Acts 5:18
And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Put them in the common prison.—The word is the same as the “ward “of Acts 4:3. The addition of the word “common” or “public” perhaps indicates a greater severity of treatment. They were not merely kept in custody, but dealt with as common criminals, compelled to herd with ruffians and robbers and murderers.

5:17-25 There is no prison so dark, so strong, but God can visit his people in it, and, if he pleases, fetch them out. Recoveries from sickness, releases out of trouble, are granted, not that we may enjoy the comforts of life, but that God may be honoured with the services of our life. It is not for the preachers of Christ's gospel to retire into corners, as long as they can have any opportunity of preaching in the great congregation. They must preach to the lowest, whose souls are as precious to Christ as the souls of the greatest. Speak to all, for all are concerned. Speak as those who resolve to stand to it, to live and die by it. Speak all the words of this heavenly, divine life, in comparison with which the present earthly life does not deserve the name. These words of life, which the Holy Ghost puts into your mouth. The words of the gospel are the words of life; words whereby we may be saved. How wretched are those who are vexed at the success of the gospel! They cannot but see that the word and power of the Lord are against them; and they tremble for the consequences, yet they will go on.The common prison - The public prison; or the prison for the keeping of common and notorious offenders. 17-23. sect of the Sadducees—See on [1953]Ac 4:1 for the reason why this is specified. See Acts 4:3. And laid their hands on the apostles,.... That is, laid hold on them, and took them, and carried them away; at least their servants did so, by their orders:

and put them in the common prison; where malefactors were put; and this both for greater security, and for greater disgrace.

And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 5:18. ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας: a phrase used twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and three times in the Acts, cf. Genesis 22:12. Cf. Hebrew שָׁלַח יָד אֶל.—ἐν τηρήσει δημοσίᾳ, “in public ward,” R.V. δημ. used here as an adjective, only found in N.T. in Acts, in the three other passages used as an adverb, Acts 16:37, Acts 18:28, Acts 20:20 (2Ma 6:10, 3Ma 2:2), cf. Thuc., v., 18, where τὸ δημόσιον = the public prison. See note above on Acts 4:3. Hilgenfeld is so far right in pointing out that the two imprisonments, Acts 4:3 and Acts 5:18, are occasioned by two different causes, in the first case by the preaching of the Apostles to the people, and in the second by the reverence which their miracles gained from the people.18. and laid their hands on the apostles] The best MSS. omit their. The whole of the twelve are now seized, for the authorities are roused to activity. It is clear from this that, though St Luke has only mentioned the speeches of Peter, with some slight notice that John also was a speaker, yet all the Apostles were busy, and could have been quoted as preachers and teachers had it been any part of the compiler’s purpose to write a history of all the Apostles.

and put them in the common prison] The noun is the same as in Acts 4:3, and the notion—that of ward, as a place of temporary imprisonment till the formal summoning of the council next day—should here be preserved. Read, in public ward. Such confinement was only precautionary and formed no part of the punishment intended by the Sadducees.Verse 18. - Laid hands (as Acts 4:3, A.V. and R.V.) for laid their hands, A.V. and T.R.; in public ward for in the common prison, A.V. Laid hands, etc. Laid their hands is equally right, even when αὑτῶν is omitted, as the translation of τὰς χεῖρας. There is no difference in the sense in the two renderings, or in the two passages, though in Acts 4:3 the phrase is ἐπέβαλον αὐτοῖς τὰς χεῖρας, and here ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀποστόλους. In public ward. The A.V. is more idiomatic and expresses exactly what is meant by the phrase τηρήσει δημοσίᾳ. Meyer quotes the phrases τὸ δημόσιον in Thucydides, and οἰκία δημόσια in Xenophon for the common piton (see Acts 4:3). In the common prison (ἐν τηρήσει δημοσίᾳ)

Incorrect. Τήρησις is not used in the sense of prison, but is an abstract term meaning ward or keeping, as in Acts 4:3. There is no article, moreover. Note, too, that another word is used for the prison in the next verse (τῆς φυλακῆς). Rev., therefore, correctly, in public ward.

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