Chrysostom on Acts 5100
ACTS XXIV. 22, 23.—“And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of that way, he deferred them and said, When Lysias the tribune shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter. And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty, and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto him.”
See how much close investigation is made by the many in a long course of time, that it should not be said that the trial was hurried over. For, as the orator had made mention of Lysias, that he took “him away with violence, Felix,” he says, “deferred them. Having knowledge of that way:” that is, he put them off on purpose: not because he wanted to learn, but as wishing to get rid of the Jews. On their account, he did not like to let him go: to punish him was not possible; that would have been (too) barefaced. “And to let him have liberty,1 and to forbid none of his acquaintance to minister to him.” So entirely did he too acquit him of the charges. Howbeit, to gratify them, he detained him, and besides, expecting to receive money, he called for Paul. “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance (i.e. self-control or chastity), and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him; wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix’s room: and Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” (v. 24–27). See how close to the truth are the things written. But he sent for him frequently, not that he admired him, nor that he praised the things spoken, nor that he wished to believe, but why? “Expecting,” it says, “that money should have been given him.” Observe how he does not hide here the mind of the judge. “Wherefore he sent for him,” etc. And yet if he had condemned him, he would not have done this, nor have wished to hear a man, condemned and of evil character. And observe Paul, how, though reasoning with a ruler, he says nothing of the sort that was likely to amuse and entertain, but (“he reasoned,” it says,) “of righteousness, and of the coming judgment,” and of the resurrection. And such was the force of his words, that they even terrified the governor.2 This man is succeeded in his office by another, and he leaves Paul a prisoner: and yet he ought not to have done this; he ought to have put an end to the business: but he leaves him, by way of gratifying them. They however were so urgent, that they again besought the judge. Yet against none of the Apostles had they set themselves thus pertinaciously; there, when they had attacked, anon they desisted. So providentially is he removed from Jerusalem, having to do with such wild beasts. And they nevertheless request that he might be brought again there to be tried. “Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, and desired favor against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.” (ch. 25,1–3). Here now God’s providence interposed, not permitting the governor to do this: for it was natural that he having just come to the government would wish to gratify them: but God suffered him not. “But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither. Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.” (v. 4–6). But after they came down, they forthwith made their accusations shamelessly and with more vehemence: and not having been able to convict him on grounds relating to the Law, they again according to their custom stirred the question about Caesar, being just what they did in Christ’s case. For that they had recourse to this is manifest by the fact, that Paul defends himself on the score of offences against Caesar. “And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended anything at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me”? (v. 7–9). Wherefore he too gratifies the Jews, the whole people, and the city. Such being the case, Paul terrifies him also, using a human weapon for his defence. “Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged; to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.” (v. 10, 11). Some one might say, How is it, that having been told, “Thou must also bear witness of Me in Rome,” (ch. 11), he, as if unbelieving, did this? God forbid: nay, he did it, because he so strongly believed. For it would have been a tempting of God to be bold on account of that declaration, and to cast himself into numberless dangers, and to say: “Let us see if God is able even thus to deliver me.” But not so does Paul; no, he does his part, all that in him lies, committing the whole to God. Quietly also he reproves the governor: for, “If, says he, I am an offender, thou doest well: but if not, why dost thou give me up?” “No man,” he says, “may sacrifice me.” He put him in fear, so that even if he wished, he could not sacrifice him to them; while also as an excuse to them he had Paul’s appeal to allege. “Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go. And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus.” (v. 12, 13). Observe, he communicates the matter to Agrippa, so that there should be other hearers once more, both the king, and the army, and Bernice. Thereupon a speech in his exculpation. “And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s, cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: about whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have license to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: but had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether be would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. Tomorrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.” (v. 14–22). And observe a crimination of the Jews, not from Paul, but also from the governor. “Desiring,” he says, “to have judgment against him.” To whom I said, to their shame, that “it is not the manner of the Romans,” before giving an opportunity to speak for himself, “to sacrifice a man.” But I did give him (such opportunity), and I found no fault in him. “Because I doubted,” says he, of "such manner of questions: he casts a veil also over his own wrong. Then the other desires to see him. (b) But let us look again at what has been said.3
(Recapitulation).“And when Felix,” etc. (v. 22). Observe on all occasions how the governors try to keep off from themselves the annoyance of the Jews, and are often compelled to act contrary to justice, and seek pretexts for deferring: for of course it was not from ignorance that he deferred the cause, but knowing it. And his wife also hears, together with the governor. (v. 24). This seems to me to show great honor. For he would not have brought his wife to be present with him at the hearing, but that be thought great things of him. It seems to me that she also longed for this. And observe how Paul immediately discourses not only about faith, nor about remission of sins, but also about practical points of duty. “Go thy way,” he says, “for this time: when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” (v. 25). Observe his hardness of heart: hearing such things, “he hoped that he should receive money from him!” (v. 26). And not only so, but even after conversing with him—for it was towards the end of his government—he left him bound, “willing to show the Jews a pleasure” (v. 27): so that he not only coveted money, but also glory. How, O wretch, canst thou look for money from a man who preaches the contrary? But that he did not get it, is evident from his leaving him bound; he would have loosed him, had he received it. “Of temperance,” it says, he reasoned; but the other was hankering to receive money from him who discoursed these things! And to ask indeed he did not dare: for such is wickedness: but he hoped it. “And when two years were completed,” etc., so that it was but natural that he showed them a pleasure, as he had been so long governor there. “Now when Festus was come into the province,” etc. (ch. xxv.1, xxv.2). At the very beginning, the priests came to him, who would not have hesitated to go even to Caesarea, unless he had been seen immediately coming up, since immediately on his arrival they come to him. And he spends ten days,4 in order, I suppose, to be open to those who wished to corrupt him with bribes. But Paul was in the prison. “They besought him,” it says, “that he would send for him:” why did they desire it as a favor, if he was deserving of death? But thus their plotting became evident even to him, so that discoursing of it (to Agrippa), he says, “desiring to have judgment against him.” They wanted to induce him to pass sentence now immediately, being afraid of Paul’s tongue. What are ye afraid of? What are ye in such a hurry? In fact, that expression, “that he should be kept”5 (v. 4), shows this. Does he want to escape? “Let them therefore,” he says, “which among you are able, accuse him.” (v. 5). Again accusers, again at Caesarea, again Paul is brought forth. And having come, immediately “he sat on the judgment-seat” (v. 6); with all his haste: they so drove, so hurried him. While as yet he had not got acquainted with the Jews, nor experienced the honor paid to him by them, he answered rightly: but now that he had been in Jerusalem ten days, he too wants to pleasure them (by sacrificing Paul to them): then, also to receive Paul, “Wilt thou,” says he, “be judged there of these things by me?” (v. 9). I am not giving thee up to them—but this was the fact—and he leaves the point to his own choice, that by this mark of respect he might get him to yield: since his was the sentence,6 and it would have been too barefaced, when he had been convicted of nothing here, to take him back thither. “But Paul said, At Caesar’s tribunal am I standing,” etc. (v. 10): he did not say, I will not, lest he should make the judge more vehement, but (here) again is his great boldness: They cast me out once for all, themselves, and by this they think to condemn me, by their showing that I have offended against Caesar: at his bar I choose to be judged, at the bar of the injured person himself. “To the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou also very well knowest.” Here now he reproved him, that he too wished to sacrifice him to the Jews: then, on the other hand, he relaxes (the sternness of) his speech: “if then I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I refuse not to die.” I utter sentence against myself. For along with boldness of speech there must be also justness of cause, so as to abash (the hearer). “But if there be nothing in the things whereof these accuse me, no man”—however he may wish it—“no man may sacrifice me to please them.” He said, not, I am not worthy of death, nor, I am worthy to be acquitted, but, I am ready to take my trial before Caesar. At the same time too, remembering the dream, he was the more confident to appeal. (ch. 23,11) And he said not, Thou (mayest not), but, neither any other man may sacrifice me, that it might be no affront to him. “Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council”—do you observe how he seeks to gratify them? for this is favor —“having conferred,” it says, “with the council, he said, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shall thou go.” (v. 12). See how his trial is again lengthened out, and how the plot against him becomes an occasion for the preaching: so that with ease and in safe custody he should be taken away to Rome,7 with none to plot evil against him: for it was not the same thing his simply coming there, and his coming on such a cause. For, in fact this was what made the Jews come together there. (ch. 28,17). Then again, some time passes while he tarries at Jerusalem, that you may learn, that, though some time passed, the evil design against him prevails nothing, God not permitting it. But this king Agrippa, who was also a Herod, was a different Agrippa, after him of James’ time, so that this is the fourth (Herod). See how his enemies coöperate with him against their will. To make the audience large, Agrippa falls into a desire of hearing: and he does not simply hear, but with much parade. And see what a vindication (apologian)! So writes Festus,8 and the ruthlessness of the Jews is openly made a show of: for when it is the governor that says these things, he is a witness above all suspicion: so that the Jews are condemned by him also. For, when all had pronounced sentence against them, then, and not sooner, God brings upon them the punishment. But observe: Lysias gave it against them, Felix against them, Festus against them—although he wished to gratify them9 —Agrippa against them. What further? The Pharisees—even they gave it against themselves. No evil, says Festus, “of such things as I supposed: no accusation did they bring against him.” (v. 18). And yet they did bring it: true, but they did not prove it: for their evil design and daring plot against him gave cause to surmise this, but the examination brought out nothing of the kind. “And of one Jesus,” he says, “which was dead.” (v. 19). He says naturally enough, “of one” (Jesus), as being a man in office, and not caring for these things. “And not knowing, for my part, what to make of the enquiry concerning these things” (v. 20)—of course, it went beyond a judge’s hearing, the examining into these matters. If thou art at a loss, why dost thou drag him to Jerusalem? But the other would not deign this: no, “To Caesar” (says he); as in fact it was touching Caesar that they accused him. Do you hear the appeal? hear the plotting of the Jews? hear their factious spirit? All these things provoked him to a desire (of hearing him): and he gives them the gratification and Paul becomes more renowned. For such as I said, are the ill designs (of enemies). Had not these things been so, none of these rulers would have deigned to hear him, none would have heard with such quietness and silence. And he seems indeed to be teaching, he seems to be making a defence; but he rather makes a public harangue with much orderliness. Then let us not think that ill designs against us are a grievous thing. So long as we do not make ill designs against ourselves, no one will be able to have ill designs against us: or rather, people may do this, but they do us no hurt; nay, even benefit us in the highest degree: for it rests with ourselves, whether we shall suffer evil, or not suffer evil. Lo! I testify, and proclaim with a loud voice, more piercing even than the sound of a trumpet—and were it possible to ascend on high and cry aloud, I would not shrink from doing it—him that is a Christian, none of all the human beings that inhabit the earth will have power to hurt. And why do I say, human beings? Not even the Evil Spirit himself, the tyrant, the Devil, can do this, unless the man injure himself; be what it may that any one works, in vain he works it. For even as no human being could hurt an angel, if he were on earth, so neither can one human being hurt another human being. But neither again will he himself be able to hurt another, so long as he is good. What then can be equal to this, when neither to be hurt is possible, nor to hurt another? For this thing is not less than the former, the not wishing to hurt another. Why, that man is a kind of angel, yea, like God. For such is God; only, He indeed (is such) by nature, but this man, by moral choice: neither to be hurt is possible (for either), nor to hurt another. But this thing, this “not possible,” think not that it is for any want of power—for the contrary to this is want of power—no, I speak of the morally incompatible (to anendekton). For the (Divine) Nature is neither Itself susceptible of hurt, nor capable of hurting another: since this very thing in itself is a hurt. For in no other way do we hurt ourselves, than by hurting another, and our greatest sins become such from our doing injury to ourselves. So I that for this reason also the Christian cannot be hurt, namely, because neither can he hurt. But how in hurting others we hurt ourselves, come, let us take this saying in hand for examination in detail. Let a man wrong another, insult, overreach; whom then has he hurt? Is it not himself first? This is plain to every one. For to the one, the damage is in money, to himself, it is in the soul; to destruction, and to punishment. Again, let another be envious: is it not himself he has injured? For such is the nature of injustice: to its own author first it does incalculable hurt. “Yes,10 but to another also?” True, but nothing worth considering: or rather, not even a little—nay, it even benefits him. For let there be,—as the whole matter lies most in these examples,—let there be some poor man, having but little property and (barely) provided with necessary food,11 and another rich and wealthy, and having much power, and then let him take the poor man’s property, and strip him naked, and give him up to starvation, while he shall luxuriate in what he has unjustly taken from the other: not only has he not hurt that man at all—he has even benefited him, while himself he has not only not benefited, but even hurt. For how should it be otherwise? In the first place, harassed by an evil conscience, and day by day condemning himself and being condemned by all men: and then, secondly, in the judgment to come. But the other, how is he benefited? Because to suffer ill and bear it nobly, is great gain: for it is a doing away of sins, this suffering of ill, it is a training to philosophy, it is a discipline of virtue. Let us see which of the two is in evil case, this man or that. For the one, if he be a man of well-ordered mind, will bear it nobly: the other will be every day in a constant tremor and misgiving: which then is hurt, this man or that? “You talk idly,” say you: “for when a man has nothing to eat, and is forced to bewail himself and to feel himself very wretched, or comes and begs, and gets nothing, is not that a ruining of both soul and body?” No, it is you that talk idly: for I show facts in proof. For say, does none of the rich feel himself wretched? What then? Is poverty the cause of his wretchedness? “But he does not starve.” And what of that? The greater is the punishment, when having riches he does this. For neither does wealth make a man strong-minded, nor poverty make him weak: otherwise none of those living in wealth would pass a wretched life, nor would any of those in poverty (not) curse his fate. But that yours is indeed the idle talk, I will make manifest to you from hence. Was Paul in poverty or in wealth? did he suffer hunger, or did he not? You may hear himself saying, “In hunger and thirst.” (2Co 11,27). Did the prophets suffer hunger, or did they not? They too had a hard time of it. “Again, you fetch up Paul to me, again the prophets, some ten or twenty men.” But whence shall I bring examples? “Show me from the many some who bear ills nobly.” But12 the rare is ever such: however, if you will, let us examine the matter as it is in itself. Let us see whose is the greater and sharper care, whose the more easy to be borne. The one is solicitous about his necessary food, the other about numberless matters, freed from that care. The rich man is not afraid on the score of hunger, but he is afraid about other things: oftentimes for his very life. The poor man is not free from anxiety about food, but he is free from other anxieties, he has safety, has quietness, has security.
If to injure another is not an evil, but a good, wherefore are we ashamed? wherefore do we cover our faces? Wherefore, being reproached, are we vexed and disconcerted? If the being injured is not a good thing, wherefore do we pride ourselves, and glory in the thing, and justify ourselves on its account? Would you learn how this is better than that? Observe those who are in the one condition, and those who are in the other. Wherefore are laws? Wherefore are courts of justice? Wherefore punishments? Is it not, on account of those men, as being diseased and unsound? But the pleasure lies great, you will say. Let us not speak of the future: let us look into the present. What is worse than a man who is under such a suspicion as this? what more precarious? what more unsound? is he not always in a state of shipwreck? Even if he do any just thing, he, is not credited, condemned as he is by all on account of his power (of injuring): for in all who dwell with him he has accusers: he cannot enjoy friendship: for none would readily choose to become the friend of a man who has such a character, for fear of becoming implicated with him in the opinion held of him. As if he were a wild beast, all men turn away from him; as from a pest, a foe, a man-slayer, and an enemy of nature, so they shrink from the unjust man. If he who has wronged another happen to be brought into a court of justice, he does not even need an accuser, his character condemns him in place of any accuser. Not so he who is injured; he has all men to take his part, to condole with him, to stretch out the hand of help: he stands on safe ground. If to injure another be a good and a safe thing, let any one confess that he is unjust: but if he dares not do this, why then does he pursue it as a good thing? But let us see in our own persons, if his same be done there, what evils come of it: (I mean,) if any of the parts or functions within us having overstepped its proper bounds, grasp at the office of some other. For let the spleen, if it will, have left its proper place, and seize on the part belonging to some other organ along with its own, is not this disease? The moisture within us, let it fill every place, is it not dropsy and gout?13 is not this to ruin itself, along with the other? Again, let the bile seek for a wide room, and let the blood be diffused throughout every part. But how is it in the soul with anger, lust, and all the rest. if the food exceed its proper measure? Again in the body, if the eye wish to take in more, or to see more than is allotted to it, or admit a greater light than is proper. But if, when the light is good, yet the eye is ruined, if it choose to see more than is right: consider what it must be in the case of an evil thing. If the ear take in a (too) loud voice, the sense is stunned: the mind, if it reason about things above itself, it is overpowered: and whatever is in excess, mars all. For this is pleonexia, the wanting to have more than what is marked off and allotted. So too in respect of money; when we will needs put upon (us) more burdens (than is meet), although we do not perceive it, to our sore hurt we are nourishing within ourselves a wild beast; much having, yet much wanting, numberless the cares we entangle ourselves withal, many the handles we furnish the devil against ourselves. In the case of the rich, however, the devil has not even need of labor, so surely do their very concerns of business of themselves ruin them. Wherefore I beseech you to abstain from the lust of these things, that we may be enabled to escape the snares of the evil one, and having taken hold of virtue, to attain unto the good things eternal, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory forever. Amen).
1 [Anesi" better rendered “relaxation” or “indulgence” (R. V). than “liberty” (A. V).. Meyer understands by this that he was to be allowed rest, “to be spared all annoyance.” Others (DeWette, Lange) suppose anesi" to refer to release from chains, the so-called custodia libera of the Romans in which the prisoner went free on bail or upon the responsibility of some magistrate. This view is, however, inconsistent with the fact that Felix committed Paul to the keeping of a centurion (23) as well as with his leaving Paul bound (27). The custody was doubtless the custadia militaris and anesi" denotes the relaxation of the rigors of his imprisonment.—G.B.S).
2 Paul’s reasoning “concerning righteousness” was directed against the well-known injustice of a prince of whom Tacitus says that he acted as if there were no penalty for villainy. His reasoning “concerning self-control” (ekrateia) was in opposition to his sensuality. He had unlawfully married Drusilla who was the wife of Azizus, the king of Emesa (Jos). Ant. 20,7, 2). His references to the judgment to come might well have been directed against the governor’s murder of Jonathan, the high priest.—G. B. S).
3 This formula is placed by C and mod. text just before the text “Go thy way,” etc., 5,25, as if what is said of the wife also hearing, etc., related to the hearing before Agrippa and his wife Bernice.
4 Mod. text “And having gone down in Caesarea, he spends ten days.” Which is evidently false, but so Edd. have it.—wste eggenesqai, seemingly, “to give them an opportunity of buying him.” Pen., ut prostaret eis qui vellent ipsum corrumpere.
5 to, “fulattesqai;” this seems to refer to 23,35: in 5,4, the expression is threisqai. Perhaps Chrys. said, “He was safe in custody, for Felix had ordered him fulattesqai, and there he was still. Then what needs this fresh order that he should threisqai? He is not attempting to escape, is he? It shows the spirit of the governor: ‘we have him safe; come down and accuse him.’”
6 epeidh hn kai h apofasi". Mod. text and Sav. omit the kai, Ben). epeidh ei hn apofasi", with no authority of mss. We have marked the clause as corrupt. Possibly, kalh profasi" is latent in the words, with the sense “since some handsome pretext was necessary” (or the like): or, perhaps, epeidh Kai [saro"] hn h apofasi", as comment upon the clause, AEEpi tou bhmato" Kaisaro" estw" eimi.
7 ei" ta AEIerosoluma all our mss., and so Edd. without remark. Yet the sense plainly requires ei" AEPwmhn, and in fact the Catena has preserved the true reading. In the next sentence, he seems to be commenting upon the pleiou" hmera" of 5,14 to this effect: "See how his cause is lengthened out by all these delays: the time (ten days) of Festus’ stay at Jerusalem; then the second hearing; now again, pleiou" hmera": but for all this, his enemies are not able to effect their design.
8 Alluding to 5,26, 27 (which mod. text inserts here): 1,e. “to this same effect Festus also writes, in his report to the Emperor.”
9 For kai oi carizomenoi autoi", mss. and Edd. we restore from the Catena kaitoi carizomeno" autoi").
10 AEAlla kai eteron: all ouden axiopiston: mallon de oude mikron, alla kai wflei. So b.c. in A. all this is omitted, Mod. text—“incalculable mischief, but little to another, or rather not even a little does it hurt, nay even benefits. But I have said nothing worthy of belief all ouden axiopiston eirhka. Well then, let there be,” etc.
11 crhmata ecwn oliga kai th" anagkaia" euporwn trofh", etero" de plousio" kai euporo". So the mss. and Edd. without comment. We assume it to be aporwn).
12 AEAlla to spanion aei toiouton. One would expect AEAlla spanion aei to toiouton.—Mod. text adds, kai oligoi oi kaloi.
13 kai podalgia; ouci eauton sundiefqeire met ekeinou; h colh palin eurucwrian zhteitw. Mod. text "is not this dropsy? met ekeinou h colh k. t. l. and below ean uperbh to metron, ouci eauton sundiefqeire; outw kai h trofh. adding, “if it be taken beyond what can be digested, it involves the body in diseases. For whence comes the gout? whence the paralyzing and commotion of the body? Is it not from the immediate quantity of aliments? Again in the body,” etc).
ACTS XXV. 23.—"And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.
See what an audience is gathered together for Paul. Having collected all his guards, the governor is come, and the king, and the tribunes, “with the principal men,” it says, “of the city.” Then Paul being brought forth, see how he is proclaimed as conqueror. Festus himself acquits him from the charges, for what says Festus? “And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and especially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.” (v. 24–27). Mc how he accuses them, while he acquits him. O what an abundance of justifications! After all these repeated examinations, the governor finds not how he may condemn him. They said he was worthy of death. On this account he said also: “When I found,” says he “that he had committed nothing worthy of death.—Of whom I have no certain thing to write to my lord.” This too is a proof of Paul’s spotlessness, that the judge found nothing to say concerning him. “Therefore I have brought him forth,” he says, “before you. For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crime laid against him.” Such were the great straits into which the Jews brought themselves and their rulers! What then? “Agrippa said to Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself.” (ch. 26,1). From his great desire to hear, the king permits him to speak. But Paul speaks out forthwith with boldness, not flattering, but for this reason saying that he is happy, namely, because (Agrippa) knew all. “Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself. I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews. Especially because I know thee to be expert in all questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.” (v. 2, 3). And yet, had he been conscious of guilt, he should have feared at being tried in the presence of one who knew all the facts: but this is a mark of a clear conscience, not to shrink from a judge who has an accurate knowledge of the circumstances, but even to rejoice, and to call himself happy. “I beseech thee,” he says, “to hear me patiently.” Since he is about to lengthen out his speech, and to say something about himself, on this account, he premises an entreaty, and (then) says: “My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews: which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” (v. 4, 5). Then how should I have become a seditious person, who when young was (thus) testified of by all? Then too from his sect: “after the most straitest sect” says he, “of our religion I lived.” “What then, if though the sect indeed be worthy of admiration, thou art evil?” Touching this also I call all to witness—touching my life and conversation. “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (v. 6–8). Two arguments he lays down for the Resurrection: one, the argument from the prophets: and he does not bring forward any prophet (in particular,) but the doctrine itself as held by the Jews: the other and stronger one, the argument from the facts—(especially from this,) that Christ Himself held discourse with him. And he lays the ground for this by (other) arguments, relating accurately his former madness. Then too, with high commendation of the Jews, he says, “Night and day,” says he, “serving (God) look to attain unto.” So that even if I had not been of unblemished life, it is not for this (doctrine) that I ought to be brought to trial:—“for which hope, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” And then another argument “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Since, if such an opinion had not existed, if they had not been brought up in these dogmas, but they were now for the first time brought in, perhaps1 some one might not have received the saying. Then he tells, how he persecuted: this also helps the proof: and he brings forward the chief priests as witnesses, and the “strange cities,” and that he heard Him saying to him, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” and shows the mercifulness of God, that, though being persecuted He appeared (to men), and did that benefit not to me only, but also sent me as teacher to others: and shows also the prophecy, now come to pass, which he then heard, “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee.” Showing all this, he says: "I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; but rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee: delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins ?(v. 9–18):—observe2 how mildly he discourses—God, he says, said (this) to me, “that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are—sanctified by faith that is in Me.” By these things, says he, I was persuaded, by this vision He drew me to Himself, and so persuaded me, that I made no delay. “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” (v. 19, 20). I therefore, who instructed others also concerning the most excellent way of living, how should I myself have become the author of sedition and contention? “For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.” (v. 21, 22). See how free from flattery his speech is, and how he ascribes the whole to God. Then his boldness—but neither do I now desist: and the sure grounds—for it is from the prophets that I urge the question, “Whether the Christ was to suffer:” then3 the Resurrection and the promise, “Whether He, as the first to rise from the dead, should show light unto the people and to the Gentiles.” (v. 23). Festus saw the boldness, and what says he? For Paul was all along addressing himself to the king—he was in a manner annoyed,4 and says to him, “Thou art beside thyself, Paul:” for, “while he thus discoursed, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself: much learning doth make thee mad.” (v. 24). What then says Paul? With gentleness, “I am not mad,” says he, “most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” (v. 25). Then too he gives him to understand why, turning from him, he addressed his speech to the king: “For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him: for this thing was not done in a corner.” (v. 26). He shows, that (the king) knows all perfectly; at the same time, all but saying to the Jews, And ye indeed ought to have known these things—for this is the meaning of that which he adds, “For this thing was not done in a corner. And Agrippa, said to Paul, AEEn oligw thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” What is en oligw?5 "Within a little, para mikron. “And Paul said, I could pray to God,” kai en oligw kai pollw, (that is) “I could pray to God,” for my part, not “in little” (but “in much”): he does not simply pray, he prays (not briefly, but) with largeness—“that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were such as I am.”6 Then he adds, “except these bonds;” and yet it was matter of glory; true, but looking to their notion of it, therefore says he, “except these bonds.” (v. 27–29).
(Recapitulation). “And on the morrow,” etc. (v. 23). The Jews desisted ever since Paul exercised his right of appeal.7 Then also for him the theatre becomes a splendid one: “with great pomp” they were present. “And Festus said,” etc. “The whole multitude of the Jews—” not some of them only, and others not so—“both at Jerusalem, and also here,” they said “that he ought not to live any longer.” (v. 24). “And I having found,” etc. It shows that he did right in appealing to Caesar. For if8 though they had no great matter to allege against him, yet those (at Jerusalem) were mad against him, with good reason may he go to Caesar. “That after examination had by you,” he says, “I may get somewhat to write.” Observe how the matter is repeatedly put to the test. The Jews therefore may thank themselves for this vindication9 (of Paul), which would come to the ears of those also who were at Rome. See how they become the unwilling heralds both of their own wickedness and of Paulus virtue, even to the emperor himself: so that Paul was carried away (to Rome)with more renown than if he had gone thither without bonds: for not as an impostor and a deceiver, after so many judges had acquitted him, was. he now carried thither. Quit therefore of all charges,10 among those with whom he was bred and born, and not only so, (but) thus free from all suspicion, he makes his appearance at Rome. “Then Paul,” etc. (ch. 26,1–3). And he said not, Why is this? once for all I have appealed to Caesar: I have been tried many times: when will there be an end of this? but what did he? Again he is ready to render an account, and that, before the man who was the best informed on the subject; and with much boldness, seeing they were not his judges to condemn him: but still, though they were not his judges, since that declaration was in force, "Unto Caesar shall thou go, he renders an account and gives full answers, “touching all the things,” and not merely on one and another here and there. They accuse me of sedition, accuse me of heresy, accuse me that I have profaned the temple: “touching all these things I answer for myself:” now that these are not things in accordance with my ways, my accusers themselves are witnesses: “my manner of life from my youth,” etc. (v. 4). which is what he says on a former occasion “Being a zealot.” (ch. 22,3). And when the whole people was present, then he challenges their testimony: not11 before the tribunal, but before Lysias, and again here, when more were present: whereas in that hearing there needed not much vindication of himself, since Lysias’ letter exculpated him. “Know all the Jews,” he says, “which knew me from the beginning.”And he does not say what kind of life his was, but leaves it to their own conscience, and lays the whole stress on his sect, as he would not have chosen that sect, if he had been a man of evil disposition and bad character (ponhro" kai mocqhro"). “But, for this hope” (Mss. and Edd). airesew") he says, “I stand and am judged.” (v. 6, 7). This hope is honored among themselves also, because of this they pray, because of tiffs they worship, that unto this they may attain: this same do I show forth. Why then, it is acting like madmen, to be doing all things for the sake of attaining to this, and yet to persecute him who believes in the same. “I indeed thought with myself,” that is, I determined, “to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” (v. 9). I was not one of Christ’s disciples: among those who fought against Him, was I. Whence also he is a witness who has a right to be believed, because he, a man who was doing numberless things, makes war on the believers, persuading them to blaspheme, stirring up all against them, cities, rulers, and by himself doing all this of his own accord, was thus suddenly changed. Then again the witnesses, those who were with him: next he shows what just cause he had to be persuaded, both from the light, and from the prophets, and from the resuits, and from the things which have now taken place. See accordingly, how both from the prophets, and from these particulars, he confirms the proof to them. For that he may not seem to be broaching some novelty, although hehad great things to say, yet he again takes refuge with the prophets, and puts this as a question for discussion.12 Now this had a stronger claim upon belief, as having actually come to pass: but since he alone saw (Christ), he again fetches proof of it from the prophets. And see how he does not discourse alike in the court of justice, and in the assembly (of his own people); there indeed he says, “ye slew Him:” but here no such thing, that he might not kindle their anger more: but he shows the same thing, by saying, “Whether the Christ was to suffer.” He so frees them from accusations: for the prophets, he says, say this. Therefore receive ye also the rest. Since he has mentioned the vision, he then without fear goes on to speak also of the good wrought by it. “To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. For to this end have I appeared unto thee” (v. 16–18), not to punish, but to make thee an Apostle. He shows the evils which possess unbelievers, “Satan, darkness;” the good things belonging to believers, light, God, “the inheritance of the saints. Whereupon, O king Agrippa,” etc. (v. 19, 20). He not only exhorts them to repent, but also to show forth a life worthy of admiration. And see how everywhere the Gentiles are admitted into connection with the people (Israel): for those who were present were of the Gentiles. “Testifying,” he says, “both to great and small,” (v. 22) that is, both to distinguished and undistinguished. This is also for the soldiers. Observe: having left the post of defendant, he took up that of teacher—and therefore also it is that Festus says to him, “Thou art beside thyself”—but then, that he may not seem to be himself the teacher, he brings in the prophets, and Moses: “Whether the Christ was to suffer, whether He as the first to rise from the dead should show light both to the people, and to the Gentiles.” (v. 23). “And Festus said with a loud voice”—in such anger and displeasure (did he speak)—“Paul, thou art beside thyself.” What then said Paul? “I am not mad,” etc. “For this thing,” he says, “was not done in a corner.” (v. 25, 26). Here he speaks of the Cross, of the Resurrection: that the doctrine was come to every part of the world. “King Agrippa,” he says, “believest thou”—he does not say, the Resurrection, but—“the prophets?” (v. 27). Then he forestalls him, and says: “I know that thou believest.” AEEn oligw (i.e. within a little,) “almost thou persuadeth the to be a Christian.” (v. 28). Paul did not understand what the phrase en oligw meant: he thought it meant ex oligou (i.e. with little cost or trouble), wherefore also he answers (as) to this: so unlearned was he.13 And he said not, I do not wish (that), but, “I pray that not only thou, but also all that hear.” Mc how free from flattery his speech is.—“I pray that this day they may be all such as I am, except these bonds.” (v. 29). He, the man that glories in his bonds, that puts them forth as a golden chain, deprecates them for these men: for they were as yet too weak in their minds, and it was rather in condescension that he so spake. For what could be better than those bonds which always in his Epistles he prefers (to all things else), saying, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ:” (Ep 3,1) and again, “On this account I am bound with this chain” (Ac 28,20), “but the word of God is not bound;” and, “Even unto bonds, as an evil-doer.” (2Tm 2,9). The punishment was twofold. For if indeed he had been so bound, as with a view to his good, the thing would have carried with it some consolation: but now (he is bound) both “as an evil-doer,” and as with a view to very ill consequences; yet for none of these things cared he.14
Such is a soul winged with heavenly love. For if those who cherish the foul (earthly passion which men call) love, think nothing either glorious of precious, but those things alone which tend to gratify their lust, they think both glorious and honorable, and theirmistress is everything to them; much more do those, who have been taken captive by this heavenly love, think nothing of the cost (ta epitimia). But if we do not understand what I am saying, it is no marvel, while we are unskilled in this Divine Wisdom. For if any one be caught with the fire of Christ’s love, he becomes such as a man would become who dwelt alone upon the earth, so utterly careless is he for glory or disgrace: but just as if he dwelt alone, he would care for nothing, no more does he in this case. As for trials, he so despises them, both scourges and imprisonments, as though the body in which he suffers these things were another’s and not his own, or as though he had got a body made of adamant: while as for the sweet things of this life, he so laughs them to scorn, is so insensible to them, as we are insensible of dead bodies, being ourselves dead. He is as far from being taken captive by any passion, as the gold refined in the fire and purified is free from alloy. For even as flies would not dart into the midst of a flame, but fly from it, so the passions dare not even to come near this man. Would that I could bring forward examples of all this from among ourselves: but since we are at a loss for such, we must needs betake ourselves to this same Paul. Observe him then, how he felt towards the whole world. “The world is crucified unto me,” he says, “and I unto the world” (Ga 6,14): I am dead to the world, and the world is dead to me. And again: “It is no longer. I that live, but Christ liveth in me.”15 (ib. Ga 2,20). And, to show you that he was as it were in solitude, and so looked upon the things present, hear himself saying, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” (2Co 4,18). What sayest thou? Answer me. And yet what thou sayest is the contrary; thou seest the things invisible, and the visible thou seest not. Such eyes as thou hadst gotten, such are the eyes which are given by Christ: for as these bodily eyes see indeed the things that are seen, but things unseen they see not: so those (heavenly eyes) do the contrary: none that beholds the invisible things, beholds the visible: no one beholding the things seen, beholds the invisible. Or is not this the case with us also? For when having turned our mind inwards we think of any of the unseen things, our views become raised above the things on earth.16 Let us despise glory: let us be willing to be laughed at rather than to be praised. For he indeed who is laughed at is nothing hurt: but he who is praised is much hurt. Let us not think much of those things which terrify men, but as we do in the case of children, this let us do here: namely, if we see any one terrifying children, we do not hold that man in admiration: since in fact whoever does frighten, only frightens children; for were it a man, he could not frighten him. Just as those who frighten (children in sport), do this either by drawing up their eyelids, or by otherwise distorting their face, but with the eye looking naturally and mild they would not be able to do this: so these others do this, by distorting their mental vision (to dioratikon th" dianoia"). So that of a mild man and beautiful in soul nobody would be afraid; on the contrary, we all respect him, honor and venerate him. See ye not, how the man who causes terror is also an object of hatred and abhorrence to us all? For of those things which are only able to terrify what do we not turn away from? Is it not so with wild beasts, with sounds, with sights, with places, with the air, such as darkness? Let us not therefore think it a great thing, if men fear us. For, in the first place, no man indeed is frightened at us: and, secondly, it is no great thing (if they were). Virtue is a great good: and see how great. However wretched we may deem the things by means of which it consists, yet we admire virtue itself, and count them blessed (that have it). For who would not count the patient sufferer blessed, although poverty and such like things seem to be wretched? When therefore it shines forth through those things which seem to be wretched, see how surpassingly great this is! Thinkest thou much, O man, because thou art in power? And what sort of power? say, was it conferred by appointment? (If so,) of men thou hast received power: appoint thyself to it from within. For the ruler is not he who is so called, but he who is really so. For as a king could not make a physician or an orator, so neither can he make a ruler: since it is not the (imperial)letters nor the name that makes a ruler. For, if you will, let any man build a medicine-shop, let him also have pupils, let him have instruments too and drugs, and let him visit those who are sick: are these things sufficient to make a physician? By no means: but there is need of art, and without that, not only do these things profit nothing, but they even hurt: since it were better that he who is not a physician should not even possess medicines. He that possesses them not, neither saves nor destroys: but he that possesses them, destroys, if he knows not how to use them: since the healing power is not only in the nature of the medicines, but also in the art of the person applying them: where this is not, all is marred. Such also is the ruler: he has for instruments, his voice, anger, executioners, banishments, honors, gifts, and praises; he has also for medicines., the law; has also for his patients, men; for a place to practise in, the court of justice; for pupils, he has the soldiers: if then he know not the science of healing, all these profit him nothing. The judge is a physician of souls, not of bodies: but if this art of healing the bodies needs so much care, much more that of healing the soul, since the soul is of more importance than the body. Then not the mere having the name of ruler is to be a ruler: since others also are called by great names: as Paul, Peter, James, and John: but the names do not make them that which they are called, as neither does my name make me (to be that which Jn was); I bear indeed the same name with that blessed man, but I am not the same thing (omwnumo", ou mhn sunwnumo"), I am not John, but am called so. In the same way they are not rulers, but are called so. But those others are rulers even without these adjuncts, just as also a physician, though he may not actually practise his science, yet if he have it in his soul, he is a physician. Those are rulers, who bear rule over themselves. For there are these four things,17 soul, family; city, world: and the things form a regular progression (odw probainei). He therefore that is to superintend a family, and order it well, must first bring his own soul into order; for it is his family: but if he cannot order his own family, where there is but one soul, where he himself is master, where he is always along with himself, how shall he order others? He that is able to regulate his own soul, and makes the one part to rule, the other to be subject, this man will be able to regulate a family also: but he that can do this by a family, can do it by a city also: and if by a city, then also by the world. But if he cannot do this for his own soul, how then shall he be able to do it for the world? These things have been spoken by me, that we may not be excited about offices of rule; that we may know what ruling is: for this (which is so called) is not ruling, but a there object of derision, mere slavery, and many other names one might call it by. Tell me, what is proper to a ruler? is it not to help one’s subjects, and to do them good? What then, if this be not the case? how shall he help others, who has not helped himself? he who has numberless tyrannies of the passions in his own soul, how shall he root out those of others? Again, with respect to “luxury” or delightful living: the true luxury or delight is not this (which is so called), but quite another thing. For as we have shown that the ruler is not he who is so called, but another (who has something more than the name), so the person who lives indeed in delight is another sort of person (than he whom we so describe). For “luxury” or delightful living seems indeed to be, the enjoying pleasure and the gratifying the belly: yet it is not this thing, but the contrary: it is, to have a soul worthy of admiration, and to be in a state of pleasure. For let there be a man eating, drinking, and wantoning; then let him suffer cares and loss of spirits: can this man be said to be in a state of delight? Therefore, it is not eating and drinking, it is the being in pleasure, that makes true luxury or delightful living. Let there be a man who gets only dry bread, and let him be filled with gladness: is not this pleasure? Well then, it is the true luxury. Let us see then, to whom this befalls—whether to the rich, or to those who are not rich? Neither to the one part altogether, nor to the other, but to those who so order their own souls, that they may not have many grounds for sorrows. And where is such a life as this to be found? for I see you all eager and Wishing to hear what this life is which has no sorrows. Well then, let this be acknowledged first by you, that this is pleasure, this the true luxury, to have no sorrow to cause annoyance; and ask not of me meats, and wine, and sauces, and silken robes, and a sumptuous table. But if I shall show that apart from all these such a life as that is present (within our reach), then welcome thou this pleasure, and this life: for the most part of painful things happen to us from our not calculating things as we ought. Who then will have the most sorrows—he that cares for none of these things, or he that cares for them? He that fears changes, or he that does not fear? He that is in dread of jealousy, of envy, of false accusations, of plottings, of destruction, or he that stands aloof from these fears? He that wants many things, or he that wants nothing? He that is a slave to masters without number, or he that is a slave to none? He that has need of many things, or he that is free? He that has one lord to fear, or he that fears despots innumerable? Well then, greater is the pleasure here. This then let us pursue, and not be excited about the things present: but let us laugh to scorn all the pomp of life, and everywhere practise moderation, that we may be enabled so to pass through this life, that it may he without pain, and to attain unto the good things promised, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
1 Old text omits isw", and puts it as a question, “Who would not have received the saying?”
2 This is the comment on “forgiveness of sins:” the epieike" consisting in the not enlarging upon the greatness and aggravation of their sins. In the mss. and Edd. this is placed at the end of 5,18, and then, “God said to me, I have appeared to thee,” and the rest repeated to “forgiveness of sins.”
3 Mod. text “Whether He (as) first to rise from the dead should declare light: as if he had said, Christ as the first that rose dieth no more.” It is manifest from the declaring this to all, that they also (have to) expect it for themselves. Then Festus seeing the boldness, since he all along addressed himself to the king, not once ceasing to look full towards him, was as annoyed (wsper epaqe ti), and says, “Thou art mad, Paul.” And that he says this in annoyance (or passion), hear from what follows. “And as he thus discoursed,” etc.
4 wsper epaqe ti. This is explained in the Recapitulation: “with a loud voice—outw qumou hn kai orgh".”
5 Old text: “v. 27–29). Euxaimhn an, fhsin, egwge ouk en oligw, ti esti; para mikron. Kai ouc aplw" eucetai alla kai epitetamenw". From the Recapitulation it appears that Chrys. supposes that Paul, as an idiwth", i.e. not conversant with the elegancies of Greek style, ouk enohsen ti estin AEEn oligw allAE enomisen oti ex oligou: did not perceive what Agrippa’s phrase meant (viz. as here explained). para mikron), but supposed it to be the same as ex oligou.” “With little ado”—i. e. thou makest short work to persuade me, as if this were an easy thing, to be done in brief: therefore Paul answers, Be it in little, or be it in much, I could pray to God, with no brief and hasty prayer, but epitetamenw", much and earnestly.—For kai ouc aplw", we read kai en pollw: ouc a. and transpose ti estin en oligw para mikron, to its fitting place. Mod. text ouk en oligw: toutesti, mikron, omitting para, meaning this as the explanation of St. Paul’s eux. en oligw. Of the Edd., Commel. Sav. Ben. give para, and so Par. Ben. 2, who however rejects the ouk.
6 The correct interpretation of 5,28, 29 depends upon the ff. points: (1) Whether the remark of Agrippa is sincere or ironical. (2) Whether the true text in 5,29 is en pollw or en meralw. (3) What noun, if any, is to be supplied with the adjectives oligw and megalw (or pollw). Regarding the first question, the considerations in favor of the view that Agrippa’s remark is ironical are (a) the frivolous character of the man, (b) the current use of Christian among Jews and Romans as a term of reproach and contempt. Touching the second point, we find that megalw is favored by a
A. B. Syr. Copt. Aram. Vulg., as against G. H. for pollw. The former reading is adopted by Tischendorf, Lachmann, Meyer, Westcott and Hort, and most modern critics, and the evidence in its favor may be considered decisive. Whether any noun is to be supplied to oligw and megalw (as most) or not (as Meyer) is not important. In any case the sense must be completed. What do “in little” and “in great” mean? The sense may be completed by supplying (a)the idea of time—“in a little time,” 1,e. almost. In this case, en megalw would have to be rendered “wholly” or “altogether,” a meaning which en megalw cannot well convey. Another rendering which might be derived from supplying the idea of time—differing but slightly from the foregoing—would be: “in a little time thou art persuading me!” 1,e. dost thou think so soon to persuade me? and Paul replies: “Whether in a little time or in a long time—whether soon or late—I could wish,” etc. The first interpretation lays emphasis upon the state of Agrippa’s mind—persuaded almost—persuaded altogether; the second upon the element of time required to accomplish the persuasion (ironically spoken of). (b) The idea of labor, trouble or argument may be supplied thus: “Easily—with few words—or with little trouble—thou persuaded me!” and Paul’s answer is: Whether with little (labor) or with much, I would to God that," etc. This view we prefer, because, (a) it harmonizes best with the natural meaning of en megalw which (if the true reading) requires taking both phrases in a quantitative sense. (b) It is favored by the evidently ironical character of Agrippa’s remark. There is no ground for the opinion of Chrys. (followed by Calvin) that en oligw is used in different senses in the language of Agrippa and Paul, much less for the idea that Paul did not understand what en oligw meant!—G. B. S.
7 AEApesthsan loipon oi AEI. th afesei crhsamenou ekeinou A. B. (C. has lost a leaf here). Mod. text efesei. Cat). AEEpesthsan loipon oi AEI th efesei crhsamenoi ekeinou. If this be the true reading, it should seem to belong to pan to pl. twn AEIoud., viz. “‘concerning whom all the multitude of the Jews besought me:’ the Jews thereupon had set upon him, using his, Festus’ permission.” But apest. and efesei give a better sense as comment on 5,23, 1,e. “No mention now of the Jews—they had left him, when he had made his appeal.”—Then, meta pollh" fant. (mod. text adds o basileu" kai) pan to plhqo" twn AEI. parhsan ouc oi men oi de ou. Which is not true, for it could not be said that all the Jews were present at this hearing before Agrippa. We read meta p. f. parhsan. Then from 5,24, “pan to plhqo"” sc). enetucon moi.
8 Ei gar ouden men eicon delnon eipein. 1,e. “As far as the matter of accusation was concerned, he knew that he had nothing to fear: ekeinoi de ememhnesan, but the people yonder (at Jerusalem) were mad against him: therefore eikotw" ep ekeinon ercetai, no wonder he is for going to Caesar.”
9 The apologia is Festus’ written report of the hearings before him, which would be sent to Rome, and would at once testify to Paul’s innocence, and to the malignity of the Jews.
10 Panta toinun apodusameno", not as Ben. “omnibus ergo relictis, apud quos natus, etc.” but in the sense of the phrase apoduesqai (egklhmata) which is frequent in Chrys. That is, “the consequence is that Paul makes his first appearance at Rome, not merely as one who has cleared himself of all charges brought against him at home, but, after these repeated examinations, clear from all suspicion.”—Below oiate kuriwn ouk ontwn twn katadikazontwn auton: the sense intended may be, “seeing they were not his judges, even if they wished to condemn him.”
11 Mod. text “But not before the tribunal of Lysias alone does he this, but also before Festus, and again here.” Ben. cites the old text only to condemn it. Inconsiderately: for it was in the hearing epi Lusiou 22,3–5. (Lysias had no “tribunal”) and here, that St. Paul thus challenged the testimony of the Jews: not before Felix, which is what is meant by ekei, still less before Festus.
12 kai touto meson tiqhsi. The innovator not understanding the phrase, and its reference to Ei paqhto" o Cristo" etc., substitutes, “And puts their (words) in the midst.”—The meaning is: “He had greater things to say than what the prophets had said:” he could say, “The Christ whom ye slew is risen, for I have seen Him: but instead of this, he put it as a subject for discussion, Did the prophets teach that the Christ was to suffer and to rise again?”
13 See above, p. 310, note 1, and.* Yet some modern commentators assert that en oligw cannot mean, as Chrys. says, para mikron: that this sense requires oligou, or oligou dein, or par oligon: so that, in their view, Chrysostom’s remark outw" idiwth" hn would be quite out of place.—In the next sentence ou boulomai, all our mss. and Edd. But Ben. renders it without the negative Et non dixit, Vellem.
14 (He is commenting upon 2Tm 2,9 2Tm 2, suffer trouble as an evil-doer even unto bonds.” To others, this might seem twofold aggravation: both that he was treated as malefactor, and that his destruction was intended. For if indeed he was put in bonds w" ep agaqw, the thing bore its comfort with it, and such was the case to him, but not in their intention; which was, that he should in chains kai w" kakourgo" kai w" epi toi" deinoi". Of the mss. A. C. have w" epi toi" deinoi" allou": all oudeno" toutwn efrontizen. B. alou" , and so mod. text. But allou" seems to only the abbreviation of the following allAE oudeno".
15 Mod. text adds, “To say this, belongs to Paul only: ours it is, who are so far removed from him as the heaven is from the earth, to hide our faces, so that we dare not even to open our mouth.”
16 metewroi twn energeiwn hmin ginontai ai oyei". Unable to discover any meaning in this, (Ben. sublimes nobis sunt: operationum oculi), we conjecture twn epigeiwn.
17 mss. and Edd., tria gar tauta esti yuch (only F. has yuch): “there are for the soul these three subjects.”—Below, mss. and Edd). oikodomein for oikonomein).
Chrysostom on Acts 5100