Acts 5:26
Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
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(26) Without violence . . .—The scene recalls that of John 7:45. Here, however, the Apostles set the example of unresisting acquiescence, even though the tide of feeling in their favour was so strong that they might have easily raised a tumult in their favour. The signs that had been recently wrought, perhaps also the lavish distribution of alms, the ideal communism of the disciples, were all likely, till counteracted by stronger influences, to secure popular favour.

Acts 5:26-28. Then went the captain with the officers — By the direction of the sanhedrim; and brought them Ου μετα βιας, not by violence; for they feared the people, lest — If they had offered any violence in their presence; they should have been stoned — The people were so fully persuaded that a divine power attended the apostles, that they held their persons sacred, and would not have borne any open attack upon them. “This may seem a surprising change in the people, considering the eagerness with which they demanded that Christ should be crucified. But it is exceedingly probable, that seeing the mighty power which wrought in the apostles, they might entertain some hope of obtaining temporal deliverance by their means, (see Acts 1:6,) of which they were so exceedingly fond; and a disappointment in their hope of which had turned their hosannas [addressed to Christ] into the cry, Crucify him, crucify him.” And when they had brought them — For the apostles made no opposition, but readily and cheerfully obeyed the summons, that they might repeat their testimony to their Divine Master, in the presence of the rulers; they set them before the council — In order to their examination. We may think, if God designed that the apostles should be thus seized, and brought before the sanhedrim a second time, why were they rescued from their first imprisonment? But that was intended to humble the pride, and check the fury of these their persecutors. And the high-priest — Singling out Peter and John, who had so lately been examined before the council; asked them — As the mouth of the court; saying, Did we not straitly command you — You two in particular, and so, in effect, all the rest of your company, and on pain of our highest displeasure; that you should not teach in this name — But you have disobeyed our commands, and go on to preach, not only without our license, but against our express order. See the poor cunning of the enemies of the gospel! They make laws and interdicts at their pleasure, which those who obey God cannot but break, and then they take occasion thereby to censure and punish the innocent as guilty. And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine — Your false and pernicious doctrine, and thereby have disturbed the public peace; and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us — An artful and invidious expression. The apostles did not desire to accuse any man; they simply declared the naked truth. Thus these rulers charged them, not only with contumacy, and contempt of the court, but with sedition and faction, and a plot to set the people against them, for having persecuted, even to death, not only so innocent, but so good and great a man as this Jesus.

5:26-33 Many will do an evil thing with daring, yet cannot bear to hear of it afterward, or to have it charged upon them. We cannot expect to be redeemed and healed by Christ, unless we give up ourselves to be ruled by him. Faith takes the Saviour in all his offices, who came, not to save us in our sins, but to save us from our sins. Had Christ been exalted to give dominion to Israel, the chief priests would have welcomed him. But repentance and remission of sins are blessings they neither valued nor saw their need of; therefore they, by no means, admitted his doctrine. Wherever repentance is wrought, remission is granted without fail. None are freed from the guilt and punishment of sin, but those who are freed from the power and dominion of sin; who are turned from it, and turned against it. Christ gives repentance, by his Spirit working with the word, to awaken the conscience, to work sorrow for sin, and an effectual change in the heart and life. The giving of the Holy Ghost, is plain evidence that it is the will of God that Christ should be obeyed. And He will surely destroy those who will not have Him to reign over them.Without violence - Not by force; not by "binding" them. Compare Matthew 27:2. The command of the Sanhedrin was sufficient to secure their presence, as they did not intend to refuse to answer for any alleged violation of the laws. Besides, their going before the council would give them another noble opportunity to bear witness to the truth of the gospel. Christians, when charged with a violation of the laws of the land, should not refuse to answer, Acts 25:11, "If I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die." It is a part of our religion to yield obedience to all the just laws of the land, and to evince respect for all that are in authority, Romans 13:1-7.

For they feared the people - The people were favorable to the apostles. If violence had been attempted, or they had been taken in a cruel and forcible manner, the consequence would have been tumults and bloodshed. In this way, also, the apostles showed that they were not disposed to excite tumult. Opposition by them would have excited commotion; and though "they" would have been rescued, yet they resolved to show that they were not obstinate, contumacious, or rebellious, but were disposed, as far as it could be done with a clear conscience, to yield obedience to the laws of the land,

26. without violence, for they feared, &c.—hardened ecclesiastics, all unawed by the miraculous tokens of God's presence with the apostles, and the fear of the mob only before their eyes! Brought them without violence; they might, peradventure, think it needless or impossible to bind them against their wills, who had opened the prison, and so miraculously came out: however, another more certain reason is given of it;

they feared the people; they feared men more than God, who had done so great things amongst them.

Then went the captain with the offcers,.... That is, the captain of the temple, who had the command of it; he went thither attended with the officers and servants of the chief priests, the same that had been sent to the prison, to fetch the apostles:

and brought them without violence; they did not lay hold upon them, and drag them away in a violent manner; but gave them good words, and allured them, and entreated them to go along with them, and perhaps promised them, that no hurt should come to them, and that they should have full liberty to speak for themselves; the Ethiopic version renders it, "they brought them, behaving themselves mildly towards them"; they used no forcible, but gentle methods; they did not seize them in a violent way, and bind them, and carry them away by force:

for they feared the people; who had them in great esteem, because of the miracles done by them, and the benefit they received from them, both for their souls and bodies:

lest they should have been stoned; by the populace, who had they used them in a severe and cruel manner, would have risen upon them, and stoned them to death; the Ethiopic version renders it, "because they feared the people, they did not stone them"; as if the captain of the temple, and the officers would have stoned the apostles, but that they were afraid of the people.

{8} Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

(8) Tyrants who do not fear God are forced to fear his servants.

Acts 5:26-28. Οὐ μετὰ βίας] without application of violence. Comp. Acts 24:7 and the passages from Polybius in Raphel. More frequent in classical writers is βίᾳ, ἐκ βίας, πρὸς βίαν.

ἵνα μὴ λιθασθ.] contains the design of ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τ. λαόν. They feared the people, in order not to be stoned. How easily might the enthusiasm of the multitude for the apostles have resulted in a tumultuous stoning of the στρατηγός and his attendants (ὑπηρέτ.), if, by any compulsory measures, such as putting them in chains, there had been fearless disregard of the popular feeling! It is erroneous that after verbs of fearing, merely the simple μή, μήπως κ.τ.λ., should stand, and that therefore ἵνα μὴ λιθ. is to be attached to ἤγαγενβίας, and ἐφοβ. γ. τ. λ. to be taken parenthetically (so Winer, p. 471 [E. T. 634], de Wette). Even among classical writers those verbs are found connected with ὅπως μή (with ἵνα μή: Diod. Sic. ii. p. 329). See Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 116; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. ii. 9. 2; Krüger on Thuc. vi. 13. 1.

Assuming the spuriousness of οὐ, Acts 5:28 (see the critical remarks), the question proper is only to be found in καὶ βούλεσθε κ.τ.λ., for which the preceding (παραγγελίᾳδιδαχῆς ὑμῶν) paves the way.

παραγγ. παρηγγ.] see Acts 4:17-18.

ἐπὶ τ. ὀνομ. τ.] as in Acts 4:17.

βούλεσθε] your efforts go to this; “verbum invidiosum,” Bengel.

ἐπαγαγεῖν κ.τ.λ.] to bring about upon us, i.e. to cause that the shed blood of this man be avenged on us (by an insurrection of the people). “Pro confesso sumit Christum jure occisum fuisse,” Calvin. Comp. Matthew 23:35; Matthew 27:25; Acts 18:6; Joshua 23:15; Jdg 9:24; Leviticus 22:16. On the (contemptuous) τούτῳτούτου Bengel rightly remarks: “fugit appellare Jesum; Petrus appellat et celebrat, Acts 5:30-31.”

Observe how the high priest prudently leaves out of account the mode of their escape. Disobedience towards the, sacred tribunal was the fulcrum.

Acts 5:26. ἤγαγεν: but imperfect with W.H[180] and Weiss, so Blass “quia modus quo res gesta est describitur; perfecta res indicatur, Acts 5:27, ἀγαγόντες”.—οὐμετὰ βίας, “but without violence,” R.V. Weiss compares with the whole phrase ἦγενβίας (Exodus 14:25); βία three or four times in Acts only, Acts 21:35, Acts 24:7 (omit W.H[181], R.V.), Acts 27:41; used in the LXX in the same sense as here and with the genitive, cf. Exodus 14:25 (cf. Acts 1:14), 3Ma 4:7; classical usage more frequently has βίᾳ, ἐκ βίας, etc.—ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ: the favour of the people which the Apostles so fully enjoyed at this time might well have caused an outbreak of fanaticism as later in the case of Stephen. The subjects to ἐφοβ. and to ἔστησαν (27) are ὁ στρατ. and οἱ ὑπηρέται. St. Chrysostom well comments on those who would thus fear—not God, but the people. On the Greek of the verse, see Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 116 (1896).—ἵνα μὴ λιθασθῶσιν: the reading μὴ undoubtedly correct, so W.H[182], Wendt, Weiss, Blass.—τὸν λαόν: denoting the persons feared, and μὴ λιθασ., the thing feared, so that the meaning is as in R.V., “for they were afraid that they should be stoned by the people,” or ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τὸν λαὸν may be taken as parenthetical (so Weiss), and μὴ λιθασ. as limiting ἦγενβίας. In the N.T. after verbs of fearing the subjunctive only is used where after secondary tenses we should have expected the optative, or sometimes the subjunctive is explained as implying more certainty of a result. Burton, N. T. Moods and Tenses, pp. 95, 96.—λιθασ.: very seldom in Attic Greek, where we should expect καταλεύειν; only twice in LXX, 2 Samuel 16:6; 2 Samuel 16:13, where usually λιθοβολέω (not used in classical writers, but six or seven times in N.T.); but λιθάζειν is found eight or nine times in N.T.

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

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

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

26. without violence] Nor can we suppose that the Apostles were at all likely to offer resistance, for their examination before the council would afford them an opportunity of proclaiming the message of the Gospel.

lest they should have been stoned] We have already had evidence of the favour with which the disciples were looked upon by the people, and we can see from the account of the death of Stephen that the sudden outbreak of popular rage might result in the death of him against whom this feeling was displayed. And that the Jewish people were ready enough thus to take the law into their own hands, we can see from the Gospel history (John 10:31-33), and the parables of Jesus speak of such proceedings as though they were of no very rare occurrence (Matthew 21:35).

Acts 5:26. Οὐ μετὰ βίας) not with violence: which otherwise they would not have abstained from. Often the rude zeal of the multitude, though not good in itself, is conducive to a good cause: Luke 20:6.

Verse 26. - But without for without, A.V.; lest they should be, omitting ἵνα, for lest they should have been, with ἵνα, A.V. and T.R. Lest they should be, etc. The best way of construing the words, whether ἵνα is re-rained or not, is to make the clause "lest they should be stoned" depend upon "not with violence;" putting "for they feared the people" into a parenthesis; thus explaining why they thought it dangerous to use violence. Acts 5:26
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