As the Gentiles heard this they were glad (akouonta ta ethnē echairon). Present active participle of akouō and imperfect active of chairō, linear action descriptive of the joy of the Gentiles.
Glorified the word of God (edoxazon ton logon tou theou). Imperfect active again. The joy of the Gentiles increased the fury of the Jews. “The synagogue became a scene of excitement which must have been something like the original speaking with tongues” (Rackham). The joy of the Gentiles was to see how they could receive the higher blessing of Judaism without circumcision and other repellent features of Jewish ceremonialism. It was the gospel of grace and liberty from legalism that Paul had proclaimed. Whether Gal 4:13 describes this incident or not (the South Galatian theory), it illustrates it when Gentiles received Paul as if he were Christ Jesus himself. It was triumph with the Gentiles, but defeat with the Jews.
As many as were ordained to eternal life (hosoi ēsan tetagmenoi eis zōēn aiōnion). Periphrastic past perfect passive indicative of tassō, a military term to place in orderly arrangement. The word “ordain” is not the best translation here. “Appointed,” as Hackett shows, is better. The Jews here had voluntarily rejected the word of God. On the other side were those Gentiles who gladly accepted what the Jews had rejected, not all the Gentiles. Why these Gentiles here ranged themselves on God’s side as opposed to the Jews Luke does not tell us. This verse does not solve the vexed problem of divine sovereignty and human free agency. There is no evidence that Luke had in mind an absolutum decretum of personal salvation. Paul had shown that God’s plan extended to and included Gentiles. Certainly the Spirit of God does move upon the human heart to which some respond, as here, while others push him away.
Believed (episteusan). Summary or constative first aorist active indicative of pisteuō. The subject of this verb is the relative clause. By no manner of legerdemain can it be made to mean “those who believe were appointed.” It was saving faith that was exercised only by those who were appointed unto eternal life, who were ranged on the side of eternal life, who were thus revealed as the subjects of God’s grace by the stand that they took on this day for the Lord. It was a great day for the kingdom of God.