Acts 28:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live."

King James Bible
And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Darby Bible Translation
And when the barbarians saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said to one another, This man is certainly a murderer, whom, [though] saved out of the sea, Nemesis has not allowed to live.

World English Bible
When the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said one to another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped from the sea, yet Justice has not allowed to live."

Young's Literal Translation
And when the foreigners saw the beast hanging from his hand, they said unto one another, 'Certainly this man is a murderer, whom, having been saved out of the sea, the justice did not suffer to live;'

Acts 28:4 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

The venomous beast - Το θηριον, The venomous animal; for θηρια is a general name among the Greek writers for serpents, vipers, scorpions, wasps, and such like creatures. Though the viper fastened on Paul's hand, it does not appear that it really bit him; but the Maltese supposed that it had, because they saw it fasten on his hand.

Vengeance suffereth not to live - These heathens had a general knowledge of retributive justice; and they thought that the stinging of the serpent was a proof that Paul was a murderer. There is a passage in Bamidbar Rabba, fol. 239, that casts some light on this place. "Although the Sanhedrin is ceased, yet are not the four deaths ceased. For he that deserves stoning either falls from his house, or a wild beast tears and devours him. He that deserves burning either falls into the fire, or a serpent bites him. He that deserves cutting of with the sword is either betrayed into the power of a heathen kingdom, or the robbers break in upon him. He that deserves strangling is either suffocated in the water, or dies of a quinsy." See Lightfoot.

As these people were heathens, it is not likely that they had any correct notion of the justice of the true God; and therefore it is most probable that they used the word δικη, not to express the quality or attribute of any being, but the goddess Dik, or vindictive Justice, herself, who is represented as punishing the iniquities of men.

Hesiod makes a goddess of what the Maltese called Δικη, or Justice: -

Η δε τε παρθενος εϚι ΔΙΚΗ, Διος εκγεγαυια,

Κυδνη τ' αιδοιη τε θεοις, οἱ Ολυμπον εχουσιν·

Και ρ' ὁποτ' αν τις μιν βλαπτῃ σκολιως ονοταζων.

Αυτικα παρ Διΐ πατρι καθεζομενη Κρονιωνι

Γηρυετ' ανθρωπων αδικον νοον·

Hesiod. Opera, ver. 254.

Justice, unspotted maid, derived from Jove,

Renown'd and reverenced by the gods above:

When mortals violate her sacred laws,

When judges hear the bribe and not the cause,

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

barbarians.

Acts 28:2 And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain...

beast.

Acts 28:5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said...

Isaiah 13:21,22 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there...

Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert...

Zephaniah 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelled carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me...

No doubt.

Luke 13:2,4 And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans...

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

John 9:1,2 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth...

a murderer.

Genesis 4:8-11 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother...

Genesis 9:5,6 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man...

Genesis 42:21,22 And they said one to another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he sought us...

Numbers 35:31-34 Moreover you shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death...

Proverbs 28:17 A man that does violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity...

Matthew 23:35 That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth...

Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters...

Library
After the Wreck
'And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. 2. And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3. And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

On Faith
"Without faith it is impossible to please him." Heb. 11:6. 1. But what is Faith? It is a divine "evidence and conviction of things not seen;" of things which are not seen now, whether they are visible or invisible in their own nature. Particularly, it is a divine evidence and conviction of God, and of the things of God. This is the most comprehensive definition of faith that ever was or can be given; as including every species of faith, from the lowest to the highest. And yet I do not remember any
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Lix. What was Learned in God's House. Isaiah vi.
NOT SEEN BY EVERYONE THERE.--Isaiah had his eyes opened. The same awful Person had been present before, but had not been seen, and He is still there, but how few of us are conscious of His presence. How differently the church and chapel-goers would look next Sunday morning as they come home, if only they realised what had been going on in the place where they had spent the last hour. I. A LESSON FROM HISTORY.--"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord." The King of Judah was dead, but
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread

The Church of Jerusalem and the Labors of Peter.
Su hei Petros, kai epi taute petra oikodomeso mou ten ekklesian, kai pulai hadou ou katischusousin autes.--Matt. 16:18. Literature. I. Genuine sources: Acts 2 to 12; Gal. 2; and two Epistles of Peter. Comp. the Commentaries on Acts, and the Petrine Epistles. Among the commentators of Peter's Epp. I mention Archbishop Leighton (in many editions, not critical, but devout and spiritual), Steiger (1832, translated by Fairbairn, 1836), John Brown (1849, 2 vols.), Wiesinger (1856 and 1862, in Olshausen's
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

Cross References
Luke 13:2
Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

Luke 13:4
Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

John 9:2
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

Acts 28:2
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

Acts 28:3
Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.

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