Acts 6:12
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
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6:8-15 When they could not answer Stephen's arguments as a disputant, they prosecuted him as a criminal, and brought false witnesses against him. And it is next to a miracle of providence, that no greater number of religious persons have been murdered in the world, by the way of perjury and pretence of law, when so many thousands hate them, who make no conscience of false oaths. Wisdom and holiness make a man's face to shine, yet will not secure men from being treated badly. What shall we say of man, a rational being, yet attempting to uphold a religious system by false witness and murder! And this has been done in numberless instances. But the blame rests not so much upon the understanding, as upon the heart of a fallen creature, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yet the servant of the Lord, possessing a clear conscience, cheerful hope, and Divine consolations, may smile in the midst of danger and death.And they stirred up the people - They "excited" the people, or alarmed their fears, as had been done before when they sought to put the Lord Jesus to death, Matthew 27:20.

The elders - The members of the Sanhedrin, or Great Council.

Scribes - See the notes on Matthew 2:4.

To the council - To the Sanhedrin, or the Great Council of the nation, which claimed jurisdiction in the matters of religion. See the notes on Matthew 2:4.

11-14. blasphemous words against Moses—doubtless referring to the impending disappearance of the whole Mosaic system.

and against God—This must refer to the supreme dignity and authority which he claimed for Christ, as the head of that new economy which was so speedily to supersede the old (compare Ac 7:56, 59, 60).

Being overcome by reason and arguments, they betake themselves to all the evil arts imaginable; they suborn witnesses against St. Stephen, as was done against Naboth, and (that we read of) never before; they make the people, and the number, (which is usually the worst), on their side; then they complain of him to the priests, &c.; and lest any, or all these, should fail, they lay violent hands on him themselves. Sin goes on as a current, and never stops, unless an Almighty word be spoken unto it to go no further.

And they stirred up the people,.... The common people, who were easily wrought upon, and soon incensed and provoked, when at any time it was suggested to them that the rituals and ceremonies of the law of Moses were treated with any neglect or contempt; see Acts 21:27.

And the elders and the Scribes; who belonged to the sanhedrim, to whom they reported these things, as persons, under whose cognizance they properly came:

and came upon him; at an unawares, and in an hostile way:

and caught him; seized him with violence:

and brought him to the council; the great sanhedrim, then sitting at Jerusalem, to whom it belonged to judge of blasphemy.

{9} And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,

(9) The first bloody persecution of the Church of Christ, began and sprang from a council of priests, by the suggestion of the university teachers.

Acts 6:12-14. The assertion of these ὑποβλητοί (Joseph. Bell. v. 10. 4; Plut. Tib. Gr. 8) served to direct the public opinion against Stephen; but a legal process was requisite for his complete overthrow, and prudence required the consent of the people. Therefore they stirred up the people and the elders of the people and the scribes, etc.

συνεκίνησαν] they drew them into the movement with them, stirred up them also. Often in Plut., Polyb., etc.

καὶ ἐπιστάντες] as in Acts 4:1. The subject is still those hostile τινές.

συνήρπ.] they drew along with them, as in Acts 19:29.

μάρτυρας ψευδεῖς] Consequently, Stephen had not spoken the same words, which were then adduced by these witnesses, Acts 6:14, as heard from him. Now, namely, in presence of the Sanhedrim, it concerned them to bear witness to the blasphemy alleged to have been heard according to the real state of the facts, and in doing so those ἄνδρες ὑποβλητοί dealt as false witnesses. As formerly (Matthew 26:61) a saying of Jesus (John 2:19) was falsified in order to make Him appear as a rebel against the theocracy; so here also some expression of Stephen now unknown to us,—wherein the latter probably had pointed, and that in the spirit of Jesus Himself, to the reformatory influence of Christianity leading to the dissolution of the temple-worship and legal institutions, and the consummation of it by the Parousia, and had indeed, perhaps, quoted the prophecy of the Lord concerning the destruction of Jerusalem,—was so perverted, that Stephen now appears as herald of a revolution to be accomplished by Jesus, directed against the temple and against the law and the institutions of Moses.[187] Against the view of Krause (Comment. in histor. atque orat. Steph., Gott. 1780), that an expression of other, more inconsiderate Christians was imputed to Stephen, may be urged not only the utter arbitrariness of such a supposition, but also the analogy of the procedure against Jesus, which very naturally presented itself to the enemies of Stephen as a precedent. Heinrichs (after Heumann and Morus) thinks that the μάρτυρες were in so far ΨΕΝΔΕῖς, as they had uttered an expression of Stephen with an evil design, in order to destroy him; so also Sepp, p. 17. But in that case they would not have been false, but only malicious witnesses; not a ψεῦδος, but a bad motive would have been predominant. Baur also and Zeller maintain the essential correctness of the assertion, and consequently the incorrectness of the narrative, in so far as it speaks of false witnesses. But an antagonism to the law, such as is ascribed by the latter to Stephen, would lack all internal basis and presupposition in the case of a believing Israelite full of wisdom and of the Holy Spirit (comp. Baumgarten, p. 125); as regards its true amount, it can only be conceived as analogous to the subsequent procedure of Paul, which, as in Acts 18:13, Acts 21:21, was misrepresented with similar perversity; nor does the defensive address, Acts 7:44-53, lead further. Nevertheless, Rauch in the Stud. u. Krit. 1857, p. 356, has maintained that Stephen actually made the assertion adduced by the witnesses, Acts 6:14, and that these were only false witnesses, in so far as they had not themselves heard this expression from the mouth of Stephen, which yet was the purport of their statement. This is at variance with the entire design and representation (see particularly Acts 6:11). And the utterance itself, as the witnesses professed to have heard it, would, at any rate, even if used as a veil for a higher meaning, be framed after a manner so alien to Israelite piety and so unwise, that it could not be attributed at all to Stephen, full as he was of the Spirit. Oecumenius has correctly stated the matter: ἐπειδὴ ἄλλως μὲν ἤκουσαν, ἄλλως δὲ νῦν αὐτοὶ προυχώρουν, εἰκότως καὶ ψευδομάρτυρες ἀναγράΦονται.

τοῦ τόπου τοῦ ἁγίου] the holy place κατʼ ἐξοχήν is the temple, 3Ma 2:14.

Acts 6:14. ὁ Ναζωρ. οὗτος] is not to be considered as part of the utterance of Stephen, but as proceeding from the standpoint of the false witnesses who so designate Jesus contemptuously, and blended by them with the words of Stephen. And not only is ὁ Ναζωρ. an expression of contempt, but also οὗτος (Acts 7:40, Acts 19:26; Luke 15:30; Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 494; Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. ix. 29, p. 492): Jesus, this Nazarene!

τὸν τόπον τοῦτον] The false witnesses represent the matter, as if Stephen had thus spoken pointing to the temple.

[187] Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 148. But that Stephen, as Renss thinks (in Herzog’s Encykl. XV. p. 73), preached something which the apostles had not previously taught, is all the more uncertain an assumption, seeing that already in the sayings of Jesus Himself sufficient materials for the purpose were given. Comp. e.g. John 4:21 ff., the sayings of Jesus concerning the Sabbath, concerning the Levitical purifications, concerning the πλήρωσις of the law, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Parousia, etc. But Stephen (ὁ τῷ πνεύματι ζέων, Constitt. ap. viii. 46. 9) may have expressed himself in a more threatening and incisive manner than others, and thereby have directed the persecution to himself. In so far he was certainly the forerunner of Paul.

Acts 6:12. συνεκίνησαν: not found in LXX or other Greek versions of O.T., or in the Apocrypha, cf. Polyb., xv., 17, 1, so too in Plutarch. As this word and συνήρπασαν are found only in St. Luke it is perhaps worth noting that they are both frequent in medical writers, see below.—τὸν λαὸν: a crafty design to gain the people first, not only because they had hitherto favoured the Nazarenes, but because the Sanhedrim would be more inclined to take action if they felt that the people were with them, cf. Acts 4:26.—ἐπιστάντες, see on Acts 4:1.—συνήρπασαν, “seized him,” R.V.; “caught,” A.V., signifies rather capture after pursuit than a sudden seizure (Humphry); only in St. Luke in the N.T., once in his Gospel, Acts 8:29, and Acts 19:29; Acts 27:15. In the first passage it is used of the demoniac of the country of the Gerasenes; many times the evil spirit συνηρπάκει αὐτόν; see 2Ma 7:27, Proverbs 6:25, 2Ma 4:41, 4Ma 5:4. The word is also quite classical, see Hobart, Medical Language, pp. 204, 243; on the hostility against Stephen and its causes, see above. At this word συνήρπ. Hilgenfeld would stop, and the rest of the verse, ἤγαγον to Acts 7:2, is referred by him to his “author to Theophilus”. The leading Stephen before the Sanhedrim is thus excluded by Hilgenfeld, because nothing is said of the previous summoning of the Council as in Acts 4:5-6! and the introduction of false witnesses and their accusation is something quite different from the charge of blasphemous words against Moses and God! In somewhat the same manner Spitta refers Acts 6:1-6; Acts 6:9-12 a, to his source A, and sees so far a most trustworthy narrative, no single point in which can fairly be assailed by criticism, Apostelgeschichte, p. 115, whilst vi. 7 f., 12b–15 constitute , a worthless document on account of its legendary and fictitious character—instituting a parallel between the death of Stephen and that of Christ, and leaving nothing historical except the fact that Stephen was a conspicuous member of the early Church who died as a martyr by stoning. But whilst Hilgenfeld and Spitta thus treat the passage beginning with καὶ ἤγαγον, Jüngst refers these verses and the rest of the chapter as far as Acts 6:14 to his source A, whilst the previous part of Acts 6:12, συνεκίνησαναὐτόν, is in his view an insertion of the Redactor. Clemen regards the whole incident of the bringing before the Sanhedrim as a later addition, and as forming part of his Historia Petri, the revolutionary nature of Stephen’s teaching being placed in the mouth of false witnesses, and the fanaticism of the Jews being lessened by their susceptibility at any rate to the outward impression made by their opponents (Acts 6:15).

12. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes] of whom the latter two classes had already been exasperated against the Apostles. And now that it was told them that the glory of the Temple was spoken against, the common people would be readily roused, for the Temple was the object of great admiration and pride, as we can see from the words of Christ’s disciples (Matthew 24:1).

and came upon him] As the scribes and Pharisees upon Jesus in the Temple (Luke 20:1).

and caught him, and brought him to the council] A fit prelude to their still more violent proceedings after Stephen’s defence was ended (Acts 7:57).

Acts 6:12. Συνεκίνησαν, they stirred up) Κινεῖσθαι, to be moved or stirred up, is especially said of that which is not moved by reason: ch. Acts 21:30.—τὸν λαὸν, the people) which was powerful by reason of its numbers.—τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους, the elders) who were powerful in authority.—τοὺς γραμματεῖς, the scribes) who were powerful in learning.

Verse 12. - Seized for caught, A.V.; into for to, A.V. And they stirred up; i.e. by means of the reports spread by the men whom they suborned, and by working upon the feelings of the people and the elders and scribes, these men of the synagogues so excited them that they obtained permission to arrest Stephen and bring him before the Sanhedrim. Acts 6:12They stirred up the people (συνεκίνησαν τὸν λαὸν)

The verb occurs only here in the New Testament. It implies to stir up as a mass, to move them together (σύν). This is the first record of the hostility of the people toward the disciples. See Acts 2:47.

Caught (συνήρπασαν)

Used by Luke only. Better as Rev., seized. See on Luke 8:29.

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