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Acts 19:23-41

Context

19:23 At 1  that time 2  a great disturbance 3  took place concerning the Way. 4  19:24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines 5  of Artemis, 6  brought a great deal 7  of business 8  to the craftsmen. 19:25 He gathered 9  these 10  together, along with the workmen in similar trades, 11  and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity 12  comes from this business. 19:26 And you see and hear that this Paul has persuaded 13  and turned away 14  a large crowd, 15  not only in Ephesus 16  but in practically all of the province of Asia, 17  by saying 18  that gods made by hands are not gods at all. 19  19:27 There is danger not only that this business of ours will come into disrepute, 20  but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis 21  will be regarded as nothing, 22  and she whom all the province of Asia 23  and the world worship will suffer the loss of her greatness.” 24 

19:28 When 25  they heard 26  this they became enraged 27  and began to shout, 28  “Great is Artemis 29  of the Ephesians!” 19:29 The 30  city was filled with the uproar, 31  and the crowd 32  rushed to the theater 33  together, 34  dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, the Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 19:30 But when Paul wanted to enter the public assembly, 35  the disciples would not let him. 19:31 Even some of the provincial authorities 36  who were his friends sent 37  a message 38  to him, urging him not to venture 39  into the theater. 19:32 So then some were shouting one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had met together. 40  19:33 Some of the crowd concluded 41  it was about 42  Alexander because the Jews had pushed him to the front. 43  Alexander, gesturing 44  with his hand, was wanting to make a defense 45  before the public assembly. 46  19:34 But when they recognized 47  that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison, 48  “Great is Artemis 49  of the Ephesians!” for about two hours. 50  19:35 After the city secretary 51  quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person 52  is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the keeper 53  of the temple of the great Artemis 54  and of her image that fell from heaven? 55  19:36 So because these facts 56  are indisputable, 57  you must keep quiet 58  and not do anything reckless. 59  19:37 For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers 60  nor blasphemers of our goddess. 61  19:38 If then Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint 62  against someone, the courts are open 63  and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges against one another there. 64  19:39 But if you want anything in addition, 65  it will have to be settled 66  in a legal assembly. 67  19:40 For 68  we are in danger of being charged with rioting 69  today, since there is no cause we can give to explain 70  this disorderly gathering.” 71  19:41 After 72  he had said 73  this, 74  he dismissed the assembly. 75 

1 tn Grk “There happened at that time.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. Instead the verb “took place” has been supplied in the translation.

2 tn BDAG 512 s.v. κατά B.2.a, “in definite indications of time…Of the past: κ. ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρόν at that time, thenAc 12:1; 19:23.”

3 tn Grk “no little disturbance” (an idiom; see BDAG 991 s.v. τάραχος 2).

4 sn The Way refers to the Christian movement (Christianity).

5 tn BDAG 665 s.v. ναός 1.a states, “Specif. of temples: of replicas of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus 19:24…but here, near ἱερόν vs. 27…ναός can be understood in the more restricted sense shrine, where the image of the goddess stood.”

6 sn Artemis was the name of a Greek goddess worshiped particularly in Asia Minor, whose temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located just outside the city of Ephesus.

7 tn Grk “brought not a little business” (an idiom).

8 sn A great deal of business. The charge that Christianity brought economic and/or social upheaval was made a number of times in Acts: 16:20-21; 17:6-7; 18:13.

9 tn Grk “gathering.” The participle συναθροίσας (sunaqroisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

10 tn Grk “whom”; because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative pronoun (“whom”) has been replaced with a pronoun (“these”) and a new sentence begun in the translation.

11 sn Workmen in similar trades. In effect, Demetrius gathered the Ephesian chamber of commerce together to hear about the threat to their prosperity.

12 tn Another possible meaning is “that this business is an easy way for us to earn a living.”

13 tn Grk “persuading.” The participle πείσας (peisa") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

14 tn Or “misled.”

15 tn BDAG 472 s.v. ἱκανός 3.a has “of pers. ὄχλος a large crowdAc 11:24, 26; 19:26.”

16 map For location see JP1 D2; JP2 D2; JP3 D2; JP4 D2.

17 tn Grk “Asia”; see the note on this word in v. 22.

18 tn The participle λέγων (legwn) has been regarded as indicating instrumentality.

19 tn The words “at all” are not in the Greek text but are implied.

sn Gods made by hands are not gods at all. Paul preached against paganism’s idolatry. Here is a one-line summary of a speech like that in Acts 17:22-31.

20 tn Or “come under public criticism.” BDAG 101 s.v. ἀπελεγμός has “come into disrepute Ac 19:27.”

21 sn Artemis was the name of a Greek goddess worshiped particularly in Asia Minor, whose temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located just outside the city of Ephesus.

22 tn BDAG 597 s.v. λογίζομαι 1.b has “εἰς οὐθὲν λογισθῆναι be looked upon as nothingAc 19:27.”

23 tn Grk “Asia”; see the note on this word in v. 22.

24 tn Or “her magnificence.” BDAG 488 s.v. καθαιρέω 2.b has “καθαιρεῖσθαι τῆς μεγαλειότητος αὐτῆς suffer the loss of her magnificence Ac 19:27”; L&N 13.38 has “‘and to have her greatness done away with’ Ac 19:27.”

sn Suffer the loss of her greatness. It is important to appreciate that money alone was not the issue, even for the pagan Ephesians. The issue was ultimately the dishonor of their goddess to whom they were devoted in worship. The battle was a “cosmic” one between deities.

25 tn Grk “And when.” 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.

26 tn Grk “And hearing.” The participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") has been taken temporally.

27 tn Grk “they became filled with rage” (an idiom). The reaction of the Ephesians here is like that of the Jews earlier, though Luke referred to “zeal” or “jealousy” in the former case (Acts 7:54).

28 tn Grk “and began shouting, saying.” The imperfect verb ἔκραζον (ekrazon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect. The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

29 sn Artemis was a Greek goddess worshiped particularly in Asia Minor, whose temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located just outside the city of Ephesus.

30 tn Grk “And the.” 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.

31 tn L&N 39.43 has “‘the uproar spread throughout the whole city’ (literally ‘the city was filled with uproar’) Ac 19:29.” BDAG 954 s.v. σύγχυσις has “confusion, tumult.”

32 tn Grk “they”; the referent (the crowd) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

33 sn To the theater. This location made the event a public spectacle. The Grand Theater in Ephesus (still standing today) stood facing down the main thoroughfare of the city toward the docks. It had a seating capacity of 25,000.

34 tn Grk “to the theater with one accord.”

35 tn Or “enter the crowd.” According to BDAG 223 s.v. δῆμος 2, “in a Hellenistic city, a convocation of citizens called together for the purpose of transacting official business, popular assemblyεἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὸν δ. go into the assembly 19:30.”

36 tn Grk “Asiarchs” (high-ranking officials of the province of Asia).

37 tn Grk “sending”; the participle πέμψαντες (pemyante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

38 tn The words “a message” are not in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.

39 tn BDAG 242-43 s.v. δίδωμι 11 has “to cause (oneself) to go, go, venture somewhere (cp. our older ‘betake oneself’)…Ac 19:31.” The desire of these sympathetic authorities was surely to protect Paul’s life. The detail indicates how dangerous things had become.

40 tn Or “had assembled.”

41 tn Or “Some of the crowd gave instructions to.”

42 tn The words “it was about” are not in the Greek text but are implied; ᾿Αλέξανδρον (Alexandron) is taken to be an accusative of general reference.

43 tn BDAG 865 s.v. προβάλλω 1 has “to cause to come forward, put forwardτινά someone…push someone forward to speak in the theater…Ac 19:33.”

44 tn Or “motioning.”

45 sn The nature of Alexander’s defense is not clear. It appears he was going to explain, as a Jew, that the problem was not caused by Jews, but by those of “the Way.” However, he never got a chance to speak.

46 tn Or “before the crowd.” According to BDAG 223 s.v. δῆμος 2, “in a Hellenistic city, a convocation of citizens called together for the purpose of transacting official business, popular assemblyἀπολογεῖσθαι τῷ δ. make a defense before the assembly vs. 33.”

47 tn Grk “But recognizing.” The participle ἐπιγνόντες (epignonte") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

48 tn Grk “[they shouted] with one voice from all of them” (an idiom).

49 sn Artemis was a Greek goddess worshiped particularly in Asia Minor, whose temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located just outside the city of Ephesus, 1.25 mi (2 km) northeast of the Grand Theater. Dimensions were 418 ft by 239 ft (125 m by 72 m) for the platform; the temple proper was 377 ft by 180 ft (113 m by 54 m). The roof was supported by 117 columns, each 60 ft (18 m) high by 6 ft (1.8 m) in diameter. The Emperor Justinian of Byzantium later took these columns for use in construction of the Hagia Sophia, where they still exist (in modern day Istanbul).

50 sn They all shouted…for about two hours. The extent of the tumult shows the racial and social tensions of a cosmopolitan city like Ephesus, indicating what the Christians in such locations had to face.

51 tn Or “clerk.” The “scribe” (γραμματεύς, grammateu") was the keeper of the city’s records.

52 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo").

53 tn See BDAG 670 s.v. νεωκόρος. The city is described as the “warden” or “guardian” of the goddess and her temple.

54 sn Artemis was a Greek goddess worshiped particularly in Asia Minor, whose temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located just outside the city of Ephesus.

55 tn Or “from the sky” (the same Greek word means both “heaven” and “sky”).

sn The expression fell from heaven adds a note of apologetic about the heavenly origin of the goddess. The city’s identity and well-being was wrapped up with this connection, in their view. Many interpreters view her image that fell from heaven as a stone meteorite regarded as a sacred object.

56 tn Grk “these things.”

57 tn The genitive absolute construction with the participle ὄντων (ontwn) has been translated as a causal adverbial participle. On the term translated “indisputable” see BDAG 68-69 s.v. ἀναντίρρητος which has “not to be contradicted, undeniable.”

58 tn Grk “it is necessary that you be quiet.”

59 tn L&N 88.98 has “pertaining to impetuous and reckless behavior – ‘reckless, impetuous.’…‘so then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless’ Ac 19:36.” The city secretary was asking that order be restored.

60 tn Or perhaps, “desecrators of temples.”

61 sn Nor blasphemers of our goddess. There was no formal crime with which Paul could be charged. He had the right to his religion as long as he did not act physically against the temple. Since no overt act had taken place, the official wanted the community to maintain the status quo on these religious matters. The remarks suggest Paul was innocent of any civil crime.

62 tn BDAG 600 s.v. λόγος 1.a.ε has “ἔχειν πρός τινα λόγον have a complaint against someone19:38.”

63 tn L&N 56.1 has ‘if Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against someone, the courts are open’ Ac 19:38.”

64 tn The word “there” is not in the Greek text but is implied. The official’s request is that the legal system be respected.

65 tn Or “anything more than this.”

66 tn Or “resolved.”

67 tn Or “in a legal meeting of the citizens.” L&N 30.81 has “ἐν τῇ ἐννόμῳ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐπιλυθήσεται ‘it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of the citizens’ Ac 19:39.” This meeting took place three times a year.

68 tn Grk “For indeed.” The ascensive force of καί (kai) would be awkward to translate here.

69 tn The term translated “rioting” refers to a revolt or uprising (BDAG 940 s.v. στάσις 2, 3). This would threaten Roman rule and invite Roman intervention.

70 tn Or “to account for.” Grk “since there is no cause concerning which we can give account concerning this disorderly gathering.” The complexity of the Greek relative clause (“which”) and the multiple prepositions (“concerning”) have been simplified in the translation consistent with contemporary English style.

71 tn Or “commotion.” BDAG 979 s.v. συστροφή 1 gives the meaning “a tumultuous gathering of people, disorderly/seditious gathering or commotionAc 19:40.”

72 tn Grk “And after.” 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.

73 tn Grk “And saying.” The participle εἰπών (eipwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

74 tn Grk “these things.”

75 sn Verse 41 in the English text is included as part of verse 40 in the standard critical editions of the Greek NT.



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