Acts 19:19

Not a few of them that practised curious arts (ikanoi twn ta perierga praxantwn). Considerable number of the performers or exorcists themselves who knew that they were humbugs were led to renounce their evil practices. The word perierga (curious) is an old word (peri, erga) originally a piddler about trifles, a busybody ( 1 Timothy 5:13 ), then impertinent and magical things as here. Only two examples in the N.T. It is a technical term for magic as the papyri and inscriptions show. Deissmann (Bible Studies, p. 323) thinks that these books here burned were just like the Magic Papyri now recovered from Egypt. Burned them in the sight of all (katekaion enwpion pantwn). Imperfect active of katakaiw. It probably took a good while to do it, burned them completely (up, we say; down, the Greeks say, perfective use of kata). These Magical Papyri or slips of parchment with symbols or magical sentences written on them called Epesia Grammata (Ephesian Letters). These Ephesian Letters were worn as amulets or charms. They brought them together (sunenegkante). Second aorist active participle of sunperw. What a glorious conflagration it would be if in every city all the salacious, blasphemous, degrading books, pamphlets, magazines, and papers could be piled together and burned. They counted (sunepshpisan). First aorist active indicative of sunpshpizw, to reckon together. In LXX (Jer 29:49). Only here in N.T. Sunkatapshpizw in 1 Timothy 1:26 . Fifty thousand pieces of silver (arguriou muriada pente). Five ten thousand (muriada) pieces of silver. Ephesus was largely Greek and probably the silver pieces were Greek drachmae or the Latin denarius, probably about ten thousand dollars or two thousand English pounds.