And the multitude rose up together against them
The crowd of people that were gathered together in the court on this occasion; being no doubt spirited up by the proprietors of the maid, out of whom the spirit of divination was cast, and encouraged by the rulers, and being provoked at the hearing of unlawful customs being introduced among them; and the magistrates rent off their clothes;
not their own clothes, as did the high priest, ( Mark 14:63 ) but the clothes of Paul and Silas; and so reads the Arabic version, "and the rulers rent the garments of both of them"; which removes the ambiguity in the words; for at the whipping or beating of malefactors, they did not pluck off their garments, but rent and tore them off, and so whipped or beat them naked: this was the custom with the Jews F13; it is asked,
``how did they whip anyone? his hands are bound to a pillar here and there, and the minister of the synagogue (or the executioner) takes hold of his clothes; and if they are rent, they are rent, and if they are ripped, they are ripped, (be it as it will,) until he has made his breast bare''And in like manner the Lectors, or executioners among the Romans, used to tear the garments of malefactors, when they beat them; this the magistrates themselves did here, unless they may be said to do it, because they ordered it to be done, as follows: and commanded to beat them;
that is, with rods: this was one of the three times the apostle was beat in this manner, ( 2 Corinthians 11:25 ) and of this shameful treatment at Philippi, he makes mention in ( 1 Thessalonians 2:2 ) .
F13 Misn. Maccot, c. 3. sect. 12. & Maimon. Hilchot Sanhedrin c. 16. sect. 8.