28:3 When Paul had gathered a bundle of brushwood 1 and was putting it on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 28:4 When the local people 2 saw the creature hanging from Paul’s 3 hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself 4 has not allowed him to live!” 5 28:5 However, 6 Paul 7 shook 8 the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm. 28:6 But they were expecting that he was going to swell up 9 or suddenly drop dead. So after they had waited 10 a long time and had seen 11 nothing unusual happen 12 to him, they changed their minds 13 and said he was a god. 14
1 tn Or “sticks.”
2 tn Although this is literally βάρβαροι (barbaroi; “foreigners, barbarians”) used for non-Greek or non-Romans, as BDAG 166 s.v. βάρβαρος 2.b notes, “Of the inhabitants of Malta, who apparently spoke in their native language Ac 28:2, 4 (here β. certainly without derogatory tone…).”
3 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn That is, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live. BDAG 250 s.v. δίκη 2 states, “Justice personified as a deity Ac 28:4”; L&N 12.27, “a goddess who personifies justice in seeking out and punishing the guilty – ‘the goddess Justice.’ ἡ δίκη ζῆν οὐκ εἴασεν ‘the goddess Justice would not let him live’ Ac 28:4.” Although a number of modern English translations have rendered δίκη (dikh) “justice,” preferring to use an abstraction, in the original setting it is almost certainly a reference to a pagan deity. In the translation, the noun “justice” was capitalized and the reflexive pronoun “herself” was supplied to make the personification clear. This was considered preferable to supplying a word like ‘goddess’ in connection with δίκη.
5 sn The entire scene is played out initially as a kind of oracle from the gods resulting in the judgment of a guilty person (Justice herself has not allowed him to live). Paul’s survival of this incident without ill effects thus spoke volumes about his innocence.
6 tn BDAG 737 s.v. οὖν 4 indicates the particle has an adversative sense here: “but, however.”
7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 tn Grk “shaking the creature off…he suffered no harm.” The participle ἀποτινάξας (apotinaxa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
10 tn The participle προσδοκώντων (prosdokwntwn) has been taken temporally.
11 tn The participle θεωρούντων (qewrountwn) has been taken temporally.
12 tn Grk “happening.” The participle γινόμενον (ginomenon) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
13 tn Grk “changing their minds.” The participle μεταβαλόμενοι (metabalomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.