When the local people 1 saw the creature hanging from Paul’s 2 hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer! Although he has escaped from the sea, Justice herself 3 has not allowed him to live!” 4
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Although this is literally βάρβαροι (barbaroi; “foreigners, barbarians”) used for non-Greek or non-Romans, as BDAG 166 s.v. βάρβαρος 2.b notes, “Of the inhabitants of Malta, who apparently spoke in their native language Ac 28:2, 4 (here β. certainly without derogatory tone…).”
2 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Paul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn That is, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live. BDAG 250 s.v. δίκη 2 states, “Justice personified as a deity Ac 28:4”; L&N 12.27, “a goddess who personifies justice in seeking out and punishing the guilty – ‘the goddess Justice.’ ἡ δίκη ζῆν οὐκ εἴασεν ‘the goddess Justice would not let him live’ Ac 28:4.” Although a number of modern English translations have rendered δίκη (dikh) “justice,” preferring to use an abstraction, in the original setting it is almost certainly a reference to a pagan deity. In the translation, the noun “justice” was capitalized and the reflexive pronoun “herself” was supplied to make the personification clear. This was considered preferable to supplying a word like ‘goddess’ in connection with δίκη.
4 sn The entire scene is played out initially as a kind of oracle from the gods resulting in the judgment of a guilty person (Justice herself has not allowed him to live). Paul’s survival of this incident without ill effects thus spoke volumes about his innocence.