Acts 5:24
Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
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(24) The high priest.—The Received text gives “the priest,” but the use of that word as meaning the high priest has no parallel in the New Testament, and the word is omitted by many of the best MSS.

The captain of the temple.—The commander of the Levite sentinels. (See Notes on Acts 4:1; Luke 22:52.)

Whereunto this would grow.—Literally, what it might become, or, possibly, what it might be. They do not seem to have recognised at once the supernatural character of what had taken place, and may have conjectured that the Apostles had by some human help effected their escape.

Acts 5:24-25. When the high-priest, &c., heard these things — So perfectly unexpected; they doubted of them — They were extremely perplexed, and even at their wit’s end, having never been so disappointed before of a thing they were so sure of. They doubted, τι αν γενοιτο τουτο, what this thing might be — That is, whether they had procured their liberty by corrupting the keepers, or whether there might not be something miraculous in the deliverance of persons, whom such extraordinary circumstances had attended; and in that case, what this affair might import, and what the issue of it might be. Thus the world, in persecuting the children of God, entangle themselves in numberless difficulties. Then came one — Who knew their disappointment, and the uneasiness it gave them; saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison — And have commanded to be brought to your bar; are standing in the temple — Here, however they came thither; and teaching the people — With as much freedom and confidence as ever. Now this confounded them more than any thing. Prisoners, who had broken prison, used to abscond for fear of being retaken; but these prisoners, after they had made their escape, durst show their faces even there where their prosecutors had the greatest influence.

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 captain of the temple - See the notes on Acts 4:1.

Doubted of them - They were in "perplexity" about these things. The word rendered "doubted" denotes "that state of anxiety which arises when a person has lost his way, or when he does not know what to do to escape from a difficulty." See Luke 9:7.

Whereunto this would grow - What this "would be"; or, what would be the result or end of these events. For:

(1) Their authority was disregarded.

(2) God had opposed them by a miracle.

(3) the doctrines of the apostles were gaining ground.

(4) their efforts to resist them had been in vain. They need "not" have doubted; but sinners are not disposed to be convinced of the truth of religion.

24-26. they doubted—"were in perplexity." The captain of the temple; the commander over the soldiers who were set to guard the temple, either to secure the treasure there, or to be in a readiness to suppress any tumult thereabouts; Pilate speaks of this, Matthew 27:65.

The chief priests; the heads of the families, or chief of the courses of the priests.

They doubted of them; by what means these wonderful things were done; for they were loth to see and acknowledge God in them.

Now when the high priest,.... Or "the priests", as it is read in most copies; the Complutensian edition reads, "the high priest"; and he is certainly designed, since he is distinguished from the chief priests after mentioned: the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, leave out this word; as does also the Alexandrian copy:

and the captain of the temple; the same versions read in the plural number; See Gill on Luke 22:4, Luke 22:52, Acts 4:1.

and the chief priests heard these things; which the officers related, that the prison doors were shut and sure, and the keepers upon their watch, and yet the apostles gone:

they doubted of them, whereunto this would grow; they did not doubt of the truth of the things their officers told them, but they were amazed at them, and hesitated in their minds about them, and were anxiously thoughtful; what this would, or should be, or how this should be done; that the prison doors should be shut, and yet the prisoners gone; they were in suspense and anxiety of mind, what to impute it to; whether to a divine and supernatural power, or to magic art; and were uneasy in their minds what would be the issue of so strange and surprising an event.

Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
Acts 5:24-25. Ὅ τε ἱερεύς] the (above designated) priest, points to the one expressly named in Acts 5:21 as ὁ ἁρχιερεύς. The word in itself has not the signification high priest; but the context (so also in 1Ma 15:1; Bar 1:7; Hebrews 5:6; and see Krebs, p. 178) gives to the general expression this special reference.

ὁ στρατηγὸς τ. ἱεροῦ] see on Acts 4:1. He also, as the executive functionary of sacred justice, was summoned to the Sanhedrim.

οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς] are the titular high priests; partly those who at an earlier date had really held the office, and partly the presidents of the twenty-four classes of priests. Comp. on Matthew 2:4The order in which Luke names the persons is quite natural. For first and chiefly the directing ἱερεύς, the head of the whole assembly, must feel himself concerned in the unexpected news; and then, even more than the ἀρχιερεῖς, the στρατηγός, because he, without doubt, had himself carried into effect the arrest mentioned at Acts 5:18, and held the supervision of the prison.

διηπόρουντοῦτο] they were full of perplexity (see on Luke 24:4) concerning them (the apostles), as to what this might come to—what they had to think of as the possible termination of the occurrence just reported to them. Comp. on Acts 2:12, also Acts 10:17.

ἑστῶτες κ.τ.λ.] Comp. Acts 5:20-21.

Acts 5:24. ὅ τε ἱερεὺς καὶ ὁ στρατηγὸς τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ οἱ ἀρχ.: if we retain ὁ ἱερεύς it must mean the high priest, Acts 5:27, cf. 1Ma 15:1; Jos., Ant., vi., 12, 1. But Weiss and Wendt both follow W.H[178] and R.V., and omit ἱερεὺς καὶ ὁ (so Blass [179]). ὁ στρατ. and οἱ ἀρχ. are thus closely united by the τε καὶ, inasmuch as the former in the flight of the prisoners had the greatest responsibility, and the ἀρχ. had occasioned the imprisonment, Acts 5:17. The στρατ. τοῦ ἱερ. was present at the meetings of the Sanhedrim, and assisted in their deliberations.—ἀρχιερεῖς: see on Acts 4:1. The word is probably used as including the heads of the twenty-four courses, those who had been high priests and still retained the title, and also those referred to in Acts 4:6. Schürer, Jewish People, div. ii., vol. i., 203–206; O. Holtzmann, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, p. 142.—διηπόρουν, Acts 2:12, “were much perplexed,” R.V.—See on περὶ αὐτῶν, sc., λόγοι: not the Apostles, as Alford and Meyer.—τί ἂν γένοιτο τοῦτο, “whereunto this might grow,” so A. and R.V. Blass interprets quomodo hoc factum esse posset, cf. Acts 10:17; Grammatik des N. G., p. 173. St. Luke alone uses the optative with ἄν in the N.T., cf. Luke 1:62; Luke 6:11; Luke 9:46, Acts 5:24; Acts 8:31; Acts 10:17; Acts 17:18 (Luke 15:26; Luke 18:36, Acts 26:29, doubtful text); Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, pp. 80 and 133; see also Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 66 (1893).

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

[179] R(omana), in Blass, a first rough copy of St. Luke.

24. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple] The best MSS. have only Now when the captain of the temple. The word which in the A. V. is rendered high priest is simply = priest, but the like usage is common enough in Hebrew.

On the captain of the temple, see Acts 4:1; and on chief priests, Acts 4:23.

heard these things] Better, these words. It refers simply to the report which the officers had just brought back.

they doubted of them whereunto this would grow] i.e. they were at a loss about what was said, and did not know what step to take next. It is worthy of notice that when the Apostles are brought before them in the end, the magistrates avoid all questions about how they had been released. They clearly wished to have no more testimony to the supernatural powers which had been so often manifested in connection with Jesus and His followers. Caiaphas and his party could not be ignorant how Jesus Himself had risen out of His grave to the great terror of the Jewish guard set over it. With the opinions these authorities held, we can quite understand their perplexity and their silence on the subject, at all events before the disciples and the multitude.

Acts 5:24. Διηπόρουν, they were perplexed) The world, in harassing the servants of God, involves itself in countless perplexities, and attributes all the blame to them: ch. Acts 12:18, Acts 16:20, Acts 17:6.

Verse 24. - The captain of the temple for the high priest and the captain, etc., A.V. and T.R.; words for things, A.V.; were much perplexed concerning them for doubted of them, A.V. The captain of the temple, etc. Meyer, followed by Alford, retains the T.R., in which the word for the high priest is ὁ ἱερεὺς. It is true that this word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament for "the high priest." But in the Old Testament כֹהֵן is very frequently used to designate the high priest, as Exodus 29:30; Exodus 35:19; Numbers 3:32; 2 Chronicles 22:11; 2 Kings 22:10; 1 Kings 1:8, etc.; and in such places is represented by ἱερεὺς in the LXX. So that St. Luke may very probably have used it here where the context made the meaning clear, and where he intended to use the word ἀρχιερεῖς for "the chief priests." For the captain, see above (Acts 4:1, note). He was especially interested as being, probably, the officer who had arrested the apostles the day before. Were much perplexed concerning. The verb (διαπορέω), which only occurs in the New Testament here and Acts 2:12, 10:17, Luke 9:7, and (in the middle voice) Luke 24:4, means properly "to be in doubt which road to take," hence generally to be in doubt, perplexity. Them may apply either to the words, the strange things just reported to them, or to the apostles about whom the things were reported. It seems most natural to refer it to the words. They were in doubt and perplexity as to what it would all grow to. Acts 5:24They doubted (διηπόρουν)

See on Luke 9:5. Rev., were much perplexed, giving the force of διά, thoroughly at a loss. Compare Luke 24:4.

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