Acts 19:38 MEANING

Acts 19:38
(38) The law is open.--Literally, the court, or forum, days are going on. The words may either indicate that the proconsul was then actually sitting to hold trials in the agora or forum, or may be taken as a colloquial idiom for "there are court days coming."

There are deputies.--The Greek word is (as in Acts 13:7; Acts 18:12) the equivalent for proconsul. Strictly speaking, there was only one proconsul in each province, and we must therefore assume either that here also the expression is colloquial, or that the assessors (consiliarii) of the proconsul were popularly so described, or that some peculiar combination of circumstances had led to there being two persons at this time at Ephesus clothed with proconsular authority. There are some grounds for adopting the last alternative. Junius Silanus, who was Proconsul of Asia when St. Paul arrived in Ephesus (A.D. 54), had been poisoned by Celer and Helius, the two procurators, at the instigation of Agrippina; and it seems probable that they for a time held a joint proconsular authority.

Let them implead one another.--The English word exactly expresses the technical force of the Greek. Demetrius and his followers were to lodge a formal statement of the charge they brought against the accused. They in their turn were to put in a rejoinder, and so joining issue, each side would produce its witnesses.

Verse 38. - If therefore for wherefore if, A.V.; that for which, A.V.; the courts are for the law is, A.V.; proconsuls for deputies, A.V.; accuse for implead, A.V. Against any man. Mark the skill with which the town-clerk passes from the concrete to the abstract, and avoids the mention of Paul's name. The courts are open; ἀγοραῖοι (or ἀγόραιοι) ἄγονται. Some supply the word σύνοδοι, and make the sense "judicial assemblies," "sessions," coming round at proper fixed intervals. But the verb ἄγονται, more naturally suggests ἡμέραι, as Bengel says (ἄγειν γενέσια τὰς ἡμέρας τῆς σκηνοπηγίας: Ὀλύμπια: γενέθλιον, etc.), and then the meaning is, "The regular court-days are kept, when the proconsul attends to try causes;" there is no need to have an irregular trial. So Suidas explains it, Ἡμέρα ἐνῇ ἡ ἀγορὰ. There are proconsuls. Bengel, with whom Meyer agrees, thinks the plural denotes the unbroken succession of proconsuls. But Lewin thinks it may mark the exact time of these transactions as being immediately after the poisoning of the Proconsul Junius Silanus by order of Agrippina, when the two procurators, Celer and AElius, exercised the proconsular power till the appointment of another proconsul, according to a law of Claudius to that effect. Others have other explanations.

19:32-41 The Jews came forward in this tumult. Those who are thus careful to distinguish themselves from the servants of Christ now, and are afraid of being taken for them, shall have their doom accordingly in the great day. One, having authority, at length stilled the noise. It is a very good rule at all times, both in private and public affairs, not to be hasty and rash in our motions, but to take time to consider; and always to keep our passions under check. We ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly; to do nothing in haste, of which we may repent at leisure. The regular methods of the law ought always to stop popular tumults, and in well-governed nations will do so. Most people stand in awe of men's judgments more than of the judgement of God. How well it were if we would thus quiet our disorderly appetites and passions, by considering the account we must shortly give to the Judge of heaven and earth! And see how the overruling providence of God keeps the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are held back from devouring each other. We can scarcely look around but we see men act like Demetrius and the workmen. It is as safe to contend with wild beasts as with men enraged by party zeal and disappointed covetousness, who think that all arguments are answered, when they have shown that they grow rich by the practices which are opposed. Whatever side in religious disputes, or whatever name this spirit assumes, it is worldly, and should be discountenanced by all who regard truth and piety. And let us not be dismayed; the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters; he can still the rage of the people.Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him,.... Who were the ringleaders and encouragers of this tumult:

have a matter against any man; any accusation, or charge, any crime to accuse him of, and charge him with:

the law is open; or court days are kept; there are certain times fixed for the hearing and trying of causes, where and when such an affair should be regularly brought; and not use such disorderly methods, and throw a city into confusion, and break the peace as these men had done: the Syriac version renders it, "they are artificers"; that is, Demetrius and the craftsmen with him; they are tradesmen, and it does not belong to them, nor should they take upon themselves to judge and determine what is right or wrong:

and there are deputies; or "proconsuls"; the proconsul and his deputy, to whom such matters appertain, and who are judges in such cases, and to whom application should be made, and before whom such cases should be brought, and heard, and tried: the Syriac version reads in the singular number, "and there is a proconsul in the city"; a Roman governor and judge, whose province it is to determine such matters:

let them implead one another; let the plaintiff bring his accusation, and charge, and let the others defend themselves, and let things proceed in a due course of law, and so issue.

Courtesy of Open Bible