Robertson Word Pictures - Acts 21:20 - 21:20

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Robertson Word Pictures - Acts 21:20 - 21:20

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Glorified (edoxazon). Inchoative imperfect, began to glorify God, though without special praise of Paul.

How many thousands (posai muriades). Old word for ten thousand (Act 19:19) and then an indefinite number like our “myriads” (this very word) as Luk 12:1; Act 21:20; Jud 1:14; Rev 5:11; Rev 9:16. But it is a surprising statement even with allowable hyperbole, but one may recall Act 4:4 (number of the men--not women--about five thousand); Act 5:14 (multitudes both of men and women); Act 6:7. There were undoubtedly a great many thousands of believers in Jerusalem and all Jewish Christians, some, alas, Judaizers (Act 11:2; Act 15:1, Act 15:5). This list may include the Christians from neighbouring towns in Palestine and even some from foreign countries here at the Feast of Pentecost, for it is probable that Paul arrived in time for it as he had hoped. But we do not have to count the hostile Jews from Asia (Act 21:27) who were clearly not Christians at all.

All zealous for the law (pantes zēlōtai tou nomou). Zealots (substantive) rather than zealous (adjective) with objective genitive (tou nomou). The word zealot is from zēloō, to burn with zeal, to boil. The Greek used zēlōtēs for an imitator or admirer. There was a party of Zealots (developed from the Pharisees), a group of what would be called “hot-heads,” who brought on the war with Rome. One of this party, Simon Zelotes (Act 1:13), was in the number of the twelve apostles. It is important to understand the issues in Jerusalem. It was settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15; Galatians 2) that the Mosaic ceremonial law was not to be imposed upon Gentile Christians. Paul won freedom for them, but it was not said that it was wrong for Jewish Christians to go on observing it if they wished. We have seen Paul observing the passover in Philippi (Act 20:6) and planning to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost (Act 20:16). The Judaizers rankled under Paul’s victory and power in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles and gave him great trouble in Galatia and Corinth. They were busy against him in Jerusalem also and it was to undo the harm done by them in Jerusalem that Paul gathered the great collection from the Gentile Christians and brought it with him and the delegates from the churches. Clearly then Paul had real ground for his apprehension of trouble in Jerusalem while still in Corinth (Rom 15:25) when he asked for the prayers of the Roman Christians (Rom 15:30-32). The repeated warnings along the way were amply justified.