Acts 13:16 MEANING

Acts 13:16
(16) Beckoning with his hand.--The gesture was rather that of one who waves his hand to command silence and attention than what we commonly describe as beckoning. (Comp. Acts 12:17.) The graphic touch of description would seem to indicate, as does the full report of the speech, that they came in the first instance from one who had been present. A like touch is found again in connection with St. Paul in Acts 21:40. It was, probably, like the "fixing of the eye," in Acts 13:9, just one of the personal characteristics on which the painter-historian loved to dwell. We may assume, as almost certain, that throughout this journey St. Paul used Greek as the common medium of intercourse. The verbal coincidences in Acts 13:17-18, already referred to in the Note on Acts 13:15, make it, in this instance, absolutely certain.

Men of Israel, and ye that fear God.--The latter phrase denotes, as in Acts 10:2; Acts 10:22, those who, though in the synagogue, were of heathen origin, and had not become proselytes in the full sense of the term, but were known as the so-called "proselytes of the gate."

Give audience.--Literally, hear ye. The English phrase may be noted as an example of the use of the word "audience," which has since been applied to the persons who hear, in the old abstract sense of the act of hearing.

Verse 16. - And for then, A.V.; the for Ms, A.V.; hearken for give audience, A.V. Beckoning with the hand (see Acts 12:17, note). Ye that fear God; addressed to the devout heathen who attended the synagogue service (see Acts 10:2, note, and 22; ver. 43 of this chapter; Acts 15:21; 16:14; 17:4, 17; 18:7).

13:14-31 When we come together to worship God, we must do it, not only by prayer and praise, but by the reading and hearing of the word of God. The bare reading of the Scriptures in public assemblies is not enough; they should be expounded, and the people exhorted out of them. This is helping people in doing that which is necessary to make the word profitable, to apply it to themselves. Every thing is touched upon in this sermon, which might best prevail with Jews to receive and embrace Christ as the promised Messiah. And every view, however short or faint, of the Lord's dealings with his church, reminds us of his mercy and long-suffering, and of man's ingratitude and perverseness. Paul passes from David to the Son of David, and shows that this Jesus is his promised Seed; a Saviour to do that for them, which the judges of old could not do, to save them from their sins, their worst enemies. When the apostles preached Christ as the Saviour, they were so far from concealing his death, that they always preached Christ crucified. Our complete separation from sin, is represented by our being buried with Christ. But he rose again from the dead, and saw no corruption: this was the great truth to be preached.Then Paul stood up,.... Not so much that he might be heard; or merely out of reverence and respect to the rulers, and the people; but to show that he accepted the invitation; as also in order to take his proper place in the synagogue, and sit down and teach, as was their custom:

and beckoning with his hand; to the people to be silent, and attend to what he had to say:

said, men of Israel; by whom are meant the proper Jews, the natural descendants of Jacob, whose name was Israel; this was accounted a very honourable character, and was a common form of address; see Acts 2:22

and ye that fear God; not as distinguishing some among the Israelites from the rest, as if there were some of them that did not fear God; for by these are meant, not Jews by birth, but proselytes, devout and religious men from among the Gentiles; who were proselyted to the Jewish religion, and attended with them in their synagogues on religious worship; and that there were such in this synagogue, is certain from Acts 13:43 and we find that sometimes the Jews distinguish the proselytes from the Israelites by this very character (s): it is said, Psalm 128:1

"blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways; he does not say blessed are the Israelites, blessed are the priests, blessed are the Levites, but blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord; "these are the proselytes, for they fear the Lord"--of what proselyte is it "said blessed?" of the proselyte who is a proselyte of righteousness, and not of the Cuthites, of whom it is written, 2 Kings 17:33 but of a proselyte who fears the Lord, and walks in his ways;''

so Psalm 22:23 are interpreted by many Jewish writers (t). Now to both these sort of persons, both to the proper Jews, and to the proselytes of righteousness, the apostle addresses himself, and desires they would give audience to what he had to say; which is as follows.

(s) Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 190. 4. (t) Midrash Tillim, Jarchi, & Aben Ezra, in loc.

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