Acts 5:17-21

Further Trouble for the Apostles

5:17 Now the high priest rose up, and all those with him (that is, the religious party of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 5:18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 5:19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, 5:20 “Go and stand in the temple courts 10  and proclaim 11  to the people all the words of this life.” 5:21 When they heard this, they entered the temple courts 12  at daybreak and began teaching. 13 

Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they summoned the Sanhedrin 14  – that is, the whole high council 15  of the Israelites 16  – and sent to the jail to have the apostles 17  brought before them. 18 

sn See the note on Sadducees in 4:1.

sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

sn Filled with jealousy. In Acts, the term “jealousy” (ζήλος, zhlos) occurs only here and in Acts 13:45. It is a key term in Judaism for religiously motivated rage (1 Macc 2:24; 1QH 14:13-15; m. Sanhedrin 9:5). It was a zeal motivated by a desire to maintain the purity of the faith.

tn Grk “jealousy, and they.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but a new sentence has been started here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

tn Or “they arrested.”

tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” Linguistically, “angel of the Lord” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of the Lord” or “the angel of the Lord” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35.

tn Grk “opening the doors of the prison.” The participle ἀνοίξας (anoixa") has been translated as a finite verb due to the requirements of contemporary English style.

tn Greek φυλακῆς (fulakh"), a different word from the one in v. 18 (τήρησις, thrhsi", “jail”).

tn Or “brought them out.” Grk “and leading them out, said.” The participle ἐξαγαγών (exagagwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

sn Led them out. The action by God served to vindicate the apostles. It showed that whatever court the Jewish leaders represented, they did not represent God.

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

11 tn Or “speak.”

12 tn Grk “the temple.” See the note on the same phrase in the preceding verse.

13 tn The imperfect verb ἐδίδασκον (edidaskon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

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

15 tn A hendiadys (two different terms referring to a single thing) is likely here (a reference to a single legislative body rather than two separate ones) because the term γερουσίαν (gerousian) is used in both 1 Macc 12:6 and Josephus, Ant. 13.5.8 (13.166) to refer to the Sanhedrin.

16 tn Grk “sons of Israel.”

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

18 tn The words “before them” are not in the Greek text but are implied.