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Acts 21:28

Context
21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, 1  help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, 2  and this sanctuary! 3  Furthermore 4  he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple 5  and made this holy place ritually unclean!” 6 

1 tn Or “Israelite men,” although this is less natural English. The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, it is conceivable that this is a generic usage since “the whole crowd” is mentioned in v. 27, although it can also be argued that these remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.

2 sn The law refers to the law of Moses.

3 tn Grk “this place.”

sn This sanctuary refers to the temple. The charges were not new, but were similar to those made against Stephen (Acts 6:14) and Jesus (Luke 23:2).

4 tn BDAG 400 s.v. ἔτι 2.b has “. δὲ καί furthermore…al. . τε καίLk 14:26; Ac 21:28.” This is a continuation of the same sentence in Greek, but due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, a new sentence was begun here in the translation.

5 tn Grk “into the temple.” The specific reference is to the Court of the Sons of Israel (see the note following the term “unclean” at the end of this verse). To avoid giving the modern reader the impression that they entered the temple building itself, the phrase “the inner courts of the temple” has been used in the translation.

6 tn Or “and has defiled this holy place.”

sn Has brought Greeks…unclean. Note how the issue is both religious and ethnic, showing a different attitude by the Jews. A Gentile was not permitted to enter the inner temple precincts (contrast Eph 2:11-22). According to Josephus (Ant. 15.11.5 [15.417]; J. W. 5.5.2 [5.193], cf. 5.5.6 [5.227]), the inner temple courts (the Court of the Women, the Court of the Sons of Israel, and the Court of the Priests) were raised slightly above the level of the Court of the Gentiles and were surrounded by a wall about 5 ft (1.5 m) high. Notices in both Greek and Latin (two of which have been discovered) warned that any Gentiles who ventured into the inner courts would be responsible for their own deaths. See also Philo, Embassy 31 (212). In m. Middot 2:3 this wall was called “soreq” and according to m. Sanhedrin 9:6 the stranger who trespassed beyond the soreq would die by the hand of God.



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