New American Standard Bible
"Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?"
King James Bible
Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?
Darby Bible Translation
Thou art not then that Egyptian who before these days raised a sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the assassins?
World English Bible
Aren't you then the Egyptian, who before these days stirred up to sedition and led out into the wilderness the four thousand men of the Assassins?"
Young's Literal Translation
art not thou, then, the Egyptian who before these days made an uprising, and did lead into the desert the four thousand men of the assassins?'
Acts 21:38 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Art not thou that Egyptian? - That Egyptian was probably a Jew who resided in Egypt. Josephus has given an account of this Egyptian which strikingly accords with the statement here recorded by Luke. See Josephus, Antiq., book 20, chapter 8, section 6, and Jewish Wars, book 2, chapter 13, section 5. The account which he gives is, that this Egyptian, whose name he does not mention, came from Egypt to Jerusalem, and said that he was a prophet, and advised the multitude of the common people to go with him to the Mount of Olives. He said further that he would show them from thence how the walls of Jerusalem would fall down: and he promised them that he would procure for them an entrance through those walls when they were fallen down. Josephus adds (Jewish Wars) that he got together 30,000 men that were deluded by him; "these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force from that place. But Felix, who was apprised of his movements, marched against him with the Roman soldiers, and defeated him, and killed 400 of them, and took 200 alive. But the Egyptian escaped himself out of the fight, but did not appear anymore." It was natural that the Roman tribune should suppose that Paul was this Egyptian, and that his return had produped this commotion and excitement among the people.
Madest an uproar - Producing a sedition, or a rising among the people. Greek: "That Egyptian, who before these days having risen up."
Into the wilderness - This corresponds remarkably with the account of Josephus. He indeed mentions that he led his followers to the Mount of Olives, but he expressly says that "he led them round about from the wilderness." This wilderness was the wild and uncultivated mountainous tract of country lying to the east of Jerusalem, and between it and the river Jordan. See the notes on Matthew 3:1. It is also another striking coincidence showing the truth of the narrative, that neither Josephus nor Luke mention the name of this Egyptian, though he was so prominent and acted so distinguished a part.
Four thousand men - There is here a remarkable discrepancy between the chief captain and Josephus. The latter says that there were 30,000 men. In regard to this, the following remarks may be made:
(1) This cannot be alleged to convict Luke of a false statement, for his record is, that the chief captain made the statement, and it cannot be proved that Luke has put into his mouth words which he did not utter. All that he is responsible for is a correct report of what the Roman tribune said, not the truth or falsehood of his statement. It is certainly possible that that might have been the common estimate of the number then, and that the account given by Josephus might have been made from more correct information. Or it is possible, certainly, that the statement by Josephus is incorrect.
(2) if Luke were to be held responsible for the statement of the number, yet it remains to be shown that he is not as credible a historian as Josephus. Why should Josephus be esteemed infallible, and Luke false? Why should the accuracy of Luke be tested by Josephus, rather than the accuracy of Josephus by Luke? Infidels usually assume that profane historians are infallible, and then endeavor to convict the sacred writers of falsehood.
(3) the narrative of Luke is the more probable of the two. It is more probable that the number was only 4,000 than that it was 30,000 thousand; for Josephus says that 400 were killed and 200 were taken prisoners, and that thus they were dispersed. Now, it is scarcely credible that an army of 30,000 desperadoes and cut-throats would be dispersed by so small a slaughter and captivity. But if the number was originally only 4,000, it is entirely credible that the loss of 600 would discourage and dissipate the remainder.
(4) it is possible that the chief captain refers only to the organized Sicarii, or murderers that the Egyptian led with him, and Josephus to the multitude that afterward joined them the rabble of the discontented and disorderly that followed them on their march. Or,
(5) There may have been an error in transcribing Josephus. It has been supposed that he originally wrote four thousand, but that ancient copyists, mistaking the (Δ D) delta, four, for (Λ L) lambda, thirty, wrote 30,000 instead of 4,000. Which of these solutions is adopted is not material.
That were murderers - Greek: men of the Sicarii - τῶν σικαρίων tōn sikariōn. This is originally a Latin word, and is derived from sica, a short sword, sabre, or crooked knife, which could be easily concealed under the garment. Hence, it came to denote "assassins," and to be applied to "banditti, or robbers." It does not mean that they had actually committed murder, but that they were desperadoes and banditti, and were drawn together for purposes of plunder and of blood. This class of people was exceedingly numerous in Judea. See the notes on Luke 10:30.
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'And it came to pass, that, after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 2. And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 3. Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 4. And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the …
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From Antioch to the Destruction of Jerusalem.
"So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold, He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them.
The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection.
(He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.)
"For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.
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