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Acts 21:28-32

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  21:29 (For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him previously, and 7  they assumed Paul had brought him into the inner temple courts.) 8  21:30 The whole city was stirred up, 9  and the people rushed together. 10  They seized 11  Paul and dragged him out of the temple courts, 12  and immediately the doors were shut. 21:31 While they were trying 13  to kill him, a report 14  was sent up 15  to the commanding officer 16  of the cohort 17  that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 18  21:32 He 19  immediately took 20  soldiers and centurions 21  and ran down to the crowd. 22  When they saw 23  the commanding officer 24  and the soldiers, they stopped beating 25  Paul.

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.

7 tn Grk “whom.”

8 tn On the phrase “inner temple courts” see the note on the word “temple” in v. 28.

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The note explains the cause of the charge and also notes that it was false.

9 tn On this term see BDAG 545 s.v. κινέω 2.b.

10 tn Or “the people formed a mob.” BDAG 967 s.v. συνδρομή has “formation of a mob by pers. running together, running togetherἐγένετο σ. τοῦ λαοῦ the people rushed together Ac 21:30.”

11 tn Grk “and seizing.” The participle ἐπιλαβόμενοι (epilabomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has not been translated here.

12 tn Grk “out of the temple.” See the note on the word “temple” in v. 28.

13 tn Grk “seeking.”

14 tn Or “information” (originally concerning a crime; BDAG 1050 s.v. φάσις).

15 tn Grk “went up”; this verb is used because the report went up to the Antonia Fortress where the Roman garrison was stationed.

16 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). In Greek the term χιλίαρχος (ciliarco") literally described the “commander of a thousand,” but it was used as the standard translation for the Latin tribunus militum or tribunus militare, the military tribune who commanded a cohort of 600 men.

17 sn A cohort was a Roman military unit of about 600 soldiers, one-tenth of a legion.

18 tn BDAG 953 s.v. συγχέω has “Pass. w. act.force be in confusionὅλη συγχύννεται ᾿Ιερουσαλήμ 21:31.”

19 tn Grk “who.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, the relative pronoun (“who”) was translated as a pronoun (“he”) and a new sentence was begun here in the translation.

20 tn Grk “taking…ran down.” The participle κατέδραμεν (katedramen) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

21 sn See the note on the word centurion in 10:1.

22 tn Grk “to them”; the referent (the crowd) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

23 tn Grk “seeing.” The participle ἰδόντες (idonte") has been taken temporally.

24 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 31.

25 sn The mob stopped beating Paul because they feared the Romans would arrest them for disturbing the peace and for mob violence. They would let the Roman officials take care of the matter from this point on.



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