Gamaliel (Gamaliēl). The grandson of Hillel, teacher of Paul (Act 22:3), later president of the Sanhedrin, and the first of the seven rabbis termed “Rabban.” It is held by some that he was one of the doctors who heard the Boy Jesus in the temple (Luk 2:47) and that he was a secret disciple like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, but there is no evidence of either position. Besides, he appears here as a loyal Pharisee and “a doctor of the law” (nomodidaskalos). This word appears already in Luk 5:17 of the Pharisaic doctors bent on criticizing Jesus, which see. Paul uses it of Judaizing Christians (1Ti 1:7). Like other great rabbis he had a great saying: “Procure thyself a teacher, avoid being in doubt; and do not accustom thyself to give tithes by guess.” He was a man of judicial temper and not prone to go off at a tangent, though his brilliant young pupil Saul went to the limit about Stephen without any restraint on the part of Gamaliel so far as the record goes. Gamaliel champions the cause of the apostles as a Pharisee to score a point against the Sadducees. He acts as a theological opportunist, not as a disciple of Christ. He felt that a temporizing policy was best. There are difficulties in this speech of Gamaliel and it is not clear how Luke obtained the data for the address. It is, of course, possible that Saul was present and made notes of it for Luke afterwards.
Had in honour of all the people (timios panti tōi laōi). Ethical dative. Timios from timē, old word meaning precious, dear.
The men (tous anthrōpous). Correct text as in Act 5:35, not “the apostles” as Textus Receptus.