Robertson Word Pictures - Acts 16:37 - 16:37

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Robertson Word Pictures - Acts 16:37 - 16:37

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Unto them (pros autous). The lictors by the jailor. The reply of Paul is a marvel of brevity and energy, almost every word has a separate indictment showing the utter illegality of the whole proceeding.

They have beaten us (deirantes hēmas). First aorist active participle of derō, old verb to flay, to skin, to smite. The Lex Valeria b.c. 509 and the Lex Poscia b.c. 248 made it a crime to inflict blows on a Roman citizen. Cicero says, “To fetter a Roman citizen was a crime, to scourge him a scandal, to slay him--parricide.” Claudius had “deprived the city of Rhodes of its freedom for having crucified some citizen of Rome” (Rackham).

Publicly (dēmosiāi). This added insult to injury. Common adverb (hodōi) supplied with adjective, associative instrumental case, opposed to idiāi or kat' oikous, Act 20:20)

Uncondemned (akatakritous). This same verbal adjective from katȧkrinō with a privative is used by Paul in Act 22:25 and nowhere else in the N.T. Rare in late Greek like akatagnōstos, but in late Koiné (papyri, inscriptions). The meaning is clearly “without being tried.” Paul and Silas were not given a chance to make a defence. They were sentenced unheard (Act 25:16). Even slaves in Roman law had a right to be heard.

Men that are Romans (anthrōpous Romaious huparchontas). The praetors did not know, of course, that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens any more than Lysias knew it in Act 22:27. Paul’s claim is not challenged in either instance. It was a capital offence to make a false claim to Roman citizenship.

Have cast us into prison (ebalan eis phulakēn). Second aorist active indicative of ballō, old verb, with first aorist ending as often in the Koiné (̇an, not ̇on). This was the climax, treating them as criminals.

And now privily (kai nun lathrāi). Paul balances their recent conduct with the former.

Nay verily, but (ou gar, alla). No indeed! It is the use of gar so common in answers (gêara) as in Mat 27:23. Alla gives the sharp alternative.

Themselves (autoi). As a public acknowledgment that they had wronged and mistreated Paul and Silas. Let them come themselves and lead us out (exagagetōsan, third person plural second aorist active imperative of exagō). It was a bitter pill to the proud praetors.