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Acts 21:23-26

Context
21:23 So do what 1  we tell you: We have four men 2  who have taken 3  a vow; 4  21:24 take them and purify 5  yourself along with them and pay their expenses, 6  so that they may have their heads shaved. 7  Then 8  everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told 9  about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with 10  the law. 11  21:25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided 12  that they should avoid 13  meat that has been sacrificed to idols 14  and blood and what has been strangled 15  and sexual immorality.” 21:26 Then Paul took the men the next day, 16  and after he had purified himself 17  along with them, he went to the temple and gave notice 18  of the completion of the days of purification, 19  when 20  the sacrifice would be offered for each 21  of them.

1 tn Grk “do this that.”

2 tn Grk “There are four men here.”

3 tn L&N 33.469 has “‘there are four men here who have taken a vow’ or ‘we have four men who…’ Ac 21:23.”

4 tn On the term for “vow,” see BDAG 416 s.v. εὐχή 2.

5 sn That is, undergo ritual cleansing. Paul’s cleansing would be necessary because of his travels in “unclean” Gentile territory. This act would represent a conciliatory gesture. Paul would have supported a “law-free” mission to the Gentiles as an option, but this gesture would represent an attempt to be sensitive to the Jews (1 Cor 9:15-22).

6 tn L&N 57.146 has “δαπάνησον ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς ‘pay their expenses’ Ac 21:24.”

7 tn The future middle indicative has causative force here. BDAG 686 s.v. ξυράω has “mid. have oneself shavedτὴν κεφαλήν have ones head shavedAc 21:24.”

sn Having their heads shaved probably involved ending a voluntary Nazirite vow (Num 6:14-15).

8 tn Grk “and.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the logical sequence.

9 tn The verb here describes a report or some type of information (BDAG 534 s.v. κατηχέω 1).

10 tn Grk “adhere to the keeping of the law.” L&N 41.12 has “στοιχέω: to live in conformity with some presumed standard or set of customs – ‘to live, to behave in accordance with.’”

11 sn The law refers to the law of Moses.

12 tn L&N 13.154 has “‘having decided that they must keep themselves from food offered to idols, from blood, from an animal that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality’ Ac 21:25.”

sn Having decided refers here to the decision of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:6-21). Mention of this previous decision reminds the reader that the issue here is somewhat different: It is not whether Gentiles must first become Jews before they can become Christians (as in Acts 15), but whether Jews who become Christians should retain their Jewish practices. Sensitivity to this issue would suggest that Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians might engage in different practices.

13 tn This is a different Greek word than the one used in Acts 15:20, 29. BDAG 1068 s.v. φυλάσσω 3 has “to be on one’s guard against, look out for, avoid…w. acc. of pers. or thing avoided…Ac 21:25.” The Greek word used in Acts 15:20, 29 is ἀπέχω (apecw). The difference in meaning, although slight, has been maintained in the translation.

14 tn There is no specific semantic component in the Greek word εἰδωλόθυτος that means “meat” (see BDAG 280 s.v. εἰδωλόθυτος; L&N 5.15). The stem –θυτος means “sacrifice” (referring to an animal sacrificially killed) and thereby implies meat.

15 sn What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14) Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the preceding provision in this verse, and blood).

16 tn BDAG 422 s.v. ἔχω 11.b.β has “temporal, to be next, immediately followingτῇ ἐχομένῃon the next day Lk 13:33Ac 20:15; w. ἡμέρᾳ added…21:26.”

17 tn That is, after he had undergone ritual cleansing. The aorist passive participle ἁγνισθείς (Jagnisqei") has been taken temporally of antecedent action.

18 tn Grk “entered the temple, giving notice.” The participle διαγγέλλων (diangellwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

19 sn The days of purification refers to the days of ritual cleansing.

20 tn Grk “until” (BDAG 423 s.v. ἕως 1.b.β.א), but since in English it is somewhat awkward to say “the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice would be offered,” the temporal clause was translated “when the sacrifice would be offered.” The point is that the sacrifice would be offered when the days were completed. Paul honored the request of the Jewish Christian leadership completely. As the following verse makes clear, the vow was made for seven days.

21 tn Grk “for each one.”



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