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Acts 14:11-19

14:11 So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted 1  in the Lycaonian language, 2  “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 3  14:12 They began to call 4  Barnabas Zeus 5  and Paul Hermes, 6  because he was the chief speaker. 14:13 The priest of the temple 7  of Zeus, 8  located just outside the city, brought bulls 9  and garlands 10  to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 11  14:14 But when the apostles 12  Barnabas and Paul heard about 13  it, they tore 14  their clothes and rushed out 15  into the crowd, shouting, 16  14:15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures 17  just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn 18  from these worthless 19  things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, 20  the sea, and everything that is in them. 14:16 In 21  past 22  generations he allowed all the nations 23  to go their own ways, 14:17 yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, 24  by giving you rain from heaven 25  and fruitful seasons, satisfying you 26  with food and your hearts with joy.” 27  14:18 Even by saying 28  these things, they scarcely persuaded 29  the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.

14:19 But Jews came from Antioch 30  and Iconium, 31  and after winning 32  the crowds over, they stoned 33  Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead.

1 tn Grk “they lifted up their voice” (an idiom).

2 tn Grk “in Lycaonian, saying.” The word “language” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated.

3 tn So BDAG 707 s.v. ὁμοιόω 1. However, L&N 64.4 takes the participle ὁμοιωθέντες (Jomoiwqente") as an adjectival participle modifying θεοί (qeoi): “the gods resembling men have come down to us.”

sn The gods have come down to us in human form. Greek culture spoke of “divine men.” In this region there was a story of Zeus and Hermes visiting the area (Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.611-725). The locals failed to acknowledge them, so judgment followed. The present crowd was determined not to make the mistake a second time.

4 tn The imperfect verb ἐκάλουν (ekaloun) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.

5 sn Zeus was the chief Greek deity, worshiped throughout the Greco-Roman world (known to the Romans as Jupiter).

6 sn Hermes was a Greek god who (according to Greek mythology) was the messenger of the gods and the god of oratory (equivalent to the Roman god Mercury).

7 tn The words “the temple of” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. The translation “the priest of (the temple/shrine of) Zeus located before the city” is given for this phrase by BDAG 426 s.v. Ζεύς.

8 sn See the note on Zeus in the previous verse.

9 tn Or “oxen.”

10 tn Or “wreaths.”

sn Garlands were commonly wreaths of wool with leaves and flowers woven in, worn on a person’s head or woven around a staff. They were an important part of many rituals used to worship pagan gods. Although it was an erroneous reaction, the priest’s reaction shows how all acknowledged their power and access to God.

11 tn The words “to them” are not in the Greek text, but are clearly implied by the response of Paul and Barnabas in the following verse.

12 sn The apostles Barnabas and Paul. This is one of only two places where Luke calls Paul an apostle, and the description here is shared with Barnabas. This is a nontechnical use here, referring to a commissioned messenger.

13 tn The participle ἀκούσαντες (akousante") is taken temporally.

14 tn Grk “tearing their clothes they rushed out.” The participle διαρρήξαντες (diarrhxante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. This action is a Jewish response to blasphemy (m. Sanhedrin 7.5; Jdt 14:16-17).

15 tn So BDAG 307 s.v. ἐκπηδάω 1, “rush (lit. ‘leap’) outεἰς τὸν ὄχλον into the crowd Ac 14:14.”

16 tn Grk “shouting and saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes, in v. 15) has not been translated because it is redundant.

sn What follows is one of two speeches in Acts to a purely pagan audience (Acts 17 in Athens is the other). So Paul focused on God as Creator, a common link.

17 tn Grk “with the same kinds of feelings,” L&N 25.32. BDAG 706 s.v. ὁμοιοπαθής translates the phrase “with the same nature τινί as someone.” In the immediate context, the contrast is between human and divine nature, and the point is that Paul and Barnabas are mere mortals, not gods.

18 tn Grk “in order that you should turn,” with ἐπιστρέφειν (epistrefein) as an infinitive of purpose, but this is somewhat awkward contemporary English. To translate the infinitive construction “proclaim the good news, that you should turn,” which is much smoother English, could give the impression that the infinitive clause is actually the content of the good news, which it is not. The somewhat less formal “to get you to turn” would work, but might convey to some readers manipulativeness on the part of the apostles. Thus “proclaim the good news, so that you should turn,” is used, to convey that the purpose of the proclamation of good news is the response by the hearers. The emphasis here is like 1 Thess 1:9-10.

19 tn Or “useless,” “futile.” The reference is to idols and idolatry, worshiping the creation over the Creator (Rom 1:18-32). See also 1 Kgs 16:2, 13, 26; 2 Kgs 17:15; Jer 2:5; 8:19; 3 Macc 6:11.

20 tn Grk “and the earth, and the sea,” but καί (kai) has not been translated before “the earth” and “the sea” since contemporary English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.

21 tn Grk “them, who in.” The relative pronoun (“who”) was replaced by the pronoun “he” (“In past generations he”) and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point to improve the English style, due to the length of the sentence in Greek and the awkwardness of two relative clauses (“who made the heaven” and “who in past generations”) following one another.

22 tn On this term see BDAG 780 s.v. παροίχομαι. The word is a NT hapax legomenon.

23 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (in Greek the word for “nation” and “Gentile” is the same). The plural here alludes to the variety of false religions in the pagan world.

24 tn The participle ἀγαθουργῶν (agaqourgwn) is regarded as indicating means here, parallel to the following participles διδούς (didou") and ἐμπιπλῶν (empiplwn). This is the easiest way to understand the Greek structure. Semantically, the first participle is a general statement, followed by two participles giving specific examples of doing good.

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

26 tn Grk “satisfying [filling] your hearts with food and joy.” This is an idiomatic expression; it strikes the English reader as strange to speak of “filling one’s heart with food.” Thus the additional direct object “you” has been supplied, separating the two expressions somewhat: “satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy.”

27 sn God’s general sovereignty and gracious care in the creation are the way Paul introduces the theme of the goodness of God. He was trying to establish monotheism here. It is an OT theme (Gen 8:22; Ps 4:7; 145:15-16; 147:8-9; Isa 25:6; Jer 5:24) which also appears in the NT (Luke 12:22-34).

28 tn The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is regarded as indicating means.

29 tn BDAG 524 s.v. καταπαύω 2.b gives both “restrain” and “dissuade someone fr. someth.,” but “they scarcely dissuaded the crowds from offering sacrifice,” while accurate, is less common in contemporary English than saying “they scarcely persuaded the crowds not to offer sacrifice.” Paganism is portrayed as a powerful reality that is hard to reverse.

30 sn Antioch was a city in Pisidia about 90 mi (145 km) west northwest of Lystra.

map For location see JP1 E2; JP2 E2; JP3 E2; JP4 E2.

31 sn Iconium was a city in Lycaonia about 18 mi (30 km) north of Lystra. Note how Jews from other cities were chasing Paul (2 Cor 11:4-6; Gal 2:4-5; Acts 9:16).

32 tn The participle πείσαντες (peisante") is taken temporally (BDAG 791 s.v. πείθω 1.c).

33 tn Grk “stoning Paul they dragged him.” The participle λιθάσαντες (liqasante") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

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