21:24 take them and purify 1 yourself along with them and pay their expenses, 2 so that they may have their heads shaved. 3 Then 4 everyone will know there is nothing in what they have been told 5 about you, but that you yourself live in conformity with 6 the law. 7 21:25 But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided 8 that they should avoid 9 meat that has been sacrificed to idols 10 and blood and what has been strangled 11 and sexual immorality.” 21:26 Then Paul took the men the next day, 12 and after he had purified himself 13 along with them, he went to the temple and gave notice 14 of the completion of the days of purification, 15 when 16 the sacrifice would be offered for each 17 of them. 21:27 When the seven days were almost over, 18 the Jews from the province of Asia 19 who had seen him in the temple area 20 stirred up the whole crowd 21 and seized 22 him, 21:28 shouting, “Men of Israel, 23 help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, 24 and this sanctuary! 25 Furthermore 26 he has brought Greeks into the inner courts of the temple 27 and made this holy place ritually unclean!” 28 21:29 (For they had seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him previously, and 29 they assumed Paul had brought him into the inner temple courts.) 30 21:30 The whole city was stirred up, 31 and the people rushed together. 32 They seized 33 Paul and dragged him out of the temple courts, 34 and immediately the doors were shut. 21:31 While they were trying 35 to kill him, a report 36 was sent up 37 to the commanding officer 38 of the cohort 39 that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 40
1 sn That is, undergo ritual cleansing. Paul’s cleansing would be necessary because of his travels in “unclean” Gentile territory. This act would represent a conciliatory gesture. Paul would have supported a “law-free” mission to the Gentiles as an option, but this gesture would represent an attempt to be sensitive to the Jews (1 Cor 9:15-22).
sn Having their heads shaved probably involved ending a voluntary Nazirite vow (Num 6:14-15).
4 tn Grk “and.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the logical sequence.
5 tn The verb here describes a report or some type of information (BDAG 534 s.v. κατηχέω 1).
6 tn Grk “adhere to the keeping of the law.” L&N 41.12 has “στοιχέω: to live in conformity with some presumed standard or set of customs – ‘to live, to behave in accordance with.’”
7 sn The law refers to the law of Moses.
sn Having decided refers here to the decision of the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:6-21). Mention of this previous decision reminds the reader that the issue here is somewhat different: It is not whether Gentiles must first become Jews before they can become Christians (as in Acts 15), but whether Jews who become Christians should retain their Jewish practices. Sensitivity to this issue would suggest that Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians might engage in different practices.
9 tn This is a different Greek word than the one used in Acts 15:20, 29. BDAG 1068 s.v. φυλάσσω 3 has “to be on one’s guard against, look out for, avoid…w. acc. of pers. or thing avoided…Ac 21:25.” The Greek word used in Acts 15:20, 29 is ἀπέχω (apecw). The difference in meaning, although slight, has been maintained in the translation.
10 tn There is no specific semantic component in the Greek word εἰδωλόθυτος that means “meat” (see BDAG 280 s.v. εἰδωλόθυτος; L&N 5.15). The stem –θυτος means “sacrifice” (referring to an animal sacrificially killed) and thereby implies meat.
11 sn What has been strangled. That is, to refrain from eating animals that had been killed without having the blood drained from them. According to the Mosaic law (Lev 17:13-14) Jews were forbidden to eat flesh with the blood still in it (note the preceding provision in this verse, and blood).
13 tn That is, after he had undergone ritual cleansing. The aorist passive participle ἁγνισθείς (Jagnisqei") has been taken temporally of antecedent action.
14 tn Grk “entered the temple, giving notice.” The participle διαγγέλλων (diangellwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
15 sn The days of purification refers to the days of ritual cleansing.
16 tn Grk “until” (BDAG 423 s.v. ἕως 1.b.β.א), but since in English it is somewhat awkward to say “the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice would be offered,” the temporal clause was translated “when the sacrifice would be offered.” The point is that the sacrifice would be offered when the days were completed. Paul honored the request of the Jewish Christian leadership completely. As the following verse makes clear, the vow was made for seven days.
17 tn Grk “for each one.”
19 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.
sn Note how there is a sense of Paul being pursued from a distance. These Jews may well have been from Ephesus, since they recognized Trophimus the Ephesian (v. 29).
21 tn Or “threw the whole crowd into consternation.” L&N 25.221 has “συνέχεον πάντα τὸν ὄχλον ‘they threw the whole crowd into consternation’ Ac 21:27. It is also possible to render the expression in Ac 21:27 as ‘they stirred up the whole crowd.’”
22 tn Grk “and laid hands on.”
23 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 conceivable that this is a generic usage since “the whole crowd” is mentioned in v. 27, although it can also be argued that these remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.
24 sn The law refers to the law of Moses.
25 tn Grk “this place.”
26 tn BDAG 400 s.v. ἔτι 2.b has “ἔ. δὲ καί furthermore…al. ἔ. τε καί…Lk 14:26; Ac 21:28.” This is a continuation of the same sentence in Greek, but due to the length and complexity of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences, a new sentence was begun here in the translation.
27 tn Grk “into the temple.” The specific reference is to the Court of the Sons of Israel (see the note following the term “unclean” at the end of this verse). To avoid giving the modern reader the impression that they entered the temple building itself, the phrase “the inner courts of the temple” has been used in the translation.
28 tn Or “and has defiled this holy place.”
sn Has brought Greeks…unclean. Note how the issue is both religious and ethnic, showing a different attitude by the Jews. A Gentile was not permitted to enter the inner temple precincts (contrast Eph 2:11-22). According to Josephus (Ant. 15.11.5 [15.417]; J. W. 5.5.2 [5.193], cf. 5.5.6 [5.227]), the inner temple courts (the Court of the Women, the Court of the Sons of Israel, and the Court of the Priests) were raised slightly above the level of the Court of the Gentiles and were surrounded by a wall about 5 ft (1.5 m) high. Notices in both Greek and Latin (two of which have been discovered) warned that any Gentiles who ventured into the inner courts would be responsible for their own deaths. See also Philo, Embassy 31 (212). In m. Middot 2:3 this wall was called “soreq” and according to m. Sanhedrin 9:6 the stranger who trespassed beyond the soreq would die by the hand of God.
29 tn Grk “whom.”
sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The note explains the cause of the charge and also notes that it was false.
31 tn On this term see BDAG 545 s.v. κινέω 2.b.
33 tn Grk “and seizing.” The participle ἐπιλαβόμενοι (epilabomenoi) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was begun in the translation, and καί (kai) has not been translated here.
35 tn Grk “seeking.”
36 tn Or “information” (originally concerning a crime; BDAG 1050 s.v. φάσις).
37 tn Grk “went up”; this verb is used because the report went up to the Antonia Fortress where the Roman garrison was stationed.
38 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers). In Greek the term χιλίαρχος (ciliarco") literally described the “commander of a thousand,” but it was used as the standard translation for the Latin tribunus militum or tribunus militare, the military tribune who commanded a cohort of 600 men.
39 sn A cohort was a Roman military unit of about 600 soldiers, one-tenth of a legion.