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Acts 16:20

Acts 16:20

And brought them to the magistrates
The same as before; wherefore the Syriac version omits them there, and reads them both together here, calling them the magistrates and chief men of the city; though the word here used, properly signifies military captains, captains of the Roman militia: but that they were the same with the Decuriones, or ten men before mentioned, appears from what Harpocratian says F11, that every year were chosen "ten (strathgoi) , magistrates", the word here used: saying, these men being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city;
they call Paul and Silas Jews, either because they knew them to be so, or because they attended at the Jewish oratory, or place of worship; and it was common with the Romans to call the Christians Jews; they were generally included in the same name; and this name of the Jews was become very odious with the Romans; a little after this, Claudius commanded them, the Jews, to depart from Rome, ( Acts 18:2 ) they were commonly looked upon as a troublesome and seditious sort of people, and indeed this was the old charge that was fastened upon them, ( Ezra 4:15 ) ( Esther 3:8 ) . So that it was enough to say that Paul and Silas were Jews, to prove them to be disturbers of the public peace: and it is to be observed, that their accusers make no mention of the dispossessing of the maid, who was their private property, and which was a private affair; but pretend a concern for the public welfare, and bring a charge of public disturbance and detriment, to which their malice and revenge prompted them, hoping in this way the better to succeed: the Arabic version reads, "these two men trouble our city, and they are both Jews".


FOOTNOTES:

F11 Lexicon, p. 274.
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