Acts 9:25
Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Let him down by the wall in a basket.—The basket is the spuris of Matthew 15:37, where see Note. In 2Corinthians 11:33 St. Paul describes it by another word (sarganè), which gives the idea of a wicker or rope-work hamper. It seems to follow, from the tone in which the Apostle there speaks of this adventure, that it had been made matter of ridicule. It is connected in his thoughts with the “infirmities” (probably with his smallness of stature) of which he was content to boast. The escape was effected, like that of the spies from the house of Rahab (Joshua 2:15) and of David from his own house (1Samuel 19:11), through an opening or “window” in the town wall. Such a window is still shown in the wall of Damascus as the traditional scene of the escape.

9:23-31 When we enter into the way of God, we must look for trials; but the Lord knows how to deliver the godly, and will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape. Though Saul's conversion was and is a proof of the truth of Christianity, yet it could not, of itself, convert one soul at enmity with the truth; for nothing can produce true faith, but that power which new-creates the heart. Believers are apt to be too suspicious of those against whom they have prejudices. The world is full of deceit, and it is necessary to be cautious, but we must exercise charity, 1Co 13:5. The Lord will clear up the characters of true believers; and he will bring them to his people, and often gives them opportunities of bearing testimony to his truth, before those who once witnessed their hatred to it. Christ now appeared to Saul, and ordered him to go quickly out of Jerusalem, for he must be sent to the Gentiles: see ch. 22:21. Christ's witnesses cannot be slain till they have finished their testimony. The persecutions were stayed. The professors of the gospel walked uprightly, and enjoyed much comfort from the Holy Ghost, in the hope and peace of the gospel, and others were won over to them. They lived upon the comfort of the Holy Ghost, not only in the days of trouble and affliction, but in days of rest and prosperity. Those are most likely to walk cheerfully, who walk circumspectly.Took him by night ... - This was done through a window in the wall, 2 Corinthians 11:33.

In a basket - This word is used to denote commonly "the basket in which food was carried," Matthew 15:37; Mark 8:8, Mark 8:20. It was in this way that Rahab let down the spies Joshua 2:15, and so David escaped from Saul, 1 Samuel 19:12. Probably this occurred in an unguarded part of the wall, where some overhanging houses, as is usual in Eastern cities, opened into the outer country. This conduct of Saul was in accordance with the direction of the Lord Jesus Matthew 10:23, "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another," etc. Saul was certain of death if he remained; and as he could secure his life by flight without abandoning any principle of religion, or denying his Lord, it was his duty to do so. Christianity requires us to sacrifice our lives only when we cannot avoid it without denying the Saviour, or abandoning the principles of our religion.

25. Then the disciples … by night let him down—"through a window" (2Co 11:33).

by the wall—Such overhanging windows in the walls of Eastern cities were common, and are to be seen in Damascus to this day.

As Rahab did the spies, Joshua 2:15, and Michal did David, 1 Samuel 19:12. Then the disciples took him by night,.... The Alexandrian copy reads, "his disciples"; the disciples of Saul, such as he had been instrumental in making at Damascus: but it is not usual for the saints to be called in Scripture the disciples of any man; therefore the common reading is best, and designs the disciples and followers of Christ; who being concerned for the preservation of so valuable a life, took Saul in the night season,

and let him down by the wall in a basket. Damascus was a walled city; hence we read of the wall of Damascus, Jeremiah 49:27. And the house where Saul was, and which very likely was one of the disciples, was built upon the wall, as the house of Rahab was upon the town wall of Jericho; and as she let down the spies from thence by a cord through the window, Joshua 2:15 so the disciples let down Saul in a basket with cords through the window of the house, as appears from 2 Corinthians 11:33. See Gill on 2 Corinthians 11:33, no doubt, the disciples were directed by the overruling providence of God, in order to preserve the life of the apostle, who had much work to do for Christ in several parts of the world, and therefore must not fall into the hands of his enemies and die, his time not being yet come; and this shows, that it is lawful to make use of all prudent means and proper methods to prevent the designs of wicked men, and escape out of their hands, and preserve life when in danger; by which means Saul escaped their hands.

{5} Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

(5) We are not forbidden to avoid and eschew the dangers and conspiracies that the enemies of God lay for us, but only if we do not swerve from our vocation.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 9:25. οἱ μαθηταὶ—if we add αὐτοῦ, see critical notes, the words would apparently refer to Jews converted by Saul, so Chrysostom: “but his disciples” R.V. Alford, who reads αὐτοῦ, supposes that we have here an unusual government of the genitive by λαβόντες, and compares Luke 8:54 and classical instances, see in loco.διὰ τοῦ τείχους: “through the wall,” R.V., cf. 2 Corinthians 11:33, where we read διὰ θυρίδοςδιὰ τοῦ τεὶχους, perhaps a window in the external face of the wall opening into the house on the inside, rather than simply a window of a house overhanging the wall; cf. Joshua 2:16, 1 Samuel 19:12. Blass takes it of a window made “in ipso muro scil. ad tormenta mittenda,” but there is no need for this explantion; see Hackett’s note on his own observations at Damascus of two or three windows built in the wall as above.—χαλάσαντες ἐν σπυρίδι.: “lowering him,” R.V., not expressed in A.V.; on spelling of σπυρ. see critical note. In 2 Corinthians 11:33 Paul uses the word σαργάνη, a basket of wickerwork, σπυρ. a basket larger than the κόφινος, the small hand-basket of the Jew, Juv., iii., 14; vi., 541, probably a provision basket of considerable size, used as by the Paeonians for fishing, Herod., v., 16. σαργάνη too is used of a fish basket by Timokles, Ληθ., i., see further, “Basket,” Hastings’ B.D., and Plummer on Luke 9:17. Neither word is met with in the LXX or Apocrypha. For the naturalness of the incident according to the present customs of the country see Hackett, in loco. The traditional spot of its occurrence is still shown, but we can only say of it as of the “house of Judas,” see above on Acts 9:2. Wendt, p. 35 (1899), thinks that here we have a coincidence with the account in 2 Cor., which cannot be accounted for except by the acquaintance of the author of Acts with the Epistle.25. Then the disciples took him by night] The oldest MSS. read “But his disciples, &c.,” and this well-supported reading favours the explanation of the “many days” given in Acts 9:24. On his second visit Saul had remained long enough to nave gathered round him a party of followers who accepted him as their teacher.

and let him down by [through] the wall in a basket] In 2 Corinthians 11:33 St Paul says, “And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall and escaped.” Such apertures can be found in the walls of houses in all defenced cities, and it was by such a way that Rahab let the spies escape from Jericho (Joshua 2:15), and Michal aided David’s escape (1 Samuel 19:12). The basket here mentioned (spuris) is the same that is spoken of (Matthew 15:37) at the feeding of the four thousand in the mountain district west of the Sea of Galilee. It appears to have been large and soft, fit for carrying a large quantity of miscellaneous articles from the plain into the hills, while the baskets (cophinoi) spoken of at the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:20) were such as the multitude, which in that case had followed Jesus on foot out of the cities, would be likely to carry in their hands. In a basket of the former kind Saul might easily be wrapped and then lowered over the city wall.Acts 9:25. Καθῆκαν, let him down) This fact had been known to but few, before that Paul mentioned it, 2 Corinthians 11:31, etc., “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—knoweth that I lie not.” Luke knew most intimately all the affairs of Paul.Verse 25. - But for then, A.V.; his disciples for the disciples, A.V. and T.R.; through for by, A.V; lowering him in for in, A.V. Lowering him, etc. The A.V. gives the sense freely; and combining the verb καθῆκαν with the participle χαλάσαντες, translates both by the one word "let him down." The by of the A.V. seems preferable to the through of the R.V., as through suggests the idea, which cannot be intended, of making a hole in the wall. The escape of the spies from Jericho, as described in Joshua 2:15, was exactly in the same way, except that they had only a rope to descend by, whereas St. Paul had a rope-basket. In the description of his escape given by St. Paul to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:33), he uses the same word for "let down" (ἐχαλάσθην), tells us he was let down "by the wall," R.V. διὰ τοῦ τείχους, with the additional particular that he got out through the window, διὰ θυρίδος, and that it was a σαργάνη, a basket made of ropes (which describes the kind of basket somewhat more accurately than the σπυρίς here used) in which he was let down (see note on ver. 20). The passage in 2 Corinthians gives us a further interesting account of how the Jews went about to accomplish their purpose of killing Paul. It seems that at this time, either in revolt against the Romans or by permission of Caligula (it is not known certainly which), a certain Aretas, or Hareth, King of Arabia Petrea, included Damascus in his dominions for a time, i.e. through the reigns of Caligula and Claudius. He appointed an ethnarch, who was doubtless a Jew, to rule the large Jewish population according to their Law, and who was the ready tool of the unbelieving Jews, using his power as governor to have the gates kept day and night so as to prevent Saul's escape. But he that keepeth Israel neither slumbered nor slept, and by his watchful providence Saul escaped from their hands. As regards the R.Y., his disciples for the disciples, Alford adopts the reading λαβόντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτόν, and holds αὐτοῦ of the R.T. to be simply a mistake for αὐτόν, caused by the situation of αὐτόν after λαβόντες. The R.T. cannot be right. "The disciples" is St. Luke's regular expression for "Christians" (Acts 6:1, 2, 7; Acts 9:10, 19, 26; Acts 14:22; Acts 21:16), and is our Lord's name for his followers, but is never used by an apostle of his own followers (see 1 Corinthians 1:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 3:4-7). By the wall (διὰ τοῦ τείχους)

Rev., more accurately, through the wall, as is explained by 2 Corinthians 11:33. Either through the window of a house overhanging the wall, or through a window in the wall itself opening to houses on its inner side. Hackett says that he observed such windows in the wall at Damascus. On the mode of escape, compare Joshua 2:15; 1 Samuel 19:12.

Basket (σπυρίδι)

See on Matthew 14:20. In Paul's account of this adventure he uses σαργάνη, a plaited or braided basket of wicker-work; or, as some think, of ropes.

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