the Sanhedrin were not in the city at the time mentioned in Acts 4:3, and this was the reason why the trial was deferred to the next day.

5. their rulers, &c.—This was a regular meeting of the Sanhedrim (see on [1946]Mt 2:4). Their rulers; the sanhedrim, or great council.

Elders and scribes; the magistrates of the city, scribes, doctors, or teachers of the law, &c.; howsoever these might be distinguished, they are all as one against the doctrine of the gospel, and endeavour to put out the light as soon as it began to shine, as Herod would have killed Christ in the manger. And it came to pass on the morrow,.... The disciples being kept in custody all night:

that their rulers, and elders, and Scribes; that is, their ecclesiastical rulers; the chief priests, who, with the Scribes, and elders of the people, made up the great council at Jerusalem, consisting of seventy one persons, so they are called in Matthew 26:3.

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their {c} rulers, and elders, and scribes,

(c) These were those who were members of the Sanhedrin, who were all from the tribe of Judah, until Herod came to power.

Acts 4:5. Ἐγένετοσυναχθῆναι] But it came to pass that, etc. Comp. Acts 9:3; Luke 3:21; Luke 16:22. So also in classical writers (Hes. Theog. 639; Xen. Cyr. vi. 3. 11). See Sturz, Lex. Xen. I. p. 587.

αὐτῶν] refers not to the believers, but, as is presumed to be obvious of itself, to the Jews, whose people, priests, etc., were named above, Acts 4:1, and to whom those who had become believers belonged. Comp. Winer, p. 138 [E. T. 183].

τοὺς ἄρχοντ. κ. πρεσβ. κ. γραμμ.] the Sanhedrists and elders and scribes. A full meeting of the Sanhedrim was arranged, at which in particular the members belonging to the classes of representatives of the people and scribes were not absent. Comp. on Matthew 2:4.

εἰς Ἱερουσαλήμ] not as if they had their official residence elsewhere (as Zeller suggests in the interest of proving the narrative unhistorical); but certainly many were at this most beautiful period of summer (soon after Pentecost) at their country residences. So, correctly, Beza (“arcessitis videlicet qui urbe aberant, ut sollennis esset hic conventus,”—but only by way of suggestion), Bengel, Winer, and others. Most of the older commentators, and Kuinoel, erroneously assume that εἰς stands for ἐν, in which case, moreover, a quite superfluous remark would be the result.

καί] also (in order to mention these specially).

Ἄνναν τὸν ἀρχιερ.] As at this time not Annas, but his son-in-law Caiaphas, was the ruling high priest, an erroneous statement must be acknowledged here, as in Luke 3:2, which may be explained from the continuing great influence of Annas. See the particulars, as well as the unsatisfactory shifts which have been resorted to, on Luke 3:2. Comp. Zeller, p. 127. Baumgarten still, p. 88 (comp. also Lange, Apostol. Zeitalt. I. p. 96, and II. p. 55), contents himself with justifying the expression from the age and influence of Annas,—a view which could not occur to any reader, and least of all to Theophilus, after Luke 3:2.

Nothing further is known of John and Alexander, who, in consequence of their connection with Caiaphas and with the following καὶ ὅσοι κ.τ.λ., are to be regarded as members of the hierarchy related to Annas. Conjectures concerning the former (that he is identical with the Jochanan Ben Zaccai celebrated in the Talmud) may be seen in Lightfoot in loc.; and concerning the latter (that he was the brother of Philo), in Mangey, Praef. ad Phil.; and Pearson, Lect. p. 51; Krebs, Obss. p. 176; Sepp, Gesch. d. Ap. p. 5, ed. 2.

ἐκ γένους ἀρχιερατ.] of the high-priestly family. Besides Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, all the other relatives of the high priest were brought into the assembly,—a proceeding indicative of the special importance which was ascribed to the pronouncing judgment on the dangerous prisoners.Acts 4:5. ἐγένετο δὲ: the formula is another characteristic of St. Luke’s style, Friedrich, Das Lucasevangelium, p. 13, also Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, pp. 26, 29. Compare for the type of construction, according to which what takes place is put in the infinitive mood, depending upon ἐγένετο, Acts 9:32; Acts 9:37; Acts 9:43, Acts 11:26, Acts 14:1, and other instances in Dr. Plummer’s exhaustive note, St. Luke, p. 45—ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον: here only and in Luke 10:35, in N.T. For the temporal use of ἐπί Acts 3:1συναχθῆναι, i.e., the Sanhedrim, ἄρχοντας here = ἀρχιερεῖς, who are mentioned first as a rule, where the N.T. enumerates the different orders of the Sanhedrim, whilst οἱ ἄρχοντες is an interchangeable expression, both in the N.T. and in Josephus (see, for instance, Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., pp. 177, 205, E.T.), although there are two instances in which both words occur together, Luke 23:13; Luke 24:20. Whatever may have been the precise significance of the term ἀρχιερεῖς, Schürer, u. s., pp. 203–206, E.T., it included, beyond all doubt, the most prominent representatives of the priesthood, belonging chiefly, if not entirely, to the Sadducean party.—πρεσβυτέρους: those members were known simply by this title who did not belong to either of the two special classes mentioned.—γραμματεῖς: the professional lawyers who adhered to the Pharisees, Jos., Ant., xvii., 6, 2. Even under the Roman government the Sanhedrim possessed considerable independence of jurisdiction, both civil and criminal. Not only could it order arrests to be made by its own officers, but it could dispose, on its own authority, of cases where the death penalty was not involved, Schürer, u. s., p. 187, E.T., and Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation, p. 103 ff.—εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ: Weiss would restrict ἐν Ἰερ. to the scribes of Jerusalem to distinguish them from the scribes of Galilee, but it is doubtful whether the words can bear this (see also Rendall, who favours the same view as Weiss). Holtzmann and Wendt, on the other hand, defend εἰς, and suppose that the members of the Sanhedrim were obliged to hurry into the city from their country estates. Zöckler applies ἐν Ἰερ. not only to γραμματεῖς, but also to the other members of the Sanhedrim, and sees in the words an intimation that the sitting was hurriedly composed of the members actually present in Jerusalem.5. And it came to pass on the morrow] When the investigation was permitted to be held.

that their rulers, and elders] Here we see that the party of the Sadducees was the party of power and influence at this time.

and scribes] For these were not only the copyists, but the interpreters and expounders of the Law to the people, and any new teaching would naturally be disliked by them. On the difference between Christ’s teaching and that of the scribes see Matthew 7:29.Acts 4:5. Αὐτῶν, of them) viz. the Jews.—τοὺς ἄρχοντας καὶ πρεσβυτέρους καὶ γραμματεῖς, rulers and elders and scribes) who were conspicuous in authority, counsel, and doctrine.—εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ, to Jerusalem) from the neighbourhood: unless εἰς be put for ἐν.[34]

[34] And indeed the Germ. Vers. prefers the reading ἐν, after the margin of both Greek Editions.—E. B.

Ἐν is the reading of ABDE Vulg. Theb. Rec. Text has no very old authority for εἰς.—E. and T.Verse 5. - Were gathered together in Jerusalem for at (ver. 6), A.V.; or, as it should rather be rendered, to - some of them probably living in the country. This clause is placed in the A.V. at the end of ver. 6 because, in the T.R., Annas, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander are in the accusative ease, whereas, in the R.T., they are in the nominative case; for which reason the R.V. supplies the words "was there" in ver. 6. We see here the different classes which composed the Sanhedrim.
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