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Acts 21:34-40

Context
21:34 But some in the crowd shouted one thing, and others something else, 1  and when the commanding officer 2  was unable 3  to find out the truth 4  because of the disturbance, 5  he ordered Paul 6  to be brought into the barracks. 7  21:35 When he came to the steps, Paul 8  had to be carried 9  by the soldiers because of the violence 10  of the mob, 21:36 for a crowd of people 11  followed them, 12  screaming, “Away with him!” 21:37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, 13  he said 14  to the commanding officer, 15  “May I say 16  something to you?” The officer 17  replied, 18  “Do you know Greek? 19  21:38 Then you’re not that Egyptian who started a rebellion 20  and led the four thousand men of the ‘Assassins’ 21  into the wilderness 22  some time ago?” 23  21:39 Paul answered, 24  “I am a Jew 25  from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. 26  Please 27  allow me to speak to the people.” 21:40 When the commanding officer 28  had given him permission, 29  Paul stood 30  on the steps and gestured 31  to the people with his hand. When they had become silent, 32  he addressed 33  them in Aramaic, 34 

1 tn L&N 33.77 has “ἄλλοι δὲ ἄλλο τι ἐπεφώνουν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ‘some in the crowd shouted one thing; others, something else’ Ac 21:34.”

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the commanding officer) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn This genitive absolute construction has been translated temporally; it could also be taken causally: “and since the commanding officer was unable to find out the truth.”

4 tn Or “find out what had happened”; Grk “the certainty” (BDAG 147 s.v. ἀσφαλής 2).

5 tn Or “clamor,” “uproar” (BDAG 458 s.v. θόρυβος).

6 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”

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

9 sn Paul had to be carried. Note how the arrest really ended up protecting Paul. The crowd is portrayed as irrational at this point.

10 tn This refers to mob violence (BDAG 175 s.v. βία b).

11 tn Grk “the multitude of people.” While πλῆθος (plhqo") is articular, it has been translated “a crowd” since it was probably a subset of the larger mob that gathered in v. 30.

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

13 tn Or “the headquarters.” BDAG 775 s.v. παρεμβολή 2 has “barracks/headquarters of the Roman troops in Jerusalem Ac 21:34, 37; 22:24; 23:10, 16, 32.”

14 tn Grk “says” (a historical present).

15 tn Grk “the chiliarch” (an officer in command of a thousand soldiers) See note on the term “commanding officer” in v. 31.

16 tn Grk “Is it permitted for me to say” (an idiom).

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

18 tn Grk “said.”

19 sn “Do you know Greek?” Paul as an educated rabbi was bilingual. Paul’s request in Greek allowed the officer to recognize that Paul was not the violent insurrectionist he thought he had arrested (see following verse). The confusion of identities reveals the degree of confusion dominating these events.

20 tn L&N 39.41 has “οὐκ ἄρα σὺ εἶ ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ὁ πρὸ τούτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ἀναστατώσας ‘then you are not that Egyptian who some time ago started a rebellion’ Ac 21:38.”

21 tn Grk “of the Sicarii.”

sn The term ‘Assassins’ is found several times in the writings of Josephus (J. W. 2.13.3 [2.254-257]; Ant. 20.8.10 [20.186]). It was the name of the most fanatical group among the Jewish nationalists, very hostile to Rome, who did not hesitate to assassinate their political opponents. They were named Sicarii in Latin after their weapon of choice, the short dagger or sicarius which could be easily hidden under one’s clothing. In effect, the officer who arrested Paul had thought he was dealing with a terrorist.

22 tn Or “desert.”

23 tn Grk “before these days.”

24 tn Grk “said.”

25 tn Grk “a Jewish man.”

26 tn Grk “of a not insignificant city.” The double negative, common in Greek, is awkward in English and has been replaced by a corresponding positive expression (BDAG 142 s.v. ἄσημος 1).

27 tn Grk “I beg you.”

28 tn The referent (the commanding officer) has been supplied here in the translation for clarity.

29 tn Grk “Giving him permission.” The participle ἐπιτρέψαντος (epitreyanto") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

30 tn Grk “standing.” The participle ἑστώς (Jestws) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

31 tn Or “motioned.”

32 tn γενομένης (genomenhs) has been taken temporally. BDAG 922 s.v. σιγή has “πολλῆς σιγῆς γενομένης when a great silence had fallen = when they had become silent Ac 21:40.”

33 tn Or “spoke out to.” L&N 33.27 has “to address an audience, with possible emphasis upon loudness – ‘to address, to speak out to.’ πολλῆς δέ σιγῆς γενομένης προσεφώνησεν τῇ ᾿Εβραίδι διαλέκτῳ ‘when they were quiet, he addressed them in Hebrew’ Ac 21:40.”

34 tn Grk “in the Hebrew dialect, saying.” This refers to the Aramaic spoken in Palestine in the 1st century (BDAG 270 s.v. ῾Εβραΐς). The participle λέγων (legwn) is redundant in English and has not been translated.



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