Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 21 July 2018 (in progress)
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Scripture Text: The Scripture text used in this commentary is prepared by Blaine Robison and based on the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. See my web article The Jewish New Testament. Scripture quotations may be taken from different versions. Click here for abbreviations of Bible versions. Quotations marked with the initials "BR" indicate the translation of the commentary author.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited may be found at the end of the chapter commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Important Jewish sources include the following:
● DSS: Citations marked as "DSS" are from the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish manuscripts of Scripture and sectarian documents found in the Qumran caves. Most of the Qumran MSS belong to the last two centuries B.C. and the first century A.D. Online DSS Bible and DSS Docs. Click here for DSS abbreviations.
● LXX: The abbreviation "LXX" ("70") stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use among Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C. Online.
● Josephus: Citations for Josephus, the first century Jewish historian (Yosef ben Matityahu), are from The Works of Flavius Josephus (c. 75–99 A.D.) trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
● MT: The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism. Work on developing a uniform Hebrew Bible began in the 2nd century under Rabbi Akiva, but completed by Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. The oldest extant manuscripts date from around the 9th century. Online.
● Talmud: Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. The Jerusalem Talmud, identified with "TJ," may be found here. Click here for Talmud abbreviations.
● Targums: The targums are early Aramaic translations of the Hebrew text with commentary: Targum Jerusalem (1st c. AD), Targum Neofiti (1st c. AD), Targum Onkelos (c. 35–120 AD) and Targum Jonathan (2nd c. AD). See an index of targum texts here.
Syntax: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations and pronunciation of Greek words. The numbering system of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible is identified with "SH" (Strong's Hebrew number) and "SG" (Strong's Greek number). Strong's Online.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use the terms ADONAI (for 'LORD' when quoting a Tanakh source), Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament).
Overview: Chapter Nine returns to the repression of Messianic disciples instigated by Sha'ul of Tarsus and then chronicles his life changing encounter with Yeshua on the Damascus road, his transformation and zealous ministry for the Lord, as well as the continuing ministry of Peter.
Timeline: According to Hippolytus (170-235 AD) Paul "entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ" (On the Twelve Apostles, 13). By "a year" Hippolytus probably did not mean a strict twelve months, but the following year on the Roman calendar, which could be as much as 18 months after the ascension of Yeshua. Scholars are divided over the date of the and ascension of Yeshua, whether AD 27, AD 30 or AD 33. The majority favor AD 30, which I also believe is the correct year. Unfortunately, Luke is unclear concerning how much time elapsed from Chapter One through Chapter Eight.
Most scholars assume at least two years is required for the narrative of the first eight chapters. After beginning with specific date references (Acts 1:2; 2:1), the narrative continues with non-specific date references: "day by day" (Acts 2:46), "the next day" (Acts 4:3, 5), "every day" (Acts 5:42), and "that day" (Acts 8:1). Luke makes no mention of the Hebrew or Roman calendar. However, Hippolytus was a competent historian and he apparently had access to records that no longer exist. Using his information we will assume AD 32 as the starting point for this chapter (Polhill 80).
Encounter with Yeshua, 9:1-9
The Mission of Ananias, 9:10-19
Sha'ul's Initial Ministry, 9:20-30
Continued Ministry of Peter, 9:31-42
Encounter with Yeshua, 9:1-9
1 Now Sha'ul, still breathing out threat and murder toward the disciples of the Lord, having approached the high priest,
Now: Grk. de, conj., used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also," sometimes with emphasis, "indeed," "moreover" (Thayer). The second meaning applies here. The conjunction continues the narrative from the previous chapter to indicate that while Philip was ministering in coastal towns the follow events were occurring somewhat concurrently.
Sha'ul: Grk. Saulos, a Grecized version of the Heb. Sha'ul (lit. "asked for" or "prayed for"). The name Saulos occurs 15 times in the Besekh, all in Acts. The name does not occur in the LXX at all. In Greek culture saulos was not a name, but an adj. descriptive of gait and manner of walking, such as the gait of the tortoise, the loose, wanton gait of courtesans or revelers, and also the prancing horse (LSJ). Since Saulos as a name does not appear in Greek literature or earlier Jewish literature, Luke, being a Hellenized Jew, recognized in the spelling the potential as a Jewish name with "Sa'ul" transliterating "Sha'ul" and the suffix "os" making it a masculine name. When Josephus wrote his Antiquities 35 years after the book of Acts he chose to use Saulos predominately for the biblical characters with the Heb. name of Sha'ul.
Luke uses Saulos in third person narrative to identify the future apostle, but none after 13:9. Sha'ul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 9:11; 21:39) of the tribe of Benjamin (Php 3:5). He was "set apart from his mother's womb" (Gal 1:15) for a sacred life. Sha'ul received advanced education under the tutelage of Gamaliel the Elder (Acts 5:34; 22:3), a leader in the Sanhedrin and a preeminent scholar. Sha'ul was a devout Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5). Gill suggests that he was a member of the synagogue of Cilicia in Jerusalem at which Stephen had spoken (Acts 6:9). For a biographical summary see my web article From Sha'ul to Paul.
still: Grk. eti, adv., a function word used to express (1) time and the continuance of an action or circumstance, or (2) degree, as a comparison to indicate increase or addition. The first usage applies here to indicate that what had occurred formerly now exists in a different state. breathing out: Grk. empneō, pres. part., emit breath, used here in a fig. sense of life being zealously focused on the negative actions described here. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. threat: Grk. apeilē, a declaration of an intention to inflict punishment in retaliation for some course of action; a threatening, threat. Some versions translate the noun as plural. The noun occurred previously in the apostolic prayer (4:29) in reference to threats from the ruling council (4:21). The singular noun does not mean that Sha'ul went to the apostles or other Messianic disciples and issued threats of punishment. Rather Sha'ul himself remained a threat. There was no abatement in his attitude, so the well-being of the Messianic community remained in danger.
and: Grk. kai, conj. conj. that marks a connection or addition. Kai has three basic uses: (1) continuative – and, also, even; (2) adversative – and yet, but, however; or (3) intensive – certainly, indeed, in fact, really, verily, yea (DM 250f). The first use applies here. Kai is used in the LXX to translate the vav (ו) character added to words for conjunctive effect. murder: Grk. phonos, the act of taking a human life. In the Besekh the term is used for legalized killing or execution contrary to Torah standards (Heb 11:37) and illegal killing, i.e., murder (Matt 15:19). In Scripture the definition of murder does not include killing in self-defense or killing in war. In the LXX phonos renders Heb. chereb (SH-2719), a sword (Ex 5:3); nakah (SH-5221), to smite (Ex 22:2); and dam (SH-1818), bloodshed (from negligence, Deut 22:8).
Sha'ul's initial rage against the congregation of Yeshua is sometimes contrasted with the equanimity of his teacher (cf. Acts 5:38-39; 9:1-2), so Gamaliel cannot be blamed for such hatred. It may well be that his hostility owes more to the influence of the conservative School of Shammai and a zealous desire to punish those advocating the teaching of a supposed false prophet, much as the Torah prescribed for Israelites who committed this capital offense (cf. Deut 13:6-11). In Sha'ul's mind there was no room for compromise or tolerance of what he viewed as heretical religion. However, Luke declares that the martyr's death of Messianic disciples resulting from a legal process still constituted murder. The taking of innocent life can never be sanctified by a legal process.
toward: Grk. eis, prep. that focuses on motion to accomplish a purpose or result; to, into, toward. the disciples: pl. of Grk. mathētēs (from manthanō, to learn), one who learns through instruction from a teacher. In the Besekh the noun occurs only in the apostolic narratives and corresponds to the Heb. talmid (SH-8527, scholar or pupil), the student of a Torah scholar (Heb. rabbi). The term occurs 30 times in Acts and always refers to followers of Yeshua.
of the Lord: Grk. kurios may mean either (1) one in control through possession, and therefore owner or master; or (2) one esteemed for authority or high status, thus lord or master. In the LXX kurios occurs over 9,000 times to translate Heb. words for God, and in the overwhelming majority of instances (over 6,000 times), it renders the sacred name YHVH. Kurios also occurs a number of times to identify men of higher rank to whom respect is owed (DNTT 2:511). Kurios is the principal title by which disciples and members of the public addressed Yeshua during his earthly ministry and intended in the sense of Heb. adôn, because Yeshua is the owner-master of his disciples.
Being a disciple of Yeshua is a deeper commitment than being a "believer." Yeshua required four particular qualities of those who chose to follow him. First, Yeshua required sacrifice. Following Yeshua was not a life of luxury. Simon Peter alluded to his sacrifice when he spoke of leaving everything to follow Yeshua (Matt 19:27). The rich young ruler was not willing to pay this price to be a disciple (Matt 19:21-22). Thus, sacrifice for Yeshua has a direct impact on the pocketbook. Second, Yeshua required commitment. Devotion to Yeshua came before all other obligations (Luke 9:57-61; 14:26). Once the commitment was made turning back would have been equivalent to rebellion against God (Luke 9:62). The disciple left behind his ordinary life and embraced an extraordinary life with his master.
Third, Yeshua required humility. A disciple came to Yeshua with an inquiring mind, a desire to know. Yeshua had the answers about God and spiritual things (John 6:68). This humility is illustrated by the rabbinic saying "Let your home be a meeting-house for the sages, and cover yourself in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words thirstily" (Avot 1:4; translation by Bivin 12). Miriam, sister of Martha, demonstrated this humility when she sat at the feet of Yeshua (Luke 10:39). Fourth, Yeshua, as other rabbis, required obedience of his disciples (Matt 28:19). The disciple did not challenge the authority of his master or debate his instructions. For background information on "disciple" see the note on John 1:35.
having approached: Grk. proserchomai, aor. part., to approach from a point to a person or place; come, go to, approach. the high priest: Grk. ho archiereus (from archē, "chief, pre-eminent one" and hiereus, "a priest"), a high or chief priest, i.e., a leader among priests. In the LXX archiereus occurs only two times in the canonical books, but 41 times in the Apocrypha (DNTT 3:35). In Leviticus 4:3 archiereus renders Heb. Hakohen Hamaschiach, "the anointed priest" and inserted in Joshua 24:33 without Heb. equivalent to describe Aaron. The Hebrew title Hakohen Hagadol, 'the high [or great] priest,' occurs 11 times in the Tanakh, but in all of these passages the title is translated in the LXX by Grk. ho hierus ho megas, 'the great priest.'
The office of high priest was established by God to be a descendant of Aaron (Ex 27:21; 30:30). The high priest was the chief executive officer over all the priests. Only he could enter the holy of holies on Yom Kippur to offer an atoning sacrifice for the nation and complete the other sacrificial requirements specified for that day (Lev 16). The high priest also shared with the priests the duties of conducting the regular meal offering (Lev 6:14-15), caring for the lamp that burned continually (Ex 27:21) and arranging the showbread (Ex 25:30). The ruling high priest was president of the Sanhedrin.
Caiaphas was the ruling high priest at this time. He was appointed to that office by Valerius Gratus, in A.D. 18 and removed in A.D. 36 by Vitellius, governor of Syria. The name of Caiaphas (whose given name was Joseph) appears nine times in the apostolic narratives and in Josephus (Ant. XVIII, 2:2; 4:3). Joseph Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas, son of Seth, a member of a wealthy and powerful priestly family in Jerusalem (John 18:13). Historical sources indicate that Joseph descended from a polygamous family through Levirate marriage (Jeremias 94). Caiaphas is remembered as the one who had advised the Judean authorities "it is advantageous for one man to die on behalf of the people" (John 11:50; 18:14). Caiaphas conducted the second trial of Yeshua after his arrest (Mark 14:69-70; John 18:24).
2 requested letters from him into Damascus, to the synagogues, so that if he found any of the Way, being both men and women, having bound he might bring to Jerusalem.
This verse completes the sentence begun in the previous verse. requested: Grk. aiteō, aor. mid., to ask in expectation of a response; ask, ask for, request. letters: pl. of Grk. epistolē, written correspondence; letter, dispatch, epistle. In the LXX epistolē renders three Hebrew words: Heb. sepher (SH-5612; 2Kgs 20:12), Heb. iggereth (SH-107; 2Chr 30:1) and Heb. kathab (SH-3789; Ezra 4:6) (DNTT 1:246). These terms are used for a wide range of written communications. The plural form of the noun here could be intended as an intensive singular to indicate the broad powers permitted or possibly multiple letters informing individual recipients of Saul's commission. They also functioned as warrants for arrest.
from: Grk. para, prep., with the root meaning of beside (DM 108), conveys association between persons, things, or circumstances, which may denote (1) a point of origin, from; or (2) a close association or proximity, with, beside, in the presence of. The first usage applies here. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun, personal pronoun which may be used to (1) distinguish a person from or contrast it with another, or to give him emphatic prominence; himself, herself (2) express the force of a simple personal pronoun of the third person; he, him, she, her, them, it, or (3) with the article function as an adjective of identity; the same. The second meaning applies here.
Sha'ul's presence at the stoning of Stephen and his instigation of persecution in Chapter Eight indicate that he had a formal position among the Judean and temple leaders. In his last defense speech the apostle comments that he "cast a vote against" the Messianic believers (Acts 26:10). The verbal phrase does not mean simple concurrence with a vote, but membership in a group which makes decisions by voting. This group could be the Great Sanhedrin (which Stern favors), but considering his age ("young man," 7:58) and his work for the high priest and chief priests, it could be the Small Sanhedrin or the Temple ruling council. To have such an important position Sha'ul would have been at least thirty.
Sha'ul was not content with confining his campaign of terror to Jerusalem. He purposed to root out the Yeshua movement wherever it was found and sought a commission from the high priest to pursue his violent agenda. When Sha'ul left Jerusalem he was acting as the shaliach ("apostle") or messenger of the high priest, with full arrest powers. Stern comments that letters from the high priest would carry weight in the Diaspora. Under Roman rule the Sanhedrin did not have temporal power; but in internal Jewish matters it was honored even beyond the borders of Israel. Bruce notes that in 138 BC the Romans instructed Ptolemy Euergetes II of Egypt to hand over to the high priest certain lawbreakers who sought refuge in its territory (1Macc 15:15-22). This right of extradition was no doubt included among the concessions granted the high priest by Julius Caesar in 47 BC (Josephus, Ant. XIV, 10:2).
However, this action in my view constituted hypocritical overreach by the high priest, contrary to Jewish standards of jurisprudence. The ruling council could find no legal basis for punishing the apostles (Acts 4:21), after violating a dozen rules of due process to have Yeshua executed (see my comment on Acts 8:33). Moreover, Judean authorities did not seek to punish Jewish groups that refused to comply with Temple hierarchy as the Essenes and Samaritans. So Caiaphas willingly served the malice of Sha'ul in giving him the commission to commit legal murder. Perhaps Caiaphas thought it not only expedient for Yeshua to die (John 11:50; 18:14), but his followers as well.
into: Grk. eis, prep. Damascus: Grk. Damaskos, a very ancient (Gen 14:15), celebrated, flourishing city and capital of Syria (Isa 7:8). Standing 2300 feet above sea level, it lay northeast of Mount Hermon and about 60 miles east of Sidon, the Mediterranean port city. Its geographical location enabled Damascus to become a dominant trading and transportation center. Its major exports included a patterned cloth called "damask" (Ezek 27:18). Three major caravan routes passed through Damascus. The city owed its prosperity to two rivers, the Abana and the Pharpar (2Kgs 5:12). Through its history the city because of its strategic location was dominated by the major empires. In the first century Damascus was part of the kingdom of Aretas (2Cor 11:32), an Arabian prince who held his kingdom under the Romans.
to: Grk. pros, prep., lit. "near or facing" and conveys motion toward (DM 110); to, toward. the synagogues: pl. of sunagōgē means a gathering-place or place of assembly. In the Besekh the term refers to the place at which Jews gathered for worship and learning. The term does not necessarily mean a manufactured structure as the word "church" can mean (cf. Acts 16:13). In the LXX sunagōgē is generally used to translate the Heb. words edah (SH-5712), congregation (Ex 12:3) and qahal (SH-6951), assembly, convocation, or congregation (Ex 16:3) (DNTT 1:292ff). The origin of the Jewish synagogue is not known for certain, but scholars generally date its beginning during the Babylonian exile (NIBD 1019).
Pious Jews, far from their native land, without the ministry of the temple, no doubt felt the necessity to gather on the Sabbath in order to listen to the word of God and engage in prayer (cf. Ps 137; Jer 29:7; Ezek 14:1; 20:1). Eventually meetings came also to be held on other days, and at the same hours as the morning and evening services in the temple. According to Philo, the Jewish philosopher (20 B.C.─A.D. 50), synagogues were houses of prayer and schools of wisdom (On the Life of Moses II, 39). By the first century, synagogues emerged as the central institution of Jewish life as a place where study, worship, celebration, and various other kinds of meetings took place. A great number of Jews lived in Damascus, about 10,000 (Josephus, Wars II, 20:1-2; VII, 8:7; "Damascus," JE)
so that: Grk. hopōs, conj. used to indicate purpose, objective or an end in view; in order that, so that. if: Grk. ean, conj. that serves as a conditional particle and produces an aspect of tentativeness by introducing a possible circumstance that determines the realization of some other circumstance. he found: Grk. heuriskō, aor. subj., may mean (1) to come upon a person or thing by seeking; (2) to discover by inquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, or hearing; or (3) to find for oneself, to acquire, get, obtain, or procure. The first meaning applies here. any: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun; a certain one, someone, anyone, anything. of the Way: Grk. ho hodos (for Heb. derek, SH-1870), with the focus on the concept of going the word typically has the sense of a route for traveling, hence a way, a road or a highway. It can also refer to the act of traveling; journey, way, trip.
The noun is used here as shorthand for "the way of salvation" (Acts 16:17) or "the way of the Lord Yeshua" (Acts 18:25), no doubt drawn from Yeshua's statement of being "the way" (John 14:6). Apparently the Messianic disciples referred to themselves with this label (Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14). Bruce suggests that Sha'ul's interest was in refugees from the persecution in Jerusalem and not native residents of Damascus who might have been followers of Yeshua (193). Of interest is that the Pentecost account of Jewish pilgrims from the many lands of the Diaspora who embraced the Messianic message does not mention any pilgrims from Syria in general or Damascus in particular, although they would surely have been included.
being: Grk. eimi, pres. part., to be, a function word used primarily to declare a state of existence, whether in the past ('was, were'), present ('are, is') or future ('will be'), often to unite a subject and predicate (BAG). both: Grk. te, conj. used to denote both connection and addition. men: pl. of Grk. anēr, an adult man without regard to marital status. In the LXX anēr renders several Heb. words: (1) ish, man; (2) enosh, men, people; (3) ba'al, lord, husband, head of a household; (4) gibbor, hero, warrior; (5) zaqen, elder; (6) nasi, prince; and (7) adon, lord (DNTT 2:562). and: Grk. kai, conj. women: pl. of Grk. gunē, an adult female person, without respect to age, marital or social status except as defined in the context. In the LXX gunē renders the Heb. ishshah ("woman, wife"). The plural noun would include wives and widows.
having bound: Grk. deō, perf. pass. part., to bind, used of physical restraint. he might bring: Grk. agō, aor. subj., to cause movement by taking the lead; lead, bring, carry, take. to: Grk. eis. Jerusalem: Grk. Ierousalēm, a transliteration of Heb. Yerushalaim ("the dwelling of peace"). The city is situated some 2500 feet above sea level and eighteen miles west of the northern end of the Dead Sea, is renowned as the capital of all Israel. Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religion with its beautiful temple and jurisprudence with the presence of the Jewish supreme court. More importantly, Jerusalem is the "city of the great king" (Matt 5:35). It was the city in which the Messiah was killed and raised to life. It was also the city from which the persecution was instigated against Yeshua's followers.
3 And in traveling, it happened as he approached Damascus, suddenly also a light from heaven flashed around him;
And: Grk. de, conj. in: Grk. en, prep., generally used to mark position, lit. "in" or "within," but used here to indicate instrumentality. traveling: Grk. poreuomai (from poros, "passageway"), pres. mid. inf., may mean (1) to move from one area to another; go, journey, make one's way, transport, travel; or (2) in an ethical sense, to conduct oneself, live, walk. The verb emphasizes the personal meaning which is attached to reaching the particular destination (HELPS). In the LXX poreuomai renders mainly Heb. halak (SH-1980), to go, come, walk, first occurring in Genesis 3:14 (DNTT 3:946). The verb often has the literal sense of going, journeying or traveling (e.g., Gen 12:4). In contrast to the LXX usage poreuomai in the Besekh seldom mentions the physical act of walking.
Two major highways could be taken to go to Damascus. First, the Via Maris ran from Mesopotamia in the east through Damascus and the Jezreel Valley to the Plain of Sharon and along the Mediterranean coast, then south to Egypt. Second, the King's Highway ran from Damascus south through Ashtaroth, the Decapolis, and Nabatea to Elath on the Red Sea and to Arabia. See the road map here. Sha'ul would probably have taken the King's Highway, an appropriate setting for him to meet the King of the Jews (Matt 2:2; John 19:19), the King of Israel (John 1:49) and King of Kings (1Tim 6:15).
it happened: Grk. ginomai, aor. mid., to transfer from one state or condition to another, which may be expressed in one of three ways: (1) come into being birth or natural process; be born or produced; (2) exist through application of will or effort by a person; be made, be performed; or (3) undergo a state of existence, change or development; come to be, become, take place, happen, occur, arise, be, appear, come, arrive. The third meaning applies here. as he approached: Grk. engizō, pres. inf., come or draw near, approach. Damascus: See the previous verse. The following event apparently occurred a short distance from Damascus. suddenly: Grk. exaiphnēs, adv., of a sudden, suddenly, unexpectedly. also: Grk. te, conj. a light: Grk. phōs, that which serves as a revealing or disclosing medium; light. The light represented Yeshua who is the light of the world (John 8:12).
from: Grk. ek, prep. used to denote exit or separation from something with which there has been a close association, lit. "out of, from within" (Thayer). The prep. is used here to indicate point of origin. heaven: Grk. ouranos, lit. "heaven," is used in Scripture to refer to three different cosmological locations (Ps 148:1-4): (1) the atmosphere above the ground; (2) interstellar space; (3) the transcendent dwelling-place of God. In the LXX ouranos translates the Heb. plural noun shamayim (SH-8064, lit. "the heavens”) with the same range of meaning (DNTT 2:191). In Scripture ouranos is always "up" as a direction from the surface of the earth. A few versions opt for the first location and render the noun as "sky" (NABRE, NEB, TEV, VOICE, WE, WEB). However, Luke intends that while the light was locally experienced, it originated from God's throne.
flashed around: Grk. periastraptō, aor., engage in shining, to flash around, shine about. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. The light functioned as a large spotlight with Sha'ul at the center of the illumination. Sha'ul's later testimony indicates that the incident occurred during the noon hour (Acts 22:6; 26:13).
4 and having fallen on the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Sha'ul, Sha'ul, why are you persecuting Me?"
and: Grk. kai, conj. having fallen: Grk. piptō, aor. part., to drop from a relatively high position to a lower position. The falling perhaps resulted from an instinctive protective posture against the intensity of the light. on: Grk. epi, prep. expressing the idea of hovering, generally as a marker of position or location; on, upon, over. the ground: Grk. ho gē can mean (1) soil (as in receiving seed), (2) the ground, (3) land as contrasted with the sea, or (4) the earth in contrast to heaven. The second meaning is intended here. The LXX uses gē more than 2,000 times and translates the Heb. word erets (SH-776), which has the same range of meaning (DNTT 1:517; BDB 75). Sha'ul will later report that all his companions also fell to the ground (Acts 26:14).
Joseph Klausner, a Lithuanian Jewish historian, offered the thesis that Sha'ul experienced his vision in the midst of an episode of "falling sickness" or epilepsy (326). Such a suggestion is not faithful to the plain narrative of Luke and the later testimony of the great apostle. Klausner, even after exhaustive research of the apostle's life, could find no reason to believe. For Sha'ul the traumatic experience shook him to the core of his beliefs and served to begin a complete transformation of his life and personal identity.
he heard: Grk. akouō, aor., may mean (1) to hear, with the focus on willingness to listen or to heed the substance of what is said; (2) hear with comprehension, understand; (3) receive information aurally, hear, hear about; or (4) a legal term of hearing a case. The first meaning dominates here. In the LXX akouō consistently stands for Heb. shama, which not only means to apprehend, but also to accept and to act upon what has been apprehended (DNTT 2:173).
a voice: Grk. phōnē can mean (1) an auditory impression, sound, noise defined in the context; (2) the faculty of producing speech and the sound of uttered words, voice; or (3) a system of communication, language (1Cor 14:10; 2Pet 2:16). The second meaning applies here. The word often is used in the Besekh of articulated sound from a human mouth. In the LXX phōnē generally renders Heb. qôl (sound, voice, BDB 876), the first usage of which is God's voice (Gen 3:8), and second the human voice (Gen 3:17), and these usages occur frequently in the Tanakh with various kinds of expression (DNTT 3:113).
saying: Grk. legō, pres. part., to make a statement or utterance, whether mentally, orally or in writing, often used to introduce quoted material. The focus of the verb may be declarative, interrogative or imperative; answer, ask, declare, order, say, speak, tell, told, refer to, talk about. In the LXX legō renders Heb. amar (SH-559), to utter, say, show, command or think. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Sha'ul: Grk. Saoul, voc., which transliterates Heb. Sha'ul (SH-7586). The Greek has no letter with a "sh" sound. This Greek spelling of the Hebrew name appears throughout the LXX, including the Apocrypha (1Macc 4:30), for four different men who bear the name Sha'ul, most notably the king who preceded David. The Greek spelling also appears for King Saul in Philo (On the Migration of Abraham, 36:196) and Josephus (Ant. VI, 5:2).
Sha'ul: Grk. Saoul, voc. The use of Saoul occurs nine times in the Besekh, all in Acts, eight of which occur in direct address to the apostle. Bruce assumes Yeshua spoke to Sha'ul in Aramaic (194), even though Sha'ul later plainly declared that Yeshua spoke to him in Hebrew (Acts 26:14). Gill says the name is doubled to denote vehemence and affection. The double use of a person's name in direct address occurs five other times in Scripture, all spoken by God or Yeshua: "Abraham, Abraham" (Gen 22:11); "Jacob, Jacob" (Gen 46:2); "Moses, Moses" (Ex 3:4); "Martha, Martha" (Luke 10:41); and "Simon, Simon" (Luke 22:31). God called Samuel's name three times in one evening (1Sam 3:4-8). On each of these occasions the address was followed by a significant revelation.
why: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun indicating interest in establishing something definite; who, which, what, why. are you persecuting: Grk. diōkō, pres., may mean (1) to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; (2) to run swiftly in order to catch some person or thing, to run after; (3) in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute; (4) without the idea of hostility, to run after, follow after: someone; or (5) metaphorically, to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire (Thayer). The third meaning primarily applies here.
Me: Grk. egō, sing. pronoun of the first person. Yeshua already knows the answer to the question. The question is typical of probing questions asked by ADONAI to Bible characters for self-examination: (1) "Where?" (Gen 3:9; 4:9; 16:8; 18:9); "Who?" (Gen 3:11); "What?" (Gen 3:13; 4:10; 21:17); "Why?" (Gen 4:6; 18:13; 32:29; Ex 14:15). Yeshua is so identified with his disciples that Sha'ul's persecution of them represented an attack on their Lord.
5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he replied, "I AM, the One, Yeshua, whom you are persecuting,
And: Grk. de, conj. he said: Grk. legō, aor. See the previous verse. Who: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun. are you: Grk. eimi, pres., 2p-sing. See verse 2 above. Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 1 above. Sha'ul may have used kurios with the meaning of "sir." Even though Sha'ul apparently knew Yeshua or knew of him before his crucifixion (2Cor 5:16), and saw in his vision the resurrected Messiah (verses 17 and 27 below; cf. Acts 22:14; 26:16; 1Cor 9:1; 15:8), there was no immediate recognition of his voice. Even when Miriam of Magdala (John 20:15) and the disciples en route to Emmaus (Luke 24:16) saw and heard Yeshua speak after his resurrection they did not recognize him. And he replied: Grk. de, conj. The Greek text does not have the words "he replied" but it is understood. Yeshua then responds by identifying himself with a three-fold divine name.
I: Grk. egō, sing. pronoun of the first person. AM: Grk. eimi, pres. The expression egō eimi occurs 47 times in the Besekh, 34 times on the lips of Yeshua, often as a way of identifying himself to his disciples and others (Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 18:5, 6, 8; Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15). In John's writings Yeshua couples egō eimi with a descriptive metaphor, known as the "Seven I Am Sayings" (John 6:35, 48, 51; 8:12; 9:15; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). Such statements indicate that Yeshua had a firm grasp of his own identity. Stern suggests that the metaphoric expressions imply a claim even greater than being the Messiah (168). They are too similar to the God of Israel's self-revelation in the Tanakh to be accidental.
In the LXX egō eimi is used to translate the personal pronoun ani (SH-589) or anoki (SH-595), meaning "I" and occurring in occasional self-references by men, e.g., Abraham (Gen 18:27; 23:4); Solomon (Songs 5:8), Isaiah (Isa 6:8) and Jeremiah (Jer 1:6). Predominately the pronoun-verb combination is spoken by the God of Israel in reference to Himself, first without qualification, such as "I am who I am" (Ex 3:14; also in Isa 41:4; 43:10, 25; 46:4; 47:8, 10; 48:12; 51:12; 52:6). More commonly God says egō eimi kurios, for Heb. ani YHVH, "I am YHVH" 48 times (Ex 7:5; 8:22; 16:12; 20:2, 5; 29:46; Lev 11:44, 45; 26:1, 13, 44; Deut 5:6; 32:39; Isa 45:8, 18, 19; 61:8; Jer 24:7; Ezek 7:9; 28:22, 23, 24, 26; 29:6, 9, 16, 21; 30:8, 19, 25, 26; 32:15; 33:29; 34:27, 30; 35:4, 9, 12, 15; 36:11, 23; 37:6, 13, 28; 39:6, 7, 22, 28).
Yeshua's declaration is not just a friendly introduction such as "Hi, how are you, I am…" The distinctive phrase likely intends an allusion to Exodus 3:14 in which God addresses Moses, "I Am Who I Am." Then He said, 'You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, 'I AM' has sent me to you'" (TLV). "I Am" is the verb eheyeh , the Qal imperfect of hayah (Owens 1:247), indicating continuing existence. The personal name of YHVH, and its derivative Yah, is derived from hava, the older form and rare synonym of haya, "be, become" (TWOT 1:210). Thus, YHVH is a shortened version of the longer name God gave to Moses from the burning bush. Now the revelation comes in another form of light. For more discussion on this sacred name see my web article The Blessed Name.
the One: Grk. ho, definite article used here as a demonstrative pronoun. Most versions translate the pronoun as "He" but some versions render it capitalized as "the One" (DLNT, HCSB, ICB, MSG, NLV, VOICE). Among Jews "The One" was a substitute name for YHVH (e.g., Ps 3:3; 37:24; Isa 40:26; 45:7; 49:7; Amos 9:5-6; John 1:33; 6:46; 7:18; 11:27; 12:45; 15:21; Acts 10:42; Rom 5:17; 2Cor 4:6). In these passages "the One" is the only God in existence, the living God, the Creator of the cosmos, and the redeemer of Israel. The title also affirms the basic truth of the Shema that "ADONAI is one" (Deut 6:4; Zech 14:9; Mark 12:29; 1Tim 2:5; Jas 2:19).
Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua ("Jesus" in Christian Bibles). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua ("Joshua"), which means "YHVH [the LORD] is salvation" (BDB 221). The meaning of his name is explained to Joseph by an angel of the Lord, "You shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). The English rendering of "Jesus" originated with the Mace New Testament in 1729. For more information on the meaning our Lord's name, his identity, and the history of translation of the name see my web article Who is Yeshua?
whom: Grk. hos, relative pronoun used to give significance to the mention of a person, thing, or piece of information that precedes; who, which, what, that. you: Grk. su, sing. pronoun of the second person. are persecuting: Grk. diōkō, pres. See the previous verse. Yeshua lays the responsibility and the blame for the persecution of disciples solely on Sha'ul, not the high priest or the men who were assisting Sha'ul. The persecution of Messianic Jews was Sha'ul's own personal vendetta.
6 but arise and enter into the city, and it will be told to you that 'what' it behooves you to do."
but: Grk. alla, conj., adversative particle used adverbially to convey a different viewpoint for consideration; but, on the other hand. arise: Grk. anistēmi, aor. imp., to rise, stand up or get up and in its ordinary use refers to the physical motion of transition from a sitting or prone position or simply standing; arise, rise, or stand. In the LXX anistēmi renders Heb. qum (SH-6965), to arise, stand up, or stand, first in Genesis 4:8. and: Grk. kai, conj. enter: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. imp., to go or enter into a geographical area, manufactured structure or other place defined in the context. into: Grk. eis, prep. the city: Grk. ho polis, a population center whose size or number of inhabitants could range broadly, a city or town, a reference to Damascus. Left unsaid is the implication "and find lodging." Yeshua did not tell Sha'ul where to stay.
and: Grk. kai. it will be told: Grk. laleō, fut. pass., 3p-sing., make an oral statement, to speak or talk about something; often used of public speaking; proclaim, report, say, speak, or talk about. The means of communication is purposely left vague. to you: Grk. su, sing. pronoun of the second person. that: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. See the previous verse. what: Grk. tís, interrogative pronoun. See verse 4 above. The pronoun summarizes the question that Sha'ul asked and later reported in 22:10. it behooves: Grk. dei, pres., 3p-sing., impersonal verb from deō ('lack, stand in need of') and thus conveys the idea of something that's necessary, something that must or needs to happen; must, necessary, behooves.
you: Grk. su. to do: Grk. poieō, pres. inf., a verb of physical action that may refer to (1) producing something material; make, construct, produce, create; or (2) to be active in bringing about a state of condition; do, act, perform, work. The second meaning applies here. In the LXX poieō renders chiefly Heb. asah (SH-6213), accomplish, do, make, work (first in Gen 1:7), and used of a wide range of human and divine activity. The clause "behooves you to do" hints at the compelling raison d'être that would become the passion of the apostle's life (Rom 1:14; 1Cor 9:16).
7 And the men, the ones traveling with him, stood speechless, hearing indeed the voice but seeing no one.
And: Grk. de, conj. the men: pl. of Grk. anēr. See verse 2 above. These men may have been members of the Temple police Sha'ul recruited to assist in the arrest of adherents of the Yeshua movement. the ones: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. traveling with: Grk. sunodeuō, pres. part., to accompany on a journey. The verb occurs only here in the Besekh. The only other Jewish literature in which the verb is used in a literal sense is Tobit 5:17 and Josephus (Ant. I, 13:2), and it is used in a fig. sense in Wisdom 6:23. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. stood: Grk. histēmi, plperf., may mean (1) cause to be in a place or position; (2) to be in an upright position; (3) to set or place in a balance; (4) fig. to stand ready, to be of a steadfast mind. The second meaning applies here. The tense of the verb indicates that the men had been immobilized while Yeshua was speaking with Sha'ul.
speechless: Grk. eneos, adj., experiencing loss of speech, unable to speak whether through amazement or terror; dumb, mute, speechless. The word occurs only here in the Besekh. The adj. occurs two times in the LXX: Proverbs 17:28 for Heb. atam, to shut the lips; and Isaiah 56:10 for Heb. illem, mute, unable to speak. hearing: Grk. akouō, pres. part. See verse 4 above. Being hit by a bright shaft of light from heaven left the men dumbfounded. indeed: Grk. mén, a particle of affirmation; indeed, verily, truly. Many versions do not translate the particle. the voice: Grk. ho phōnē. See verse 4 above. Most versions render the noun as "voice." Sha'ul will later clarify that his companions did not hear the words spoken by Yeshua (Acts 22:9). Some versions translate the noun as "sound" (CSB, HNV, MSG, MW, NIV, OJB, TLB, WEB).
What the companions heard could be similar to the occasion when the Father spoke to Yeshua from heaven and bystanders thought it was thunder (John 12:29). However, Bruce offers the reasonable suggestion that translating phōnē as "voice" could refer to Sha'ul's voice. In other words, the companions heard only Sha'ul's side of the conversation. but: Grk. de. seeing: Grk. theōreō, pres. part., may mean (1) pay attention to; look at, observe, watch, behold; (2) conclude on the basis of personal experience; consider, infer, see; or (3) have awareness in depth; perceive, experience. The first meaning has primary application here.
no one: Grk. mēdeis, adj. (from mē, "not" and heis, "one"), not even one, nothing. The companions of Sha'ul were not privileged to see the vision of the resurrected Messiah. Similarly, Daniel saw a heavenly visitor (a vision of Yeshua, cf. Ezek 1:26-27; Rev 1:14), but his companions did not see him (Dan 10:4-7).
8 So Sha'ul raised up from the ground, and his eyes having been opened, he was seeing nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.
So: Grk. de, conj. Sha'ul: Grk. Saulos. See verse 1 above. raised up: Grk. egeirō, aor. pass., to rise or raise, is used with a variety of meanings: (1) to arouse from sleep, to awake; (2) to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life; (3) to cause to rise or raise, from a seat or bed; or (4) to raise up, produce, cause to appear, such as appear before the public or a judge, or erect a building. The third meaning applies here. Egeirō appears frequently in the Besekh in reference to resurrection and the choice to use egeirō here instead of anistēmi (verse 6 above) hints at spiritual resurrection. from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation, here denoting point of origin; from. the ground: Grk. ho gē. See verse 4 above. The verbal phrase implies that Sha'ul had been prostrate on the ground.
and: Grk. de, conj. his: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. eyes: pl. of Grk. ophthalmos, the physical organ of sight; eyes. having been opened: Grk. anoigō, perf. pass. part., pres., to open, often used of doors to make a room accessible. Metaphorically the verb may mean to provide the opportunity to do something or to give entrance into the soul. In the LXX anoigō predominately renders Heb. pathach (SH-6605), with a wide variety of uses (Gen 7:11; 29:31; 41:56; 42:27); but also Heb. patsah (SH-6475), used for opening the mouth (Gen 4:11; Job 35:16) and Heb. paqach (SH-6491), used exclusively for opening one's eyes and ears (Gen 21:19) (DNTT 2:726). The fig. use occurs several times in the Tanakh, for opening the eyes of the mind and heart (Gen 3:5; Isa 35:5) and for being attentive to the needs and desires of someone (2Chr 6:40; 7:15; Neh 1:6; Isa 37:17).
Yeshua is the One who opens (Rev 3:7). Given the narrative that follows, the opening of the eyes refers to Sha'ul gaining spiritual insight and revelation (cf. Acts 26:18). he was seeing: Grk. blepō, impf., may mean (1) possess the physical ability to see; (2) use one's eyes to take note of an object; (3) be looking in a certain direction; or (4) to have inward or mental sight. The first meaning has application here. nothing: Grk. oudeis, adj., a marker used to indicate negation of a person or thing as actually existing at a given place or moment; lit. not one, no one, nobody, nothing. The adjective rules out by definition and leaves no exceptions (HELPS). Sha'ul was left totally blind.
and: Grk. de, conj. leading him by the hand: Grk. cheiragōgeō, pres. part., 3p-pl., to lead or take by the hand. The plural participle alludes to the companions of Sha'ul (Acts 22:11). they brought: Grk. eisagō, aor., cause to enter into an area; bring or lead in. him: Grk. autos. into: Grk. eis, prep. Damascus: See verse 2 above. The companions found a house to provide hospitality and care (verse 11 below) and then apparently returned to Jerusalem to report what had happened.
9 And he was three days not seeing, and neither ate nor drank.
And: Grk. kai, conj. he was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 2 above. three: Grk. treis, adj., the numeral three. days: pl. of Grk. hēmera may refer to (1) the daylight hours from sunrise to sunset, (2) the civil or legal day that included the night, (3) an appointed day for a special purpose or (4) a longer or imprecise period, such as a timeframe for accomplishing something or a time of life or activity (BAG). The second meaning is probably intended here. In the Tanakh three days often occurs in narratives preceding a momentous event: Joseph informing the baker and cupbearer of their fate in three days (Gen 40:13, 19); Moses imposing the plague of darkness in Egypt (Ex 10:22-23); the preparation time given for crossing the Jordan (Josh 1:11); the spies hidden for three days (Josh 2:16); Esther fasting for deliverance of Jews (Esth 4:16); and Jonah in the fish (Jon 1:17) and walking around Nineveh declaring God's message (Jon 3:3).
not: Grk. mē, adv., a particle of qualified negation, not. It differs from the other standard negative particle, oú, in that oú is objective, dealing only with facts, while mē is subjective, involving will and thought (DM 265). seeing: Grk. blepō, pres. part. See the previous verse. The verb combined with the negative mē probably indicates that Sha'ul did not want to "see" anyone. He wanted to be alone. and: Grk. kai. neither: Grk. ou, adv., a particle used in an unqualified denial or negation; no, not. The particle is translated "neither" since it is followed by a parallel negative. ate: Grk. phagō, aor., to take in one's mouth, to partake of food. nor: Grk. oude, negative particle that links a negative statement as complementary to a preceding negative; neither, not even, nor. drank: Grk. pinō, aor., to take in a liquid, to drink, usually of water or wine.
Once settled in a house Sha'ul decided to fast. As a Pharisee Sha'ul was accustomed to fasting twice a week as a personal discipline (cf. Luke 18:12). In the time of Yeshua such fasts took place on the second day (Monday) and fifth day (Thursday) of the week. No fast was permitted on weekly Sabbaths or festival days. Fasting applied only to food and drink; all other acts, such as washing the body or anointing, were permitted. As a religious exercise fasting meant avoidance of unnecessary pleasures and engaging in giving alms to the poor.
However, as a spiritual exercise fasting is a time of seeking God and waiting on Him to respond. Several Bible heroes engaged in fasting to accomplish important goals.
· Moses fasted forty days and nights in his devotion to receiving the Torah from God (Ex 34:28; Deut 9:9).
· David fasted in mourning upon news of Saul's death (2Sam 1:12). He later fasted for healing of his baby conceived by Bathsheba (2Sam 12:16), but the baby died. He fasted another time to pray for healing (Ps 35:13) and twice in praying for God's deliverance from adversaries (Ps 69:10; 109:24).
· Daniel fasted as part of intercession for Israel (Dan 9:3). He fasted a second time two years later for a three-week period in mourning after the revelation of the 70 weeks (Dan 10:2-3).
· Ezra fasted in mourning over the sin of unlawful intermarriage (Ezra 10:6). He confessed the sins of Israel and prayed for wisdom as to how to handle the moral crisis.
· Nehemiah fasted as part of intercession for Israel (Neh 1:4).
· Yeshua fasted forty days in preparation for assuming his redemptive mission (Matt 4:2).
This was a time for Sha'ul to be honest with God. Fasting is especially appropriate for confession of sin (cf. 1Sam 7:6; Joel 2:12; Jon 3:5-8). He would have no doubt agonized over the grievous nature of his sins, marveled at the magnanimous grace of the Messiah who didn't kill him on the Damascus Road and then offered heartfelt confession and repentance to God (cf. 2Cor 4:1; Titus 3:5; 1Tim 1:13-16). For more information on the subject of fasting see my web article Fasting and Prayer.
The Mission of Ananias, 9:10-19
10 Now there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, I, Lord."
Now: Grk. de, conj. there was: Grk. eimi, impf. See verse 2 above. a certain: Grk. tis, indefinite pronoun. disciple: Grk. mathētēs. See verse 1 above. in: Grk. en, prep. Damascus: See verse 2 above. named: Grk. onoma is used in its central sense of identifying someone with a proper name. In Hebrew literature "name" also carries the extended sense of qualities, powers, attributes or reputation. Ananias: Grk. Ananias, a transliteration of Heb. Chananyah ("Yah is gracious"). The name Ananias appears in the Besekh for three different Jewish men (Acts 5:1; 23:2) and appears in the Tanakh for over a dozen different Israelite men. Hippolytus (170-236) includes Ananias in his list of the seventy apostles whom Yeshua chose and sent on an evangelistic mission in Luke 10:1 (On the Seventy Apostles). Origen (184-253), Dorotheus (255-362) and Epiphanius (310-403) also include Ananias in the same list.
As for the mission of the seventy Yeshua would not have chosen any Gentiles for this early mission, since the charge to the seventy was patterned after the mission of the Twelve (Matt 10). The mission was expressly directed to the lost house of Israel (Matt 10:5-6) and the seventy were sent to cities in which Yeshua planned to minister (Luke 10:1). It is noteworthy that Luke is the only one to mention the mission of the seventy in which he obviously participated. By virtue of this shared history Luke was personally acquainted with Ananias. Luke provides no information on how and when Ananias became a disciple. He may have heard Yeshua at a pilgrim festival and followed him for a time before returning to Damascus. It is obvious from the narrative that Ananias was not a refugee from the persecution in Jerusalem. Eventually Ananias was appointed as overseer of the Body of Messiah in Damascus.
and: Grk. kai, conj. the Lord: Grk. kurios, i.e. Yeshua. See verse 1 above. The "Lord" is the risen Messiah as evident from verse 17 below. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 4 above. Yeshua probably spoke in Hebrew as he did to Sha'ul. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 2 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. in: Grk. en. a vision: Grk. horama, something that is seen by virtue of a transcendent or revelatory experience; vision. The term refers to a pictographic message, not a mental insight. The vision was necessary to convey knowledge not previously possessed. Ananias: Yeshua called to the disciple by name, probably in the night. And: Grk. de. he said: Grk. legō, aor.
Behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp., 2p-sing., demonstrative interjection (derived from eidon, "to see"), that arouses the attention of hearers or readers. The Greek verb, like its corresponding Heb. word hinneh (SH-2009, e.g., Gen 1:29), serves to enliven divine monologues and narratives, particularly as a call to closer consideration and contemplation of something, to introduce something new or to emphasize the size or importance of something; (you) see, look, behold (BAG). Since the verb is second person it may be equivalent to "Behold me!" In other words, "You can see that I am listening." Ananias did not need to ask "who are you?"
I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Most versions translate the phrase idou egō as "Here am I." The pronoun is not followed by the verb eimi, "am." This Greek construction of idou egō occurs over 200 times in the LXX and just eight times in the Besekh (Matt 10:16; 11:10; 23:34; 28:20; Luke 23:14; Acts 10:21; 20:25; Heb 2:13), only one of which if followed by eimi (Acts 10:21). Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. case. Ananias has revealed himself to be an obedient disciple with a close relationship with Yeshua.
Stern notes that Ananias joined a select company when he gave this answer expressing ready and expectant submission to God.
• Abraham answered, "Hineni!" when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:1), and also when the angel of ADONAI told him to stay his hand (Gen 22:11). Jacob likewise answered "Hineni" to the call of the angel of ADONAI (Gen 31:11; 46:2).
• Moses answered, "Hineni!" to God’s call from the burning bush (Ex 3:4).
• Samuel answered, "Hineni!" when God first spoke to him (1Sam 3:4–10).
• Isaiah answered, "Hineni!" when the voice of ADONAI asked, "Whom shall I send?" (Isa 6:8).
By declaring "Hineni" these men demonstrated that they were unconditionally obedient in the holy service of ADONAI. Yeshua still seeks such disciples.
11 And the Lord said to him, "Having arisen go upon the street called Straight, and seek in the house of Judas, Sha'ul by name, a Tarsian, for behold he is praying,
And: Grk. de, conj. the Lord: See verse 1 above and the previous verse. said to: Grk. pros, prep. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Having arisen: Grk. anistēmi, aor. part. See verse 6 above. The verb may indicate Ananias was awakened from sleep. go: Grk. poreuomai, aor. pass. imp. See verse 3 above. upon: Grk. epi, prep. the street: Grk. rhumē, a tract of way in a town shut in by buildings on both sides; thus a narrow street or lane in a town or city (Thayer). called: Grk. kaleō, pres. pass. part., to identify by name or give a term to; call. Straight: Grk. Euthus, straight, without unnecessary zig-zags. Streets in ancient cities were given names to distinguish them. This street may have been given the name "Straight" because it was a main road through the city. Bruce says this street is still one of the chief thoroughfare of Damascus (199).
and: Grk. kai, conj. seek: Grk. zēteō, aor. imp., may mean (1) be on the search for in order to find someone or something one has difficulty in locating; (2) search for ways to satisfy an interest; (3) have an interest in; or (4) press for. The first meaning applies here. in: Grk. en, prep. the house: Grk. oikia may mean (1) a habitable structure; house, abode, private residence (Matt 2:11; John 11:31); (2) fig. of a group within a house; household or family (Matt 10:13; John 4:53); (3) fig. of goods, property or means (Matt 23:13). The first meaning applies here.
of Judas: Grk. Ioudas, a transliteration of Heb. Y'hudah ("Judah") meaning "praise YHVH." The proper name Judas was very common in the time of Yeshua because it was not only the Greek form of one of the twelve patriarchs, but it was also made popular by the Jewish hero Judas Maccabeus who led the nation in their fight for independence from Syria in 166 BC. The Besekh mentions seven men named Judas. No further information is provided on this Judas. He was a Jew, but whether he was a disciple of Yeshua is not mentioned. He might have been a host recommended to Sha'ul in Jerusalem. More likely is that this Judas was a disciple whom God had appointed to care for Sha'ul in his blindness.
Sha'ul: See verse 1 above. by name: Grk. onoma. See the previous verse. a Tarsian: Grk. Tarseus, belonging to Tarsus, a Tarsian. The spelling of the proper name is Tarsos, which does not occur in the Besekh at all. Most versions have "from Tarsus," but there is no preposition "from" in the verse. Tarsus was the leading city in ancient Cilicia, a province between Syria and Asia Minor (Acts 21:39), located about 10 miles inland from the coast of present-day Turkey. See the map here. In the Roman period competed with Athens and Alexandria as the learning center of the world. The city had a university and was greatly influenced by Stoic philosophical schools. It was the birthplace of Chrysippus, a well-known leader of the Stoic movement.
for: Grk. gar, conj., , a contraction of ge ("yet") and ara ("then"), and in a broad sense means "certainly it follows that; for." The conjunction has four uses: (1) explanatory, (2) expressive of astonishment, (3) causal and, (4) inferential. The first use is intended here. behold: Grk. idou, aor. imp. See the previous verse. he is praying: Grk. proseuchomai, pres. mid., to petition deity for some personal desire. In the LXX proseuchomai renders Heb. palal (SH-6419), to intervene, mediate, intercede or pray. The verb refers to earnestly petitioning God for His help with respect to an urgent need. The prayer of Sha'ul likely included confession and repentance with the humility of having realized that he was a great sinner (1Tim 1:15).
12 and he saw a man in a vision, Ananias by name, having come and having laid hands on him, so that he might recover sight."
and: Grk. de, conj. he saw: Grk. horaō, aor., to perceive physically with the eye, or in a fig. sense to experience something or to have extraordinary mental or inward perception. The verb denotes a personal experience. a man: Grk. anēr. See verse 2 above. in: Grk. en, prep. a vision: Grk. horama. See verse 10 above. Ananias: See verse 10 above. by name: Grk. onoma. See verse 10 above. having come: Grk. eiserchomai, aor. part. See verse 6 above. and: Grk. kai, conj. having laid: Grk. epithithēmi, aor. part., to place something on or transfer to; to lay or put on. hands: pl. of Grk. cheir, the anatomical limb of the hand. The verbal phrase is used first in the apostolic narratives of Yeshua employing physical touch to heal (Matt 9:18) and to convey blessing (Matt 19:18).
on him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. so that: Grk. hopōs, conj. See verse 2 above. he might recover sight: Grk. anablepō, aor. subj., to be able to see after a period without sight; be able to see, receive sight, recover sight. The narrative contains humor since the Lord gave the vision to Sha'ul before telling Ananias about it. Failure to go would make Yeshua a liar.
13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I heard from many concerning this man, how many evils he did to Your holy ones in Jerusalem;
Then: Grk. de, conj. Ananias: See verse 10 above. answered: Grk. apokrinomai, aor. pass., to answer or reply to someone, whether to a question, request, exhortation, command, etc. (BAG). In the LXX apokrinomai renders Heb. anah (SH-6030), to answer or respond to something said in conversation (Gen 18:27); to respond to an occasion and speak in view of circumstances (Dan 2:15) or to respond as a witness in a legal proceeding (1Sam 12:3) (BDB 772). Lord: Grk. kurios, voc. See verse 1 above. I heard: Grk. akouō, aor. See verse 4 above. from: Grk. apo, prep. many: pl. of Grk. polus, adj., extensive in scope, here indicating a high number. concerning: Grk. peri, prep with an orientational aspect relating to being near or having to do with something; in behalf of, about, concerning.
this: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun signifying a person or thing set forth in narrative that precedes or follows it; this. man: Grk. anēr. See verse 2 above. how many: Grk. hosos, correlative pronoun signifying maximum inclusion; how much, how great, how many. evils: pl. of Grk. kakos, adj., may mean (1) morally or socially reprehensible and contrary to Torah standards; bad, wrong, wicked, evil; or (2) causing harm, with focus on personal or physical injury; harmful, bad. Both meanings have application here, but the first is primary. In the LXX kakos is used to render Heb. ra (SH-7451), which has the same dual meaning (DNTT 1:562). Sha'ul's later testimony of his conduct supports this indictment (Acts 22:4-5; 26:9-11; 1Tim 1:13-15).
he did: Grk. poieō, aor. See verse 6 above. to Your: Grk. su, possessive pronoun of the second person. holy ones: pl. of Grk. ho hagios, adj., set apart for dedication to the interests or expectations of deity. The term is used of sacred things, places, people, angels and God. In the LXX hagios translates Heb. qadôsh (SH-6918), which means separate, sacred, holy. In the Tanakh and other Jewish writings the "holy ones" were Israelites loyal to the God of Israel and His covenantal expectations (Deut 33:3; Job 5:1; Ps 16:3; 34:9; 89:5, 7; Dan 7:18, 21-22, 25, 27; Hos 11:12; 1Macc 7:16; Tobit 8:15; Wis. Sol. 5:5; 18:9). The appellation originated when God called Israel to be a people consecrated to worship and obey Him (Deut 7:6; 14:2). The term succeeds in having a corporate meaning as well as an individual meaning.
The plural form occurs 19 times in the Besekh, 16 of which are in the letters of Paul, but he did not use the term in any elitist. The noun is translated as "saints" in Christian versions, which may be misleading to modern readers. The historical restriction in Christianity of using "saint" to canonize only the apostles and later Christian leaders is unfortunate and unnecessary. The true "saints" or holy ones are those who have accepted the truth of the Good News of the Messiah, repented of their sins, put their trust in the atoning sacrifice of Yeshua for their sins, separated themselves to be faithful to their Lord, and enjoy the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The holy ones are those who are wholly His and "keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Yeshua" (Rev 12:17).
in: Grk. en, prep. Jerusalem: See verse 2 above. The reply of Ananias alludes to the persecution reported in Acts 8:1-3 and suggests that his knowledge of Sha'ul was hearsay, not personal. Stern comments that the reservations of Ananias about carrying out God's command was not unlike like Moses (Ex 3:13; 4:1, 10, 13), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) and Jeremiah (Jer 1:6-7).
14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all the ones calling on Your name."
and: Grk. kai, conj. here: Grk. hōde, adv. of place, here or in this place; i.e., Damascus. he has: Grk. echō, pres., to have, hold or possess with a wide range of application. The verb alludes to the arrest warrants Sha'ul had in his hand. authority: Grk. exousia, the right to speak or act in a situation without looking or waiting for approval; authority, right, jurisdiction. from: Grk. para, prep. the chief priests: pl. of Grk. archiereus. See verse 1 above. The plural noun would include retired high priests and active holders of the priestly offices of higher rank in the Temple, altogether some fifteen to twenty persons.
From Luke's narrative (Acts 4:1; 5:17) and Josephus (Ant. XX, 9:1) we know that the chief priests were generally Sadducees and together as a group formed the legal and administrative authority in the Temple. Many of the serving chief priests were ex–officio members of the Sanhedrin (Jeremias 179, 197, 230). The active chief priests held a variety of administrative posts and as a group wielded considerable power in the city. According to rabbinical sources the list of working chief priests included the following (Jeremias 160):
● The ruling high priest
● The deputy high priest, who also served as chief of the Levitical police.
● The director of the weekly division of ordinary priests.
● The director of the daily shift.
● Seven temple overseers.
● Three or more temple treasurers.
A corresponding list of ranks is found in the War Scroll (1QM 2:1ff) of the DSS (TDSS 149). The DSS list has the high priest, his deputy, twelve chief priests, and the directors of the priests' weekly courses; twelve chief Levites, and the directors of the weekly Levitical courses. The plural noun in this context may only include the ruling high priest and deputy high priest who would have supplied Levitical guards to accompany Sha'ul. Ananias apparently learned about Sha'ul's purpose in coming to Damascus.
to bind: Grk. deō, aor. inf. See verse 2 above. all: pl. of Grk. pas, adj., comprehensive in scope, but without statistical emphasis; all, every. the ones: pl. of Grk. ho, definite article but used here as a demonstrative pronoun. calling on: Grk. epikaleō, pres. part., may mean (1) to give a name or nickname to; call, name; or (2) call upon for help, aid or intercession; invoke, appeal to, call upon for oneself. The second meaning applies here. Your: Grk. su, poss. pronoun of the second person. name: Grk. onoma. See verse 10 above. The last clause alludes to the exhortation of Peter in his Pentecost sermon that all who call on the name of ADONAI will be saved (Acts 2:21) and by extension the thousands in Jerusalem who obeyed and became followers of Yeshua.
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, because this one is to me a vessel of choice to bear my name before nations, and both kings and sons of Israel;
But: Grk. de, conj. the Lord: Grk. kurios. See verse 1 above. said: Grk. legō, aor. See verse 4 above. to: Grk. pros, prep. See verse 2 above. him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. Go: Grk. poreuomai, pres. mid. imp. See verse 3 above. Yeshua preempted any further excuse by the strong command. because: Grk. hoti, conj. that serves as a link between two sets of data, whether (1) defining a demonstrative pronoun; that; (2) introducing a subordinate clause as complementary of a preceding verb; (3) introducing a direct quotation and functioning as quotation marks; or (4) indicating causality with an inferential aspect; for, because, inasmuch as. The fourth usage applies here. As "Lord," Yeshua did not owe Ananias any explanation, but does give a significant revelation to Ananias.
this one: Grk. houtos, demonstrative pronoun. is: Grk. eimi, pres. See verse 2 above. to me: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. Many versions translate the dative case of the noun as a genitive, "of mine." The dative draws a different distinction. Yeshua essentially says, "I know what Sha'ul is to you, but let me tell you what he is to me." a vessel: Grk. skeuos, something serviceable in carrying out a function. The term is used variously of a human body, a household or Temple container for holding a liquid, and a ship. Most versions have "instrument," but the following verb suggests the imagery of a container and not a tool.
of choice: Grk. eklogē, the act of making a choice or selection; especially used of God making a unique independent choice. Most versions translate the noun as an adjective "chosen" to modify "vessel." However, the genitive case of eklogē emphasizes the selection of Sha'ul as particularly significant and important (cf. Rom 1:1-3; Gal 1:15-16). to carry: Grk. bastazō, aor. inf., may mean (1) take up something from a position; lift; (2) sustain a burden; bear, carry; (3) remove from a position; remove, pilfer, steal. The second meaning applies here. my: Grk. egō. name: Grk. onoma. See verse 10 above. before: Grk. enōpion, prep., from a word meaning "facing" with the basic idea of being 'in sight of' or 'in the presence of.'
nations: pl. of Grk. ethnos, humans belonging to a people group as defined by language and culture. In the LXX ethnos generally renders Heb. goy (SH-1471; pl. goyim), "community, nation, people" (BDB 156; DNTT 2:790). The term ethnos is first used in Genesis 10 to describe the list of seventy nations and is also used for descendants of Isaac and Jacob and the nation of Israel (cf. Gen 12:2; 17:4; 18:18; Ex 19:6; Deut 4:6; Ps 106:5; Isa 9:1; 42:1, 6; Jer 5:15; Ezek 4:13; 36:13-14; Mic 4:2-3). In the Besekh ethnos may refer to any people distinguished by language and culture (Matt 24:7; Acts 10:35; Rev 5:9), including Israel (Luke 23:2; Acts 24:2, 10; 28:19; 1Cor 10:18; Php 3:5). Many versions render the plural noun here as "Gentiles," but this translation is too restrictive for the context of Acts and the actual ministry of Sha'ul-Paul. Some versions have "nations" (GW, LITV, NEB, NOG, NTE, TLB, TLV, TPT, WEB, YLT).
and: Grk. kai, conj. both: Grk. te, conj. See verse 2 above. The conjunctive phrase kai te is equivalent to "including." kings: pl. of Grk. basileus, king or chief ruler. In the LXX basileus appears frequently to translate Heb. melek (SH-4428). In the Tanakh the title "king" was not associated with the size of territory governed (often a city), but the authority wielded. The executive and judicial functions (and sometimes legislative) of government were vested in one person. Sha'ul would eventually appear before the Jewish King Agrippa and the Roman governors Felix and Festus.
and: Grk. te. sons: pl. of Grk. huios, a male offspring or descendant, whether by direct birth or by more remote ancestry. In the LXX huios renders Heb. ben ("son," "son of"), which is used in three distinctive ways: (1) to identify direct paternity, as the son of his father (Gen 5). (2) to mean not the actual father but a more distant ancestor (e.g., Gen 32:32; Matt 1:1); or (3) to mean in a broader sense of having the characteristics of (e.g., Ps 89:22; Dan 3:25; cf. 2Th 2:3). The second meaning is intended here. of Israel: Grk. Israēl, a transliteration of the Heb. Yisrael, which means "God prevails" (BDB 975). The name first appears in Genesis 32:28 where the angel with whom Jacob struggled informed him that his name would be changed to Israel. After Jacob's reconciliation with Esau the name change was made permanent along with significant covenantal promises. God said,
"I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and an assembly of nations will come from you. From your loins will come forth kings. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and to Isaac—I give it to you, and to your seed after you I will give the land." (Gen 35:11-12 TLV)
The mission Yeshua had in mind for Sha'ul would take him to all the biological descendants of Jacob wherever they might be living. It is noteworthy that Yeshua said "sons of Israel" and not "Jews." The sons of Israel were fractured into several groups: Essenes, Galilean Jews, Hellenistic Jews, Hellenized Jews, Herodians, Judean Jews, Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans and Zealots. The good news of Messiah was intended for all of them. This declaration hearkens back to Peter's statement in his Pentecost sermon: "Therefore, let all the house of Israel assuredly know that God has made him [Yeshua] both Lord and Messiah" (Acts 2:36). Historic Christianity, employing a distorted interpretation of Galatians 2:7-9, has fostered the lie that Sha'ul was only intended as an apostle to the Gentiles.
16 for I will show to him how much it behooves him to suffer in behalf of My name."
for: Grk. gar, conj. See verse 11 above. The conjunction has an explanatory function here. I: Grk. egō, pronoun of the first person. will show: Grk. hupodeiknumi, fut., to show or indicate something to someone in a literal sense, but also fig. of give direction, prove or set forth. The verb often pertains to showing by words and arguments, but in this instance it is showing by experience. to him: Grk. autos, personal pronoun. how much: Grk. hosos, relative pronoun. See verse 13 above. it behooves: Grk. dei, pres. See verse 6 above. Most versions translate the verb as "must." The verb hints at God's sovereign will for the future. him: Grk. autos. to suffer: Grk. paschō, aor. inf., to experience something, but often with a negative connotation in association with physical pain or ill treatment; suffer.
in behalf of: Grk. huper, prep., lit. "over, above," used to express a stance of concern or interest relating to someone or something. With the genitive case of the noun following the preposition emphasizes a supportive aspect; for the advantage of, in behalf of, in the interest of. My: Grk. egō. name: Grk. onoma. See verse 10 above. Yeshua makes it clear that the suffering of Sha'ul is not punishment or penance. Rather, it is the natural consequence of his choice to follow Yeshua. Luke recounts Sha'ul's experience of suffering in various cities during the course of the apostle's ministry (cf. 2Tim 3:11). Sha'ul will later summarize his experience of suffering in his letter to the congregation in Corinth (2Cor 1:5-7; 11:23-31). Sha'ul would come to view suffering for the Messiah as earnest for the glory to come (Rom 8:17-18).
Ant.: Flavius Josephus (c. 37–100 A.D.), Antiquities of the Jews (Latin Antiquitates Judaicae). trans. William Whiston (1737). Online.
Atlas: Oxford Bible Atlas, Second Edition. ed. Herbert G. May. Oxford University Press, 1974.
BAG: Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. trans. W.F. Arndt & F.W. Gingrich. The University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Barker: William P. Barker, Everyone In the Bible. Fleming H. Revell Co., 1966.
BDB: The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1907. Reprinted by Associated Publishers and Authors, Inc., 1981.
Brenton: Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton (1807-1862), The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament with English Translation. Samuel, Bagster & Sons, 1851. Online.
Bruce: F.F. Bruce, The Book of Acts. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1954.
Clarke: Adam Clarke (1762–1832), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. J. Emory and B. Waugh, 1831. Online.
Coke: Thomas Coke (1747-1814), Commentary on the Holy Bible. 6 vols. Online.
Craigie: Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1976. (New International Commentary on the Old Testament)
Danker: Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Delitzsch: Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890), Isaiah. Commentary on the Old Testament (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, 1866-1891), Vol. 7. Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Online.
DM: H.E. Dana & Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament. The Macmillan Co., 1955.
DNTT: Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 Vols. Zondervan Pub. House, 1975.
Edmundson: Charles Edmundson, The Church in Rome in the First Century. Longmans, Green and Co., 1913. Online.
Gager: John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Gilbert: Gary Gilbert, Annotations on "The Acts of the Apostles," Jewish Annotated New Testament, eds. Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Gill: John Gill (1697-1771), Exposition of the Entire Bible. Online.
HELPS: Gleason L. Archer and Gary Hill, eds., The Discovery Bible New Testament: HELPS Word Studies. Moody Press, 1987, 2011. (Online at BibleHub.com)
ISBE: James Orr, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1939. Website HTML, 2011. Online.
Jeremias: Joichim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. Fortress Press, 1975.
JE: Jewish Encyclopedia, Funk and Wagnalls, 1906. 12 vols., gen. ed. Isidore Singer. Website HTML, 2002-2011. Online.
Klausner: Joseph Klausner (1874-1958), From Jesus to Paul. trans. William Stinespring. The Macmillan Company, 1943; First Menorah Pub. Co., 1979.
Koch: Kurt E. Koch (1913-1987), Between Christ and Satan. Kregel Publications, 1962.
Liberman: Joel Liberman, The Acts of the Emissaries: Practical Sermons on the Spirit-filled Birth & Explosive Grown of Messianic Judaism. Tree of Life, Inc., 2014.
Lightfoot: John Lightfoot (1602-1675), "Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations upon the Acts of the Apostles," (Vol. 4), A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica (1859 ed.), 4 Vols. Hendrickson Pub., 1989. Online.
Lizorkin-Eyzenberg: Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel. Jewish Studies for Christians (Tel Aviv), 2015.
Longenecker: Richard N. Longenecker, Acts. Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 9. Software version 2.6. Zondervan Corp., 1989-1999.
Marshall: I. Howard Marshall, Acts. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. InterVarsity Press, 1980.
Metzger: Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1994.
Moseley: Ron Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. Lederer Books, 1996.
Mounce: William D. Mounce, Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2011. Online.
NA28: Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition. eds. Barbara and Kurt Aland, John Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce M. Metzger. German Bible Society and American Bible Society, 2012. [NA28 has the same Greek text as UBS-5.]
Neil: James Neil, Palestine Explored. James Nisbet & Co., 1882.
OCB: The Oxford Companion to the Bible. ed. Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 1993.
Owens: John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, 4 vols. Baker Book House, 1989.
Rienecker: Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. 2 Vol. Zondervan Pub. House, 1980.
SEC: James Strong (1822–1894), Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1890). Online.
Skarsaune: Oskar Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity. InterVarsity Press, 2002.
Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.
TDNT: Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 10 vols. William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1967. Online.
Thayer: Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Harper Brothers, 1889.
TWOT: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 Vols. ed. R. Laird Harris. Moody Bible Institute, 1980.
Wright: N.T. Wright, Acts for Everyone, Part One: Chapters 1-12 (The New Testament for Everyone). Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.
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