Acts 24:5 MEANING

Acts 24:5
(5) We have found this man a pestilent fellow.--The Greek gives the more emphatic substantive, a pestilence, a plague. The advocate passes from flattering the judge to invective against the defendant, and lays stress on the fact that he is charged with the very crimes which Felix prided himself on repressing. St. Paul, we may well believe, did not look like a sicarius, or brigand, but Tertullus could not have used stronger language had he been caught red-handed in the fact.

A mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world.--The "world" is, of course, here, as elsewhere, the Roman empire. (See Note on Luke 2:1.) The language may simply be that of vague invective, but we may perhaps read between the lines some statements gathered, in preparing the case, from the Jews of Thessalonica (Acts 17:6) and Ephesus (Acts 21:28) who had come to keep the Feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem.

A ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.--This is the first appearance of the term of reproach as transferred from the Master to the disciples. (Comp. Note on John 1:46.) It has continued to be used by both Jews and Mahometans; and it has been stated (Smith's Dict. of Bible, Art. "Nazarene"), that during the Indian Mutiny of 1855 the Mahometan rebels relied on a supposed ancient prophecy that the Nazarenes would be expelled from the country after ruling for a hundred years.

Verse 5. - Insurrection for sedition, A.V. and T.R. We have found (εὑρόντες). The construction of the sentence is an anacoluthon. The participle is not followed, as it should be, by a finite verb, ἐκρατήσαμεν (in ver. 6), but the construction is changed by the influence of the interposed sentence, "who moreover assayed to profane the temple," and so, instead of ἐκρατήσαμεν αὐτόν, we have ὅν καὶ ἐκρατήσαμεν. A pestilent fellow (λοιμόν); literally, a pestilence; as we say, "a pest," "a plague," or "a nuisance," like the Latin pestis. It only occurs here in the New Testament, but is of frequent use in the LXX., as e.g. 1 Samuel 2:12; 1 Samuel 10:27, and 1 Sam 25:25, υἱοὶ λοιμοὶ, "sons of Belial;" 1 Macc. 10:61 1 Macc. 15:3 ἄνδρες λοιμοί: and 15:21, simply λοιμοὶ (rendered "pestilent fellows" in the A.V.), and elsewhere as the rendering of other Hebrew words. It is occasionally used also in this sense by classical writers. A mover of insurrections (στάσεις, R.T.). This was the charge most likely to weigh with a Roman procurator in the then disturbed and turbulent state of the Jewish mind (camp. Luke 23:2; John 19:12). Felix himself had had large experience of Jewish insurrections. The Jewish riots at Philippi (Acts 16:20), at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6), at Corinth (Acts 18:12), at Ephesus (Acts 19:29), and at Jerusalem (Acts 21:30), would give color to the accusation. The world (ἥ οἰκουμένη). The Roman, or civilized, world (Luke it. l; Luke 4:5, etc.). Ringleader; πρωτοστάτης, only here in the New Testament, but used by the LXX. in Job 15:24, and not uncommon in classical Greek, as a military term, equivalent to the first, i.e. the right-hand man in the line. Also, in the plural, the soldiers in the front rank. The sect of the Nazarenes. As our Lord was contemptuously called "The Nazarene "(Matthew 26:71), so the Jews designated his disciples" Nazarenes." They would not admit that they were Christians, i.e. disciples of the Messiah.

24:1-9 See here the unhappiness of great men, and a great unhappiness it is, to have their services praised beyond measure, and never to be faithfully told of their faults; hereby they are hardened and encouraged in evil, like Felix. God's prophets were charged with being troublers of the land, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that he perverted the nation; the very same charges were brought against Paul. The selfish and evil passions of men urge them forward, and the graces and power of speech, too often have been used to mislead and prejudice men against the truth. How different will the characters of Paul and Felix appear at the day of judgement, from what they are represented in the speech of Tertullus! Let not Christians value the applause, or be troubled at the revilings of ungodly men, who represent the vilest of the human race almost as gods, and the excellent of the earth as pestilences and movers of sedition.For we have found this man a pestilent fellow,.... Pointing to Paul, the prisoner at the bar; the word here used signifies the "pest" or "plague" itself; and it was usual with orators among the Romans, when they would represent a man as a very wicked man, as dangerous to the state, and unworthy to live in it, to call him the pest of the city, or of the country, or of the empire, as may be observed in several places in Cicero's Orations.

And a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world: sedition was severely punished by the Romans, being what they carefully watched and guarded against, and was what the Jews were supposed to be very prone unto; and Tertullus would suggest, that the several riots, and tumults, and seditions, fomented by the Jews, in the several parts of the Roman empire, here called the world, were occasioned by the apostle: the crime charged upon him is greatly aggravated, as that not only he was guilty of sedition, but that he was the mover of it, and that he stirred up all the Jews to it, and that in every part of the world, or empire, than which nothing was more false; the Jews often raised up a mob against him, but he never rioted them, and much less moved them against the Roman government: and to this charge he adds,

and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes; not Nazarites, as Calvin seems to understand the passage; for these were men of great repute among the Jews, and for Paul to be at the head of them would never be brought against him as a charge: but Nazarenes, that is, Christians, so called by way of contempt and reproach, from Jesus of Nazareth; which name and sect being contemptible among the Romans, as well as Jews, are here mentioned to make the apostle more odious.

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