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Acts 5:26-42

Context
5:26 Then the commander 1  of the temple guard 2  went with the officers 3  and brought the apostles 4  without the use of force 5  (for they were afraid of being stoned by the people). 6 

5:27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the council, 7  and the high priest questioned 8  them, 5:28 saying, “We gave 9  you strict orders 10  not to teach in this name. 11  Look, 12  you have filled Jerusalem 13  with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood 14  on us!” 5:29 But Peter and the apostles replied, 15  “We must obey 16  God rather than people. 17  5:30 The God of our forefathers 18  raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 19  5:31 God exalted him 20  to his right hand as Leader 21  and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 22  5:32 And we are witnesses of these events, 23  and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey 24  him.”

5:33 Now when they heard this, they became furious 25  and wanted to execute them. 26  5:34 But a Pharisee 27  whose name was Gamaliel, 28  a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up 29  in the council 30  and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 5:35 Then he said to the council, 31  “Men of Israel, 32  pay close attention to 33  what you are about to do to these men. 5:36 For some time ago 34  Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He 35  was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it. 36  5:37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census, 37  and incited people to follow him in revolt. 38  He too was killed, and all who followed him were scattered. 5:38 So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, 39  it will come to nothing, 40  5:39 but if 41  it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found 42  fighting against God.” He convinced them, 43  5:40 and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten. 44  Then 45  they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 5:41 So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy 46  to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 47  5:42 And every day both in the temple courts 48  and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news 49  that Jesus was the Christ. 50 

1 tn Or “captain.”

2 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.

3 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.

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

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

6 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.

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

8 tn Or “interrogated,” “asked.”

9 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.

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

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

12 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.

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

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

15 tn Grk “apostles answered and said.”

16 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].

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

18 tn Or “ancestors”; Grk “fathers.”

19 tn Or “by crucifying him” (“hang on a tree” is by the time of the first century an idiom for crucifixion). The allusion is to the judgment against Jesus as a rebellious figure, appealing to the language of Deut 21:23. The Jewish leadership has badly “misjudged” Jesus.

20 tn Grk “This one God exalted” (emphatic).

21 tn Or “Founder” (of a movement).

22 tn Or “to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.”

23 tn Or “things.” They are preaching these things even to the hostile leadership.

24 sn Those who obey. The implication, of course, is that the leadership is disobeying God.

25 sn The only other use of this verb for anger (furious) is Acts 7:54 after Stephen’s speech.

26 sn Wanted to execute them. The charge would surely be capital insubordination (Exod 22:28).

27 sn A Pharisee was a member of one of the most important and influential religious and political parties of Judaism in the time of Jesus. There were more Pharisees than Sadducees (according to Josephus, Ant. 17.2.4 [17.42] there were more than 6,000 Pharisees at about this time). Pharisees differed with Sadducees on certain doctrines and patterns of behavior. The Pharisees were strict and zealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions such as angels and bodily resurrection.

28 sn Gamaliel was a famous Jewish scholar and teacher mentioned here in v. 34 and in Acts 22:3. He had a grandson of the same name and is referred to as “Gamaliel the Elder” to avoid confusion. He is quoted a number of times in the Mishnah, was given the highest possible title for Jewish teachers, Rabba (cf. John 20:16), and was highly regarded in later rabbinic tradition.

29 tn Grk “standing up in the council, ordered.” The participle ἀναστάς (anasta") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

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

31 tn Grk “said to them”; the referent (the council) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 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 highly unlikely that this is a generic usage, since Gamaliel was addressing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council, which would have been exclusively male.

33 tn Or “men, be careful.”

34 tn Grk “For before these days.”

35 tn Grk “who.” The relative pronoun was replaced by the pronoun “he,” and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point.

36 tn Grk “and they came to nothing.” Gamaliel’s argument is that these two insurrectionists were taken care of by natural events.

37 tn Or “registration.”

38 tn The verb ἀφίστημι (afisthmi) as a transitive means “cause to revolt” as used in Josephus, Ant. 8.7.5 (8.198), 20.5.2 (20.102); see BDAG 157 s.v. 1.

39 tn Here ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) has been translated as a generic noun (“people”).

40 tn Or “it will be put to an end.”

41 tn This is expressed in a first class condition, in contrast to the condition in v. 38b, which is third class. As such, v. 39 is rhetorically presented as the more likely option.

42 tn According to L&N 39.32, the verb εὑρεθῆτε (Jeureqhte, an aorist passive subjunctive) may also be translated “find yourselves” – “lest you find yourselves fighting against God.” The Jewish leader Gamaliel is shown contemplating the other possible alternative about what is occurring.

43 tn Grk “They were convinced by him.” This passive construction was converted to an active one (“He convinced them”) in keeping with contemporary English style. The phrase “He convinced them” is traditionally placed in Acts 5:40 by most English translations; the standard Greek critical text (represented by NA27 and UBS4) places it at the end of v. 39.

44 sn Had them beaten. The punishment was the “forty lashes minus one,” see also Acts 22:19; 2 Cor 11:24; Mark 13:9. The apostles had disobeyed the religious authorities and took their punishment for their “disobedience” (Deut 25:2-3; m. Makkot 3:10-14). In Acts 4:18 they were warned. Now they are beaten. The hostility is rising as the narrative unfolds.

45 tn The word “Then” is supplied as the beginning of a new sentence in the translation. The construction in Greek has so many clauses (most of them made up of participles) that a continuous English sentence would be very awkward.

46 sn That is, considered worthy by God. They “gloried in their shame” of honoring Jesus with their testimony (Luke 6:22-23; 2 Macc 6:30).

47 sn The name refers to the name of Jesus (cf. 3 John 7).

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

49 tn Grk “teaching and evangelizing.” They were still obeying God, not men (see 4:18-20; 5:29).

50 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.



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