The Judgment on Ananias and Sapphira
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with Sapphira his wife, sold a piece of property. 2 He#tn Grk “And he.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences, καί (kai) has not been translated here. kept back for himself part of the proceeds with his wife’s knowledge; he brought#tn The participle ἐνέγκας (enenka") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. only part of it and placed it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled#sn This is a good example of the Greek verb fill (πληρόω, plhrow) meaning “to exercise control over someone’s thought and action” (cf. Eph 5:18). your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of#tn The words “from the sale of” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied to clarify the meaning, since the phrase “proceeds from the land” could possibly be understood as crops rather than money from the sale. the land? 4 Before it was sold,#tn Grk “Remaining to you.” did it not#tn The negative interrogative particle οὐχί (ouci) expects a positive reply to this question and the following one (“And when it was sold, was it not at your disposal?”). belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money#tn Grk “it”; the referent of the pronoun (the money generated from the sale of the land) has been specified in the translation for clarity. not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart?#tn Grk “How is it that you have [or Why have you] placed this deed in your heart?” Both of these literal translations differ from the normal way of expressing the thought in English. You have not lied to people#tn Grk “to men.” If Peter’s remark refers only to the apostles, the translation “to men” would be appropriate. But if (as is likely) the action was taken to impress the entire congregation (who would presumably have witnessed the donation or been aware of it) then the more general “to people” is more appropriate, since the audience would have included both men and women. but to God!”
5 When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped#tn Or “fear came on,” “fear seized”; Grk “fear happened to.” all who heard about it. 6 So the young men came,#tn Or “arose.” wrapped him up,#tn The translation “wrapped up” for συνέστειλαν (sunesteilan) is suggested by L&N 79.119, but another interpretation is possible. The same verb could also be translated “removed” (see L&N 15.200), although that sense appears somewhat redundant and out of sequence with the following verb and participle (“carried him out and buried him”). carried him out, and buried#sn Buried. Same day burial was a custom in the Jewish world of the first century (cf. also Deut 21:23). him. 7 After an interval of about three hours,#tn Grk “It happened that after an interval of about three hours.” The introductory phrase ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened that”), common in Luke (69 times) and Acts (54 times), is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated. his wife came in, but she did not know#tn Grk “came in, not knowing.” The participle has been translated with concessive or adversative force: “although she did not know.” In English, the adversative conjunction (“but”) conveys this nuance more smoothly. what had happened. 8 Peter said to her, “Tell me, were the two of you#tn The words “the two of” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied to indicate that the verb (ἀπέδοσθε, apedosqe) is plural and thus refers to both Ananias and Sapphira. paid this amount#tn Grk “so much,” “as much as this.” for the land?” Sapphira#tn Grk “She”; the referent (Sapphira) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said, “Yes, that much.” 9 Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!” 10 At once#tn Grk “And at once.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here. she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great#tn Grk “And great.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here. fear gripped#tn Or “fear came on,” “fear seized”; Grk “fear happened to.” the whole church#sn This is the first occurrence of the term church (ἐκκλησία, ekklhsia) in Acts. It refers to an assembly of people. and all who heard about these things.
The Apostles Perform Miraculous Signs and Wonders
12 Now many miraculous signs#tn The miraculous nature of these signs is implied in the context. and wonders came about among the people through the hands of the apostles. By#tn Grk “And by.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here. common consent#tn Or “With one mind.” they were all meeting together in Solomon’s Portico.#tn Or “colonnade”; Grk “stoa.”sn Solomon’s Portico was a covered walkway formed by rows of columns supporting a roof and open on the inner side facing the center of the temple complex. Located beside the Court of the Gentiles, it was a very public area. 13 None of the rest dared to join them,#tn Or “to associate with them.” The group was beginning to have a controversial separate identity. People were cautious about joining them. The next verse suggests that the phrase “none of the rest” in this verse is rhetorical hyperbole. but the people held them in high honor.#tn Or “the people thought very highly of them.” 14 More and more believers in the Lord were added to their number,#tn Or “More and more believers were added to the Lord.” crowds of both men and women. 15 Thus#tn This is a continuation of the preceding sentence in Greek, but because this would produce an awkward sentence in English, a new sentence was begun here in the translation. they even carried the sick out into the streets, and put them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow would fall on some of them. 16 A crowd of people from the towns around Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. also came together, bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits.#sn Unclean spirits refers to evil spirits. They#tn Literally a relative pronoun, “who.” In English, however, a relative clause (“bringing the sick and those troubled by unclean spirits, who were all being healed”) could be understood to refer only to the second group (meaning only those troubled by unclean spirits were being healed) or even that the unclean spirits were being healed. To avoid this ambiguity the pronoun “they” was used to begin a new English sentence. were all#sn They were all being healed. Note how the healings that the apostles provided were comprehensive in their consistency. being healed.
Further Trouble for the Apostles
17 Now the high priest rose up, and all those with him (that is, the religious party of the Sadducees#sn See the note on Sadducees in 4:1.),#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. and they were filled with jealousy.#sn Filled with jealousy. In Acts, the term “jealousy” (ζήλος, zhlos) occurs only here and in Acts 13:45. It is a key term in Judaism for religiously motivated rage (1 Macc 2:24; 1QH 14:13-15; m. Sanhedrin 9:5). It was a zeal motivated by a desire to maintain the purity of the faith. 18 They#tn Grk “jealousy, and they.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but a new sentence has been started here in the translation for stylistic reasons. laid hands on#tn Or “they arrested.” the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord#tn Or “the angel of the Lord.” Linguistically, “angel of the Lord” is the same in both testaments (and thus, he is either “an angel of the Lord” or “the angel of the Lord” in both testaments). For arguments and implications, see ExSyn 252; M. J. Davidson, “Angels,” DJG, 9; W. G. MacDonald argues for “an angel” in both testaments: “Christology and ‘The Angel of the Lord’,” Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation, 324-35. opened#tn Grk “opening the doors of the prison.” The participle ἀνοίξας (anoixa") has been translated as a finite verb due to the requirements of contemporary English style. the doors of the prison,#tn Greek φυλακῆς (fulakh"), a different word from the one in v. 18 (τήρησις, thrhsi", “jail”). led them out,#tn Or “brought them out.” Grk “and leading them out, said.” The participle ἐξαγαγών (exagagwn) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.sn Led them out. The action by God served to vindicate the apostles. It showed that whatever court the Jewish leaders represented, they did not represent God. and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple courts#tn Grk “the temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper, and has been translated accordingly. and proclaim#tn Or “speak.” to the people all the words of this life.” 21 When they heard this, they entered the temple courts#tn Grk “the temple.” See the note on the same phrase in the preceding verse. at daybreak and began teaching.#tn The imperfect verb ἐδίδασκον (edidaskon) has been translated as an ingressive imperfect.
Now when the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they summoned the Sanhedrin#tn Or “the council” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews). – that is, the whole high council#tn A hendiadys (two different terms referring to a single thing) is likely here (a reference to a single legislative body rather than two separate ones) because the term γερουσίαν (gerousian) is used in both 1 Macc 12:6 and Josephus, Ant. 13.5.8 (13.166) to refer to the Sanhedrin. of the Israelites#tn Grk “sons of Israel.” – and sent to the jail to have the apostles#tn Grk “have them”; the referent (the apostles) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brought before them.#tn The words “before them” are not in the Greek text but are implied. 22 But the officers#tn The Greek term ὑπηρέτης (Juphreth") generally means “servant,” but in the NT is used for many different types of servants, like attendants to a king, the officers of the Sanhedrin (as here), assistants to magistrates, and (especially in the Gospel of John) Jewish guards in the Jerusalem temple (see L&N 35.20). who came for them#tn The words “for them” are not in the Greek text but are implied. did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported,#tn Grk “reported, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in English and has not been translated. 23 “We found the jail locked securely and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them,#tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context, but must be supplied for the modern English reader. we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the commander#tn Or “captain.” of the temple guard#tn Grk “the official of the temple,” a title for the commander of the Jewish soldiers guarding the temple (thus the translation, “the commander of the temple guard”). See L&N 37.91. and the chief priests heard this report,#tn Grk “heard these words.” they were greatly puzzled concerning it,#tn Grk “concerning them,” agreeing with the plural antecedent “these words.” Since the phrase “these words” was translated as the singular “this report,” the singular “concerning it” is used here. wondering what this could#tn The optative verb here expresses confused uncertainty. be. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts#tn Grk “the temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper, and has been translated accordingly. and teaching#sn Obeying God (see v. 29), the apostles were teaching again (4:18-20; 5:20). They did so despite the risk. the people!” 26 Then the commander#tn Or “captain.” of the temple guard#tn Grk “the official [of the temple],” a title for the commander of the Jewish soldiers guarding the temple (thus the translation, “the commander of the temple guard”). See L&N 37.91. went with the officers#tn The Greek term ὑπηρέτης (Juphreth") generally means “servant,” but in the NT is used for many different types of servants. See the note on the word “officers” in v. 22. and brought the apostles#tn Grk “brought them”; the referent (the apostles) has been specified in the translation for clarity. without the use of force#tn Or “without violence.” It is clear, as well, that the apostles did not resist arrest. (for they were afraid of being stoned by the people).#tn Grk “for they feared lest they be stoned by the people.” The translation uses a less awkward English equivalent. This is an explanatory note by the author.
27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the council,#tn Or “the Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews). and the high priest questioned#tn Or “interrogated,” “asked.” them, 28 saying, “We gave#tc ‡ The majority of mss, including a few important witnesses (א2 D E [Ψ] 1739 Ï sy sa), have the negative particle οὐ (ou) here, effectively turning the high priest’s words into a question: “Did we not give you strict orders not to teach in this name?” But the earliest and most important mss, along with some others (Ì74 א* A B 1175 lat bo), lack the particle, making this a strong statement rather than a question. Scribes may have been tempted to omit the particle to strengthen the contrast between official Judaism and the new faith, but the fact that v. 27 introduces the quotation with ἐπηρώτησεν (ephrwthsen, “he questioned”) may well have prompted scribes to add οὐ to convert the rebuke into a question. Further, that excellent witnesses affirm the shorter reading is sufficient ground for accepting it as most probably authentic. NA27 includes the particle in brackets, indicating some doubt as to its authenticity. you strict orders#tn Grk “We commanded you with a commandment” (a Semitic idiom that is emphatic). not to teach in this name.#sn The name (i.e., person) of Jesus is the constant issue of debate. Look,#tn Grk “And behold.” Because of the length of the Greek sentence and the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences, καί (kai) has not been translated here. you have filled Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood#sn To bring this man’s blood on us is an idiom meaning “you intend to make us guilty of this man’s death.” on us!” 29 But Peter and the apostles replied,#tn Grk “apostles answered and said.” “We must obey#sn Obey. See 4:19. This response has Jewish roots (Dan 3:16-18; 2 Macc 7:2; Josephus, Ant. 17.6.3 [17.159]. God rather than people.#tn Here ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") has been translated as a generic noun (“people”). 30 The God of our forefathers#tn Or “ancestors”; Grk “fathers.” raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree.#tn Or “by crucifying him” (“hang on a tree” is by the time of the first century an idiom for crucifixion). The allusion is to the judgment against Jesus as a rebellious figure, appealing to the language of Deut 21:23. The Jewish leadership has badly “misjudged” Jesus. 31 God exalted him#tn Grk “This one God exalted” (emphatic). to his right hand as Leader#tn Or “Founder” (of a movement). and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.#tn Or “to give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” 32 And we are witnesses of these events,#tn Or “things.” They are preaching these things even to the hostile leadership. and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey#sn Those who obey. The implication, of course, is that the leadership is disobeying God. him.”
33 Now when they heard this, they became furious#sn The only other use of this verb for anger (furious) is Acts 7:54 after Stephen’s speech. and wanted to execute them.#sn Wanted to execute them. The charge would surely be capital insubordination (Exod 22:28). 34 But a Pharisee#sn A Pharisee was a member of one of the most important and influential religious and political parties of Judaism in the time of Jesus. There were more Pharisees than Sadducees (according to Josephus, Ant. 17.2.4 [17.42] there were more than 6,000 Pharisees at about this time). Pharisees differed with Sadducees on certain doctrines and patterns of behavior. The Pharisees were strict and zealous adherents to the laws of the OT and to numerous additional traditions such as angels and bodily resurrection. whose name was Gamaliel,#sn Gamaliel was a famous Jewish scholar and teacher mentioned here in v. 34 and in Acts 22:3. He had a grandson of the same name and is referred to as “Gamaliel the Elder” to avoid confusion. He is quoted a number of times in the Mishnah, was given the highest possible title for Jewish teachers, Rabba (cf. John 20:16), and was highly regarded in later rabbinic tradition. a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up#tn Grk “standing up in the council, ordered.” The participle ἀναστάς (anasta") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style. in the council#tn Or “the Sanhedrin” (the highest legal, legislative, and judicial body among the Jews). and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 35 Then he said to the council,#tn Grk “said to them”; the referent (the council) has been specified in the translation for clarity. “Men of Israel,#tn Or “Israelite men,” although this is less natural English. The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, it is highly unlikely that this is a generic usage, since Gamaliel was addressing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council, which would have been exclusively male. pay close attention to#tn Or “men, be careful.” what you are about to do to these men. 36 For some time ago#tn Grk “For before these days.” Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men joined him. He#tn Grk “who.” The relative pronoun was replaced by the pronoun “he,” and a new sentence was begun in the translation at this point. was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it.#tn Grk “and they came to nothing.” Gamaliel’s argument is that these two insurrectionists were taken care of by natural events. 37 After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census,#tn Or “registration.” and incited people to follow him in revolt.#tn The verb ἀφίστημι (afisthmi) as a transitive means “cause to revolt” as used in Josephus, Ant. 8.7.5 (8.198), 20.5.2 (20.102); see BDAG 157 s.v. 1. He too was killed, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people,#tn Here ἀνθρώπων (anqrwpwn) has been translated as a generic noun (“people”). it will come to nothing,#tn Or “it will be put to an end.” 39 but if#tn This is expressed in a first class condition, in contrast to the condition in v. 38b, which is third class. As such, v. 39 is rhetorically presented as the more likely option. it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found#tn According to L&N 39.32, the verb εὑρεθῆτε (Jeureqhte, an aorist passive subjunctive) may also be translated “find yourselves” – “lest you find yourselves fighting against God.” The Jewish leader Gamaliel is shown contemplating the other possible alternative about what is occurring. fighting against God.” He convinced them,#tn Grk “They were convinced by him.” This passive construction was converted to an active one (“He convinced them”) in keeping with contemporary English style. The phrase “He convinced them” is traditionally placed in Acts 5:40 by most English translations; the standard Greek critical text (represented by NA27 and UBS4) places it at the end of v. 39. 40 and they summoned the apostles and had them beaten.#sn Had them beaten. The punishment was the “forty lashes minus one,” see also Acts 22:19; 2 Cor 11:24; Mark 13:9. The apostles had disobeyed the religious authorities and took their punishment for their “disobedience” (Deut 25:2-3; m. Makkot 3:10-14). In Acts 4:18 they were warned. Now they are beaten. The hostility is rising as the narrative unfolds. Then#tn The word “Then” is supplied as the beginning of a new sentence in the translation. The construction in Greek has so many clauses (most of them made up of participles) that a continuous English sentence would be very awkward. they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 41 So they left the council rejoicing because they had been considered worthy#sn That is, considered worthy by God. They “gloried in their shame” of honoring Jesus with their testimony (Luke 6:22-23; 2 Macc 6:30). to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.#sn The name refers to the name of Jesus (cf. 3 John 7). 42 And every day both in the temple courts#tn Grk “temple.” This is actually a reference to the courts surrounding the temple proper and has been translated accordingly. and from house to house, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news#tn Grk “teaching and evangelizing.” They were still obeying God, not men (see 4:18-20; 5:29). that Jesus was the Christ.#tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.