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Acts 16:26-34

16:26 Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. Immediately all the doors flew open, and the bonds 1  of all the prisoners came loose. 16:27 When the jailer woke up 2  and saw the doors of the prison standing open, 3  he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, 4  because he assumed 5  the prisoners had escaped. 16:28 But Paul called out loudly, 6  “Do not harm yourself, 7  for we are all here!” 16:29 Calling for lights, the jailer 8  rushed in and fell down 9  trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. 16:30 Then he brought them outside 10  and asked, “Sirs, what must 11  I do to be saved?” 16:31 They replied, 12  “Believe 13  in the Lord Jesus 14  and you will be saved, you and your household.” 16:32 Then 15  they spoke the word of the Lord 16  to him, along with all those who were in his house. 16:33 At 17  that hour of the night he took them 18  and washed their wounds; 19  then 20  he and all his family 21  were baptized right away. 22  16:34 The jailer 23  brought them into his house and set food 24  before them, and he rejoiced greatly 25  that he had come to believe 26  in God, together with his entire household. 27 

1 tn Or perhaps, “chains.” The translation of τὰ δεσμά (ta desma) is to some extent affected by the understanding of ξύλον (xulon, “stocks”) in v. 24. It is possible (as mentioned in L&N 18.12) that this does not mean “stocks” but a block of wood (a log or wooden column) in the prison to which prisoners’ feet were chained or tied.

2 tn L&N 23.75 has “had awakened” here. It is more in keeping with contemporary English style, however, to keep the two verbal ideas parallel in terms of tense (“when the jailer woke up and saw”) although logically the second action is subsequent to the first.

3 tn The additional semantic component “standing” is supplied (“standing open”) to convey a stative nuance in English.

4 sn Was about to kill himself. The jailer’s penalty for failing to guard the prisoners would have been death, so he contemplated saving the leaders the trouble (see Acts 12:19; 27:42).

5 tn Or “thought.”

6 tn Grk “But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying.” The dative phrase μεγάλῃ φωνῇ (megalh fwnh) has been simplified as an English adverb (“loudly”), and the participle λέγων (legwn) has not been translated since it is redundant in English.

7 sn Do not harm yourself. Again the irony is that Paul is the agent through whom the jailer is spared.

8 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the jailer) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Or “and prostrated himself.”

sn Fell down. The earthquake and the freeing of the prisoners showed that God’s power was present. Such power could only be recognized. The open doors opened the jailer’s heart.

10 tn Grk “And bringing them outside, he asked.” The participle προαγαγών (proagagwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. Because of the length of the Greek sentence, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence is begun by supplying the conjunction “then” to indicate the logical sequence.

11 tn The Greek term (δεῖ, dei) is used by Luke to represent divine necessity.

12 tn Grk “said.”

13 sn Here the summary term of response is a call to believe. In this context it refers to trusting the sovereign God’s power to deliver, which events had just pictured for the jailer.

14 tc The majority of mss add Χριστόν (Criston, “Christ”) here (C D E Ψ 1739 Ï sy sa), but the best and earliest witnesses read simply τὸν κύριον ᾿Ιησοῦν (ton kurion Ihsoun, “the Lord Jesus”; Ì74vid א A B 33 81 pc bo). The addition of “Christ” to “Lord Jesus” is an obviously motivated reading. Thus on both external and internal grounds, the shorter reading is strongly preferred.

15 tn Grk “And they.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the continuity with the preceding verse. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style does not.

16 sn The word of the Lord is a technical expression in OT literature, often referring to a divine prophetic utterance (e.g., Gen 15:1, Isa 1:10, Jonah 1:1). In the NT it occurs 15 times: 3 times as ῥῆμα τοῦ κυρίου (rJhma tou kuriou; Luke 22:61, Acts 11:16, 1 Pet 1:25) and 12 times as λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (logo" tou kuriou; here and in Acts 8:25; 13:44, 48, 49; 15:35, 36; 19:10, 20; 1 Thess 1:8, 4:15; 2 Thess 3:1). As in the OT, this phrase focuses on the prophetic nature and divine origin of what has been said.

17 tn Grk “And at.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

18 tn Grk “taking them…he washed.” The participle παραλαβών (paralabwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

19 tn On this phrase BDAG 603 s.v. λούω 1 gives a literal translation as “by washing he freed them from the effects of the blows.”

20 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the logical sequence.

21 sn All his family. It was often the case in the ancient world that conversion of the father led to the conversion of all those in the household.

22 tn Or “immediately.”

23 tn Grk “He”; the referent (the jailer) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn Grk “placed [food] on the table” (a figurative expression). Since the actual word for food is not specified, it would also be possible to translate “set a meal before them,” but since this is taking place in the middle of the night, the preparations necessary for a full meal would probably not have been made. More likely Paul and Silas were given whatever was on hand that needed little or no preparation.

25 tn Or “he was overjoyed.”

26 tn The translation “come to believe” reflects more of the resultative nuance of the perfect tense here.

27 tn The phrase “together with his entire household” is placed at the end of the English sentence so that it refers to both the rejoicing and the belief. A formal equivalence translation would have “and he rejoiced greatly with his entire household that he had come to believe in God,” but the reference to the entire household being baptized in v. 33 presumes that all in the household believed.

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