Acts 5:22–26 (NA28)

22οἱ δὲ παραγενόμενοι ὑπηρέται οὐχ εὗρον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ· ἀναστρέψαντες δὲ ἀπήγγειλαν

But the officers who came did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported

  • The officers (οἱ ὑπηρεται [hoi hupēretai]). Under-rowers, literally (Matt. 5:25). The servants or officers who executed the orders of the Sanhedrin.[1]
  • It must be concluded that, as is implied in the story in 12:18f., the guards had been unconscious during the escape of the prisoners and that the doors had been re-locked after their departure; consequently there was no cause for suspicion that the prisoners had vanished until this point.[2]

23λέγοντες ὅτι τὸ δεσμωτήριον εὕρομεν κεκλεισμένον ἐν πάσῃ ἀσφαλείᾳ καὶ τοὺς φύλακας ἑστῶτας ἐπὶ τῶν θυρῶν, ἀνοίξαντες δὲ ἔσω οὐδένα εὕρομεν.

Saying, “we found the prison locked with all security and the guards standing at the doors, but (when) opened we found no one inside

  • They were much perplexed (διηπορουν [diēporoun]). Imperfect active of διαπορεω [diaporeō] old verb by Luke only in the N. T. See already on Acts 2:12. They continued puzzled.[3]
  • It must be concluded that, as is implied in the story in 12:18f., the guards had been unconscious during the escape of the prisoners and that the doors had been re-locked after their departure; consequently there was no cause for suspicion that the prisoners had vanished until this point.[4]

24ὡς δὲ ἤκουσαν τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὅ τε στρατηγὸς τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς , διηπόρουν περὶ αὐτῶν τί ἂν γένοιτο τοῦτο.

Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words they were greatly perplexed concerning them as to what this might be

  • The effect of the news was to make the members of the council perplexed about what was going on. Some of them, such as Gamaliel, must have reckoned with supernatural influences at work.[5]
  • The guards were duly standing at their posts (and thus evidently awake). Yet there was no one inside. How in the world did they get out through locked gates, past the guards? The Council was at a total loss.[6]98

25παραγενόμενος δέ τις ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι ἰδοὺ οἱ ἄνδρες οὓς ἔθεσθε ἐν τῇ φυλακῇ εἰσὶν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ἑστῶτες καὶ διδάσκοντες τὸν λαόν.

But someone came and reported to them “behold the men whom you put in the prison are in the temple standing and teaching the people

26Τότε ἀπελθὼν ὁ στρατηγὸς σὺν τοῖς ὑπηρέταις ἦγεν αὐτοὺς οὐ μετὰ βίας, ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τὸν λαὸν μὴ λιθασθῶσιν.

Then the captain when the officers and brought them, not with force, for they were afraid of the people, les t they be stoned(by them)

  • Brought (ἠγεν [ēgen]). Imperfect active of ἀγω [agō], was bringing (leading), slowly no doubt, and solemnly. But without violence (οὐ μετα βιας [ou meta bias]). Literally, not with violence. For they feared (ἐφοβουντο γαρ [ephobounto gar]). Imperfect middle, still feared, kept on fearing. Lest they be stoned (μη λιθασθωσιν [mē lithasthōsin]). Negative purpose with μη [] (like ἱνα μη [hina mē]), probably with “not with violence,” though possible with “they feared.” They handled the apostles gently for fear of being stoned themselves by the people. First aorist passive subjunctive of λιθαζω [lithazō] (from λιθος [lithos], stone), old verb to pelt with stones (Acts 14:19; John 10:31–33).[7]
  • Luke notes that the arrest was made peaceably, an indication of how the authorities realized that the apostles had the people on their side and that the latter might react violently to the use of force. It may be observed that neither here, nor anywhere else, do the Christians respond with violence to being arrested[8]
  • The Sanhedrin was totally thwarted in its designs, totally helpless to control the situation. All was in God’s hands. The only reason the apostles finally appeared before the Council was their own willingness to do so. And they were willing to do so because the events of the night had convinced them once more that they were very much in God’s hands.[9]

 

[1] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:22). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[2] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:24). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[4] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[5] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 167). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[7] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 5:26). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[8] Marshall, I. H. (1980). Acts: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 5, pp. 125–126). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 167). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.