Acts 5:33
When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) They were cut to the heart.—The strict meaning of the verb describes the action of a saw, as in Hebrews 11:37. Used figuratively, it seems to imply a more lacerating pain than the “pricked to the heart” of Acts 2:37, leading not to repentance but to hatred. The persons spoken of are principally the high priest and his Sadducean followers (Acts 5:17).

Acts 5:33. When they heard that — When the high-priest and the Sadducees heard this courageous testimony, and faithful remonstrance; they were cut to the heart — Greek, διεπριοντο, they were sawn asunder, namely, with anger and indignation. When a sermon was preached to the people to this purpose, they were pierced to the heart, Acts 2:37; namely, with remorse and godly sorrow: these here are cut to the heart with resentment and rage. Thus the same gospel is to some a savour of life unto life, and to others of death unto death; and its enemies not only deprive themselves of its comforts, but fill themselves with terrors, and are their own tormentors. And took counsel to slay them — To put them all to death, either under pretence of blasphemy, or for sedition and rebellion against the supreme council of the state. Thus, while the apostles proceeded in the service of Christ, with a holy security and serenity of mind, perfectly composed, and in a sweet enjoyment of themselves, their persecutors went on in their opposition to Christ, with constant perplexity and perturbation!

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.When they heard that - That which the apostle Peter had said, to wit, that they were guilty of murder; that Jesus was raised up; and that he still lived as the Messiah.

They were cut to the heart - The word used here properly denotes "to cut with a saw"; and as applied to the "mind," it means to be agitated with "rage" and "indignation," as if wrath should seize upon the mind as a saw does upon wood, and tear it violently, or agitate it severely. When used in connection with "the heart," it means that the heart is violently agitated and rent with rage. See Acts 7:54. It is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. The "reasons" why they were thus indignant were doubtless:

(1) Because the apostles had disregarded their command;

(2) Because they charged them with murder;

(3) Because they affirmed the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus, and thus tended to overthrow the sect of the Sadducees. The effect of the doctrines of the gospel is often to make people enraged.

Took counsel - The word rendered "took counsel" denotes commonly "to will"; then, "to deliberate"; and sometimes "to decree" or "to determine." It doubtless implies here that "their minds "were made up" to do it; but probably the formal decree was not passed to put them to death.

33. cut to the heart and took—"were taking."

counsel to slay them—How different this feeling and the effect of it from that "pricking of the heart" which drew from the first converts on the day of Pentecost the cry, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Ac 2:37). The words used in the two places are strikingly different.

They were cut to the heart; they grinned with their teeth, visibly showing the rage and fury that was within them, by which they were as sawn and divided asunder; malice and rage being a grievous torment to the cruel and malicious, o gar megav ponov to mh zhn kalwv..

When they heard that,.... This defence of the apostles, in which they still insisted upon it, that they had been the crucifiers of Christ, and yet that he was raised from the dead, and exalted in heaven, and was a spiritual Saviour of men:

they were cut; to the heart, as if they had been cut asunder with a saw; the Ethiopic version renders it, "they were angry", and "gnashed with their teeth", as if a saw was drawn to and fro; they were filled with rage and madness:

and took counsel to slay them; not in a legal and judicial way, but in a private manner, or by force; stirring up the zealots to rise up against them, and dispatch them at once, as blasphemers and heretics.

When they heard that, they {l} were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

(l) This shows that they were in a most vehement rage, and tremendously disquieted in mind, for it is a borrowed kind of speech taken from those who are harshly cut in pieces with a saw.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 5:33. Διεπρίοντο] not: they gnashed with the teeth, which would be διέπριον τοὺς ὀδόντας (Lucian. Calumn. 24), but dissecabantur (Vulgate), comp. Acts 7:54 : they were sawn through, cut through as by a saw (Plat. Conv. p. 193 A; Aristoph. Eq. 768; 1 Chronicles 20:3; see Suicer, Thes. I. p. 880; Valckenaer, p. 402 f.),—a figurative expression (comp. Acts 2:37) of deeply penetrating painful indignation. Alberti, Gloss. p. 67: πικρῶς ἐχαλέπαινον. It is stronger than the non-figurative διαπονεῖσθαι, Acts 4:2, Acts 16:18.

ἐβουλεύοντο] they consulted, Luke 14:31; Acts 15:37. The actual coming to a resolution was averted by Gamaliel.

Acts 5:33. διεπρίοντο: lit[184], were sawn asunder (in heart), dissecabantur, Vulgate (cf. use of findo in Persius and Plautus), cf. Acts 7:54 (Luke 2:35), Euseb., H. E., v., i., 6 (see Grimm, sub v.). The word is used in its literal sense in Aristoph., Equites, 768, Plato, Conv., p. 193 a, and once in the LXX, 1 Chronicles 20:3. The rendering “sawed their teeth” would certainly require τοὺς ὀδόντας as in other cases where the verb (and the simple verb also) has any such meaning. Dr. Kennedy, Sources of N. T. Greek, pp. 72, 73, also refers to its use in the comic poet Eubulus (Meineke), 3, 255, and classes it among the words (colloquial) common to the comic poets (including Aristophanes) and the N.T. Here we have not the pricking of the heart, Acts 2:37, which led to contrition and repentance, but the painful indignation and envy which found vent in seeking to rid themselves of the disciples as they had done of their Master.—ἀνελεῖν: the verb is found no less than nineteen times in Acts, twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and only two or three times in the rest of the N.T., once in Matthew 2:16, Hebrews 10:9 (2 Thessalonians 2:8); often used as here in LXX and classical Greek; it is therefore not one of those words which can be regarded as distinctly medical terms, characteristic of St. Luke (so Hobart and Zahn), although it is much used in medical writers. The noun ἀναίρεσις, Acts 8:1, is only found in St. Luke, and is also frequent in medical writers, Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, pp. 209, 210; but this word is also used in LXX of a violent death or destruction, cf. Numbers 11:15, Jdt 15:4, 2Ma 5:13. At the same time it is interesting to note that ἐπιχειρεῖν, another medical word characteristic of St. Luke, and used by him in the sense of attempting, trying, is found with ἀνελεῖν in Acts 9:29, cf. Zahn, Einleitung, ii., p. 384, with which Hobart compares ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἰατρὸς ἀνελεῖν ἐπιχειρεῖ τὸ νόσημα (Galen), see in loco.

[184] literal, literally.

33–42. Effect of the Apostles’ defence. Counsel of Gamaliel. Release and subsequent conduct of the Twelve

33. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart] There is no Greek here for to the hearty, but as in the only other place in the N. T. where this verb is found (Acts 7:54) those words are added to it, it is best here to supply them to complete the sense, which is the same here as in that passage. The effect described is not the compunction which leads to penitence, but the annoyance that results in more furious anger.

and took counsel to slay them] The best texts read, and wished to slay them. So to get rid of the fear of one man’s blood being brought upon them, they would take the lives of twelve more.

Acts 5:33. Διεπρίοντο) they were cut to the heart; ch. Acts 7:54. So the Latins say, ‘findor.’ [“Cor meum finditur”.—Plaut. Bac. ii. 3, 17.]—ἐβουλεύοντο) they took counsel.

Verse 33. - But they, when they heard this, for when they heard that, they, A.V.; were minded for took counsel, A.V. and T.R. (ἐβούλοντο for ἐβουλεύοντο, as also Acts 15:39). The word for were cut to the heart (διέπριοντο) is found only here and in Acts 7:54, where the full phrase is given. It means literally, in the active voice, "to saw asunder," and is so used by the LXX. in 1 Chronicles 20:2. In Hebrews 11:37 it is the simple verb πρίω which is used; πρίω and several of its compounds are surgical terms. Acts 5:33They were cut to the heart (διεπρίοντο)

Only here and Acts 7:54. The verb means, originally, to saw asunder. A strong figure for exasperation.

To slay

See on Luke 23:32.

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