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Acts 5:20-29

Context
5:20 “Go and stand in the temple courts 1  and proclaim 2  to the people all the words of this life.” 5:21 When they heard this, they entered the temple courts 3  at daybreak and began teaching. 4 

Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they summoned the Sanhedrin 5  – that is, the whole high council 6  of the Israelites 7  – and sent to the jail to have the apostles 8  brought before them. 9  5:22 But the officers 10  who came for them 11  did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, 12  5:23 “We found the jail locked securely and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, 13  we found no one inside.” 5:24 Now when the commander 14  of the temple guard 15  and the chief priests heard this report, 16  they were greatly puzzled concerning it, 17  wondering what this could 18  be. 5:25 But someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts 19  and teaching 20  the people!” 5:26 Then the commander 21  of the temple guard 22  went with the officers 23  and brought the apostles 24  without the use of force 25  (for they were afraid of being stoned by the people). 26 

5:27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, 27  and the high priest questioned 28  them, 5:28 saying, “We gave 29  you strict orders 30  not to teach in this name. 31  Look, 32  you have filled Jerusalem 33  with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood 34  on us!” 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, 35  “We must obey 36  God rather than people. 37 

1 tn Grk “the temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper, and has been translated accordingly.

2 tn Or “speak.”

3 tn Grk “the temple.” See the note on the same phrase in the preceding verse.

4 tn The imperfect verb ἐδίδασκον (edidaskon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

5 tn Or “the council” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).

6 tn A hendiadys (two different terms referring to a single thing) is likely here (a reference to a single legislative body rather than two separate ones) because the term γερουσίαν (gerousian) is used in both 1 Macc 12:6 and Josephus, Ant. 13.5.8 (13.166) to refer to the Sanhedrin.

7 tn Grk “sons of Israel.”

8 tn Grk “have them”; the referent (the apostles) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn The words “before them” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

10 tn The Greek term ὑπηρέτης (Juphreth") generally means “servant,” but in the NT is used for many different types of servants, like attendants to a king, the officers of the Sanhedrin (as here), assistants to magistrates, and (especially in the Gospel of John) Jewish guards in the Jerusalem temple (see L&N 35.20).

11 tn The words “for them” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

12 tn Grk “reported, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

13 tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

14 tn Or “captain.”

15 tn Grk “the official of the temple,” a title for the commander of the Jewish soldiers guarding the temple (thus the translation, “the commander of the temple guard”). See L&N 37.91.

16 tn Grk “heard these words.”

17 tn Grk “concerning them,” agreeing with the plural antecedent “these words.” Since the phrase “these words” was translated as the singular “this report,” the singular “concerning it” is used here.

18 tn The optative verb here expresses confused uncertainty.

19 tn Grk “the temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper, and has been translated accordingly.

20 sn Obeying God (see v. 29), the apostles were teaching again (4:18-20; 5:20). They did so despite the risk.

21 tn Or “captain.”

22 tn Grk “the official [of the temple],” a title for the commander of the Jewish soldiers guarding the temple (thus the translation, “the commander of the temple guard”). See L&N 37.91.

23 tn The Greek term ὑπηρέτης (Juphreth") generally means “servant,” but in the NT is used for many different types of servants. See the note on the word “officers” in v. 22.

24 tn Grk “brought them”; the referent (the apostles) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn Or “without violence.” It is clear, as well, that the apostles did not resist arrest.

26 tn Grk “for they feared lest they be stoned by the people.” The translation uses a less awkward English equivalent. This is an explanatory note by the author.

27 tn Or “the Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews).

28 tn Or “interrogated,” “asked.”

29 tc ‡ The majority of mss, including a few important witnesses (א2 D E [Ψ] 1739 Ï sy sa), have the negative particle οὐ (ou) here, effectively turning the high priest’s words into a question: “Did we not give you strict orders not to teach in this name?” But the earliest and most important mss, along with some others (Ì74 א* A B 1175 lat bo), lack the particle, making this a strong statement rather than a question. Scribes may have been tempted to omit the particle to strengthen the contrast between official Judaism and the new faith, but the fact that v. 27 introduces the quotation with ἐπηρώτησεν (ephrwthsen, “he questioned”) may well have prompted scribes to add οὐ to convert the rebuke into a question. Further, that excellent witnesses affirm the shorter reading is sufficient ground for accepting it as most probably authentic. NA27 includes the particle in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity.

30 tn Grk “We commanded you with a commandment” (a Semitic idiom that is emphatic).

31 sn The name (i.e., person) of Jesus is the constant issue of debate.

32 tn Grk “And behold.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

33 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

34 sn To bring this man’s blood on us is an idiom meaning “you intend to make us guilty of this man’s death.”

35 tn Grk “apostles answered and said.”

36 sn Obey. See 4:19. This response has Jewish roots (Dan 3:16-18; 2 Macc 7:2; Josephus, Ant. 17.6.3 [17.159].

37 tn Here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") has been translated as a generic noun (“people”).



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