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ACTS
The continued Life of Jesus through the Apostles

CHAPTER NINETEEN

"Diana Degraded"
Key Verse = Acts 19:20

  1. Paul at Ephesus
  2. The Seven Sons of Sceva
  3. Riot at Ephesus


PAUL  AT  EPHESUS

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Acts 19:1-3
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

 (1)  And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples

And it came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul traveled through the northern countries and came to Ephesus, and inquired of the disciples whom he found there,

(2)  he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"  So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you were converted? They answered, saying to him, We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.

(3)  And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?"  So they said, "Into John's baptism."

Then he said to them, By what baptism then were you baptized? They said, By the baptism of John.


Apollos
An Alexandrian Jew who was converted to Christianity, he came to Ephesus during Paul’s absence and began to teach in the synagogue. Although eloquent he was at first ignorant of certain parts of the Christian faith, such as the meaning of Christian baptism. After being tutored by Aquila and Priscilla, he was invited to serve in Corinth. Although there was later an Apollos faction at Corinth, Paul and Apollos were warm friends and co-workers, Jerome indicates that Apollos later returned to Corinth and became the first bishop there. Many scholars believe that Apollos was the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

According to chapter 18:24-28, Apollos was:
1. An eloquent man.
2. Mighty in the Scriptures.
3. Fervent in spirit.
4. Teaching diligently the things of the Lord.
5. Spoke diligently and boldly in the synagogue.
6. Mightily convinced the Jews, publicly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

Upper regions
The upper or more elevated regions of Asia Minor. The writer refers here particularly to the provinces of Phrygia and Galatia (Acts 18:23). These regions were called upper, because they were situated on the high table-land in the interior of Asia Minor, while Ephesus was in the low maritime regions, and called the low country.

Ephesus
Ephesus became Paul's base of operation during his third missionary journey.

A very ancient and royal city of the kings of Ionia, near the mouth of the Cayster, famous for its wealth and commerce, and for the temple of Diana just without its walls. It passed successively under the control of Persia and Lydia, until B.C. 129, when under the Roman rule it was made the capital of the province of Asia. Upon the great line of commerce of the Mediterranean, connected by great roads with the interior markets of the East, the most central point between east and west, it naturally drew together Jew and Greek, Roman and Oriental. It was, moreover, a free city, though the mass of its population was Oriental in origin and in worship. Ancient Ephesus was always flourishing, and under the Roman domination, the greatest city of Asia Minor, whereas now it exists only in ruins, near the Turkish village of Asayaluk.

Ephesus was the third capital and starting point of Christianity.
1st Jerusalem Christianity was born in the cradle of Judaism at Jerusalem.
2nd Antioch The starting point of the Church of the Gentiles
3rd Ephesus The full development of Christianity, and the final amalgamation of its unconsolidated elements in the work of John, the apostle of love.
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

Disciples
Mathetes - students, or learners.
Apparently students of John the Baptist. The Roman world was cosmopolitan, and other Palestinian Jews also settled in Ephesus, which had a large, ancient and influential Jewish community.

Did you receive the Holy Spirit?
Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit of sonship (Romans 8:14-16)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
and has Him in a measure when converted (Romans 8:9),
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
but that is not what Paul referred to.
He was asking about the Spirit baptism that John had preached (Acts 19:4 with Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:31-34; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 11:15-17).
This has nothing to do with the new birth by the Spirit (John 3:1-5).
It is the impartation of power for service (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:38-39; Acts 5:32).
It was the common privilege to receive the "rivers of living waters" or the fullness of the Spirit of John 7:37-39
and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit of 1 Corinthians 12:4-11,
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for
to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit,
to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit,
to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
to another the working of miracles,
to another prophecy,
to another discerning of spirits,
to another different kinds of tongues,
to another the interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
and still is (Mark 16:17-18; John 14:12).
John's disciples could receive baptism in water, but Christ's disciples the baptism in the Holy Spirit, hence the inquiry of Paul. This was part of the gospel Apollos learned in Acts 18:26.
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

We have not so much as heard ...
Like Apollos, they had known of God's involvement in “salvation history” up to the time of Yochanan (John) the Immerser but had not known of Yeshua (Jesus).
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Even if they had only been baptized with John’s baptism, they conceivably knew that John had spoken of a coming baptism with the Holy Spirit; they did not know, however, that this expected baptism was now an accomplished fact. The American Revised Version translates their answer in verse 2: “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit given.”

Into John's baptism
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, he met a certain number of men whose knowledge was in much the same defective condition as Apollo’s knowledge had been before he met Priscilla and Aquila. But that these men were Christians is certainly inferred from the way in which Luke describes them as “disciples,” as being the term he commonly used to indicate Disciples of Christ; also by the fact that Paul asked if they had received the Holy Ghost “since they had believed.”

Note:
When a person receives Jesus Christ as there Savior they can only come to God by the influence of the Holy Spirit,
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him
 (John 6:44).
But this experience of receiving Jesus into your heart is not the same experience as receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as we see from this chapter, and again we see that they spoke in other tongues and prophesied as the Spirit gave them utterances. This speaking in other languages is the sign of being filled with the Spirit, not just feeling good. I speak from experience on this matter. You do not receive this experience when you repent of your sins, nor do you receive this experience by being baptized in the name of Jesus; this is a special experience that you can receive at any time after you give your heart to Jesus.
(Paul the Learner)

Paul then enquired about their baptism, and learned that it was the pre-Pentecostal baptism as proclaimed and administered by John the Baptist –
a baptism of expectation rather than one of fulfillment,
as Christian baptism now was. Accordingly, he explained to them the anticipatory character of the Johnnite rite; it was closely bound up with John’s proclamation of Jesus as the Coming One.
But now that Jesus had come and accomplished His mission on earth, now that He as raised from the dead and exalted at God’s right hand, whence He had sent the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, an anticipatory baptism was inappropriate and inadequate.
 

WATER BAPTISM

 
1. SIGNIFICANCE A sign of the Promise - Present and Future
A. The “sign of the promise” to Abraham was the rite of Circumcision.
The Promise was that God would bless all nations through Abraham’s seed. The sign was not only given until his son, Isaac was born, for it continued on, and even hundreds of years later, when the nation which came from him was about to enter into the promised land, the Lord would not allow them to enter until they had all confirmed the sign he gave to Abraham, circumcision. Thus the sign of circumcision acknowledged both the birth of Isaac, and the death of Christ – which was the cutting away of the flesh – at which time the sign was fulfilled, and no longer appropriate.
B. The “sign of the promise” to the Christian is the rite of Baptism in water.
The promise to the believer is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, that life-giving force of the entire universe, permeating every aspect of his being. This sign was not given only to point to the present infilling of the Spirit, but also looks forward to the time when the believer is fully and completely “Like Him.”

2. HISTORY Of  baptizing in water
A. Under the Old Testament Law, there were many “washings” of both the Priests and the people.
B. Jewish Proselytes were baptized in water reciting parts of the Torah.
C. John baptized in the wilderness preaching the baptism of repentance.

3. PURPOSE Identification with the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ
A. Romans 6:3-5
“Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM UNTO DEATH. That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, WE SHALL BE ALSO IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION.”
B. Colossians 2:12
“Buried with him in baptism wherein also ye are raised with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
C. Galatians 3:27
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
The rite of water baptism, while identifying the believer with Christ in His burial and resurrection, has a definite relationship with the baptism in the Holy Ghost (which is the earnest of our inheritance):
(1) Matthew 28:18, 19
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth…go ye THEREFORE, and teach all nations, baptizing them….”
(2) Acts 2:38
“Repent, and be baptized…and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
(3) Acts 10:48
“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
(4) Acts 19:5, 6
“…they were baptized…And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them…”

4. THE COMMAND To teach and baptize
Matthew 28:19
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

5. THE FULFILLMENT How the church obeyed His command
A. The Name of the Father:
 “I am come in my Father’s name,” John 5:43 (of all the Jehovah titles, this was the last –
Hebrew: Jehoshua or Joshua
Greek: Iesous or Jesus
Translated: Jehovah our Salvation
B. The Name of the Son:
“…and thou shalt call his name JESUS:” Matthew 1:21.
C. The Name of the Holy Ghost:
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will sent IN MY NAME,” John 14:26
D. Jesus Said: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.” John 17:6.
E. The Apostles taught through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost:
(1) Ephesians 1:20, 21
“He raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places…far above…every name that is named.”
(2) Philippians 2:9
“…and given him a name which is above every name:”
(3) Colossians 3:17
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
(4) Ephesians 3:14, 15
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom THE WHOLE FAMILY IN HEAVEN AND EARTH IS NAMED.”
F. How the Church obeyed Matthew 28:19
(1) Acts 2:38
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
(2) Acts 8:16
“(for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus).”
(3) Acts 10:48
“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”
(4) Acts 19:5
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

6. THE PROBLEM What happened?
A. Britannica Encyclopedia Eleventh Edition, Volume 3, Pages 365, 366: “Baptismal Formula Changed by Catholic Church.”
B. Catholic Encyclopedia Volume 2, Page 263: “Water Baptismal was changed by Catholic Church.”
C. New International Encyclopedia, Volume 22, Pages 476, 477: “At the time of the reformation, the Protestant Church took over the doctrine of the trinity without serious examination.”

7. NECESSITY Of Water Baptism
A. Mark 16:16
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;”
B.  Acts 8:36
“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
C. Acts 16:33
“And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, STRAIGHTWAY.”

8. RESPONSIBILITY Who does what?
A. The responsibility of the Believer  - To Repent
B. The responsibility of the Church  - To Baptize the believer in water
C. The responsibility of the Lord  - To Baptize the believer in the Holy Spirit

9. FORMULA TO BE USED I speak now as a former Pastor
“I now baptize you into the name of the Lord (Father) Jesus (Son) Christ (Holy Ghost).”

Question:  Have you been baptized, since you believed?
Have you received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues, since you believed?
Why wait?
(Paul the Learner)

From the Amplified Bible
(1)  While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul went through the upper inland districts and came down to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
(2)  And he asked them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [on Jesus as the Christ]? And they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.
(3)  And he asked, Into what [baptism] then were you baptized? They said, Into John's baptism.

Acts 19:4-7
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(4)  Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."

Then said Paul, John verily baptized the people with the baptism of repentance, saying to them that they should believe on him who should come after him, that is, Jesus Christ.

(5)  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

When they heard these things, they were baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(6)  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

And when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke in different tongues, and prophesied.

(7)  Now the men were about twelve in all.

And there were in all twelve persons.


Baptism of repentance
The point of contrast is between two stages in the development of the same Gospel truth - a rudimental and a ripe Gospel; the former represented by John's baptism, in which Christ and His salvation was rather expected than actually come. This state of things, strictly speaking, terminated not with the commencement of Christ's public ministry, but with the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; as is evident from John's own statement:
Matthew 3:11
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.    (NKJV)
 - which He certainly did not do until after His ascension. Nor is this affected by the fact that Jesus Himself "made and baptized (through others) more disciples than John;" for as the kingdom was represented as still only in prospect, so -
John 7:39
But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.     (NKJV)
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

With the baptism of repentance - describing the baptism as marked by, not as conveying, repentance just as in Mark 1:4 and that was the work of the Holy Spirit. But John preached also the baptism of the Holy Spirit which the Messiah was to bring.  If they did not know of the Holy Spirit, they had missed the point of John's baptism.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Paul now explains the relationship between the baptism of John and the baptism of which he is speaking. A literal translation of the Greek phrase "baptism of repentance" is of little or no meaning to the English reader, because the relationship between baptism and repentance is not qualified.
According to the accounts in the Gospels, John baptized only those persons who had repented (that is, turned from their sins),
and for this reason the TEV has made the phrase explicit: the baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins. The word "people" used by Luke in this verse is a term which is used throughout the Septuagint and also the New Testament to refer to the people of Israel as opposed to the Gentiles, and for that reason the TEV has made this meaning explicit.
(from the UBS New Testament Handbook Series. Copyright © 1961-1997, by United Bible Societies.)

This is the only place in the New Testament that refers to anyone being rebaptized. Quite clearly,
John's ministry was anticipatory;
Christ is the fulfillment of all things.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

When they heard this
When they heard what Paul had said respecting the nature of John's baptism.

They were baptized
As there is no other instance in the New Testament of any persons having been rebaptized, it has been made a question by some critics whether it was done here; [and they have supposed that all this is the narrative of Luke respecting what took place under the ministry of John: to wit, that he told them to believe on Christ Jesus, and then baptized them in His name]. But this is a most forced construction; and it is evident that these persons were rebaptized by the direction of Paul. For:
(1) This is the obvious interpretation of the passage - what would strike all persons as correct, unless there was some previous theory to support.
(2) It was not a matter of fact that John baptized in the name of Christ Jesus.
His was the baptism of repentance; and there is not the slightest evidence that he ever used the name of Jesus in the form of baptism.
(3) If it be the sense of the passage that John baptized them in the name of Jesus, then this verse is a mere repetition of Acts 19:4; a tautology of which the sacred writers would not be guilty.
(4) It is evident that the persons on whom Paul laid his hands (Acts 19:6), and those who were baptized, were the same. But these were the persons who heard (Acts 19:5) what was said. The narrative is continuous, all parts of it cohering together as relating to a transaction that occurred at the same time. If the obvious interpretation of the passage be the true one, it follows that the baptism of John was not strictly Christian baptism. It was the baptism of repentance; a baptism designed to prepare the way for the introduction of the kingdom of the Messiah
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This is the only place in the New Testament that refers to anyone being rebaptized. Quite clearly,
John's ministry was anticipatory;
Christ is the fulfillment of all things.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
 Apollos was not re-baptized. The twelve apostles were not re-baptized. Jesus received no other baptism than that of John. The point here is simply that these twelve men were grossly ignorant of the meaning of John's baptism as regards repentance, the Messiahship of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul had them baptized, not so much again, as really baptized this time, in the name or on the authority of the Lord Jesus as he had himself commanded (Matthew 28:19) and as was the universal apostolic custom. Proper understanding of "Jesus" involved all the rest including the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Luke does not give a formula, but simply explains that now these men had a proper object of faith (Jesus) and were now really baptized.
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

A special group of people are considered here, those who, like Apollos (18:25&N), had known of God's involvement in “salvation history” up to the time of Yochanan the Immerser but had not known of Yeshua. After instruction, they are immersed into the name of the Lord Yeshua, that is, into all that he is (2:38&N, Mt 28:19&N). Thereupon the Holy Spirit, of whom they had never even heard, visits them in power and with the same charismatic phenomena as were manifested
in the one hundred twenty at Shavu‘ot (2:4),
in the people of Shomron (8:17),
probably in Sha’ul (9:17),
and in Cornelius and his household (10:44-48).
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Four things happened after they were baptized
Paul laid his hands on them (See the notes on Acts 8:17)
The Holy Spirit came upon them (See the notes on 10:46)
They spoke with tongues (See the notes on Acts 2:4; 10:46)
They prophesied (See the notes on Acts 2:17; 11:27)

The laying on of hands may have been in conjunction with the baptism or more probably afterward. As a result the Holy Spirit came on these disciples and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The subject of tongues in Acts confirms Paul's statement that tongues "are a sign... for unbelievers" (cf. comments on 1 Cor 14:22). The purpose of tongues was to overcome unbelief. The accompanying chart compares the usages of tongues-speaking in Acts and points up its purpose.
Passage Tongues-Speakers Audience Related to Salvation Purpose
2:1-4 12 Apostles and others Unsaved Jews After salvation To validate (for Jews) the fulfillment of Joel 2.
10:44-47 Gentiles (Cornelius and his household) Saved Jews (Peter and others) who doubted God's plan Same time as salvation To validate (for Jews) Peter's message
9:17 About 12 Old Testament believers Jews who needed confirmation of the message Same time as salvation To validate (for Jews) Paul's message.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 40 - Acts 19:1-7
"He mightily convinced," it says. "And it came to pass," etc. (ch. 19:1.) But whence had those, being in Ephesus, the baptism of John? Probably they had been on a visit at Jerusalem at the time (of John's preaching), and did not even know Jesus. And he does not say to them, Do ye believe in Jesus? but what? "Have ye received the Holy Ghost?" (v. 2.) He knew that they had not, but wishes themselves to say it, that having learnt what they lack, they may ask. "John verily baptized," etc. (v. 4.) From the baptism itself he (John) prophesies: and he leads them (to see) that this is the meaning of John's baptism. "That they should believe on Him that was to come:" on what kind (of Person)?
"I indeed baptize you with water, but He that cometh after me, shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 3:11.) And when Paul, it says, "had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." (v. 6.) The gift is twofold: tongues and prophesying. Hence is shown an important doctrine, that the baptism of John is incomplete. And he does not say, "Baptism" of forgiveness, but, "of repentance." What (is it) then? These had not the Spirit: they were not so fervent, not even instructed. And why did (Apollos) not receive baptism? (The case) seems to me to be this: Great was the boldness of the man. "He taught diligently the things concerning Jesus," but he needed more diligent teaching. Thus, though not knowing all, by his zeal he attracted the Holy Ghost, in the same manner as Cornelius and his company. (Archbishop John Chrysostom of Constantinople A.D. 400)
(From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
 

PARALLELS BETWEEN THE MINISTRIES OF PETER AND PAUL IN ACTS

Similarity Peter Paul
Healing crippled men 3:2-8 14:8-10
Healing via extraordinary means 5:15 (his shadow!) 19:12 (handkerchiefs!)
Casting out demons 5:16 16:18
Being flogged or beaten 5:40 16:23
Defeating sorcerers 8:18-24 13:6-11
Raising the dead 9:36-41 20:9-12
Escaping from prison 12:6-11 16:25-26

From the Amplified Bible
(4)  And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, continually telling the people that they should believe in the One Who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus [having a conviction full of joyful trust that He is Christ, the Messiah, and being obedient to Him].
(5)  On hearing this they were baptized [again, this time] in the name of the Lord Jesus.
(6)  And as Paul laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke in [foreign, unknown] tongues (languages) and prophesied.
(7)  There were about twelve of them in all.

Acts 19:8-10
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(8)   And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

Then Paul entered into the synagogue and spoke openly for a period of three months, persuading the people concerning the kingdom of God.

(9)   But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

But some of them were stubborn, and they disputed and cursed the way of God in the presence of the assembly. Then Paul withdrew and separated the disciples from them, and he spoke to them daily in the school of a man named Tyrannus.

(10)  And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

And this continued for two years until all who dwelt in Asia Minor, both Jews and Arameans (Syrians), heard the word of God.


In accord with his promise (18:21) Paul did return to the Ephesus synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months. Three months in a synagogue without a riot was something of a record for Paul. Perhaps the cosmopolitan nature of Ephesus caused the Jews there to be more tolerant. On the apostles' boldness, see comments on Acts 4:13.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

From the Jewish New Testament Commentary
In Ephesus the development of opposition to the Gospel within the synagogue was relatively slow in coming—it took three months. But when it did come and grew strong enough to obstruct communication of the Gospel, Sha’ul did a strategic withdrawal to Tyrannus's yeshivah. The Hebrew word “yeshivah” comes from the word that means “sit”; it signifies a place for learning Torah. The Greek word so rendered, “schole,” which gives us English “school,” means “study hall,” a place where students and teachers meet; it appears as a loanword in rabbinic literature, and probably no English word comes as close to its proper meaning as “yeshivah”—or, alternatively, “midrashah” (“school, college, academy, seminary”); the Yiddish word “shul” (“school”) would also serve.
But these Hebrew words, because they are “Jewish English” (see Section IV of the Introduction to the JNT), foreclose on a question worth exploring, namely, whether Sha’ul withdrew from the synagogue to a Jewish environment or a Gentile one? Or even more strongly, was he forgetting about the Jews altogether and instead “turning to the Goyim Gentile” (13:46, 18:6)? The answer to the second question is definitely No, because the text states that he continued evangelizing all who would listen for two years; so that everyone, both Jews and Greeks...heard the message about the Lord. But the answer to the first depends on how one understands the social dynamics of the situation and on whether or not Tyrannus himself was Jewish; this will determine whether his schole is properly thought of as a yeshivah/midrashah.
As in most of his synagogue forays, Sha’ul's message split the congregation into those who agreed with him and those opposed (see 20:3). The latter began hardening themselves and refusing to listen. Then they started defaming the Way of life proclaimed in Sha’ul's Gospel before the whole synagogue. In any given location Sha’ul normally began by evangelizing in the synagogue (13:5&N).
But he also had a “Plan ‘B’” ready for use if the synagogue environment should become too heated for effective communication of the Gospel, whereby he would take with him prominent Jews and others whom he had won to the Messiah and move out of the synagogue to a different center that would still impact the Jewish community. I learn this from the mention of Jason in Thessalonica (17:4-8&NN) and Crispus in Corinth (18:8&N), and it suggests to me that Tyrannus is named here because he was a prominent Jew whose property Sha’ul was able to use. If Tyrannus was Jewish, his schole can properly be called a yeshivah. On the other hand, Luke may be telling us that at this point Sha’ul shifted from a Jewish base to a non-Jewish one, as he did in Corinth, when he moved to the house of the Gentile, Titius Justus (18:7&N).
Regardless of whether Tyrannus was Jewish or a Gentile “God-fearer,” he would have been attuned to Jewish ways, since Sha’ul presumably met him in the synagogue. The Gentile scholar S. F. Hunter explores the options:
Tyrannus may have been
(1) A Greek rhetorician
This is the common opinion, and many identify him with a certain Tyrannus, a sophist, mentioned by Suidas.
(2) A Jewish rabbi
Meyer thinks that as the apostle had not passed wholly to the Gentiles, and Jews still flocked to hear him, and also that as Tyrannus is not spoken of as a proselyte, this schole is the Beth Midrash of a Jewish rabbi. ‘Paul with his Christians withdrew from the public synagogue to the private synagogue of Tyrannus, where he and his doctrine were more secure from public annoyance.’ (Meyer in loc.)
(3) The original owner
Another view (Overbeck) is that the expression [Tyrannus's School] “was the standing name of the place after the original owner.”
(International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 3030)
I discount “the common opinion” because it probably reflects “the common bias” of New Testament scholars against giving sufficient weight to the Jewish context of the Gospel when it was presented in the first century. I am satisfied that Tyrannus was a Jewish rabbi, and that what he had was a yeshivah—or, as above, a Beit-midrash (“house of study”) or midrashah (same). While one should not superimpose the modern Orthodox Jewish cultural concept of yeshivah on the New Testament, it is reasonable to suppose that Sha’ul, who had studied with Rabban Gamli’el Gamaliel (22:3&N), used methods developed in first-century Judaism, although he presented the content of the Gospel to Gentiles in a way that transcended Jewish culture (see 11:20-23, 1 Corinthians 9:20-22&NN).
It is important for modern Messianic Judaism to have available the concept of a Messianic yeshivah or midrashah. Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel should involve presenting the eternal Gospel in a Jewish religious, cultural and social environment. While today the word “yeshivah,” to most Jewish people, means a school for Jewish studies, particularly Torah, Talmud, halakhah, etc., it is right for Messianic Judaism to appropriate this term and apply it to Messianic Jewish institutions of learning that relate seriously to the Jewish as well as the New Testament materials. This is one way to meet the challenge of Mt 13:52&N.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(8)   And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, persuading and arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God.
(9)   But when some became more and more stubborn (hardened and unbelieving), discrediting and reviling and speaking evil of the Way [of the Lord] before the congregation, he separated himself from them, taking the disciples with him, and went on holding daily discussions in the lecture room of Tyrannus from about ten o'clock till three.
(10) This continued for two years, so that all the inhabitants of [the province of] Asia, Jews as well as Greeks, heard the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].

THE  SEVEN  SONS  OF  SCEVA

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Acts 19:11 & 12
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(11)  Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,

And God wrought great miracles by the hands of Paul,

(12)  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

So that even when from the clothes on his body, pieces of garments were brought and laid upon the sick, diseases were cured and even the insane were restored.


Paul's "handkerchiefs and aprons" (NIV) are rags tied around his head to catch sweat and his work aprons tied around his waist; they could have been taken without his knowledge. Magicians often healed by such means; Old Testament examples are rare but do occur (e.g., 2 Kings 13:21; contrast uncleanness, which was regularly communicated by touch in the Old Testament).
(From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Note: let’s consider the subject of ‘point of contact.’
In this case, they believed that these rags would bring healing and deliverance and God honored this example of faith. When I was in Israel in 1972 there was a woman who had a physical problem and so she walked down the long stairs to the ‘pool of Salome’ in Jerusalem. She believed that touching that water would bring healing to her, and it did. There again it’s a point of contact - God did the work.
Paul the Learner

Unusual Miracles
Miracles that were remarkable; that were not common, or that were very unusual.
ou tas tuchousas
(NT: 3756) (NT: 3588) (NT: 5177)

 Special - Unusual

This expression is Classical Greek. Thus, Longinus says of Moses that he was no common man.

Handkerchiefs or aprons
That is, those handkerchiefs which had been applied to his body, which he had used, or which he had touched. An instance somewhat similar to this occurs in the case of the woman who was healed by touching the hem of the Savior’s garment, Matt 9:20-22.
Handkerchiefs
The word used here soudaria (NT: 4676) is of Latin origin, and properly denotes "a piece of linen" with which sweat was wiped from the face; and then "any piece of linen used for tying up or containing anything." In Luke 19:20, it denotes the "napkin" in which the talent of the unprofitable servant was concealed; in John 11:44; John 20:7, the "napkin" which was used to bind up the face of the dead applied to Lazarus and to our Savior.
Aprons
Simikinthia (NT: 4612). This is also a Latin word, and means literally a half girdle or covering half the person; a piece of cloth which was girded round the waist to preserve the clothes of those who were engaged in any kind of work. The word "aprons" expresses the idea.

If it be asked why this was done, it may be observed:
(1) That the working of miracles in that region would greatly contribute to the spread of the gospel.
(2) We are not to suppose that there was any efficacy in the aprons thus brought, or in the mere fact that they had touched the body of Paul, anymore than there was in the hem of the Savior’s garment which the woman touched, or in the clay which he made use of to open the eyes of the blind man, John 8:6.
(3) In this instance, the fact that the miracles were performed in this manner by garments which had touched his body, was a mere sign, or an evidence to the persons concerned, that it was done by the instrumentality of Paul, as the fact that the Savior put his fingers into the ears of a deaf man, and spit and touched his tongue (Mark 7:33), was an evidence to those who saw it that the power of healing came from him. The bearing of these aprons to the sick was, therefore, merely evidence to all concerned that miraculous power was given to Paul.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The diseases left them
Nosous - (NT: 3554)  "sickness," "plague," "epidemic," "infirmity"

Evil spirits went out
God enabled Paul to perform "special miracles" because Ephesus was a center for the occult (Acts 19:18-19), and Paul was demonstrating God's power right in Satan's territory. But keep in mind that wherever God's people minister the truth, Satan sends a counterfeit to oppose the work.
Jesus taught this truth in His Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43);
Peter experienced it in Samaria (Acts 8:9 ff);
Paul experienced it at Paphos (Acts 13:4-12).
Satan imitates whatever God's people are doing, because he knows that the unsaved world cannot tell the difference (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

One of the themes of Acts is the victory of Christ over occultism (Acts. 8:9-24; 13:6-12; 16:16-18). This incident is another example of His power over demons.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
Acts 19:11-20

When our Lord performed miracles, He usually had at least three purposes in mind:
(1) to show His compassion and meet human needs;
(2) to teach a spiritual truth;
(3) to present His credentials as the Messiah.
The Apostles followed this same pattern in their miracles. In fact, the ability to do miracles was one of the proofs of apostolic authority (Mark 16:20; Romans 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4). Miracles of themselves do not save lost sinners (Luke 16:27-31; John 2:23-25). Miracles must be tied to the message of the Word of God.

An aim of the book of Acts is to show that in every way Sha’ul Paul, the emissary to the Gentiles, had a ministry equal to that of Kefa Peter, the leading emissary to the Jews (see Galatians 2:7-9&N). With these verses compare Kefa's healing miracles of 5:15-16. Of course it is God who heals, not Sha’ul or Kefa.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

From the Amplified Bible
(11)  And God did unusual and extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,
(12)  So that handkerchiefs or towels or aprons which had touched his skin were carried away and put upon the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.

Acts 19:13-16
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(13)  Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches."

Now certain Jews who went about exorcising evil spirits invoked the name of our Lord Jesus over those who were possessed, saying, We adjure you in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.

(14)  Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.

And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and a chief of the priests, who did this.

(15)  And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"

And the insane man answered, saying to them, Jesus I recognize and Paul I know; but who are you?

(16)  Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Then the insane man leaped on them and overpowered them and prevailed against them, so they fled out of that house naked and wounded.


Itinerant Jewish exorcists
Certain of the Jews who went about practicing exorcisms. Vagabond has a very bad acceptation among us; but, literally, vagabundus signifies a wanderer, one that has no settled place of abode. These, like all their countrymen, in all places, went about to get their bread in what way they could; making trial of everything by which they could have the prospect of gain. Finding that Paul cast out demons through the name of Jesus, they thought, by using the same, they might produce the same effects; and, if they could, they knew it would be to them an ample source of revenue; for demoniacs abounded in the land.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Going their rounds from place to place, like strolling players or like peddlers. The words should be construed together, "strolling Jewish exorcists." That certain Jews in our Savior's time exorcised evil spirits appears from Matthew 12:27; Luke 9:49. We learn also from Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 8:2, 5, that
forms of exorcism, said to have been invented by King Solomon, so efficacious that the devils cast out by them could never come back, were used with great effect in his days. He adds that he himself knew of an instance in which one of his own countrymen, Eleazar by name, had cast out devils in the presence of Vespasian [of Rome] and his sons and officers and a number of his soldiers. The method used was this:
1, The exorcist applied to the nose of the possessed the bezil of a ring, under which was a certain root prescribed by Solomon,
2. And so drew out the evil spirit through the man's nostrils.
3. The possessed then fell to the ground, and the exorcist commanded the evil spirit in the name of Solomon never to return,
4. And then recited one of Solomon's incantations.
5. To give full assurance to the bystanders that the evil spirit had really left the man, the exorcist placed a vessel full of water at some distance off, and then commanded the ejected spirit to overturn it, which he did.
Thus far Josephus.
Lightfoot, on Acts 13. (vol. 3:215), quotes the book Juchasin as speaking of certain Jews as "skilled in miracles."
The Jerusalem Talmud as speaking of their enchantments and magical tricks and charms" in the name of Jesus."
(Pulpit Commentary)

Call the name of the Lord Jesus over those
To name, or to use His name as sufficient to expel the evil spirit.
The reasons why they attempted this were:
1. That Jesus had expelled many evil spirits;
2. That it was in his name that Paul had performed his miracles. Perhaps they supposed there was some charm in this name to expel them.
It is a form of putting one under oath. That this art was practiced then, or attempted, is abundantly proved from Irenaeus, Origen, and Josephus (Antiq., book 8, chapter 2, section 5). The common name which was used was the incommunicable name of God, [YHWH] YAHWEH, by pronouncing which, in a special way, it was pretended they had the power of expelling demons.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Sceva
Sceva is a Greek name, but nothing more is known of him.

Jewish "high priest" in Ephesus with seven sons who tried unsuccessfully to exorcise demons in Jesus' name as Paul had done. The evil spirit jumped on them instead. No such Jewish high priest is known from other sources, particularly not one living in Ephesus. The title may be the result of a copyist or a title Sceva took upon himself to impress leaders of other religions in Ephesus.
(From Holman Bible Dictionary. (c) Copyright 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)
According to Dake:
“A member of the Jewish council at Ephesus, and chief of the priests.”
According to Westminster Dictionary of the Bible:
“A certain Jew, belonging to a high-priestly family; his 7 sons were exorcists.”
According to Alexander:
“A chief priest, resident at Ephesus, is something strange, and has been variously explained according to the different senses of the Greek word. It is not impossible that a member of the sacerdotal race, entitled to be thus distinguished, may have been residing here. But it is also possible that “chief-priest” here has reference to the worship of Diana, and that this Sceva was a renegade or apostate Jew. This is the less improbable because the Greek word was not only in general use among the heathen, but occurs repeatedly on coins and in other inscriptions relating to the worship of Diana at Ephesus.”

A Jewish cohen gadol named Skeva (Greek Skevas). There is no record of a high priest with that name. Perhaps if his Hebrew name were known he could be identified.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Leaped on them
Several such instances are recorded of the extraordinary power and rage of those who were possessed with evil spirits, Mark 5:3; Luke 9:42.

From the Jewish New Testament Commentary
Exorcism of shedim (Hebrew, “demons”) is a theme in the Talmud.
In medieval Jewish literature the term “dibbuk” becomes commoner. There are descriptions of Jewish exorcisms dating from the present century.
Given that demons are regarded as real and not imaginary phenomena (see Mt 4:1, 24; 9:34; 11:20-21; Mk 5:11-17 and notes), it may be surprising that it is sometimes possible to use magical means, that is, demonic means, to expel them. Apparently there is some degree of order even in the demonic hierarchy, so that some demonic powers can expel other demonic powers. Nevertheless, ultimately “a house divided against itself cannot stand” (Mt 12:22-29). And there are demons that do not respond to the means used by exorcists but only to prayer (Mk 9:14-29).
They tried to make use of the name of the Lord Yeshua, as if the name itself had magical powers. They were attempting to use the Messiah as a means to their own ends. But Yeshua himself is always the end, never the means to other ends.
I exorcise you demons by the Yeshua that Sha’ul is proclaiming.
Obviously these exorcists, though knowing nothing about Yeshua, had noticed that those who spoke of their faith in him had power (Mk 16:20). Like Shim‘on Simon (8:19) they were power-hungry, but they did not understand that the power comes from the Holy Spirit (1:8), who is given only to those putting their trust in Yeshua as Messiah, Lord and Savior. When used by those with such trust, his name is powerful in expelling demons (3:6, 9:34; Mk 16:17-18).
Compare this interesting story from the Jerusalem Talmud; it probably took place before 130 C. E.:
“The case of Rabbi El‘azar ben-Damah, whom a serpent bit.
There came in Ya‘akov, a man of K’far-Sama, to cure him in the name of Yeshua ben-Pandira; but Rabbi Ishmael did not allow it. He said, ‘You are not permitted, Ben-Damah.’ Ben-Damah replied, ‘I will bring you proof that he may heal me.’ But before he had finished bringing proof, he died. Rabbi Ishmael said, ‘Happy are you, Ben-Damah, for you have departed in peace and have not broken through the ordinances of the wise; for on everyone who breaks through the fence of the wise, punishment comes at last, as it is written, “Whoever breaks down a fence, a serpent will bite him” (Ecclesiastes 10:8).’
The serpent only bit him that a serpent might not bite him in the future. And what could Ben-Damah have said? ‘...Which, if a person do, he shall live by them’ (that is, not die in them; Leviticus 18:5).” (Shabbat 14 d)
Yeshua ben-Pandira is Yeshua from Natzeret Jesus from Nazareth (compare Tosefta Chullin 2:24 with Babylonian Talmud ‘Avodah Zarah 16 b-17 a). The 5th -6th century Jewish anti-Gospel, Toledot-Yeshu, is clearer about this: it presents “Yeshu” (see Mt 1:21 N) as the illegitimate son of Miryam Mary and a Roman soldier named Pandira.
Obviously Ya‘akov from K’far-Sama (or K’far-Sechanyah; see below), whose role in the story is passive, was a Messianic Jew. What is important in connection with our verse is that it is taken for granted that Ya‘akov would in fact have healed Rabbi El‘azar Ben-Damah in Yeshua's name. That is, if a non-Messianic Jew does not allow a colleague's life to be saved through the power Yeshua gives his followers, he implicitly acknowledges that the power exists.
A variant of this story told in Babylonian Talmud is even more explicit about this:
“A man is to have no dealings with the minim nor may he be cured by them, even to gain one hour of life. The case of Ben-Damah, Rabbi Ishmael's sister's son, whom a serpent bit. There came Ya‘akov the min of K’far-Sechanyah to cure him....” (‘Avodah Zarah 27 b)
Note: In other words, they would rather die than have the name of Jesus said over them for healing. How sad.  (Paul the Learner)
Later the text comments on the quotation from Ecclesiastes,
“It is different in regard to minut [the heresy of the minim, i.e., in this case, Messianic Judaism], which bites a man, so that he comes to be bitten afterwards.”
Thus the last half of the story means this: Ben-Damah did not transgress the ordinances of the rabbis, he did not break down the “fence” around the Torah, by allowing a heretic (a Messianic Jew) to minister to him. So the literal serpent which bit him and caused his death saved him from being bitten by the figurative serpent of heresy and from suffering in the ‘olam haba punishment worse than death.
This same story appears in three additional places in rabbinic literature:
Tosefta Chullin 2:22-23;
Jerusalem Talmud ‘Avodah Zarah 40 d-41 a; and
Midrash Rabbah Ecclesiastes 1:8.
(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

ARCHEOLOGY AND HISTORICAL INFORMATION
The Inadequacy of Magic
Although some Ephesians who knew no better may have regarded Paul as a magician, God seems to have healed them anyway to draw their attention to his message (19:11-12); but God would not tolerate unauthorized use of Jesus' name. Ephesus was widely reputed for its trade in magic and the need for exorcisms and protection against evil spirits.

Magical exorcists often invoked the names of higher spirits to cast out lower ones.
According to magical theory, exorcists could coerce a deity or spirit to do their will by invoking its name. Ancient magical texts show that many exorcists were Jewish or drew on some knowledge of Judaism, and these texts include every possible permutation of vowels as guesses for pronouncing the unpronounced name of God. Some later ancient magical texts invoked the name of Jesus alongside other formulas, recognizing, as do the exorcists in this narrative, its efficacy when employed by Christians to expel demons.

"Sceva" is a Latin name; as loosely as Jerusalem Jews used "high priest" for the highest members of the priestly aristocracy, it is likely that Sceva simply appropriated the title for himself. Inscriptions and texts testify to other irregularities in Jewish priestly claims outside Palestine. Because Jewish chief priests would be thought to have access to the sacred name (v. 13) and hidden names, especially of the supreme God, were thought to wield great power in magical circles, Sceva is probably highly reputed in those circles. "Sons" could mean they were part of Sceva's guild, although it is probably meant literally.

Ancient literature indicates that demons were typically unimpressed with orders from those who had no power over them, although they feared God and could be controlled by the manipulation of spirits more powerful than themselves (who apparently liked the influence this gave them with the magicians).

This incident indicates that Paul, the humble leatherworker, has more power than the magicians (cf. Genesis 41:8,39; Exodus 7:11).
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Satan imitates whatever God's people are doing, because he knows that the unsaved world cannot tell the difference.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.       (NKJV)

From the Amplified Bible
(13)  Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists (men who adjure evil spirits) also undertook to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I solemnly implore and charge you by the Jesus Whom Paul preaches!
(14)  Seven sons of a certain Jewish chief priest named Sceva were doing this.
(15)  But [one] evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?
(16)  Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt leaped upon them, mastering two of them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house [in fear], stripped naked and wounded.

Acts 19:17-20
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(17)  This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

And this became known to all the Jews and Arameans (Syrians) who dwelt at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ was magnified.

(18)  And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds.

And many of them that believed came and told their faults and confessed what they had done.

(19)  Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Many magicians also gathered together their books and brought them and burned them before the presence of the people; and they counted the price of them, and it amounted to fifty thousand pieces of silver.

(20)  So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

So mightily grew the faith of God and greatly increased in numbers.


Fear fell on them
Compare Acts 5:11-14,  where the same effects are ascribed to the death of Ananias and Sapphire and the signs and wonders which were wrought by the apostles at that time. This fear produced by the putting forth of God's power paralyzed for a time the enemies of the gospel, and enabled believers, as it were, to take possession of their new heritage, just as the miracles at the Red Sea and the destruction of Sihon and Og paralyzed the courage of the Canaanites and enabled the Israelites to take possession of their land (Joshua 2:9-11). With respect to the incident which caused this fear, it might at first seem inconsistent with our Lord's saying to the apostles (Luke 9:49,50). But the cases were very different. He who cast out devils in the name of Jesus, in the Gospel, does not seem to have had any hostility to the faith, for our Lord speaks of him as one who "is not against us."

But these sons of Sceva were among the unbelieving Jews who were "hardened and disobedient;" and if their exorcisms had been permitted to succeed, they would have had power to withstand Paul, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, and the very purpose for which miraculous power was given to Paul would have been frustrated. Therefore they were discomfited, and the subtle design of Satan to destroy, while seeming to magnify, the Name of Jesus was signally defeated. Comp. the somewhat similar incident at Philippi (Acts 16:16-18). Justin Martyr, in his 'Dialogue with Trypho,' quoted by Alford on Matthew 12:27, speaks of the Jews as exorcising, sometimes in the name of kings (referring, doubtless, to Solomon), sometimes of just men, or of prophets, or of patriarchs. So these men took up the name of Jesus.
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified
Acquired increasing honor.
The transaction showed that the miracles performed in the name of the Lord Jesus by Paul were real, and were performed in attestation of the truth of the doctrine which he taught. Impostors could not work such miracles; and they who pretended to be able to do it only exposed themselves to the rage of evil spirits. It was thus shown that there was a real, vital difference between Paul and these impostors, and their failure only served to extend his reputation and the power of the gospel.

[Their deeds] Their actions; their evil course of life. The direct reference here is to the magical arts which had been used, but the word may also be designed to denote "iniquity" in general. They who make a profession of religion will be willing to confess their transgressions, and no man can have evidence that he is truly renewed who is not willing to confess as well as to forsake his sins, Rom 10:10; Prov 28:13.
Romans 10:10
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Proverbs 28:13
He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Trust consists not merely in verbal professions of belief but in turning from sin. Often public confession of sin is the key, for the prayers and exhortations of other believers, as well as the fear of being ashamed in front of them, can keep one from giving in to temptation and returning to the sin one has confessed. The notion that sin can be kept private is surely a delusion: what is whispered now will one day be shouted from the rooftops.

Practiced magic
Arts or practices requiring skill, address, cunning. The word used here perierga (NT: 4021) denotes properly "those things that require care or skill," and was thus applied to the arts of "magic, jugglery, and sleight of hand" that were practiced so extensively in Eastern countries. That such arts were practiced at Ephesus is well known. The Ephesian letters, by which incantations and charms were supposed to be produced, were much celebrated. They seem to have consisted of certain combinations of letters or words, which, by being pronounced with certain intonations of voice, were believed to be effectual in expelling diseases, or evil spirits; or which, by being written on parchment and worn, were supposed to operate as amulets, or charms, to guard from evil spirits or from danger.
Plutarch (Sympos. 7) says,
"The magicians compel those who are possessed with a demon to recite and pronounce the Ephesian letters, in a certain order, by themselves."
Clemens Alex. (Strom. ii.) says,
"Androcydes, a Pythagorean, says that the letters which are called Ephesian, and which are so celebrated, are symbols, etc."
Erasmus says (Adagg. Cent., 2)
that there were certain marks and magical words among the Ephesians, by using which they succeeded in every undertaking.
Eustath. Ad Homer, Odyssey [t], says
"that those letters were incantations which Croesus used when on the funeral pile, and which greatly befriended him."
He adds that, in the war between the Milesians and Ephesians, the latter were thirteen times saved from ruin by the use of these letters. See Grotius and Kuinoel.

Brought their books
Books which explained the arts, or which contained the magical forms and incantations-perhaps pieces of parchment, on which were written the letters which were to be used in the incantations and charms.

Their arts and offences had been public, and they sought now to undo the evil, as much as lay in their power, as extensively as they had done it.

Fifty thousand pieces of silver
A drachma was a day's wages for common labor; therefore think of fifty thousand drachmas as at least two million dollars. On the other hand, books and scrolls, since they were individually produced, were relatively much more expensive than now. Speculation: if the average believer had $200 worth of occult books to burn, the congregation numbered ten thousand. Ephesus was a major center for occult religion (vv. 23-35).
The destruction of these books was one of the best investments believers have ever made. Not only did they forsake publicly their former pagan ways, but the demonic contents of these books went up in flames, never to poison the minds of anyone again.
(From Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

The word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed
So powerfully. It had such efficacy and power in this wicked city. That power must have been mighty which would thus make them willing not only to cease to practice imposition, but to give up all hopes of future gains, and to destroy their property. On this instructive narrative we may remark:
(1) That religion has power to break the hold of sinners on unjust and dishonest means of living.
(2) That those who have been engaged in an unchristian and dishonorable practice will abandon it when they become Christians.
(3) That their abhorrence of their former course will be, and ought to be, expressed as publicly as was the offence.
(4) That the evil practice will be abandoned at any sacrifice, however great. The question will be
what is right?
not what will it cost?
Property, in the view of a converted man, is nothing when compared with a good conscience.
(5) This conduct of those who had used curious arts shows us what ought to be done by those who have been engaged in any evil course of life and who are then converted.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Homily 41 - Acts 19:14-20
So entirely did they do all by way of trade! Observe: vagabond, or, itinerant, Jewish exorcists. And to believe indeed, they had no mind; but by that Name they wished to cast out the demons. "By Jesus, whom Paul preaches." Only see what a name Paul had got! "And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (v. 14-16.) They did it in secret: then their impotence is publicly exposed. Then not the Name does anything, unless it be spoken with faith. See how they used their weapons against themselves! So far were they from thinking Jesus to be anything great: no, they must needs add Paul, as thinking him to be something great.
Here one may marvel how it was that the demon did not cooperate with the imposture of the exorcists, but on the contrary exposed them, and laid open their stage-play. He seems to me (to have done this) in exceeding wrath: just as it might be, if a person being in uttermost peril, should be exposed by some pitiful creature, and wish to vent all his rage upon him. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know."
For, that there may not seem to be any slight put upon the Name of Jesus, (the demon) first confesses (Him), and then has permission given him. For, to show that it was not any weakness of the Name, but all owing to the imposture of those men, why did not the same take place in the case of Paul? "They fled out of that house naked and wounded:" he sorely battered their heads, perhaps rent their garments. "And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus, and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many of them that had believed came confessing and making known their practices." (v. 17, 18.) For since they had got to possess such power as, by means of the demons, to do such things, well might this be the consequence.
"And many of them that practiced curious arts, brought their books together, and burnt them in the presence of all men;"-having seen that there was no more use of them now that the demons themselves do these things-"and reckoned up the price of them, and found the amount fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (v. 19, 20.) "And" (so) "he disputed," in the school of one Tyrannus for two years:" where were believers, and believers exceedingly (advanced in the faith). Moreover (Paul) writes (to them) as to great men.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(17)  This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, and alarm and terror fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled and magnified.
(18)  Many also of those who were now believers came making full confession and thoroughly exposing their [former deceptive and evil] practices.
(19)  And many of those who had practiced curious, magical arts collected their books and [throwing them, book after book, on the pile] burned them in the sight of everybody. When they counted the value of them, they found it amounted to 50,000 pieces of silver (about $9,300).
(20)  Thus the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] grew and spread and intensified, prevailing mightily.




THE  RIOT  AT  EPHESUS

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Acts 19:21 & 22
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(21)  When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

When these things had been accomplished, Paul made up his mind to travel through all of Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

(22)  So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time.

So he sent to Macedonia two men of those who had ministered to him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia Minor for a while.


This verse sets the tone for the remainder of the book.
Paul's sights were now set on Rome (via Jerusalem) with the ultimate goal of reaching Spain (Romans 1:15; 15:22-24).
Romans 1:15
So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
Romans 15:22-24
For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you.
Luke made no reference to Spain because one of his purposes in writing Acts was to trace the spread of the gospel up to Paul's being in Rome, center of the Roman world. Several have observed how
Luke's Gospel focuses in on Jerusalem
Acts emphasizes the message going out from Jerusalem to Rome
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Mark here the vastness of the apostle's missionary plans, which seem only to have expanded the more ground he overtook and the more victorious his course. 'No Alexander (says Bengel), no Caesar, no other hero approaches the large-mindedness of this little Benjamite. The truth of Christ, faith in and love to Christ, made his heart wide as the ocean.'  The plans here expressed were all of them fulfilled, although he 'saw Rome' only as a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Paul had already planned to leave Ephesus before he knew that trouble was coming (19:23-41); Luke here sets the pace for the rest of the book, outlined as one more trip through Greece, then to Rome via Jerusalem. Philosophers and rabbis expected disciples to serve them, a model which also has Old Testament precedent in Joshua serving Moses; Elisha, Elijah; and Ghazi, Elisha. Erastus may have been the aedile, or commissioner of public works, in Corinth for a time (see comment on Rom 16:23); if so, this text shows that status in the *kingdom and in the world are not determined on the same terms.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Here we have the first mention of Paul's plan to go to Rome. The fulfilling of this plan will be described in the last third of the Book of Acts. Paul would soon write to the saints in Rome and express this desire to them (Romans 1:13-15; 15:22-29).

Romans 1:13
Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.
Romans 15:22-29
For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you ... Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
But first he bad to visit the churches in Macedonia and Achaia in order to complete the "love offering" that he was taking for the poor saints in Jerusalem (Acts 24:17; Romans 15:25-33; 1 Corinthians 16:3-7).
Romans 15:25-26
But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 16:3
And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.
Acts 24:17
Now after many years I came to bring alms and offerings to my nation.
While he remained in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:8-9),
1 Corinthians 16:8-9
But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
he sent Timothy to help him finish the job (1 Corinthians 4:17).
1 Corinthians 4:17
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

We learn from 1 Corinthians 16:17 that Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus had arrived at Ephesus from Corinth (I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied.). It is likely that their presence, together with that of Tychicus and Trophimus, two Asiatic converts, enabled Paul to dispense with the services of Timothy and Erastus for a time. (Pulpit)
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Erastus
Personal name meaning, "beloved."
1. (Acts 19:22)
Disciple Paul sent with Timothy from Ephesus to Macedonia to strengthen the churches during his third missionary journey.
2. (Romans 16:23)
City financial officer of Corinth who joined Paul in greeting the church at Rome.
He may have been a slave or a freed slave working for the city government;
he may well have been a high-ranking and influential government leader — city treasurer. If so, he would have political power, prestige, and probably some wealth.
3. (2 Timothy 4:20)
A disciple who remained at Corinth and was not with Paul when he wrote Timothy.
He may have been identical with either of the other men named Erastus or may be a separate individual.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

Stayed in Asia for a time
Meaning, in the province.
How long is uncertain. He waited for a convenient opportunity to follow them, probably intending to do it as soon as they had fully prepared the way for the collection.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

This phrase is in singular harmony with 1 Corinthians 16:8, which seems clearly to have been written after Timothy's departure for Macedonia and before his arrival at Corinth, since Timothy is not mentioned either in the superscription or among the salutations (1 Corinthians 1:1; 16:19,20), and his coming to Corinth is spoken of as doubtful, though probable, in 1 Corinthians 16:10. Both passages imply a prolongation of Paul's stay at Ephesus beyond his original intention. The special reason for this prolongation of his sojourn at Ephesus, and which is alluded to in 1 Corinthians 16:9, is thought to be the Artemisian or Ephesian games, which were celebrated at Ephesus in May - and therefore just at this time - and which brought a vast concourse of Ionians to Ephesus.
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

It was strange that he had been quiet there so long; yet it should seem he had met with trouble there not recorded in this story, for in his epistle written at this time he speaks of his having fought with beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32 "I have fought with beasts at Ephesus"), which seems to be meant of his being put to fight with wild beasts in the theatre, according to the barbarous treatment they sometimes gave the Christians. And he speaks of the trouble which came to them in Asia, near Ephesus, when he despaired of life, and received a sentence of death within himself, 2 Corinthians 1:8,9.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by
Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

It was at this time, doubtless, that the principal sale of "silver shrines of Diana" took place, and therefore it was natural that Demetrius and his fellow-craftsmen should be very angry when they found their usual gains were cut short by the multitude of converts all over Proconsular Asia.

From the Amplified Bible
(21)  Now after these events Paul determined in the [Holy] Spirit that he would travel through Macedonia and Achaia (most of Greece) and go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must visit Rome also.
(22)  And having sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, he himself stayed on in [the province of] Asia for a while.

Acts 19:23 & 24
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(23)  And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.

And at that time there was a great uprising against those who followed in the way of God.

(24)  For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.

There was here a silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines for Artemis, thus greatly enriching the craftsmen of his trade.


The Way
What is meant by "the Way?"  It may refer:
1. To the doctrines of Christianity.
Paul's great concern was to show the way of salvation by preaching Christ and Him crucified. He is the way, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). This was so uniformly and so constantly the topic of the apostolic ministry, that their preaching soon began to be called "that way," that new and living way, of saving sinners by the cross of Christ.
2. To the way of worship
Spiritual worshippers will be careful to worship God in His own way; not on this mountain or the other. God is a Spirit, etc. Now the way in which primitive believers worshipped was so plain and simple, so fervent and devout, that it seemed like a new and a strange way to the generality.
3. To general practice.
The genuine disciples of Jesus not only think differently from the rest of mankind, but their conduct also is marked with peculiarity (1 Peter 4:4). Christians are required to walk not only in the way of believing, but also in the way of God's statutes.
(from The Biblical Illustrator Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006 Ages Software, Inc. and Biblesoft, Inc.)

Demetrius
Personal name meaning, "belonging to Demeter, the Greek goddess of crops." He was a silversmith in Ephesus. He incited a riot directed against Paul because he feared that the apostle's preaching would threaten the sale of silver shrines of Diana, the patron goddess of Ephesus. Demetrius may have been a guild master in charge of producing small silver copies of Diana's temple with a figure of the goddess inside.
(from Holman Bible Dictionary. Copyright © 1991 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

Silversmith
Argurokopos (NT:695) - From which we get the word technician.
They had unions then as we have now. Many unions are mentioned on papyri discovered in Egypt. The shrine was made of terra-cotta, marble, and silver. Demetrius was guild master of the silversmiths’ guild, or trade union. Other workmen had their own unions.

The word used here denotes "one who works in silver" in any way, either in making money, in stamping silver, or in forming utensils from it. It is probable that the employment of this man was confined to the business here specified, that of making shrines, as his complaint implied that destroying this would be sufficient to throw them out of all employment. Silver shrines naous (NT: 3485). Temples. The word "shrine" properly means "a case, small chest, or box"; particularly applied to a box in which sacred things are deposited. Hence, we hear of the shrines for relics (Webster).

Shrines
The word "shrines" here denotes "small portable temples, or edifices," made of silver, so as to represent the temple of Diana, and probably containing a silver image of the goddess. Such shrines would be purchased by devotees and by worshippers of the goddess, and by strangers, who would be desirous of possessing a representation of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  The great number of persons that came to Ephesus for her worship would constitute an ample sale for productions of this kind, and make the manufacture a profitable employment. It is well known that pagans everywhere are accustomed to carry with them small images, or representations of their gods, as an amulet or charm.

The Romans had such images in all their houses, called Penates, or household gods.
A similar thing is mentioned as early as the time of Laban (Genesis 31:19), whose images Rachel had stolen and taken with her. Compare Judges 17:5, "The man Micah had a house of gods"; 1 Samuel 19:13; Hoseah 3:4. These images were usually enclosed in a box, case, or chest, made of wood, iron, or silver; and probably, as here, usually made to resemble the temple where the idol was worshipped.

Diana
The Roman goddess of the moon.
She corresponded to the Greek Artemis, who was twin sister of Apollo, and huntress of the sky. She was also known as Cybele, Magna Mater, and Ma – the mother-goddess of Asia Minor. Her image was supposed to have fallen from heaven, and it may have been originally a meteoric stone. Its form is known from ancient coins as the rude figure of a woman with crowned head, many breasts, and extended arms supported by props. Some identify her with Semiramus, the queen of Babylon and wife of Nimrod, from whom all licentiousness in ancient worship proceeded. (See study on Nimrod in Genesis study)
 The original object of worship among the Ephesians was a small statue of Diana, made of wood, but of what kind of wood is unknown. Some have said that it was of ebony. Mucian, who was three times consul, says that the Image was made of vine, and was never changed (Pliny, 16:79). See Vitruvius, ii. 9. It was merely an Egyptian hieroglyphic, with many breasts, representing the goddess of Nature - under which idea Diana was probably worshipped at Ephesus. Since the original figure became decayed by age, it was propped up by two rods of iron like spits, which were carefully copied in the image which was afterward made in imitation of the first.
Diana was one of the twelve superior deities. In the heavens she was Luna, or Meui (the moon); on earth, Diana; and in hell, Hecate. She was sometimes represented with a crescent on her head, a bow in her hand, and dressed in a hunting habit; at other times with a triple face, and with instruments of torture. She was commonly regarded as the goddess of hunting. She was also worshipped under the various names of Lucina, Proserpine, Trivia, etc. She was also represented with a great number of breasts, to denote her as being the fountain of blessings, or as distributing her benefits to each in their proper station. She was worshipped in Egypt, Athens, Cilicia, and among pagan nations generally; but the most celebrated place of her worship was Ephesus, a city especially dedicated to her.
The month of Artemis's reputed birth was called Artemisium and hosted a major festival in her honor, at which Asiarchs would be present (v. 31). Some scholars have suggested that this narrative makes the most sense if it happened at that time; although this theory is possible, loyalty to Artemis ran strong all year long, and the Asiarchs who knew Paul best were those who resided in Ephesus anyway.
Her Temple:
One building at Ephesus surpassed all the rest in magnificence and in fame. This was the Temple of Artemis or Diana, which glittered in brilliant beauty at the head of the harbor, and was reckoned by the ancients as one of the wonders of the world. It consisted essentially in horizontal entablatures resting on vertical columns. These colonnades were erected as subsidiary decorations round the cell which contained the idol, and were, through a great part of their space, open to the sky. The Temple was 425 feet long and 220 wide, and the columns were 60 feet high. There were 127 columns, each of them the gift of a king; and 36 of them were enriched with ornament and color.
This temple, so celebrated, it was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was 220 years in building before it was brought to perfection. It was built at the expense of all Asia Minor. Pliny says that the temple was made of cedar and was rebuilt seven times (Pliny, 16:79).
A temple, most magnificent in structure, was built to contain the image of Diana, which was several times built and rebuilt. The first is said to have been completed in the reign of Servius Tullius, at least 570 BC. Another temple is mentioned as having been designed by Ctesiphon, 540 years before the Christian era, and which was completed by Daphnis of Miletus and a citizen of Ephesus. This temple was partially destroyed by fire on the very day on which Socrates was poisoned, in 400 BC, and again in 356 BC, by the philosopher Herostratus, on the day on which Alexander the Great was born. He confessed, upon being put to the torture, that the only motive he had was to immortalize his name. The four walls and a few columns only, escaped the flames. The temple was repaired, and restored to more than its former magnificence, in which, says Pliny (lib. xxxvi. c. 14), 220 years were required to bring it to completion.
It was 425 feet in length, 220 in breadth, and was supported by 127 pillars of Parian marble, each of which was 60 feet high. These pillars were furnished by as many princes, and 36 of them were curiously carved, and the rest were finely polished. Each pillar, it is supposed, with its base, contained 150 tons of marble.
The doors and paneling were made of cypress wood, the roof of cedar, and the interior was rendered splendid by decorations of gold, and by the finest productions of ancient artists. This celebrated edifice, after suffering various partial demolitions, was finally burned by the Goths, in their third naval invasion; in 260 AD. Travelers are now left to conjecture where its site was. Amidst the confused ruins of ancient Ephesus, it is now impossible to tell where this celebrated temple was, once one of the wonders of the world. "So passes away the glory of this world." See the Edinburgh Encyclopedia's "Ephesus" also Anacharsis' Travels, vol. VI. p. 188; Ancient Universal Hist., vol. vii. p. 416; and Pococke's Travels.
Artemis and Economics:
As often, religious piety becomes a thin cloak for personal economic interests. The temple of Artemis served as a bank as well as a temple, and people from all over the world deposited funds there. About A.D. 44 A.D. (roughly a decade before Paul's arrival), inscriptions there show that the proconsul had to get involved in the temple treasury due to some serious financial irregularities: temple monies were being funneled to private individuals. In Ephesus, politics and religion were as heavily intertwined as religion and economics, and local civic pride was inseparable from the worship of the Ephesian Artemis.

In only two incidents recorded in Acts did Gentiles oppose Paul:
(a) here in Acts 19
(b)  in the case of the Philippian fortune-teller (16:16-24).
In both cases the opposition was because of vested monetary interests.

From the Amplified Bible
(23)  But as time went on, there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way [of the Lord].
(24)  For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [the goddess] Artemis [Diana], brought no small income to his craftsmen

Acts 19:25-27
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(25)  He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: "Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade.

He called together all the craftsmen of his trade, with the workmen of like occupation, and said to them, Men, you know that all of our earnings are derived from this craft.

(26)   Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.

You also hear and see that not only the Ephesians, but almost throughout all Asia Minor, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people simply by saying that gods made by the hands of men are not gods,

(27)   So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship."

So that not only is this craft doomed, but also the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be disregarded, and the goddess of all Asia Minor, even she whom all peoples worship, will be despised.


Demetrius' real motive, greed, is to be concealed for propaganda purposes by a veneer of civic pride. The flavor of his empty rhetoric is faithfully reproduced in verse 27. Verses 28 & 29 show that the scheme worked: the rabble were roused.

Similar occupation
Those who were in his employ and all others engaged in the same business. As they would be all affected in the same way, it was easy to produce an excitement among them all.

"Are not gods" was the refrain of Isaiah (44:9-20; 46:1-11) and Judaism. By the early second century the Roman governor of a nearby province complained that the temples of the gods were being forsaken due to conversions to Christianity. After the arrest of many Christians, the governor reported, more people did buy animals for sacrifices again.

Almost all Asia and the world
We have here the noble testimony of a pagan to the zeal and success of the ministry of Paul. It is an acknowledgment that his labors had been most strikingly successful in turning the people from idolatry.

The grounds of the charge which Demetrius made against Paul were two:
1. First, that the business of the craftsmen would be destroyed - usually the first thing that strikes the mind of a sinner who is influenced By self-interest alone.
2. Second, that the worship of Diana would cease if Paul and his fellow-laborers were allowed to continue their efforts.

This reflects the fact that the Ephesian Artemis, distinct from other forms of Artemis, had cult centers dedicated to her in at least thirty-three places in the Mediterranean world. Her fame is widely attested in antiquity: she commanded followers in visions to spread her cult; her temple was listed as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; forty-five residents of Sardis accused of assaulting a group of followers of the Ephesian Artemis received the death penalty; Jewish texts also mention her temple. It was a mile and a half northeast of Ephesus proper.

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
He sends Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, but himself remains at Ephesus. Having made a long enough stay in that city, he wishes to remove elsewhere again. But how is it, that having from the first chosen to depart into Syria, he turns back to Macedonia? "He purposed," it says, "in the Spirit," showing that all (that he did) was done not of his own power. Now he prophesies, saying, "I must also see Rome:" perhaps to comfort them with the consideration of his not remaining at a distance, but coming nearer to them again, and to arouse the minds of the disciples by the prophecy. At this point, I suppose, it was that he wrote his Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus, saying, "I would not have you ignorant of the trouble which came to us in Asia." (2 Corinthians 1:8.)
For since he had promised to go to Corinth, he excuses himself on the score of having loitered, and mentions the trial relating the affair of Demetrius. "There arose no small stir about the Way." Do you see the renown (acquired)? They contradicted, it says: (then) came miracles, twofold: (then) again, danger: such is the way the threads alternate throughout the whole texture (of the history). "For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver temples of Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen." (v. 24.). "Which made," it says, "silver temples of Diana." And how is it possible that temples could be made of silver? Perhaps as small boxes ( kibwria ). Great was the honor paid to this (Diana) in Ephesus; since, when their temple was burnt it so grieved them, that they forbade even the name of the incendiary ever to be mentioned. See how, wherever there is idolatry, in every case we find money at the bottom of it.
Both in the former instance it was for money, and in the case of this man, for money. (ch. 19:13.) It was not for their religion, because they thought that in danger; no, it was for their lucrative craft, that it would have nothing to work upon. Observe the maliciousness of the man. He was wealthy himself, and to him indeed it was no such great loss; but to them the loss was great, since they were poor, and subsisted on their daily earnings. Nevertheless, these men say nothing, but only he. And observe: "Whom having collected, and the workmen of like occupation," having themselves common cause with him, "he said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth" (v. 25); then he brought the danger home to them, that we are in danger of falling from this our craft into starvation. (Homily 42)
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(25)  These he called together, along with the workmen of similar trades, and said, Men, you are acquainted with the facts and understand that from this business we derive our wealth and livelihood.
(26)  Now you notice and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost all over [the province of] Asia this Paul has persuaded and induced people to believe his teaching and has alienated a considerable company of them, saying that gods that are made with human hands are not really gods at all.
(27)  Now there is danger not merely that this trade of ours may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may come into disrepute and count for nothing, and that her glorious magnificence may be degraded and fall into contempt — she whom all [the province of Asia] and the wide world worship.

Acts 19:28 & 29
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(28)  Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"

And when they heard these things they were filled with wrath and cried out, saying, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.

(29)  So the whole city was filled with confusion, and rushed into the theater with one accord, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, Paul's travel companions.

And the whole city was in tumult; and they rushed together to the theatre, and there seized and carried along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians, members of Paul's escort.

Full of wrath
Were greatly enraged - from thumos (NT:2372) - passion, fierceness, indignation, wrath - probably at the prospect of losing their gains.

They were Full of fury, Full of indignation, Full of wrath. There was room for nothing else.

Great is Diana
The term "great" was often applied by the Greeks to Diana. Thus, in Xenophon (Ephes. i.), he says, "I adjure you by your own goddess, the great ... Diana of the Ephesians."  The design of this clamor was doubtless to produce a persecution against Paul, and thus to secure a continuance of their employment. Often, when people have no arguments, they raise a clamor; when their employments are in danger of being ruined, they are filled with rage. We may learn, also, that when people's pecuniary interests are affected, they often show great zeal for religion, and expect by clamor in behalf of some doctrine to maintain their own interest, and to secure their own gains.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Crying out "Great is [such and such a deity]" seems to have been a standard way of expressing devotion.

The Theater
News and trouble spread quickly in ancient cities, which were very crowded (perhaps two hundred people per acre). The citizen assembly held its normal meetings in this open-air theater, which accommodated nearly twenty-five thousand people, was almost five hundred feet in diameter and contained many statues of deities.

The common place of resort for all great meetings.

Tacitus - 'Hist.,' 2:80 (quoted by Alford), says that at Antioch the people were wont to hold their public debates in the theatre, and that a crowded meeting was held there to forward the interests of Vespasian, then aspiring to the empire.
Josephus - speaks of the people of Antioch holding a public assembly (ekklesiaxontos) in the theatre ('Bell. Jud.,' 7. 3:3).
Kuinoel -  The people of the Greek city of Tarentum received the ambassadors from Rome in the theatre, "according to the Greek custom," Val. Max., 2:2, 5 (Kuinoel, on Acts 19:29).
The theatre at Ephesus, of which "ruins of immense grandeur" still remain, is said to be the largest of which we have any account (Howson, 2. p. 68).

Gaius
He had lived at Corinth, and had kindly entertained Paul at his house, 1 Cor 1:14; Rom 16:23.
Romans 16:23
Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you.

Aristarchus
He attended Paul to Rome, and was there a prisoner with him, Col 4:10.
Colossians 4:10
Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you.

We seem, therefore, to have, in immediate connection with St, Paul,
Gaius -
Gaius of Corinth, Gaius of Macedonia, and Gaius of Derbe.
But Gaius (or Caius, as it is written in Latin) was such a common name, and the Jews so often shifted their residence from one city to another, that it is not safe either to infer identity from identity of name, or diversity from diversity of description.
Aristarchus -
Aristarchus, here described as of Macedonia, is more precisely spoken of in Acts 20:4 as a Thessalonian.
In Acts 27:2, where we find him accompanying St. Paul from Caesarea to Rome, he is described as "a Macedonian of Thessalonica."

In Colossians 4:10 he is St. Paul's "fellow-prisoner,' as voluntarily sharing his prison (Alford, on Colossians 4:10),.
In Philemon 24 he is his fellow-laborer.
His history, therefore, is that, having been converted on St Paul's visit to Thessalonica, he attached himself to him as one of his missionary staff, and continued with him through good report and evil report, through persecution, violence, imprisonment, shipwreck, and bonds, to the latest moment on which the light of Bible history shines. Blessed servant of Christ! blessed fellow-servant of his chief apostle!
(from The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Confusion - Tumult; disorder.
The popular resentment of this complaint. The charge was managed by a craftsman, and was framed to incense the common people, and it had the desired effect; for on this occasion they showed,
(1) A great displeasure against the gospel and the preachers of it. They were
full of wrath (v. 28),
full of fury and
full of indignation.
The craftsmen went stark mad when they were told that their trade and their idol were both in danger.
(2) A great jealousy for the honor of their goddess:
They cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians; and we are resolved to stand by her, and live and die in the defense of her. Are there any that expose her to contempt, or threaten her destruction? Let us alone to deal with them. Let Paul say ever so much to prove that those are no gods which are made with hands, we will abide by it that, whatever becomes of other gods and goddesses, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. We must and will stand up for the religion of our country, which we have received by tradition from our fathers."
Thus all people walked every one in the name of his god, and all thought well of their own; much more should the servants of the true God do so, who can say, This God is our God for ever and ever.
(3) A great disorder among themselves:
The whole city was full of confusion—the common and natural effect of intemperate zeal for a false religion; it throws all into confusion, dethrones reason, and enthrones passion; and men run together, not only not knowing one another's minds, but not knowing their own.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(28)  As they listened to this, they were filled with rage and they continued to shout, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
(29)  Then the city was filled with confusion; and they rushed together into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were fellow travelers with Paul.

Acts 19:30 & 31
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(30)  And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him.

And Paul wanted to go into the theatre, but the disciples stopped him.

(31)  Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater.

And likewise some of the chiefs of Asia Minor, because they were his friends, sent to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the theatre.

Wanted to go in
Plainly Paul wanted to face the howling mob, whether it was the occasion pictured in 2 Corinthians 1:9 or not. "Paul was not the man to leave his comrades in the lurch" (Knowling).
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

Officials
Asiarches  (NT:775) were the most prominent men of the province, who were presiding or had presided in one-year terms over the cult of the emperor and the goddess Roma. Different cities in the Greek East competed for the honor of having the largest imperial cult, so Asiarches were important to local civic pride. They had authority over the theater, but here they cannot quell this riot; they can only try to stop their Jewish Christian friend from entering. (In accordance with Roman customs, they may have viewed their "friendship" with Paul in terms of providing him support as patrons; in any case, Luke wants us to recognize that their concern for Paul indicates the high social circles Paul had begun to impact in some way.)
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Pleading
Indicating that with some effort they persuaded Paul not to go in.

These were persons who presided over sacred things and over the public games. It was their business to see that the proper services of religion were observed, and that proper honor was rendered to the Roman emperor in the public festivals, at the games, etc. They were annually elected, and their election was confirmed at Rome before it was valid. They held a common council at the principal city within their province, as at Ephesus, Smyrna, Sardis, etc., to consult and deliberate about the interests committed to their charge in their various provinces (Kuinoel and Schleusner). Probably they were assembled on such an occasion now; and during their remaining there they had heard Paul preach, and were friendly to his views and doctrines.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

Homily 42 - Acts 19:26-31
Then he brought the danger home to them, that we are in danger of falling from this our craft into starvation. "Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught; but also, that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipped. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (v. 26-28.) And yet the very things he spoke were enough to bring them to true religion: but being poor senseless creatures, this is the part they act.
For if this (Paul being) man is strong enough to turn away all, and the worship of the gods is in jeopardy, one ought to reflect, how great must this man's God be, and that he will much more give you those things, for which ye are afraid. Already (at the outset) he has secured a hold upon their minds by saying, "This Paul hath turned away much people, saying, that they be no gods, which are made with men's hands." See what it is that the heathen are so indignant at; because he said that "they which be made of men are no gods." Throughout, he drives his speech at their craft. Then that which most grieved them he brings in afterwards. But, with the other gods, he would say, we have no concern, but that "the temple also of the great goddess Diana is in danger to be destroyed."
Then, lest he should seem to say this for the sake of lucre [$], see what he adds: "Whom the whole world worshipped." Observe how he showed Paul's power to be the greater, proving all (their gods) to be wretched and miserable creatures, since a mere man, who was driven about, a mere tentmaker, had so much power. Observe the testimonies borne to the Apostles by their enemies, that they overthrew their worship. There (at Lystra) they brought "garlands and oxen." (ch. 14:13.) Here he says, "This our craft is in danger to be set at naught.-Ye have filled (all) everywhere with your doctrine." (ch. 5:28.) So said the Jews also with regard to Christ: "Ye see how the world is going after Him" (John 12:19); and, "The Romans shall come and take away our city." (ch. 11:48). And again on another occasion, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." (ch. 17:6).-"And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath."
Upon what was that wrath called forth? On hearing about Diana, and about their source of gain. "And cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and rushed with one accord into the theatre." (v. 29). Such is the way with vulgar minds, any trivial occasion shall hurry them away and inflame their passions. Therefore it behooves to do (things) with (strict) examination. But see how contemptible they were, to be so exposed to all (excitements)! "Having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they dragged them:" (here) again recklessly, just as did the Jews in the case of Jason; and everywhere they set upon them. "And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not," (v. 30) so far were they from all display and love of glory. "And certain of the Asiarchs, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre" (v. 31) to a disorderly populace and tumult.
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(30)  Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not permit him to do it.
(31)  Even some of the Asiarchs (political or religious officials in Asia) who were his friends also sent to him and warned him not to risk venturing into the theater.

Acts 19:32-34
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(32)  Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

Now the multitude in the theatre was greatly confused; some cried one thing, and some another; and many of them did not know why they had assembled together.

(33)  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, and wanted to make his defense to the people.

And the Jews who were there appointed a Jew named Alexander, And when he rose up, he gestured with his hand and would have addressed the people.

(34)  But when they found out that he was a Jew, all with one voice cried out for about two hours, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"

But when they knew he was a Jew, all of them cried out with one voice for about two hours, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians.


The assembly was confused
This is an admirable description of a tumultuous mob, gathered together without law or reason; getting their passions inflamed, and looking for an opportunity to commit outrages, without why or therefore-principle or object.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Benjamin Franklin said that a mob was "a monster with heads enough, but no brains." How sad it is when people permit themselves to be led by a few selfish leaders who know the art of manipulation. Demetrius made use of the two things the Ephesians loved the most the honor of their city and the greatness of their goddess and her temple. Without the help of radio, TV or newspaper, he got his propaganda machine going and soon had the whole city in an uproar.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Luke's sense of humor is seen in this passage. Ironically most of the people did not even know why they were there.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

Greek comedy frequently parodied people's stupidity; Luke's readers would laugh at the crowd not knowing the purpose of their rioting, even though this ignorance characterizes mob psychology well. Luke no doubt uses the Greek term for "citizen assembly" here ironically: it is in fact a mob, not a legal gathering (v. 39).
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

Alexander
Some of the Jews in the crowd felt that they were in danger of being blamed for the riot. Therefore they put forward a man named Alexander to make a speech and clear them of guilt.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

Who this Alexander was is not known.
Grotius supposes that it was "Alexander the coppersmith, who had in some way done Paul much harm (2 Tim 4:14); and whom, with Philetus, Paul had excommunicated. He supposes that it was a device of the Jews to put forward one who had been of the Christian party, in order to accuse Paul, and to attempt to cast the odium of the tumult on him. But it is not clear that the Alexander whom Paul had excommunicated was the person concerned in this transaction. All that appears in this narrative is that Alexander was one who was known to be a Jew, and who wished to defend the Jews from being regarded as the authors of this tumult. It would be supposed by the pagan that the Christians Were only a sect of the Jews, and the Jews wished, doubtless, to show that they had not been concerned in giving occasion to this tumult, but that it was to be traced wholly to Paul and his friends.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

There does not seem any just ground from the text to suppose that this Alexander was a Christian; or that he was about to make an apology for the Christians: it is generally believed that he is the same with Alexander the coppersmith, of whom Paul speaks, 2 Timothy 4:14, and whom, with Philetus, he was obliged to excommunicate, 1 Timothy 1:20. By the Jews putting him forward, we are to understand their earnestness to get him to undertake their defense, and criminate, as much as possible, Paul and his companions, and the Christian cause in general;
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

They found out he was a Jew
There was a general prejudice against the Jews. They were disposed to charge the whole difficulty on Jews - esteeming Christians to be but a sect of the Jews. They were, therefore, indiscriminate in their wrath, and unwilling to listen to any defense.

With one voice
Unitedly, in one continued shout and clamor.

Benjamin Franklin said that a mob was "a monster with heads enough, but no brains." How sad it is when people permit themselves to be led by a few selfish leaders who know the art of manipulation. Demetrius made use of the two things the Ephesians loved the most
the honor of their city and
the greatness of their goddess and her temple.
Without the help of radio, TV or newspaper, he got his propaganda machine going and soon had the whole city in an uproar.
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Two hours
The very appearance of a Jew had the opposite effect to that intended. To prevent him obtaining a hearing, they drowned his voice in one tumultuous shout in honor of their goddess, which rose to such frantic enthusiasm as took two hours to exhaust itself.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

The day, from sunrise to sunset, among the Greeks and Romans, was divided into twelve equal parts, John 11:9. An hour, therefore, did not differ materially from an hour with us. It is not at all improbable that the tumult would continue for so long a time, before it would be possible to allay the excitement.  This they at first did to silence Alexander. The shouting, however, was continued in order to evince their attachment to Diana, as would be natural in an excited and tumultuous mob of pagan worshippers.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(32)  Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in a tumult and most of them did not know why they had come together.
(33)  Some of the crowd called upon Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed and urged him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense and [planning] to apologize to the people.
(34)  But as soon as they saw him and recognized that he was a Jew, a shout went up from them as the voice of one man, as for about two hours they cried, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

Acts 19:35-37
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(35)  And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said: "Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple guardian of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?

The mayor of the city finally quieted them, saying, Men of Ephesus, who among men does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the seat of great Artemis and her image that fell from heaven?

(36)  Therefore, since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly.

Since, therefore, no man can contradict this, you should keep quiet and do nothing hastily.

(37)  For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.

For you have brought these men here who have neither robbed temples nor have they reviled our goddess.


City Clerk
Ho (NT: 3588) grammateus (NT: 1122). The scribe; the secretary.
This word is often used in the Bible, and is commonly translated "scribe," and is applied to "public notaries in the synagogues; to clerks; to those who transcribed books, and hence, to men skilled in the law or in any kind of learning."  It is, however, nowhere else applied to a pagan magistrate. It probably denoted "a recorder; or a transcriber of the laws; or a chancellor" (Kuinoel, Doddridge). This officer had a seat in their deliberative assemblies, and on him it seems to have devolved to keep the peace.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Actually he was the chief executive officer of the city. When he appeared, the people listened.
(from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)

What man is there
Who is there that can deny this? It is universally known and admitted. This is the language of strong confidence, of reproof, and of indignation. It implied that the worship of Diana was so well established that there was no danger that it could be destroyed by a few Jews, and he therefore reproved them for what he deemed their unreasonable fears. But he little knew the power of that religion which had been the innocent cause of all this tumult; nor that, at no very distant period; this despised religion would overturn not only the worship of Diana at Ephesus, but the splendid idolatry of the mighty Roman Empire.
Acts 19:35

He made six main points:
1. (19:35) No need of advertising the fact that all Ephesians worshiped Diana
2. (19:36) No man was attempting to contest this fact
3. (19:36). Not to act so rashly without just grounds for doing so
4. (19:37) The persons accused were not guilty of breaking the civil laws
5. (19:38-39) If they had broken any law, this was not the way to handle it
6. (19:40) They themselves were breaking the law and might be called in question
(from Dake Annotated Reference Bible © 2007 by Dake Publishing. All rights reserved in U.S.A. and Other Countries.)

Fell down ...
He reminded them that Ephesus was not in danger of being degraded, for it was famous throughout the world as the temple keeper of Artemis. The image which fell down from Jupiter is the translation of a single Greek word meaning literally from the sky, and probably refers to a meteorite in which the worshipers of Artemis thought they detected a likeness of the goddess and which they worshiped in the temple.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1962 by Moody Press. All rights reserved.)

It is probable that the image was so ancient that the maker of it was unknown, and it was therefore reigned to have fallen from heaven. It was for the interest of the priest to keep up this impression. Many cities pretended to have been favored in a similar manner with images or statues of the gods, sent directly from heaven.
The safety of Troy was supposed to depend on the Palladium
The image of Pallas Minerva, which was believed to have fallen from heaven
Numa pretended that the ancilia, or sacred shields, had descended from heaven.
Herodian expressly affirms that "the Phoenicians had no statue of the sun polished by the hand, but only a certain large stone, circular below, and terminated acutely above in the figure of a cone, of a black color, and that they believed it to have fallen from heaven."
The same thing was affirmed of the ancient Minerva of the Athenian Acropolis (Paus., Att. 26)
Of the Paphian Venus,
And the Ceres of Sicily (Cic. in Verr., v. 187).
It has been supposed by some that this image at Ephesus was merely a conical or pyramidal stone which fell from the clouds-a meteorite-and that it was regarded with superstitious reverence, as having been sent from heaven. See the Edinburgh Encyclopedia's article, "Meteorites."
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

You have brought these men
Demetrius and his friends. The blame was to be traced to them.

Robbers of temples
Temple robbery" was considered one of the most impious of crimes, and the term eventually came to stand for sacrilege in a broader sense.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

The meaning here is that Paul and his companions had not been guilty of robbing the temple of Diana, or any other temple. The charge of sacrilege could not be brought against them. Though they had preached against idols and idol worship, yet they had offered no violence to the temples of idolaters, nor had they attempted to strip them of the sacred utensils employed in their service. What they had done, they had done peaceably.

That is to say, these men (Gaius and Aristarchus) as Christians had so conducted themselves (Colossians 4:5  "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside") that no charge could be placed against them either in act (temple-robbery) or word (blasphemy).
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. Copyright © 1985 by Broadman Press.)

From the Amplified Bible
(35)  And when the town clerk had calmed the crowd down, he said, Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone [image of her] that fell from the sky?
(36)  Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet (keep yourselves in check) and do nothing rashly.
(37)  For you have brought these men here, who are [guilty of] neither temple robberies nor blasphemous speech about our goddess.

Acts 19:38-41
From the NKJV From the  Peshitta

(38)  Therefore, if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a case against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.

But if Demetrius and the men of his trade have a case against any man, behold there is a proconsul in the city; let the craftsmen come forward and settle with one another in the court.

(39)  But if you have any other inquiry to make, it shall be determined in the lawful assembly.

But if you want something else, it must be determined in a lawful assembly.

(40)  For we are in danger of being called in question for today's uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering."

For even now we are in danger of being charged with sedition, for we cannot give an answer concerning this day's meeting, because we have assembled for no reason, and have been tumultuous without a cause.

(41)  And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.


From the IVP Bible Background Commentary

The financial scandal surrounding the temple of Artemis at this time was being addressed through the courts and by appealing to the proconsul; the economic dispute that had provoked this illegal gathering should be addressed in the same manner.
The proconsul met with the gatherings of citizens on various days in nine different cities of the province. Each province had only one proconsul, but Luke may use the plural because the proconsul of Ephesus died about A.D. 54 A.D., and several officials may have been carrying out his administrative functions till the new proconsul arrived.
A later source declares that this assembly met three times a month. The lawful gathering of the citizen assembly differed significantly from a mob (as here): the former met with Rome's favor, but the latter could lead to Roman disciplinary measures against the city.
Other examples show that leaders of cities warned their people that Rome would hear of their riots; other riots are recorded as having happened in Ephesus, although Rome never did crack down on them. But the special privileges Ephesus enjoyed as a "free city" (including its own senate) depended completely on Rome's favor, and other cities had had such privileges revoked. A famous late-first-century *rhetorician named Dio Chrysostom warned the citizens of another Asian city that those who abused the right of free speech had that right taken away.
(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

HISTORICAL OUTLOOK FROM 400 A. D. BY ARCHBISHOP JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
And Paul complies, for he was not vainglorious, nor ambitious. "Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused." Such is the nature of the multitude: it recklessly follows, like fire when it has fallen upon fuel; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together." (v. 32.) "And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward." It was the Jews that thrust him forward; but as providence ordered it, this man did not speak. "And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people." (v. 33)
"But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (v. 34) A childish understanding indeed! as if they were afraid, lest their worship should be extinguished, they shouted without intermission. For two years had Paul abode there, and see how many heathen there were still! "And when the town clerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is temple-keeper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?" (v. 35) As if the thing were not palpable. With this saying first he extinguished their wrath. "And of the Diopetes." There was another sacred object (ieron) that was so called.
Either he means the piece of burnt earth or her image. This (is) a lie. "Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess." (v. 36, 37) All this however he says to the people; but in order that those (workmen) also might become more reasonable, he says: "Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsman which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause, for which (matter) we shall not be able to give an account for this concourse." (v. 38-40.) "A lawful assembly," he says, for there were three assemblies according to law in each month; but this one was contrary to law. Then he terrified them also by saying, "We are in danger to be called to account" for sedition. (Chrysostom)
Seest thou how God permits trials, and by them stirs up and awakens the disciples, and makes them more energetic? Then let us not sink down under trials: for He Himself will "also make the way of escape, that we may be able to bear them." (1 Corinthians 10:13.) Nothing so makes friends, and rivets them so firmly, as affliction: nothing so fastens and compacts the souls of believers: nothing is so seasonable for us teachers in order that the things said by us may be heard. For the hearer when he is in ease is listless and indolent, and seems to suffer annoyance from the speaker: but when he is in affliction and distress, he falls into a great longing for the hearing. For when distressed in his soul, he seeks on all sides to find comfort for his affliction: and the preaching brings no small comfort.
"What then," you will say, "of the Jews? How was it that in consequence of their weak-heartedness, they did not hear?" Why, they were Jews, those ever weak and miserable creatures: and besides, the affliction in their case was great, but we speak of affliction in moderation. For observe: they expected to be freed from the evils that encompassed them, and they fell into numberless greater evils: now this is no common distress to the soul. Afflictions cut us off from the sympathy we have for the present world, as appears in this, that we wish for death immediately, and cease to be loving of the body: which very thing is the greatest part of wisdom, to have no hankering, no ties to the present life. The soul which is afflicted does not wish to be concerned about many things: repose and stillness are all it desired, content for its part to have done with the things present, even though there be nothing else to follow. As the body when wearied and distressed does not wish to indulge in amours, or gormandizing, but only to repose and lie down in quiet; so the soul, harassed by numberless evils, is urgent to be at rest and quiet.
Homily 42
(from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 1, Volume 11, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

From the Amplified Bible
(38)  Now then, if Demetrius and his fellow tradesmen who are with him have a grievance against anyone, the courts are open and proconsuls are [available]; let them bring charges against one another [legally].
(39)  But if you require anything further about this or about other matters, it must be decided and cleared up in the regular assembly.
(40)  For we are in danger of being called to render an account and of being accused of rioting because of [this commotion] today, there being no reason that we can offer to justify this disorder.
(41)  And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.



(End of Chapter Nineteen)

 

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